I Slapped Venusaur on Hirofumi's Team – Top 8 Richmond Regionals War Story

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Hey everyone. I’m George, a VGC player from Savannah, Georgia. You might know me better as my online name SudokuMasta. I’ve been attending VGC events all the way back in 2012 when I was a Senior, but only started competing more seriously in 2015 and onward. Things started coming together for me as a player in post-Worlds 2017 where I got some decent results with a team I built with Brady Smith (BSmiffy) that he managed to win Memphis Regionals with. I didn’t have my first real breakout result though until Madison Regionals 2018 where I placed top 4. Today I’m gonna be running through a full-on war story about the 3 tournaments I brought “my” Venusaur + Umbreon + Psychic spam team to. It’s gonna be a long one so strap in, fellas. I’ll try to keep it organized so feel free to skip to the team itself or the war story sections.

Finding a Team Post-Worlds

I hate Ultra Series and GS Cup formats in general as much as the next guy. On top of preferring slower formats that reward more interactions like VGC 2017, I can’t figure out how to use Kyogre or especially Xerneas for the life of me. Hirofumi himself sums up my attitude pretty well in this poorly translated tweet:

Being a Xerneas/Kyogre non-conforming person puts me in a pretty tough spot, though,  because most archetypes with good matchup spread in this format like Xerneas/Groudon, Rayquaza/Kyogre, and Xernala include at least one or the other. In Moon and early Ultra series, I settled on Lunala/Groudon as my archetype of choice because I liked using Groudon to sweep under Trick Room and Tailwind with help from Lunala. After some sub-par Regional results, though, I found myself feeling like I was maining a mid-to-low tier team that wasn’t super great against anything. I tried toying with Perish Xerneas/Groudon and Yveltal/Groudon archetypes for the rest of the regular season but to similarly poor results.

Enter Hirofumi’s Worlds 2019 run. I’ve been a Hirofumi fanboy since he won Japan Nationals in 2018 with Nidoqueen. I even ran his team at the 2018 North American Internationals. His teambuilding process (which I highly recommend you check out in his reports) and the way he plays has been impressive and inspirational to me. I never seriously considered Groudon/Necrozma as an archetype I’d want to use until I watched him at Worlds and realized it might fit my team preferences. Shortly after I got home from Worlds 2019, I tried it out on ladder and it clicked with me immediately. Within the first few days of using it, I hit 1700 on Showdown for the first time in VGC 2019. The team functioned similarly to the TailRoom aspects of Lunala/Groudon I liked, but unlike Lunala/Groudon it had even to positive matchups against dominating archetypes in the meta, like Xerneas/Groudon, Rayquaza/Kyogre, Xerneas/Rayquaza, Xerneas/Kyogre, and even opposing Psychic Spam. I knew it was the team I’d be running at Atlantic City.

Atlantic City and Dawn of the Frog

The Pokémon that gave me the most trouble when laddering with Hirofumi’s team was, of course, the bane of any Psychic Spam player: Yveltal. In Hirofumi’s Worlds report he basically said that he couldn’t solve his Yveltal matchup in teambuilding, so he just ignored it and expected not to play it at Worlds anyway. This plan wasn’t really an option for me. I knew Yveltal would be prominent at Atlantic City since 1st and 2nd at Worlds were Psychic Spam and Lunala/Groudon. I didn’t expect to play any Xernes/Lunala, though. At this point in the metagame, it was somewhat of a dead archetype that hadn’t had solid results in a while. Hiro claimed that his Xerneas/Lunala matchup was Kangaskhan, but I was losing to Xerneas/Lunala in the few matches I played against it on ladder anyway, even with Kangaskhan. Kangaskhan seemed like the obvious member to replace for a Yveltal matchup. I quickly realized, however, that there wasn’t really any singular Pokémon I could put on the team to entirely patch the large, Yveltal-shaped hole in the team. Instead, I theorized Pokémon that could make the team stronger as a whole and at least help me cheese my way through bad matchups. At first, I added Jumpluff after losing many times to “Don’t Beat Kids” on the ladder (hi Owe), who used a Jumpluff Psychic Spam team. Once I realized I was only using it for Sleep Powder though, I thought Venusaur, my favorite starter, might be the call. The more I thought about it the more it made sense. Venusaur + Groudon and Tapu Lele + Necrozma are both such strong leads that are hard for your opponent to cover at the same time. Prior to Venusaur, the team had no way of hitting Tapu Fini, Tapu Lele, or Kyogre for super effective damage. Putting Yveltal to sleep early allowed you to more easily ignore it to try and force an Umbreon Yveltal 1v1 endgame. The same went for Lunala. Additionally, the most prominent Yveltal team going into Atlantic City was Ashton and Jeremy’s Yveltal/Groudon Perish team that was particularly weak to Venusaur/Groudon. Lastly, Venusaur + Groudon seemed like a potent mode and mix up in a best of 3. Despite only being 1 day before I had to head to Atlantic City, I put it on the team without almost any practice.

The Team

I won’t go into too much detail about the weeb-y nicknames, but they’re from a show called Haikyuu about volleyball and each of my Pokémon are named after one of the players. If you know, you know.

Groudon-Primal @ Red Orb  
Ability: Desolate Land  
Level: 50  
EVs: 252 HP / 76 Atk / 180 SpD  
Adamant Nature  
IVs: 27 Spe  
– Precipice Blades
– Fire Punch
– Dragon Claw
– Protect

The ace of the team. Groudon is the only Pokémon that comes to every single game. I didn’t change Hirofumi’s spread at all; it did what it was supposed to. Dragon Claw was an amazing 3rd move that came in clutch much more than Substitute, Swords Dance, Roar, or any other option I’ve tried before. Being able to snipe unsuspecting Rayquaza and Salamence (especially when Helping Hand boosted) was priceless. If I were to make any changes going forward, I might make Groudon slightly slower for opposing Trick Room Groudon teams as I found myself speed tying from time to time (looking at you, Paul). Perhaps more Attack as well to be able to OHKO Rayquaza after a Dragon Ascent.

Dusk Necrozma
Kageyama (Necrozma-Dusk-Mane) @ Ultranecrozium Z
Ability: Prism Armor
Level: 50  
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 52 SpD / 196 Spe
Timid Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk
– Photon Geyser
– Earth Power
– Trick Room
– Protect

Ultra Necrozma is such a stupidly powerful Pokémon. Being able to OHKO literally anything in the meta with its Z-Move in Psychic Terrain as long as it doesn't resist is just crazy. Neuroforce letting you do things like OHKO 4 HP Groudon with Earth Power is absurd as well. In the case of this team, Necrozma comes to just about every matchup except in best of 3 mixups, against Yveltal, and sometimes against Lunala. Dusk Mane is the obvious call as a Trick Room setter for its great defensive typing and bulk. I was surprised how often I’d wait for Ultra Burst when I first started using the team. I decided to go with Timid as opposed to Hirofumi’s Modest spread as I didn’t view getting a little extra damage while underspeeding Rayquaza and Salamence as a worthy trade-off. I hardly noticed the difference in damage output after switching and never looked back. 252 Special Attack was to maximize the roll to KO Incineroar with Tapu Lele's Moonblast plus Necrozma's Earth Power. The Speed is to outspeed Naganadel (and Salamence) and the more-or-less dump into Special Defense helps with Tapu Koko's Dazzling Gleam and Ultra Necrozma's Moongeist Beam rolls.

Sawamura (Salamence) @ Salamencite
Ability: Aerilate
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Double-Edge
– Hyper Voice
– Tailwind
– Protect

Salamence feels to me like the only stellar Mega Evolution that isn’t named Rayquaza. It’s also one of the only Pokémon in the format that can legitimately check Groudon. I never considered changing the Jolly 252 Attack spread from Hirofumi’s original team. OHKOing mons like Tapu Fini, Kyogre, and Yveltal with a Helping Hand boosted Double-Edge just felt too good. I got a few questions from people about why I kept Hyper Voice instead of options like Draco Meteor, but I really liked Hyper Voice here, even with the Jolly nature. It doesn’t do a ton of damage but chip damage on both targets is always valuable and I found myself clicking the move a lot both in tournament and practice. One specific use case is chipping opposing Groudon into Ultra Necrozma's Earth Power range.

Hinata (Tapu Lele) @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Psychic Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Psychic
– Moonblast
– Dazzling Gleam
– Magic Room

I love Tapu Lele. It does so much damage and stopping Fake Out is huge when Incineorar is on almost every team, especially when you’re trying to keep Trick Room up. Having Psychic Terrain was also helpful to get rid of Misty/Electric for Venusaur’s Sleep Powder. In the case of this team, Tapu Lele really showed me the power of Magic Room in any matchup with a Xerneas but also against Assault Vest and Focus Sash users like Rayquaza, Crobat, Shedinja, and Smeargle. I was surprised how often I found myself clicking Dazzling Gleam as well. It came in handy quite a bit in matchups like Xerneas/Rayquaza and sometimes Rayquaza/Kyogre. I never considered changing the spread as the Special Attack is crucial for the Moonblast + Earth Power double up on Incineroar.

Umbreon @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Inner Focus
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 252 HP / 204 Def / 52 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Foul Play
– Snarl
– Helping Hand
– Moonlight

Using Umbreon is kind of like having a little, crappy Yveltal on your team and it really shines in some matchups. Teams like opposing Psychic Spam and any Lunala team that isn’t Xerneas/Lunala usually only have 1 or 2 Pokémon to deal with it effectively (usually Tapu Lele), allowing you to set up win conditions where once you get rid of those Pokémon, Umbreon goes to work. Its bulk is almost unmatched as well, allowing it to survive ridiculously strong attacks, like full HP Kyogre Water Spout and even Choice Band Rayquaza Dragon Ascent. Its damage output is nothing to sneeze at either. Being able to 3HKO Groudon, take down chipped Lunala, and even OHKO some Rayquaza after a Dragon Ascent proved extremely valuable. Helping Hand also proved to be a very clutch move that secured many games for me, but I’ll get more into that in the war story section of the report. Umbreon is probably the most expendable member of the team if you want to add something else to gear it better towards different matchups, but I don’t foresee myself ever replacing it if I decide to use this team again. I used shiny Umbreon because of course, I did.

Venusaur @ Focus Sash
Ability: Chlorophyll
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Grass Knot
– Sludge Bomb
– Sleep Powder
– Protect

I already went into detail about Venusaur pretty heavily earlier in the report, so I don’t have too much to say about it here. Sleep the bad matchups and hope for the best. For the first 2 Regionals, I opted for Focus Sash but changed up the item for Richmond. I’ll get to that later.

Using the Team

Hirofumi does a pretty great job going over what Pokémon to bring in what order to most matchups in his Worlds report, so there isn’t a lot for me to touch on here. The only real difference is the option to lead Venusaur Groudon which is an option in almost every matchup and one that you’ll almost always do vs Yveltal and Lunala. Speaking of Yveltal and Lunala:

Team's Threats

Xerneas + Lunala is such a nightmare for this team. The lack of Kangaskhan leaves Umbreon as your only Lunala answer, which is good enough in matchups like Lunala/Groudon, Rayquaza/Lunala, and Lunala/Kyogre, but when paired with a Xerneas, Umbreon practically becomes useless. There’s almost nothing you can do against this team if they lead Lunala + a redirection Pokémon besides lead Venusuar/Groudon and hope for crazy good sleep turns (which sometimes you can’t even do thanks to Crafty Shield Smeargle). This was the only matchup I never won a set against in the tournament. Thankfully it isn’t too common.

Yveltal isn’t quite as bad as Xerneas/Lunala, but it can still be a headache to deal with when played competently. I found Yveltal/Kyogre to be particularly hard. My usual ways of dealing with Yveltal are Helping Hand + Moonblast, Helping Hand + Double Edge, Helping Hand + Fire Punch, or trying to put it asleep and ignore it until I can force a 1v1 between it and Umbreon. You can bring just about any Pokémon to Yveltal matchups except Necrozma. One saving grace of playing against Yveltal is that Venusaur does a pretty great job against certain Yveltal teams like Yveltal/Groudon Perish and Kazuki’s Worlds top 4 team. 

Alright. Without further ado, here are the war story segments of the report.

Atlantic City Regionals

This part probably won’t be too long because spoiler alert: I went 0-3 drop lol. 

The trip started off pretty great with flying into Newark early on Friday morning and then meeting Stephen Mea (Gramgus) at Rutgers University. For some northeastern regionals, I fly to Newark because it’s cheap and then get Stephen/Stephen’s parents to drive us to the event. On this occasion, we also met up with Kyle Livinghouse (Animus) and Brady before starting the drive from Stephen’s parent’s house to Atlantic City. We were supposed to be meeting Joseph Ugarte (JoeUX9) as well, but unfortunately, his flight from Chicago was canceled due to weather.

Gotta give a quick shoutout to Mr. and Mrs. Mea, the eternal GOATs that have driven me all around the northeastern United States on many occasions, all while cracking top tier Dad jokes. The drive was a pretty quick and easy 2 hours that mostly consisted of listening to the greatest hype playlist of all time: The Madden 2011 Soundtrack. A Stephen Mea classic.

Once in Atlantic City at our hotel adjacent to the venue, we met up with Nate Wright (Mechanics) who was also staying with us but drove down with Team Canada. The rest of the night was mostly spent messing around. One notable thing we did was a Pokémon Rock Paper Scissors Tournament among the people in our room. The last place had to sleep on the floor (rip Kyle). Kyle and Stephen also spent a while building a pretty awful Lilligant Kartana Kangaskhan/Tornadus team for the event that neither of them ended up running anyway.

The next morning was the main event. I was feeling pretty good for it, but things weren’t destined to go my way.

Round 1 – vs. Unknown Name
kyogre-primal.pnglunala.pngmetagross-mega.pngtapu-koko.pngtapu-fini Victory Roadincineroar Victory Road

I don’t remember this guy’s name, but he seemed like he was pretty new to, or at least unfamiliar with, the scene. This was fine with me, no one minds getting a “random” round 1 because it usually means a relatively easy win. From team preview, I was somewhat worried, though. When testing the original version of Hirofumi’s team on ladder, I dropped games on the ladder to Lunala/Kyogre relatively often. Because I’d only added Venusaur to the team 1 day prior to the event and didn’t have any practice with it, I didn’t know yet that it was a crucial member of the team in the matchup and I was hesitant to use it out of unfamiliarity. Game 1, I think I went with some combination of Groudon, Umbreon, Tapu Lele, and Salamence. The combination of Tapu Fini, Lunala, and Kyogre under Tailwind proved much too difficult to deal with and I lost game 1. My opponent proceeded to get up and take the match slip before I had to stop him and explain that matches were best of 3. Ouch. Game 2 I rightfully decided to try out Venusaur. This match was much more in my favor and looked like it was going to go my way until I missed a game-winning Precipice Blades. Let me tell you something, the feeling of losing to someone who doesn’t even know that sets are best 3 is pretty rough.

Result: LL | Record: 0-1

Round 2 – vs. Jeremy Rodrigues (Serapis)
groudon-primal Victory Roadyveltal Victory Roadgengar-mega Victory Roadtapu-koko Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadlandorus-therian.png

Jeremy is not someone you want to play at 0-1, especially not when he’s using Yveltal and you’re a Psychic Spam player. Jeremy is a pretty good friend of mine and someone that I tend to get paired up against a lot at tournaments. Going into the set, I was up 2-1 on him in Regional sets at we’d played in 2016, 2017, and 2018, so I at least felt like I could beat him again if I played very well. From team preview, I knew it was going to a pretty bumpy ride, but this was the exact team I added Venusaur for, so at least I got it to try it out. I don’t remember game 1 very much but I remember leading Venusaur and it being relatively close, but Jeremy outplaying me in the end. I don’t remember many specifics of game 2 either except adapting pretty well and it looking like I was gonna take it until Jeremy got a game-winning double Protect at the very end to seal my fate.

Result: LL | Record: 0-2

Round 2 – vs. Adam Warfield (FrodoInRealLife)
groudon-primal Victory Roadyveltal Victory Roadmetagross-mega Victory Roadtapu-koko Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadvenusaur.png

Aw yes, the famous “JoeUX9 Team”. I knew the tournament run was probably over as soon as I saw team preview. Yveltal/Groudon is already a hassle to deal with, but with opposing Venusaur it’s even harder. I don’t remember much from this set. I was already 0-2 in the tournament and was pretty mentally check out. I think it ended up coming down to Sleep Powder hits and sleep turns that didn’t go my way.

Result: LWL | Record: 0-3 [Dropped]

And that was my tournament run… I’d never gone 0-3 and been eliminated so quickly at any event before Atlantic City so it was quite demoralizing. I felt like my team was good and that I was good enough to place with it. Team matchups and in-game RNG just weren’t in my favor that day. All I could do was go back to the hotel room, feeling down on myself, and take a nap.

Thankfully I’ve got some great friends in the community that knows how to cheer me up pretty well. I woke up to find that most of them had gotten points and that Brady had reached cut. We went down to the Atlantic City boardwalk and got dinner to celebrate.
A screenshot of the boys on their way to dinner from Mr. Kyle

Nate trying to take a nice picture of the casino restaurant while I eat a taco.

Ice cream on the boardwalk with the boys featuring a successfully cheered up SudokuMasta.

Big Mike (SirChicken) looking cute back at the hotel.

And that was pretty much Atlantic City. The next day I went 4-2 in the Midseason Showdown and then bubbled out of getting points just to add insult to injury to an already pretty rough tournament. I had some fun times with the boys and watching Brady get top 4 was cool though. It’d been a minute since he did so well at a Regional. In short, Atlantic City was pretty rough for ya boy, but at least I got to see the lads and I definitely had some lessons to learn from and take into my future events.

Knoxville Regionals

After bombing Atlantic City and at this point not getting points from a major event since the Worlds Open in 2018, I was really hungry for a decent finish. Getting a Worlds invite on the new games and in London is an important goal of mine so I knew I had to start getting the CP ball rolling. I started to grind hard for Knoxville as soon as I got home.

I knew my poor result at Atlantic City wasn’t so much my team itself, but more so my lack of experience using Venusaur, bad RNG, and an abundance of Yveltal in the field. Seeing the results of Atlantic City’s top 8 reassured me that Yveltal would be a lot less common at Knoxville. I didn’t see much of a reason to change my team since I liked how it played and it worked pretty well in practice. I just had to get better at using it. 

The next 2 weeks were spent playing lots of ladder and practicing specific matchups like Kangaskhan/Tornadus with friends. I suppose now is as good a time as any to retire some of my 2019 alts.

This alt is the only one I have a picture of with decent ELO. I think I peaked around 11th on the ladder with it. Probably my favorite alt I’ve used; pays homage to the Street Fighter queen 🙏.

Shoutouts to this tweet from early 2019 when I was using it to practice Lunala/Groudon in moon series and talked a lot of trash on ladder.
My other alts included Illiterate Reads (imma miss that one too, fire name), emforbes fangirl (my old perish alt from when I tried using it at Nats), and one other that I can’t name here because it doesn’t solely belong to me. Once I was able to reach 1700 with each of them I felt pretty good for Knoxville. They all have pretty garbage GXE, but I’ll work on that in 2020.

When I prep hard for tournaments I use this team testing template while laddering. I think it was originally from Gavin Michaels, but I’ve edited it a fair bit over the past couple of years of using it. I highly recommend trying it out. It’s very helpful for visualizing what you’re winning/losing against and for keeping notes on matchups.

Only a mere 2 weeks after Atlantic City, it was time to drive up to Knoxville. It was a pretty long, lonely, uneventful drive from Savannah to Knoxville. 7ish hours even though it’s only Georgia to Tennessee. Savannah is pretty poorly located for mons events, my closest locals are also 4 hours away. Anyway, most of the drive was just spent listening to Joe Rogan talk about how he thinks aliens are real. The only real notable thing that happened was that I almost got murked by a runaway tire:

Once in Knoxville, I met up with VGC2015 Senior division legend JoeDaPr0 at my hotel before going to sleep pretty early. Brady, Don Czech (DrCzech), Kyle, and Joey Costagliola (Zeefable) were also staying with us but all of them were heavily delayed, didn’t get to our hotel until around 5am, and were forced to play the tournament with no sleep. As you likely already know, it worked out pretty well for Joey and Kyle.

On Saturday after arriving late to the venue, paying an absurd price for parking (thanks UT game), and making it through a particularly hell-ish bag check line, it was finally time to play.

Round 1 – vs. Don Czech (DrCzech)
groudon-primal Victory Roadrayquaza-mega.pngtapu-fini.pngtapu-koko Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadstakataka.png

You almost never want to play against a friend you’re rooming with, but to be honest, I was pretty excited to play against Don. At Daytona in late 2017, I came so close to cutting my first Regional but choked in a spectacularly bad fashion to Don in my “win and in” match. It was finally my chance to get the run-back. In team preview, I was relatively happy with what I saw as well. I like my matchup against most Rayquaza/Groudon teams because they don’t usually have a lot to deal with Umbreon. In the case of Don’s team, a surprisingly physical Groudon and a Fairy Z-move on Tapu Fini made it a little harder for Umbreon, but I was still able to lead Necrozma + Umbreon in game 1 and manage to win. In game 2, I mixed it up with the Venusaur + Groudon lead I’d been practicing over the past few weeks and it did its job. There were some missed Precipice Blades from Don’s side over the course of the set and a crit onto his Stakataka, but I’m not sure if it would’ve affected the outcome of the match if they didn’t happen. Don seemed too thin.

Result: WW | Record: 1-0

Round 2 – vs. Quentin Colón (Galactic)
kyogre-primal.pngrayquaza-mega.pngtapu-koko Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadcrobat.pngferrothorn.png

Quentin and I had played this exact matchup in the 2 previous best of 1 Regional side events. The set count was currently tied at 1-1 and we each had a good idea of what each other was going to do in the matchup. I usually like my Rayquaza/Kyogre matchup a lot, but Crobat and Ferrothorn can make it a little harder. Just like in our previous sets, game 1 came down to turn 1 Crobat vs Necrozma Taunt/Tailwind vs Attack/Trick Room mind games. I got the upper hand and won game 1 pretty cleanly. Game 2 I lost the turn 1 mind game but managed to keep it close regardless. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but Quentin barely edged it out. Game 3, I was certain Quentin would stick with the Tapu Koko + Crobat lead he brought to game 2 to try and stop my Psychic Spam so I went balls-to-the-wall and lead Venusaur/Groudon. My gamble paid off… but then I missed Sleep Powder onto Crobat. I don’t remember all the details of the rest of the game, but later on, Quentin missed a Super Fang when he doubled up my Necrozma and that sealed it. I suppose that made up for the turn 1 Sleep Powder miss. I ran through the set in my head afterward and if it did hit, I think it would’ve come down to reads. He never brought Ferrothorn in any of our 5 games, but that was cool with me. GGs Quentin.

Result: WLW | Record: 2-0
Photographer snagged a pic of me and my husbando, David Mancuso.

Round 3 – vs. Chongjun Peng (Jacky)

Ah yes, this dreadful team matchup. I hadn’t heard of Chongjun, but he proved himself a strong player in our set and in the rest of the tournament. I don’t remember too much of this set, but it was rough. Game 1, he leads Amoonguss Lunala and I just got bopped. Game 2 I put together a pretty inconsistent game plan for that particular lead that I think involved leading Salamence and Necrozma. It worked for one game but absolutely did not work in game 3. GGs, Chongjun. Congrats on the brick.

Result: LWLW | Record: 2-1

Round 4 – vs. Zachery Browning
groudon-primal Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadgengar-mega Victory Roadamoonguss Victory Roadcrobat.pngkommo-o Victory Road

Xerneas/Groudon is almost always a pretty good matchup for Psychic Spam, but this team especially can’t deal with it. I was a little overconfident with my matchup and just mindlessly lead Tapu Lele + Necrozma game 1 because it worked against someone I played using the same team in Atlantic City's Midseason Showdown. An Amoonguss + Gengar lead from Zachery proved somewhat troublesome for it though and I lost a pretty close game. Games 2 and 3 I adapted with a Salamence + Tapu Lele lead if I remember correctly and was able to win the rest of the set pretty cleanly.

Result: LWW | Record: 3-1

Round 5 – vs. Jeremy Barton

I never expected to play against another Umbreon Venusaur team but here it was in team preview. This set was a heartbreaker for me. Game 1, I just lead Venusaur/Groudon and my opponent didn’t so right off the bat, the game was very much in my favor. I was able to keep my momentum until the end game when it came down to a 2v2 between his Groudon and Incineroar vs. my Salamence and Groudon. Yes, I somehow lost that. I don’t remember the exact HP percentages that inspired this decision, but I went for a Double Edge + Dragon Claw onto his Groudon expecting it to KO and to try and avoid a potential Precipice Blades miss. It didn’t KO and his Groudon proceeded to KO my own. My Salamence then lost a very close 1v2. The classic SudokuMasta choke. I don’t remember what happened in game 2, but I won cleanly. Game 3 we both lead Venusaur/Groudon and it just came down to sleep turns. He got the ones he needed, I did not. Going down to x-2 after choking the set so hard hurt pretty bad because I felt like I could’ve top cut this tournament if I got the matchups I wanted for the rest of my run. Oh well, I was 3-2 and still had points to get.

Result: LWL | Record: 3-2

Round 6 – vs. Kolten Pope (Roundabout)
rayquaza-mega Victory Roadlunala Victory Roadtapu-fini Victory Roadincineroar.pngamoonguss Victory Roadstakataka Victory Road

I’d heard of Kolten prior to our match because my friend Nate had mentioned giving some tips on how to use his team. This also meant I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from Kolten’s team going into the game. Nate and I had practiced the matchup a decent amount and although I won our practice games, they were always very close. Game 1 I got rocked. I don’t remember all of the details, but dealing with Lunala plus Moonblast Tapu Fini was hard and I lost the game 4-0. Game 2 started poorly for me as well with Kolten going up 4-2. I did my best to keep a good mindset despite being down in-game and dug deep. In the middle of the game, I put together a vague plan in my head as to how I might be able to crawl it back with only my 2 remaining Pokémon. I wish I was able to remember precisely what I did or what Pokémon I managed the 2-4 comeback with, but my plan went perfectly and I was just barely able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Game 3 was the inverse of game 1. I took an early Lunala KO turn 1 or 2 and soon after his offensive Tapu Fini was OHKOed by Necrozma’s Z-Move. I won the game 4-0. Keeping the dream of getting points alive after only winning by razor-thin margins felt great. It was seriously one of the closest matches I've ever played.

Result: LWW | Record: 4-2

Round 7 – vs. Sean Worcester (TPO3)

I liked my matchup versus Sean a lot. Venusaur and Umbreon are both great against opposing Psychic Spam. Game 1 I just lead Venusaur/Groudon into his Smeargle and Charizard lead, slept everything, and won pretty easily. Game 2, I reasoned that I could probably win without having to rely on Sleep Powder accuracy so I benched Venusaur. I got myself in a position where he was on his last turn of Tailwind and it was obvious that he would Spore a slot and attack with his Charizard. I had Salamence and Necrozma on the field and I went for Tailwind + Trick Room to counter this play. My logic was that one of my speed control options would get set up as the other mon gets slept and then I should be able to sweep with my Groudon in the back. My read was correct, but he got a Heat Wave burn on my Necrozma as he also Spored that slot. This meant I’d successfully set up Trick Room and Tailwind on the same turn. Oof. I couldn’t really come back from that. Game 3 I once again left Venusaur on the bench. I really didn’t want to miss points on a Sleep Powder miss. This game came down to a key turn where he Dazzling Gleamed and Tailwinded as both of my dragons tanked the Dazzle and I set up Trick Room with my Necrozma. Sean insisted that this play was a choke on Twitter after our, but I don’t think he had an option that covered all of mine and even if he did, he only won game 2 off of a Heat Wave burn. Not trying to throw shade at Sean. Just explaining my perspective on the situation. Sean had really good resistance before our set so after he lost he was pretty bummed he couldn't make top cut. GGs man. Good luck in future events.

Result: WLW | Record: 5-2

And that was my run! I knew my resistance probably wasn’t good enough to make top cut at 5-2; I was honestly surprised as placed as high as 10th. But after choking really hard in round 5 and going down to 3-2, I was just happy to get points. I went over to my friends after the round, received some congratulations, and then Brady asked me if I was down to go back to our hotel, throw a little party in our room, and celebrate. I was super down.

Oh my god bro, there were way too many people in that 4 people Red Roof Inn room. It was a good time, though. Shoutouts to the Jackbox party pack and rapping robots.

A gleeful SudokuMasta of potentially questionable sobriety jamming super hard to the Street Fighter 3 character select screen music with Mr. Wacka (WackaPuff) despite not knowing the lyrics.

Wacka blessing Kyle for his top cut run
The next day I played the Midseason Showdown, but blustered out pretty quickly and just watched the rest of top 8. I was very happy to see my boys Kyle and Joey make it to finals. Congrats again on the dub Kyle. After that, I said my goodbyes and drove home.

JoeDaPr0 and Wacka. Hope to see Joe soon, he doesn't travel too much.

Oh, one more thing, Nick Borghi (Borghi) stayed in our room on Saturday night and got like 4 people including me sick. LightCore disease lasted like a week and a half and was awful. Thanks, Nick.

Richmond Regionals

I didn’t practice for Richmond much at all. Due to a mix of heavy school work and being sick, I just didn’t have the time and energy to play a lot of Pokémon prior to the event. I did theory a little bit, though. I was mostly considering the Jumpluff Stakataka team that had been all over the top of the ladder and that Paul ended up using. My other main consideration was Focus Sash Gengar with Taunt and Haze over Venusaur or maybe Umbreon. James Baek (Jamesspeed1) suggested it to me as a good Xernala check that he used in some of Sun and Moon series. From the few ladder games I played with it, it did its job pretty well. It also helped against Lunala/Groudon which could be a little annoying for my original team if they had Fairium Tapu Fini. Michael Spinetta-McCarthy (SirChicken) ran the version of the team with Gengar over Venusuar at Richmond and went 5-2. In the end though, as much as Gengar seemed helpful, I just opted to go with the same 6 as I used in Atlantic City and Knoxville out of comfort. I did make 1 change though:
  • venusaur.png – Grassium Z over Focus Sash and Leaf Storm over Grass Knot.
Shortly after Knoxville, Joey approached me to discuss Venusaur/Groudon after seeing Joe Ugarte and I do well with it. The team he was using had Grassium Venusaur and when I asked him to explain the logic behind it over Sash, a lot of what he said was pretty convincing to me. Mainly that given some of the biggest threats to Groudon is Tapu Fini and Kyogre, Grassium Venusaur can blow them up and make the Venusaur/Groudon lead even stronger. Having a way to OHKO Kyogre on the team without having my Necrozma in terrain and OHKO Tapu Fini in matchups that I didn’t want to bring Necrozma to (like Lunala/Groudon) were reason enough for me to make the switch. Additionally, I realized that my Focus Sash rarely got activated due to Venusaur’s decent natural bulk. I slapped on Grassium the morning of Richmond without any practice with it and hoped for the best.

The drive to Richmond was certainly more fun than the one to Knoxville. Brady drove up from Orlando to Savannah for us to carpool for the rest of the journey and the majority of the 7-hour trek was spent singing along to the greatest road trip playlist of all time: George and Brady’s Road Trip Across the Confederacy.

FYI, I'm definitely Hank and Brady is definitely Bobby.
At one point, Brady took a snap of us singing I’ll Make a Man Out of You from Mulan with pristine accuracy and style, but he forgot to hit save so I can’t share it with you. Once in Richmond we met up with Stephen, Kyle, and Joe and headed to the hostel we were staying in. It was basically a glorified college dorm, complete with bunk beds, but the room was pretty nice for the price and it was a neat change of pace from the typical motel rooms we tend to stay in for events. We were also quite surprised to see Nils Dunlop in America and staying at our hostel.

The next morning I slapped on my Venusaur’s Z-Move and we headed to the venue. Richmond in the daylight was pretty nice, a lot bigger than I expected but nice. The only other really notable thing from that morning was Brady’s “Xerneas” costume for Halloween that he wore throughout the first day of the tournament.

At some point, a few days before the tournament he asked me to wear a costume with him but I don’t have the cajones to pull this off.

After registration, hellos, and coffee it was finally time to play. Given that I hadn’t practiced leading up the tournament, I wasn’t feeling great and didn’t expect to do super well, but I felt like I knew the team well enough to get points if I didn’t make stupid mistakes.

Round 1 – vs. Zach Carlson (Profshroomish)
xerneas-active.pnglunala Victory Roadkangaskhan-mega.pngincineroar.pngsmeargle.pngcrobat.png

I talked to Kyle and Stephen after getting my pairing and they told me that Zach had been using Kangaskhan/Tornadus + Xerneas/Groudon and that I should be fine. Instead of that, though, team preview contained a matchup from my nightmares. Sets like these against nearly unwinnable matchups are so frustrating to play. All you can do is sit there and take it while you regret your life decisions. His Smeargle had Crafty Shield so I couldn’t even try to bank on crazy sleep turns. It was very demoralizing to theory Gengar for weeks specifically for this matchup, shelve it, and then get that matchup round 1. Credit to Zach, though. He played the matchup the way he should’ve and I was happy to see him do well in the rest of the tournament, he’s a good guy.

I was honestly pretty sad after this set and I easily could’ve gone on tilt for the rest of the tournament if not for some moral support from Stephen. He sat me down, cheered me up with some Pokemon Stadium minigames, and just told me something along the lines of “Hey man, you’re using Psychic Spam. Just get the matchups you want for the next 6 rounds, win some 50/50s, and you’ll be fine”. I took his advice, picked my head up, and in the end he was definitely right.

Result: LL | Record: 0-1

Round 2 – vs. Tyler Sampsell

This set was pretty wack LOL. I don’t remember all of the details, but in game 1 his Life Orb Pheromosa managed to outspeed and OHKO my Tapu Lele with Poison Jab and then my Umbreon with High Jump Kick. I was going to win regardless until his Mewtwo froze my Necrozma with an Ice Beam in the late game. The freeze was pretty frustrating and after game 1 the thought that my tournament life was on the line crossed my mind, but I knew my matchup was fine and that if I didn’t let his hyper offense get rolling I should be fine. I think I just put everything to sleep in game 2. Game 3, I didn’t bring Venusaur if I remember correctly but managed to win cleanly.

Result: LWW | Record: 1-1

Round 3 – vs. Jameer Harper

2 crazy teams in a row. This one was definitely harder on paper. Rayqyaza/Kyogre isn’t usually an issue for the team, but you don’t have a lot of options to deal with Celesteela, especially not in the rain. You pretty much have to get rid of Kyogre and then Fire Punch it in the late game or chip it and then get off a Light that Burns the Sky in terrain to KO it. In game 1, I was able to do the latter option pretty early in the game, chipped everything else, and then swept with Tapu Lele Dazzling Gleam + Precipice Blades. One interesting thing about his team was that his Muk had Air Balloon so I actually couldn't touch it with Necrozma or Groudon in Rain until I popped it with Dazzling Gleam. Game 2 he brought Exeggutor instead of Celesteela (bad call on his end but we take those) and I was able to blow throw the team without much issue.

Result – WW | Record – 2-1

Round 4 – vs. Arianna Shaffer-Doan

This was a team I’d gotten a lot of practice against on ladder. The matchup feels very even to me, they have the tools to deal with all of your threats and vice versa. It pretty much just comes down to if I can KO Lunala before they KO Umbreon. This set really showcased the strengths and weaknesses of Grassium Venusaur over Focus Sash. Game 1 I lead Venusaur/Groudon into Tapu Lele + Lunala and immediately OHKOed Tapu Lele with Bloom Doom, not something I would be able to do with Focus Sash. Afterward, Kyogre came in under Tailwind and immediately one-shot the Venusaur with Ice Beam. Strengths and weaknesses. Even with Kyogre under Tailwind, the game was pretty firmly in my favor since Tapu Lele was gone and Arianna didn’t bring Lucario so Umbreon wasn’t threatened by too much. But then it gets Ice Beam frozen by Kyogre. Of course. I really got Ice Beam frozen twice in 3 sets. Umbreon didn’t thaw out after 2 or 3 turns so I lost game 1. Game 2 I don’t remember how, but I bounced back and adapted well to win. Game 3 was super close. I believe she took an early lead, but I was able to capitalize on late-game mistakes on her end in which she just didn’t make some somewhat obvious switches that I think would have won her the game. We take those, especially after game 1. My adrenaline was pumping hard, but I was 3-1.

Result: LWW | Record: 3-1

After round 4 was the lunch break. Some people hate these, but I appreciate them. I was super hungry after my last set. The boys and I went out to a nearby taco place that was blasting MGMT. It was a good time and the tacos were great. Overall a very nice mental break before the rest of my run.

Joey and David admiring Brady on our way to lunch.

Round 5 – vs. Kyle Livinghouse (Animus)

After my previous 3 sets, this was certainly where things amped up a bit. It was finally time for me to play against my first Kangaskhan/Tornadus in the tournament and of course, it had to be my boy Kyle who had also just won a Regional with it. I wish I remembered more specific details of this set because every game was so close and so good. I practiced this matchup a ton with Stephen before Knoxville. We deduced that its best lead against me was Tornadus Amoonguss with restrictions in the back to just force a bunch of 50/50s. We figured that most good high-level Kangaskhan/Tornadus players would go with this lead and it’s the lead I saw most often against me on high ladder. My Tornadus + Amoonguss counter-lead is Salamence and Necrozma and the game usually comes down to if I can bait the Tornadus Z-Move into a Protect. My best lead for any other lead from Kangaskhan/Tornadus is just Tapu Lele + Necrozma. Game 1 starts and I go with my anti-Tornadus Amoonguss lead as he goes with Incineroar + Tornadus. Oof. I don’t remember exactly what happened after our leads, but he managed to edge out a close game. Game 2 I lead with Tapu Lele + Necrozma expecting him to stay with Incineroar + Tornadus but he actually leads Tornadus + Amoonguss like I expected in game 1. Double oof. Once again, I don’t remember many of the details of this game, but I think I set up Trick Room and ate the sleep from Amoonguss but managed to squeak out another close game.

Maybe due to the nerves or the Coke, I chugged during the lunch break, I had to pee mid-set after game 2 and the judges definitely made fun of me for it. I can’t really blame, my adrenaline was really high and I was tweaking a little bit. For game 3 I figured Kyle would return to his game 1 lead since Tornadus + Amoonguss didn’t work out for him, so I lead Tapu Lele + Necrozma again. Kyle just went with Tornadus + Amoonguss as I successfully called the lead wrong for the 3rd time in a row. Kyle took an early lead in the game and I knew I had to make some crazy plays to come back. I’m not sure how we got into this position, but I crawled my way back into the game by Fire Punching Kyle’s Groudon as it switched to Amoonguss for the KO. There isn’t a better feeling in this game than sniping a switch-in on a read and it gave me so much momentum. After that, it came down to 50/50 between which of Kyle’s mons protected. I called it right, Z-Moved his Groudon, and I was 4-1. Kyle is a close friend so it sucked that I had to knock him out of top cut contention and he was visibly distraught after I won, but it felt good to beat such a strong player and keep my run going.

Result: LWW | Record: 4-1

Round 6 – vs. Wolfe Glick (Wolfey)

When I saw I got the pair-up to Wolfe I got really excited but then really nervous. My friend Michael had played him earlier in the day so I knew his team and I felt like I had a good matchup. I’d played Wolfe round 1 of Charlotte 2018 in a close set. It came down to me being too scared to commit to a read I had on his switch-in in game 3. This was my chance at redemption. From my perspective, the ball was in my court not to mess it up and the pressure of that really got to me before the set started. When I sat down to play Wolfe, it got even worse and I felt my heartbeat start to rise rapidly. Thankfully my boy David Mancuso was right next to me at table 1. I knew David had a lot of history with high-stakes matches and regularly helped Ashton Cox calm down when anxiety hit him in the tournament so I approached David and told him what was going on. He absolutely came in clutch for me. He pretty much just told me to breathe in a certain pattern and gave some words of reassurance, but something about it helped a lot. I sat back down against Wolfe and once I heard the battle music starts I was finally nerve-free and ready to focus on the task at hand. Can’t thank you enough, Mr. Mancuso.

Game 1 Wolfe leads Smeargle + Salamence as I lead Tapu Lele + Necrozma's typical lead against Xerneas/Groudon. Turn 1 Wolfe goes for double protect to try and fish for a good Moody boost as I go for Magic Room non-bursted Trick Room. It was a wrap right then and there. His team really couldn't deal with pressure under Trick Room, even with a Moody Speed drop in Trick Room. Game 2 I go with Venusaur/Groudon anticipating him to mix up his lead to better deal with my game 1 lead. My assumption was correct as he went with a lead of Smeargle Groudon, but Venusaur and Groudon probably wasn’t the play. He managed to get off an early Lovely Kiss on my Venusaur and with Salamence in the back, he had too much momentum for me to make a comeback. I didn’t see his last Pokémon, but from the way he was playing, I inferred that he left Xerneas benched unlike game 1 and had probably brought Incineroar to deal with my Psychics. Game 3 I figured he’d go with the same lead from game 2 anticipating me to go back to my Tapu Lele + Necrozma lead from game 1. He does as I lead Necrozma + Salamence. As I see his leads, I realize if he doesn’t have Xerneas like I inferred in game 2, all I have to do is KO his Salamence and then he has nothing to deal with my Salamence. Turn 1 I have a sneaking suspicion that he’s going to protect his Smeargle and switch his Groudon to Salamence. I think back to the set we played in 2018 wherein game 3 I didn’t snipe the switch-in that would’ve won me the set. I double the Groudon slot with Double-Edge + Photon Geyser. My read was exactly right. The Smeargle Spiky Shields, the Groudon switches to Salamence, the Salamence gets KOed, and I basically win the set on turn 1. Stephen and René walked over to watch our set by looking over Wolfe’s shoulder and I was so happy to be able to look at them, smile, and nod. Wolfe’s Smeargle managed to get 2 evasion boosts after that, but it really wasn’t enough to come back after turn 1. GGs.

After I won, I popped off really hard (sorry Wolfe) and went to celebrate with my friends that were watching the set. It felt so good to win off the read I didn’t capitalize on in 2018. A judge came over and told me not to say the F word after I popped off (sorry Jen) and then I sat down to calm down and consider who I might play in my last round. The main people I wanted to dodge were Joe Ugarte and David Mancuso. I didn’t really like my matchups versus either of them and on top of that, they’re both my friends.

Result: WLW | Record: 5-1

Round 7 – vs. David Mancuso (Mancuso)
groudon-primal Victory Roadlunala.pngsalamence-mega.pngtapu-fini.pngincineroar.pngnihilego.png

This game was on stream I was originally just going to post the VOD and only talk about a couple turns, but apparently, no one saved the VODs so the set is lost. Anyway, though, I got paired against David just as I’d hoped not to. I can’t complain too much, you’re bound to get paired against one another when you’re friends with good players. I was pretty worried about my matchup because I’d dropped a lot of ladder games to Lunala/Groudon with Fairium Z Tapu Fini and that’s what Hirofumi lost to in Worlds finals after all, but as it turned out, the Grassium Z I slapped on the morning of the event made all the difference. In game 1, I lead Venusaur + Groudon and one-shot David’s Tapu Fini before he was able to KO my Umbreon leaving the rest of his team, namely the Lunala, vulnerable to it. Game 2 I read him leading Salamence Lunala to counter my Venusaur + Groudon, so I went Umbreon + Tapu Lele: The VOD's gone, but here's a random Twitch clip of that moment.

Luckily my read was correct I the rest of the game was spent getting rid of Lunala and Salamence to get myself into a position where I could Helping Hand Bloom Doom his Groudon for the win. I had mixed feelings about beating David after how much he helped me in my set against Wolfe, but you’ve gotta play to win in a tournament. GGs man. I knew David started 5-0 so I hoping his resistance was good enough to make top cut with me, but unfortunately, he got 11th. At least he got points if I lost the set I would’ve bubbled out of points.

Result: WW | Record: 6-1

I was very happy to top cut another regional after a year and a half. It felt like I proved to myself that the first one wasn’t a fluke. Once standings came out I saw that I’d be playing Paul, the same guy that knocked me out of my first top cut, in a Psychic Spam mirror. I also saw that a bunch of my friends bubbled out of points due to the whole Gallery Games no top 32 CP fiasco. Pour one out for the boys (namely Brady, Michael, and Wacka).

I must say, the celebratory dinner after making cut was one of my favorite parts of both times I’ve done it. Me and something like 14 other people went out to a barbecue place and I got Waffles with Fried Ribs. It was bomb AF.

Me with the guy that saved my run from being tilted into the ground after round 1 and the guy that got me to put Grassium on Venusaur. I’m making that face because I was chewing and wanted Kyle to wait for a second to take the picture LOL.
Bike Mike and Bike Mike's Egg Rolls
Brady's makeup looking wack at the end of the day
After dinner, I went back to the hostel and collapsed while most of my friends went to one of Irving’s legendary post-event AirBNB parties. If I knew what was gonna happen in top 8 I would’ve gone too, but I didn’t want to get stupid the night before top cut. I’ll make it to one of those parties one day.

Looking at Paul’s team and discussing it with my roommates the morning of cut, we figured that I didn’t really have any better game plan than just leading Venusaur + Groudon with Umbreon and Necrozma in the back, hoping to hit Sleep Powders, and getting good sleep turns.

Top 8 – vs. Paul Chua (Pwny Person)
groudon-primal Victory Roadnecrozma-dusk-mane Victory Roadsalamence-mega.pngtapu-lele Victory Roadjumpluff Victory Roadstakataka Victory Road

Once again, this set was on stream but the VODs are gone so I can’t post it. Game 1 Paul led Necrozma and Jumpluff into my Venusua and Groudon and unfortunately for me, his Necrozma only took 1 sleep turn allowing him to OHKO my Groudon with its Z-Move. I clawed the set back to a Groudon vs. Umbreon 1v1 endgame with my Umbreon at around 60% HP.
Thanks for the pic Mr. Stephen
Paul managed to land a Fire Punch burn and then a crit onto Umbreon that sealed the game. If no secondary effects happen, Umbreon wins the 1v1 as I tested after the set on Showdown, but it gets Fire Punched so many times while spamming Moonlight that the odds of not getting crit or burned are probably pretty low so I can’t be too upset. Game 2 I lead Necrozma Salamence just to try and have 2 things on the field that outsped his Jumpluff. This was a pretty bad plan and I probably should’ve stuck with Venusaur + Groudon for every game, but hindsight is 20/20. Paul also leads Necrozma + Salamence but is at an immediate advantage because his Necrozma has Dark Pulse and mine doesn’t. He was able to win cleanly without me being able to do much in the 2nd game. GGs

Result – LL | Finish – 8th Place Overall

I must admit it stung to be knocked out of top cut by Paul again. Both times I really felt like I could take the entire tournament if I got past him, but I didn’t. He’s a phenomenal player, though, and I know I’ll beat him soon enough. Congrats on 2nd man. I will say, top 8 is a little stinky lol. Just 1 set away from getting money and another brick, but it really is like that sometimes. It’s still a good finish and the points are really nice. I wasn’t too upset after losing, I just didn’t play well enough. It was time to go home.

I grabbed Brady and it was time for George and Brady’s Road Trip Across the Confederacy part 2, this time featuring stops at Raising Cane’s AND Popeyes.


I had a great time at the 3 events I covered in this report and not just because I did pretty well at 2 of them. I did my best to try and portray the fun times I had with the great people I’ve met by playing this game. Please let me know if I did a good job of that and thank you so much for reading all of this if you’ve gotten this far. This took a hot minute to write. 

I'm really happy that I never gave up on this team despite bombing Atlantic City. Players tend to dump teams as soon as they get poor results with them, but I don't think any other team in the format could have gotten me this far and been this fun to use. Not giving up on a team despite bad results is certainly a lesson I'll take forward into future seasons. 

Sword and Shield are out now but unfortunately for me, I’ve still got an Ultra Series regional left in Daytona. I highly doubt I’ll feel motivated enough to learn a new team, especially with the ladder so dead, so chances are I’ll be running this team one more time. Maybe I’ll be able to keep up the pattern of a better result every tournament I play with it (Probably not lol, Psychic Spam is winning everything so there will probably be a lot of Yveltal and Xerneas/Lunala). As of me writing this, I’m pretty sure I individually make up around 50% of all CP earned by Umbreon this season which is pretty cool to see. Happy to do well by my little uwu catdog thing.

Looking to the future, my current goals are getting a Masters worlds invite after getting so close in 2018 and winning a major (probably a Regional). I’m very happy to say that the former is looking more likely than ever and as for the latter, Snorlax is in the Galar dex so I think I’ve got a pretty good shot at that too. Thanks to everyone who congratulated me after Richmond and Knoxville, it really means a lot to receive so much support. Without further ado, here are some specific shout-outs:
  • Hirofumi for building the original version of this team. I will remain a massive fanboy until we meet in bracket.
  • OG Omari/Ray Smogon War Stories and Carris's 2016 War Story for partially inspiring the way this was written.
  • Stephen for helping me prep matchups, giving me a place to stay in Atlantic City, and for helping keep my mentality in check at Richmond.
  • Brady for making the drives a lot more entertaining.
  • Nate for the Rayquaza/Lunala prep, I might not have gotten CP at Knoxville if not for it.
  • Emilio for matchup prep, hope you make it to Worlds off the few events you’ve got.
  • James Evans and Joe Ugarte for almost getting banned by TCPi with me. I didn’t go into the war story because I got lazy, but that was a great story in and of itself. WWT Forever.
  • Joey for Grassium Z Venusaur. Straight up won me my win and in.
  • David for calming me down before I played Wolfe. My fight-or-flight kicked in and I was seriously about to run away LOL.
  • Kyle for being garbage at rock/paper/scissors so I got to sleep in a bed at Atlantic City.
  • Wacka for writing WWT on his forehead.
  • Edu for passionately cheering for me in Twitch chat.
  • Everyone else is Gazacho for being my favorite group of people I know and for always helping me through anything.

Featured image by Blazekicked


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