Thursday, August 18, 2016

CIL Regular S2W8: VS KevinVGC

 (Artist: ishman )


Now we are heading into the latter end of the CIL schedule with some rather strong opponents. While we are 7 - 0 record wise, I strongly think at some point we'll lose a game, but I rather have it now than in playoffs. Or maybe I can go perfect, but that's a farfetch idea at the moment. I'm just glad I've been doing well these past couple of weeks and been far more consistently than probably my PFA battles. One last note to say is that the roster you all see for my lineup as for everyone else starting Week 8 is now permanent and cannot be changed. Without any delay, here's my battle review vs KevinVGC!

Week 8: VS The LA Kinglers
(pretty much battle of LA here)

 My Team: Charizard X, Latias, Suicune, Weavile, Sylveon, Doublade, Nidoking, Galvantula, Chesnaught, Empoleon, Gliscor
KevinVGC's Team: M-Alakazam, Manaphy, Thundurus, Excadrill, Infernape, Celebi, Shuckle, Diancie, Dragonite, Braviary, Greninja (Torrent)

Looking at KevinVGC's team, it looks by far the most threatening lineup of Pokemon I've probably every faced and had to team prep/counter. If his Mega was any say Mega Gardevoir, this would have been a real hell of a match to prep for, but fortunately for me, it was Mega Alakazam. While Mega Alakazam is an incredibly powerful special attacker, the low HP and Defense stats alone means I can take it out with any physical or even strong special attacks. Then we get to the rest of his team, well and all I see are threats. Here we have Evil Bloo (I'm not going to acknowledge Manaphy... Bloo's Evil Twin) who can probably setup and sweep my team with a well timed Tail Glow and Calm Mind set. Thundurus is another difficult Pokemon to prep for as it has various offensive sets from the Nasty Plot, Defiant, and to the standard Life Orb set can be a issue. One last thing about Thundurus is the potential for Prankster Thunder Wave stuff, which can effectively neuter my main sweepers if used at the right moment. Excadrill is Kevin's main spinner, but it also incredibly offensive with both STAB Steel / Ground attacks, not to mention the potential Sand Rush and Mold Breaker sets. Inferape is a great mixed attack which KevinVGC has also used as a defensive wall before, so maybe we'll see one for Weavile. Regardless, Infernape can still be rather strong offensive for my team thanks to its base 108 speed, and again strong mixed capabilities. Celebi use to be on the LA Nidkings team, until we dropped and KevinVGC picked it up. To be honest, I've definitely had some "doubts" about whether dropping Celebi was the right choice, but kinda have to live with it that choice. 

Either way while Celebi has a rather limited movepool, it has so much setup options that I kinda had to bring a newcomer to the team just to deal with this guy exclusively. Shuckle is often known for being a stable of hyper offensive teams with Stealth Rocks and Sticky Web support, so I kinda had to make a mental check that Kevin's teams could result into some form of Hyper Offense. Diancie is another new Pokemon transaction on the Kingler team, and it's probably will be used only to counter both Charizard X and Weavile which it can do well. Dragonite is an extremely dangerous Pokemon with access to a wide coverage moves, priority in Extreme Speed, Dragon Dance setup, and most importantly Multiscale, which allows any attack to take half damage assuming Dragonite has 100% of it HP. Given the fact KevinVGC had a Hyper Offensive looking team, I knew that my team had to carry some from of phazing options and have Rocks up on the field to deal with it. Braviary is somewhat threatening with the potential Defiant option, but I think Kevin would rather use Thundurus as the main Defiant user for the team. Lastly we get to Greninja (torrent) who honestly fills the role of a hyper offensive suicide lead with access to both Toxic Spikes and Spikes. Despite the loss of Protean for balance purposes, Greninja still has rather decent coverage options to hit most of my team for hard damage. 

Given how strong KevinVGC's team was, I knew I had my prep cut out for myself and planned almost for like 5 days to figure out what to do. Out of all the team building sessions, this was the one I've probably taken the most time in the CIL league given the matchup. During Thursday (August 4th), KevinVGC finally was able to get a time to battle, though he told me he'd needed more time to prep and would throw some stuff together. At the time, I still wasn't finished prepping myself, but after what he told me, I eventually came up with a new team seen below:

Epiclolz (Galvantula) @ Focus Sash  
Ability: Compound Eyes  
- Thunder  
- Bug Buzz  
- Sucker Punch  
- Sticky Web  

Joining the battle is Epiclolz the Galvantula, named after someone from the PFA league. Now immediately the minute I noticed KevinVGC had both Manaphy and Celebi I resulted to using Galvantula with Sticky Web support to at least slow down his faster team. The moveset is almost standard except I have Sucker Punch to hit the Mega Alakazam assuming it has low HP. Focus Sash allows Galvantula to be an emergency check to either Manaphy, M-Alakazam, and Celebi, though I need to ensure no hazards on on my side, or if Galvantula  has taken residual damage. 

Snowbat (Gliscor) @ Toxic Orb  
Ability: Poison Heal  
- Earthquake  
- Knock Off  
- Taunt  
- Roost  

This was the Pokemon I've tempered with the most given as it had a case of 4MSS.  I wanted Gliscor to have either Toxic, Ice Fang or even Sword Dance, but at the end of the day, a simple set was chosen. Earthquake was STAB for Excadrill, Infernape, Diancie, etc. Knock Off I felt was going to be far useful just to remove items and to scout for potential sets. Taunt was a last minute decision I picked to ensure that if say Manaphy or Celebi switches in, I can at least Taunt their incoming switch and prevent any form of setup or status options. Roost is there to recover off some lost HP along with the Poison Heal to help wall some Pokemon. Gliscor's primary goal was to wall the Excadrill as it can easily tank an Iron Head, and hit back with a strong EQ. Pretty much to put it bluntly, Gliscor filled the role of a disruption so at least no setup options can be used against me. 

Anne (Latias) @ Leftovers  
Ability: Levitate  
- Stored Power  
- Ice Beam  
- Calm Mind  
- Roost  

A modification of the Latias set back in Week 7. Latias's main goal is simple: beat Evil Bloo, especially if it was a defensive setup set. Kinda feared the potential Heart Swap, so once I got to +2 CM, I'd start attacking ASAP since Latias can tank most of his special attacker's main hits, while retaliate with a strong base 100 Stored Power, assuming no stat drops and other misc. things. Ice Beam was opted for both Celebi and Dragonite as + 2 CM can clearly 2HKO either variant of Celebi, or faint Dragonite assuming Multiscale is tact. Latias also acts as a pseduo wall for most of his special hitters with moderate defenses to fend itself unlike Sylveon or Empoleon. Still Latias remain a huge factor to this battle depending on how well its preserved. 

Mars (Empoleon) @ Shuca Berry  
Ability: Torrent  
- Stealth Rock  
- Scald  
- Roar  
- Defog  

Really basic set with the Shuca Berry to take at least One EQ from Excadrill, though this was mostly for the Dragonite in case it was Banded, or had setup with Dragon Dance. Again the moveset is pretty basic, except I'll explain why Roar and Defog on this set. Roar is simple to explain since as long as Kevin has potential setup options, aka Dragonite, I have to keep it in check as possible, and get some residual damage from Scald or Stealth Rocks. Defog might seem strange on a team with Sticky Webs, but the fact that KevinVGC's team is almost going to be hyper offense leds me to at least have some precautions against hazard stacking. 

Nui Harime (Sylveon) @ Leftovers  
Ability: Pixilate  
- Hyper Voice  
- Wish  
- Heal Bell  
- Protect  

Originally Sylveon wasn't going to be on this battle, rather Weavile instead. What made me change Weavile to Sylveon was funny enough... Dragonite. Sure Weavile is clear faster than Dragonite and has x4 super effective attacks to run like Icicle Crash or Ice Shard, but then I realized the huge potential of a Band set with Extreme Speed. If Weavile takes both rocks and LO recoil damge, Banded Extremespeed will pick off my main revenge killer and I;m forced to play around this. Sylveon on the other hand can not only check Dragonite to a degree, but deals heavy damage to KevinVGC's team with powerful Pixilate Hyper Voice attacks. I did modify Sylveon's EV spread to at the very least be able to handle most of his special attackers, while have some defense investment to take on Dragonite better. I cannot stress this enough how important Sylveon soon became to the team as it clearly the both the main defensive anchor as well part of the offense we'll need to apply.

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

What I kinda felt about this battle was Charizard X needed to have a opening of sorts in other to win us the W. Problem, well KevinVGC has a Diancie that can wall its main STABs, a Thundurus with Prankster Thunder Wave, an evil version of Manaphy, and Extreme Speed priority with Dragonite. So why the hell I brought it? Well it still sweeps Kevin's team if he isn't careful with my Charizard X. There was a good chance my Mega Evolution was either going to do the main Wall-Breaking for the team while have others clean up, or it do the main cleaning itself. My best chance to setup is against the Celebi, but even then that's risky with the potential T-wave / Earth Power option. Again there's a possibility Charizard might not get any kills accounted foe, but it can at least threaten out stuff and at least do consistent damage, I won't be mad. 

The Battle: From the Depths

The battles starts with me being kinda in a weird position with Galvantula as the lead versus an Infernape. I really wanted to setup Sticky Webs in this battle, but given he had a Manaphy and M-Alakazam, Galvantula became far more important than settling some webs to slow down his team. So I'm forced to switch to Latias, as Kevin makes  great play to U-turn out to Diancie. At 50% HP, I'm kinda in another crucial choice to make: do I sack Latias here and attempt to setup on Diancie? Given my EV spread, a +1 CM will allow Latias to live a Moonblast from Diancie, so I Calm Mind up, as he actually switches to Manaphy, anticipating my own switch. Latias gets a second CM as Manaphy attacks with Ice Beam and does almost negligible damage to where Latias can start roosting. However, given how offensive Kevin has played so far,  I decide to reveal Stored Power and attack Manaphy for about 70% damage. At the same time, Manaphy Tail Glows, so now Latias can finish off Manaphy the following turn. After removing Manaphy from play, Thundurus switches in and here I make a dumb decision to stay in, only for Thundurus to uses a Life Orb Knock Off and faint Latias.

With Latias now gone, I realize Thundurus can sorta steamroll my team if it has a Mixed set with Iron Tail to at least kill Sylveon. Unfortunately for me, Sylveon is my only Pokemon of choice to go as I don't want to risk the Thunder Wave Paralysis on Charizard X. Strangely enough, Thundurus switches into Infernape as Sylveon goes for Hyper Voice, netting massive damage to where another will kill. Scouting for a potential physical set, Sylveon immediately protects itself as Infernape goes for Fire Blast, which leads me to believe its mixed with a potential HP Ice. Predicting an HP Ice or U-Turn, I stay in with Sylveon to take a Fire Blast moderately, as I go for the safe Hyper Voice to knock out another threat. Naturally, Excadrill is sent out to force out my Sylveon, so I switch to Gliscor to take the Iron Head. However, Kevin reads into this and immediately makes a double to his pre-Mega Alakazam and this already looks to be a decisive turn.

Fearing the HP Ice, I'm forced out again to my Empoleon as Mega Alakazam traces Torrent (thankfully not Poison Heal), and setups a substitute, which is equally bad. At this point, I'm forced to stay in with Empoleon and go for Scald to break the substitute, hoping he either doesn't have Focus Blast, or maybe misses. At turn 12, Mega Alakazam reveals Shadow Ball (probably meaning Kevin doesn't have Focus Blast), and Empoleon breaks the sub with STAB Scald. Knowing that I need more damage on Mega Zam for Galvantula to OHKO with Sucker Punch, Empoleon goes for another Scald, burns it, and puts me in a great position to get up rocks or fire another Scald to cover any switches. Empoleon goes for rocks while Alakazam keeps firing Shadow Balls at my Water-type. Here I decide to sack Empoleon, and let Sylveon protect itself as Mega Zam faints to the burn damage so I can at least get more leftover recovery. 

At this point, its 4-3 in my favor however Excadrill, Thundurus, and Diancie are still healthy and ready to go for battle. Diancie is sent out as I kinda don't know what to expect from this whether the Rock/Fairy-type was either going to setup or attack my Sylveon.  Diancie setups rocks and tries to get some moderate damage on Sylveon for Thundurus to maybe faint Sylveon with a SE attack it still hasn't revealed. Speaking of which, the way KevinVGC preserved Thundurus made me to believe it was some kinda of mixed set with something for each of my Pokemon. At this point, I realized Sylveon was needed for the late game to take on Thundurus in case it was more specially mixed with Knock Off, just for Latias. During the exchange with Diancie, I tried to time the Wishes to where once Diancie faints to Hyper Voice, Sylveon can get back to full health to handle whatever Thundurus had. This plan work well as Sylveon tanks the Diamond Storms and Moonblast from Diancie, faints the legendary, while at the same time replenish HP. 

Now its Excadrill and Thundurus vs my entire team, and Excadrill is sent out. Here I make a really ballsy play ins switching out Sylveon directly to Charizard, expecting Iron Head/Rapid Spin or the potential Thundurus double switch. It might seem weird to do this, but at this point in the battle, I wanted to put myself in a position where KevinVGC is forced to sack either Excadrill or Thundurus as most of my members can deal with the proper threats. In any scenario, Charizard X will lose 50% HP + whatever direct attack Excadrill goes for. So believe me what I'm saying is something will die to Charizard X's Flare Blitz. . If Charizard X dies to Excadrill, Gliscor can switch safely, (hope I don't get Iron Head flinched), and get a knock off Excadrill or Thundurus's item. 

Moment of truth, Sylveon switches for Charizard X, takes 50% HP, while Excadrill removes hazards off the field with Rapid Spin (also doing 10%). Now I'm in the driver seat. Excadrill cannot take a Flare Blitz, nor Thundurus can so I'm almost guaranteed something to faint. Reason I say Thundurus is maybe the potential Kevin locked  himself into Rapid Spin with a Choice Scarf. Kevin decides to let Excadrill drop to the Flare Blitz, as Thundurus comes in. Despite being low on HP, my play is still to Flare Blitz myself to for the win, but Thundurus kills Char X with Hidden Power, though taking LO damage.  Now that Kevin revealed the HP Ice, Sylveon has to take whatever Super Effective hit it about to get it with, and fire a Hyper Voice to where the genie dies, or Life Orb will faint itself. Turns out, Thundurus has Sludge Wave the entire time, but with Sylveon's high Special Defense investment, it takes it easily as Hyper Voice leaves Thundurus around 9%, meaning I've practically won the battle! As Thundurus goes for Sludge Wave again, Sylveon lives the hit, and thus wins us the game 3-0!


To be honest, I thought I was behind for the majority of the battle, even till  the very end since Thundurus is a Pokemon who can easily sweep teams even with the mixed offensive set. The whole time, I was guessing what Thundurus set was as it was one of several Pokemon on KevinVGC's team that can sweep my entire team, with Manaphy as the other exception. Losing Latias kinda sucked early on as I completely forgot about how Thundurus can be also a strong mixed attacker with Defiant to deter any form of Defog or hazard removal. If I'd had played any worse, KevinVGC would have likely taken this battle with the plays he was making. However the there where a couple events that kinda swayed the battle heavily in my favor which were staying in with Latias as it culminated with defeating Manaphy early on, handling Mega Alakazam with one Pokemon, and the direct switch into Charizard X to get offensive pressure. With all the name calling and (potentially from the snipe), Manaphy was a huge threat to the team as I had to basically "sack" a Pokemon for another to revenge kill, which fortunate for me, I trade one loss in Latias. Still it was extremely shocking to get rid of perhaps the most threatening wall breaker in the league format within a couple turns. Despite Mega Alakazam having a large special attacking movepool with support coverage, I think we kinda lucked out on this one. If Mega Zam had Focus Blast or something like Encore, this would leave in an awkward position, and likely could have done enough damage where Kevin's other mons can win him the game. Finally the Charizard X switch definitely helped in my favor as at that moment, Excadrill or Thundurus were about to faint to a Flare Blitz, leaving me in a good positioning to win. 

If I had to say who was the MVP of the battle, Sylveon definitely was the right call here picking up 3 kills and holding the team together once again. I'll admit, the reason I didn't want Sylveon in this battle was I feared it was going to be setup fodder to most of KevinVGC's team. However learning from my battle from Alec back in PFA S2, Sylveon can do a decent chunk of damage to even a Manaphy, and live a +3 Scald with the proper investment. From that loss, I kinda picked up the idea Sylveon is best used with by utilizing its  higher special defense stat while having some defense EVs to take some physical hits. The EV spread definitely paid off since Sylveon was able to live 2 Sludge Waves from a Life Orb Thundurus, as well as handle over four different Pokemon on KevinVGC's team. An honorable mention goes to both my dragons: Latias and Charizard X as both pickup crucial kills against both the Manaphy and Excadrill respectively, despite losing them the following turns. 

Now that the Nidokings have a record of 8 - 0, we now have enough differential points (+31) and a sizable record count to where we kinda "clinch" the playoff spot. At this point in the season, I only want to finish the season strong with a good record, which seems like we have done, so the next few battles won't be as I guess stressful to prep, rather more fun now. In the meantime, I'm going to keep working on some posts which should be up within the upcoming weeks regarding my PFA season and the eventual week 9 and 10 battles for CIL. Of course once I'm done with the CIL regular season, I'll have to prepare for playoffs and start teambuilding/testing. Might just get back into showdown battling now that my Laptop is "fixed" but we'll see on that matter.

Next time we'll battle Icolate of the Bolt Strike Bisharps who are 5-3 and are looking to clinch a playoff berth in his division. Despite what I said earlier regarding relaxing myself a bit from this league, I'm still going to take the battle as seriously since another win can give us a lock in the overall league record. Anyways I'll be back with more CIL //PFA updates. 

PS: Don't know why I can't post images or gifs of Pokemon here, but I'll have this resolved in the upcoming posts. 

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