Tuesday, December 8, 2015

PFA Update: Week 5 + Minor Midway Notice

Week 5 Vs YugiohTrav (Travis)

LA Nidoking Roster: Manaphy, Jirachi, Mega Manetric, Crobat, Nidoqueen, Arcanine, Druddigon, Uxie, Virizion, Kabutops, Regirock, Articuno

Tennessee Treekos: Keldeo, Gliscor, Sableye, Cresselia, Espeon, Doublade, Braviery, Eelektross, Sigilyph, Muk, Magmortar, Wiggletuff

After a rather close victory against Ben, the Nidokings coached by your's truly hopes to extend the 4-0 record against YugiohTrav, or Travis of the Tennessee Treeckos who are 2-2. If I recall, this is the first time in which we battle a top 6 team based on differential and looking at his lineup was our first great test before we battle the other coaches with higher differentials.  Now based on Travis's entire team, he has one of the more bulkier cores with Gliscor, Cresselia, Eviolite Doublade, Keldeo, and Prankster Sableye. Surprisingly, he was suppose to have Mega Sableye given that Epiclolz dropped the Mega in Free Agency, however based on the PFA rules of FA, Travis was suppose to drop Mega Glalie in order to get Mega Sableye. Since the managers strictly followed by the drafting through tiers Travis couldn't get Mega Sableye which honestly would completely changed the way I battled/planned for this battle. Despite this setback for Travis, I still had to prepare for a potential of Espeon, Cresselia (which I knew it was coming based on matchup), Keldeo, and Doublade who can actually sweep my team if they are weaken to the point where a +2 Shadow Sneaks OHKOs them. Another thing I noticed about Travis's squad is he has two Pokemon to punish any Intimidate drops in Defiant Braviery and Competitive Wigglytuff who can become threatening if either Mega Manetric triggers their ability or he switches them into a Defog. Eelektross was another huge threat to the team given it can wall my Mega Manetric and rather bulky with an Assault Vest, not to mention it has a huge movepool. Finally other Psychic-types like Espeon and Sigilyph are rather annoying since Travis can potentially bounce back my rocks or setup Cosmic Powers for a Stored Power sweep. Regardless, for this week I didn't want to use Manaphy only for the sole reason to use my other new Pokemon, though it would have put it more work in this battle if it ever got a Tail Glow. I still took the battle seriously given that we need to ensure a bye for our division for playoffs and needed to see what kind of effort our new Pokemon team from all these FA sessions can do. 

Minor Midway Notice

Before we get to the team segment, I'm going to start only mentioning moves or items that were "revealed" in the battle. So say if I didn't bring Mega Manetric or Nidoqueen in the battle (which were brought anyways), I won't reveal the set or hints at EVs spreads. One last thing I'll start doing is closing down battle videos from previous weeks since 1) I'm already discussing how the battle went down with these posts, and 2) to make space for future battles. Technically speaking, the PFA coaches are only allowed to keep the battle code for up to one week since its release so that players don't "reveal" some sets if they don't want to. Its only on our end if we chose to reveal the movesets during the battle. However, I won't intentionally "lie" or say any misleading information since that's not how I'd like to win each PFA battle or with these summary posts. Whatever happens in the battle I'll elaborate what went down and if there weren't any notable stuff like say stall or a back and forth between a couple to several turns. By the way, the team was based on a semi stall so I guess that's a slight spoiler ahead.

With all that aside, here's the team I brought against YugiohTrav: 

  • An offensive Mega Manetric with a semi-standard moveset of Thunderbolt, HP Ice, and Charge Beam in case it has to combat the Sigilyph or CM Cresselia. There was one other move I used on Mega Manetric but I rather keep it a secret for now. 
  • An all-out attacker Nidoqueen with STAB Earth Power, Sludge Wave, Ice Beam, and one other move I'd like to keep secret. (Hint: something for Espeon).
  • A defensive Flash Fire Arcanine holding a Binding Band with Flamethrower, Fire Spin, Will-O-Wisp, and Morning Sun. I didn't want to run Intimidate since Travis has many Pokemon who can beat my team just off a Defiant/Competitive boost and to get a Flash Fire boost just by having Espeon bounce back my own Will-O-Wisp. Fire Spin with Binding Band inflicts about 1/6th damage so if I can Toxic a Cresselia then I can hopefully lure it in and trap it for 4-5 turns. By then Cresselia would likely die to this stall setup.
  • An Assault Vest Sheer Force Druddigon with Sucker Punch, Earthquake, Dragon Tail, and Crunch. Not much to elaborate here but the reason why I brought Sheer Force Druddigon without its vast movepool to abuse was because I feared Sleep Talk Rest Cresselia with Calm Mind. Sheer Force Crunch would do able 40% min to a Max Defensive Cresselia which is enough to hopefully OHKO it during those three turns. Sucker Punch was for Espeon as Druddigon easily OHKOs it without Espeon having something like a Colbur Berry or investment. Earthquake was a great coverage option for most of his team and finally Dragon Tail is to force out switches against CM Cresselia (with Sleep Talk-Rest) or Sigilyph. 
  • Semi-Utility Uxie with Stealth Rock, Psyshock, Knock Off, and Heal Bell along with Leftovers so nothing fancy here. Psyshock was in case if Keldeo was a CM variant to do more damage and Heal Bell was to cure any status ailments for my team. 
  • Finally we have our newest member, a defensive Articuno with Ice Beam, Hurricane, Roost, and Toxic with enough speed to outspeed most Gliscor sets. Honestly I wanted to use another move for this battle other than Ice Beam but it guarantees me the OHKO against most standard special defensive Gliscors without them going full 252 HP / 252 SpD. Regardless I think this was a great set to tryout since it was my main check to Keldeo, Gliscor, Sableye, and Cresselia without something like a Stone Edge or Taunt. 

The Match

Tenessee Treecko Team: Cresselia, Keldeo, Sableye, Gliscor, Eelektross, Magmortar

So looking at his team, Articuno looks as though it can do its thing and stall out both the Cresselia and the Sableye (remember this isn't Mega Sableye) as his only responses were Magmortar and Eelektross. Probably the biggest surprise for me is the fact that Travis didn't bring Doublade or the Espeon who can easily bounce back my hazards/status conditions so it was a huge relief. Eelektross I knew was going to be an issue if I don't "scout" out the set without having my teammates die on me. Gliscor was his only way to setup rock of his own, though my Articuno can easily threaten it out with an Ice Beam so we can hold him off for awhile. Now that outs of the way, here's how the battle commence.

I lead off with Articuno as Travis send out Sableye. Immediately I decide to go for a Toxic as my best play,  unless he either Taunts, or makes an even ballsy prediction to switch out to Gliscor to activate Poison Heal without fear of another status. Instead Sableye goes for its Calm Mind boost as I go for Toxic easily putting Sableye on a timer. Now I decide to switch out to Arcanine to take an incoming Will-O-Wisp and proceed to stall him out. Sableye coninues going for CMs as I reveal the Fire Spin which is doing about  1/6th damage thanks to Binding Band item and the only reasoning for this move was because Flamethrower would do negligible damage compared with the increasing residual damage. Now here's is where I make a series of "overpredictions" as I go for Will-O-Wisp twice as Sableye goes for Dark Pulse which only the combined consecutive attacks leaves Arcanine at half health thanks to the investment I had. Reason for going for Will-O-Wisp twice on a Sableye because I thought  he might switch into Keldeo or Gliscor (hopefully not Cresselia), since I thought Travis knew that Ghost-types can't be trapped by stuff like Fire Spin and would preserve the Sableye for another matchup. As this stall battle progresses, I reveal Morning Sun as Sableye starts recovering in an attempt to beat out the Toxic and Fire Spin residual damage. At one point Sableye is low enough to where Arcanine can easily faint it with a Flamethrower with ease.

At this point, Travis switches into Keldeo and I still need Arcanine to trap his Cresselia. As a result, I save  Arcanine and switch into Uxie to take an incoming Scald. Based on the high damage output, I guess that he was either Specs or a Modest nature with a high damage roll so I decided to make a safe play and Knock Off whatever item Keldeo had. Travis switches to Cresselia to take a Psychic attack but gets hit with Knock Off and loses its Leftovers recovery which was huge advantage for me if I want to wear it down.  Uxie setups the Stealth Rocks as Travis starts  using Calm Mind with Cresselia knowing he has to break through my team at the moment to have a chance at winning the game. As he Calm Minds for a second turn, I switch into Articuno and the following turn landed another Toxic him as he goes for a Moonlight to maybe scout out my moveset. Here I make sorta a misplay and go out immediately for Arcanine as Cresselia finally attacks with a Psyshock which does about half to Arcanine. For two turns, I try to recover off the damage with Morning Suns as Cresselia continues to attack me with Psyshock leaving me around the same HP more or less. Knowing that Arcanine might prove useful against the rest of his team, I switch it out in favor of Uxie since its the only Pokemon that can easily wall Cresselia boosted Psyshock long enough so that the Toxic damage will take out the Psychic-type. The plan goes as it with Uxie spamming Knock Off in case my opponent switches out as Travis spams Moonlight to preserve Cresselia for the endgame. As I went for Knock Off on Uxie for the last time, Cresselia commits into attacking Uxie with a +3 or +4 (I kinda forgot) Psyshocks which does only about 25% to my Uxie. By then, the Toxic damage garner enough residual damage on Cresselia that it faints so Articuno is rewarded with the KO. On a finally note, this whole Toxic stall took about 18 turns out of the 31 full turns for the rest of the battle.

Now that Cresselia is out of the way, I knew only Gliscor and Keldeo were the only real threats to the LA  Nidokings' potential victory. Gliscor is sent out as I switch out my Uxie (saving it for Keldeo) in favor of Articuno thinking he will either Protect/Substitute which he does the latter. Articuno goes for the Ice Beam as Travis goes for Aerial Ace which does only around 20% , though my Leftovers can recover off the damage in time. Maybe that Aerial Ace was for my Virizion which I almost brought to this battle so I can see why he used it. Knowing that he needs Gliscor for my Nidoqueen and Mega Manetric, I go for the Hurricane to catch either the Keldeo or Magmortar off guard. Travis switches into Magmortar which Stealth Rocks + the STAB Hurricane damage deals around 25% health. Technically speaking, Magmortar was a a point of HP as indicted by the screen that it has to stay in unless it has above 25%,  or if Travis wants to save it for death fodder. Regardless, I preserve Articuno in favor of my Assault Vest Druddigon as he makes a play and goes for the Focus Blast (possibly to take out my weaken Arcanine) and it misses which could have done some damage to my dragon. 

Here I make another play where I predicted Travis to preserve Magmortar for fodder as he switches into Gliscor for Poison Heal HP, however by going for Dragon Tail I can deny this possibility.  As he switches out Magmortar, Eelektross comes in though it takes Druddigon's Dragon Tail + Stealth Rocks to inflict about over 50% leaving it at 43% - 47% as Gliscor is phaze in. Of course this wasn't part of the plan, I still had an Articuno in the back around 80% so this didn't worry me too much. In fact, both Eeletross and Magmortar are extremely weaken to the point where one Ice Beam with the Stealth Rocks easily OHKOs them from the range of HP both Magmortar (at maybe 1 HP) or Eelektross (at ~30% from rocks) are at. As I switch my Articuno into Gliscor, he goes for Earthquake which was best case scenario as I can now go for the safe Ice Beam play or the riskier Hurricane, which I chose Ice Beam to OHKO the Gliscor. Despite this call, Travis switches into Keldeo to takes about 20% from hazards +  Ice Beam.  I knew Articuno beats Keldeo bar something crazy like a Stone Edge so I debated whether to go into Uxie or not. After some thought, I decided by going for Hurricane I'd probably KO the Keldeo thanks to the damage done earlier and possibly initiate the endgame. Travis reveals Focus Blast as a last ditch attempt to momentum, lands it on Articuno, however it only does 70%, but with a semi useless SpDef drop. Articuno lands the Hurricane and OHKOs Keldeo which was the last possible threat to my Druddigon. 

As Eelektross comes in at 36-38% health,  I decide to save Articuno and switch into my healthy AV Druddigon considering my bird outspeed the Gliscor and can faint it with a quad effective Ice Beam. Eelektross goes for Flamethrower but  Druddigon easily takes the hit and now it can easily spam Dragon Tail for the remainder of the game. Travis decides to let Eelektross Volt Switch to get Gliscor, but it takes 12% rocks damage and the STAB Dragon Tail to which it will be at 35-40% if it ever comes in again. Eelektross gets phazed in at about 20% so now Druddigon goes for the Sucker Punch to OHKO the Eelektross, and the Magmortar who actually lives SR at about 1%, but faints to my priority. With Gliscor left, I debated whether to let Druddigon go down or switch into Articuno for the incoming Earthquake, but I decided to let my dragon take the hit as it lands a Dragon Tail on the weaken Gliscor which was enough to faint it. With the battle over, the LA NIDOKINGS now have a 5-0 record with an impressive 6-0 (second in its history) all thanks to Articuno and Druddigon. 

FWY Nidoqueen didn't make its debut and Mega Manetric once again didn't do anything for the second time in a row. It was still there just to knock out the potential Sigilyph or clean up which fortunately for the team didn't need to do.

Final Thoughts

To be fair to my opponent Travis, if he was able to get Mega Sableye from FA2 without any incident, I believe this would have been one of the longest matches in the PFA since we brought stall elements to the battle. For sure, I might have brought Manaphy for this matchup as well as used both Nidoqueen and Mega Manetric extensively for this battle, but this is was the outcome that happen. For those who want to critique me, yes not bringing Manaphy might not have been a good idea especially if it can potentially sweep his team with the proper setup, but I felt the need to test out Articuno and it pulled through. I felt that Toxic Articuno would wear down both Cresselia and Sableye so my other mons can take them out, or at least in this case stall out them out to death. Yeah I know some people don't like stall but it was my main strategy to take out those threats. Even if Travis had Espeon, I think Druddigon might have forced it out, or even do some severe damage to Cresselia with Crunch or any other member of his team with Dragon Tail or Earthquake. I didn't bring Crobat since I thought the matchup wasn't in its favor especially with 3 Psychic Pokemon, a literal double-edge swords Steel/Ghost that walls it, and most of his team has coverage to deal over 50%. Jirachi wasn't picked since Doublade can easily setup or pursuit trap my Steel/Psychic-type plus I doubt it be very effective against Travis's main wall core like Cress and Gliscor at hand. I almost didn't bring Uxie for this battle but the fact it had Knock Off to remove any items (which did came in handy against Cress) and can easily check Keldeo was justifiable enough to bring it. As for the rest of my mons (aside from Manaphy) they were either setup fodder for Travis's entire team, or won't provide as much offensive momentum as it did against him.

For the team MVP of this battle, I want to say that Articuno deserves it mainly for severely weakening both Sableye/Cresselia (both were CM variants) with Toxic while netting a kill against Cress, threatening out Gliscor on multiple occasions (which could have easily fainted with an Ice Beam), dealing damage against Magmortar to be almost nonexistent in the battle, and for KOing the Keldeo with Hurricane. Surely this battle proved Articuno can be a valuable asset to the team especially considering it is quad weak to Stealth Rocks but since Gliscor was the only thing that could setup those rocks up, Articuno can easily pressure it out as it did. To be frank, I thought Specs Focus Blast would OHKO Articuno but the fact it lived with about 35-40% HP goes to show off its bulk. Druddigon was able to net three kills against Eelektross, Magmortar, and Gliscor while denying my opponent optimal switch in opportunities with the Dragon Tail.  For sure what "sealed" the battle in my favor was when Travis switched out Magmortar (who might die to rocks where the HP is at) to Eelektross.  Druddigon denied the full switch as the Eelektross took 12.5% from rocks, around ~43% min to the STAB Dragon Tail, and now has to take another 12.5% if it ever switches in again. As Druddigon switches in for the last time, it would go on to Dragon Tail out the Gliscor from a Eelektross Volt Switch doing about 40% to Gliscor to phaze out the Electric mon again, but leaving it at range for Sucker Punch to OHKO. If the PFA had a defensive Pokemon of the match award, Druddigon would earn my vote for it.

 Arcanine proved to be rather annoying in this matchup as it beat the Sableye for the second time in this season (first against Epic). I guess my only mistake comes from forcing out Arcanine to take a +2 Psyshock from a Cresselia which fortunately didn't KO or got a crit. Had Cress switched out, I would  have sent out Arcanine against it to regain some health and trap it with Fire Spin so it can do the same thing from the Sableye matchup. Had I elected to use Extreme Speed with Arcanine, then it might have clean up the match. Regardless, Arcanine still proved to be a great asset against Travis's main wall core. Finally, lets not forget Uxie, which funny enough MIGHT have gotten OHKOs against the rest of YugiohTrav's team given they were weaken. Though Uxie did a great job in walling out the Cresselia and taking the Scald from Keldeo. For sure had Articuno missed its Hurricane, I'd probably would have swapped out to Uxie and maybe back into Articuno on the Gliscor switch.  In all, this was a great team effort by the lower tier picks and for sure our best battle of the season so I'll give credit to my Pokemon and to Travis for being a great opponent in the end. 

Closing Thoughts

Next week we will be facing off against out division rivals for the first time, Mudkiplegend and his Indianapolis Jolts who have the second best record at the moment (by differential or record). For sure everyone won't miss out on this titanic battle as we head into the halfway point of the season!

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