In this series, we'll look at a core that has been seeing a lot of success in the VGC 2019 Sun Series and tell you everything you need to know about it. The first one to look at is Xerneas + Groudon, a core that has very easily been proven to be the most popular Restricted duo in this format. Let's look at why this is.


Why It's Good?

In short, it's consistent. Xerneas plays basically the same way it has always have, find a way to be able to safely set-up with Geomancy for the +2 in Sp. Attack, Sp. Defense, and Speed and then try and win the game from there thanks to the great increase in both damage and defense. Although being a pure Ground type isn't helpful for Groudon, it's still manageable. Ground always seem to easily be one of the offensive types in VGC which helps Groudon thanks to its signature attack in Precipice Blades. Its Drought ability is helpful in setting the Sun to combat Kyogre, the most popular Restricted Pokémon in the format.

Using Xerneas' Dazzling Gleam and Groudon's Precipice Blades together can create a strong pin in that these 2 attacks together will create a situation for your opponent where outside of Wide Guard, most Pokémon will not be able to survive these hits. This can be helpful for you since it creates a strong win condition for you to look forward to either trying to set-up to use or use it to scare your opponent.

Sample Sets

Xerneas @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 92 Def / 92 SpA / 4 SpD / 68 Spe
Modest Nature
– Moonblast
– Dazzling Gleam
– Geomancy
– Protect

This Xerneas was used by Kyle Livinghouse (@AnimusVGC) to finish Top 8 at 2019 Philadelphia Regionals. While in his team report, Kyle only really states how his Xerneas is a bulkier variant to survive much more powerful hits in the format like Groudon's Precipice Blades, Kyogre's Water Spout, and Gyro Ball from Ferrothorn to name a few.

Moonblast and Dazzling Gleam is Xerneas' best offensive attacks. Being able to take advantage of its Fairy Aura ability means it can either use Dazzling Gleam to hit both targets or focus your efforts into trying to pick up one KO using Moonblast. Geomancy + Power Herb is what makes Xerneas threatening. Thanks to Geomancy, you'll get +2 in Sp. Attack, Sp. Defense, and Speed but the issue is the move takes 2 turns to accomplish this. Power Herb will turn this into a 1 turn move which is huge for Xerneas.

Groudon @ Choice Band
Ability: Drought
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 140 SpD / 108 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Precipice Blades
– Stomping Tantrum
– Rock Slide
– Fire Punch

This Groudon set was used by Angel Miranda (@AngelJMiranda) to finish Top 4 at the 2019 Philadelphia Regionals. The idea is to use the Choice Band to increase your overall damage output, which thanks to the insane popularity of Incineroar, being able to still cause major damage is great. In his team report, Angel notes that max attack + Choice Band allows Groudon to OHKO Incineroar even through Intimidate. The speed allows Groudon to outspeed Modest Ludicolo outside of rain. The Sp. Defense is mainly to take various special hits slightly better.

The move set is pretty simple. Precipice Blades and Stomping Tantrum are your main Ground-type moves with Stomping Tantrum being great to bypass Wide Guard. Rock Slide is mainly for Flying types like Ho-Oh that outside of Gravity, your Ground-type moves won't touch at all. Fire Punch is mainly for Grass-types like Tsareena, Ferrothorn, and Kartana for example.

Successful Teams with the Core

PLAYER
REGIONAL
FINISH
TEAM
Frankfurt
2nd
groudon Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadheatran Victory Roadkartana Victory Roadvenusaur Victory Road
Philadelphia
3rd
groudon Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadheatran Victory Roadkartana Victory Roadvenusaur Victory Road
Frankfurt
3rd
groudon Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadheatran Victory Roadkartana Victory Roadvenusaur Victory Road
Philadelphia
4th
groudon Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadludicolo Victory Roadsmeargle Victory Roadkartana Victory Road
Frankfurt
4th
groudon Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadludicolo Victory Roadsmeargle Victory Roadstakataka Victory Road
Philadelphia
5th
groudon Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadludicolo Victory Roadamoonguss Victory Roadbronzong Victory Road
Raphael Paul
Frankfurt
5th
groudon Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadsmeargle Victory Roadludicolo Victory Roadcrobat Victory Road
Memphis
6th
groudon Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadheatran Victory Roadclefairy Victory Roadvenusaur Victory Road
Frankfurt
6th
groudon Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadtapu-lele Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadsmeargle Victory Roadkartana Victory Road
Frankfurt
7th
groudon Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadheatran Victory Roadkartana Victory Roadvenusaur Victory Road
Frankfurt
8th
groudon Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadtapu-fini Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadsmeargle Victory Roadtalonflame Victory Road
Memphis
8th
groudon Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadheatran Victory Roadclefairy Victory Roadvenusaur Victory Road

Supporting the Core

venusaur Victory Road     ludicolo Victory Road     kartana Victory Road
Grass types are very helpful to improve the match up against opposing Kyogre. Venusaur and Ludicolo can use Grass Knot with Ludicolo having the benefit of majorly resisting Kyogre's Water-type moves while abusing its Rain to either deal damage or set the sun with Sunny Day. On the physical side, Kartana threatens with a powerful Leaf Blade.

tapu-fini Victory Road     smeargle Victory Road     crobat Victory Road     bronzong Victory Road     amoonguss Victory Road     clefairy Victory Road
Support Pokémon are crucial to Groudon/Xerneas teams. Tapu Fini's vast array of support moves such as Gravity, Icy Wind, Nature's Madness, and Swagger makes it an amazing Groudon supporter.  Smeargle is great for supporting Xerneas thanks to moves like Fake Out and Follow Me to help Xerneas do its job. Crobat's access to moves like Tailwind, Taunt, and Haze can make it a great support Pokémon in general. Bronzong is a great Groudon support with moves like Trick Room, Skill Swap, and Gravity. Amoonguss and Clefairy are mainly on these teams thanks to their access to redirection in Amoonguss' Rage Powder and Clefairy's Follow Me as well as moves like After You and Helping Hand as well as its Friend Guard ability.

Beating the Core

kyogre.png     tornadus.png
We saw this from Matteo Agostini (@UltraMattVGC) who used this duo to win the 2019 Frankfurt Regionals where he played Xerneas + Groudon in his Top 8, Top 4, and Finals matches. The idea is for Tornadus to use priority Rain Dance to allow for his Choice Scarf Kyogre to KO Groudon and heavily damage Xerneas.

ho-oh.png
If Groudon doesn't have a Rock-type move or Gravity isn't up, Ho-Oh has an amazing matchup versus this duo. The reason is Ho-Oh can at most take 30% from Xerneas' attacks after it uses Geomancy while also being immune to Groudon's Ground-type moves and resisting its Fire-type attacks as well.

Conclusion

The duo of Xerneas + Groudon has proven to one of the most consistent cores in the VGC 2019 Sun Series format due to how simple it is to play and overpower its opponent. If you attend any tournament during this format, expect to play this core as it's something your teams will need to have a strong matchup against, specifically the variant used by Alessio Yuri Boschetto, Angel, Miranda, and Matthias Suchodolski, as well as the newer version used by Ian McLaughlin and Nick Navarre.

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