VGC19 Sun Series: Core Analysis – Groudon Xerneas

What year is it? Just the mention of Xerneas and Groudon together will give some veteran VGC players flashbacks to 2016. It was namely during that year’s series that the potent combo of Xerneas and Primal-Groudon made its debut, being utilized in many team builds through the series. The notorious “Big 6” archetype from that year contained this duo and netted a tremendous amount of Championship Points as well as numerous notable tournament placements. Players had to keep the pair in mind at all times when building teams and a significant portion of the metagame revolved around them.

Fast forward to the 2019 Sun series and the two remain viable, despite not quite living up to the fearful reputation of 2016. Xerneas remains as powerful as ever, the main difference for the core, when compared to 2016, is the ban on Primal-reversions throughout the Sun and Moon series of 2019. Without the Red Orb, Groudon loses access to his Fire-typing as well as Desolate Land. Not only does this mean his coverage is nerfed, but it also causes him to be threatened more by the likes of Kyogre and opposing Xerneas. The former’s Rain-boosted STAB Water moves are no longer negated by Groudon’s weather and still hit for sizeable damage even in Sun. Xerneas’ Fairy-type moves are also no longer resisted, with Groudon becoming solely Ground-type. This led many to question the viability of the Continent Pokémon at the start of the series. Despite these concerns, however, Groudon has managed to secure himself a spot in the metagame and it is likely he’ll remain present during the Moon series.

In this Metagame

Xerneas and Groudon saw the most usage throughout the first half of the Sun-series, seeing overwhelming representation at the Philadelphia and Frankfurt Regionals. In the following Regional Championships Xerneas and Groudon have continued to see usage but aren’t as omnipresent as they were at first. The drop in usage is the result of a metagame shift which has seen more players opting for Lunala or Kyogre as Restricted-partners for Xerneas instead of Groudon.

A few notable placings so far with this core at Regional-level Championships using various team-builds are:

  • Brian Youm – 5th place at Philadelphia Regional
  • Alessio Yuree Boschetto – 2nd place at Frankfurt Regional
  • Aleksandra Cwikiel – 4th place at Frankfurt Regional
  • Willem Geurts – 8th place at Frankfurt Regional
  • Juan Naar – 1st place at Chile Open
  • Ian McLaughlin – 4th place at Portland Regional

Rundown of the Core

This core has manifested itself in two types of teams. One seeks to complement the natural bulk of the duo, sporting means of support which seek to give a player control of the playing-field. The other sports more offensive options, exerting a different kind of control through offensive-pressure. What they both share in common, is their goal to setup Xerneas in a position that lets you win the game, or use Xerneas to damage the opposing side of the field enough to let its partners clean up.

Xerneas is a frighteningly powerful Pokémon despite having one of the most predictable move-sets in the metagame. By sporting a Power Herb this deer can boost its Speed, Special Defense, and Special Attack by two stages with Geomancy. This enables Xerneas to dish out massive damage to even resisting opponents and can win games alone. Even when not boosted Xerneas can deal respectable consistent damage through its STAB Fairy-type moves which are also boosted by its ability: Fairy Aura. A lot of the metagame revolves around either supporting Xerneas or beating opposing Xerneas. This also applies to this core. You want to be seeking ways to position your own Xerneas as to gain the upper hand, or using its partners to create an advantageous situation for her to capitalize on.

Groudon helps Xerneas accomplish this. As Groudon sets up Sun with his ability Drought, it is capable of lowering the damage opposing Kyogre can deal to Xerneas. Groudon also deals with many Steel types which otherwise threaten to KO or wall Xerneas. Ferrothorn, Stakataka, Kartana, Solgaleo, and Duskmane-Necrozma all take Super-effective damage from Groudon for example, which Xerneas appreciates strongly. Another benefit Groudon provides, is his ability to deal with Incineroar. This red cat is on the majority of teams this series and can disrupt Xerneas with a mix of Fake-Out, Snarl, and Roar. Groudon beats Incineroar, hitting hard even after an Intimidate-drop lowering his Attack.

The control-orientated team build focuses on supportive capabilities rather than his offensive potential to setup Xerneas. These teams will often sport large amounts of bulk, at times even sacrificing Special Attack or Speed on Xerneas in exchange for it. The bulk allows Groudon to switch in on potential threats such as Kyogre when necessary, an otherwise risky move without the bulk. Partners are chosen for their ability to deal with the threats Xerneas and Groudon together cannot handle. You’ll often see various forms of Speed Control as well as options to prevent opponents from doing the same in turn. Means of disrupting opposing setup, such as Xerneas or Zygarde, are also common. When using this build you should be exploiting the various tools the partners provide to shut down your opponent’s plans as well as working towards a game-state which allows either Groudon or Xerneas to win. This tends to be accomplished through continuous chip until the key threats are neutralized, all the while attempting to prevent whatever your opponent wishes to do.

The offense-orientated build instead compliments the offensive pressure that Groudon and Xerneas can each exert. Teammates are picked for their ability to either patch the gaps in offensive coverage or provide Xerneas and Groudon more opportunities to position themselves. These teams frequently use less bulk than the control-teams, instead opting for higher damage output. To pilot these builds you should seek to limit the number of plays your opponent can make, punishing them for mistakes and guiding them towards a situation that enables you to clean up and win. Think ahead at all times, consider potential trades you could make, and weigh the benefits of each potential play. Eliminate threats to either Xerneas of Groudon using their partners, allowing them to freely abuse their raw strength and hopefully win you games.

Example Sets


Standard Xerneas
Xerneas @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
Level: 50
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid/Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Moonblast
– Dazzling Gleam/Substitute
– Geomancy
– Protect

Ye olde’ standard Xerneas. Run Timid to always out speed or speed-tie with opposing Xerneas and Yveltal (which can Knock Off your Power Herb), as well as outspeeding Lunala and Solgaleo. Modest however provides you with extra firepower, enabling you to obtain kills where your opponent hadn’t otherwise expected them. Many Pokémon aren’t trained to survive Modest Xerneas, instead being prepared for Timid.


Bulky Xerneas
Xerneas @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 36 Def / 20 SpA / 76 SpD / 132 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Moonblast
– Dazzling Gleam
– Geomancy
– Protect

  • -1 252 Atk Kartana Smart Strike vs. 244 HP / 36 Def Xerneas: 102-122 (43.9 – 52.5%) — 18.4% chance to 2HKO
  • – 252 SpA Tapu Lele Psyshock vs. 244 HP / 36 Def Xerneas in Psychic Terrain: 103-123 (44.3 – 53%) — 25.4% chance to 2HKO
  • – 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 244 HP / 76 SpD Fairy Aura Xerneas: 102-121 (43.9 – 52.1%) — 16.4% chance to 2HKO

Bulky Xerneas is slower than its standard variant and hits less hard, but makes up for this by frequently surviving hits regular Xerneas wouldn’t otherwise be capable of. This particular variant gives you a specific edge against Tapu Lele and Kartana, whilst outspeeding all base 130’s such as Crobat or Tapu Koko after an Icy Wind or Electroweb. The drawback to this set is that other Xerneas are likely to outspeed you, and the same applies to Smeargle. Faster options with less bulk can be considered depending on personal preference.


Figy Berry Groudon
Groudon @ Figy Berry
Ability: Drought
Level: 50
EVs: 204 HP / 28 Atk / 4 Def / 252 SpD / 20 Spe
Careful Nature
– Precipice Blades
– Fire Punch
– Stone Edge/Swords Dance
– Protect

  • – +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 204 HP / 252+ SpD Groudon: 168-198 (83.5 – 98.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • – 252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 204 HP / 252+ SpD Groudon in Sun: 86-104 (42.7 – 51.7%) — 5.9% chance to 2HKO
  • – 4 Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 204 HP / 4 Def Groudon in Sun: 87-103 (43.2 – 51.2%) — 6.3% chance to 2HKO

The ultimate fat Groudon. This set allows your Groudon to hang around as long as possible, switching in on Kyogre and chipping away at your opponent’s side of the field whilst he’s around. Stone Edge is used to hit birds such as Crobat and Ho-Oh, however, can be swapped for Swords Dance if your team sports other means of dealing with these.


Offensive Groudon
Groudon @ Choice Band/Life Orb
Ability: Drought
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Precipice Blades
– Rock Slide/Stone Edge
– Fire Punch
– Stomping Tantrum/Protect

A Choice Band or Life Orb allows Groudon to fully capitalise on his base 150 Attack, and shred through unprepared opposing teams. Due to there being a notable lack of Ground-type immunities or resists Groudon can quite freely unleash Precipice Blades to hit hard (85% of the time that is). Rock Slide hits Flying-types, most importantly Ho-Oh. This troublesome bird, however, can survive a Rock Slide from -1 Choice Band Groudon with relative ease, and as such Stone Edge can be considered as another coverage option. Fire Punch rounds off his coverage with a means of hitting Grass-types such as Amoonguss.

Partners

Xerneas and Groudon are each impressively powerful Pokémon, but they still require aid from partners to achieve their full potential. The following Pokémon have all seen usage on teams utilizing this core, and their function and purpose shall be explained here.

Incineroar

Pinch-Berry Incineroar

Incineroar @ Aguav Berry
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 212 HP / 252 SpD / 44 Spe
Careful Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Knock Off
– Roar
– Fake Out

  • -+2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 212 HP / 252+ SpD Incineroar: 168-198 (85.7 – 101%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
Assault Vest Incineroar

Incineroar @ Assault Vest
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 164 Def / 44 SpD / 44 Spe
Careful Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Snarl
– U-turn
– Fake Out

  • -252+ Atk Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 252 HP / 164 Def Incineroar: 170-204 (84.5 – 101.4%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
  • -252+ SpA Mystic Water Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 44+ SpD Assault Vest Incineroar in Sun: 86-104 (42.5 – 51.4%) — 5.9% chance to 2HKO

Incineroar has been a staple addition to a majority of teams throughout the Sun-series and makes an exceptionally good partner for this core. Fake Out support and Intimidate allows Xerneas and Groudon to position themselves with more ease as well as providing ample opportunities to setup Geomancy with Xerneas. STAB Fire-coverage with Flare Blitz also allows Incineroar to threaten many of the Steel-types which Xerneas would rather avoid. The final two moves on Incineroar are much more variable. Knock Off is often taken as a means of removing items from opposing Pokémon, whilst hitting the likes of Lunala and Bronzong. Another option can be Snarl, lowering the damage output of the many Special attackers within the format such as Xerneas, Kyogre, and Tapu Lele. The final move is usually a pick between Roar or U-Turn. Roar allows Incineroar to prevent Trick Room setters from doing their job, as well as providing you an option to phase out Geomancy-boosted Xerneas. U-Turn, on the other hand, lets Incineroar pivot about, bringing in partners under more advantageous positions without taking chip-damage whilst coming in. U-Turn also allows you to react to any potential switches, with it taking place after all switches have occurred.

Generally, Incineroar runs as much Special Defense as possible as to survive Geomancy-boosted Moonblasts from Timid Xerneas. Two items have seen the most usage as of late, Assault Vest or Pinch Berries. The former allows Incineroar to sponge up hits with more ease, while the latter provides him with occasional healing and thus more longevity in certain scenarios.

Venusaur

Standard Venusaur

Venusaur @ Life Orb/Focus Sash
Ability: Chlorophyll
Level: 50
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest/Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Grass Knot
– Sludge Bomb
– Sleep Powder/Hidden Power [Fire] – Protect

Venusaur is a threat to be reckoned with that places virtually ever team under pressure through its incredibly fast Sleep Powder. Its ability Chlorophyll doubles its Speed in Sun, allowing it to outspeed the majority of the metagame when speed-control isn’t in play. This makes it an excellent partner on the offense-build versions of the Xerneas and Groudon core. Frequently these more offensively inclined teams lack consistent means of speed control, and Venusaur provides these teams with a means of not losing all too much momentum when opponents get Tailwind up. Its coverage allows it to hit both Groudon and Kyogre hard with Grass Knot, and Sludge Bomb extends this coverage to the various Fairy-types in the metagame such as the Tapus and Xerneas. Hidden Power [Fire] is sometimes chosen over Sleep Powder to provide additional coverage against Kartana which Venusaur otherwise struggles to damage, many Xerneas Groudon teams have a weakness to Kartana so it is a viable option.

The most common items found on Venusaur are Life Orb and Focus Sash. Life Orb allows Venusaur to pick up the 1HKO on Groudon as well as less bulky Kyogre, whereas the Focus Sash provides Venusaur with increased longevity.

Heatran

Standard Heatran

Standard Heatran
Heatran @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Flash Fire
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Heat Wave
– Earth Power
– Roar
– Protect/Toxic

Heatran provides you with an advantage in all Xerneas mirror matchups which don’t contain Kyogre. Even a Geomancy boosted Xerneas struggles to damage Heatran due to its 4x resistance to Fairy-type attacks. In return, Heatran can use Roar to phase out Xerneas or spam Sun-boosted Heat Waves to damage her partners. Many teams lack means of consistently damaging Heatran, allowing it to sit around and continuously whittle away at the opponent without taking much in return. Earth Power provides Heatran with a means of hitting Incineroar as well as Stakataka. Finally, Toxic can be considered over Protect on teams that are weak to Ho-Oh. This allows Heatran to stall out the bird comfortably, at the cost of missing Protect. Safety Goggles is the recommended item for Heatran, preventing redirection by Amoonguss as well as preventing Sleep from Spore or Sleep Powder.

Tapu Fini and Tapu Koko

The Island Guardians of Alola have once more secured themselves a position in the VGC metagame. On teams using this core, Tapu Fini and Tapu Koko have proven to be of the most use. Both Tapu Fini and Koko are able to switch the Terrain, and each have a Terrain that prevents Sleep from working on grounded Pokémon. This is very useful against the likes of Smeargle, Venusaur, and Amoonguss which all have means of inducing Sleep which could otherwise disrupt your play.

Tapu Fini provides a team with a sort of Swiss-Army knife array of tools that can be adapted to your needs. Icy Wind provides a team with a form of speed control. Haze can be used to remove opposing boosts as well as removing stat-drops from your side of the field. These two moves see the most usage, the rest vary much more. Swagger can be used in Misty Terrain (which prevents its Confusion) to raise an ally’s Attack stat by 2 stages, something that Groudon can take advantage of. Heal Pulse can be used to heal your partners. Nature’s Madness deals consistent damage. Gravity increases the accuracy of Groudon’s Precipice Blades and allows them to hit Flying-types. Light Screen, Mist and Moonblast (to help damage opposing Yveltal while enjoying the boosts from Xerneas’ Fairy Aura) have also all seen usage and can be considered.

Tapu Koko is a more offensive option that can be chosen to improve a team’s matchup against Flying-types as well as Kyogre. Usually, Koko will run an Assault Vest to patch its mediocre bulk or a Choice Specs to increase its otherwise mediocre damage output.

 

Ludicolo

Assault Vest Ludicolo

Ludicolo @ Assault Vest
Ability: Swift Swim
Level: 50
EVs: 148 HP / 4 Def / 132 SpA / 4 SpD / 220 Spe
Modest Nature
– Scald
– Grass Knot
– Ice Beam
– Fake Out

  • -+2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 148 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Ludicolo: 144-171 (82.7 – 98.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • – 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psyshock vs. 148 HP / 4 Def Ludicolo in Psychic Terrain: 150-177 (86.2 – 101.7%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
Life Orb Ludicolo

Ludicolo @ Life Orb
Ability: Swift Swim
Level: 50
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
– Scald
– Grass Knot
– Ice Beam
– Fake Out

Groudon does not appreciate Kyogre when the Rain is up, Ludicolo solves this issue. If your team for whichever reason is weak to opposing Kyogre, Ludicolo can serve as a sort of quick-fix for your team. Gaining doubled Speed in the Rain through Swift Swim and sporting Fake Out as well as impressive attack coverage Ludicolo can pressure many Kyogre team variants. Assault Vest can be used to provide additional bulk, whilst a Life Orb allows Ludicolo to dish out more damage.

Kartana

Riley's Assault Vest Kartana

Kartana @ Assault Vest
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 116 Atk / 4 Def / 196 SpD / 188 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Leaf Blade
– Smart Strike
– Knock Off
– Sacred Sword
Standard Focus Sash Kartana

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

Kartana provides teams with a decent balance of bulk and offensive pressure which aids more offensively inclined team variants. Thanks to its amazing coverage there are few situations where it doesn’t have a target it can hit, dealing big damage. Kartana works as a sort of assassin, coming onto the field when you need a specific threat to either Groudon or Xerneas removed. Once the threat is removed the combined pressure of the restricted Pokémon with Kartana can be enough to win games. This is particularly the case when its Beast Boost fires after a KO and can make Kartana very difficult to handle for an opposing team. In the current metagame, there is also a notable lack of Pokémon which can damage Kartana without in turn being threatened with a KO if they have taken prior damage. The most common items on Kartana are Assault Vest and Focus Sash. The Assault Vest makes up for Kartana’s abysmal Special Defence stat, whilst the Focus Sash provides direct extra longevity.

Clefairy/Smeargle/Amoonguss

  

Standard Clefairy

Clefairy @ Eviolite
Ability: Friend Guard
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 12 Def / 252 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Follow Me
– Encore/Helping Hand
– Icy Wind
– Protect
Standard Smeargle

Smeargle @ Focus Sash
Ability: Moody
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Follow Me
– Spore/Lovely Kiss
– Wide Guard/Spiky Shield
– Fake Out
Standard Amoonguss

Amoonguss @ Wiki Berry/Red Card/Payapa Berry/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
– Protect/Grass Knot/Clear Smog

Clefairy, Smeargle, and Amoonguss are each highly disruptive support Pokémon that each carry various tricks up their sleeves to manipulate the playing field. All three have access to a form of redirection, taking damage away from their partners allowing you to setup or position yourself easier.

Clefairy functions best on offensive-build variants, providing your Pokémon with additional bulk which can prove important due to the low amount of defensive investment commonly found on these offensive teams. Clefairy also gets access to Helping Hand, Icy Wind, and Encore which can be used throughout your games to manipulate the field.

Smeargle next to Xerneas is a situation that will give veteran VGC players PTSD of VGC 2016 (or extreme nostalgia). Smeargle has access to every move accessible in the game beyond Dark Void, which nerfed its usage when compared to 2016. This allows the small painter dog to serve whichever role your team needs. It can put opponents to Sleep, it can block moves with Wide Guard and Follow Me, and it can provide Fake Out pressure. Moody adds an additional layer of mischief with Smeargle’s stats being randomly boosted as the game progresses. This can prove dangerous if either his Speed or Evasiveness are raised, and can be highly frustrating to any opponent. This can prove dangerous if either his Speed or Evasiveness are raised, and can be highly frustrating to any opponent.

Amoonguss much like Smeargle can redirect moves and put things to Sleep, however sports significantly more bulk with the trade-off being a lack of Fake-Out. Amoonguss is capable of being a menace under Trick Room, underspeeding many of the most common adversaries in the metagame. This allows it to function as a form of anti-TR mode. Grass Knot allows it to hit Groudon and Kyogre for respectable damage, whilst Clear Smog hits the Tapus and can remove Geomancy boosts from Xerneas. Some players opt to run both over Protect.

Crobat/Talonflame/Bronzong

Riley's Crobat

Crobat @ Safety Goggles/Lum Berry
Ability: Inner Focus
Level: 50
EVs: 100 HP / 244 SpD / 164 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Super Fang
– Taunt
– Tailwind
– Haze
Willem's Talonflame

Talonflame @ Life Orb/Focus Sash
Ability: Gale Wings
Level: 50
EVs: 84 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 164 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Brave Bird
– Tailwind
– Taunt
– Flare Blitz/Quick Guard/Whirlwind
Standard Bronzong

Bronzong @ Safety Goggles/Mental Herb
Ability: Levitate/Heatproof
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 SpD
Sassy Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Gyro Ball
– Trick Room
– Gravity
– Hypnosis

Crobat, Talonflame, and Bronzong are each potential partners that provide strong forms of speed control whilst also remaining effective against opposing Xerneas teams. Crobat and Talonflame each have access to Tailwind, whilst Bronzong gets Trick Room.

Crobat saw extensive usage as an answer to Xerneas in VGC 2016, and that hasn’t since changed. Crobat is immune to Fake Out Flinches and outspeeds Xerneas, allowing it to setup Tailwind and use Haze to remove any Geomancy boosts the following turn. Taunt is to prevent setup pre-emptively and prevent opposing Tailwind or Trick Room from going up. Super Fang is a means of dealing consistent damage and bringing opponents’ HP within a range where your partners can pick up the KO. Most Crobats run either Safety Goggles or a Lum Berry. The former prevents all forms of Spore and Sleep Powder, as well as redirection by Rage Powder. Some Smeargle (often seen next to Xerneas) run Lovely Kiss to induce sleep, which is prevented by a Lum Berry with the trade-off being single-use.

Talonflame also saw a lot of usage throughout VGC 2016 however dropped in popularity this series due to a nerf on its ability Gale Wings. Now his Flying-type moves only get priority when he is at full-HP. Despite this, Talonflame can find a niche within the metagame. Priority Tailwind can always be appreciated, whilst access to STAB Brave Bird and Flare Blitz and having a Ground-type immunity make it unique. Talonflame can pester an opponent until it inevitably drops due to its low bulk or its own recoil, upon which you can bring in a partner in your now hopefully advantageous position. Talonflame also threatens Solgaleo and Venusaur more so than Crobat which can otherwise trouble Xerneas and Groudon. Most Talonflame either run a Focus Sash to setup Tailwind and survive at least a singular hit, however, Life Orb can also be used to compensate for an otherwise lackluster Attack stat.

Bronzong is different from the other two as he is not a bird and therefore lacks access to Tailwind, instead, providing speed control through Trick Room. Although this is of less use for Xerneas, Bronzong pairs very well with Groudon. Bronzong learns Gravity as well as Hypnosis which allows him to boost the accuracy of Groudon’s Precipice Blades as well as of Hypnosis, creating a potent combination when setup correctly. Slow STAB Gyro Ball also makes Bronzong a decent check to Xerneas under Trick Room. Most Bronzong will either run Safety Goggles to prevent Spore and Rage Powder redirection, however Mental Herb to prevent taunting has also seen usage recently.

Matchups

Strengths
+ – Generally Xerneas and Groudon have a pretty good matchup against these Trick Room teams if you play the weather war correctly. Most of these team’s damage output comes from Kyogre, so if you are capable of mitigating that or preventing Trick Room from going up you can take control of the game to hopefully win.

+ – In theory, this restricted duo struggles to deal with Groudon and Xerneas, however, they attempt to compensate by running Pokémon such as Kartana or Venusaur. If you can play around and eliminate their counters you can win this matchup with relative ease.

+ – Most of the time these teams will also run Tornadus and Incineroar along with a number of Grass-types such as Kartana, Tsareena, or Amoonguss. The combination of Prankster Tornadus (particularly with Rain Dance) and Kyogre seems scary at first, but can be played around with practice. Your priority is killing the genie or setting up Geomancy whilst taking as little damage as possible with Xerneas. Fake Out pressure from Incineroar helps a lot here, and you need to make sure your team has means of dealing with Xerneas in the back.
Weaknesses

+ – Funnily enough, the mirror matchup is one of the most tedious for this core, particularly if the opposing side is running Kartana or Venusaur. These matches are a test of skill, but also require some luck correctly calling what your opponent is going to do. The first to lose their checks are going to lose, and preserving them is as such important.

– This bird can be tricky to deal with as it has a great matchup against both your restricted slots. Having means of dealing with it is a must unless you wish to lose this matchup by default the majority of the time. Rock-type moves are sparse but work, other options such as Gravity or Electric-types may suit your team better.

Example Teams

  • Brian Youm – 5th place at Philadelphia Regional: Paste
  • Alessio Yuree Boschetto – 2nd place at Frankfurt Regional
  • Aleksandra Cwikiel – 4th place at Frankfurt Regional
  • Willem Geurts – 8th place at Frankfurt Regional: Paste | Article
  • Juan Naar – 1st place at Chile Open
  • Ian McLaughlin – 4th place at Portland Regional

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