Trapped in Tennessee! – 5th Place Worlds Report

Hello, my name is Ethan French and I am a first year master from the UK. I started playing VGC towards the end of VGC17 and have continued to love playing it ever since. My best performances have been a regional win and top 8 in the latest internationals. This will be a report on the team I used to place 5th at the Pokémon World Championships 2018.

Team’s Achievements

  • Alberto Lara – Top 4 NA International Championships
  • 5th Place Worlds

Team Building Process

Early on in thinking about worlds I had lots of ideas, lots consisting of set up, the main ones I tested and actually considered quite a bit being Azumarill, Porygon2 Araquanid and Xurkitree. Although all of them could easily sweep through teams I found them all to be inconsistent, with all of them being unable to win convincingly or just getting destroyed, I didn’t think using such teams would be a good idea and decided that I should look to more consistent teams from then on, and gave up trying to find the play.

After the original plan failed, I looked back to a team I knew was good and consistent that I had used in the two most recent tournaments (NAIC and Sheffield Regionals), a Charizard-Y team,even though I found that the meta had grown pretty hostile towards it. Tyranitar and Nihilego had risen rather quite drastically in usage so I thought Charizard-Y might not be the best call. In particular I anticipated Animus’s team to be popular, which Charizard-Y could do virtually nothing against and I didn’t want to be defenseless at team preview.

With both my original ideas out of the water I went to try out the standard Tapu Fini Metagross archetype, which I had brought to quite a few tournaments, although I found it rather underwhelming. With the release of Incineroar I found the team incomplete, having to sacrifice certain match-ups, choosing between Tyranitar and Amoonguss and the rise in Gengar usage made it not so ideal.

Although I didn’t really like the team, I liked the trio of Tapu Fini, Incineroar and Landorus-T, being an extremely good defensive core with the ability to make lots of defensive switches between the three Pokémon. Although I didn’t like the team, I thought I would like to fit that trio of Pokémon onto my Worlds team somehow.

After all my main ideas had pretty much failed I was stuck as to what to do and after speaking to Chuppa he said it could be a good idea to test teams that were successful at the NAIC, starting with Alberto’s team.

It seemed like a good option as it had the trio of Pokémon I had intended to use but with a complete twist to it for the last three which I thought were interesting options.

I instantly clicked with the team. I loved Gengar’s ability to stop the opponent switching, taking out a whole layer of mind games. I especially loved the ability to trap in and Z move Incineroars with Landorus-T, instantly taking a huge threat of the field with close-to-nothing that the opponent could do about it.

It was also a really good option as I was extremely comfortable with five of the Pokémon, having used the Fini Incineroar Landorus-T core a lot and loving it, and I had also used the combination of Kartana and Cresselia at the NAIC, where I had really liked the duo. I had used Gengar at Brazil IC and not done well, although that was on a completely different team archetype and looking back I think I used the Pokémon completely wrong, I had used it simply as a hyper offensive hard hitter instead of using it as a positioning tool.

I messaged Alberto on twitter and he graciously gave me the paste. I had found a team I liked, although there were some weaknesses I really wanted to patch like Charizard and Gengar mirrors. I tested a lot of stuff to try and help against these, mainly Tyranitar and Xurkitree, although I didn’t like these as I really liked the extra speed control and support options Cresselia gave me. I had tested just about every rock and electric type, and nothing worked. I had also tested Animuses team for a bit, though it played very differently to the way I liked.

After none of the obvious answers worked, I looked to less obvious answers and I remembered when I played Charizard myself at the NAIC, I had found it extremely hard to deal with screens on Cedric’s Cresselia combined with Snarl on his Manectric. I decided to test this with Light Screen on my Cresselia and Snarl on my Incineroar, it fixed my problems with Charizard and Gengar perfectly and I stuck with it.

I switched Cresselia’s item to Sitrus Berry as I brought Cresselia without Tapu Fini a lot making Misty Seed a useless item the majority of the time. I chose Sitrus over Wiki because Sitrus triggered a lot more consistently and it was also very good against Charizard and Gengar.

The Team

Link to Paste

Jamie (Gengar-Mega) (M) @ Gengarite
Ability: Shadow Tag
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 28 Def / 4 SpA / 4 SpD / 236 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Sludge Bomb
– Shadow Ball
– Icy Wind
– Protect

This was the MVP of the team, allowing me to control the board and force my opponents into awkward positions and letting me trap in their biggest threats.

Shadow tag is such a great ability, I think one of the best in the game. It meant I could control the board really well and that I could easily take over the game. It was really important to keep this Pokémon around for if I lost it early in the game, it often lead into really awkward positions. I liked to lead with this Pokémon to instantly get the trap up and exert pressure. This Pokémon was brought to every single game in the tournament and it was key to all my games.

It’s pretty much Alberto’s spread except I took 8 EVs out of defense and put them into speed in hopes it would make my Gengar faster than the opponents’ in mirrors, these changed EVs never came into effect but it would have been nice if I had to risk the speed ties against Gengars. It out speeds things that are EVd to out speed Metagross by one.

I saw no reason to change the move set or the spread drastically. Duel STAB + speed control that hits Landorus-T for massive damage was great. I don’t think Timid max Gengar is worth it because I always try to avoid getting into position where I need to risk a speed tie, and the bulk was really necessary for it on my team. Gengar was my main answer to Metagross and the Tapus. The EVs allow it to take a Tapu Fini Hydro Vortex, a Jolly Metagross Stomping Tantrum most of the time (although the majority of the time I had intimidated it), a timid Charizard-Y Flamethrower and a Landorus-T Earth power most of the time.

  • 252 Atk Tough Claws Metagross-Mega Stomping Tantrum vs. 236 HP / 28 Def Gengar-Mega: 140-166 (84.8 – 100.6%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
  • 252 SpA Charizard-Mega-Y Flamethrower vs. 236 HP / 4 SpD Gengar-Mega in Sun: 141-166 (85.4 – 100.6%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO

Bram (Kartana) @ Aguav Berry
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 196 HP / 12 Atk / 4 Def / 252 SpD / 44 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Leaf Blade
– Sacred Sword
– Substitute
– Detect

This was the exact spread and set Alberto gave me and I saw no reason to change it.

I loved substitute because my team was really scary to go up against, often forcing my opponents to make defensive plays such protecting and switching and I could just take full advantage of that by setting up a sub. I could also trigger my berry with it if I had been put just out of range of a proc. It also allowed me to dodge intimidates which was really nice at stopping intimidate spam.

The rest of the moves are standard. This spread was really good, the bulk came in really handy, I got put in berry range a lot of times and it really helped out. The speed means Kartana out speeds Ludicolo by one point. Kartana was my main answer to Tapu Fini, Porygon2 Araquanid, CHALK and one of my main answers to Tyranitar. The EVs allow Kartana to take a timid Tapu Koko Gigavolt Havoc, a Modest Life Orb Tapu Lele Psychic in terrain, a Gengar Shadow Ball and a Landorus-T Superpower.

  • 252 SpA Tapu Koko Gigavolt Havoc (175 BP) vs. 196 HP / 252 SpD Kartana in Electric Terrain: 131-155 (82.3 – 97.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Life Orb Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 196 HP / 252 SpD Kartana in Psychic Terrain: 120-140 (75.4 – 88%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Lee (Tapu Fini) @ Mago Berry
Ability: Misty Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 172 SpA / 12 SpD / 68 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Moonblast
– Muddy Water
– Calm Mind
– Protect

Standard Tapu Fini, really good spread and I saw no reason to change it.
I’ve used Tapu Fini in the majority of the season and I’m really comfortable with it.

Calm Mind is a really good way to set up, making it really hard to take Tapu Fini down and it came in handy a lot during the tournament. There were a few times in the tournament I made Tapu Fini just unkillable with the combination of Calm Mind, Snarl and intimidate.

Tapu Fini was really good at switching into attacks, bringing really good defensive synergy to the team, it was also one of my main switch ins to Landorus-T, it was also very key in my Blaziken-Bisharp matchup.

Although Tapu Fini was the Pokémon I brought least it was a key member to the team and its just a really good Pokémon. I think the speed allows it to outspeed something after an Icy Wind and outspeed most other Tapu Fini. The EVs allow it to take a Gengar Sludge Bomb, a Metagross Zen Headbutt in psychic terrain and has a very good chance to live a Life Orb Nihilego Sludge Bomb.

  • 252 SpA Gengar-Mega Sludge Bomb vs. 252 HP / 12 SpD Tapu Fini: 150-176 (84.7 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 148+ Atk Tough Claws Metagross-Mega Zen Headbutt vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Tapu Fini in Psychic Terrain: 130-154 (73.4 – 87%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Sam (Cresselia) @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Levitate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 68 Def / 52 SpA / 84 SpD / 52 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Psyshock
– Icy Wind
– Helping Hand
– Light Screen

The Pokémon I changed most from the original team, me and Jamie Boyt made this spread a few days before I left for the tournament.

A lot of people running the Gengar Tapu Fini archetype chose to forgo this Pokémon, using the likes of Tyranitar and Zapdos. I can see why but I found Cresselia’s bulk and support options invaluable, once I had gotten comfortable with it none of the other options seemed quite as good to me.

Lots of times when I tested a substitute Pokémon, I tried to select Cresselia only to forget it was not there, showing how vital of a role it played to the team. Cresselia’s bulk is incredible, with super effective Z Moves being pretty much the only way to OHKO it, it was an invaluable switch in to have taking lots of hits easily. This Pokémon was very key to a lot of matchups, mainly Metagross, Salamence, rain, Kommo-o and Charizard. Without this Pokémon my matchups vs those would’ve been way harder.

It was my only reliable speed control and was really good at switching in with its immense bulk. Light Screen as said before was key to my Charizard and Gengar matchups, but it was also a really good move in general and I used it a lot in the tournament. I ran Psyshock mainly for Nihilego, which if handled incorrectly could be troublesome, it also gave me a way to chip Tapu Fini effectively. I put Helping Hand on as a comfort pick, it having been extremely good in Sheffield and the NAIC, Moonlight would have been better in the tournament but this last move didn’t really come into effect much at all.

It’s also worth noting this was my only Earthquake partner for Landorus-T, so if I burnt my Z-Move Cresselia was an essential Landorus-T partner. The speed is to out speed base 100s at -1 according to Jamie. The spread is designed to make Gengar Shadow Ball do just about 50% and trigger my Sitrus berry. It was also very good against Charizard, taking overheats with relative ease and just activating Sitrus.

  • 252 SpA Gengar-Mega Shadow Ball vs. 252 HP / 84+ SpD Cresselia: 116-138 (51.1 – 60.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 84+ SpA Charizard-Mega-Y Overheat vs. 252 HP / 84+ SpD Cresselia in Sun: 130-154 (57.2 – 67.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Chuppa (Landorus-Therian) @ Groundium Z
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 164 HP / 116 SpD / 228 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Earthquake
– Rock Slide
– Swords Dance
– Protect

One of the best Pokemon in the format, performing an essential role in the team.
This Pokémon was really important in dealing with Incineroars, which can cause problems otherwise. I often used Gengar to trap in threats and used Landorus-T to nuke them.

Landorus was also key with dealing against Charizard, it was my only Pokémon that could really hit it super effectively, it was also really important against Tapu Kokos with this being my only Pokémon in the team that could switch into the Z Move without taking a massive amount of damage.

This was just the spread Alberto gave me, I didn’t really think there was a reason to change it. I think a more offensive one could have been better in the tournament, especially in top 8 but the bulk was essential in testing. Although I didn’t really use Swords Dance in testing I thought it could have been a very good win condition as many times opposing Pokémon had protected or switched and I got a free Swords Dance and Landorus-T became so hard for them to deal with. It felt underwhelming in the tournament after burning the Z move, so it was essential that the Z move was timed right.

Landorus-T also offered essential intimidate support to the team.
The speed allows it to out speed Kommo-o I believe.

The EVs allowed it to take a Landorus-T HP Ice very comfortably, a +1 Tapu Fini Muddy Water, a Metagross Zen Headbutt in terrain most of the time, a +1 Kartana Leaf Blade and a Modest Flamethrower from Charizard.

  • 252+ SpA Landorus-Therian Hidden Power Ice vs. 164 HP / 116 SpD Landorus-Therian: 136-164 (73.5 – 88.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Charizard-Mega-Y Flamethrower vs. 164 HP / 116 SpD Landorus-Therian in Sun: 153-181 (82.7 – 97.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Kyriakou (Incineroar) (M) @ Figy Berry
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 12 Atk / 4 Def / 148 SpD / 108 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Snarl
– Knock Off
– Fake Out

Incineroar is an amazing Pokémon, the combination of Fake Out, Knock Off and Intimidate is amazing.

A relatively standard Incineroar, André Fumis had given me this spread earlier in the season. I was comfortable with this spread and it did everything I wanted it to so I saw no reason to change it.

Snarl was there to help against Charizard mainly, turning out to be a really useful move throughout the whole tournament. The large amount of speed investment proved helpful as I out-sped all but one Incineroar during the competition, giving me free reign as to who to fake out. It was also another intimidater which was very useful for the defensive play of the team. Incineroar was key to a lot of my matchups like the Charizard matchup, and the Tapu Lele Metagross matchup, and it was also pretty key against opposing Kartanas with it being the only one of my Pokémon that could OHKO it.
I brought this Pokémon to most of my games in the tournament.

The EVs allow it to survive a Timid Koko Gigavolt Havoc in terrain, it makes Kartana Sacred Sword proc berry, lives a Life Orb Nihilego Power Gem, and allows it to live Landorus-T Superpower most of the time.

  • 252 SpA Tapu Koko Gigavolt Havoc (175 BP) vs. 236 HP / 148 SpD Incineroar in Electric Terrain: 169-199 (84.5 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 68+ Atk Kartana Sacred Sword vs. 236 HP / 4 Def Incineroar: 142-168 (71 – 84%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Common Leads

+
By far the most common lead, with this lead I had a lot of options for turn 1 depending on what the opponent lead.

This lead allowed me to pretty safely get up my trap and instantly get myself into a good position. I lead this mainly into most Metagross (without Tapu Lele), Salamence, and some Charizard teams (mainly ones with Heatran), although I lead it into lots of different team archetypes.

+
I think this was the second most common lead as it was a very safe lead, with Cresselia being able to establish speed control early or set up screens vastly improving the special bulk of my Pokémon. This was quite often lead into Charizard, Kommo-o, rain and Tapu Lele Metagross teams.

+
Not too common of a lead but a lead that can put on a lot of pressure, I could force my opponents into defensive plays turn 1 and get a free substitute up and gain a lot of momentum. This lead was mainly for CHALK, rain and sometimes Milotic teams.

Team Match-ups

I don’t think the team had many matchups that drastically favoured one way, it mainly came down to how you played.

Bisharp Blaziken was I think by far my worst matchup, it was the only thing I really consistently lost to on ladder. Bisharp just puts pressure on all my team, and the fact that two of my things that do best against it give it a +1 boost is really bothersome. Kartana was my only other Pokémon that could hit it super effectively but Bisharps most common partner is Blaziken which just obliterates Kartana. Overall a very troublesome Pokémon that I really struggled with. I think the key to beating these teams was getting rid of either of these major threats; get rid of Bisharp and Landorus-T is very good, get rid of Blaziken and Kartana is very good etc.

Although not too much of a problem, I found it very hard to deal with Choice Scarf Special Landorus-T in the tournament as long as they played it well. It’s not too much of a problem on its own, but if it’s on a team that has good answers to Cresselia (such as Bisharp) or on a team that I can’t really afford to bring Cresselia to (like Gardevoir). My whole team was out sped and hit for massive damage by it, both of my losses were to it. I think to beat this it is essential to position well with Fake Out.

A pretty good matchup, although not an ‘auto win’ it is extremely hard for Metagross teams to deal with Gengar and its trap. I generally lead Gengar Incineroar to counter their Amoonguss lead which was their main way of beating me. I think simply preserving Gengar and its trap is really important in this matchup.

I think a matchup that’s slightly in my favour; CHALK, I think it’s hard for this team to deal with trap + intimidate cycling, although it’s definitely very doable for them. I think the key to this matchup is trying to get rid of Cresselia early and making sure it doesn’t successfully land a Shattered Psyche on Gengar.

I’d say most of the other matchups were down to who played best and whether I could effectively get my trap going with Gengar.

Rundown of Tournament

Leading up to the tournament I was extremely nervous, although I had been confident before I left, the days before I had been doing very poorly on ladder with it. I did consider doing some drastic changes but I came to the conclusion that it was just pre-tournament nerves which I often have, I’m glad I didn’t make any changes.

I was also worried about how my brother would do, he had only recently started playing and this was both of our first worlds and I thought his finish would determine whether he wanted to continue playing the game, I also really didn’t know how much he’d been paying attention to all the advice I gave him.

To add to my nerves on day 1 none of my English masters friends made it through, which just showed how fearsome my competition would be the next day.
The next day we got up and I was still really scared, I really wanted my last senior tournament to go well.

I locked my battle boxes with some of the UK crew and I went to find my friends, I was really anxious as to who I got matched up with, I knew I would only be playing the best players in the world and I had no idea how I would face up to them. Pairings went up and I saw my first opponent:

Round 1: Tan Hz – WW

I recognised his name from the top of the leaderboards, I was really scared to have him in the first round although I knew everyone I played would be the best from around the world.

The team functioned pretty perfectly, Gengar was able to pin him down into really awkward positions and intimidate spam him, both games were really long (about 15 turns each) so his toxic Cresselia was pretty annoying. It was a very good set that I wish hadn’t been lost forever.

The tournament was off to a great start with me and my brother’s teams functioning perfectly, it relieved a lot of my stress and worries.

Round 2: Alfredo Chang Gonzalez – LWW

Not what I wanted to see, one of the best players in the world with my worst matchup; Blaziken Bisharp. This team was pretty much a counter team to mine. Everything seemed against me, but there were some things on my side; I knew Alfredo’s team well as I had played it loads on ladder and it had been posted on the Pokémon website, and that Alfredo was pretty sick so he most likely wouldn’t be playing at as higher level as usual.

Game 1: I got pretty demolished even though I had a good start, setting up a calm mind with Tapu Fini and a substitute with Kartana (on his sucker punch) but after that his Zapdos was pretty free to come in and dish out big attacks, pretty much just sweeping through my team with the combination of Bisharp and Zapdos.

Game 2:  I think I made all the necessary adjustments, leading with Incineroar Tapu Fini and setting up Calm Minds, I pretty much just swept through his team with 3 times calm minded Tapu Fini.

Game 3: Got off to a very bad start, I lead Incineroar Tapu Fini into his Bisharp Zapdos. Turn 1 I went for Fake Out Calm Mind but he makes a great adjustment and switches in Tsareena blocking my Fake Out and having a very free Z Move onto my Tapu Fini with his Zapdos, this was probably the worst start I could’ve gotten but the game wasn’t over yet. This was an amazing position for Gengar, so I bring it in and start Icy Winding, knowing he couldn’t risk letting his Bisharp switch in on a Flare Blitz. I can’t remember much of what else happened other than he missed a High Jump Kick with his Tsareena on my Kartana, which lost him all of his momentum, although I think this would have just triggered my Kartana’s berry it was still very unfortunate for him and changed the course of the game completely. I think I still could’ve won if the High Jump Kick hit, but the miss sealed the game up for me.

Although I felt bad for Alfredo I was certainly going to take it at the tournament I had most been wanting to succeed in for ages.
My brother also won his round, this was a great start for both of us and really lifted my nerves.

Round 3: Nicholas Kan – WLW

Yet again another world class player, a world champion nonetheless, using a scary team.

Game 1: went perfectly to plan, with me positioning well with Gengar and KOing Nidoqueen, a massive threat, early on.

Game 2: Nicholas played really well, calling quite a few of my switches. The main one being him flare blitzing a full health Incineroar that I switched into my Kartana, this lost me pretty much all my momentum.

Game 3: I made the adjustment of bringing Landorus-T (I believe over Incineroar), this adjustment was perfect, I remember getting a Swords Dance off at the right time and being in a really good position after that.

This was also a really good set that I wish had been saved somewhere.
My brother had lost this round but he still had a good chance at top cut. This was a really good start for me, and unless something went horribly wrong I had pretty much secured top cut.

Round 4: Andrew Boudreaux – WW

Although I didn’t recognise his name I knew he had to be a good player if he was 3-0.

I don’t remember much about this set except both games were really close and that it was a really good set. I can’t really remember much so there’s not much to say.

This win secured my spot in top cut, I was ecstatic! This had been my goal since I got my invite and I achieved it!

My brother had also won this round meaning he just needed 1 more win and he had cut. This was an amazing start for both of us and we were really happy.

Round 5: Cedric DeRouchie – LL

The person who had knocked me out of top cut at the NAIC, a really good player. Not going to lie I wanted revenge but as you can see that didn’t happen.

Game 1: I remember playing well in the opening turns, setting up Swords Dances and substitutes on Cedrics defensive plays, but it came down to one turn where I let him get a double KO, forgetting my Light Screen had ran out, really stupid of me.

Game 2: I think I just played badly, letting him dance around me with his Shadow Tag.
I was disappointed in my play but I wasn’t really upset because it was a pretty bad matchup for me and I was still guaranteed top cut.

My brother won this round cementing his place in top cut, although we were both secured top cut we both wanted to win our last round so that we were guaranteed a buy in the top 16 play in matchups.

Round 6: Shota Yamada – WW

I didn’t recognise this player’s name but he was the first Japanese player I had to play and I knew that they had a reputation for being very good players.

I can’t remember much about this set other than I got into good positions with Gengar and Kartana both games and I kinda ripped through his team. I remember getting rid of the massive threat of Araquanid was really important and that I had to be really careful not to let it rip through my team in Trick Room. Gengar’s Shadow Tag allowed me to do this pretty effectively.

I was really happy to win, securing me a place in top 16 as I got a bye in Top 22.

My brother also won his last round meaning he got a bye in juniors Top 17, we were both really excited, this had been my goal for ages and my brother was really excited too.

Top 16: Noboru Matsuura – WLW

We were given about 2 hours in between the end of round 6 and the hack check, I used this time to take a break, relax and gather information about my two potential opponent’s (Ethan Dehart or Noboru Matsuura) teams. I gathered some good information on both. For Noboru, my eventual opponent, I had found out that he was Banded Landorus and Ally Switch Cresselia, this was extremely useful information to have.

I talked about the matchup with Sam Pickering, who had helped me with the team a lot and we both came to the conclusion that Incineroar Gengar lead with Cresselia Landorus-T was the best thing I could do against both teams, as they both had the exact same Pokemon.

Game 1: I think I played very well, positioning myself well and finding the perfect time to Swords Dance with Landorus-T to win the game.

Game 2: I don’t think I played as well but I still put myself into a good position but unfortunately on one of the key turns I missed an Icy Wind and a Rock Slide onto Charizard, letting it get a massive Heat Wave off and losing me the game, if I had of hit either of these attacks I won the game. I was obviously pretty annoyed to have lost in this way but I tried not to get too hung up on it as I knew that had been my downfall in previous tournaments, I put it to the back of my mind and looked to the next game.

Game 3: I continued to bring the same Pokémon as I believed they were my best choice and I knew I only lost game 2 to an extremely low chance. I repeated to do the same thing I had done, but instead of attacking with Charizard as he did in previous games, he set up his tailwind, I remember this being super awkward and I thought I might have lost the game off the bat. After some defensive switching I managed to stall out his Tailwind, Cresselia being extremely useful for me doing this; setting up screens and getting additional speed drops. I remember the ending being super intense, coming down to whether he would get an accuracy drop on my Cresselia, he misses meaning that I could not get accuracy dropped and securing the game for me.

This was a very good set and it’s unfortunate that this set is lost forever too. I was really happy how this game went because all of my changes to the team came in really handy and I really doubt I would have won if I had simply brought Alberto’s original team.

I was so happy, I went over to celebrate with my friends, hugging and high fiving all of them. I had done it, I had achieved my biggest goal and to make things better my brother had also advanced to top 8. It was insane, we had both gotten to top 8 when I hadn’t had high hopes for either of us. I felt like we were unstoppable.

After I had finished celebrating James told me we were facing in Top 8 and I got really nervous, understandably when my opponent had won 3 regionals, an Internationals and had gotten top 4 at the latest international, all this season, with a matchup I didn’t really feel comfortable with.

Top 8: James Evans – WLL

I can’t remember too much about game 1 except I lead Gengar Incineroar with Tapu Fini and Landorus-T in the back. I remember getting into a really good position with Tapu Fini and setting up three Calm Minds in front of Porygon2 (no Thunderbolt) and Araquanid. I can’t remember much after that other than my Tapu Fini lived his Tapu Koko volt switch on like 5 HP and being in a really good place after that. I remember at the end it came down to Tapu Koko (with the Z Move not being available due to Araquanid already using it) vs my Incineroar. The first turn of this 1v1 he thunderbolt paralyses me but I get my Snarl off and his electric terrain runs out, without the paralysis I would have just won right there but instead I had to rely on not getting paralyzed. In the next 2 turns I manage to not get paralyzed twice in a row and KO him with two Flare Blitzes. Whether I would be paralyzed or not was probably the most intense moment I’ve had in Pokémon to date.

I was really glad that I won game 1 against this tough player, but I knew I definitely wasn’t out of the water yet. I can’t remember really at all what happened in game 2 except that James made great adjustments, dropping Porygon2 and Araquanid who had been mainly dead weight game 1. He played well and won.

Game 3 I was heavily debating what to do, I really heavily considered Kartana in team preview but I thought back to how useful Tapu Fini had been game 1, I decided to stick with the same Pokémon. Things got off to a really good start for me, with James Psyshocking an Incineroar switch in and using Gigavolt Havoc on my Landorus-T switch in, James thought I had won the game, although I knew the game wasn’t over yet. I remember getting my Tapu Fini in and getting a calm mind up, the next turn he volt switches with Tapu Koko into my Tapu Fini putting me just shy of my berry meaning I easily got picked off by a Psyshock. It was kind of annoying because if my berry activated then I think I always won but I don’t think I can say I was unlucky or anything. From there on the rest of my team had been chipped quite a bit so everything was easy KOs for Tapu Koko and the partner. Even though I had lost I was still incredibly happy with my run, this had been my biggest goal for ages and I had achieved it. I was pretty disappointed to miss out on an invite and a Pikachu trophy but I was still very satisfied with my run and I was really happy with my prizes, and it was a good result for my first worlds. This was probably the greatest set I’ve ever been in and I really wish it had been on the side stream.

My brother also lost in his top 8 set, although I think he was also very happy with his result, he only started playing late in this format and to already be doing this well is very impressive I think. Although it was kind of a bummer for our great runs to end so suddenly we are both really happy with our results, especially for both our first worlds.

Overall, I’m really happy and proud of my team and I think if I’d have played better I could have won worlds. I think this was the perfect team for me and that I optimized as best as I could. I really wish there was more of this format because I truly believe I found my perfect team.

Shoutouts

Thank you to everyone who helped me with the team! Mainly Sam Pickering, Alberto Lara, Chuppa Cross and Jamie Boyt. Thank you to all my senior and UK friends for making this such a great experience, too many people to shout out but you know who you are.

And finally thank you to @artpharos for the amazing team art!

Thank you for reading!

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