Sunday, February 19, 2017

VGC 17 Moveset Analysis: Tapu Koko





Deviant Art by albrt-wlson

Following its reveal before Pokemon Sun and Moon, Tapu Koko was viewed as of of the many potential new threats in the VGC 17 format. Judging by its offensive stats, Tapu Koko has a blistering base 130 speed marking it down as one the fastest natural Pokemon. Both Attack and Special Attack from Tapu Koko seem mediocre-to-decent at best at 115 and 95 respectively, though not as intermediate strong. On its typing, Electric- / Fairy-type is strong offensive to most of the VGC 17 format with STAB Thunder Bolts / Dazzling Gleams. Despite the average base 70 HP / 85 Def / 75 SpD, Tapu Koko's typing lets it resist up to five types and one immunity. Looking at its movepool, Tapu Koko has some interesting coverage options like Thunderbolt, Dazzling Gleam, Wild Charge, Roost, Calm Mind, Taunt, Grass Knot, Sky Drop, and the new Fairy-type Super Fang clone in Nature's Madness. Despite having a fast 130 speed stat, Tapu Koko average attacking stats and limited movepool seem to hold it back from being a viable fast sweeper, except when looking into its ability.

With Tapu Koko's Electric Surge ability, it can summon the Electric Terrain field effect, which lasts for about 5 turns. For as long as Electric Terrain is on the field, all "grounded" Pokemon receive a 1.5x multipier boost into their Electric-type moves and prevents any Pokemon from being put to sleep. To put this into perspective of how strong Tapu Koko's Electric Terrain-boosted Electric STABs are, they are essentially receiving a Specs or Band boost as well. Thanks to its base 130 speed, Tapu Koko can get off the first attack most of the time and hit targets with its powerful Electric Terrain STAB Wild Charge, Thunderbolts, or Discharges against its foes. To top this off, Electric Terrain activates Surge Surfer for Alolan Raichu, one of Tapu Koko's best partners who now has a double speed and threaten and Poison-types on the field.

Note not everything goes well for our fellow Electric / Fairy type as their are some notable issues. Aside its average defenses, Tapu Koko's rather mediocre offense stats force it to rely on Electric Terrain-boosted STABs to pick up OHKOs. Tapu Koko lacks a strong Fairy-type STAB for itself like Moonblast or Play Rough, with Dazzling Gleam near mandatory to run. Now with Lightening Rod users such as Alolan Marowak gaining popularity, Tapu Koko have to consider using attacks like Discharge, or relying on their partners to knock these Pokemon out, otherwise rendering its Electric-type attacks useless. As touched on multiple times, the average defense capabilities lets any Ground-type, Electric-type, or a powerful STAB attack from OHKOing the frail Guardian Deity. On a final note, there are three other Tapus who can remove the Electric Terrain with their own and threaten Tapu Koko as well.

Even so, Tapu Koko remains as one of the dangerous cleaners in the VGC 17 as its potential to hit targets with powerful Electric-Terrain boosted attacks makes it a threat. Even if it fails to OHKO key targets, Tapu Koko can serve as a strong late-game who can pick off weaken targets thanks to its fast speed stat. In short, for as long as Tapu Koko is on the field with its Electric Terrain effect, it can prove difficult to beat.



Tapu Koko



Type: Electric Fairy
Base Stats: 75 HP / 115 Attack / 85 Defense / 95 Special Attack / 75 Special Defense / 115 Speed
Weaknesses:  Poison (x2) Ground (x2)
Resistances:  Fighting x0.5  Bug x0.5 Electric x0.5  Dark x0.5 Flying x0.5
Immunities: Dragon
Abilities: Electric Surge - Summons Electric Terrrain which in turn is active for 5 turns. Electric Terrain increases the power of all Electric-type moves and prevents sleep status for all "grounded" Pokemon.



Fast Offensive Attacker


Tapu Koko @ Life Orb / Choice Specs / Electrium Z / Focus Sash
Ability: Electric Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid / Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 Def
- Thunderbolt / Discharge
- Dazzling Gleam
- Hidden Power [Ice] / Discharge / Volt Switch / Nature's Madness
- Protect

At the moment, this is one of the standard variants of Tapu Koko which run either the Life Orb, Choice Specs, or even the Electrium Z. Starting with the STAB options, Thunderbolt with the Electric Terrain boost can hit most of the format rather hard thanks to the 50% boost. Pretty much unless the target is heavily invest with Special Defense or has a Wacan Berry, Tapu Koko can OHKO almost any Water-, and Flying-type out the field. Alternatively for Thunderbolt, Discharge can be utilize to bypass Alolan Marowak's Discharge and has a 30% to paralyze each two targets. Dazzling Gleam serves as Tapu Koko's answer to any Dragon-, Dark-, and Fighting-type Pokemon on the field, though notable weaker than its boosted Electric STABs.

For the third slot, Tapo Koko has a choice between Hidden Power Ice, Discharge, Volt Switch, and Nature's Madness. HP Ice is used to deal with quad weak Dragons or similar typing, though note these attacks won't pick up the OHKO. For instance, a Modest LO HP Ice isn't even a 100% OHKO on a Garchomp, who in turn could have bulk investment or a Yache Berry to retaliate back with an EQ. Once again Discharge is listed down to avoid getting locked down by Lightening Rod users such as Alolan Marowak. Volt Switch allows Tapo Koko to deal damage while get the switch initiative with its fast speed to pivot out for terrain advantage. Finally Nature's Madness can reduce the target's HP by 50%, though avoid using this with the Life Orb item.

For the EV spread, usually most sets are either 4 / 252 / 252 given Tapu Koko is a rather frail and Life Orb recoil can stack over time. Natures is usually between whether the players want to speed tie with opposing Tapo Kokos with Timid, or get extra damage from Modest. Item selection here is somewhat negotiable with Life Orb, Choice Specs, or even the Electrium Z. Life Orb allows Tapu Koko to select between moves with an increased 1.3x boost in its attacks, though receives a 10% decreases in HP every time it attacks. Choice Specs allow Tapu Koko to get another 1.5x boost in its Electric STABs to hit harder, though it will be locked into one move. Electrium Z can suffice to hit a target in Electric Terrain incredibly hard and serve as an alternative if both Life Orb and Specs are held by other teammates. If Tapu Koko needs to take one threatening hit, then Focus Sash can allow it to withstand a potential Z-Move attack or super effective hit such as Garchomp's Earthquake.


Mixed Attacker



Tapu Koko @ Life Orb
Ability: Electric Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 156 Atk / 100 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
- Wild Charge
- Thunderbolt  / Sky Drop
- Dazzling Gleam / HP Ice
- Protect

While most standard Tapo Koko sets are fully special, remember its base 115 Attack is still respectable to utilize especially with the Electric Terrain boost. This set acts as somewhat of a lure to OHKO or deal heavy damage to things like Nihilego, Milotic (with a special defense boost), Lapras, Politoed, and other specially defensive / AV users who can take a Thunderbolt, but instead get hit with Wild Charge. Will like to point out that Wild Charge will do more damage than Thunderbolt given how Tapo Koko has a higher attack stat to utilize. For the other two options, Tapu Koko can run either Thunderbolt / Discharge, Dazzling Gleam, HP Ice, or Sky Drop. Once again, Thunderbolt / Discharge is up in the air, but it depends whether Lightening Rod Marowak is a threat to the team. Dazzling Gleam hits somewhat less, but it is Tapo Koko's best way to deal damage against Dragon-, Dark-, and Fighting-type Pokemon. Sky Drop is an interesting choice here as it allows Tapo Koko to grab a Pokemon and take it out of play for one turn before finishing its attack the next. With its base 130 speed, Tapu Koko can surely Sky Drop most Pokemon that isn't too heavy for it to carry. Lastly HP Ice is here to hit quad weak Dragons, Grass-, and Ground-types.


Fast Assault Vest



Tapu Koko @ Assault Vest
Ability: Electric Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 12 Def / 12 SpA / 148 SpD / 100 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Dazzling Gleam
- Volt Switch
- Nature's Madness / Hidden Power Ice / Hidden Power Fire

Milestones:
- Has a 6.3% chance to be OHKOed by Z-Hydro Pump from Golduck in Rain
- Withstands one EQ from Garchomp.
- Outspeeds base 110 Pokemon like Gengar.

It might sound odd to have an Assault Vest on a frail Pokemon such as Tapu Koko, but the idea here is to help improve the opposing matchups to weather-based teams such as Rain- and a Sun-based teams. The investment allows Tapu Koko to withstand either one Earthquake from Garchomp, or Z-Hydro Pump from Golduck in Rain, which is enough to retaliate back. With the Assault Vest, Tapu Koko can take some the stronger special attacks in the format in attempts to pivot itself around with Volt Switch, or deal damage with its coverage options. For STAB, Electric Terrain-boosted Thunderbolt is Tapu Koko's STAB option of choice to hit opposing Water- and Flying-types such as Tapu Fini, Celesteela, Gyarados, Pelipper, etc relatively hard. STAB Dazzling Gleam is Tapu Koko's main Fairy-type move for Dragon-, Fighting-, and Dark-type Pokemon, though considerably weaker to the Specs or Life Orb options. Volt Switch allows Tapu Koko to pivot around the opposing team, possibly in response for a switch in. The last moveslot is entirely up to the player's needs. Nature's Madness makes up for Tapu Koko's lack of damage output by dealing 50% to any target Pokemon, but can miss. Hidden Power Ice or Fire is mainly there to hit either Garchomp or Kartana. Keep in mind, HP Ice does fail to net the OHKO on Chomp, and while Kartana is OHKOed by HP Fire, Assault Vest sets can withstand this.


Calm Mind Setup










Tapu Koko @ Electric Seed
Ability: Electric Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 84 Def / 20 SpA / 4 SpD / 156 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Dazzling Gleam / HP Ice
- Calm Mind
- Roost

Miletstones:
-Survives STAB EQ from Garchomp/Mudsdale with +1 Def (Electric Seed)
-Outspeed Salazzle by two points.
- Can 2OHKO most neutral targets after one CM boost

The idea of this Tapu Koko set is to setup against targets that normally fear it such as Water-, Dragon-, Flying- types, etc. To those asking what does Electric Seed do, well it increases the the defense of a Pokemon by one stage, if under Electric Terrain. Essentially this allows Tapu Koko to tank a STAB Earthquake even from the likes of Garchomp and Mudsdale, which is a huge improvement. Intimidate support is ideal for this Tapu Koko set as it can further take physical hits better than before. In terms of the moveslot, Thunderbolt and the choice of HP Ice / Dazzling Gleam are the ideal attacking moves, though watch out for any Pokemon who resist BoltBeam, or Tapu Koko's STABs. Calm Mind and Roost is the crux of this main setup as it allows Tapu Koko to boost its Special Attack and Special Defense to become a special tank. Once boosted, Tapu Koko can either attack with either of the following attacks, or use Roost to recover back HP. Once boosted Tapu Koko can hit most targets relatively hard with its attacks, but know that the Electric Terrain boosts will fade away after 5 turns as it gradually setups.


Potential Teammates include, but aren't limited to:

Alolan Raichu - Gains double the speed with Surge Surfer activated and threatens Poison types.
Electric Types - Receives 1.5x boost in STABs Electric hits ( Alolan Raichu, Xurkitree, Vikavolt, Alolan Golem, etc)
Intimidate Users - Lowers damage output for physical attackers ( Gyarados, Krookodile, Salamence, etc)
Psychic Types - Threatens Poison-type Pokemon for Tapo Koko ( Tapu Lele, Metagross, Alolan Raichu, Starmie, etc)
Water Types - Threatens most Ground-type Pokemon (Gyarados, Starmie, Tapu Fini, Gastrodon, Milotic, etc)
Steel Types - Beats opposing Fairy-types (Kartana, Celesteela, Metagross, Magnezone)
Ground Types - Beats opposing "Lightening Rod" users like Alolan Marowak while takes Discharge well. ( Garchomp, Gastrodon, Mudsdale, etc )
Rain - Overpowers opposing Ground-, Rock-, and Fire-types (Politoed, Pelipper, etc)


Threats include, but aren't limited to:

Poison-Types - Salazzle, Gengar, Nihilego, Alolan Muk, etc
Ground-Types - Garchomp, Krookodile, Mudsdale, Gastrodon
Grass-Types - Tapu Bulu, Parasect, Trevenant
Lightening Rod - Alolan Marowak, Togedemaru
Coverage Moves consisting of Poison- and Ground-type moves.
Opposing Terrains - Tapus (Bulu, Lele, Fini) to remove Electric Terrain.
Trick Room-Based Teams (Torkcoal, Oranguru, Drampa, etc)
Overall Strong Attacks as Tapu Koko has average defenses.


Other Notable Options

Air Balloon and Shuca Berry to mitigate the damage done by Earthquake.
A Fully Physical Offensive Tapu Koko can be opted.
A Defensive Screen Sets suggested by Jamesspeed in his video.
An Assault Vest Tapu Koko set suggested by Wolfey in his video.

Two down, Two to go. After covering the Tapus, does anyone want me to do an overview of the a certain mon/core? If so post down below. In addition, anyone is welcome to suggest/post sets, or leave discussion about Tapu Koko in the comments below.

Monday, October 31, 2016

CIL Post Season 2 Thoughts & Review



CIL Post Season 2 Thoughts & Review





Preview

Well CIL Season 2 is finally over after six months, then again we were laid-back about the the schedule, but not that it matters now. Like to start off by mention this is the first time the LA Nidokings (pretty sure someone else has this brand) has ventured into a different Draft-Style league without any connections to the PFA aside Mudkiplegend, and eventually Italiang62, who both joined. One of the reasons to "expand" to a different league was I wanted to maintain some practice in the Draft-League format as PFA Season 3 was somewhat dragging itself out. Not there was anything wrong with PFA S3, just I found myself "bored" and wanted to keep up with league battle experience. Did thought about joining other leagues like the IBL, but their season already commence. Did a bit of searching on Twitter, and found out the CIL was accepting new players / coaches into the league. 

Despite making jokes about this here and there, time / pace was a major factor when considering to join. The fact the CIL only took about two weeks for one battle to progress and was on Pokemon Showdown was reason enough to seriously consider entering, but obviously had to juggle this with PFA. Up until the end of Week 10 / CIL Playoffs Week 1, the two week limit allowed me to team build against my opponents with at a comfortable pace. Only then, nothing was out of the ordinary as I managed to complete the battle within that time frame. 

Alright going to get into specifics how my interactions with the CIL went except in the end, but will say this now. Out of all the Draft Leagues, or Seasons I've participated, the CIL is in contention of among my favorite. If anyone knows by now, well... we did manage to win the Season 2 Championship and record a perfect 12-0 record in the process. Essentially as mentioned before, didn't know what to expect in the CIL, but was eager to battling others. Not criticizing anyone's skill or experience, after all this is a laid-back. Note was seeking to battle new people and find new ways to improve myself over the course of the season. 

Pre-Season & Transactions

For the Pre-Season of the CIL, or the duration of the main draft, didn't knew what cores, or Pokemon to draft in the beginning. Being the last person to select their picks had its pros and cons like having a "double pick" in between the Snake-Style runs, while the opportunity cost of waiting for long periods of time to chose the next two. Going into the Draft, already had the mindset whatever mons I don't pickup, don't consider drafting it, unless it falls under the radar on my turn. In terms of dealing with "snipes", didn't even bother complaining about it as the mon was likely going to that person anyways. Just focus on my team, without worrying about counterpicks, which was mitigated. 

In order to make the draft "salvageable", decided to make use of my "double wheel-barrow" picks. Well by the time we finished the Draft, here's the team I've started with, along with the transactions I've made for each slot. 
  1. Round 1: Anne the Latias
  2. Round 2: Forge the Charizard X
  3. Round 3: Rogue the Suicune
  4. Round 4: Ryan the Weavile
  5. Round 5: Green Cockatail the Tornadus-Therian -- Traded for --> Nui Harime the Sylveon 
  6. Round 6: Bike the Doublade
  7. Round 7: Bryant Stitches the Nidoking
  8. Round 8: ???? (didn't have a Nickname for it) the Eelektross -- Dropped for --> Epiclolz the Galvantula
  9. Round 9: Reed the Chesnaught
  10. Round 10: Castle the Diancie - -Dropped for --> Mars the Empoleon
  11. Round 11: Seeker the Uxie -- Dropped for -->Abruptly the Celebi--> Dropped for --> Snowbat the Gliscor
In terms of the initial team, the first four picks were rather funny since didn't expect Latias, Charizard X, Suicune, and Weavile to fall within my selections, but did. Definitely these were the core members of the team, however like any teambuilding session, there needs to be a decent form of defensive synergy for the team. The way I'd was drafting for this season was balance-oriented as this was my preferred playstyle, however with the intention of making this team "flexible" with elements of Semi-Stall and Offense if used. Will admit the last seven Pokemon were a hit-or-miss for me given how most of my "core draft picks" were taken, however had to improvise on the spot. Only Nidoking, Doublade, and Chesnaught were the only mons that were relatively strong picks for my team while the others either didn't know if they could fit (Uxie, Diancie), or didn't have enough "experience" using (Tornadus-T, Eelektross). 

As in almost every league I've been in, transactions were made to ensure the team was far complete and synergistic than by the time Drafting ended. If there was one or two transactions which essentially "re-defined" the team, it was the Tornadus-T for Sylveon trade with Hank the Pidgey (when he was still there) and the Diancie for Empoleon drop/add. Without spoiling much, Tornadus-T was a capable member of the team initially, however never consistent played ORAS OU for two years, only battling in short burst during on-off months. Sylveon was a far better special wall / cleric for the team which definitely payed off long term. Empoleon for Diancie was an amazing pickup as it not only served as a decent special wall, but gave less pressure to Defog hazards, and maintain Rocks on my side of the field. 

If I had to say which Pokemon "surprised" me during the Season 2 regular season, it was definitely Sylveon and Chesnaught as they held the main defensive effort of the team. Both Pokemon were able to shrug off attacks, while net a total of 18 kills and 3 deaths combined, an impressive feat. Of the top four pick from my team, Weavile performed as expected with 11 kills individually, while Latias and Char X weren't far behind in terms of the team effort with 8 kills a piece. Most of the transactions weren't too great replacements, possibly except for the Celebi (which don't know why I dropped it), but they managed to perform well in the battles played. 



The Regular Season 
(Link to the CIL S2 Page)

There's no doubt the Los Angeles Nidoking, or the team were the most consistent throughout the entire league and always gave maximum effort when preparations, team building, and of course the battles themselves. If anything, the "weakest" point for the LA Nidokings actually came from the start of the season given the adjustments and opponents challenged at the time. Some of the "adjustments" were getting use to Level 100 showdown battles...again, team synergy/composition, potential transactions, and other crap which is probably important to list. Despite the moderate Draft League experience mostly from PFA, for CIL never battled most of the participates as frequently as those in my "first" league. Not saying the players on PFA were sub-par, just can't either over- and underestimate my opponents for the future battles. 

Definitely the best advantage going into this league was the amount of "time" to plan for league battles. Recall the CIL is only about two weeks mandatory to get in battles, before suffering a late penalty. Typically, Draft-Leagues give the opponents about a week to finish their battles, so essentially this was twice the allocated used to prepare and team build. Given I had to manage and partake in PFA battles as well, this mitigated some potential stress that might been uncalled for, though did show signs of potential cracks towards the last week (...by then we were about done with the regular season).  On a final note, decided to test certain core members on my team on the Showdown ladder, but eventually dropped out of fear any coaches might see some tech moves on my end. 

Now we aren't going to review each "week" or battle individual, as this blogspot has all ten weeks, including the CIL Season 2 Playoffs. Instead going to highlight three battles from the regular season as they best reflect how the LA Nidokings performed throughout the regular season. For a comprehensive list, look down below:


  1. Week 1: Vs MightyMamoswine
  2. Week 2: Vs Sanyer
  3. Week 3: Vs MadMikeNibbia
  4. Week 4: Vs TheFlyingFiona
  5. Week 5: Vs Satoshi
  6. Week 6: Vs MarvoTrainer
  7. Week 7: Vs KantoCast Blue
  8. Week 8: Vs KevinVGC
  9. Week 9: Vs Iceolate
  10. Week 10: Vs ItalianG62

Week 1: Vs Mighy Mamoswine

Instantly knew had my work cut out for myself as soon as I learn MightyMamoswine, or "Baby Nick" as people call him in the chat was my Week 1 opponent. Funny enough, both of us didn't bring our Megas, but surely brought our "best" Pokemon to counteract them, like Nick bringing T-Tar, Talonflame, and Landorus-I to check Char X, and me bringing Latias and Tornadus-T to beat Mega Venusaur. If there was any battle on my end which had a "significant" amount of RNG involved, definitely this one as Tyranitar missed a crucial Fire Blast and was paralyzed on consecutive turns against my Chesnaught. Any Grass/Fighting-type STAB options on Chesnaught certainly can inflict heavy damage for Tyranitar, but figured Super Fang, Leech Seed, and Rock Slide was the better option. The main issue for this battle was the Talonflame as I realized it was now capable of "sweeping" my heavily-weaken team with Gale Wings Brave Bird / Acrobatics. Giving the potential bulky Talonflame set has a chance to setup either an Sword Dance or Bulk Up meant I'd definitely lose the battle, and most of my Pokemon were within range of a priority attack after rocks. If Talonflame was Choice Banded, then I've already lost, so had to assume here it was some kind of "bulky" setup version. 

Definitely any prior damage on Chesnaught from Tyranitar ensure the OHKO from Talonflame's Brave Bird, but got lucky miss/paralysis there. Might have been a better call to "sake" Tornadus-T, or Latias for Tyranitar as it would "save" Chesnaught against the eventual Talonflame matchup, though not so sure how the outcome came about. Even with max Attack, without any boosting item, Talonflame can't faint Chesnaught without a crit, which basically explains why Nick was forced to Sword Dance. The game was decided on that turn as Chesnaught connects with Rock Slide and OHKOs the Talonflame. Soon as the fire bird fainted, the battle shifted heavily in my favor as Chesnaught walled the defensive Gyarados and even took a HP ??? against a Landorus-I (don't know what "type" it was). With all the twist and turns, we managed to "steal" a battle against Nick as he setup for the late game great, but the secondary effects, or hax was in my favor there. 

This was one of those battles which "stings" on both sides as I knew there was a definite part of hax which decided the outcome, but can't really do much about it. Most of the battle Nick was able to weaken most of my Pokemon until it was only Chesnaught left to damage, but it happen. Without damage on Chesnaught and the Talonflame to sweep, Nick wouldn't have won the game, so I'll acknowledge that. At least I have to learn from my mistakes from the preparation and match itself and move on. Will say the 5-0 score doesn't implicate how "close" this battle was, but have to learn how to close out for the late game. End of the day, Nick played better than me, so I had to prepare harder for the upcoming matches and mitigate my Talonflame matchup if we ever battled again. 


Week 3: Vs MadMikeNibbia

Oh this battle. If there was a matchup I'd underestimated, it was against MadMikeNibbia, or Mike who had the one of the worse record by differential points. Thought this was going to be slightly easier than both MightyMamo and Sanyer, but the matchup proved more difficult than expected. For this battle, its not that I played terrible, but made a couple over predictions and some RNG rolls against me that swayed the game in Mike's favor most of the time. Regarding the "Tornadus" switch, didn't expect Mike to use Iron Tail on my Eviolite Doublade, yet he did and payed off tremendously. Then the critical hits on Latias and Doublade greatly reduced their effectiveness which forced me to play on the defensive. Weavile was honestly what saved this game on my end as well as netting immediate safe KOs against Mike's team. Early on, the matchup seem like in my favor, but at soon as we lost Tornadus-T, the matchup became far difficult to maintain. 

Honestly this was the one battle were I regret most of my "unique" team building options and questioned why the hell didn't Charizard X make an appearance. Most of Mike's team can't take a Tough Claws-boosted Flare Blitz aside the Mega Gyardos and Swampert, which then I still had Chesnaught and coverage options for those two. If I'd just used the Scared Sword on the Lucario instead of "protect" the Tornadus-T, it would have been extremely valuable as a late game finisher like Weavile. Mentioned this like 100 times in the Week 3 post, but this was one of those matches playing safe with my Pokemon was better than making seemingly reasonable switches. No doubt Mike had to be "unreadable" and creative to find options to beat me, thought the moderate RNG did help him.




Week 8: Vs KevinVGC

Week 8 was an interesting matchup against the commissioner of the CIL himself, KevinVGC. There wasn't too much to gather from KevinVGC, except he loves to play offense and go thru with his glass cannons. Some of KevinVGC's Pokemon were concerning such as the Thundurus, Manaphy, Celebi, and the Dragonite since all it takes is to have one of the four Pokemon setup and the sweep my team. Most of the preparation was literally slowing his offense down with Sticky Webs with Galvantula, Roar with Empoleon, and using my Gliscor/Sylveon to hold his team down. This was one of the weeks where Charzard X had to do "something", like maybe sweep Kevin's team as most of his mons weren't capable of taking Tough Claws-boosted Dragon Claw or Flare Blitz. In short, the way we had to approach this battle was shut down KevinVGC's offense without compromising any core members (Sylveon, Charizard X) while maintain obvious win conditions. 

The battle itself starts off favorable for KevinVGC as he gets vital chip damage on my Latias switch via U-Turn. The next few turns, the momentum shifts in my favor as managed to get a +2 CM Latias and 2HKO the Manaphy who threaten my entire team. Despite losing Latias due to a fuck up on my end, Sylveon actually picks up the pace and holds the team's defensive line to halt the offense. Mega Alakazam was the only major threat, but the lack of Focus Blast made it easy for Empoleon to take on, possibly thanks to the Scald burn. From there Sylveon essentially carried the team as Diancie didn't have Calm Mind to setup, or Excadrill can't revenge kill key Pokemon without risking itself or Thundurus's HP. 

Did notice this battle was rather rushed on my end as KevinVGC wanted to face me, but didn't have any other time aside the one allocated to our schedules. Find this battle rather ironic since the one way we manage to beat KevinVGC was to play aggressive ourselves and maintain offensive momentum. Take the sequence with Latias for example. Had we not went for the Calm Mind against the Diancie, we certainly wouldn't have been able to take on 1v1, and defeat the Manaphy. Same thing can be said about the Char X switch into Excadrill as I felt Kevin was forced to either Iron Head, or Rapid Spin the hazards for Thundurus. This matchup could have went either way for my opponents, just that I made the necessary plays to keep myself ahead. GG to KevinVGC as he definitely a great guy in both the CIL and for Pokemon talk when we chat.

Overall this game sorta reflects the nearly the entirety of the season given how strong of a performance we've played after the sluggish week 1. Most of the battles were won with overall better team preparation, offensive plays, not being prediction heavy/ readable for that matter, and control of the game. On that last note, that's my 100% goal in every game, develop a 100% win con to the point where I don't have to risk the game off of chance or predictions. Kind of  figured know most people might find this boring, but that's how I am in terms of battling. End of the day, it was in my best interest to maintain some kind of consistency before entering playoffs.  

Post Season 

Going into the post season 10-0 was a huge accomplishment as the Nidokings were essentially the "favorites" to win the season, though we had a some variable strong opponents to face in playoffs. The Round 1 Bye did help me prepare for the rematches of Iceolate or ItalianG62, both were my recent opponents. By the time  I'd battled Iceolate (the eventual winner between him and Italian), I'd already had a team and strategy planned out, even though it was the just the same team with different tech move or options. 

For Iceolate, I suspected he'd probably win against Kyle, though it seemed like he was preoccupied with other stuff such as other leagues and IRL things in mind. There were a couple questionable plays on Iceolate's end that were like weird such as the such as the Toxic on Sylveon with Mega Lopunny and the reluctance to bring Azumarill. Either way the preparation on my end was on point, though will admit didn't expect Heliolisk to be a problem as it was able to live a Poison Jab from Nidoking. In fact, pretty certain Heliolisk had some HP or Defense EVs to live such an attack as I only made it so Nidoking can OHKO a standard non-bulk variant.

 Definitely have to give props to Jonah on that considering he fainted both Char X and did over half to Chesnaught, which had he crit would have changed the game drastically. Honestly if Iceolate had the time to prepare and plan efficiently against me the battle might have been closer, though it was rushed. Despite my opponent's rather lack of enthusiasm, strongly feel Iceolate's mindset wasn't there. Perhaps the best way to sum the battle up was to "get it over with", though no disrespect to him as a player. Either way, Iceolate seems eager to partake in other leagues, so maybe I might matchup against him again. 

For Cbrangames, or Chase, this was the finals matchup almost everyone in the league predict would happen. If there was someone who I had plan prior to maybe several weeks in advance in terms of test builds and potential team, it was definitely Chase. Ok maybe the sets weren't "finalized", however the team itself was honestly well-crafted the night before we battled. If anything, Chase's team was similar to the one I ran, except with strong wall breakers / walls like Diggersby and Porygon2. Funny part was those two Pokemon were exact the main threats threats I'd prepared for alongside Mega Latios as Diggersby hits like a truck, while Porygon2 is incredibly defensive as hell. 

Team preparation for the CIL finals was rush given our schedules were fluctuate, though mostly on my end. If there was any help I received in this, it was from ItalianG62 as he help reference some attacks calculations which did lead me to bring things like Choice Band Weavile. Porygon2 was a one of the problematic Pokemon to prepare for as Chase has Florges to form decent defensive synergy, and cleric support to keep it healthy from status. Almost everyone of my Pokemon was specially defensive not only to take hits fromy P2, but to ensure download doesn't activate, as I've  how devastating it can be in League format. For Diggersby, all I did was basically hope that I can revenge kill it with one of my mons, and not let it setup. 

The rest of the team preparation was moderate at best given Chase's preference to use the same group of Pokemon for most of his battles, though just about anyone can say the same to me. When Chase and I finally battled, the match itself was rather odd, normally Chase has been on the offense while I've played semi balance, or even defensively the whole time, but it seemed to flip this one occasion. Main reasons for this change is the lack of Diggersby/Porygon2 hampering my progression, and moderately weak to Mega Charizard X

Being completely frank here, if I'd gone for a "third" Dragon Dance boost, well I'm fairly certain Charizard X might have actually swept the team in one go. If anyone notices from my CIL Team Report, the Char X was built to be a semi special pivot to give itself time to setup against either Florges or Starmie. What  was rather perplexing is why I didn't Dragon Dance? Guess I was getting too caught up with myself and wanted to keep at an optimal amount of HP as possible. In addition, the Florges switch into Dragon Claw actually bought Chase another turn as I was force to Dragon Dance up, not knowing if +1 Flare Blitz with my investment OHKOed. 

Such passiveness on my end costed the sweep, but it did result into a closer battle with Chase dodged a massive nuke. Despite the loss of Char X, both Skarmory and Florges were gone and Arcanine was severely weaken so it was essentially up to the rest of my team to pickup the slack. Ultimately, the unsung hero of the PFA Season 2 CIL finals was none other than Latias who managed to setup Calm Minds and wall break with Stored Power to which Weavile easily cleaned up the battle. Funny that Latias hasn't done anything major for most of my games, until the finals as it managed to beat Arcanine, Jolteon, and severerly weaken the Mega Latios after its setup. 

For Chase's prep,  I still think he somewhat of a mismatch, especially against my Charizard X given his lack of switches aside the Porygon2 and other makeshift checks. There's no disputing another key factor in this battle: time. Both Chase and I were moderately rushed for time, but then again we kinda went with the battle in the end. Of Course everyone was tired that night, but it was one of the few opportunities we had to matchup and have the battle streamed on twitch. Perhaps the main contributing reason I'd won against Chase was he wasn't sure about the exact team of Pokemon to bring. Almost every week I'd brought some Pokemon with tech options, new benchwarmers on the field, or new strategies which most have been fairly successful in achieving most of my wins. 

What's really interesting from Chase's end was before our match he admitted that I basically used most of my team to the fullest extent all season and be the most difficult matchup for him. Definitely the matchup was a major factor as most of my team threaten Chase's entire squad, though in terms of balance walls, we were somewhat evenly matched. Definitely my wall breakers in terms of Char X and Latias punched a massive hole to the point Chase was forced to keep up with my offense, which failed as a result of losing his own walls. Definitely if Chase brought Diggersby/Porygon2, well the matchup would be different, but we managed to pull thru and earn ourselves a major win. 

Conclusion

Well that about wraps up the review for the CIL Season 2. I'm glad that to meet all the new people in the CIL and had the chance to use the team I have to eventually win it all. In regards to who helped in this run, want to thank KevinVGC for running this league, Alec / Kyle from the PFA league, Rogue / Naitre from the PF Forums, KantoCastBlue for our talks, and anyone else I'm forgetting. Right now haven't decided whether I'd return to defend my title, however will give an official response to everyone in the CIL. Obviously we are all looking foward in the release of Pokemon Sun and Moon to launch in just a matter of weeks, so the Draft League. Hopefully in S/M, I can showcase my growth as a player in other formats. Going to still be active in the CIL community as best I can, so look forward to that. Guess I over extended this ending, so thanks everyone for this opportunity!


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

CIL Season 2 Finals: vs The Bentonville Blastoise (CBranGames)


AKA The CIL Finale


( Artist: Allo412 )

Preview


This is it. The CIL Finals. After almost 6 months of planning sessions, battles, and downtime, we've reached this point of the season. Before we go on to discuss the Finals, I'd like to say a couple things. Despite not being as engaged with everyone in the league, I still had a ton of fun with you all [CIL people], not just the battling of course. I really wish some of the competitive players from Smogon, VGC, Draft League, etc today take the time to enjoy the game itself, and not overdo it at times. There should be some friendly competition at times, but we can't be too cut throat about things. Realized Pokemon should be taken for fun, and to enjoy all aspects, including the battles. By now, it seems most people finally have grasp of EV Training, optimizing sets, and engaging in some form of community, whether its a battling league like CIL, or other online or in-real life communities. Guess that's one of the few pointers about Gen 6 I generally like about.

Well not really going to go in-depth about that topic [specifically], but the whole gist of the thing is don't be overly competitive. Tried that, and just about anyone will feel burnout at playing Competitive Pokemon for some time. OK I've said enough. Whether I join for the following CIL Season 3 is clearly up to future events and fate on my end. Will admit this battle was rushed, but given the amount of planning I did with the night before and with ItalianG62, I felt strongly about the "Final" CIL team for the Nidokings was the best representation of... me in general. Then again, whenever you build a "good" team and question whether to make "last minute" changes, this was one of those cases where I decided to go with my gut, and just do it.

My opponent CBrangames, or Chase. Honestly  Chase is one of the strongest players in the CIL League and was able to achieve a 9-1 record, with one loss being due to lapse in judgement. Nevertheless, most of the games Chase has played seemed he was in control, or was behind the most of the match, and makes a comeback late game. One last note before I actually discuss the teams is this is the first time I'm battling someone I don't know at all in an all stakes battle for "1st place"...well its been awhile. Didn't know what the hell to expect, just keep in mind his Pokemon team, and play accordingly.


Also this article is over-the-top, just my thoughts in full detail than usual. 



CIL FINALS VS The Bentonville Blastoise (Cbrangames)



 My Team: Charizard X, Latias, Suicune, Weavile, Sylveon, Doublade, Nidoking, Galvantula, Chesnaught, Empoleon, Gliscor
Chase's Team: Mega Latios, Starmie, Florges, Skarmory, Arcanine, Jolteon, Porygon2, Diggersby, Cobalion, Machamp, Tornadus

Looking at Chase's team, its a well-balanced UU Squad with a couple strong OUs, but threatening nonetheless. To start off, Mega Latios is the current League MVP with 15 kills and 2 kill during the regular season, an an immediate top threat to watch out for. Despite the rather ridiculous base 160 Special Attack, Mega Latios still has a 130 Attack stat to utilize so the potential Dragon Dance set has to be considered. Starmie is Chase's primary hazard removal (the others being Mega Latios / Skarmory as secondary options), and has a diverse movepool to hit my entire team with respectable speed. The Water/Psychic-type also has a viable defensive value to tank a couple hits from my Mega Evolution and has some utility to watch out for like Thunder Wave. Florges is strong specially defensive Fairy-type especially when combined some some members of Chase's team capable of tanking every special hit on my team, bar Nidoking. Skarmory pairs well with Florges as it can easily tank the Poison/Steel-types which threaten this core, while has access to Spikes and Stealth Rocks to hazard stack. Just from looking at past replays, expected Chase to bring at least 3 of the 4 Pokemon mentioned here, maybe leaving out Skarmory for Cobalion, though it can handle most of my team aside Char X.

The other Pokemon on Chase's team were wild cards, and honestly what could make, or break this battle. Of the remaining 7 Pokemon, I'd believed Porygon2 and Diggersby were going to be the last two Pokemon for a number of reasons. While Porygon2 hasn't been brought since being traded, it was the only Pokemon who can take a Flare Blitz from Char X, and can paralyze it immediately ...[i].cough certain somone knows about this when he battled Epic back in PFA cough[/i].... Well here's the problem with Porygon2, I don't have much for it as I'm forced to wear it down with residual damage, but with the wall core that is Florge + Skarmory, this might prove to be troublesome. Diggersby was something I'll just say, well..."goodbye Sylveon", or "goodbye Chesnaught" as a Choice Band set wall breaks my team. To top if off, Diggersby can use both Sword Dance and Agility, so I had to ensure it takes moderate damage to revenge kill with a certain Pokemon we all know about [alluding to Weavile].

Basically Diggersby and Porygon2 was "worse-case" scenario, so I essentially prepared for those Pokemon + the four of those Pokemon Chase tends to use. Of course, still have to review at other members of the Bentonville Blastoise team as well. Machamp can be a strong wall breaker against my team, but gets threaten out everytime I get in Latias or Sylveon so Chase has to make the correct calls there. Tornadus-I was another Pokemon which might see action with it being one point faster than Latias, and with the variety of sets to run from the Defiant physical attacker, Tailwind offense, to the bulky Acrobatics set. Cobalion was a potential options as it has Stealth Rocks, but I figured Skarmory can handle Chesnaught, Latias, and Sylveon better, though it make playing against it with Weavile annoying. Finally, I didn't expect either Arcanine or Jolteon as I couldn't think of a better reason to bring them, which one of Chase's other backups do better, or just are stronger wall breakers.




Team Building 

As said for this matchup prior, expected Mega Latios, Skarmory, Florges, and Starmie to be brought against me, with the last two Pokemon as filler. As a result, I took into consideration all 4 Pokemon, but focus in particular against the Porygon2, Diggersby, and Tornadus compared to the rest of Chase's mons. Basically the whole idea was to bring a team which handles not only those three 'backups', but also any possible combinations of the other 4-5 mons like Machamp, or Arcanine. Will admit did start "team-building" for Chase as early as Week 7, but it was just some random ideas and set which weren't optimal against him for his entire team back then. By the time I'd beaten Iceolate at the Semi Finals, pretty much expected Chase to have idea what to bring against me as he had about a week to prepare for me or my Semi Finals opponent. As soon as the semi-finals were done, I'd immediately started planning for the imminent "finals" matchup, just as everyone expected of both of us to do.

Around Tuesday September 20th, I did contact ItalianG62 about the matchup just for some opinions as a certain sibling duo weren't available at the time (probably pissed I overslept that one time). ... Nah they just sick of mons anyways and had work at the time so reasonable enough neither won't be available. Alright both Italian and I knew Charizard X, Sylveon, and Weavile were going into the matchup, but the exact sets (except for Char X), was uncertain. Just looking at Chase's team, this might be the day where Char X might get the late game sweep to clinch us the championship, but recognized Porygon2 was going to be a huge obstacle. Sylveon can handle most of Chase's special attackers and can retaliate back with powerful Pixilate Hyper Voices, and can semi wall Mega Latios. While I was relucant to bring Weavile this battle, Italian did point out it threatens Mega Latios, Starmie, and Diggersby with its priority Pursuit, and Ice Shard attacks, though at the time didn't know what else to bring.

In terms of what I'd wanted to bring, we elaborated on Pokemon who were somewhat detrimental or momentum killers for the team. With three hazard removal Pokemon on Chase's team, Galvantula and Chesnaught were ruled out as both can't break through against Chase's wall core. Chesnaught in particular can't perform its job as decent physical wall when four of the predicted Pokemon were going to have a favorable matchup. Empoleon seemed like a decent response to bring against Mega Latios, Skarmory, Florges, and Starmie, but then I see the rest of his team... just beat, or impedes its support qualities. Gliscor was an attractive 6th option for a time to handle most of Chase's defensive Pokemon, but then realized most of his mons can carry a random HP Ice, or Ice-type move to net a quick KO.

By this point, we figured out 7 possible Pokemon to bring out of the 6 which gave me freedom to team build without compromising team synergy, roles, and compositions too much. Around Wednesday night (once my 1 hr session with Kyle was done), took about a full 2-3 hours later on messing around with stats, EVs Spreads, Held Items, Moves, and even roles/sets. IF there was one Pokemon I heavily considered, it was a potential Download Porygon2 after seeing what it has done in previous league battles. As a result, all my Pokemon had their Special Defense higher than their Defense, the exception being one, but with Roar. 

Will admit, I was uncertain at first to battle Chase around Thursday [September 22th] with some time conflicts, but ultimately decided to have it then, or maybe sooner if we were both ready. By the time I told Chase I "might" battle on Wednesday 21st, we both knew it would happen later at night when most people were asleep. The battle was streamed that same night with the assistance of KevinVGC and Sanyer as acting commentators. Did post the link to the battle to the PFA chat if they wanted to see my a## get kicked hard, but draw in some viewers on the CIL twitch at least. The commentary done by KevinVGC, and Sanyer, who honestly did a great job with the match despite doing this extremely late on such short notice. NOTE: The Twitch replay of the LA Nidokings Vs Bentonville Blastoise (Me Vs Chase) was deleted, so I'll post the replay instead. 

Ok so enough with what happen and here's the FINALS Team.


THE TEAM

(Based on Level 100s)


Forge (Charizard-Mega-X) @ Charizardite X  
Ability: Tough Claws  
EVs: 96 HP / 20 Atk / 212 SpD / 180 Spe  
Adamant Nature  
- Flare Blitz  
- Dragon Claw  
- Roost  
- Dragon Dance  

Milestones:
- Outspeeds Jolly Diggersby, then Scarf Variant by +1 DD 
- +1 DD OHKOs standard offensive Starmie
- Life Orb Scald from 252 Starmie is a 3HKO
-Moonblast from defensive Florges is a 3HKO
- (Important) Doesn't activate SpA Download boost from Porygon2

OK this set might seem strange, but it allows Charizard X to get as many opportunities it can to setup Dragon Dance and begin wall breaking, or sweep. The only reason to have Adamant max attack instead of the investment shown was to have a better chance to 2HKO Porygon2 on the switch with Rocks, but there was a good chance the Eviolite wall can be fully defensive. Essentially figured it was proper to shave some Attack EVs off of Char X, but then realized it doesn't need as much investment. Char X as is 2HKOs or OHKOs everything on Chase's team bar Porygon2 without any boosts which was rather huge. While messing around with the EVs in the damage calculator, decided to invest to the point where the Special Defense was higher than Char X's base 111, which took the most allocation. Once dumping the rest in HP / Atk, I realized ...holy shit, this thing can tanks some special hits now and potentially sweep under the right circumstance. Yeah Porygon2 was going to be annoying, but at least I can pressure it like we did against Epic's P2 in the PFA finals.


Nui Harime (Sylveon) (F) @ Leftovers  
Ability: Pixilate  
EVs: 248 HP / 176 Def / 64 SpD / 20 Spe  
Calm Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Hyper Voice  
- Fake Tears  
- Wish  
- Heal Bell  

Milestones:
-Psyshock from Mega Latios is a 3HKO.
-Again Calm Nature to bolster its higher Special Defense stat.
-Same Generic Butter and Bread Sylveon
-Fake Tears for "special" walls. 

Couldn't believe myself that I'm bringing the same Fake Tears Sylveon from last match, except now it has to deal with Florges and Porygon2 potentially. The thought of running Toxic and Calm Mind did occur, but realized Sylveon would be in a Cleric Stall war with Florges, and can't break a CM Florges, or Eviolite P2 fast enough with boosted Pixilate Hyper Voice or Toxic. As mention last game, Fake Tears drops the Special Defense stat by -2, making these targets vulnerable to a Pixilate Hyper Voice. Have to be careful when facing Tornadus as Fake Tears will trigger Defiant, so can't freely spam this move. Did experiment with the Specs Hyper Voice set, even Scarf, but felt the Cleric support from Heal Bell and Wish was better. Figured Heal Bell might prove useful this time around to get some status recovery for my mons, especially if Porygon2 comes around. If there's a point in the battle if its just Sylveon (with some allies) vs Chase's core team of special attackers, chances are high it can carry the team similar to how it did against KevinVGC. Not being too optimistic, but Sylveon plays an important role here to tank those special hits and hold our defense.. 


Rogue (Suicune) @ Leftovers  
Ability: Pressure  
EVs: 252 HP / 240 Def / 16 Spe  
Bold Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Scald  
- Calm Mind  
- Roar  
- Rest  

Milestones:
-Few Speed Points to outspeed Adamant max speed Machamp
-Not much else
-Roar + CM should beat CM Florges

Aside the slight speed creep, this Suicune appeared the last 6 out of 7 of the last CIL season battles, including the playoffs. Honestly could have ran something else like Ice Beam or Toxic, but felt Roar was a better option to phaze stuff out in case they setup. There was one scenario where if anyone had Psych Up and copies Suicune stat boots, well I can use Roar to remove the immediate threat. Didn't like the fact I was bringing the exact Suicune set, but given it was my best "neutral" physical wall, it was almost necessary to bring it. Might as well have an anti setup Pokemon, who ironically can be one of its own and act as a valuable win condition.  


Byrant (Nidoking) @ Life Orb  
Ability: Sheer Force  
EVs: 108 Atk / 200 SpA / 200 Spe  
Hasty Nature  
- Sludge Wave  
- Flamethrower  
- Sucker Punch  
- Stealth Rock  

Milestones:
-Outspeeds "Diggersby" (non Scarf), by one point 
-Has a great chance to OHKO Cobalion with Flamethrower
-Sludge Wave + Sucker Punch OHKOs 4 HP Mega Latios
-Flamethrower + Sucker Punch (with some damage), OHKOs 4 HP Starmie
- Should 2HKO most relevant targets. 

Originally this slot was Doublade as it can act as a makeshift wall / sweeper at the same time for my team, but realized it was going to be pressured too much. Nidoking was the "safer" choice, as it can actually threaten most of Chase's team with its massive movepool alone, without him knowing my actual set. Actually debated for awhile which was my "best" STAB to run against Chase: Earth Power or Sludge Wave. At the end of the day, three Pokemon on Chase's team were "immune" to Earth Power: Skarmory, Tornadus, and Mega Latios. Sludge Wave hits most of Chase's team harder (notably Florges) and can use Flamethrower to hit the his Steel-types for heavy damage. Most importantly, this Nidoking gets damage on something and not let those Pokemon in for free, again with the exception of Chase's Steel-types. The third attacking move was a toss-up as the final slot was going to be Stealth Rocks to get residual chip damage. After some thought, decided to run Sucker Punch to hit Mega Latios and Starmie once weaken. In fact, just the combination of Flamethrower + Sucker Punch and Sludge Wave + Flamethrower, with some prior damage should OHKO Standard Mega Lati and Starmie.

Even though this Nidoking can't hit Diggersby for fairly SE damage, figured it was best to have Nidoking, as well as other teammates on my team outspeed to get some damage off. When attacking, might as well confirmed if the Diggersby is "Scarf" or not, so I rather have something on my team take the fall so the next Pokemon can revenge kill.


Ryan (Weavile) (M) @ Choice Band  
Ability: Pressure  
EVs: 252 Atk / 20 Def / 60 SpD / 176 Spe  
Jolly Nature  
- Knock Off  
- Ice Punch  
- Ice Shard  
- Pursuit  

Milestones: 
-Outspeeds Timid Starmie by 1 Point.
-OHKOs 4 HP Mega Latios all the time with Choice Band
-Has a High 93.8% chance to OHKO 4 HP Starmie with CB Knock Off 
-If these Pokemon are defensive, need prior damage of around 30%.
-Does about 73.9% min to Diggersby

Now Weavile or Aka Ryan. From the beginning of this team building process, I was uncertain what item to select for Weavile, heck even a set. Life Orb and Expert Belt came to mind, however not only was the damage output "poor", but Weavile is prone to getting killed or crippled with status if it doesn't have something. For a while, thought of running the standard Life Orb set, until I played around with Choice Band:

  • 252 Atk Choice Band Weavile Knock Off vs. 4 HP / 4 Def Mega Latios: 302-356 (100 - 117.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO
  • 252 Atk Choice Band Weavile Knock Off (97.5 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Colbur Berry Starmie: 256-303 (98.8 - 116.9%) -- 93.8% chance to OHKO
  • 252 Atk Choice Band Weavile Knock Off (97.5 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Tornadus: 301-355 (100.6 - 118.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO
  • 252 Atk Choice Band Weavile Ice Shard vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Diggersby: 230-272 (73.9 - 87.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
These damage calculations were incredibly surprising to the point I'd immediate changed the set from Life Orb to Choice Band to ensure these benchmarks. One crucial aspect about running Choice Band is Weavile doesn't suffer from the LO 10% recoil as usual, meaning it won't rack up residual damage from Stealth Rocks and Spikes. However, the best part is I can play around with Weavile like a hit-and-run Pokemon, attempt to Pursuit trap Starmie/Mega Latios, and just clean up weaken mons as usual. Only thing is Cobalion completely walls Weavile, but I'll won't eagerly spam Knock Off. Also have to be careful of potential situations where a Pokemon can setup against Weavile given its Choice locked, but I kinda knew that going into this battle.


Anne (Latias) @ Leftovers  
Ability: Levitate  
EVs: 140 HP / 108 Def / 108 SpA / 16 SpD / 136 Spe  
Calm Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Stored Power  
- Calm Mind  
- Roost  
- Defog  

Milestones:
-Outspeeds Adamant Arcanine by one point
- +2 108 SpA CM Stored Power with Rocks up OHKOs most frail Pokemon
- +3 108 SpA CM Stored Power  with Rocks up 2HKO most of Chase's walls (even Mega Lati)
- Calm Nature to take special hits slightly better
- Forgot the defense investment...might have been a waste. 

Essentially the first 5 Pokemon on this list was my actual team, just this Latias was the best "filler" compared to the rest of the Nidoking eleven-mon team. Originally this was the same Trick Scarf Set to outspeed Mega Latios (avoid speed tie), and cripple one of Chase's walls with the Choice Scarf. Honestly, had I "continued" to team build to Thursday (September 22th), this set might not have been utilize. The main reason why I wanted this specific Latias set was to get a "secondary" setup sweeper, and of course, clean up anything Char X failed to do. Might have included Ice Beam to hit Mega Latios, but the potential of being hazard stack against me strong. So in the end, chose to run this mono-attacking set with Defog. Chances were this was going to be my "last ditch" effort mon to sweep, as consecutive CMs will bolster Stored Power to frightening levels. If we somehow get to +3 CM, well Latias might be able to punch a hole against Chase's team to where the remaining members can clean up the opposing team.




Team Preview  and  Pre-Game Mind Set


My Team: Char X, Sylveon, Suicune, Nidoking, Weavile, Latias
Chase's Team: Mega Latios, Florges, Starmie, Skarmory, Jolteon, Arcanine


Team Preview: Going to say this right now...thank Arceus there's no Porygon2 and Diggersby as clearly both of these Pokemon were 2 of the top 3 threats against this team. It did surprised me a bit Jolteon and Arcanine were in this matchup, though decided not to question it as Chase brought them for a reason. Not that I didn't prepare for them, just depending on the sets, this battle might sway in my favor. As usual, Chase did bring the 4 Pokemon I'd expected, yet wonder was was the Starmie, and Mega Latios sets as both were now the most threatening. After weighing my options, figured the best lead of choice was going to by my Charizard X to 1) get the Mega Evolution, 2) threaten something out, and 3) ( BIG IF ) setup early game. Either way if he sends in Mega Latios, I'd likely switch into Sylveon, and play accordingly there. However with the finals already commencing live on Twitch, figured Char X might put up a show if we get anything except for the Mega Latios

 NOTE: Here's the Twitch replay of the LA Nidokings Vs Bentonville Blastoise (Me Vs Chase). Commentary done by KevinVGC, and Sanyer, who honestly did a great job with the match despite being extremely late and on such short notice. 


(Slight Spoiler...but whatever)


So Charizard X is up against Starmie and there's a couple options I've thought about, but one of them standout the most. Basically it was dumb "me" saying, "Hey let's risk the game and Dragon Dance up, and see how Chase responds... likely crippling my win con." All season I'd play rather passively and now finally have Char X in a position were it can actually do its thing...and let it dance. Starmie's Scald did below half thanks to my special bulk, and I managed to successful get +1 Dragon Dance. Now this puts me into an interesting position, Dragon Dance again, Roost, or switch out to Suicune / Sylveon as both haven't been damaged. Since Forge the Char X has +1 speed, figured I'd just Roost again, on the likely Arcanine switch in, but Starmie might reveal T-Wave. Again I'm risking the whole game on the fact if Chase has certain moves / coverage for Char X, but when am I going to this opportunity again?

As Arcanine drops my attack raise back to neutral, Char X recovers off some damage with Roost. Here Char X goes for Dragon Claw to gauge the damage on the Arcanine, doing about half HP, however Arcanine use Flamethrower on my quad resistant Dragon... At first I wonder if Chase had indeed misclick, but turns out that's all he has to hit my Char X and was catch off guard my lead. In response, decide to Dragon Dance again as Arcanine goes for E-Speed, and now its looking as if the game might be won "right here". Instead going for +2/+3 Char X, I foolishly go for Dragon Claw as Chase sends in Florges which kinda stops the momentum. Normally if this Char X was full attack investment, I'd risk the damage roll, but felt we need one more Dragon Dance boost up to potential sweep early game.

Chase inadvertently saves himself from being swept, but he's now has to sake Pokemon to keep himself in the game, likely the Florges and Skarmory. Before Florges goes down, it manages to get a Toxic on Char X, essentially preventing the sweep, before it goes down to the incoming Flare Blitz. As Skarmory is sent out, I knew Char X can't do much anymore and either Chase goes for the Stealth Rock, or the Roost to recover some damage from the Flare Blitz (Note: Sturdy will prevent Skarm from fainting). The first scenario happens as Char x goes down, but Chase using the chance to setup Rock, but now with a 1 HP Skarmory without many walls.

Nidoking is sent out and at this point, lets setup Rock ourselves. Problem is Skarmory can Roost this turn, and switch to Starmie the next, or sack Skarm for a free switch to Skarmory. Either way, I knew something faints either Skarm with Flamethrower, or Starmie with the Rock + Flamethrower + Sucker Punch. Skarmory faints to a Crit Flamethrower (not sure if it mattered) following to get up rocks. Starmie comes in and my immediate switch out is Sylveon, but Chase gets some good damage off with Psyshock. Realized after some thought the Starmie had no Life Orb item, so maybe it was Choice Scarf as he swapped out earlier against Char X. Immediately we make the double switch into Latias, and see the Arcanine switch, but now at low HP.

A normal Latias could pick off the weaken Fire-type, but this wasn't no ordinary one. Instead I remove the hazards on the field with Defog (a mistake on my end now I think of it), and decide maybe its time to Calm Mind here. Now that both Florges and Skarmory were out of the picture, it was time to setup to enough CMs to where Stored Power can damage or OHKO most of Chase's team. If Latios switches in, I'd just try to get off damage so Weavile can revenge kill it. As Latias starts Calm Mind boosting, Chase uses Wisp on my Eon Dragon, yet it seems like he has no response to it. After getting to +2 along with some recovery, I decide to attack with Stored Power, and doing so catch the Jolteon in the process for any OHKO.

Now this battle looks favorable as Arcanine is sent back in to damage get E-Speed damage on my CM-boosted Latias. Problem is its most setup fodder, as I get to +3 CM, then finally OHKO the Fire-type dog (sorry naitre ) . Now its brother vs sister. Mega Latios Vs a +3 CM boosted Latias. Unless Chase crits my Latias, this game is still in my favor as Choice Band Weavile is sitting in the back at full. All Latias has to do is get damage on Mega Latios, and the best part is I can 2HKO the blue Eon Dragon at +3 Stored Power.

Mega Latios manages to faint my Latias with a Draco Meteo + Psyshock, but now Weavile (or Ryan the Pug) is here to win us the game. We get a crit Knock Off in somewhat bad taste as I'd already had the game sealed. With Starmie as the last mon standing, it actually locks itself into Dazzling Gleam, crits back Weavile, though Ryan manages to survive the hit! At this point the game is all but locked up, and the LA Nidokings win their first League outside the PFA league we'd originated.




Afterthoughts


I'll admit, this battle could have easily gone my way completely had I'd decided to Dragon Dance up, and with knowledge of Chase's full team now (here's the link). To be honest I'm probably at fault for arranging the battle to be done ASAP, but both Chase and my's schedules didn't line up well to be able to battle, aside Thursday or Wednesday night. Did wanted to wait until like Sunday, but later changed my mind as rather finish the CIL Finals before later September, and we did. Not going to nitpick the battle here and there like I did for the explanation, but I'd saw the Nidoking roster definitely had a clear advantage in terms of balance playstyle as my opponent Chase did. Kinda prepared for Chase to bring a bulkier team with Diggersby and Porygon2 being the focal points, but they never showed up. Can't "theorymon" too much about the possibly "what ifs" or "what might" occur. 

Regardless good games to Chase, or Cbrangames of the Bentonville Blastoise, and there 9-1 record shows they aren't a team to to played around with. Definitely Chase is the best runner up team for the CIL as they improved from being one of the worse teams, to the among the best. One thing to note Chase has a somewhat tight schedule so completely understand how it feels to team build while line up the right times with your opponent. Aside the favorable damage rolls we got to achieve OHKOs, there wasn't too much hax involved and as somewhat clean. Well good games to you, maybe we'll battle again some time during Sun / Moon with the new Pokemon and stuff.

Really want to thank Chase, KevinVGC, Sanyer, Abruptfury, GingerxPug, Tref, KantoCastBlue, and all the others who stayed up to watch or commentate the battle. Special thanks to Kyle (ItalianG62) for giving me some ideas on which Pokemon to bring, and some sets to consider. Kyle also kinda had to put up with my set ideas and thoughts in the battle, as sometimes I'm kinda difficult to change opinions about during team building. Though they weren't there, Rogue and Naitre definitely helped support this Nidoking Championship run despite helping a couple of games, but still appreciated. 

Man not much to say, but after this, I definitely need a break from battling semi-competitively, so might lay back for awhile. Definitely looking forward S/M when the game drops so I can spam Choice Specs Thunders with Tapo Koko....before it gets banned from Smogon. If anything, I'll see if its possible I can return to CIL S3 for a title defense, but that might be a long time from now until S/M. Well to all the people in the chat I've talked with and chatted, thanks for your support. 

Three titles in a year, guess that'll suffice. Well thanks for reading this piece. 


Monday, October 3, 2016

CIL Playoffs: Round 2 Vs The Bolt Strike Bisharps






( Artist: Ehllychan )

Preview


The following might be "me" just rambling vaguely about "stuff"...


So.. its been about a three and a half weeks since I've updated regarding the CIL League and Playoffs. At this time, Finals has been finished about a week ago, but won't spoiler any implications until the very end. Anyways during early September, boy didn't know for sure what was going to happen, but we are here...doing this writeup. Before I'd like to continue, will like to say thanks to everyone who supported me both IRL and those who I interact Online. Honestly wasn't in the "best mood" back then, but now this is a new leaf so I'll continue working on some updates here. 

Regarding CIL, I'll admit there was a point where I wanted to leave but given that these events happen during the last week of the regular season and had the BYE, figured we should continue on. Like We just got a perfect 10-0 record and these thoughts occur for just because of my own" insecurities". Eventually got over them, and decided, " well we came this far, so lets end with a bang"...while not half ass anything. Even though this is suppose to be casual (hence the name) and laid-back league, I didn't plan on losing because of an early exit, or inadequately preparing for the battle. If there was ever going to be a battle I "lost", at least we'll make my opponents work for it. Well...doing this league for six months  and now we where entering crunch time. 

To anyone from the CIL, I'm not upset about anything regarding the CIL league or anyone for that matter. Just some personal event came up, I overreacted, and some other stuff occurred. Didn't want to mention anything or refer it once for attention, but now that most of that stuff is cleared, though I'd just share how I felt in late August/ early Sept. Guess this is my way at venting some steam, but not against anyone from the league, my opponent, or those who I talk to on a daily basis now. Ok with that all of the way, here's my week 11, or Round 2 Battle against a former opponent, Iceolate or Jonah. 


CIL Playoff Round 2: VS The Bolt Strike Bisharps 


 My Team: Charizard X, Latias, Suicune, Weavile, Sylveon, Doublade, Nidoking, Galvantula, Chesnaught, Empoleon, Gliscor
Iceolate's Team: Mega Lopunny, Zapdos, Azumarill, Reuniclus, Goodra, Heliolisk, Registeel, Cofagrigus, Rhyperior, Liepard, Archeops.

For CIL playoffs, given the LA Nidokings went perfect 10-0, we managed to get both the best record and a bye spot for playoffs. While some league did have a standard top 8, CIL has a top 6 with the two best team of each division potentially achieving a bye slot. This meant I had somewhat free time for myself, or potential time to prepare for people I know I'd have to face eventually in Round 2, and maybe Finals. Originally I did prepare for both Icolate and ItalianG62 for my Round 2 matchup, though seeing how their seasonal battle went (not playoffs round 1), there was a good chance Icolate might be the victor. To my suspicions, Iceolate did in fact beat Kyle and played the battle safe most of the time.  Regarding how I was going to prepare for Jonah well... not going to explain what team analysis of Iceolate's team as this has been covered before on our Week 9 battle, so I'll leave a link here. For this occasion, we'll briefly look over what mistakes we both made, as well as possibly determine the team matchup based on the following replay from Week 9.

So... basically I knew from this battle there was no way in hell Iceolate doesn't bring hazard removal in either Zapdos or Archeops, but fully expected the Electric/Flying-type Pokemon to come. Well Zapdos kinda was a reasonable Pokemon to bring for this matchup for Defog, Volt Switch potential, defensive pressure (pun not intended), an offensive set with (STAB T-bolt, HP Flying, Extrasensory, Heat Wave), or something weird set. Mega Lopunny is the fastest thing on Iceolate's team and can revenge kill any weaken Pokemon, though I felt it was moderately checked with my "semi-finals" team. If there was a number one threat on Jonah's team, it was the Azumarill as it can hit everything on the team for heavy damage, and can get kills STAB Play Roughs, Waterfall, and Aqua Jets. What made this matchup even more 'concerning' was my team didn't have a direct switch-in for Azu, so had to ensure everyone can do "something" against the aquatic rabbit. For any defensive walls, Rhyperior was probably the only one to bring back since without a high base HP  / Defensive Rock-type, then Char X can potentially setup somewhere and sweep the team. Goodra can eat up most of my team's special attacks with its high Sp Def, though it likely gets worn down from all the damage it takes. Finally, if there's a mon I felt Jonah would bring 100% (just based on planning), Reuniclus was the most likely newcomer aside Zapdos given he'd just swept with a CM variant on the last week of the regular season to make playoffs. 


During our Week 9 battle, the lack of any hazard control heavily swayed the matchup in my favor as Iceolate's team was kinda put on a timer with those Toxic Spikes and regular Spikes. If there was going to be some 'major' changes on his end, adding Zapdos and Reuniclus was the best thing to do in order to improve his chances against me. Zapdos can sorta threaten nearly most of my wall core bar Sylveon and Defogs any hazards, which I'm still going to bring. Mega Lopunny and Rhyperior were likely going to be standard sets and Reuniclus I felt was going to have Calm Mind to be able to 1v1 most of my Pokemon, and can still be me if a "last mon" situation occurs. For this battle, I asked a good ol' friend Rogue and later his sister Naitre for consultation of some Pokemon, and moves (and yes they are IRL siblings). Both Rogue and Naitre have helped me in the past for things, but rarely did I consult with them for League battles, except for Rogue who helped initally during Season 2 of PFA and the beginning of PFA/CIL when I needed it.  Don't worry as most of the team,  notably the EVs were fixed by myself, thowgh will like to thank those two for helping out. Oh yeah if either of you are reading this, yeah....I kinda overslept through our "scheduled" meeting, so my bad.

Well I'll admit this is the same team I brought, but really all three of us agreed it was the best well rounded team, and felt Iceolate would prepare for some other stuff like Weavile or Gliscor. Really like some of the changes made from the original as you'll see.


THE TEAM


Forge (Charizard-Mega-X) @ Charizardite X  
Ability: Tough Claws  
EVs: 136 HP / 144 Atk / 28 Def / 4 SpD / 196 Spe  
Adamant Nature  
- Flare Blitz  
- Will-O-Wisp  
- Roost  
- Dragon Dance  

Milestones:
-Outspeed max speed Timid Goodra (and Scarf if +1)
-Flare Blitz can 2HKO most of Iceolate's team bar Azu, Rhyperior, or Cofag
----->>>2HKO Fully Physically Defensive Reuniclus
-Dumped HP and Def EVs

Well Forge has to make an appearance in this battle given the potential to setup with one Dragon Dance and sweep once either Azumarill, Rhyperior, or Cofag were gone, or severely weaken. After one Dragon Dance, Char X should be able to outspeed Jolly Mega Lopunny and the potential Choice Scarf Goodra. Though this set could have been a standard defensive Char X, the threat of Reuniclus was a looming threat we couldn't ignore. Adamant nature with some Atk investment possible to ensure the 2HKO was opted and everything else was allocated to HP, Def, and SpDef. Roost allows Char X to replenish lost HP, especially if Rocks are up on the field, or if it needs to setup on a certain Pokemon. The last move was a toss-up between Thunder Punch, Dragon Claw, HP Grass, and Sword Dance, but Rogue told me just to run Wisp to burn either the Azumarill and Rhyperior switch and it was already fine. Though Wisp did conflict with Toxic Spike (will get to later), it was just to give myself assurance against Azu mostly.


Bryant (Nidoking) @ Life Orb  
Ability: Sheer Force  
EVs: 144 Atk / 208 SpA / 156 Spe  
Rash Nature  
- Earth Power  
- Ice Beam  
- Poison Jab  
- Toxic Spikes  

Milestones
-2HKOs most relevant Pokemon with the combination of EP, Ice Beam, and Poison Jab.
-Poison Jab OHKOes Azumarill to avoid situation if it were Assault Vest.
-Goodra gets 2HKO by Poison Jab as well.
-Ice Beam can 2HKO Specially Defensive Zapdos without rolls.
-Toxic Spikes are filler...well free 1/8th damage I guess. 
-Outspeeds Zapdos without much speed investment.

Perhaps the one Pokemon we drastically changed from the original "Passho Berry" set to net a surprise kill on Azu, which did help previously. Reason for opting out from the 1st set was the strong likelihood Azumarill might now sport the Assault Vest, or the Poison-reducing Berry (forgot what's it called). Instead this Nidoking acts as a wallbreak to 2HKO most things on Jonah's team and pick them off. The additional attack investment was to 2HKO a non defensive Reuniclus, if there was any reason for Jonah to not bring full defensive. All season Nidoking has been sorta a hit and run Pokemon, but with the positive SpAtk nature and Sheer Force Life Orb I intend on Bryant netting some crucial KOs. Lastly Toxic Spikes was opted again as Icolate has no Poison-type to remove them aside his two Defog users. Jonah's team lacked clerics aside Lopunny and Zapdos, which both don't want to run Heal Bell on a crucial slot, so chances are likely something will get poisoned, and get consistent residual damage. 


Nui Harime (Sylveon) (F) @ Leftovers  
Ability: Pixilate  
EVs: 248 HP / 148 Def / 4 SpA / 96 SpD / 12 Spe  
Calm Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Hyper Voice  
- Wish  
- Fake Tears  
- Heal Bell  

Milestones:
-Opted for Calm Nature to increase Sylveon's "highest" stat in Sp Def
-Avoids being 2HKOed by Specs Modest Zapdos (highly unlikely)
-Takes 1 Adamant Return from Mega Lopunny when close to 100%
-Better yet...generic special tank with cleric support

Prior to this battle, Sylveon was the "last" Pokemon added to the team due to its ability to provide basic cleric support and to wall most of Jonah's special attackers. An uninvested Hyper Voice still inflicts heavy damage to most of Jonah's team anyways, and OHKOs the Mega Lopunny so there wasn't a need to invest, or change for a special attacker set. The biggest difference here is the change from Calm Mind to Fake Tears. Now before anyone questions this, I'll explain a little problem called Reuniclus. Basically if Iceolate, or Jonah bring a CM Reuniclus, I have to immediately pressure it out somehow, but chances are he'd save it for the last mon situation, and be able to tank most of my special attacker's main damage output. Now here's where Fake Tears comes to play. Essentially,  the reason for Fake Tears is to drop the Special Defense by -2, instead of -1, pretty much cutting it in half or a third of the original Sp Def. 

If Sylveon is up against CM Reuniclus, it can use Fake Tears to counter balance the Special Defense boost from Calm Mind, and pretty much 2HKO the Psychic-type. Fake Tears can be used to "force" switches, or allow Sylveon to beat Cofag, Zapdos, and other Pokemon as a -2 Sp Def drop will likely result in a 2HKO, or OHKO with Pixilate Hyper Voice. If Azumarill is in fact, Belly Drum, I can use Fake Tears on the turn it uses BD so Latias (will discuss later on) can 100% OHKO it with T-Bolt.


Reed (Chesnaught) @ Leftovers  
Ability: Bulletproof  
EVs: 200 HP / 164 Def / 144 Spe  
Impish Nature  
- Wood Hammer  
- Super Fang  
- Spikes  
- Synthesis  

Milestones:
-Adamant M-Lopunny's High Jump Kick is a 3HKO.
-Tanks one Play Rough from non Choice Band Azu.
-Outspeeds Adamant Azu by 1 point. 
-OHKOs 252 HP / 4 Def Azu with prior damage (20% Min)

This is the same Chesnaught set brought to the original game against Iceolate, and yes it did have the speed investment to outspeed absolute max speed Adamant Azu and retaliate with Wood Hammer. Super Fang is a great option to have to severely weaken most of his Mons via cutting their total HP by half, or 50%. This might sound weird at first given the potential for Zapdos and Reuniclus to make an appearance, but I figured this will "force" them to replenish their HP. Chances were I'd switch into Char X on either of these two as they either recover off the damage, or attack my Mega. Spikes were opted yet again as most of Iceolate's team was grounded, so residual damage from each damaging turn is always nice. Lastly Synthesis was used to recuperate Chesnaught's HP immediately unlike Leech Seed as it was my response to Mega Lopunny, Azumarill, and Rhyperior. 


Rogue (Suicune) @ Leftovers  

Ability: Pressure  
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpA / 4 SpD  
Bold Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Scald  
- Calm Mind  
- Roar  
- Rest  

Milestones:
-Its Rogue ...what more can be said
-ok that was suppose to be 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpA, but it didn't matter much
-Just that Suicune needed to be Max Physical Defense. 

This is the same Suicune set I've brought in most recent battles its seen combat. Well Standard CM Roar Suicune is basically here to do its job, counteract CM boosts from others with Roar, while boost up itself with CMs of its own. Only problem is Heliolisk walls Suicune, but I expected Zapdos over the lizard to be Jonah's STAB Electric-type. Not much to say, except Rest + Heal Bell from Sylveon helps Suicune get back into the battlefield.


Anne (Latias) @ Choice Scarf  
Ability: Levitate  
EVs: 16 HP / 120 Def / 252 SpA / 120 Spe  
Modest Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Psyshock  
- Thunderbolt  
- Healing Wish  
- Trick  

Milestones:
-Enough Speed to outpace Jolly Mega Lopunny and Scarf Goodra
-Psyshock to hit Goodra harder
-Thunder Bolt over Energy Ball if...if Jonah had Sap Sipper Azu with Belly Drum
-More Defense EVs to take a +6 Aqua Jet after Rocks...if it crits

This Latias set was mainly there as an "offensive support" to either revenge kill weaken targets, or support the team with one of its two status options. Healing Wish is there in case one of my Win Cons gets severely damage and need Latias to "sacrifice" itself to recuperate her ally, while maintaining some offensive momentum. Trick is opted in case to cripple one of Jonah's walls, or deal with CM Reuniclus via locking the Pokemon into one move. The only thing worth mentioning is the additional Defense EVs to tank a +6 Aqua Jet better from Azu. Speaking of Azu, if it ever gets in on Sylveon and attempts to Belly Drum, the first I'll do is click Fake Tears to ensure the OHKO with Thunder Bolt from Latias. Not much else to say, but Latias can be an invaluable asset to the team, if I use it properly.




Team Preview and Pre Game Mindset

My Team: Char X, Nidoking, Sylveon, Suicune, Chesnaught, Latias
Iceolate's Team: Mega Lopunny, Azumarill, Zapdos, Heliolisk, Rhyperior, Archeops


Team Preview: So no Reuniclus, Goodra, or even Cofagrigus for this matchup, however some interesting choices did came about. Seems like both Heliolisk and Archeops are here to outspeed most members of my team, and get some potential Volt-Turn going. Seeing just Heliolisk made me almost regret bringing the mono-attacking Scald Suicune, but it is what it is. If anything, Iceolate brought both Defoggers in Zapdos and Archeops, so the suspicion of such changes were confirmed. In terms of potential leads, kinda wanted to threaten out either the Azumarill, M-Lopunny, or Rhyperior, I went with Chesnaught. 


The Battle: Crocodile Tears

So I lead off with Chesnaught, as Iceolate has Archeops has a lead, so already I'm in a unfortunate position. Kinda forced to go to Suicune, so as Chesnaught switches, the Archeops reveals Toxic to badly poison one of my walls. Turn 3 I decide to go on a "double switch" into Sylveon predicting either Zapdos/Heliolisk to come and get some decent board position. Problem is as I switch to Sylveon, Jonah sends in Azumarill, so now I'm in another corner. Didn't anticipate the Fairy-type match this early on and really don't have any switches. Make a questionable play an go for Hyper Voice instead of Fake Tears to gauge the damage, maybe hope I don't get over 50% damage if it is Sitrus Berry BD. Instead, the Azumarill switches for Zapdos, and doesn't take the uninvested Hyper Voice as well. Don't see any Leftovers, so maybe this is an offensive variant Zapdos, or a Yache Berry. Here I decide to reveal Fake Tears from Sylveon onto Zapdos, as it goes for an Agility, possibly confirming its a Baton Pass set. 

Now we put Jonah in a interesting position as something has to take a Hyper Voice, otherwise Zapdos dies and we can start setting up hazards. Archeops is sent out, takes the Pixilate Hyper Voice thanks to its Focus Sash, and now is at 1%...so I'm thinking this is might be an Endeavor lead. Again, since I don't have a response to Endeavor, Sylveon has to take the hit and be effectively sacked. Thankfully Jonah goes for Rocks and we pick off the Rock-/Flying-type with another Hyper Voice. Mega Lopunny is sent out, and I'm wonder, "What is he planning?" Don't know if this was a misplay or he got timed out, but basically all what comes about this is Sylveon netting another Hyper Voice kill against the Lopunny as it goes for Toxic instead. 

With two offensive threats out of the way, especially the Mega Lopunny, I knew this battle is favorable until we manage to OHKO Zapdos and Azu. Speaking of Azumarill, the blue rabbit is sent out and figure well Sylveon has done its job, so lets go for the Fake Tears. As Play Rough does heavy damage to Sylveon, it manages to drop the special defense by -2 and I figure out this Azumarill has speed investment, though how much don't know. With Sylveon gone, we take this opportunity to send in Nidoking, and possibly net our kill as Azumarill can't take a Poison Jab without the Poison-reducing Berry. Here Iceolate makes the sack for Heliolisk as Nidoking Poison Jabs... and the lizard lives at 12%!

Immediately I checked if we do have the Life Orb, or Sheer Force on Nidoking in case it was a mistake on part, and we do. So why is this Heliolisk alive? Only explanation was Heliolisk has 252 HP  or 252 Def, which can explain this situation. Regardless, I'm kinda forced to sack a Charizard X as it doesn't do much for the battle, and possibly were down Heliolisk with Life Orb recoil, assuming it has it. As we make the Charizard sack, Heliolisk reveals the Life Orb, so I decide to Synthesis recover the STAB Hyper Voice damage from Heliolisk to knock itself out. Even though this works out, thinking about it now should have sent in Latias to revenge kill, as a crit Hyper Voice with rocks damage  OHKOs Chesnaught, which was something I didn't think of.

Azumarill is sent out on Jonah's side, so I decide not to risk this and get the Wood Hammer damage off for someone else to pick off the Water/Fairy-type. Chesnaught outspeeds the Azumarill, and actually one shots it with the STAB Wood Hammer, thus making this battle achievable late game now. Turns out Wood Hammer was a roll whether it kills or not, so we don't know how much was it in our favor. Regardless, Zapdos is sent out and I decide to sack the Chesnaught to the incoming HP Flying / Ice / Heat Wave, yet it goes for Agility. Did go for Synthesis in case Zapdos doesn't kill me off, but this allows Chesnaught to stay  in the game and spam Super Fangs. As Zapdos Baton Passes out, we manage to Super Fang the incoming Rhyperior, inflicting 50% HP. Unless I'm forgetting something here, Wood Hammer should OHKO Rhyperior at this range, as it does.

Now its basically Zapdos versus the world, but it can still pull this back. The goal for this end game was to scout for the remaining moveslots on Zapdos, lock it with Choice Scarf with Latias, and end the game with the appropriate Pokemon. Lock in an Electric move means Nidoking wins. Locked into Heat Wave/HP Ice Suicune wins via a Scalds. Turns out Zapdos didn't have any attacking moves as it reveals Defog and Roost, meaning I definitely have to Choice Lock it with Trick. As Latias Tricks the Zapdos, I knew this series was effectively over. To end on a funny note, I decide to go for the Healing Wish, because ....why now. Actually this was just to ensure I don't "misclick", and give Jonah back his Zapdos's item which was Yache Berry, while remaining locked into a non-damaging move. Nidoking faints the Zapdos with Ice Beam and well we advance into the Finals for the CIL League. 



Afterthoughts


Before the semi finals started, Iceolate did mention he wasn't ready on the time I did respond to one of his messages on the CIL Chat on Twitter. He didn't feel to confident in the battle, but later on changed his mind to battle on that same day to get it over with. On that note, I do apologize for rushing my opponent into battle, though Jonah did made some interesting calls with both movesets and even EVs spreads. Don't want to question the plays in the battle too much, though if I had to nitpick one, it has to be when Jonah sent in Mega Lopunny to Toxic Sylveon, instead of going straight into Azumarill. I too am liable with some misplays and poor calls by leading Chesnaught, the miss prediction early game, and the now-weird play to leave in Chesnaught to Heliolisk if it indeed crit. 

Yes I know I'm nitpicking, but we'll leave it at that. What's important is we manage to get a win against Iceolate and now advance to the Finals for the first time in a different league. Jonah did present everyone a good game in the series, so not going to complain about it, especially if he makes YT videos for both these leagues matches.  Well now that we are in the final battle, we are up against ...

CBRANGAME of the Bentonville Blastoise with a 9-1 record. Well this was the Finals matchup that most people in the CIL League predicted, though not the exact details. Chase did have a rather difficult start in the Semifinals as well, but managed to beat Darby (using the Poison Sting team), and advance to face me. The only thing I'll "spoil" in this page is that the time I take to prepare to the CIL Finals is alot shorter an happens during the same week. Note playoffs lasted for one week which is kinda surprising considering the pace of the battles. 

Going to try my best to get the finals up ASAP during this week. For that article, I'm going to discuss in great detail about I prepared for the Finals, the way I prepared, and of course, my thought process going into the battle with play by plays. Well basically what I've been doing since almost last year since starting the thing. Look forward for that!