Indianapolis Jolts Roster: Landorus-T, Starmie, Mega Alakazam, Darmanitan, Sharpedo, Toxicroak, Jolteon, Trevenant, Escavalier, Sandslash, Zangoose, Shiftry
LA Nidoking Roster: Manaphy, Jirachi, Mega Manetric, Crobat, Nidoqueen, Arcanine, Druddigon, Uxie, Virizion, Kabutops, Regirock, Articuno
So its been over eleven days since after our near perfect performance against YugiohTrav as the Nidokings face off against the second-best team as well as our division rivals the Indianapolis Jolts led by MudkipLegend. At first, I knew the minute just looking at Mudkip's team this battle will be a war of attrition and who can maintain enough Pokemon who can close out the match. Nearly all his Pokemon are somewhat frail though have a high attack/special attack to make a formidable hyper offensive team. I've heard that Jolteon has been his main kill leader for his team given its rather fast base 130 speed and 110 special attack to clean up the opposition. While Jolteon was something to look over yes, there were two Pokemon in particular I felt Mudkip would bring no matter the circumstance: Darmanitan and Sharpedo. Darmanitan for those who don't know, hits like a fucking freight train. In the proper matchups, Darmanitan can easily either 2HKO or straight-up OHKO almost all of my Pokemon bar Regirock or Manaphy. This matchup I was certain Mudkip wasn't going to waste Darmanitan like that, or leave it in an unfavorable position since it will take a ton of recoil from the Flare Blitz and from Stealth Rocks if setup. Sharpedo was another threat that was concerning given it has one move that can take on any Pokemon from my team: Destiny Bond. While Sharpedo can easily take out some of my best Pokemon like the Jirachi with Crunch, Arcanine with Waterfall/Aqua Jet, M-Manetric with Earthquake, etc though Destiny Bond allows Sharpedo to at best get one free kill. If I setup for game (CM Manaphy/Jirachi), he can easily use this move to make it a one-for-one however Mudkip can regain momentum from this trade.
Landorus-T was another concerning Pokemon since it can hit most of my team with a STAB Earthquake however one problem: at least one of my Pokemon can threaten it out with something either a random Ice coverage or status condition. Both Mega Alakazam and Starmie could do some wall breaking, however I do have some great responses I'll get to in a bit. On one final note before team preview, about seven/eight (when counting mixed attackers) of Mudkiplegend's entire team were physical attackers meaning my intimidate core can do a decent amount of work. As for the special attacking core (Starmie, Mega Zam, Jolteon, Shiftry, and maybe Sharpedo), every single one are frail from the defensive end so if I can wear them down enough, I can have the Pokemon I selected finish them off with their respective priority. Now here's the team I brought for this week:
- An offensive pivot Manaphy with max hp, some Sp. Atk investment, and enough speed to outspeed the Landorus-T if it were Jolly nature. The moveset wasn't a setup unlike most weeks, rather an all-out attacking with Scald, Ice Beam (for Landorus-T), Psychic (for Toxicroak), and U-Turn. If anyone recalls, I didn't want to bring a setup Manaphy in case Mudkip had brought Destiny Bond. U-Turn was sorta a last minute decision but with him having a ton of Pokemon weak to Bug (Shifty, Alakazam, Starmie, Sharpedo) I can switch on out to gain initiative.
- An offensive Mega Manetric with a Timid nature and the following moveset: Thunderbolt, Signal Beam, Flamethrower, and HP Ice. Mega Manetric can do a decent amount of work once the main threats (Mega Alakazam, Sandslash, Landorus-T) as it can hit something for super effective damage or at least 2HKO with its Thunderbolt. Not much to say but Mega Manetric was one of my main win conditions to preserve for the late game though I like to reason why Signal Beam over Volt Switch. First, Jolteon will likely be a switch in to my Mega Manetric so I want to hit it with something not named Thunderbolt about 3/4th of the time. Well Flamethrower does more damage so why not Volt Switch again? Well Mega Alakazam's main ability is Trace so it will likely copy Manetric's Lightening Rod and if I manage to get a +1 boost to its special attack from Jolteon, Signal Beam can always 100% OHKO Mega Zam that's not invested as much.
- A defensive Intimidate Arcanine with the following moveset: Crunch, Extreme Speed, Will-O-Wisp, and Morning Sun. Looking at his team, Arcanine puts a decent amount of work by spreading burn status to most of his physical attackers while recovering off the damage with Leftovers + Morning Sun. Crunch was in case Stamie switches in so that Arcanine do about +50% damage and even do a chunk to Mega Alakazam. Extreme Speed was Arcanine's last option so once everything is weaken enough, Arcanine can do a late game sweep of Mudkip's team.
- An offensive Timid nature Sheer Force Nidoqueen with the following attacks: Earth Power, Ice Beam, Flamethrower, and Sucker Punch. The item choice I have for this Nidoqueen was the Shuca Berry to take an Earthquake from Landorus-T and can finish it off with an Ice Beam. Most of these attacks do a decent amount to at least half of Mudkip's team with super effective damage and Sucker Punch is to finish off a weaken Starmie or Mega Alakazam.
- An offensive pivot AV Druddigon with Rough Skin and the following moveset: Sucker Punch, Pursuit, Fire Punch, and Earthquake. This was my main answer to Starmie/Mega Alakazam/Jolteon and probably the win condition for this team. All Druddigon has to do is wear down either of these threats and especially take out Mega Alakazam with either Pursuit or Sucker Punch. Additionally I wanted Druddigon to take on Sharpedo as a last minute resort in case my main check Manaphy is gone or severely weaken. Rough Skin was opted since most of these attacks weren't boosted by Sheer Force and Fire Punch can OHKO the standard Escavalier without heavy investment or Occa Berry.
- For my last mon I brought a defensive Uxie again with Stealth Rocks, Foul Play, Knock Off, and U-Turn. Again not much to say however I like to point out that Uxie is faster than Landorus-T so if Mudkip is running a defensive Landorus-T, I can get off some damage before it goes for an attack. U-Turn was extremely vital as it can easily 2HKO Mega Alakazam and leaving it within range of a Sucker Punch/Extreme Speed from Nidoqueen, Arcanine, or Druddigon.
The Match: WNBG-WWWW-WW38-PHWA
Indianapolis Jolts Team: Mega Alakazam, Darmanitan, Sharpedo, Jolteon, Trevenant, Sandslash
(Also for the purpose of not saying his full name, I'm going to refer Mudkiplegend as Mudkip, not an actual Pokemon that fought in battle.)
While I did say earlier Landorus-T and Starmie were some "notable threats", the fact that Mudkip didn't bring either of these two was a huge relief as Nidoqueen and Druddigon now have a better matchup against his team. Sandslash was concerning since I can't just setup rocks freely against it with Uxie, however Nidoqueen has the Shuca Berry so an Earthquake won't OHKO Nidoqueen at all. Darmanitan and Sharpedo were the two threats I had to contain, otherwise if my team is weaken enough they can easily plow through with an easy sweep. In all, I decided Manaphy was the best lead given that if he leads with Jolteon, I can switch out to Nidoqueen/Manetric to block the Volt Switch, and bait in Mega Alakazam. Other than that, Manaphy will just switch out with U-Turn in to gain momentum.
With that I lead Manaphy as MudkipLegend sends out his Darmanitan and an I start the match with a favorable position. Immediately I knew Darmanitan would U-turn out into Jolteon or Trevenant so on that same turn I switch out with U-Turn. MudkipLegend U-turns into his Jolteon as I hit Jolteon with a decent amount and switch out into Druddigon. Here I felt Mudkip wouldn't let his Jolteon in on this Drudddigon so I decided to Pursuit his fast Electric-Type and doing so made the right play since he did attempt to switch out. As Sandslash comes in for Jolteon, his Electric-type is now at about 25% so an additional Sucker Punch/Exteme-Speed can take it out. Here I get catch up with my thoughts and make a misplay of not switching into Manaphy from my Druddigon or even Nidoqueen, however I felt the need to predict the Earthquake. Since Uxie can take an Earthquake with its Levitate ability, I can easily come in, but Mudkip gets Stealth Rocks and now can easily Knock Off Uxie or anyone's item. Realizing this misplay, I decide to let Manaphy take the Knock Off as its loses its Leftovers and some health from hazards. With Sandslash on the field, Manaphy goes for a Scald though Trevenant easily switches in without getting burned.
Knowing Manaphy might be useful later on, Arcanine comes in as Trevenant goes for Leech Seed to drain about 1/8th of my health. Here I make another sorta poor decision and go for the Will-O-Wisp without realizing Mudkip can easily switch into Darmanitan and recover off any damage thanks to the Leech Seed. Arcanine is too important for the Trevenant and for the potential late game Extreme Speed sweep so I switch out to Uxie as it takes hazards + an incoming Rock Slide. Here Mudkip goes for another Rock Slide and misses as Uxie gets off a Foul Play to inflict about 66% damage (max roll btw and confirms its Adamant). Predicting his switch to one of his Pokemon, I decide to let Uxie use Knock Off and takes out the incoming Sandslash's Leftovers. The way Mudkip brought in Sandslash confirms that he'll return the favor with his own Knock Off, so I preserve Uxie for Nidoqueen as she has the Shuca Berry to take one Earthquake anyways. Here I catch Mudkip off guard with a fast Sheer Force Ice Beam which takes out the Sandslash without taking a life-threatening EQ. Darmanitan switches in for Mudkip so I realize he's going to attack me either with Flare Blitz or U-turn. Without any safe switch in, I'm forced to use Sucker Punch with Nidoqueen but I can get rid of the Darmanitan by either OHKOing it with a lucky crit, or leaving Darm extremely low of an HP so it knocks itself out with a Flare Blitz recoil which indeed happens.
After the rather extreme double knock out, both Mudkip and I get a free switch and I let Uxie come in against his Alakazam. Though Mudkip can freely Mega Evolve, this is the opportunity I've been waiting for all match to Pursuit trap his Mega Alakazam by getting a slow U-turn damage from Uxie, switch into my AV Druddigon for free, and either going for Sucker Punch or Pursuit. The plan goes to motion as Uxie takes a Shadow Ball with 23 HP to spare and gets a critical hit U-turn which might matter if Mega Alakazam leaves without taking damage. Druddigon comes in and I debated either to go for either Pursuit (which I revealed earlier), or Sucker Punch. Eventually I decided Sucker Punch was my best play as Mega Alakazam is extremely worn down. Druddigon's Sucker Punch connects as Mega Zam stays in for an attack and now the match prospects is looking bright on my end. Trevenant comes in and noted Druddigon needed to be saved to weaken Shapedo enough to Extreme Speed from Arcanine to OKHO.
Here Arcanine switches in for Druddigon as it takes another Leech Seed from Trevenant. At this point in the match is where I do stall out for a bit to 1) come up with an end game plan, and 2) get Arcanine as healthy as possible. During this exchange Arcanine manages to get a Will-O-Wisp off against Trevenant so its -1 attack and burned doing pitiful damage aside from the Leech Seed recovery. For a couple of turns, Arcanine goes for Morning Sun as Trevenant keeps attacking for as much damage as possible with Horn Leech/Shadow Claw. Thankfully Arcanine still has Leftovers + Morning Sun so it can stay in against Trevenant until I feel its necessary to sack Manaphy for a Mega Manetric switch. Arcanine eventually goes for a couple of Crunch hits as I discover Trevenant is a Harvest Sitrus Berry set for gradual recovery, though now I'm fear he'll switch out to Sharpedo soon to take a resisted Crunch. Mudkip eventually switches to Sharpedo predicting I'd Morning Sun to preserve my Arcanine as much HP as possible. Predicting Mudkip to go for either Waterfall or Protect, Druddigon comes in on the failed Protect as I can wear it down Sharpedo enough so Arcanine can OHKO it with E-Speed. For some reason I thought he'd switch out to Trevenant and since Sucker Punch and Fire Punch were doing similar damage, I go for the Fire Punch to hopefully catch the Grass/Ghost-type or deal about 29% to Sharpedo. However Sharpedo crits my Druddigon (which was about 75%) with a Life Orb Crunch and easily OHKOs it at the cost of 22.5% health from LO recoil and Rough Skin damage. (I'll explain why this mattered later on)
Now I'm somewhat in a panic as Sharpedo has a potential to win Mudkiplegend the game so my last ditch resort was to revenge kill it with Mega Manetric but it has to take a -1 Intimidated LO Earthquake. Based on the calcs, Mega Manetric has a high chance to live a -1 LO EQ, but can faint if Mudkip's Sharpedo gets a the better roll. Mudkip realizes Sharpedo was too important and switches out to Trevenant as I go for Signal Beam for the same middle ground play to hit Sharpedo super effectively instead of Thunderbolt if Jolteon switched in. Unfortunately for Mudkip, Harvest doesn't activate and Mega Manetric picks off the severely damaged Trevenant with Flamethrower as he switches back Sharpedo in place without the attack drop. Here I'm forced to sack Manaphy as now I'm playing to stall out the Sharpedo's HP enough so Arcanine can OHKO with E-Speed as my last win condition. Manaphy goes down, then Mega Manetric faints to a critical hit Earthquake (which I thought matter but didn't), though Sharpedo is at 45%-49% meaning it comes down to if Arcanine can get a high roll to win the game.....
Arcanine uses Extreme Speed.....the Foe's Sharpedo faints!
With the Shapedo down, all I have to do is Extreme Speed the ~ 1% - 4% Jolteon and the Nidokings take a narrow 1-0 win with the match. The LA Nidokings continue their winning streak for an overall 6-0 record as the Mudkip's Indianapolis Jolts fall to 4-2. Honestly I don't give a crap about the outcome of the battle, whether or not who won or whatever... this was probably the best game of the season and arguably the closest battle in PFA's short time as a draft league. Thanks to Mudkip for the battle and I know we'll have our playoff match next year so we have that going for us.
Thoughts: Noting "Personal" Misplays + End Game Outcomes
First off, after watching the replays from both sides, I've noted a couple of misplays we made early on that honestly shouldn't have been made at all. Probably the biggest misplay for me was switching in Uxie on the Sandslash early on instead of going directly to Manaphy. The reason why I say this is because Sandslash would later go for a Knock Off on Manaphy to not only remove the Leftovers but also solid damage to where Life Orb Crunch from Sharpedp OHKOs it. To be completely honest, the same results might have occurred (without the possibility of hax) though Manaphy would be at a healthy amount of HP after rocks to live a LO Crunch. Here's a bit of simple math:
Max HP Manaphy at 77% health (now 160/207 ) - 12.5% rocks = 64.5% or ~ 65% total HP if swapped into rocks (Hit Points are always rounded up so the calc is approximate).
Now if we calc for LO Adamant Crunch:
252+ Atk Life Orb Sharpedo Crunch vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Manaphy: 94-110 (45.4 - 53.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
Here's what U-turn would have done:
0- Atk Manaphy U-turn vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Sharpedo: 96-114 (65.7 - 78%) -- guaranteed OHKO
Assuming Manaphy doesn't get critted in the process, it can live a LO Crunch since it will only do 53% max and about 65% U-turn + 10% Life Orb either beats it or gets revenge killed by Extreme Speed. This isn't counting all the Rough Skin (12.5%) + additional 10% recoil, or possibly if Sharpedo had taken additional 12.5% Stealth Rocks damage.
If Druddugon Didn't Get Critted
Now here let me explain how I wanted to end game to come about. Had Durddigon didn't get KOed by the crit it would have inflicted about 29% to the Sharpedo with Fire Punch (which I went for in case Trevenant switched in). Assume what I mentioned earlier about the Rough Skin + Life Orb recoil, basically I wanted to stall out Sharpedo's HP enough so either Druddigon somehow Self-KO itself for a double knock out or again Arcanine can win the game. So here's more simple stuff:
204+ Atk Druddigon Fire Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Sharpedo: 43-51 (29.4 - 34.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
204+ Atk Druddigon Sucker Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Sharpedo: 45-54 (30.8 - 36.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
100 % HP (Sharpedo) - 10% LO - 12.5% RS - 29% Fire Punch -10% LO - 12.5% RS - 31% Sucker Punch = -5 HP (or basically means Sharpedo dies to recoil assuming it goes for a physical contact again).
Either way, Arcanine would have picked up the KO and clean out the game from there. Of course, the only difference this all matters is differential, though I'm not noting this. What I'm getting that is I was able to plan for a possible end game scenario, speaking of which:
What Actually Happen
100% HP Sharpedo - 22.5% (from RS+LO) - 12.5% hazards - 20% ( 2 LO hits ) = ~45% remaining HP
28 Atk Arcanine Extreme Speed vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Sharpedo: 68-80 (46.5 - 54.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO
So in the end I was able to stall out enough so Arcanine Extreme Speed KO the Sharpedo and win the game from there. Regardless it was a fun match and for sure Arcanine was the MVP of this match given its value in the end game. Druddigon could have snagged that MVP slot and maybe even Nidoqueen had it took out the Darmanitan with Sucker Punch though they still did a great job in the end. Surprisingly this was the first battle in which there was an even amount of "hax" (misses or crits) on both sides and for sure one that could have easily decided the game. This battle marks the first time Mega Manetric and Manaphy were defeated in combat so props to my opponent MudkipLegend for taking these threats out.
With that comes the end of week 6 and the start of FA period for the LA Nidokings, so I might make some deals or just wait for week 8 since its the last time coaches can switch Pokemon. I'm probably gonna review my team for a bit though based on how their performance, I won't consider getting some new teammates, though we'll see.