Sunday, November 29, 2015

Guide to VGC Perish Trap Teams





Hey everybody. I decided to this analysis on a team strategy that can be annoying to play, but is still good none the less. That's right, i'll be talking about Perish Trap. For those of you who don't know, or just want a simple refresher on this, then this is something for you to read. Hope you enjoy it and let's dive on in to this guide.

What is Perish Trap?
  • Uses the move Perish Song to make sure any Pokemon that here's the song will faint in 3 turns
  • Adds the ability Shadow Tag to make sure they can't escape 
  • Combines to become the Perish Trap we all know & sometimes love
Why use a Perish Trap Team?
  • Gives certain Pokemon a new way to shine or gives them any relevancy in the metagame
  • A fun way to use certain Pokemon 
  • Great for climbing the low ladder on Pokémon Showdown or the Rated Doubles Ladder in-game
How to know it's a Perish Trap Team?
  • Perish Song users - Sets the stage for the Shadow Tag user to do it's thing
  • Shadow Tag users - Locks the target in for the REAL fun
  • Support - Helps the other 2 do their thing 
In my other 4 team strategy guides, this would be the point where I show some successful teams that have used the strategy to do well in the past & present. Instead, I wanna show off some main cores you can use to make sure it works.

Greninja +  Mega Gengar
The idea of this lead is to have Greninja go for a fast Mat Block turn 1 while Gengar Mega Evolves turn 1 as well and sets up the Perish Song. Becuase of Greninja's base 123 speed stat, it can reliably do this. After that, Greninja's main job is done and can be used however you need it to.

Raichu + Mega Gengar
The idea of this lead is to have Raichu act in 1 or 2 ways, As the fastest Fake Out user in the game, your opponent may try to Protect turn 1. If you predict this, you can set up the Perish Song turn 1 by going for Fake Out onto their Taunt user and the next turn, use Encore to lock them into Protect and have Gengar use Disable to force them to Struggle as long as their alive. Raichu also gets Volt Switch so you can switch Gengar out into another Pokemon while using Volt Switch with Raichu to bring Gengar back in while not breaking Shadow Tag's effect.

Scrafty + Mega Gengar
This is a pretty simple lead. The idea here is to use Fake Out with Scrafty onto the biggest threat and set up Perish Song with Gengar. While it is pretty straightforward, it is the most effective way to do so as Scrafty can support Gengar with Intimidate and Knock Off to make KO'ing Gengar more difficult so you can win the battle easier. 

Kangaskhan & Mega Gengar
This is my favorite Perish Trap lead as when you lead these to, your opponent will think that it's a Mega Kangaskhan with support Gengar. However, there is one, big surprise. It's a support Kangaskhan and Mega Gengar. The idea is to have Kangaskhan go for the turn 1 Fake Out so Gengar can sing it's Perish Song. The Kangaskhan will also be seen with Disable to help if they decide to Protect to block the incoming Fake Out. The reason I like it so much is the surprise factor. 

Now, let's go into some examples of teams that have done well in the past. 

Wolfe Glick's 2015 Perish Trap Team
Team:
Accomplishments: 1st at 2015 Massachusetts Regionals
Perish Song Users: Politoed & Mega Gengar
Shadow Tag Users: Mega Gengar & Gothitelle
Everyone Else; Amoonguss, Arcanine, & Scrafty

Jamie Kean's 2015 Perish Trap Team
Team:
Accomplishments: Top 32 at 2015 UK and German Nationals
Perish Song Users: Mega Gengar
Shadow Tag Users:  Mega Gengar
Everyone Else; Whimiscott, Thundurus, Landorus, Bisharp, & Heatran

A Japanese Player's 2014 Perish Trap Team
Team:
Accomplishments: 15th at 2014 Pokémon Arena Off: A GrassRoots Tournament in Toyko
Perish Song Users: Politoed & Mega Gengar
Shadow Tag Users:  Mega Gengar & Gothitelle
Everyone Else; Kingdra, Amoonguss, & Scrafty

Pascal Kiefer's 2016 Perish Trap Team
Team:
Accomplishments: 1st at 2016 Wurzburg Regionals
Perish Song Users: Mega Gengar & Politoed
Shadow Tag Users: Mega Gengar
Everyone Else: Mega Swampert, Thundurus-Therian, Scrafty, & Amoonguss

Jéremy Rosier's 2016 Perish Trap Team
Team:
Accomplishments: 2nd 2016 Namen Regionals
Perish Song Users: Mega Gengar & Politoed
Shadow Tag Users: Mega Gengar & Gothitelle
Everyone Else: Scrafty, Rotom-Heat, & Liepard

Common Pokemon you'll see on a Perish Trap Team
  • Shadow Tag Users; Mega Gengar, Gothitelle, & Wobbuffet
  • Perish Song Users: Lapras, Politoed, Misdreavus, Gengar, Azumarill, Dewgong
  • Support Pokemon: Anything that has access to Fake Out, Encore/Disable, or any form of redirection 
  • Eject Button - Forces the holder to switch out when hit by a damaging move
How to Beat Perish Trap
  • Taunt - Stops the Perish Song user from using the move
  • High-Powered Moves - KO'ing your opponents Pokemon before they start doing their thing
  • Ghost types/ other Shadow Tag users - They can switch out and end the effect of Perish Song onto them
I hope you enjoyed this. If you have any suggestions, either let me know on NuggetBridge under my username SamuelTemple2, or on Twitter where you can follow me as well @KurokyuneVGC. I'll see you next time everyone. Peace!



Friday, November 27, 2015

VGC Latios Analysis




 
Hey everyone. I decided to do this because I feel like Latios is very underated in this format. While it does have a 6 weaknesses, Pokémon like Tyranitar have 7 but still receives a ton of play. It has good stats, an amazing design, and a Mega Evolution, but I won't go to in depth as a normal Laitos with a Life Orb hits harder than its Mega, but can still be cool to run if you want to. I'll cover Latias at a later date, but for now, welcome to my Latios analysis. Let's start with the base stats.

VGC Trivia: In the 5th Generation, Latios was a dominant threat. This was because it held the Dragon Gem and fired off Draco Meteors taking out entire teams.

Stats
80 HP (non-Mega to Mega) An average HP stat, Latios won't be taking to many hits, but that's ok as you'll see later, Latios can pack a major punch.
90-130 Attack (non-Mega to Mega) While 90 Attack on normal Latios is very bad compared to its Special Attack, 130 on Mega Latios means it can be a dangerous Pokemon. With access to Dragon Dance, just partner it with a Friend Guard user like Clefairy and it can be a dangerous threat. The only problem is the moves you'll use.
80-100 Defense (non-Mega to Mega) I'll say this. I wish it had more in this stat. With threats like Mega Kangaskhan firing off high powered physical attacks, you'll be pretty easy to take out.
130-160 Sp. Attack (non-Mega to Mega) Amazing. Expect Latios to put dents into threats that can't be taken out. And after Mega Evolving, it'll be making craters into their entire team.
110-120 Sp. Defense (non-Mega to Mega) While it's not the highest, it's still usable. A very strong number that'll be taking hits in this Special Attacking metagame we're currently in. After Mega, it gets slightly higher so it can take those hits slightly better.
110 Speed - Nice. You'll be outspeeding Kangaskhan, Charizard, and Gardevoir, but at worst, be locked in a speed-tie with normal Gengar and Mega Metagross.

As you can see, Latios has some stats that lean more towards the Special side. Now let's see what moves you can run on Latios that are your best bet at achieving greatness.

VIABLE MOVES TO RUN ON LATIOS
  1. Draco Meteor
  2. Psyshock
  3. Ice Beam
  4. Hidden Power [Ground]
  5. Tailwind
  6. Thunderbolt
  7. Protect
  8. Heal Pulse
  9. Psychic
  10. Dragon Pulse
  11. Dragon Dance (Mega)
  12. Dragon Claw (Mega)
  13. Zen Headbutt (Mega)
As you can see, Latios has a vast movepool to make use of. Strong stats, a great movepool, and some supportive options. Now, let's see some competitive sets that players have made history.

Scott Glaza's Latios

Latios @ Dragon Gem
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 52 HP / 4 Def / 248 SpA / 4 SpD / 200 Spe
Timid Nature
- Psyshock
- Draco Meteor
- Hidden Power [Fire]
- Protect

This is the Latios that Scott used to get 10th Place at 2012 Worlds. Let's see what he had to say about his dragon "
I’m still kind of surprised I wound up using Latios because for most of the year I did not think very highly of it. While its combination of power and Speed is very attractive, its defensive stats are somewhat sketchy compared to some of its competitors, and the weaknesses to Dark and Ghost hurt a lot early in the season when Sucker Punch Hitmontop was still popular (I actually got killed by one of these at Worlds — apparently Germany missed the boat on dropping Sucker Punch) and Scarf Chandelure was seeing more use as a VGC 2011 holdover. As the year went on I started warming up to Latios mostly because of how much the metagame centralized around Dragons: when you have two Pokémon that you know are going to kill each other in a single shot if a defensive item isn’t present, having the fastest Pokémon in that group is pretty advantagous, and Latios and Latias tie for fastest Dragon. This spot on the team was held originally by Hydreigon, and while I think Hydreigon is in general a better Pokémon than Latios due to its slightly more useful bulk and typing, I liked how Latios complimented this team a lot more. Having something that tended to be the fastest Pokémon on the field without the need for weather or Trick Room was also helpful to avoid ending up in situations some Trick Room teams fall into where if they can’t control the field effects they’re getting threatened and not threatening anything back because of the gap in speed.
The moveset and EV spread are not particularly creative. I was just fast enough to be faster than max speed Garchomp (I couldn’t tie other Latios because of HP Fire, and would rather play around not being speed tied than gamble on a 50/50 where one of us are going to die, anyway), maxed Special Attack, and used the leftover EVs to make myself slightly less flimsy. Psyshock is there to deal with fighting Pokémon, Draco Meteor is the Pokémon version of the Staples easy button, and HP Fire gave me extra help against Ferrothorn and Scizor, which were pretty annoying to deal with in general. Dragon Gem Draco Meteor isn’t the kill button it was early in the season due to the community wising up and EVing most Pokémon to survive it, but it does create a lot of pressure and guarantees kills on basically anything that has been weakened at all. It also went a long way toward improving my match-up with Calm Thundurus. If Thundurus is EVed correctly I can’t kill it one shot, but I apply a ton of pressure and can pick up the kill with Fake Out, Feint, or Bullet Punch+ Draco Meteor if my opponent opens themselves up to it. One thing I liked about leading Latios into Thundurus was also that if they didn’t have Taunt to stop Cresselia’s Trick Room (and sometimes even if they did) they would misread my intention because I had something fast out and paralyze Latios while I Trick Roomed, essentially giving me an extra Trick Room sweeper and putting me in a much better position for the first turn of Trick Room than I’d have been in if they’d done literally anything else." - Scott Glaza (Scott)

Randy Kwa's Latios

Latios (M) @ Dragon Gem ***Cybuster
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 4 HP / 248 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk)
-  Draco Meteor
- Psyshock
- Helping Hand
- Protect

This is the Latios that Randy Kwa used to in the VGCS Winter Battle and in the Nugget Bridge Major in the 2012 Season. Let's see what  Randy had to say about this "At least until I replaced it with a fairly standard Latios for the last bit of the Major and the VGCS Winter Battle. Any sort of individuality for a Latios moveset will come from what you choose for Latios’ 4th moveslot after Draco Meteor, Psychic or Psyshock, and Protect. Since I don’t have an IV spread for a usable Hidden Power, I decided to go with Helping Hand. I didn’t use Helping Hand too much, but the primary application for it was to OHKO Cresselia with a Helping Hand boosted Bug Bite. Latios, in combination with Staraptor, helped me out a lot against Wolfey in the Nugget Bridge Major finals. Between those two Pokemon, I was able to play around being trapped thanks to the immediate pressure they put on just about any Pokemon. Although Gem Draco Meteor is a powerful move, I often found the Sp Atk Drop and 90% accuracy to be a bit of a hassle when dealing with lower ranked players in the tourney, as it could leave me open for some hax. Fortunately for me, Draco Meteor (almost) always hit when it counted." - Randy Kwa (R Inaminate)

Other successful Latios that have seen their own happiness in the metagame in either past or present

Jeudy Azzerali's 2013 Philadelphia Regionals - Link
Simon Yip's 2013 Top 4 Winter Regionals - Link

I hope you enjoyed this. If you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know either on Twitter using my handle @KurokyuneVGC, in the comments below, or on NuggetBridge under my username SamuelTemple2. Have an amazing day and i'll see you next time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

VGC Metagame Changes: Episode 1 - The New and Popular Crowd



Welcome to a new series. The idea of this series is to examine the VGC metagame, point out the changes in the metagame, and show them to you. Today, we'll be talking about the new Pokemon that have been gaining popularity, why they have, and some popular sets that players have been using, as well as a link if available. Without further ado, let's dive into this by talking about a team strategy that has been getting popular. 

Smeargle & Tauros
   
Smeargle & Tauros is a strategy that has been gaining massive popularity throughout the world. Created by Shinon64, a Japanese VGC player, the idea of this team is to use Storm Throw Smeargle to activate Tauros' Anger Point ability to get it to +6 Attack. After that, you use Tauros' good attack stat and decent speed to dish out high powered attacks and win the battle. The Tauros also carries the Kee Berry to increase its Defense, making it a very powerful threat. This has been used by Zach Drogekamp (Braverius) to win 2 Premier Challenges and get 3rd Place at one more all this month. What makes it so strong is that since Tauros has a 110 speed stat, your firing off fast Rock Slides, making it just as annoying as Landorus-Therian, with more power, but requiring set up to pull off. I'll put links to Shinon64 and Zach's team reports on how they decided to use them and how they made them effective.
Shinon64's Report - Link
Zach's Report - Link

Porygon2
Porygon2 is a Pokemon that has picked up popularity throughout the US Fall Regionals and for very good reasons. It has access to Ice Beam to KO Lando-T and do major damage to Thundurus. It also has Hidden Power [Ground] to hit Aegislash. Part of its power comes from its ability Analytic, which if you don't know what it does, it gives you a 1.3 times power boost if you attack after your ally. It also is commonly found using Toxic to combat the rising popularity of Calm Mind Cresselia since it'll be put on major timer on how it should properly manage it turns left. It also has a very reliable way to regain lost HP with Recover. Porygon2 has had some good luck in the US with Sam Schweitzer (Sam) and Mario Serrano (Mario C) getting Top 16 at Ft. Wayne with it and Andrew Burley (Andykins) getting 2nd at Ft. Wayne with it, just to name a few accomplishents. I'll link Sam Schweitzer's NuggetBridge Team Report below to show you how effective it was for him.
Sam Schweitzer's Team Report - Link

C.H.A.L.K.

This is the famous CHALK team that has dominated the 2016 metagame doing extremely well at the 2015 World Championships and winning the Masters Division under the guidance of Shoma Honami (ShadeVIERA). Since then, it has done extremely well at Regionals with Kamaal Harris (Kamaal) getting Top 8 at Ft. Wayne with a variant of it. Gavin Michaels (kingofmars) also got Top 4 at Arizona with a variant of it. The idea of this team is to use a safe team with strong, offensive options. The common final Pokemon is generally either Thundurus for support, Azumarill as it works well with CHALK. I'll link a team report of how this strategy has done so well.
A 3 person Ft. Wayne Team Report - Link

Azumarill & Amoonguss
Azumarill & Amoonguss is the final major change that has happened in the VGC metagame. as a sub-strategy of CHALK, it has it strengths. The idea is to use set-up Belly Drum to get Azumarill to +6 Attack. Amoonguss comes in handy since you can use Rage Powder to set it up safer. After your at +6 Attack, you use priority Aqua Jet to get KO's on a majority of the metagame since very few Pokemon can take the attacks. You'll mostly find this strategy on CHALK as Azumarill will be the sixth member to that team. In order to use it, you'll need to EV Azumarill in HP so that when it uses Belly Drum, it'll be brought down to an even amount of HP as it'll activate the Sitrus Berry to get it up to 75% health. If your brought down to an odd amount of HP, your Sitrus Berry won't activate so this is VERY IMPORTANT to keep in mind.

Some minor things in the metagame that changed.

  1. Mega Charizard Y and Sylveon are using Hidden Power [Ground] for Heatran
  2. Landorus-Therian can be holding the Assault Vest, Life Orb, or the Choice Band 
  3. Thundurus are using Protect and Swagger over Hidden Power [Ice]
  4. Cresselia are using Calm Mind and holding the Kee Berry
  5. Machamp is a lot more common after Mark McQuillian won Worlds in the Senior Divsion with it

I hoped you enjoyed this. Episode 2 will come out when new things changes come out and enough happen to warrant the 2nd Episode. It's hard to say when that will happen, See you next time. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TempleVGC and check out my other articles on the blog as they are all really awesome.