Quakes From the Swamp – Nashville Open Top Cut Report

, , No Comments

Hey guys. I’m sure your plebeian minds have all been gawking at my success recently, so I thought I would grace you all by writing a report. All joking aside, I’m really glad to have the opportunity to share this with people. For those of you unfamiliar with me, my name is Andy Anderson, also known as @TwiddleDee96 on Twitter. 

I’ve played VGC since 2014, and while only sporadically attending events, I never had much success. In the online scene, I would occasionally play in large tournaments, and the 2015 Nugget Bridge Major with over 1300 participants was my first “top cut.” However, I’ve always been hungry to make it to the second stage at a real event. I usually would do really well in the beginning and then kind of fizzle out near the end of Swiss. This report will be about the team that I used to top cut the Nashville Open at the 2018 World Championships!

Teambuilding Process

A few weeks before the event, my friend Ed Glover (@_LusaMin) and I spent days building dozens of teams, but nothing really stuck. We went from a Sand + Tapu Lele team that I managed to get 6th on Showdown with, to Swampert teams, to non-Tailwind Drifblim as a manual rain setter, Charizard teams, etc. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that within one week of the event, Ed and I built close to 25 teams, all wildly different from one another. 

I was feeling really lost about what to bring, but I felt like Rain was something I could pilot well. I contacted my friend Leimin because I knew he had been testing hard Rain a lot, and I fell in love with the team he sent me pretty quickly. I made some changes to the original team that he sent me, which is the version that will be in this report.

The Team

Ludicolo @ Waterium Z  
Ability: Swift Swim  
Level: 50  
Shiny: Yes  
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 20 SpD / 228 Spe  
Modest Nature  
– Hydro Pump  
– Energy Ball  
– Ice Beam
– Fake Out  

I really enjoyed rain, and knew that I wanted to use Swampert, but through testing, I learned that using Ludicolo as the sole Swift Swim user left the team high and dry in some situations while testing. I really enjoyed Ludicolo, and led it with Politoed far more than Swampert. The spread just lived Kartana Leaf Blade, speed creeps opposing Ludicolo, and the rest is just dumped.

Politoed @ Damp Rock  
Ability: Drizzle  
Level: 50  
Shiny: Yes  
EVs: 244 HP / 124 Def / 4 SpA / 108 SpD / 28 Spe  
Calm Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
– Scald  
– Helping Hand  
– Encore  
– Protect

Politoed is one of my favorite Pokemon; it’s incredibly bulky and offers a wide variety of tech moves. I led Politoed + Ludicolo in the majority of my games because Helping Hand + Z-Move was just too strong to ignore on turn one. The spread isn’t anything special, the most important calc was that Landorus Earthquake is a 3HKO. I’ll admit, I did almost no real calcs before the tournament and just hit big benchmarks. If I could go back, I would definitely drop Encore for Icy Wind. There were a few moments in the tournament where Icy Wind would have won me games outright, whereas with Encore it was hard locking things into Protect because Politoed was way too slow.

Salamence-Mega @ Salamencite  
Ability: Intimidate  
Level: 50  
Shiny: Yes  
EVs: 92 HP / 36 Atk / 4 Def / 252 SpD / 124 Spe  
Adamant Nature  
– Frustration
– Hyper Voice  
– Tailwind  
– Protect

Salamence was an amazing choice for a secondary mega because it helped me a lot with the matchups that rain struggles against the likes Mega Charizard Y + Kartana leads. The set was originally Roost and Dragon Dance with Frustration, but Tailwind allowed me to capitalize on defensive plays where the whole team could benefit after Salamence went down, which won me a couple different games throughout the tournament. Salamence will always live a non boosted Tapu Lele's Moonblast and a max Sp. Attack Ludicolo's Ice Beam 100% of the time and the rest is dumped.

Scizor @ Life Orb  
Ability: Technician  
Level: 50  
Shiny: Yes  
EVs: 180 HP / 252 Atk / 76 Spe  
Adamant Nature  
– Bullet Punch  
– Bug Bite  
– Superpower  
– Protect

Scizor was one of my favorite Pokemon on the team. He didn’t always hit the field, but when he did, he was great at cleaning up at the end of a game. The spread is just maxed attack and a bulk/speed dump. I really, really, really wish I could go back in time and make it faster than common Incineroar. I meant to before the tournament but it slipped my mind, and it lost me the most important game of the tournament. Aside from that one instance, Scizor was great. I clobbered Tapu Bulu’s with Bullet Punch and ate several berries to neuter Tapu Fini and other setup Pokemon.

Swampert-Mega @ Swampertite  
Ability: Damp  
Level: 50  
Shiny: Yes  
EVs: 12 HP / 252 Atk / 244 Spe  
Adamant Nature  
– Waterfall  
– Earthquake  
– Superpower  
– Protect

The man, the myth, the legend. Swampert holds a special place in my heart, and he was so good during the tournament. I put Superpower on him over Ice Punch to fix my match-up against Kartana a bit more even though I didn't face a single Kartana in my games, which in hindsight was silly considering unless it’s a CHALK team, I shouldn’t be bringing it anyway. Regardless, the one time I used Superpower, it did what I needed it to. I wish I had had Ice Punch, but I can say that without Superpower, there is one game at least I would’ve lost. The spread is just something I stole off of Pikalytics.

Tapu Koko @ Electrium Z  
Ability: Electric Surge  
Level: 50  
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe  
Timid Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
– Thunder  
– Volt Switch  
– Dazzling Gleam  
– Protect

Admittedly, I’ve always been iffy about Tapu Koko. The few tournaments that I had taken it to before, it always felt like dead weight. I decided to give him one last shot, and I’m so glad I kept him in this slot. The pressure from Thunder and Electrium Z in matches meaning I could threaten Ludicolo was fantastic. The spread is just something generic, though originally Leimin had Thunderbolt over Thunder, I’m very glad I changed it.

My Tournament Run

I’ll be honest and say that the morning of the tournament, I wasn’t really feeling like playing. My thought process was “let me get my three losses so I can go home.” I got very little sleep and had a soda explode on my favorite white shirt, so I guess that meant all of my bad match-ups were already over. I ride in with some friends that I was staying with, fill out my team sheet, which was now soaked with Dr. Pepper, and anxiously waited for pairings.

Round 1 – vs. River Davis (@blckkkkkk
WW | 1-0

My Round 1 opponents seem to be notoriously good players at events, which is a blessing and a curse. We sit down and idly chat until we hear the announcement to begin. Game 1 I lead Politoed and Ludicolo into Amoonguss and Cofagrigus. I was afraid of Ally Switch, but I was so over the game mentally by this point that I went straight for Helping Hand + Z move into the Cofagrigus protect for about half damage as Amoonguss Sludge Bomb’s my Ludicolo for about 60%. The next turn I believe I went for Hydro Pump into Cofagrigus and got a crit (I don’t believe it mattered, but I could be wrong), and went for a Scald into Amoonguss so I could guarantee damage in case Cofagrigus had used Ally Switch, but instead Amoonguss stays in its spot and Spore’s my Politoed. Next turn, River switches in Lurantis as I switch into Salamence I believe. I remember the contrary, but I hoped I could get Salamence in on these two Grass-types and go to town. Instead, I Ice Beam into Lurantis’s Protect and Salamence is likewise put to sleep. The next turn, I switch Scizor in for Politoed to eat the Sludge Bomb and Lurantis doubles into that slot with a Leaf Blade. My memory of game 1 from this point is fuzzy, but I remember I killed Lurantis with Bug Bite, Amoonguss with Frustration, and ended in a Salamence Politoed vs. Camerupt end game.

In game 2 was a bit tricker. I remember that his Lurantis ate my Z move, and I ended up using Frustration into a Cofagrigus switch in, which meant Salamence received Mummy and could no longer actually damage Cofagrigus without Aerilate. I played the game well enough to stall out Trick Room, and in the process learned that Camerupt did not have Protect, which made my life a lot easier.


Round 2 – vs. Alyssa Smith (@TemporalVGC
LL | 1-1
     
I hated this matchup immediately because I needed both of my mega Pokemon, and the reason that I needed both Pokemon was because Alyssa’s Amoonguss had Sunny Day. My best way to hit it was with Salamence, but I was afraid of a Scarf Tapu Lele, Intimidate neutering my Salamence’s output, giving Braviary a boost, potential Adrenaline Orb Xurkitree, and Metagross, all of which Swampert helped with. Game 1 was really messy, but it ended with Alyssa getting a double Protect to stall out my rain so she could freely Energy Ball my Xurkitree. Game 2 was also kinda messy, I was struggling to get momentum, but my Z-Thunder from Tapu Koko did around 90% to her Xurkitree, and it didn’t proc a berry. Alyssa managed her resources better than I did, and I really struggled to find any way to win the game, and she took game 2 completely cleanly.


Round 3 – vs. Evan Bates
WW | 2-1

Seeing Evan’s name pop up was a weird moment for me because I suddenly had a flashback to my first regional back in 2014 where he was the first person to mercilessly stomp me at a tournament. I put on my game face and knew it was time to exact revenge because I have a weird memory and bizarre, aimless motivations. Game 1 was really clean, I led Politoed and Ludicolo into Nihilego and Aegislash, and made the read turn one that he would swap or protect Nihilego and Never-Ending Nightmare, as I went for Helping Hand Hydro Vortex into Aegislash for the KO. Next turn, he brings in Kangaskhan and Zapdos I believe, and at some point, he revealed in the end game that his Zapdos did not have Protect, which meant I could freely target it the next game. In the end, I used Fake Out to chip Kangaskhan into Superpower range from Swampert, and ended the game. Game 2 went as well as it could go. I managed to overwhelm him with offense from turn 1 like before, and I remember at one point I had to make a 50/50 call on whether or not Kangaskhan would Fake Out or Return (predicting my own Fake Out). I called it right that he would go for Return and Z Moved it for the OHKO. That’s all I really remember from the game, but I remember being really proud of my play in the set and not dropping any momentum for the whole set.


Round 4 – vs. Alban Badin [FR]
LWL | 2-2
  
This set is mostly a blur. I remember that each game was incredibly close, but I ultimately lost because I had to rely on Waterfall to hurt Salamence, as I didn’t have Ice Punch. Considering Waterfall did a whopping 28-30% per hit in the Rain, I accepted defeat. There was no RNG, Alban played well and once he got the right information on my sets, there was nothing I could do to stop him from taking the set.


Round 5 – vs. David Toledo
WW | 3-2

Whatever your reaction was when you saw this team, I promise you mine was identical. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I assumed he was going to set up Belly Drum with Unburden and just trap me in and Ally Switch around, but instead, he leads Durant and Gengar into Rain. I fully expect Durant to be Focus Sash and to eat a Hustle X-Scissor, so I just yolo it and go for Hydro Vortex into a Gengar Protect and Scald into Durant, which used Entrainment on my Ludicolo, removing Swift Swim for Truant. The play here was to trap me in with his Shadow Tag mons as he gave everything I had Truant. Unluckily for him, the fact that it had Truant meant it was Scald bait the next turn anyway. Game one basically went with me just using Politoed for consistent damage while Ludi was stuck, and eventually, I just overcame. I also remember Gothitelle was Leftovers with Calm Mind, which was actually kind of scary. Game 2 went the exact same way as Game 1 as far as I can remember, really nothing changed.

Round 6 – vs. Ryouta Kobayashi [JP] 
WLW | 4-2
  
By this point, I’m ready to go home because I’m 3-2 and I have to win out against a Japanese player who is using the scariest matchup possible. The reason this matchup sucks is that my best way at dealing with Charizard / Tapu Fini type teams is Salamence, which sucks against Celesteela, makes Braviary stronger, and can’t touch Togedemaru. I was ready to accept defeat from the get-go, but Ryouta was very friendly and fun to talk to, so I was feeling a bit calmer going into the set.

Game 1 went for like 20 minutes, it was grueling. I remember his Togedemaru had Fake Out, Iron Head, and Super Fang, so it either didn’t have Electric STAB or it didn’t have Spiky Shield. Eventually, I play myself into a guaranteed win, but Ryouta runs out of time anyway. Game 2 I have zero recollection of, I just remember that Braviary did Braviary things, and I managed to stay in the game for a short while, but I couldn’t get enough momentum. I decided to play the whole game after I knew I lost because I wanted extra time to think of my game plan for game 3. I realized that I had no choice but to lead Ludicolo + Salamence into the Braviary Charizard lead. I knew I had to lead Salamence and get Tailwind up, and pray he didn’t lead Togedemaru with Braviary. Game 3, I lead Ludicolo Salamence into a Braviary Charizard lead, which was absolutely perfect. I went for Fake Out into Braviary which became Tapu Fini, and Tailwind as Charizard went for Protect, not wanting to get hit with Frustration. This position is literally perfect for me, as I go for Frustration + Energy Ball into Tapu Fini for the KO, while he goes for Heat Wave. Next turn, he brings Braviary back in I believe, which I KO with another combo of Ice Beam + Frustration. I think Ryouta was making hard reads here, hoping I would overpredict, but I just used every turn of Tailwind to capitalize on the few turns of pressure I could exert. The end game came down to Charizard being stuck in the rain against Politoed and Ludicolo.

Round 7 – vs. Allan Martinez (@MandoVGC)
LWW | 5-2

          
Game 1 was incredibly unfortunate. I lead Rain and Z move into Gengar's Protect (I know I do this a lot, but the guaranteed damage is deliberate) as Ludicolo gets Sludge Bomb’d for about 70%. The next turn, I switch Politoed into Tapu Koko and Hydro Pump into the Gengar slot. I get excited as it becomes a Landorus on a switch in, but then I miss the Hydro Pump. The next turn I go for Ice Beam into Amoonguss predicting him to potentially switch out or Protect. He makes the read and goes for Groundium into my Tapu Koko Protect, which proceeds to get a critical hit and KO me through Protect. At this point, the game is essentially over. I shake off my disappointment and come back hard in games 2 and 3. I recognize that I need Tailwind up, and use Ludicolo both games to help set that up. I was playing really well, and calling all of the switches and Protects in games 2 and 3 correctly, and took the set.

Round 8 – vs. Jerry Meyers (@TheJerryMeyers)
WW | 6-2


Before this set, Justin Wan had mentioned to me that Jerry is known for Eevee teams, so I kept that in mind when approaching the set. Sure enough, it was Eevee. I was pretty intimidated because I would either win or lose very quickly.

I lead Ludicolo and Salamence into Smeargle and Eevee game 1. I decide Eevee isn’t a threat, so I Fake Out + Frustration the Smeargle slot as Eevee Protects and Smeargle attempted to Spore. I get the KO and then Charizard came in. The next turn, I just go straight for the Z move into the Eevee slot and Frustration on Charizard. Eevee gets obliterated, Charizard Protects, and it’s just Charizard and Tapu Fini vs Salamence and Ludicolo, with Politoed and Tapu Koko in the back. I manage to KO the Tapu Fini with Frustration + Energy Ball and Jerry forfeits. Game 2, I make the same lead as he leads Greninja Eevee, and my Intimidate activates Greninja’s Adrenaline Orb. I figure that Fake Out + Tailwind will almost definitely lock up the game if I call everything right. I Fake Out Greninja to dodge a potential Ice Beam as Eevee Protects and I break a potential Sash on Greninja, and Tailwind goes up freely. Next turn I Z move into the Tapu Fini switch in and Frustration KO’s the Greninja. Next turn, Eevee comes back in, and I Energy Ball the Tapu Fini, activating its berry and I KO the Eevee while Tapu Fini goes for Psych Up in that slot. Charizard comes in, and it’s the same position as game 1, except I have more momentum with Tailwind still up. Jerry forfeits and with that, I’ve officially made cut.

Top 64 – vs. Lorenzo Silvestrini [IT]
LWL | Loss


I was really nervous going into this set, but Daniel Thorpe (@_TTT444_) told me the night before that Lorenzo is a known Kommo-o player.

Game 1, he leads Azumarill and Clefairy into my Rain mode, I Helping Hand Hydro Vortex the Clefairy for the KO as Azumarill sets up. From here, it’s pretty rough, as I can’t touch the combo of both Azumarill and its partner. Game 2, I decide that Salamence will help me in the matchup because once I set up Tailwind, I’ll be in a golden position to take the game. I manage to play around the Clefairy and Azumarill shenanigans and sack Salamence after getting Tailwind up. I take a few KO’s, and it comes down to neutral Scizor vs Assault Vest Incineroar, with one turn of Tailwind left. I just Superpower for the OHKO, but this messed my mind up going into game 3. 

Game 3, I spend the whole time thinking I need Swampert, but I talk myself out of it fearing the Bulu game 3. He leads Gengar/Clefairy and my heart sinks as I realize that if I led Politoed/Swampert I would’ve auto won the game because Earthquake would’ve set up Scizor and Tapu Koko to sweep. Instead, I lead Politoed/Ludicolo, and get my guaranteed OHKO into Clefairy as I lose Ludicolo. Kommo-o comes in as I bring in Tapu Koko and I put myself in a bad position where I had to risk a speed tie. I Helping Hand + Thunder and luckily win for the KO, then it’s Incineroar + now boosted Kommo-o against the world. The final turn haunts me still. It ends up as my half HP Tapu Koko and full Scizor vs 35% boosted Kommo-o and 30% Incineroar. There is one turn of rain left. I rush my moves before realizing my 100% win con was Thunder into Incineroar and Bullet Punch into Kommo-o. I cross my fingers my safe play was right, and Kommo-o Protects, which didn’t seem like a big deal, until his Incineroar outsped my Scizor and Flare Blitz’d it for the OHKO. It turns out his Incineroar was 1 point faster than my Scizor. The next turn, Rain expires and he Flamethrowers me to take the set.

The loss was entirely my fault, and I’m definitely using it as a growing experience as a player. It’s frustrating knowing I could’ve gone deeper into cut if I had taken a second longer to think, but hindsight is always 20/20. I’m still proud of my run, and I know I can go deeper if I really focus next time. 


Ending and Shoutouts

I could honestly shout out 5,000 people, but I’ll limit it as much as I can.

0 comments:

Post a Comment