Week 4 Vs Applejackpony (Ben)
LA Nidoking Roster: Manaphy, Jirachi, Mega Manetric, Crobat, Roserade, Arcanine, Druddigon, Uxie, Aromatisse, Kabutops, Regirock, Gurdurr
Boston Butterfrees: Mew, Mega Gardevoir, Chansey, Haxorus, Milotic, Entei, Flygon, Sneasel, Togetic, Mawile, Swellow, Lilligent
I want to say that there were two matchups I knew this team would have difficulty as the season goes on and Ben od the Boston Butterfrees was one of those given two things. First off, he has a Mega Gardevoir and the current LA Nidoking roster only had a handful of checks to this Fairy. The second thing about his team is Ben has a solid defensive core of Chansey, Mew, and Milotic coupled with heavy hitters such as Haxorus, Flygon, Entei, Sneasel an Swellow so I knew this matchup would be a struggle. Intermediately I singled out Mega Gardy, Mew, Haxorus, Milotic, and maybe the Flygon as the biggest threats to the team as all 4 (especially the Mew) can potentially sweep this team. Mega Gardevoir if it ever gets a Sub or CM up means I lose, a Dragon Dance/Sword Dance boosted Haxorus breaks the team walls, Competitive Milotic can easily boost up with my Mega Manetric/Arcanine coming in, and I CAN'T PREDICT WHAT MEW Ben brings aside the Defog variant since only it and Flygon learn the move. To be honest, Ben did have a slight advantage in matchup, however Manaphy if it ever setups can sweep his team. So essentially I based my entire team on a Manaphy sweep whether its early, mid, or even late game since if Manaphy can setup and outspeed his team, then we might be able to wall-break his cores get the win. Jirachi was another must on the team since it can wall Mega Gardevoir to an extent, however Ben can easily bring Shadow Ball to hit both Uxie and Jirachi for at least super effective. Even though I didn't want to bring my main Mega Evolution, Manetric was a must since if I don't bring it, then I won't have a fast revenge killer so his team. I felt that Flygon might come with Scarf or Yache Berry since it can get a surprise KO against my Mega Manetric. Roserade was very a tempting Pokemon to bring, however the combination of Mew + Chansey rendered any Spikes or Toxic Spikes useless and was honest setup fodder against the rest of his team. In the end, here's the squad I picked for this battle.
- A semi-defensive Manaphy with a Timid nature, however with invest in HP, Def, Spe and a bit in SpA with the following set: Scald, Rain Dance, Calm Mind, Rest. This is the main win condition of the team without a doubt, though not the only one. Manaphy in this matchup was too important not to bring given the fact it can setup on either the Chansey, Mew, Entei, Flygon, Togetic, Milotic (non-Dragon Tail), and even the Mega Gardevoir/Lilligant if I can at least get a CM boost with Rain up. After Manaphy setups to + 2 CM, it can easily 2HKO most of Ben's team bar a Chansey though I can easily boost to +6 to take it out. The only answers Ben can counteract this is if he brings Calm nature Chansey, however I had clear responses for it. Regardless Manaphy's purpose was to either clean up or wall-break Ben's team so that my other Pokemon can beat his.
- A specially defensive Jirachi with a Careful nature, investment in HP, SpD, and some Spe/Atk with the following moveset: Meteor Mash, Drain Punch, Secret Power, Substitute. I know this is rather obvious but Jirachi was my main switch in to Mega Gardevoir and possibly the wall-breaker I'm looking for. If I can get in on Chansey or something else that's not threatening, then Jirachi can setup a Substitute (and Chansey cannot break them with Seismic Toss) and go for the 40% Meteor Mash boost. After getting a boost, Jirachi can 2HKO most of Ben's team with a Meteor Mash and recovery additional damage with a Drain Punch. For the last moveset I debated between Ice Punch (for his Dragons), Thunder Wave (for Speed Control), Thunder Punch (for Milotic), or Body Slam (60% chance to paralyze). Eventually I decided that Body Slam was the best overall option in case he bring Flygon so I can paralyze it and any unsuspecting Pokemon. However the issue with this was the fact that Meteor Mash + Body Slam was incompatible however I had to settle with Secret Power since it was the same thing in effect and with more PP.
- A standard Mega Manetric set with just enough speed to outspeed his Swellow at least. Not much to say here since it was the set I brought in the match against Squeab except taking speed for account.
- A semi-utility Infiltrator Crobat with enough speed to outspeed Sneasel and the following moveset: Brave Bird, Toxic, Roost, Taunt. To be honest, I didn't want to bring Crobat in this match however it was able my only answer to Sub Gardevoir since the Infiltrator ability bypasses the Substitute. Taunt was to shut down any setup from his team either from the Mew, Chansey, Milotic, or Togetic. Toxic-Roost were the last moveslots since in case Crobat has to wear down either Milotic or Mew if it doesn't carry a Psychic STAB. Defog wasn't picked since the threat of Competitive Milotic was almost certain and I didn't want to give that thing a boost.
- A Life Orb Justified Arcanine Hasty Nature with enough speed to outspeed Mega Gardevoir and the following moveset: Flare Blitz, Wild Charge, Extreme Speed, and Dragon Pulse. This was the secondary win condition and cleaner in case Manaphy wasn't able to cut it. Now Arcanine was a Pokemon I doubted for a bit, however after looking at its stat distribution, abilities, and even movepool I saw some potential. Flare Blitz was Arcanine's go-to attack with enough investment to OHKO a standard Mega Gardevoir and 2HKO an Eviolite Chansey. Wild Charge was in case it has to face off against Milotic so it can do enough damage to where Mega Manetric can finish it off from a revenge kill. Extreme-Speed was an auto given as it can easily 2HKO the Mega Gardevoir and out-prioritize/outspeed most of Ben's faster threats. Now here are my last two options: Justified and Dragon Pulse. Justified was the best ability to have on Arcanine so it can take a Knock Off from the Mew and easily threaten it and most of the opposing team. If anyone how doesn't know, Justified gives Arcanine a +1 boost in attack so at least if it gets its Life Orb knocked off it'll do more damage than normal. Finally Dragon Pulse is coverage for his two main Dragon Pokemon Haxorus and Flygon while finish them off with an LO Extreme Speed.
- Finally we have a utility Uxie with a semi-standard set with the following moveset: Stealth Rocks, Foul Play, Knock, and Heal Bell. While not the the best option, Uxie was my 100% counter to Flygon however its main task is to setup rocks, remove items from my opponent, and heal off any status conditions with Heal Bell
The Match and Thoughts
See the battle since I won't give a play by play of the battle, rather my thoughts
Honestly, this battle I could have played so much better, however the fact that I made two costly misplays made this matchup alot more closer than expected. I'll give credit to my opponent Ben for running full specially defensive Eviolite Chansey with no Defense EVs, Tailwind Mew, and for catching me off guard for not bringing the rest of his threats (possibly proving me wrong). The turning point of the battle was definitely at turn 8 as I was able to pivot Jirachi unto the Mega Gardevoir and force it out unto the Mew. As the Mew went for a Defog, my Jirachi was able to get off a Substitute up and start going for Meteor Mash boost, which got it at the first try. When I notice the damage that Meteor Mash did to the Chansey, I felt at that point it was necessary to take it out with a follow-up Drain Punch. Now as much as I felt "safe" with the Substitute, I should have switched out to Uxie as death fodder at either turn 12 and 13 since 1) I had a feeling the way he brought in Sneasel that it was a Focus Sash variant and I could have gotten Jirachi out safe to fight another turn. 2) I know this goes with the first reason but I had a sub up so a Pursuit wasn't going to take direct damage unto Jirachi and won't risk a Pursuit play the following turn. The main reason I stress this point is since my Manetric hasn't gone Mega yet and I don't have the straight-up speed advantage against the rest of his team. Plus I'd probably avoided so many unnecessary deaths, however I'd probably gotten at an advantageous position to where Manaphy can clean up the game against his team. Regardless the fact that it came down to him not having Protect on Swellow was a shocker since he indeed had a chance to win if the following happen. After the battle, I calculated some the possible end game scenarios in which how I could have lost that game and what were Ben's win cons atm (all calcs were done at level 100 since we both agreed):
252+ Atk Guts Swellow Facade (140 BP) vs. 252 HP / 84 Def Manaphy: 259-306 (64.1 - 75.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
If Ben had protect in his move inventory on Swellow, then he'd probably gone for it just to get his boost as I go for Scald to catch the Swellow off guard not risking him to attack. Remember that Manaphy is at around 88% so I'd probably would have gotten to 94% health so all I had to hope was that Rain-boosted Scald + Burn from Flame Orb Swellow OHKO. Now lets assume that Swellow got max damage on my Manaphy so 94% - 75.7% is like 18.3 % ( for this lets round to 18%) so + 6% from Leftover is like 24%. Now here's the damage calcs for a max attack Adamant Entei (not Banded, Scarf so he'll go first) with the following moves: Sacred Fire, E-Speed, Bulldoze, Stone Edge, Iron Head, and Flare Blitz:
252+ Atk Entei Stone Edge vs. 252 HP / 84 Def Manaphy: 101-119 (25 - 29.4%) -- guaranteed 4HKO - Can OHKO if Manaphy is low on health and it connects. The game is decided if Mega Manetric gets off its Intimidate then the following would happen:
-1 252+ Atk Entei Stone Edge vs. 76 HP / 0 Def Mega Manectric: 88-104 (29.3 - 34.6%) -- 6.2% chance to 3HKO
252+ Atk Entei Stone Edge vs. 76 HP / 0 Def Mega Manectric on a critical hit: 198-234 (66 - 78%) -- guaranteed 2HKO ---this was Ben's best chance at winning the game by going for Stone Edge and getting a crit or two in the process.
Now here are the following scenarios:
252+ Atk Entei Sacred Fire vs. 252 HP / 84 Def Manaphy: 75-89 (18.5 - 22%) -- possible 6HKO after Leftovers recovery - Barely won't KO Manaphy without the crit (not the burn) since by then Manaphy can go for Rest to cure the burn and stall out the match. The sleep status would be tremendously helps as it prevents the Sacred Fire burn as well as gradual Leftovers recovery.
252+ Atk Entei Extreme Speed vs. 252 HP / 84 Def Manaphy: 81-96 (20 - 23.7%) -- possible 6HKO after Leftovers recovery- Won't kill Manaphy without the highest damage roll ( or crit) but if Manaphy gets off a Rest then it can stall out E-Speed long enough thanks to the Leftovers recover + Rain Dance and Entei will struggle to death.
252+ Atk Entei Bulldoze vs. 252 HP / 84 Def Manaphy: 61-72 (15 - 17.8%) -- possible 9HKO after Leftovers recovery - Won't kill Manaphy without a crit. While this hits Mega Manetric for S.E damage, I think at that point Manaphy can easily stall out Entei with Rest.
252+ Atk Entei Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 84 Def Manaphy: 90-107 (22.2 - 26.4%) -- possible 5HKO after Leftovers recovery - Battle is decided on a damage roll in Ben's favor. Again I'd probably go for rest, setup rain at some point which reduces the damage to half.
252+ Atk Entei Iron Head vs. 252 HP / 84 Def Manaphy: 40-48 (9.9 - 11.8%) -- He can try to flinch the crap out of me, however chances are that Manaphy gets off a rest. If Manaphy goes down to flinch hax, then Mega Manetric can hopefully win without getting flinched to hell by getting off two t-bolts.
Regardless I feel as though I almost handed the battle to Ben considering the fact I'd sacked most of my most important Pokemon and not payed attention to certain cues. Yeah I know Ben somewhat alluded to his Gardevoir being Timid but I realized Jirachi had to be saved for the end game even when it had its Substitute. Now I'd sack Uxie and then have a Mega Manetric with an Intimidate drop against his Sneasel or Mew. Just getting off the Mega Evolution would have allowed Mega Manetric to do some moderate damage to Mega Gardevoir (with prior damage), OHKOs both Sneasel and Swellow easily, and gain momentum with Volt-Switch. In hindsight, the battle should have been locked up if I played safe but I relied a bit too much on Jirachi paralyzing Pokemon with Secret Power which has a 60% chance to do so and gaining Meteor Mash boost (40% chance). I would have had a healthy Jirachi and Manaphy to clean up the game however me being reckless made it much closer.
So what have I learned from this battle....play safe and only make the proper plays when necessary. Now I should probably use this as a lesson of what not to do to choke away a game and it came down to my opponent Ben not bringing Protect on his Swellow. Regardless I won't take away the fact Ben played to his outs and punished most of my switches mid-late game. Even though Ben isn't in the highest of standings, Ben will be an opponent I'll look out come playoff commence and he will end this season with a positive record. I mean .... Ben did have to face Mudkip, Italian, Mitch, and myself so he probably had the hardest early schedule and those games were relatively close.
For the next update, I'll work my in-depth (well sorta) analysis of the new Free Agency additions of the team.