Wednesday, June 15, 2016

CIL Regular S2 W4: VS TheFlyingFiona


Following a rather close game against Mike of the Net Balls, the LA Nidokings are lookingto continue their win streak against their opponent: TheFlyingFiona and the Whirlwinds. Before we get to the planning session, I'll divert a bit of attention to how the standings were around the first couple weeks of June. While the Nidokings maintained their 3-0 record,  Hank the Pidgey of the Aqua Jets surpassed us with a higher differential total and sporting an undefeated record. For those who don't know, Hank is an experienced battler and has player during the GBA S3 so I believe he knows what's he's doing when it come to the league. Given how consistent Hank was playing, I felt at one point our Nidoking would lose at one point while he maintains the perfect / best record. Then during his Week 4 battle, Hank had lost to CBranGames of the Blastioses, who clutched out a really impressive win against the best team by record. Now only the Nidokings were the undefeated team left, but we cannot celebrate at this point, if at all. Instead we prepared for our next opponent who had a formidable team consisting of a great amount of balance and bulk  

Week 4 VS The Whirlwinds

The Whirlwinds: Mega Absol, Heatran, Seperior, Togekiss, Vaporeon, Terrakion, Haxorus, Blissey, Venomoth, Galvantula, Espeon.
Los Angeles Nidokings: Mega Charizard X, Latias, Weavile, Suicune, Sylveon (New), Doublade, Nidoking, Chesnaught, Eelektross, Empoleon (New ), and Celebi  (New).

Looking at TheFlyingFiona's Whirlwind Team, there are several threats are problematic for preventing most of my sweepers from maintaining offensive pressure. Immediately, Vaporeon was singled out as the best defensive / Bulky-Water-type Fiona can use against me since Vaporeon completely counters Suicune, can tank most of Weaviles attack, and eat up almost every other hits with its high HP value.  Supplementing Vaporeon are more bulky Pokemon like Heatran and Blissey who can both take on the majority of my team with their bulk / typing while providing the necessary support like Heal Bell, Stealth Rocks, Toxic, etc. Rounding up her defensive core, Fiona has a Togekiss which was a concern for this battle given its bulk, access to Defog hazards, massive coverage / support, and the potential to support the team with the Serene Grace RNG potential.  After those four defensive Pokemon, Fiona has four powerful rather bulky setup sweeper such as the Terrakion, Haxorus, Serperior, and Venomoth who can sweep my team if Fiona is able to find my weak points and break through them. Of these four Pokemon, Haxorus / Terrakion were the most concerning as most of my team can't take a neutral STAB option against these two powerful physical attacker. Serperior was another threat who could wall break / sweep teams with its contrary Leaf Storms and coverage / utility options it carries. Venomoth might seem out of place on this team, but I can't let it setup the Quiver Dance easily. Finally we get to the frail, yet powerfully offensive Pokemon: the Stick Web inducing / Hazard repellent Galvantula /Espeon, and of course Mega Absol. While Mega Absol might seem underwhelming, especially in terms of bulk, it has a massive 150 Attack with spammable Dark-type attacks to use against my team with amazing coverage.

This week, I've been testing out whether or not which team of six Pokemon can beat at least the majority of Fiona's team without sacrificing offense, bulk, and speed. By the time it was the day to battle, I still didn't have a solidified team except four good candidates: Weavile, Charizard X, Empoleon, and Chesnaught. Weavile was the fastest member of my team who can act as a cleaner / revenge killer especially during the later stages of the battle. Chesnaught and Empoleon (with Shuca Berry) made up my wall core as both these Pokemon are capable of walling, or taking on key members of the Whirlwind teams thanks to their synergy. Finally Charizard X was the last major addition player for this battle with a moveset of Flare Blitz, Earthquake, Roost, and Dragon Dance. Essentially I wanted Charizard X to wallbreak as soon as it gets the opportunity, and even sweep again if I'd brought Healing Wish Latias this time. There was a concern regarding hazards against me,  though Empoleon can Defog to clear the field for my heavy hitters wall break or sweep. 

The last two Pokemon I've kept switching between two of three Pokemon (Latias, Sylveon, and Nidoking), but eventually came to the conclusion of running Sylveon/Nidoking. Looking at the Whirlwind team, certain Pokemon like Blissey/Togekiss can spam Thunder Wave which can easily prevent Weavile or Charizard X from doing their work. Sylveon not acts a great cleric support for the team to restore HP with Wish, cure ailments with Heal Bell, but also act as great checks to Mega Absol and Haxorus.  Nidoking was a last minute decision since I wanted a Pokemon to wall break while being immune to Thunder Wave paralysis. This Life Orb set was similar to the one brought against Sanyer with  Toxic Spikes, Poison Jab, Sucker Punch, and one different attack: Superpower. Now it might seem really weird to have Superpower over Earthquake, then I found out something incredibly dumb about my team. Air Balloon Heatran can easily get the advantage extremely early on as I'm "forced" to hit it with my other Pokemon instead of Nidoking. Superpower also allowed Nidoking to hit Blissey, Terrakion, Mega Absol and Heatran for hard damage, but three of them bar Absol have to be weaken before anything. One last reason for having Nidoking was in case Terrakion was Scarf / Band into a Close Combat / Stone Edge which Nidoking resists both. 

(Note the drastic pace of the battle)

The Whirlwinds: Mega Absol, Heatran, Togekiss, Terrakion, Haxorus, Blissey
Los Angeles Nidokings: Mega Charizard X, Weavile, Sylveon (New),  Nidoking, Chesnaught, Empoleon 

Turn 1. Terrakion Vs Nidoking. Immediately I don't hesitate and use Superpower, however Terrakion goes for a Super-Effective Earthquake. To my suprise, Nidoking lives by 6% and actually faints the Terrakion, however fainting itself in the process. After the double down, Empoleon is sent out to take on the potential Heatran, but Fiona gets her Mega Absol in without taking damage. Fearing a Superpower from Mega Absol, I switch into Chesnaught as it can take on most physical Mega Absols, and recovery off the damage with Drain Punch / Synthesis.  Heatran switches in on the potential Grass or status attack, but it takes almost 50% damage due to a Drain Punch, recovering all of Chesnaught's HP.  I pull back Chesnaught for Empoleon to take a Lava Plume, but it takes slightly more damage than expected thanks to the burn my main Stealth Rock / Defog received.  Empoleon goes for a Scald as the Blissey easily takes the Water-STAB, and now at a potential stallmate. Instead of going to Sylveon to heal Empoleon's HP and Burn, I decide to sneak in my own Stealth Rocks which plays crucial later on. Blissey recovers off the burn with a Heal Bell and now I kinda want to heal Empoleon with my own cleric. Sylveon is sent as as Blissey goes for Stealth Rocks which is almost interesting as it might not have Thunder Wave (assuming it was Soft Boil / Seismic Toss + the confirmed Heal Bell / Stealth Rocks at the time). 

Instead of healing Empoleon, I decided to get a "slow" Baton Pass off against my opponent so I can easily maintain momentum and get in Charizard X. When Blissey reveals Wish as Zard X switch in, there was honestly no other Pokemon to recover aside from the weaken Heatran, so instead of Roosting off the SR damage, Charzard X goes for Earthquake to catch the Heatran and faint it. Mega Absol is sent out and again we are in another potential game-deciding moments. While Charizard X has a bulky EV Spread, even at 50% Mega Absol can faint it with the right coverage options.  At the same time, I wanted to play around the Sucker Punches from the Dark-type Mega, which is what happen. Mega Absol goes for a Play Rough, but Charizard X takes it and recovers back to 70% HP with Roost. Then some RNG hits the battle, Mega Absol crits my Charizard X as I decided that turn to Flare Blitz. Charizard X takes the critical hit Play Rough, faints the Absol with its strong Flare Blitz attack, however at the cost of its own self. Though losing Charizard X might seem weird, this actually kinda benefited me since I got a free switch in for any one of my Pokemon, same goes to Fiona,  though she lost a huge asset to their team.

Now all that's left is Togekiss, Haxorus, and Blissey against Weavile, Sylveon, Empoleon, and Chesnaught. Having no other "reliable" switch, Sylveon is sent out against the Togekiss, who takes Stealth Rocks damage. As Togekiss paralyzes Sylveon, it is able to break thru and Baton Pass to Weavile on a semi-free switch. Weavile goes for Ice Punch and Togekiss actually faints, making this battle far more manageable for the end game. Funny enough, all the offense happen within only 13 turns, as the rest of the 38 turn battle was a bit of Wish passing involved, which thankfully we were on Showdown, and not on the actual game cartridge. The rest of the battle was basically healing up my entire team with some Wish Passing from Sylveon after realizing the last move from Blissey was Protect, meaning I can stall it out while recover my own Pokemon. The reason why I did this was Haxorus could still have won the game for Fiona assuming it was a Dragon Dance / Sword Dance set, which really concerned me.

There were some interesting moments like how Sylveon was paralyzed for 4 turns in a row, but Blissey never swapped to Haxorus out of fear of the Pixilate Hyper Voice. Once Sylveon got off the Heal Bell, it healed first Empoleon, and another moment happens. As Blissey switches to Haxorus, I immediately go for the Ice Beam on the switch, and it actually freezes Haxorus. Now Fiona is forced to switch back to Blissey, as I attempt to knock off Blissey's Leftovers with Weavile. After Weavile is healed to full with another Wish Pass, it was time to initiate the end game with Chesnaught. In the end, Chesnaught keeps spamming Drain Punch to the point where the Blissey faints, and eventually Haxorus. There was a moment where Haxorus's Poison Jab did far more damage than usually Jolly sets, meaning it was adamant band. Haxorus is sent out to a weaken Blissey on an incoming Drain Punch and faints.  Highly doubt the crit didn't matter except for extending the battle since Chesnaught was going to outspeed and 2HKO Blissey. At this point, Fiona locks her Haxorus into Earthquake (Poison Jab / Dragon STAB can't hurt Empoleon / Sylveon), and Chesnaught closes the game with a Punch Out Drain Punches.


After the battle, me and Fiona talked about how the battle was kinda fast paced at first, then it was just a Wish-Passing stall from Sylveon - Blissey. Honestly, there were three crucial moments/scenarios which won me the game: 1) the first turn "double down", 2)  the critical Play Rough on Charizard X (2nd double down), and the lack of attacking option from Blissey. The Nidoking - Terrakion matchup really set the tone for the rest of the early game honestly. The reason why I went for the Superpower was because maybe I could bluff the Scarf and hit Blissey or something else with a massive damage. Fiona did brought all 4 Pokemon that was weak to Superpower while Poison Jab can do the same for Togekiss. After doing some damage calculations, a 24 HP / 16 Def Nidoking (yes I did have that small investment) had a solid chance to take a neutral max attack Earthquake without any boosting items. In turn, Superpower from Nidoking had a 81.3% chance to OHKO Terrakion, though it could have lived. Essentially it was within my favor to knock out the Terrakion, and it honestly payed off at the cost of losing Nidoking. Otherwise, I would have switched into Chesnaught to take the EQ reasonably well. 

Now this second part isn't going to be discussed too much, but honestly have to bring up critical hit Play Rough. Again I don't blame the crit from occuring at that moment, however it was influential in determining the battle outcome. At the time, I'd realized Charizard X was at around 50% and make some attempts to get some recovery via baiting a Sucker Punch. Fiona read into that most likely and just spammed Play Rough, then a thought occurred maybe Charizard X can "wall break" via setting up on Mega Absol. Almost clicked Roost again to replenish Charizard X's HP, by then I realized she could also setup a Sword Dance which can potentially knock my mega out with a damage roll. At that point, Charizard X was sacked to Mega Absol by going for the Flare Blitz, but the double down occurs. Had Charizard X lived, honestly it depends who Fiona switches in. If it were Blissey, then I'd probably spam Roost and setup. If it was Togekiss, Charizard X would go down by going for the Flare Blitz damage, but leaving Togekiss to where Weavile can easily knock it out. If it was Haxorus, I'd probably be forced to stay in and Flare Blitz, but Haxorus would have outspeed anwyways.

Finally we get to the last major point: the lack of attacking options on Blissey. If the special defensive blob had Seismic Toss, or something like Flamethrower/Ice Beam, maybe Fiona could have gotten the score to a 2-0 or a 1-0.  The battle basically came down to if Haxorus could sweep thru my team consisting of a burned half HP Empoleon, a Chesnaught, a moderately damaged Sylveon, and a Weavile. Given the Blissey had no attacking option, this allowed Sylveon to basically stall out the blob via spamming Wish Passes to her own teammates, and healing them in case for the eventual Haxorus matchup. Recall I didn't know the exact set for Haxorus and expected some Dragon Dance set, which could have done some work. If Haxorus got the right matchup, I would have potentially lost (assuming Dragon Dance), but instead it was Choice Band which alleviated me for a bit. 

Eventually Chesnaught was going to 1v1 the Blissey, even though it was likely for Haxorus to come out. One mistake that could have been really bad was using Rock Tomb on the Haxorus to prevent it from getting speed boosts from and potential DD set. Thankfully this wasn't the case, and Chesnaught effectively cleaned the battle with repeated Drain Punches. Regardless, good game to Fiona as she definitely had a chance to win the battle, though it ultimately came down to team building and crucial plays. I do apologized for "extending" the match more than it should have, though after what happen Round 3, I kinda wanted to play it safer this time.  Now the Nidokings are like 4-0 in the CIL with the best record which I would like to maintain.  Next time, the Nidokings will be facing the Ash Satoshi of the Gengar Knights so hopefully we can continue this win streak we've been going on lately. Around this time, PFA playoffs for Season 3 is about to start so I'll probably do reports on my regular season and how far we go into playoffs. These post should be up by around Mid July, so keep a lookout for those. 

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