Return of TheRNGLord – Top 4 Costa Rica + Collinsville Warstory

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Hi, my name is Alex Arand (AlexTheRNGLord), and I wanted to tell the story of my return to VGC this year. I’ve been playing VGC for about 4 years, starting in late 2016 as a Senior, making VGC 2017 my official first season competing. I have cut Collinsville for the past 3 years in a row with every placement possible, so I was hoping to make this year the year that I won the entire Regional. I was considering not going for an invite this year with me being busy getting ready for college and the completion of my Eagle Scout Rank. At that time, my family was planning on visiting Costa Rica this year and I messaged fellow Zygarde player Cristofher Solís (CrisZ) from Costa Rica if any Special Events were happening around the time my parents were planning the trip. Fortunately, there was one and it was a great opportunity to get some practice in and get back into the swing of things before Collinsville. 

When I arrived in Costa Rica, the whole COVID-19 situation was just starting, so customs were not too bad but it was still an incredibly long line. I’m really glad I came to Costa Rica when I did, as since then the entire world has essentially shut down, and flying now is very dangerous, seeing my family later would have been much harder. I spent most of my time in Costa Rica with my family, so I really didn’t have a lot of time to get practice in. The day before the event we had just come back from a 3-day beach trip. It was 12 hours before the Special Event and I was still trying to figure out my team. Fortunately, the goat Justin Ramirez (Lukamir) helped me out and passed me a paste of the best team I had seen so far in season 2, 12 hours before the Special Event was supposed to begin. He helped me learn the team super fast and traded me Pokemon and I’m super grateful for that.

The Team – Costa Rica


Whimsicott
Whimsicott @ Focus Sash
Ability: Prankster
Level: 50
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Moonblast
– Fake Tears
– Tailwind
– Charm

Standard Whimsicott, but very useful. This Whimsicott is basically the same one Aaron Traylor (Unreality) used at Dallas Regionals. Charm is super nice for lowering the Attack stat of any physical attacker, except Tyranitar, but that's what Mach Punch from Conkeldurr is for. Fake Tears did a really nice job complementing Dragapult, Duraludon, Rotom-Heat, and Jellicent, allowing them to pick up KO’s much earlier than normal. Tailwind provides speed control and Moonblast is just for a damage option and picking up KO’s on Dragapult and Dracovish.

Dragapult
Dragapult @ Life Orb
Ability: Clear Body
Level: 50
EVs: 124 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 124 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Draco Meteor
– Shadow Ball
– Flamethrower
– Protect

Now you may be wondering: “Why wouldn’t you just go 4/252/252 on your Dragapult? Don’t you lose to other Dragapult?” That’s what Duraludon was for, as when it was Dynamaxed it would be very hard for opposing Dragapult to deal damage to it. This Dragapult, in particular, is not meant to take on other Dragapult, as it will most likely drop to opposing Dragapult due to not being fast enough; however, it was very nice against teams with Durant and Duraludon, as with Fake Tears support from Whimsicott, this Dragapult became a real menace when everything it was attacking was -2 Special Defense. General bulk allowed for more survivability, and the Speed stat was to outspeed some bulkier Dragapult that were on high ladder at the time as well as Dynamax Togekiss at +1 due to Max Airstream, which did come into play.

Duraludon
Duraludon @ Assault Vest
Ability: Stalwart
Level: 50
EVs: 140 HP / 4 Def / 156 SpA / 156 SpD / 52 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Flash Cannon
– Draco Meteor
– Solar Beam
– Thunderbolt

By far the MVP of this entire tour. Duraludon next to Whimsicott was super hard to stop with Fake Tears + Dynamax Duraludon. Solar Beam, in particular, was a great way to surprise people who thought they could beat me with Gastrodon. It also eliminated Rotom-Wash and Milotic, which was very nice. In the same way as Dragapult, there aren't a lot of things that aren’t taking a lot of damage from this Duraludon’s attacks at -2 Special Defense. In theory, you can also set the sun with Dragapult or Rotom-Heat, but these situations are very uncommon, however, it can win endgames against stuff like Rotom-Wash, Jellicent, Mudsdale, and Gastrodon if the Sun is set and is absolutely necessary to Dynamax Rotom-Heat or Dragapult.

Normal Sprite
Rotom-Heat @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Levitate
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Def / 4 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Thunderbolt
– Overheat
– Nasty Plot
– Protect

This was put on the team to be a way to “stall” Togekiss and Sylveon so they couldn’t completely sweep. Nasty Plot was very nice for punishing Snarl from Arcanine, and Rotom Heat also stalls out Arcanine. Nasty Plot also allows you to recover from the -2 Special Attack drop from Overheat. Dynamax Rotom Heat allowed me to set Sun, as well as Electric Terrain, so I can boost Thunderbolts from my Duraludon and prevent sleep. If Rotom-Heat was set up with +2, it can blow up Togekiss and leave many heavy dents in my opponent's team that are very hard to recover from.

Conkeldurr
Conkeldurr @ Flame Orb
Ability: Guts
Level: 50
EVs: 148 HP / 156 Atk / 4 Def / 116 SpD / 84 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Drain Punch
– Mach Punch
– Ice Punch
– Detect

When Justin showed me this spread I realized the true power of Conkeldurr. With this Speed investment, you can outspeed Duraludon and Rotom in Tailwind, which was huge. The main gameplan to win with Conkeldurr was to make sure to remove all of its threats, like Sylveon and Togekiss, and have an endgame where it can sweep, preferably vs. Tyranitar, since they drop to a single Mach Punch without Chople Berry or crazy investment. Ice Punch was a great way to OHKO Togekiss under Trick Room or Tailwind and Ice Punch/Max Hailstorm. This Ice coverage also hits Mudsdale and Dragapult very hard, allowing for cleaner endgames.

Jellicent
Jellicent @ Kasib Berry
Ability: Cursed Body
Level: 50
EVs: 116 HP / 236 Def / 140 SpA / 4 SpD / 12 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Water Spout
– Shadow Ball
– Trick Room
– Strength Sap

The least used member but definitely one of the most clutch. Jellicent was the answer to hard Trick Room and stalling Rhyperior and Mudsdale. Its bulk allows it to live a lot of heavy hitters and Kasib Berry compliments that greatly. Being able to retaliate against Dragapult and Mimikyu with Shadow Ball and set up Trick Room in front of them is amazing. This Jellicent also outspeeds Arcanine in Tailwind, so being able to click Water Spout and delete stuff is nice.

Costa Rica Special Event

In regards to my first event back, the experience was very welcoming. I had never been to an event outside of North America and Canada, so I was doing a lot of research on my opponents with VGCsets.

   

The one thing I was scared of was Durant, and fortunately, I only had to play one. Dragapult helped immensely with that matchup. The professor running the event was super nice, and the judges helped navigate me to my opponent and I did get a chance to use my Spanish. I also got to meet René Alvarenga (Rene), who traveled 30 hours straight to the event for his European Internationals Stipend. Grats again to him for winning the whole thing; both of us ran double dragon, which was clearly the play. I ended up going 5-1 in Swiss so I was guaranteed Top Cut. I played Carlos Pérez to get into top cut so the mind games were inevitable.

Top 8 – vs. Carlos Pérez

Since we had played in Round 6, I knew what to expect, but there was one move he did not reveal on his Raichu: Speed Swap. Getting early boosts with Duraludon and Charming his Mudsdale with Whimsicott was a top priority, as that would result in him wasting precious Dynamax turns. I lost game 1 on a couple bad rolls and a misplay, as I was not able to take out the Raichu early enough and it was able to knock out my Jellicent, which was my endgame.

Game 2, I had much better positioning and as a result was able to win as he brought the same mons, even though this was the game he revealed Speed Swap into Togekiss I thought it was over, but he chose not to Dynamax it and continued to Dynamax Mudsdale.  However, I was very skeptical that he was going to bring the same thing again, as it would lead to his defeat in most scenarios, so I called that he was going to change his game plan. He led Gyarados Raichu and I led Dragapult Duraludon. I blew up the Raichu reading the switch of Gyarados into Mudsdale, and after that It was a clear path to victory. He brought Gothitelle instead of Arcanine, and as a result, had no way to weaken my Duraludon or my Jellicent. With Raichu out of the picture Jellicent always beats Mudsdale 1v1.

Result – LWW

Top 4 – vs. Reynord González
Dusclops
I heard that Reynord was using HamsterMania’s Bochum Regionals team, so I was pleased about the matchup. Unfortunately, It did not go according to plan. Game 1, I led Duraludon Whimsicott while he led Gyarados and Togekiss. I underestimated the bulk that Assault Vest Gyarados has, and after a few Max Quakes, I was in big trouble. It was very close and came down to Jellicent vs Torkoal on the last turn of Trick Room. He crits my Jellicent with Solar Beam, and that was the end of Game 1. Game 2 Ended up leading to Jellicent vs Gyarados; however, I missed the KO on Gyarados by 3 HP with Shadow Ball, so that ended my run. GGs to Reynord, who in his words: “I must also mention AlexTheRNGLord for having played the best set of the tournament with a heart attack ending, great games man!” It was indeed a heart attack ending lmao.

Result – LL (3rd Place Overall)

After our set, I put out my Switch into spectator mode so everyone in the venue could spectate Rene vs. Reynord. It was a super close match, but Rene won the set. I really wish we had played in finals but watching Rene and Reynord play was still awesome. Afterward, I took a picture with Rene and had a little celebration with my family back in San Pedro de Barbra. The Costa Rica VGC community was super welcoming, and I’m glad I came to this Special Event.

   

Collinsville Regionals

After the Special Event in Costa Rica, I was really looking forward to Collinsville. If I could do this well with a team I had just picked up in less than 12 hours, what could I do with a team I had prepped with for longer? I talked with Lukamir for a bit and Protect on Whimsicott over Charm was a great call. Being able to stop double-ups into Whimsicott or Fake Out + a move allowed me to get another Fake Tears or Tailwind in before it drops. We also discussed Rotom-Wash over Heat, which was much better due to being much better against sand and much more immediate Water damage than Jellicent had. It also beat Rotom-Heat and Arcanine, and Max Darkness covered for Gastrodon. Max Darkness + Fake Tears was also huge for Gothitelle and Dusclops, as it OHKOs most if not all variants unless the Gothitelle was Colbur Berry, which was not very common. 

I kept Conkeldurr as it was amazing against Sand teams, and added Togekiss for Follow Me support and made it Scope Lens Togekiss for more damage output. Looking back on it, Babiri Berry would have been a better option, but Togekiss was very useful when it actually crits. I wish I had used Heat Wave as I only used Helping Hand maybe once or twice. The reason why I did not run Heat Wave was that I had it on Arcanine, which was another good addition since Rotom-Heat was removed, and Intimidate support was necessary with Charm being removed from the team. I also added some Speed to Duraludon to speed creep Marco Silva’s Duraludon from his 1st place Oceania Internationals team, which was faster than my Costa Rica Duraludon.
arcanine.png
Link to Paste
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I got to the venue Friday afternoon to play in the Premier Challenge and to catch up with old friends from the Chicago scene since I haven't attended an event since the DC Open. It was very nostalgic walking into the Gateway Center one more time. After some debate on whether or not I would run my Regionals team or some Dusclops/Life Orb Milotic meme, I chose to run my Regionals team and test some experimental spreads. I ended up winning the Premier Challenge starting 0-1 in swiss to 4-1 cut. They ran two Premier Challenges to make the event not last as long, and the other person who won the 2nd Premier Challenge was Andrew Ding (Jadis). I overheard that he won the Premier Challenge using Max Flutterby Durant, which ended up being crucial information in my Top 4 match later on. I found out that after the Premier Challenge I was using a sub-optimal Togekiss spread, so I fixed it to minimize damage taken. I was scared and excited for the following day, as I had placed Top 8, Top 4, and Finalist at this regional before, and was hoping to take home the win for what was going to be the last North American Regional of the season. Shoutouts to Justin Miranda-Radbord’s mom for filling out my teamsheet the night before and helping me chill out. After I got some words of encouragement from Justin and his mom, I knew I was ready.

My Tournament Run

Round 1 – vs. Gary Qian (Hitmonqian)
sirfetchd.png
I was very scared when I pulled Gary round 1. I played him at Internationals in the summer where he used Mewtwo/Tapu Lele Smeargle Psychic Spam, so I had no idea what to expect. When I saw a Sirfetch'd and Trapinch in team preview, I was confused, to say the least. Stopping Roserade was key, and I was able to win game 1 by stalling Trick Room from his Bronzong and singling out his Rhyperior and Sirfetch'd.

Game 2 I tried doubling his Brongzong with Max Flare + Fake Tears, and I, unfortunately, found out that he was Heatproof. He was able to get Rhyperior in, but he chose not to Dynamax it and went for Rock Slide, which missed my Rotom-Wash, and allowed me to revenge kill his Rhyperior and leave him only with Sirfetch'd, which doesn’t win the 2v1 against Togekiss and Whimsicott. I knew Gary would come back from this loss, and it's amazing how he went from 0-1 to 8-1. So happy for him when I saw he won his final Swiss set. Such a cool team.

Result – WW | Record – 1-0

Round 2 – vs. Jacob Branick
togekiss.pnggastrodon-east.png
From what I recall, this match mostly came down to me dealing with Braviary and singling out Dracovish. Togedemaru was Air Balloon so it was really easy to knock out, and Jacob kept going for spread damage from his Braviary with Rock Slide, which ended up being his downfall.

Result – WW | Record – 2-0

Round 3 – vs. Daniel Thorpe (TTT)
CharizardClefairyGastrodon-EastRotom-MowGrimmsnarlDarmanitan-Galar
Game 1 was so close. I called a couple switches wrong and Mystical Fire Charizard and Clefairy made me want to pull my hair out. The only way to get rid of his Gastodon immediately was to Max Overgrowth with Duraludon, so I had to be extremely careful with my Dynamax. Game 2, Daniel went for Thunder Wave from Grimmsnarl and got the paralysis hax he needed on my Durladudon. Mystical Fire really screws over my team. He showed me and Jakob Swilley his paste after the match during the lunch break and after I saw his Charizard spread I knew I wouldn’t have won game 3 in any world, it was too thick. I believe it was quite literally max HP/max Speed, so even at -2, this thing was not gonna go down to a Max Lightning.

Result – LL | Record – 2-1

Round 4 – vs. Stefan Mott
arcanine.pngrotom-mow.pngmilotic.png
Oh boy. This set was very messy. I overpredicted a Protect coming out of his Dynamaxed Excadrill game 1 and he did not protect, causing me to get timer stalled by Brave Bird Roost Substitute Bulk Up Corviknight. Game 2, I adjusted my game plan and was able to take out his Excadrill earlier. Game 3 I called him adjusting to my previous lead of Whimsicott Arcanine wrong. I ended up turning the set in my favor after I crit his Corviknight with Max Lightning when the Corviknight was at +1 Special Defense. I stayed calm and we continued the rest of the match but it was all but over from there. I was so shaking once the set was over and felt like my heart was beating a million miles a minute.

Result – LWW | Record – 3-1

Round 5 – vs. Jay Young
Gastrodon-East
Standard TED team. Took out his Dragapult and all threats to Conkeldurr to sweep with it in the endgame. Game 2, I almost screwed up really badly by Mach Punching without my Flame Orb Guts boost, but his Tyranitar was only at +1 due to Intimidate from Arcanine, so I took less damage than expected. Burning his Excadrill with Will-O-Wisp early on pretty much sealed the game unless he played Dragapult really well, but he did not bring it game 2 because he was scared of Rotom-Wash’s Dark Pulse, which, in conjunction with Conkeldurr, Arcanine, and Whimsicott, almost always beat TED cores.

Result – WW | Record – 4-1

Round 6 – vs. Suyang Li
Dusclops
Found out Suyang was a Chicago local. Glad to see we have more people coming to events! His Escavalier was the biggest issue, in combination with Dusclops and Life Orb Power Whip Grimmsnarl.

Game 1, I stalled out his Trick Room and positioned my Rotom and Togekiss well enough to single out Dusclops and win the 1v1 between it and Rotom-Wash thanks to Dark Pulse. Togekiss finally came in clutch after being Snarled to take out his Excavalier game 1. Game 2, I ignored the Dusclops and he revealed Power Whip Grimmsnarl after using Thunder Wave. He got some full paralysis on me but he also missed his Power Whip, basically sealing the game.

Result – WW | Record – 5-1

Round 7 – vs. John Masters
ButterfreeDusclopsRhyperiorTorkoalHattereneIndeedee-Female
As soon as I found out John had Choice Scarf Butterfree I was so scared. Game 1, I made a misplay and switched in the wrong Pokemon, when I had flowcharted how to completely stall out his Trick Room + shutting down the Butterfree immediately: setting Tailwind in front of Trick Room and clicking Max Lighting, followed by some pivoting. Game 2 I positioned well and stalled out Trick Room effectively and won.

Game 3, He decides to Giganiamax his Butterfree, wasting Trick Room turns. He missed a Rock Slide on my Rotom-Wash, which he needed a high roll to make me knock myself out from Life Orb recoil anyways. He flinched me the turn prior and had he not, the game would have been over, so what goes around comes around I guess. I protected to stall out the last turn of Sun and Trick Room and prayed that my Hydro Pump would hit, and it did, sealing the game up.

Result – LWW | Record – 6-1

Round 8 – vs. Keith Boone (Stratos)
TogekissGengarBisharpArcanineRotom-WashConkeldurr
CasedVictory's Oceania Internationals team used by Nihal Noor. This was the match that was going to decide whether or not I cut this Regional for the 4th time. He leads Gengar Togekiss and I call him clicking Protect and Icy Wind, so I double up into Gengar with Whimsicott and Rotom-Wash. I ignored the Togekiss for the remainder of the game because I knew it did not have Follow Me and activating Weakness Policy while it was Dynamaxed was not a good idea. Once Keith ran out of Dynamax turns and Togekiss was all alone, I just clicked Fake Tears and Thunderbolt to seal the game up. Game 2 Keith leads Arcanine Togekiss, which resulted in me clicking Tailwind and Max Geyser and sweeping from there, once again ignoring Togekiss until the endgame where I could guarantee the KO and not worry about Weakness Policy Super Luck Togekiss critting me to death.

Result – WW | Record – 7-1

Round 9 – vs. Justin Burns (Spurrific)
TogekissExcadrillSylveonRotom-WashDusclopsConkeldurr
Potential 3-AM gamer teamkill. I had no idea what my resistance was looking like until after this game but had a pretty decent feeling about it. Justin leads Togekiss Excadrill. Pretty normal, right? Except the Excadrill was White Herb and the Togekiss was Focus Sash. My game plan was to pivot Arcanine around until I could Intimidate it at least to -1 so Dynamaxing either Rotom-Wash or Arcanine would be safe. Heat Wave was super useful here, as it guaranteed damage and ignored Follow Me with the chance of a burn. In the back, he brought Dusclops and Sylveon, and had I known he was going to click Hyper Beam, I would have protected my Rotom-Wash, which removed any chance I had of taking out his Excadrill.

Game 2 was the same except I took out Togekiss much earlier and it really limited Justin’s ability to defend his Excadrill. Game 3 Justin went for a more Trick Room-centralized approach, and I was unable to adjust fast enough. The game was so close and I thought I could pull out a win, but then Justin revealed Extreme Speed Togekiss, which meant GG.

Result – LWL | Record – 7-2 (Advances to Top 16)

Saturday Night

I was really scared that some of my earlier opponents dropping would ruin my run, but Gary and Daniel winning out and my worst resistance being an X-4, I ended up having the highest X-2 resistance. Unfortunately, that meant I had to play the opponent I knew the least about, which was Yihui Xu. I heard rumors of someone using Giga Drain Araquanid and Rock Tomb Dusclops, so I assumed this was him from knowing his other Pokemon and built my gameplan off of his six. Once I filled out my accomplishment sheet and attempted to contact people with my near-dead phone with no charger, I was headed to Arby's with some gamers, including Brady Smith (Bsmiffy), Ashton Cox (Linkyoshimario), Kyle Livinghouse (Animus), and Nick Borghi (LightCore), and ordered a Beef and Cheddar as Ashton said it was one of his favorites. I had a bad impression of Arby’s before, and the staff was very apologetic after getting my order wrong, but after trying the food it was honestly not as bad as some people say. 

After an awesome dinner and saying goodbye to Nick and Kyle, I went over to Joseph Ugarte (JoeUX9), Andrew Ding (Jadis), Lukamir, and Brady’s room to talk with Lukamir about my game plan for Top Cut. Life Orb Rotom-Wash was looking like the savior of my matchup against Yihui, but I had to be careful of not letting his Weakness Policy Araquanid and Choice Specs Sylveon overpower my Duraludon and Rotom-Wash. Stalling Trick Room effectively or preventing it completely was key.

Top 16 – vs. Yihui Xu (Yihui)
TogekissSylveonDusclopsDarmanitan-Galar
I figured that my core four (Arcanine + Rotom-Wash with Duraludon and Whimsicott in the back) would allow me to stall out Trick Room and not let Yihui easily pivot into his offensive options. With three of my four Pokemon having the option to Protect, this was not as hard as I thought it was going to be.

Game 1, he led Darmanitan Dusclops and went immediately for Helping Hand + Rock Slide, and fortunately, he did not flinch my Arcanine or Rotom-Wash as I went for Dark Pulse and Heat Wave. What puzzled me was why was my Arcanine faster than his Darmanitan? The next turn answered my question, as I Dynamax my Rotom-Wash and went for Max Darkness, but his Darmanitan ended up going first again and I realized it was a speed tie. After the Dusclops went down, Yihui had no means to outspeed me and do damage with his offensive options, so game 1 was sealed. Game 2, Yihui led the same thing but immediately switched into Araquanid. I went for the same Dark Pulse Heat Wave to get the damage I needed onto Dusclops, and from there I just let him set up and waste his Dynamax with Araquanid. By switching and protecting I was able to stall his Trick Room and I eventually ended up Dynamaxing my Duraludon once Trick Room ended.

Result – WW

Top 8 – vs. Justin Ramirez (Lukamir)

I talked with Leonard Craft III (DaWoblefet) and Carl Shotsburger (Crawlshots) and the New Bark Puppies about this matchup immediately after I beat Yihui. We figured leading Duraludon and Whimsicott would be the safest option, even if Justin led Arcanine Whimsicott or his own Duraludon Whimsicott since I could always switch into my own Rotom-Wash to kill his Arcanine and Fake Tears support would be enough to outpace Snarl. I also thought I was being smart as I had speed crept Marco’s Assault Vest Duraludon by two Speed points and that Justin may have not speed crept at all or by only one, therefore giving me the advantage in the mirror as I built independently from him with some of his guidance for this regional. Unfortunately, this was not the case and I wouldn’t find out until game 3 that we both speed crept each other on accident.

Game 1, I went default Duraludon Whimsicott and thought spamming Fake Tears + Max Wyrmwind was a good idea. It was not, as Whimsicott went down super early, which cost me the game. Game 2, Justin played a Conkeldurr endgame, and I made sure to leave myself in a situation where I could take out Conkeldurr once his Dynamax ended. I positioned myself and protected at the right times to avoid being sniped by Guts-boosted +2 Max Knuckles and Mach Punches to seal the game.

Game 3 started out with the mirror, which was the ideal situation I was talking about earlier. When I saw Justin Dynamax his Duraludon first, I was super confused and was thinking I forgot to click the Dynamax button. But then, I saw my avatar go for Dynamax on my Duraludon and my jaw dropped as I realized that we both speed crept each other on accident. We both went for Fake Tears from each other's Whimsicott into our Duraludon’s and Justin fired off a Max Wyrmwind doing about 75% of my Dynamaxed Duraludons health. Then, it's my turn to fire back, and the HP for his Duraludon drops to 0. I landed a critical hit, but this critical hit may have put me at a disadvantage since Justin’s Whimsicott was able to take down my Duraludon and was able to get in a switch for free into Arcanine and immediately start using Snarl.

I did not capitalize on this critical hit as I was caught up in the moment, and if I had switched out my Duraludon my new win condition would have been to preserve it to make the Milotic endgame easier. I think I was scared of a Milotic switch in, so I waited to switch in Arcanine and I very much regret not doing that. Eventually, I got into a position where Justin had his Milotic out on the field and I was forced to Fake Tears his Milotic since I knew a Snarl was coming my way into my Rotom-Wash switch-in. There was already some chip on the Milotic but I got another critical hit on the Milotic from my Arcanine with Heat Wave, which didn’t do much damage due to how bulky Milotic was, but Life Orb Thunderbolt was no longer a roll due to that; it was a guaranteed KO. At that point, the game was sealed.

Result – LWW

Top 4 – vs. Andrew Ding (Jadis)
Sylveon
Link to Match. Before this match, Samuel Temple and Jakob Swilley were helping me now to get damage calcs and talk strategy as Carl and Leonard were playing in the Midseason Showdown. I didn’t have much time between matches so I had to calc and come up with a strategy ASAP. I knew that Andrew was forced to lead Gothitelle Durant, so Rotom-Wash and Whimsicott were definitely my best lead. Since he was Kasib Berry Gothitelle, I could take out his Gothitelle with a Fake Tears + Max Darkness from my Rotom to guarantee the OHKO and once I took out Gothitelle, Andrew would lose the ability to pin me down with Durant. I chose Duraludon and Conkeldurr for the endgame because I could just Mach Punch the Tyranitar, and I thought Conkeldurr would take a Hyper Voice from Sylveon much better than it did on stream, but unfortunately, that was because I calced for Throat Spray Sylveon and not Pixie Plate Sylveon, as I was using Justin’s previous version of the team to calc against, which was my mistake.

Game 1, I led Whimsicott Rotom-Wash and proceeded to double Protect. This was to protect my Whimsicott from Fake Out chip and just being singled out by Andrew. This was also to trick Andrew into not using Fake Out, so I could make game 2 easier. Andrew clicks Ally Switch and goes for Max Flutterby into Rotom, which means he has no stat drops or damage done on my side of the field. I read that he was going to protect Durant, as he needed some sort of momentum to bring this game back, so I doubled into Gothitelle and OHKOed it with Fake Tears + Max Darkness. Then I targeted the Durant with Max Geiser + Fake Tears, but I honestly should have just gone for Tailwind. At that point, I had way too much momentum for Andrew to bring this back.

Game 2, I had the same game plan, but forgot to Tailwind and thought Andrew had one less Dynamax turn than he did, as I was just going to Mach Punch it out of Dynamax form. Had I clicked Tailwind, I would have probably won the match. Game 3, Andrew finally clicked Fake Out but did not double up my Whimsicott, so I still had a chance. After some back and forth I got into the position I was hoping for, Conkeldurr and Duraludon vs Sylveon and Tyranitar. I was very happy until I saw the Hyper Voice did a little too much damage, which resulted in my Conkeldurr getting knocked out by its own Flame Orb. At that point, there was no way I could 2v1 Tyranitar and Sylveon, so my run was over.

Result – WLL (4th Place Overall)

Conclusion

It really stings that I once again was so close to becoming the Collinsville Regional Champion, but I have nobody to blame but myself. Every year I have lost to the Champion, so I guess that means something. At least I got to keep my cut streak. COVID-19, unfortunately, ruined this year’s season, but I will have another opportunity to win the title before Worlds 2021, which will hopefully be a format with Tapus. The closest I’ve been to winning was with Tapu Lele so it only makes sense to take home the gold with the one that started it all. I miss the terrains so much and in my opinion, Tapu’s were really healthy for competitive play, I miss them so much. 

I feel like I’ve come a long way as a VGC player, and I really appreciate everyone who has supported me! 290 CP in 2 weeks is insane, which gives me a great head start into the 2021 season. I can’t wait to see all of you in London!
  • Gracias a todos en Costa Rica por el evento estupendo, fue muy acogedor. Tus TO y jueces me ayudaron a encontrar a mis oponentes y pude probar mi español vamos Latam oo.
  • Thank you to everyone in the Chicago scene for your support, it was really nice catching up with you guys after my hiatus and hopefully, I can attend at least one local next year lol.
  • Thank you to JMR and his mom, you guys are amazing and I hope to see you finally win Worlds next year Justin!
  • Thank you to my parents and family, who have supported me the entire time I have been a part of this community.
  • Thank you to Carl Shotsberger, Leonard Craft III, all of the New Bark Loud Puppies (bark bark), Samuel Temple, and Jakob Swilley for helping me during top cut!
  • Thank you to everyone in 3-AM, you guys are an amazing group of friends to have. You guys are the best!!
  • Thank you to everyone my robotics team, Gear It Forward. Even though I skipped scrimmage to play a children's video game competitively you guys still supported me to the end.
  • Shoutouts to CasedVictory!
  • I can't end this shoutout list without mentioning the one and only AldrichYan. Thank you Aldrich for being an awesome supporter and advisor throughout my run, mish mish.
  • Most of all, thank you Lukamir. This season and return to VGC live competitions would not have been possible without your help and suggestions.
  • And remember, in a few hours the sun will rise.

  

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