This is the last game of the CIL for the LA Nidokings. The final battle before playoffs and who else is it than Kyle or ItalianG62. Well before we go deep into the matchup, there won't be a teambuilder, for some reasons I'll explain later. What's important to mention is technically speaking, both Kyle and I have already made playoffs (partially due to Hank the Pidgey's record prior) and we didn't want to showcase our best sets if we battle again in Round 2 of Playoffs. Given the playoff situation, I am going to get the Round 1 bye as Kyle battles Iceolate in an all stakes battle. Either way, I'm going to try my best to work out all possible matchups, mitigate any random yet effective sets, and potentially see how I'll approach the potential rematch of Kyle/Iceolate. On the other side, Chase has won his conference with Sanyer and Darby (replacement for both Mighty Mamoswine and Marvo) claiming the final spots. However we don't know which team Darby will bring for playoffs as both the Poison Stings and Blazikens are locked in a tight playoff positioning, possibly contributed by Darby himself. To give an idea of the playoff picture, either Chase, Sanyer, and Darby will face either myself, Kyle, or Iceolate in the grand finals depending who make it out the 1st and 2nd round. I guess that's all the relevant playoff information available at the time writing this.
Week 10: Vs The Cobleskill Charizards
My Team: Charizard X, Latias, Suicune, Weavile, Sylveon, Doublade, Nidoking, Chesnaught, Empoleon, Galvantula, and Gliscor
His Team: Mega Slowbro, Latios, Raikou, Scizor, Tornadus-T, Nidoqueen, Emboar, Whimsicott, Sneasel Snorlax, and Zygarde
Before we go on and discuss the nature of the opposing team, I'd like to simply recall a couple events. If anyone has kept up with the CIL, the Charizards use to be the Aqua Jets owned by none other than Hank the Pidgey, a former GBA Competitor and Analyst. By the time it was Week 5, Hank finished four of the ten seasonal weeks, achieved a good record of 3-1, losing to Chase in a close battle Week 4. Honestly forgot when exactly Hank announced his departure, but it was during Week 5 for sure. While I won't mention the exact details of his exit, Hank's reasons were understandable (again I won't mention exact details). From his message, Hank didn't want to slow down the league, bother / slow down the league with his absence, again due to IRL issues on his side. A couple days later, we came up with a solution to have a replacement coach take charge of Hank's team for the time being. Here both Mudkiplegend (Alec) and I decided to have someone from the PFA league "join" the CIL so we can fill in the slot ASAP. There was a list of people we recommended from our league, and the CIL people narrowed it down to Kyle, or ItalianG62 to replace Hank. Since taking over Hank the Pidgey's slot, Kyle has gone 3 - 2 and recently as Week 9, clinched the playoff spot for the new restructured Charizard team.
Now regarding the Charizard team, there squad is rather strong compiled with some of iconic meta defining Pokemon in both the OU and the draft league format. Mega Slowbro...the seemingly unsinkable ship of the Charizard team bolsters massive defenses and multiple utility options. If I let Mega Slowbro Calm Mind over my team, then the Charizards will take the game in their favor. Latios, Raikou, and Tornadus-T are the relatively strong pivots of the opposing team with either strong nuking STABS, Volt-Turn potential, and all sporting a fast base 110 / 115 / 121 speed respectively. Scizor and Whimsicott are both capable priority users abusing the Technician Bullet Punch, or Prankster status moves, and do have some kinda of U-Turn potential. Next we have the slow wall breakers of the team: Nidoqueen / Emboar who take full advantage of their respective abilities and strong natural coverage to literally overpower the opposing team. Sneasel is essentially a "mini-Weavile", though with less speed and power, this Ice/Dark-type is still strong in this format. Finally we get to the setup mons: Snorlax and Zygarde who part are extremely dangerous if they setup, or abuse their natural bulk.
Considering this was the last battle of the regular season, thought I bring a couple unique sets for this battle. Charizard X has a unique set with Flame Charge, Dragon Claw, Sword Dance, etc to allow itself to become a massive threat to Kyle's team if it can setup. At +2 with Stealth Rocks up, Tough Claws Dragon Claw can 2HKO Mega Slowbro; any status options ensure the 2HKO. Sylveon was meant to be a bulky Wish Baton Passer to get in my heavy hitters (Char X/Latias/Weavile) easier so not much there. Next we sorta a suicide lead Nidoking with both Stealth Rocks / Toxic Spikes, along with Earth Power / Ice Beam for neutral coverage. Originally, I thought about bringing another Pokemon, though Latias became a clear favorite due to its strong movepool to hit most of Kyle's team to either bait or force switches. Finally, Pursuit Weavile and CM Roar Suicune was brought, though aside from rather obvious coverage and STABs, not much to explain here. Alright let's get into the match!
Turn 1 I lead with our specialized Nidoking as Kyle leads with the Whimsicott, so a slightly favorable matchup on my side. As I setup Stealth Rocks, Whimsicott switcheroos the Life Orb, in exchange for a Choice Band. Already render near useless, Nidoking is swapped out for Sylveon, as Whimsicott taunts my switch. Predicting the Nidoqueen, I recall Sylveon for Nidoking, but Kyle instead swaps for his Scizor. I try to make a ballsy prediction by going for the Ice Beam to catch Latios, however Kyle preserves the Nidoqueen for his Slowbro. Now I'm like, "well shit this thing is going to start Calm Minding in front of me", so my response to send in Suicune ASAP. For a couple turns, we both try to net the Scald burn, and I followed up with one Calm Mind setup. Strangely, Kyle goes hard to Sneasel on a predicted Calm Mind, but Suicune's +1 Scald does massive damage to the point it will die to rocks if switched out. As Sneasel Knock Offs the Leftovers, Suicune faints the weasel from play with another Scald.
Whimsicott is sent out and here I'm forced to switch out my +1 Suicune for Charizard as 1) Whimsicott has a Life Orb which any Grass-type move can still do decent damage, and 2) I still need Suicune for the Slowbro. Charizard is Taunted on the switch in, though it wouldn't matter much as Prankster Encore is a thing. Thought about this play for awhile, and thus it was time to reveal the Flame Charge. As Whimsicott went for the Tailwind, Charizard X goes for the Flame Charge to get the one shot, though it turns out the Grass/Fairy-type has defense investment. As Charizard X faints the Whimsicott, Kyle is able to Encore my Mega into my weaker Flame Charge attack, rendering my setup useless. As Nidoqueen is switched in, Latias is called forth to take the incoming Earth Power, and uses Roost until the Tailwind peters out. Mega Slowbro is sent out to take Latias's STAB Psychic attack, however I reveal the Shadow Ball the next turn and thus eliminate a setup threat to my team.
By turn 16, three of Kyle's six Pokemon have been eliminated and all I have to do is play smart without losing any momentum. Kyle sends in Latios to revenge kill my Latias, I switch my Eon Dragon in place of Sylveon since I felt Latias was important especially in the late game. Sylveon tanks Latios's Shadow Ball, which reveals the Blue Eon Dragon doesn't carry a boosting item. To further maintain momentum, as Kyle switched to Scizor, Sylveon Baton Passes back into my Latias. It was kinda obvious that Latias was carrying the HP Fire, so Latios has to come in to take on either Scizor or Nidoqueen. Sylveon is sent out again as Latios goes for the Ice Beam this time, again not resulting on a strong damage output. The next several turns might look strange on my end, but I decided to "sack" Sylveon and attempt to weaken the rest if Kyle's team with Pixilate Hyper Voices. With both Scizor and Nidoqueen alive, this result felt likely.
The reasoning for staying in on Sylveon were a number of reasons. 1) Didn't want to have anyone I considered Wins Cons take unnecessary damage, or possibly faint. 2) Nidoqueen and Scizor were relatively health, but getting chip damage will leave it in range from my other attacks. 3) If Sylveon "faints", I still had 5 other relatively usable Pokemon ready for battle, plus I get a matchup initiative as a result. As perplexing as this sounds, staying in with Sylveon kinda threw off Kyle. As he tried to predict my Sylveon switch out to Latias, yet both Scizor and Nidoqueen never went for their respective STAB moves. Despite using Pixilate Hyper Voice on both Poison / Steel Pokemon (note they don't have that combined typing), the resisted damage eventually mounted to the point where both couldn't take anymore, and thus fainted At one point, I went for Wish to heal my Sylveon on a Scizor's Bug Bite. As Kyle tries for a last ditch Sword Dance, Sylveon's Hyper Voice takes out the low HP Scizor. As Nidoqueen is called forth, again Hyper Voice is the play just to get a free switch from a sack. Funny enough, Sylveon manages to faint both Scizor and Nidoqueen in these several turns, though at the cost of being at 9% HP with leftovers. With Latios as the final Pokemon, Sylveon is sacked to allow Weavile to end the battle with an Ice Punch. Thus the Nidokings finish the league with a 10-0 record!
Before we are going to talk about the season / playoff situation, I admit this battle wasn't taken too seriously compared to the other battles done in the previous weeks. At this point in the regular season, both Kyle and myself already secured playoff positions in the CIL, so I guess that's one reason why the outcome became somewhat lopsided. In fact, most of the battle we both were attempting to scout out and figure out the movesets of our teams. This explains why Kyle lost his Mega Slowbro, as he probably thought I didn't have a coverage move for it, but in turn Latias did with Life Orb Shadow Ball. If I were to comments about the battle, it was essentially me playing safe and Kyle trying to predict what I'll do, however most of these exchanges ended in me getting in a better position. Pretty much, I had to keep playing to where I know I'm in a favorable position without losing any vital momentum.
By the time the score was 6-3, the battle was heavily favorable for me with the proper Pokemon in Latias, Charizard X, Suicune, and Weavile capable of beating the combination of Scizor, Latios, and Nidoqueen. Game could have ended alot sooner if I'd managed to send in Weavile at any point on Latios, and pursuit trap it, but that never happen. Guess one can say I made some questionable plays with the Sylveon as it was my only counter to Latios at the time, however getting damage on both Nidoqueen and Scizor was far important for the long run. Remember that both Scizor and Nidoqueen are natural checks to Sylveon, so I knew my Fairy-type was't going to be useful in the late game, unless it kept doing chip damage. If anyone notices from the replay, if Kyle mispredicts (he did multiple times), Sylveon just got off around 25-30% damage against Scizor/Nidoqueen, which again is extremely good for a resisted hit.
Even I have trouble thinking a Sylveon beat both Nidoqueen and Scizor via spamming its signature attack Hyper Voice, and only falling to the Latios in the end game. Staying in with Sylveon in the last few turns threw off Kyle's predictions to the point I inflicted more residual damage needed. I guess the only real won con Kyle had to go for was spam and hope for critical hit Draco Meteors. Problem with this win con is the mere presence of a 9% HP Sylveon prevented such a scenario. Remember 1) Fairy-types are immune to Dragon, and 2), Latios was in fact Scarf (while not revealed unto the end) so locking itself to a Dragon move would result in Sylveon fainting Latios. If Sylveon wasn't going to faint the Latios, Weavile will outspeed (well it didn't), and knock out the Eon Dragon, so I kinda had everything covered.
With that, I guess the last weekly MVP award will go to Sylveon for Week 10 for not only fainting both Nidoqueen/Scizor, but preventing Latios from utilizing its Dragon-type moves for the endgame. Latias deserves an honorable mention for fainting the Mega Slowbro, though guess Nidoking and Suicune too helped wear it down with Scald and Stealth Rocks. I'll say the end result was not what I wanted, rather kinda want to shoot for a Charizard X sweep of sorts, though it would have compromise my position and lost vital momentum. Now that we are in playoff, this will be the end of our CIL Regular Season, but there will be coverage of the CIL Playoffs, as the Nidokings battle in the Semifinals, and possibly advance for to the CIL Championships. Regardless how well we performed in the playoffs, we were able to secure a perfect record 10-0, so that in of itself is amazing.
To be honest, don't know when our playoff battle will be, however I'll prepare for whatever outcome, whichever team, and possibly matchups. I do have some time before the semifinals, so going to use this to the best of my advantage. As soon as I know who my opponent will be, I'll go full hard for the upcoming battles, even to the championship. Just because we went 10-0 and doesn't mean I can't let up, otherwise we lose.Again we got to go hard with the preparation, team building, and battling to ensure the Nidokings get one more title. Definitely we'll know this result by the end of September, so stick around until maybe October for these updates.