Thursday, August 11, 2016

CIL Regular S2W7: VS KantoCastBlue

Artist: stephen-0akley


Seems like the CIL Draft League is nearing the halfway point for use (if counting playoffs), so its within our best interest to finish strong and without any forms of regret. Well this is suppose to be semi casual... maybe I should take things a step back with context. Currently the Nidokings are now 6-0 with the best record in the league looking to close out the season with a playoff berth. At this point, unless we make any slip ups, achieving that goal seems likely if we can win the following two of the four battles and not lose in a huge way in terms of differential. With these next post, you might see me more laid back, but I rather just play the games out going in there that I've done our best to prep and practice hard. 

At the same time, this is going to be one of those "road trip" weeks were we battle some of the best players in the league starting with fellow GBA Analyst, KantoCastBlue for Week 7. For Week 8, we battle  KevinVGC, or the main commissioner of the league whose also got into playoffs last season. Week 9 the Nidokings face the Bisharps, a new coach who won another league prior and has a been doing decent as well. Finally Week 10, originally it was going to be me vs the Aqua Jets or Hank the Pidgey, former GBA player who left this season early due to some "life" stuff which I won't disclose. Instead, we battle the Charizards, or our good friend Kyle (ItalianG62),  who's taken Hank's place for the time being. 

All four of these opponents are incredibly seasoned in the Draft League format so I've got my work cut our for the upcoming weeks. For now, lets get into our Week 7 with the Wynauts, coached by KantoCastBlue.

Week 7: VS The Wynauts

The Wynauts: M-Heracross, Victini, Landorus-T, Forretress, Milotic, Aromatisse, Tyranturm, Shaymin, Raichu, Ambipom, and Toxicroak
The LA Nidokings: Charizard X, Latias, Suicune, Weavile, Sylveon, Doublade, Nidoking, Galvantula, Chesnaught, Empoleon, Gliscor

Going into the matchup, this wasn't a battle I was kinda looking forward in terms of playing against some really powerful wall breaking Pokemon like Victini, Landorus-T, Shaymin, or even the Mega Heracross. Victini has insane coverage moves, not to mention the STAB move V-Create, which nukes most of my team. Shaymin is just a little rose bud with another dangerous attack in Seed Flare which drops the Special Defense by -2. Landorus-T can be moderately threatening this matchup, and can function well in multiple roles like a defensive rocks pivot, Double Dance setup, or Scarf. Mega Heracross is a huge concern as it can break through my strongest walls without effort, but it doesn't need to when the other three mention can do the same crap. After those four, we have Forretress, Milotic, and Aromatisse who make up the Wynaunt's wall core, with Forretress spreading hazards/pivoting around, Milotic walling stuff, and Aromatisse fulfilling cleric support. The last few Pokemon in Tyrantrum, Raichu, Ambipom, and Toxicroak are all very niche Pokemon but are rather effective by using their STAB/Coverage options to break holes in team. However given how good a matchup Blue's big 4 had against me and some notable walls like Milotic, chances are he would only bring of those four. If I had to guess which one he'd most likely bring from Tyrantrum/Raichu/Ambipom/Toxicroak, well Toxicroak has the better matchup as it can easily wall break my core and semi walls a mono attacking STAB Suicune with Dry Skin, so I had to make precautions for this. 

With that, here's the team I used for Week 7. Also I've decided to omit the EV Spreads for now and won't reveal them until the end of the season. 

Forge (Charizard-Mega-X) @ Charizardite X  
Ability: Tough Claws  
Jolly Nature  
- Flare Blitz  
- Dragon Claw  
- Dragon Dance  
- Roost  

This was my only answer to Victini, so I had to bring my Charizard X. The set here was max speed to at least Speed Tie with the Shaymin/Victini while outspeed the Landorus-T.  Fortunately for Charizard X, it quad resists Fire-type attacks and with the the moderately high base 111 defense, it can take a couple V-Creates while attempt to setup. What made me worried about running Charizard X this week was the fact I HAVE to risk the Speed Tie with Shaymin as Earth Power practically nukes me. As long as I kept Charizard X moderately healthy, it was a viable win condition who can setup on some of Blue's Pokemon (Victini, Forretress, Aromatisse, Milotic), and attempt a sweep. However, Charizard X cannot do this alone so here are the other five Pokemon. 

Anne (Latias) @ Leftovers  
Ability: Levitate  
Timid Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Stored Power  
- Shadow Ball  
- Calm Mind  
- Roost  

A couple weeks ago, I argued with a fellow coach in a league regarding how Mega Latias with Stored Power in league format can be extremely devastating. He didn't agree mostly because Mega Latias has reasonable checks and can get worn down relatively quickly. For this battle, my team absolutely needed a response to Shaymin as those Seed Flare hits can really devastate the just about everyone. Heck even Latias isn't the most reasonable counter to Shaymin as a -2 Special Defense drop means Dazzling Gleam has a good chance to OHKO. All I can say about this Latias is that its fast enough to outspeed the base 100s and everything else was put into HP / Def / SpDef. 

So ...why did I go with Stored Power over Psychic/Psyshock? Stored Power is another Psychic-type STAB (starting at 20 BP) which increases by +20 every time Latias gets a stat raise. In this case, not only is Latias boosting two special stats every time Calm Mind is used, Stored Power gets far more stronger every time. Once Latias gets to +2 in both stats (effectively four boost), Stored Power becomes a base 100 Psychic move, and it can keep getting stronger! After that point, the damage output of this attack start to become ridiculous as Latias literally does 80% minimum to a defensive Milotic and 2HKOs everything else with this attack or Shadow Ball. 

Of course there are some "drawbacks" in this as Psych Up could be a problem, though unless the opponent also has the Stored Power, chances are my own Stored Power can OHKO them before they can abuse my setup. Anti Setup like Roar, Dragon Tail, etc were considered as potential s stops to this, but I'll respond accordingly with the following Pokemon.

Mars (Empoleon) @ Leftovers  
Calm Nature  
- Scald  
- Knock Off  
- Stealth Rock  
- Defog  

This guy has been in every game since I've sign Empoleon into free agency and everyone can see the four most commonly or important attacks all in one Pokemon. Scald to burn stuff, Knock off to remove items, Stealth Rocks to hazards, and Defog for Hazard Control. Like seriously do I need to explain this one aside the fact it can deal with Aromatisse, Forretress, and Milotic... Well this Pokemon was sorta filler honestly, but getting Scald burns, removing items, and preventing any form of hazard stacking was all that's needed for Empoleon. 

SnowBat (Gliscor) @ Toxic Orb  
Ability: Poison Heal  
Shiny: Yes  
Impish Nature  
- Earthquake  
- Acrobatics  
- Roost  
- Swords Dance  

Here comes the new guy straight outta the locker room: SnowBat the Gliscor! Originally this was suppose to be Doublade in the battle, however I felt the presence of Victini/Shaymin/Milotic/Landorus-T alone would be enough for Blue to reasonable counter Doublade, who was going to be the main answer to Mega Heracross. So I turned to my backup Pokemon in Snowbat here. The goal of this Gliscor is to wall break his opposing core of Milotic/Forretress/Aromatisse (even Lando-T) while wall the Mega Heracross to the best of our ability... literally. Poison Heal allows Gliscor to not be 3HKOed by Rock Blast / Bullet Seed, unless he gets multiple crits. Sword Dance allows Gliscor to become even more threatening, though I'm likely switching out assuming some suspicious maneuvers. If Gliscor gets the Poison Heal, it will be my primary Knock Off fodder as it will boost the power of Acrobatics.  

Rogue (Suicune) @ Leftovers  
Ability: Pressure  
Shiny: Yes  
Relaxed Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Scald  
- Air Slash  
- Calm Mind  
- Rest  

One of the Pokemon I've seem to have fallen back to lately, but Suicune has down its job well as of now. This is a semi standard Calm Mind set, with two notable difference: Air Slash and the Relaxed Nature. Both of these are related to the Crown Suicune event back in Gen 4 ( remember E-Speed Entei/Aura Sphere Raikou? ), and surprisingly enough are potentially viable in this battle. With Relaxed Nature, I can "underspeed" M-Heracross under Trick Room by one point (with 31 IVs in speed), that way it can actually get a quad effective Air Slash. Speaking of that move, Air Slash hits Shaymin, Toxicroak, and the Mega Heracross for hard damage after some CM boosts. Again not expecting too much from Suicune, but we'll see. 

Stitches (Nidoking) @ Shuca Berry  
Ability: Sheer Force  
Shiny: Yes  
Timid Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Earth Power  
- Ice Beam  
- Sludge Wave  
- Toxic Spikes  

At this point, I needed something to hit Blue's team for hard damage and I kinda wanted some "additional" hazard support, so this Nidoking set was tailored. The EV spread I had on this allows Nidoking to live a Adamant Scarf EQ while OHKOs back with a Sheer Force Boosted Ice Beam. There was a good chance that Defensive Landorus-T was going to be used given Charizard X could be an issue for Blue, so Nidoking can potentially outspeed. Toxic Spikes is the crux of this set as this allowed Nidoking's allies to deal with Blue's other Pokemon much easier. There was one concern about running Toxic Spikes and it was the potential of activating Marvel Scale from Milotic to make it harder to deal with. If the chance does occurs, I'll setup 2 layers of T-Spikes instead of 1 so Milotic will at least take more damage from Toxic poison by each passing turn. 

If anything, getting rid of Landorus-T turn 1 thanks to the Shuca Berry was rather momentous for myself as I removed a potential Scarf Pokemon and one of the primary checks to my Charizard X. This comes at a cost as now Nidoking is looking expendable, and given Blue didn't bring the Forretress, getting up T-Spikes, even two layers was necessary.  After an exchange between Suicune and Victini, Blue recalls for Aromatisse and I figured now is the time to send in Nidoking and get T-Spikes up. Surprisingly Blue goes for the Toxic onto my Nidoking as I'm now guaranteed one layer of Toxic Spikes. Moonblast doesn't even OHKO and I'm now in another decisive turn: Should I go for the Sludge Wave, or get the second layer, knowing it won't do as much damage initially, but will hinder Milotic/Aromatisse useless. After noticing Milotic was still around, Nidoking is effectively sacked, but I now have 2 layers of Toxic Spikes that are there to stay for throughout the battle. 

Gliscor is sent out to scout of Aromatisse's moveset, and I find out Blue's team is indeed a Trick Room-based team  with potentially Victini and Mega Heracross as the primary sweepers. The next few turns, I attempt to predict the incoming Victini / Heracross switch in as Aromatisse effectively weakens to where another Moonblast can knock it out, so I recall for Empoleon. Now with Toxic Spikes up, why not have Stealth Rocks up? So Empoleon gets Stealth Rocks up as Blue switches into the Milotic, which is now Toxic Poisoned. Here I decide to remove the Leftovers from Milotic, but it turns out its an offensive variant based on the damage with Life Orb instead! Milotic Dragon Tails Empoleon into Suicune, not a good matchup for it unless Milotic has Toxic.  Here I try to flinch out the Milotic with Air Slash, but because of my Relaxed nature, its able to get a Recover off. 

Aromatisse is then sent out to Toxic the Suicune, here I decide to start my Calm Mind setup. Knowing now that the Aromatisse is a TR variant and this Suicune set has a Relaxed Nature, why not just let him setup the Trick Room and Outspeed the Mega Heracross since it hasn't done through the Mega Evolution yet. Suicune setups to +2 SpA /+3SpD (following a Moonblast drop) and Aromatisse goes down to Toxic with me stalling it out. However, Blue does in fact setups the Trick Room and he sends in the Heracross. Now I'm actually debating whether if this is a "true" Trick Room M-Heracross with Brave Nature, but given how there was two turns left, I could still maybe send in my own Mega as the field condition expires. So I stay in with Suicune,  Heracross Mega Evolves, but it fails to outspeed as Suicune OHKOs the Bug/Fighting-type with the boosted Air Slash. 

By eliminating Mega Heracross, having a CM boosted Suicune with Rest to cure the Toxic, and hazards on his side of the field, I pretty much had Blue in check in multiple ways,  but not beaten. Blue can still Dragon Tail the Suicune out with Milotic before I go for another Air Slash, which does happens. Unfortunately Gliscor is sent out and I'm kinda forced into a weird dilemma of dealing with Milotic.  Eventually I decide the best option is to setup with Latias / Suicune and essentially force Blue to have to Dragon Tail me out every time, otherwise Milotic will faint to Toxic without recovering enough. Thanks to the fact Milotic got Toxic Poisoned, and not regular one, I was able to passively faint the Milotic, but we still had the two base 100 legendary Pokemon to deal with. 

As Shaymin is in on the Suicune, I'm practically forced to sack the Suicune, so I go for Air Slash as the Grass bud delivers a Seed Flare blow to my Water-type. Now the goal for the end game was to setup with Calm Mind, and wear down the Shaymin / Victini so Charizard X can win the game, or the rest of the team can stall it out with Toxic + Rocks. Victini is sent out as Latias goes for the Calm Mind boost, and here I decide to attack the Victini with a Shadow Ball since it was the more immediate threat. As Victini goes for Glaciate (also confirming the Scarf), Latias gets a crit Shadow Ball which knocks out the Fire/Psychic-type. Now its just Shaymin vs the World, and can't cure itself of the Toxic via Natural Cure which was another momentous for us. At this point, I do stall out Blue's Shaymin for a bit so Toxic can start doing moderate chip damage, but eventually Shaymin goes down to another crit Stored Power attack.

Post Review

This was a well thought out battle on my end as not only did we stop both the Trick Room element of the team, but handled some of the heavy hitters like the Landorus-T, Mega Heracross, Victini, and Shaymin with relative ease. Not going to lie, I was bit nervous about that matchup since having just Victini and Shaymin on the team team can make an incredible wall breaking duo and to pair with the other two was just far more deadly. I guess what really turn the tide of the battle was having hazards setup to wear Blue's team down as well as the lack of Forretress to spin or even setup up opposing hazards.  There was one point in the game during Suicune v M-Heracross that I wanted to switch out, but given how many CM boosts it attained, it became clear Suicune had to take out M-Heracross at that point in the battle with Air Slash, which thank Arceus it hit since I have a horrible reputation with 95% accurate moves for some god damn reason. 

I cannot stress how important setting up both layers of Toxic Spikes since Milotic was going to be a huge pain to deal with, especially with the defense boost from Marvel Scale. One layer of Toxic Spikes inflict 1/8th health every turn to all non Steel/Flying/Poison-types, yet with the second layer, it acts like regular Toxic poison which is 1 + N / 16 with N for every passing turn. This means I can slowly stall out the Milotic and Aromatisse with my team while keep applying some pressure to the point it died. In short, Milotic was honestly the main defensive threat I had to worry about as it had the potential to phaze out key member of the team, while still wall my main heavy hitters like Char X and Latias.

Speaking of my legendaries, both Suicune and Latias performed well in this battle, with Suicune fainting Mega Heracross under Trick Room with the Relaxed Nature + Air Slash, and Latias cleaning up the match with Store Power action. Shaymin could have been an issue if it got those Seed Flare drops, but fortunately for me, this allowed Latias to perform her task. Could have saved Suicune in the end there, but I kinda didn't want Latias to get a Seed Flare drop so that's why I sacked Suicune to the Shaymin. Still I think the main MVP of this battle was Suicune as it shut down the main Trick Room offense of Blue's team, and funny enough I kinda didn't expect that result.

At the very end of the battle, I was kinda stumped regarding how the hell did Suicune outspeed a Mega Heracross in Trick Room, yet found out some key points. First, Mega Heracross wasn't fully Mega yet, so it was still a regular Heracross with a base speed of 85, which is the same as Suicune's base speed. Now take the fact that Suicune is Relaxed nature because of legality purposes to get Air Slash. Finally we have to take into account how Mega Heracross's speed investment was, though based on how it faints to a +2 Air Slash without being FULLY SPECIAL DEFENSIVE, I doubt that'd be the case.

Anyway good game to KantoCastBlue as the Nidokings head to a 7-0 record! Next time we'll be battling the main commissioner of the league: KevinVGC and his new formidable team.

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