Friday, September 2, 2016

PFA Regular Season 3 Week 9: Vs The Bolts Strike Bisharps

(Artist: AnnaK1332 )


Just a brief spoiler, there might be a slight delay between the time I post this Week 9 review until the next one, however that's mostly things that came up lately. Either way, we are definitely in playoff contention and likely secured the top seed in our division. Possibly the only other update to mention is how the last few post of CIL will be. Obviously we have this one for the Bolt Strike Bisharp (I'll get into that shortly), then my "future" battle with ItalianG62, then afterward, there might be only 2-3 more posts depending on how far we make it into playoffs. The past CIL post I'll do is for ItalianG62, then afterward I'm going to publish the playoff battles after we either finish round 1 and / or finals which should be around Mid-Late September. Of course, the end goal for this series will be to have a wrap up post about CIL which will only be about how I felt about my performance, preparation, and the battles overall. Maybe I'm getting a bit far ahead of myself lately, but its better to mention this now so I'll always have a mental check...sorta.

Week 9: VS The Bolt Strike Bisharps

 My Team: Charizard X, Latias, Suicune, Weavile, Sylveon, Doublade, Nidoking, Galvantula, Chesnaught, Empoleon, Gliscor
Iceolate's Team: Mega Lopunny, Zapdos, Azumarill, Reuniclus, Goodra, Heliolisk, Registeel, Cofagrigus, Rhyperior, Liepard, Archeops.

Looking at Iceolate's team, he's definitely surrounded his main Mega Evolution in Mega Lopunny with some capable defensive Pokemon. If anything, Mega Lopunny, Heliolisk, and the Archeops are the fast offensive threats who can easily outspeed most of my team and get some good chip damage against, or possibly attempt  to sweep. Zapdos was a major threat to the team as it can potentially Volt Turn against my checks to it, status my Pokemon with T-wave / Toxic, Defog any hazards I setup, and potentially be offensive itself to overwhelm my own walls. Next are the slow Pokemon on his team, yet pack a punch: Azumarill, Reuniclus, Goodra, and Rhyperior. Azumarill kinda stood out like a soar thumb as I felt confident he'll bring just given the matchup alone. In fact, most of the team built below was taken in response to possibly most Azumarill sets. Same goes for Reuniclus, who can try to Calm Mind sweep me, or run a LO Trick Room similar to what I faced back in PFA S3. Next are Icolate's potential wall core in Goodra, Rhyperior, Cofagrigus, and Registeel. Both Goodra and Rhyperior were mention before since either have strong offensive pressure / coverage moves with a crap ton of  special and physical bulk to tank most of my team's attacks. Cofagrigus kinda functions similar to Reuniclus, except it can also setup Toxic Spikes, and use the Mummy ability to cancel all my abilities, if my team makes contact with the coffin. Registeel was another defensive Pokemon which can block out most of my heavy special sweepers (Sylveon / Latias), however doesn't have a reliable attack stats to abuse.  Finally Liepard rounds up his team as its mostly there for prankster support like Priority Thunder Wave, Encore, etc so we'll keep this in mind. 

Looking at Iceolate's team, Mega Lopunny, Azumarill, and Zapdos were the likely to brought since all three matchup well against me, and has been brought in almost every game. As mention before, Azumarill was the most threatening as a potential Choice Band Set straight up kills almost anything on my team with the right coverage. Zapdos was the most capable pivot since it actually can stand a chance against my own wall core and has its way against my team if used well. Mega Lopunny outspeeds everything on my team and can get some powerful STAB Returns / High Jump Kicks off. If anything, I have to hope we can get rid of Lopunny via tank one of its own hits while retaliating with a SE attack,  or more likely wearing it down over the course of the battle. The last three Pokemon IMO were going to be things that can possibly wall my team, like the Reuniclus, Registeel, and Rhyperior. Again Reuniclus can be annoying to deal with, but hopefully we can pressure it enough with the team I'm bringing. Registeel might only be brought for Sylveon / Latias since both actually threaten a decent portion of Icolate's team yet as long as Registeel doesn't setup (likely the Curse set), we should be fine. lastly Rhyperior is a good response to Charizard X, but that's about it. Anything else on my team can threaten it with powerful Super Effective attacks or STAB special moves, or maybe both.  

Now even though I made playoffs not too long ago, I'm still going to take the battle as serious, or better yet I'm not going to underestimate my opponent like I've done before. With that said, here's the team I brought for the battle.

Forge (Charizard-Mega-X) @ Charizardite X  
Ability: Tough Claws  
- Flare Blitz  
- Will-O-Wisp  
- Roost  
- Dragon Dance  

I've made multiple attempts to use a defensive Charizard X set, however the end result was a bulky set with a moderate attack. speed, and mostly HP investment. Kinda thought about using some kinda of Tailwind / Sword Dance set to wall break against Iceolate's team, yet the potential Rhyperior and random Thunder Wave users prevent me from doing so. To explain this set, I only wanted Flare Blitz since it hits everything on Ice's team hard, except for Rhyperior and Azumarill, yet still take some chip damage. For those two, Will-O-Wisp was opted to potentially burn both after-mentioned Pokemon as well as other walls for residual. Dragon Dance plus the speed investment allows me to outspeed Mega Lopunny at +1, and everything else after further boost to potentially sweep. The best chance I have to setup is against the Zapdos late game as any remaining members on Iceolate's team will likely be weaken to where + 1 Flare Blitz can easily OHKO.

Stitches (Nidoking) @ Passho Berry  
Ability: Sheer Force  
- Earth Power  
- Sludge Wave  
- Ice Beam  
- Toxic Spikes  

Our mascot Nidoking returns for another fight! Probably this was the one Pokemon I wanted to use more than anyone else as it kinda has a field day against Iceolate's team thanks to its Sheer Force-boosted special hits. Part of me wanted to run Life Orb to straight out 2HKO certain Pokemon on his team with even considering Shadow Ball as an option for Reuniclus and Cofagrigus. Then I realized one problem: Azumarill. This thing will likely switch in on a fallen teammate to revenge kill Nidoking with a likely Banded Aqua Jet. After some thought and debate, it became more clear to me that Nidoking needed the Passho Berry to reduce the damage of the Aqua Jet to the point where Nidoking can live the attack, and hopefully faint the Azumarill with Sludge Wave. The last move on the list was Toxic Spikes as a last ditch move to weaken his team more, however I feel can work well if we either time it right, or if Zapdos isn't there 

Nui Harime (Sylveon) (F) @ Leftovers  
Ability: Pixilate  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Hyper Voice  
- Wish  
- Heal Bell  
- Calm Mind  

After having a great week 8 performance, Sylveon was brought to the matchup as the primary special wall for Zapdos, Reuniclus, and Heliolisk. Could have gone with the same set as last week, but the EV's are more defensively oriented to take on Mega Lopunny as the special attackers aren't concerning. Didn't opt to run a coverage move for Registeel as Wish / Heal Bell offered superior support, and if Ice doesn't bring Registeel, Calm Mind can handle his team decently. The way I'd envision this battle, Registeel will get worn down anyways with the combination of hazards (see Chesnaught below), residual damage from resisted hits, and potential a burn status, which would be helpful for Sylveon Calm Mind Setup, assuming no Curse setup for Iron Head

Reed (Chesnaught) @ Leftovers  
Ability: Bulletproof  
- Wood Hammer  
- Super Fang  
- Spikes  
- Synthesis  

Well given the most offensive threats to his team are kinda checked by this guy, and the idea of not bringing Chesnaught for one more game sounded weird. Well Chesnaught is here. During the teambuilding phase, I realized Azumarill was almost always going to be a threat to my team, especially one which speed creep my Chesnaught.  So to combat this, Chesnaught for this battle had enough EVs to speed creep Azu and OHKO it immediately with Wood Hammer after some Rocks damage. Aside taking out Azumarill quietly, don't have much for Chesnaught aside to spam Spikes, Super Fang targets on the switch, and recover up when necessary. 

Rogue (Suicune) @ Leftovers  
Ability: Pressure  
- Scald  
- Snarl  
- Roar  
- Rest  

Kinda a weird Suicune set for this week as I'm kinda worried about any potential setup options from either the Cofag or Reuniclus. Thought about giving Suicune Rocky Helmet for this battle to chip at Lopunny / Azu for a bit, but felt the residual HP recovery from Leftovers was better. Snarl is there mostly to hit some of his special attackers on the switch and reduce their damage output. Kinda liked Calm Mind here but Heliolisk is one of the best answers to Mono-attacking Suicune. 

Anne (Latias) @ Choice Scarf  
Ability: Levitate  
- Psyshock  
- Thunderbolt  
- Healing Wish  
- Trick  

Based on Iceolate's team, this Latias is fast enough to outspeed both Jolly Mega Lopunny and Scarf Goodra (something that he has used before). Psyshock is Latias main STAB option as it hits most things for some decent damage, including the Goodra. Thunderbolt was there mostly to hit Azumarill, in case it was for some reason a Sap Sipper Belly Drum set, which I've seen before. Last two slots are mostly utility, with Healing Wish as an option to recover my main attackers/walls, while Trick to "force" one of his walls, or CM user to use one attack. 

So based on team preview alone, no Zapdos means 1st thing to do is to setup as many hazards as we can, before Mega Lopunny or Azumarill show up. Given Nidoking has a decent matchup on most his mons, I decided to lead off with it,  just to prevent Stealth Rocks on my side of the field. As Iceolate leads Rhyperior against Nidoking, I'm in a good spot to already make a call here, however getting "damage" on something was the better play. Goodra switches in for Rhyperior, literally slurps the Earth Power to the point I knew it was Assault Vest. Here I didn't know what to do here, as most of my team is fairly weak or can't switch into Goodra. After some further observation, 5/6th of Iceolate's mons are weak to Toxic Spikes, which lead me to stay with my Nidoking to setup the hazards. This turn works out great as I'm able to get my Toxic Spikes, and Nidoking takes little damage from a resist Sludge Bomb, possibly as a prediction to Sylveon. Again since I can't switch into anything, kinda to forced to keep attacking the Goodra with Ice Beams, which in retaliation the slim dragon hits Nidoking with a Draco Meteor, almost fainting it. Since Goodra is now at -2, I felt confident to switch into Chesnaught as it can tank the Sludge Bomb with Bulletproof, and to possibly scare Goodra out. Instead, Goodra goes for a Dragon Tail on my switch, and to my luck, Sylveon is sent out. 

Once again, I sorta have momentum for this battle, but there's no reason not to call forth Registeel at this junction in the battle to maybe setup Stealth Rocks. In response, I make a prediction by double switching back into Chesnaught on the incoming Registeel, and now one layer Spikes is almost guaranteed. Iceolate is forced to switch into Cofagrigus as we get the crucial Spike for the battlefield. Here I debated about going to Sylveon to take the incoming Will O Wisp, Heal Bell to cure the burn, and get a Hyper Voice off, yet Suicune was another decent option to maintain some pressure. As Suicune is swapped out, Iceolate reveals the Magic Coat on the Cofagrigus, which results in a free turn as thankfully I didn't setup hazards there. Having revealed the Magic Coat tech made me realized that Cofagirgus might not have Calm Mind or maybe Wisp, so I go for the safe Snarl to prevent it from potentially setting up. Upon attacking with Snarl, Cofag reveals the Colbur Berry, an item to reduce Dark-type attacks possibly meant for Weavile, as Cofargrigus does indeed burn Suicune, which isn't a concern. 

Then I realized given that Cofag doesn't carry Leftovers,3 turns of Toxic Spikes poison + Snarl have done almost half to the Ghost type, therefore a potential Pain Split is incoming. Immediately I hard switch to Nidoking on the Pain Split, which funny enough "heals" me and further weakens the Cofagrigus. This was also sorta meant as a potential sack, in case Cofag was going to attack me, but staying alive for a couple more turns is appreciated. With Cofag weaken, Nidoking immediately goes for the Sheer Force Earth Power to OHKO it, not even considering going for another layer of T-Spikes since the first layer is enough (no annoying walls), and getting rid of Cofag is best for the rest of my team. Azumarill comes in and here comes a exceptionally important turning point. I do a quick damage calculation with my Nidoking EV Spread to see that a potential Aqua Jet from a "non-boosted" variant (Choice Band, Splash Plate, Muscle Band, whatever) can OHKO me, and just an max attack Adamant set, barely doesn't OHKO. Likewise I leave Nidoking to avoid any set, Azumarill uses Aqua Jet, no crit, the Passho Berry activates, and Nidoking lives on seven percent HP!

In a matter of a few turns alone, a potential sack in Nidoking just killed two important Pokemon who could have gave me some headaches during the battle and possible gave us a favorable chance to win the game, though that end result isn't guaranteed yet. Mega Lopunny is sent out to kill Nidoking with Fake Out, however doing so resulted in 24% HP from Spikes and Toxic Spikes damage. Chesnaught is switched out and I waste no time to go for the Super Fang to further weaken one of his remaining walls, which is the Goodra. With Goodra now at 13%, I kinda felt confident to stay in and setup more Spikes, as maybe Iceolate might overpredict again, which he does going for the Thunder to hit Suicune. Once Goodra was at 1%, I went for Super Fang knowing that any Pokemon at literally 1 HP will always die to a Super Fang doing exactly the one damage needed, however had Goodra not been that exact number, I would have setup the final layer of Spikes.  Now at this point in the game, I have 5 decent mons to deal with Registeel, Mega Lopunny, and Rhyperior, who all three will have to deal with Spikes + Toxic Spikes. 

When Registeel was sent out, I kinda wanted to send in Char X to finally get the Mega Evolution off, and to prevent my Mega from getting like 50% damage done to itself. As Char X is sent out, Registeel goes for the Rock Polish, and then suddenly I realized this Registeel might have "something" to use as a setup, possibly a Weakness Policy. However with our defensive Zard X on the field, Will O Wisp was the natural play as we are able to tank the incoming EQ. Following turn Rhyperior is sent out, as I roost off the damage, I realized that my opponent's Pokemon are now on a timer of sorts, so basically we have to kinda semi stall Iceolate to win the game. A couple turns of Rhyperior roaring my Pokemon later, Suicune is finally brought out. Here Iceolate sacks the Registeel to the Suicune as two Scalds + one burn damage results in a kill. Mega Lopunny is brought out for the last time, taking full Spikes damage (at 51%), and essentially it can't mount a comeback without some ridiculous hax or chokes on my end. Chesnaught is sent out on the incoming Fake Out to take easily, and retaliate with a Wood Hammer upon taking an last ditch Ice Punch for the potential freeze. No blue magic means Chesnaught faints the Lopunny, and eventually the quad super effective low HP Rhyperior, resulting in a strong 5-0 finish. 


After the match, Iceolate mention how he wasn't as confident about the matchup, so he brought some sets that where there to mostly throw me off. I did mention that the lack of any hazard removal, aka Zapdos made this game easier for my side to slowly chip at his team and get OHKOs without random damage rolls. If Zapdos was brought, I think this would have been a vastly different battle to the point I don't know how exactly Iceolate would have responded. Honestly any one of my Pokemon could have performed well here just with the hazards alone makes their walling jobs far easier. To be honest, almost everyone did some kinda of work in this battle, even Latias at the end could have slowly picked off Icolate's team in the end. Kinda wish Charizard X might have gotten a kill here, or maybe a sweep, but that's kinda wishful thinking when Iceolate brought things which definitely check my Zard.

Perhaps the biggest turning point in this battle was actually not the setting up the hazards at all, rather Nidoking netting two critical OHKOs on the Cofagrigus and the Azumarill while low HP. Cofagrigus might have helped Ice via spamming  Pain Split and reducing my walls to here where Mega Lopunny actually kills them off one by one. Heck a random Magic Coat on my Nidoking's Toxic Spike could have made this battle more I'd say tedious, but thankfully that scenario never happen. Funny enough, I actually changed the Nidoking set from a mixed Life Orb set to this Passho Berry because at the time team building, Azumarill was a concern. I was kinda forced to think out of the box, well not much. Didn't take long for me to consider doing the same thing I did to against Blue with the Shuca Berry Nidoking to bait the EQ, which in turn removed a huge threat. 

Definitely Nidoking deserves the title for MVP of the game for setting up Toxic Spike, and OHKOing two vital threats in the process. An honorable mention goes to Chesnaught for once again, being the main defensive anchor of the team. Even though Chesnaught didn't get the defensive MVP award, the fact both it and Weavile have eight kills and one / zero deaths respectively is kinda ridiculous to me. Honestly Chesnaught could have been the MVP here if it killed Azu as well, however Nidoking did that job, so I kinda have to reward it to my mascot since it shifted the battle to my favor immensely. The rest of my team was fairly decent: Char X did a good job burning the Registeel to render it useless, Suicune / Sylveon assisting Chesnaught in the team defense, and Latias, while not doing anything in particular, was there to revenge kill anything. 

CIL Standing Situation

Now for standing updates. As of right now, the Nidokings are 9-0 (best record / no losses) with a huge differential of about +36 points.  After some calculations, or basic math,  we have the best record in the league by default, as we have a higher differential (+36), compared to CBran's Blastoise team having a final result of 9-1 (+22 differential). Essentially at this point, but me and Chase have clinched our respective top seeds of playoff conferences and I feel great we've managed to do this well in the league. Next week, I'm going to battle arguable my notable rival in any Pokemon thing, the guy who has beaten us many time in Doubles, and we've been beaten a couple of times in this format: Italian. 

Originally I was going to battle Hank the Pidgey, however due to IRL stuff on his end, he wasn't able to continue the league so it was basically our job as a league to find a suitable replacement. Eventually we decided to have someone from the PFA league, so Kyle was chosen as one of three replacements. This actually might be an important game for Kyle as he as to win one game at least to make a playoff run, and I have already secured almost the everything, except the top record, or the the 10- 0 season record. To be honest, I'm going to give it my best to win the last battle, and possibly end the regular season on a high note. 

As I'm also entrenched in the middle of PFA S4, I'm going to say this September is going to be the month where we might have playoffs for CIL, and possibly we might only do just one / two battles depending how well we matchup. Honestly being part of the CIL League for nearly 5 months is amazing, and the chance to win a title is a great way to end the season. Of course we still have to battle Kyle, then one person from the X Conference, then possibly get to finals. Regardless of the outcome, I'll do my best. 

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