The Iron Veil with FWWGG – 2nd Place Fall Scramble Report

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Hey everyone! I’m JZ and came second in the Fall Scramble Series 6 tournament. In this report, I’ll be talking about my teambuilding process, an explanation of the team, and some analysis of the games I played in the top cut of this tournament. Before that, I’ll provide a quick introduction of myself:

I began playing VGC in April 2020, about the time when it was Series 4. I really enjoyed the game and played it throughout the summer of 2020, and after joining a couple of Discord servers, I found a great community of friends and VGC veterans that helped me improve and learn more about VGC. Unfortunately, because of the global pandemic, I could not attend any live events and get more exposure to the game, but I had a lot of fun competing in grassroots tournaments and weeklies on various Discord servers. Coming from Asia, I also missed out on competing in The Players Cup hosted by The Pokémon Company International (TPCi), so the Fall Scramble was my first chance to compete in a large tournament. The tournament had around 300 players with a top cut of 28 so coming into the tournament, I was eager to do my best and see how well I could do: previously, the largest tournament I competed in had at most 50 players, and after doing well in those smaller tournaments, I wanted to see how I would fare at larger ones. So this was my first ever “event”.

Teambuilding Process

The first edition of this team was made near the end of Series 5, after seeing my friend Edoardo Giunipero Ferraris (Duckpond) qualify for the Players Cup Finals with a similar team. I wanted to make a team around G-Max Lapras, because of its strong move G-Max Resonance allowing it to set an Aurora Veil, giving the rest of the team members great survivability and allowing me to outlast the opponent with damage trades. So, I decided to make a team around a core  that could exploit the Aurora Veil to its fullest:

lapras.pngferrothorn.pngporygon2.png
At the start of series 5, I played around with a rain team that had Ferrothorn and Porygon-2, and the bulkiness of that duo made for really strong endgames, similar to the Dusclops + Conkeldurr that was used a lot with Lapras in Series 4. So, I wanted to try out the Lapras + Ferrothorn + Porygon2 core because Lapras can provide Aurora Veil and Rain from Max Geyser which paves the way for Porygon2 and Ferrothorn to win a bulky endgame. Porygon2 can spam recover behind Aurora Veil and chip away at opponents, and Ferrothorn’s 4x weakness to fire is reduced with the assistance of Rain. Ferrothorn can also recover HP with Leech Seed. The recovery behind Aurora Veil could be really tough for opponents to break, and with Lapras’ Perish Song and Ferrothorn generally being the slowest Pokémon on the field, this core had some very strong endgame potential.

lapras.pngferrothorn.pngporygon2.pngincineroar.pngtogekiss.pngtyranitar.png
I then added Incineroar to complete a very strong FWG (Fire + Water + Grass) core, and Incineroar provides excellent damage control with Intimidate and Parting Shot. It also allowed me to efficiently maneuver my Pokemon to get favorable board positions. I added Togekiss to deal with fighting types which my team was weak too, and also for redirection to try and get a Follow Me + Trick Room turn 1 if needed. Tyranitar was there to deal some extra damage which the team was slightly lacking, and also to control weather against the very dominant Sunroom teams. But, this team had 5 Pokémon weak to Fighting-types, and even with Togekiss, it was way too hard to deal with. So, I decided to make a few adjustments to the team.

lapras.pngferrothorn.pngtogekiss.pngtyranitar.pngdusclops.pngarcanine.png
This was then the team I was using for the latter part of series 5, and I had some good results winning a couple of weeklies in various Discord servers. Even though I was very reluctant to drop Porygon2 from the team, I added Dusclops for the Fighting-type immunity that allowed for great switch-ins for the fighting-weak team, and behind Aurora Veil it became extremely hard to kill with Pain Split, allowing for bulky endgames too. Arcanine was added to have similar damage control to Incineroar with Intimidate and also to remove another one of the Fighting-type weaknesses.

When series 6 came, I wanted to try and use the same team I was using in series 5 since I was enjoying it and having good success with it, however, Tyranitar and Togekiss were banned. To tell the truth, though, I was mainly bringing Lapras + Arcanine + Dusclops + Ferrothorn (which I will abbreviate as LADF)  to most of my games and the other 2 banned Pokémon was very matchup specific. So, because the FWG core of LADF was very strong and reliable, I wanted to use this core in series 6 too.

lapras.pngferrothorn.pngdusclops.pngarcanine.pngamoonguss.pngurshifu.png
I added Urshifu Rapid-Strike and Amoonguss as the last two members for the Series 6 version of this team. I knew I wanted a redirector in one of the slots to be able to set Trick Room easily in turn 1, so I was debating between Clefable and Amoonguss. Clefable could improve my matchup against Urshifu Single-Strike, but otherwise, it wasn’t doing much for the team. So, Amoonguss was added to be able to constantly regenerate its HP, pressure opponents with Spore, and also heal its teammates with Pollen Puff. This seemed especially strong with Aurora Veil on paper, so I went with it.

By now, the team had a very strong FWG core and was very bulky and strong defensively, but it was vulnerable to opponents setting up with Nasty Plot, Coil, etc. It was also vulnerable to getting blown over by very Hyper Offensive teams. So, the last slot needed to be able to exert enough offensive pressure to not let my opponent’s freely set up, whilst also being able to retaliate to fragile, hyper offensive teams. So far, most of my endgames were played through Ferrothorn setting up with Iron Defense and winning with Body Press, and that endgame was difficult if the opponent had numerous Fire types. I wanted the last slot to be another win condition if Ferrothorn could not clutch the endgames, so I went with Urshifu Rapid-Strike. It was able to beat all the fire types that Ferrothorn hated and pressured my opponent to think carefully about bringing them to the matchup. With a Choice Band, Urshifu pressured a lot of one-hit knockouts onto opposing Pokémon, so it seemed perfect for the role I needed at the last slot.

For the Scramble tournament, in particular, the format was open teamsheets in Top Cut with double elimination, and no team lock during the flight rounds (the equivalent of swiss rounds). We were allowed to change teams between the flight rounds and top cut, so the team was changed very slightly with one or two moves and items being swapped between flights and top cut.

The Team


Lapras
ninja turtel (Lapras-Gmax) @ Light Clay
Ability: Shell Armor
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 212 HP / 12 Def / 196 SpA / 4 SpD / 84 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Freeze-Dry
– Hydro Pump
– Perish Song
– Protect

Lapras is the main Dynamaxer of the team, and its main purpose is to set Aurora Veil and rain for the rest of the team to do work. Its main job was not to pick up knockouts, and picking up any knockouts was just an added bonus. The set I used was the same set used by Edoardo, with the only difference being me having Perish Song over life dew. I added Perish Song because it provided a solid win condition and endgame plan with Ferrothorn, as it is very bulky after setting up a few Iron Defenses and also being generally the slowest Pokémon on the field. Edoardo explained this set very well in his own team report (which I highly recommend reading), but I’ll explain some more of my thoughts here too. The Light Clay item allowed it to perform its job excellently by allowing for more turns of Aurora Veil, and since the team was not too efficient and picking up fast knockouts, this was extremely helpful. Shell Armor is great for Lapras to benefit more from its own Aurora Veil avoiding critical hits, and also so the team was less vulnerable to RNG, which could come into effect because of the high average turn count of games. The spread allowed it to outspeed all Amoonguss and the Special Attack was enough to hit a jump point. The rest was invested into HP for general bulk.

Once I got Aurora Veil up, I was fine with letting Lapras go down or switching it out to preserve it for a Perish Song endgame. I Dynamax it pretty much every game, and always try and go for G-Max Resonance as soon as possible. Lapras by nature is a slow turtle, but I knew if I wanted to win games I needed Lapras to pull its weight and become the best turtle it can be. So, I decided to name my Lapras ninja turtel in hopes of giving it mutant ninja powers just like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  • -1 252+ Atk Life Orb Hustle Dracozolt Bolt Beak (170 BP) vs. 212 HP / 12 Def Dynamax Lapras-Gmax: 406-478 (87.5 - 103%) – 18.8% chance to OHKO
  • 252 SpA Life Orb Adaptability Porygon-Z Helping Hand Max Strike vs. 212 HP / 4 SpD Dynamax Lapras-Gmax: 354-419 (76.2 - 90.3%) – guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 Atk Choice Band Urshifu Close Combat vs. 212 HP / 12 Def Dynamax Lapras-Gmax: 362-428 (78 - 92.2%) – guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 Atk Life Orb Terrakion Max Rockfall vs. 212 HP / 12 Def Dynamax Lapras-Gmax: 338-400 (72.8 - 86.2%) –guaranteed 2HKO
  • 196+ SpA Lapras-Gmax Max Geyser vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Talonflame with an ally's Aurora Veil: 169-200 (110.4 - 130.7%) – guaranteed OHKO
  • 196+ SpA Lapras-Gmax Max Geyser vs. 220 HP / 68 SpD Arcanine: 206-246 (106.7 - 127.4%) – guaranteed OHKO

Arcanine
rk9 (Arcanine) @ Mago Berry
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 220 HP / 4 Def / 4 SpA / 60 SpD / 220 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Flamethrower
– Snarl
– Will-O-Wisp
– Safeguard

Arcanine’s main role on the team is to provide damage control with Intimidate and fast Snarls, as well as outspeeding Dracozolt to burn them with Will-O-Wisp, which was a big threat to Lapras. It allowed the team to be even bulkier, and after weakening the damage output of the opponent’s Pokémon and Lapras setting up Aurora Veil, Dusclops can come in the back for a very safe Trick Room. Safeguard was added as an unconventional move because I found I was losing to a lot of Amoonguss as I was lacking offensive pressure to KO it quickly. It also allowed me to be less vulnerable to RNG too. Setting up Safeguard against opposing Amoonguss meant my Dusclops could come in later to set up Trick Room without the worry of being Spored. Flamethrower was good to deal with opposing Ferrothorn mirrors, and other bulky steels that liked to set up such as Corviknight.  I chose Mago Berry just to give it extra survivability behind screens and be as annoying as possible to the opponent. Arcanine can single-handedly slow down or even mitigate opposing Dynamaxes if played correctly (eg. Getting a burn onto opposing Dracozolt), which can swing the game heavily in my favor. Keeping Arcanine alive as long as possible was great for my team, and Mago Berry did just that. It also helped to give me a positive roll to survive Surging Strikes from Urshifus.

The spread was built mainly to give positive rolls to survive Porygon-Z Max Strike at -1, and Surging Strikes from Urshifu so I could stay in to burn it. It also had enough speed to outspeed base 90 speeds such as Porygon-Z, so I could snarl it before it attacks. Arcanine’s nickname is pretty self-explanatory, when talking about this Pokémon with my friends I type rk9 because I’m too lazy :D
  • -1 252 SpA Life Orb Adaptability Porygon-Z Max Strike vs. 220 HP / 60 SpD Arcanine: 169-200 (87.5 - 103.6%) – 18.8% chance to OHKO
  • 252 Atk Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Surging Strikes vs. 220 HP / 4 Def Arcanine on a critical hit: 78 (40.4%) - 92 (47.6%) – 28.1% chance to 3HKO after Figy Berry recovery
  • -1 252+ Atk Life Orb Hustle Dracozolt Max Quake vs. 220 HP / 4 Def Arcanine with an ally's Aurora Veil: 140-166 (72.5 - 86%) – guaranteed 2HKO

Dusclops
perry reborn (Dusclops) @ Eviolite
Ability: Frisk
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 132 Def / 124 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 6 Spe
– Night Shade
– Pain Split
– Taunt
– Trick Room

Dusclops is on the team as a great switch-in to Fighting-type attacks and is the team’s Trick Room setter. The team generally likes to play in Trick Room so Ferrothorn can set up, and Eviolite is the item of choice because it is really the only viable item for Dusclops, making it extremely bulky especially behind Aurora Veil. I have 6 speed IVs on Dusclops to be able to outspeed opposing Dusclops, while still being slower than other Pokémon such as Hatterene to go first under Trick Room. At first, I had Haze on Dusclops instead of Taunt to improve my Beat Up matchup and also Coalossals, but I found myself rarely ever clicking it and it had anti-synergy with my Iron Defense Ferrothorn. My team also needed another answer to Amoonguss and Spores if Arcanine couldn’t get Safeguard up, so I added Taunt to be able to deal with Amoonguss under Trick Room. Taunt came in pretty handy when I used it, allowing me to win the Iron Defense Ferrothorn mirrors, prevent my team from getting slept by Amoonguss, and also taunt opposing Dusclops so it couldn’t pain split and become even harder to kill (My team lacked damage to be able to reliably take other Dusclops off the field efficiently – allowing it to Pain Split my bulky Pokémon like Lapras and Ferrothorn could swing the game in my opponent’s favor). Because of the speed IVs on my Dusclops, I was also able to taunt other Dusclops to prevent Trick Room if I wanted to play out of it too.

The spread on Dusclops was just to make it generally as bulky as possible, while also allowing it to live a Wicked Blow from Life Orb Single-Strike Urshifu. It is worth noting that in Series 6, pretty much the only move that could OHKO Dusclops behind Aurora Veil is Wicked Blow. I was considering making it live a Choice Banded Wicked Blow, but it basically needed 252 invests in Defense, which I thought wasn’t worth it. I wanted Dusclops to be a damage sponge to switch in for both physical and special hits if needed, so I settled with a somewhat balanced defensive spread. As mentioned earlier in the report, Dusclops was a replacement for Porygon2. In the previous team, Porygon2’s nickname was Perry the Platypus. So, Dusclops has joined the team as a new and improved Perry, Perry reborn.
  • 252 Atk Life Orb Urshifu-Gmax Wicked Blow vs. 252 HP / 132+ Def Eviolite Dusclops on a critical hit: 120-143 (81.6 - 97.2%) – guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 SpA Life Orb Porygon-Z Max Darkness vs. 252 HP / 124 SpD Eviolite Dusclops: 96-114 (65.3 - 77.5%) – guaranteed 2HKO

Ferrothorn
swole boi (Ferrothorn) @ Leftovers
Ability: Iron Barbs
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 60 Def / 196 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 4 Spe
– Body Press
– Iron Defense
– Leech Seed
– Protect

Ferrothorn I believe was one of the MVPs of this team. Not only was it a great switch-in to tank hits with many resistances, but it was the endgame win-condition I played to the most. Once Aurora Veil and Rain were set up, Ferrothorn becomes insanely hard to kill, and coupled with a few Iron Defenses, it becomes extremely hard to kill while dishing out damage with Body Press. Ferrothorn coming in on Trick Room with Aurora Veil and Rain up is extremely hard to deal with, as it can Iron Defense before taking any hits and once it sets up, it can start OHKOing Pokémon with Body Press. Leech Seed gives it extra survivability against opposing Special Attackers, allowing it to stay on the field longer. Leftovers help with this too. There are 4 speed IVs to outspeed other Ferrothorns in mirrors, allowing me to Iron Defense before they Body Press. Most importantly, it gave me more control over the perish song endgame: If it’s a Ferrothorn vs. Ferrothorn, I know I should be in Trick Room when perish song ends. This gives me more control over an originally 50/50 endgame that was hinged upon a speed tie.

The spread allowed it to live numerous Fire-type attacks both in and out of Aurora Veil and Rain, and also had enough defense to get a 2HKO on Single-Strike Urshifu without any boosts. This was important because my team had a generally tough time with Single-Strike Urshifu, so Ferrothorn could be a tool used to my advantage. Note for all the calcs that Aurora Veil offered the least protection to Fire-type attacks, so, if Ferrothorn was in Rain or +2 Defense, it takes the hit better than it does with Aurora Veil. Ferrothorn was nicknamed swole boi because of how many hits it could take, absorbing damage very effectively. It also used its swole physique to Body Press its enemies, carrying the team like a true swole boi.
  • 0 SpA Arcanine Flamethrower vs. 252 HP / 196 SpD Ferrothorn: 156-184 (86.1 - 101.6%) – 6.3% chance to OHKO
  • 252 Atk Talonflame Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 60+ Def Ferrothorn with an ally's Aurora Veil: 139-168 (76.7 - 92.8%) – guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
  • 0 SpA Talonflame Overheat vs. 252 HP / 196 SpD Ferrothorn with an ally's Aurora Veil: 115-139 (63.5 - 76.7%) – guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
  • 252 Atk Urshifu-Gmax Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 60+ Def Ferrothorn: 144-170 (79.5 - 93.9%) – guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
  • 60+ Def Ferrothorn Body Press vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Urshifu-Gmax: 88-104 (50.2 - 59.4%) – guaranteed 2HKO

Amoonguss
fun guy (Amoonguss) @ Mental Herb
Ability: Regenerator
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 108 Def / 164 SpD
Sassy Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Pollen Puff
– Spore
– Rage Powder
– Protect

Amoonguss was on the team to act as the primary and only form of redirection, in case I wanted to do Rage Powder + Trick Room turn 1 or as soon as possible. It was also there to threaten Spores onto Pokémon that can set up or are big threats to the team, nullifying their threat for at least 1 turn. It also could heal the team with Pollen Puff, and with Aurora Veil, it was broken. It made my Pokémon especially bulky and hard to kill. Mental Herb was there to avoid taunts from opposing Dusclops under Trick Room or any form of Taunt. In hindsight, I rarely brought Amoonguss to my games as it made the 4 I brought lackluster in terms of damage, and most of the time it was brought it died very quickly, so it was probably the weakest link on the team. But, the redirection and Spore pressure came in clutch at times so it was on the team for this specific reason.

The EV spread was to optimize the recovery from Regenerator, and then being invested in general bulk whilst also being very specially biased defensively as most threats to Amoonguss were on the special side in Series 6. Defensively, I made sure it lived a Wicked Blow from Choice Band Urshifu as that Pokémon could single-handedly sweep my team, and the rest was invested into Special Defense. I think this nickname does not need any explanation. Amoonguss makes everyone’s day as the fun guy!
  • 252 Atk Choice Band Urshifu Wicked Blow vs. 236 HP / 108 Def Amoonguss on a critical hit: 178-211 (81.2 - 96.3%) – guaranteed 2HKO
  • 0 SpA Arcanine Flamethrower vs. 236 HP / 160+ SpD Amoonguss: 96-114 (43.8 - 52%) – 5.9% chance to 2HKO
  • 252 Atk Gale Wings Talonflame Brave Bird vs. 236 HP / 108 Def Amoonguss: 174-206 (79.4 - 94%) – guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 SpA Talonflame Overheat vs. 236 HP / 160+ SpD Amoonguss: 140-168 (63.9 - 76.7%) – guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 Atk Life Orb Terrakion Max Rockfall vs. 236 HP / 108 Def Amoonguss: 165-196 (75.3 - 89.4%) – guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Life Orb Primarina Max Hailstorm vs. 236 HP / 160+ SpD Amoonguss with an ally's Aurora Veil: 137-161 (62.5 - 73.5%) – guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ Atk Life Orb Hustle Dracozolt Max Airstream vs. 236 HP / 108 Def Amoonguss with an ally's Aurora Veil: 173-205 (78.9 - 93.6%) – guaranteed 2HKO

po (Urshifu-Rapid-Strike-Gmax) @ Choice Band
Ability: Unseen Fist
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Close Combat
– Surging Strikes
– Poison Jab
– U-turn

Urshifu was the main damage dealer of the team, picking up crucial KOs on Pokémon that threatened my team. Its main job was to either trade 1 for 1 with big threats, especially with the Fire-types that threatened Ferrothorn. When positioned well, Urshifu could pin down a slot very effectively, as it can’t protect and nothing can comfortably switch into a Choice Band Urshifu. The item of choice was Choice Band because I wanted to do as much damage as possible, and there were a few offensive calcs that Choice Band allowed me to hit. The moveset is pretty standard, with 2 STAB moves and Poison Jab to hit the fairy types such as Primarina. U-turn is an interesting move, allowing me to do damage and reposition by switching in a bulky Pokémon like Dusclops and Ferrothorn to take an incoming attack aimed at Urshifu. It allowed Urshifu to come back healthy at a later time to pick up KOs in the late game too. Additionally, Rapid-Strike Urshifu had great synergy with Lapras, as Surging Strikes in Rain from Max Geyser did an insane amount of damage to anything, even though it resisted it.

The EV spread is very standard, maximizing attack and speed. I needed to be maximum speed to outspeed Arcanine to avoid getting burned, and the rest was dumped to maximize attack. Urshifu is named after the original Kung Fu Panda, Po.
  • 252 Atk Choice Band Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Poison Jab vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Primarina: 174-206 (93 - 110.1%) – 56.3% chance to OHKO
  • 252 Atk Choice Band Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Surging Strikes (3 hits) vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Corviknight-Gmax in Rain on a critical hit: 207-246 (100.9 - 120%) – guaranteed OHKO
  • 252 Atk Choice Band Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Rotom-Wash: 145-172 (92.3 - 109.5%) – 56.3% chance to OHKO
  • 252 Atk Choice Band Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Close Combat vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Dynamax Lapras-Gmax: 372-438 (90.7 - 106.8%) – 43.8% chance to OHKO
  • 252 Atk Choice Band Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Ferrothorn: 186-218 (102.7 - 120.4%) – guaranteed OHKO
  • 252 Atk Choice Band Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Close Combat vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Dynamax Porygon-Z: 410-486 (128.1 - 151.8%) – guaranteed OHKO

Playing the Team

In general, the team mostly plays in the same way that covers most matchups. Try and set up Aurora Veil as soon as possible, and try and set Ferrothorn or Urshifu up for an endgame. If you can pick up a couple of quick KOs, Lapras’ Perish Song becomes extremely valuable.

lapras.pngferrothorn.pngdusclops.pngarcanine.png
This is a safe four to bring for most matchups, forming a very hard to break core. As mentioned earlier, the FWG core combined with the huge bulk from all of the Pokémon and damage control from Arcanine made the team very versatile and able to take attacks from almost anything. The game plan is to try and set up a mid-game Trick Room with Aurora Veil and get Ferrothorn set up with Iron Defense and Rain from Max Geyser. From there, Ferrothorn can pick up numerous KOs while being unkillable or Lapras can set up a Perish Song while Ferrothorn can stall out the turns being unkillable.

lapras.pngferrothorn.pngdusclops.pngurshifu.png
These four are probably my favorite to bring because it gives you very good control of the tempo of the game. Either I could play it slow and position well to allow for Ferrothorn to endgame behind Aurora Veil, or I could apply offensive pressure with Urshifu, threatening to pick up fast KOs to accelerate a Perish Song endgame or just single-handedly sweep. It also does not allow opponents to freely set up on the somewhat passive team.

dusclops.pngamoonguss.pnglapras.pngferrothorn.png
This four is usually brought if I need to get up Trick Room as soon as possible, and I can try and get a switch into Ferrothorn and set up Iron Defense quickly. These four could be punished as the lead is very passive, and so this is mostly a “last-resort” kind of lead. When using this lead, you also have to be careful that your Trick Room is not stalled out.

My Tournament Run

I will share some replays of the sets I played in Top Cut of the tournament below, and for reference, I went 11-3 in the Flight Portion of the tournament (the equivalent of Swiss rounds). I was in the Shield Flight.

Winners Top 32 – vs. T-North
grimmsnarl.pngmantine.pngpolitoed.pngferrothorn.pngdracozolt.pnginteleon.png
Looking at the teamsheet, I thought that matchup was straightforward and I had to just do what I was normally doing, setting up Aurora Veil and playing carefully to outlast my opponent. The main threats were Dracozolt and Ferrothorn, as Dracozolt threatens big damage to my Lapras and Ferrothorn setting up could be a problem. My answers were burning Dracozolt with Arcanine and potentially playing the Perish Song or Dusclops endgame vs. the Ferrothorn.

The plan works well in Game 1, my opponent tried to stall my Dynamax and Dynamax late game, but I managed to punish this with the Perish Song gameplan. I thankfully pick up two relatively fast KOs with my Lapras’ Dynamax while his Ferrothorn was getting set up. I then manage to get an Intimidate allowing my Lapras to live a Dracozolt hit, and I could set Perish Song and stall out the 3 turns by getting burns and cycling Intimidates. With the open teamsheet format, I knew Dracozolt did not have a great move to hit my Ferrothorn for big damage, so once his Ferrothorn was burned, I could effectively stall out the 3 Perish Song turns to win the game.

For Game 2, I decided to go with exactly the same gameplan. I managed to put his Dynamaxed Dracozolt at -1 attack and burned, which neutralized its damage output. Then, I play carefully with good switches and careful targeting to close out the game.

Result – WW | Matches – Game 1, Game 2

Winners Top 16 – vs. Jag
corviknight.pngchandelure.pngprimarina.pngumbreon.pngamoonguss.pngdiggersby.png
At first thought, the matchup seemed quite tough if my opponent managed to get both Primarina and Chandelure on the field at the same time. My plan was to try and trade Urshifu for Chandelure and play to a Ferrothorn endgame, but this became unreliable if Chandelure was next to Urshifu, as it became a read on whether Chandelure would stay in or not. Also, even though Lapras could eat grass type attacks from Primarina, it did not want to stay in too long as the damage could add up quickly. So, the matchup could be difficult but it would be manageable as long as I manage the board position well, applying offensive pressure at the right times. Overall, after setting Aurora Veil, the goal was to play to either a Ferrothorn or Urshifu endgame.

In game 1, the Dynamax turns on both sides were pretty stale, and nothing really happened. I got the protect calls wrong on my Ferrothorn making it really weak, but after scouting his team out I realized that Urshifu could single-handedly beat his 4 Pokémon. So, I decided to play to an Urshifu endgame where Urshifu could clean up in the end. This worked extremely well.

In game 2, I didn’t play the best and I could have made some safer and more optimal plays, but in general, I brought the same 4 and had the exact same gameplan. This time though, the endgame was a lot harder since his Corviknight had Tailwind, and so the Urshifu endgame was not as straightforward. Halfway through the game, it seemed like a losing game, but I got bailed out with a double protect at the end after pressing Perish Song.

Result – WW | Matches – Game 1Game 2

Winners Top 8 – vs. Papiloco
dracozolt.pngmarowak-alola.pngamoonguss.pngazumarill.pngdusclops.pngrhyperior.png
This matchup seemed tough on paper, because he had threats to my team both in and out of Trick Room, and he had very strong hitters that would punish my passive play, especially with Belly Drum Azumarill that I had almost no answer for. For this matchup, I knew I needed damage control ASAP with Arcanine to pressure Intimidates and Burns, and hopefully reach a position of either an Urshifu or Ferrothorn endgame as usual. It seemed like after Dracozolt was gone, Urshifu could do some work, and if not, Ferrothorn would win 1v1 against Dracozolt. 

Game 1, I decided I had to lead Amoonguss to apply Spore pressure in case he wanted to try and Belly Drum Azumarill turn 1, and this meant I had no room to bring Urshifu (I committed to a Ferrothorn endgame game 1). My priorities were to protect Ferrothorn and set up Safeguard to make my board position more favorable and allow my other Pokémon to come in safe from Amoonguss spores. I decide to try and set up my Ferrothorn ASAP, and eventually, this plan worked as the Ferrothorn became too hard to deal with, since I could somewhat pressure Marowak to get off the field and allow Ferrothorn to set up freely.

Game 2, I thought he would try to go for a Belly Drum Azumarill lead and predict wrong, so I immediately get caught in a tough spot. I get a good swap and protect to try and improve my board position, but soon his offensive pressure starts piling up with both Marowak and Dracozolt on the field. I get Arcanine on the field as soon as possible to provide damage control, and it alleviates some of the pressure but I still have to respect the Belly Drum Azumarill. I decided to try and go for the same Ferrothorn endgame, but after missing the KO on the Azumarill by a hair after it Belly Drummed, I had to rely on a double Protect to win the game with the aforementioned Ferrothorn + Perish Song endgame. Since Ferrothorn had +6 Defense, it was able to take a hit and win the Perish Song endgame vs Marowak.

Result – WW | Matches – Game 1Game 2

Winners Top 4 – vs. Sohaib Mufti (Sohaib)
talonflame.pngmarowak-alola.pnglapras.pngurshifu.pngferrothorn.pngdracovish.png
For this matchup, on paper, it seemed quite tough because of the numerous threats he had to my team, and Hyper Offense could be tough in general if the opponent gained too much momentum quickly. However, for this match-up, I decided to prepare a lot with friends because it could mean I get a chance at doing well in my first event. We flowcharted a lot of leads and figured out Urshifu would be the endgame win condition, being able to KO most of the Pokémon on his team. The gameplan was to try to set Aurora Veil ASAP and get a midgame Trick Room, and try and pick up the remaining KOs with Urshifu. We also realized Talonflame was a big threat, so I wanted to get rid of it ASAP.

In game 1, I decided to stick to the exact plan I flowcharted. However, the momentum fell to his side very quickly and I had to keep up the pace. I ended up losing my Lapras to a double-up before it could set Aurora Veil, and I had to play the game without it. I did manage to get Trick Room up like I had planned, and so I could get Ferrothorn in to try and set up. He KOs my Dusclops which gave me the free switch into Urshifu, and from there I managed to pin down both of his slots which allowed me to swing the game back into my favor.

Game 2, I had flowcharted the leads and Pokémon I wanted to bring – I wanted to apply a lot of offensive pressure ASAP to try and keep up. So, I led Amoonguss + Urshifu which I had never done before. This allowed me to get a free Close Combat onto his Dynamax Lapras, nearly OHKOing it. I then decide to try and pick up as many KOs as I could as quickly as possible, which was the opposite of the team’s philosophy. But, I had to do it to keep up with the offensive threats posed by the opposing team. Eventually, I won both games without even setting up Aurora Veil.

Result – WW | Matches – Game 1Game 2

Winners Finals – vs. Raghav Malaviya (Mudhiman)
corviknight.pngarcanine.pngpersian-alola.pnggastrodon-east.pngamoonguss.pngterrakion.png
When I saw I was up against this team for the Winners Finals, I remember feeling pretty worried because my team did not have a great matchup – he had Safety Goggles on his Persian, so I did not have any option of redirecting Beat Up. Terrakion at +4 had extreme offensive pressure that my team simply could not handle, so if Beat Up got off I had already lost the game. This meant that the standard gameplan was off the table, as it was easily punished with the offensive threat of Terrakion. So, I needed to lead Amoonguss + Urshifu to have two Pokémon that threatened Terrakion, one with Spore and the other with a banded Close Combat. However, this lead could be easily punished with a Corviknight lead, as it could set up quickly and Dynamax and Urshifu did not want to stay in. We tested this matchup before the game, and in those games, it seemed like there was no reliable way to beat this team and I ended up losing almost all of the practice sets. It seemed like the only way out was making some hard reads during the game.

Game 1, I stuck to the plan and caught the Persian + Terrakion lead. Things seem to start to look decently good for me until his Arcanine gets a turn 1 wake up and OHKOs my Ferrothorn. After that, the game was simply lost. Game 2, I decided to go for the same lead but he catches it with the Corviknight lead. I cannot reposition my board fast enough and he ends up blowing through my team with Corviknight.

Result – LL | Matches – Games 1 and 2

Losers Finals – vs. Sohaib Mufti (Sohaib)
talonflame.pngmarowak-alola.pnglapras.pngurshifu.pngferrothorn.pngdracovish.png
This was a rematch of the Winners Semi-Finals, and so my preparation from before came in handy. I decided to try and stick to the flowchart and game plan that worked well for me in the Winners Semi-Finals. In game 1, I decided to go for the exact same game plan as I flow charted before with mid-game Trick Room, however, my opponent adapted very well and did not allow that to happen. So, I had to make an adaptation and try and slow down the game until tailwind is over, then I could endgame with Urshifu since it outsped his whole team without Tailwind, with a speed tie against their Urshifu.

Game 2, after going for the same turn 1 play for 2 games with the Lapras + Urshifu lead, I thought he would read my turn 1 play and so I decided to make a read and stay in turn 1 with Urshifu and go for a Close Combat onto Lapras. The read worked out perfectly but I, unfortunately, got my Urshifu burned from Flare Blitz, so the match became a lot harder to win as the Urshifu endgame was not as clear cut. However, I still went for the Urshifu endgame and it worked out in the end.

Result – WW | Matches – Games 1 and 2

Grand Finals – vs. Raghav Malaviya (Mudhiman)
corviknight.pngarcanine.pngpersian-alola.pnggastrodon-east.pngamoonguss.pngterrakion.png
This is a rematch of the Winners Finals, and as mentioned previously, this matchup was extremely challenging for me but I was already very happy with reaching the Grand Finals of such a big tournament, so I played the game without any expectations and was just trying to give it my best.

Game 1, I go with the same Urshifu + Amoonguss lead but he again caught it with a Corviknight lead, and even though I brought the game closer than when I was in the Winners Finals, it still proved too challenging to come back from the bad lead. Game 2, I decided to switch it up and try to catch a Corviknight lead, so I led Lapras + Urshifu and tried to go for a standard gameplan. But, he leads with Persian + Terrakion, gets the Beat Up off, and the game is lost after that.

Result – LL | Matches – Games 1 and 2 (2nd Place Overall)

Conclusion

I thought the tournament was a great first experience for me to be able to play at a big “event”, and I had a lot of fun in it. I got to play with and make friends with some cool and talented players, and I’m grateful to Nicholas Borghi for hosting it. Also, I have to give a shoutout to Baars, who helped me a lot with the team report and also preparing for top cut games. Additionally, AldrichYan, Tyo, Jnqe, Willy, Liakos, Ian, and Karlo helped me a lot with preparing for top cut matchups too, so big shoutouts to them!

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