Wednesday, September 14, 2016

PFA Season 3 Playoffs: Round 2

(Artist: DanaJarwr)


Following our Round 1 victory against Marcusube and his Virginia Vibravas, the Nidokings look to head once again back to the finals, likely facing a strong opponent. If anyone hasn't reviewed, or read about the battle of me vs the Vibravas, highly suggest you go back to thee other post. Round 1 as definitely one of the more "tense" games I've done in the league yet. That said, I didn't know who my opponent was going to be as there some "considerable" changes to the playoff structure which were rather "unannounced". Not going to go "in-depth" about these series of conversation, however will say the change was rather unexpected, but all the playoffs teams eventually settled the matter. To explain what happen here's the winners of Round 1....(Note: this is based on Best of 3 singles)

Note: I forgot the exact scoring for each battle, however the number indicate the players won two game (maybe one game for the other team) to win the series. Won't comment about how the battles transpired, bar my opponent's series for a bit. 
  • LA Nidokings VS Virginia Vibravas (LA Wins 2-0) 
  • Mesa Macargos VS LA Lucarios (Mesa Wins 2-0 )
  • Indianapolis Jolts VS Puerto Rico Panchams (Puerto Rico Win 2-0)
  • Indy Latis VS Scenectady Sceptiles (Indy Latis Wins 2-1)
The original setup of playoffs was to have the teams based standard bracket seeding with the winners such as the winner of 1st / 8th seed moves on to fight the 4th / 5th seed winner. Under this assumption, planned to battle Kyle (ItalianG62), and Epiclolz in case I beat Marcusube. Turns out the seeding was changed to have the highest placed teams always have to battle each other. It seemed incredibly weird to me until realized after a quick Google search this is what a typically NFL playoff schedule (Yes... not familiar with this) looks like. While there was moderate debate about this with Alec and other Coaches in the PFA, I decided to drop the issues only because it felt everyone already madeup their minds about who they were battling, despite the short notice, and I was the only one left who kinda disagreed adamantly. Here is the updated bracket for the playoffs Semi Finals. 

  • LA Nidokings VS Puerto Rico Panchams
  • Mesa Macargos VS Indy Latis

So basically, I now have to battle PxGKashHoward instead of Epiclolz for the Semifinals. If anything, this was a matchup I predicted would  "eventually" happen in playoffs, either in the Semis or the Finals. Part of me wanted the match to be the finals, instead of semis since both of our teams were relatively strong and singled him as one of the potential "challenges" to a potential championship run. With all the discourse aside, here's the main planning for the LA Nidoking against the Puerto Rico Panchams.

ROUND 2 / Semi Finals Vs Puerto Rico Panchams

Puerto Rico Panchams: Heatran, Kyurem-B, Mega Gardevoir, Volcarona, Nidoking, Sableye, Umbreon, Hitmontop, Gastrodon, Eelektross, Tauros, Furfrou, Golurk.
LA Nidokings: Manaphy, Mega Altaria, Victini, Gengar, Roserade, Zapdos, Gyarados, Flygon, Bronzong, Aerodactyl. Mesprit, Miltank, Articuno

Looking at the team matchup, Kash has one of the strongest teams in PFA, notably his Fairy Dragon Steel Core in Mega Gardevoir, Kyurem-B, and Heatran respectively. Just Mega Gardevoir and Kyurem-B alone were already problematic Pokemon to prepare for as is. Both are potent wall breakers and easily spam their strong STAB moves with minimum effort. While not as intimidating as the other two, Heatran has the favorable matchup against key members of my team, notable Mega Altaria, Zapdos, Brozong, and Victini. Even if I can exploit the times four weakness to Ground, there's the potential Kash brings Shuca Berry, or Air Balloon to mitigate/null Ground-type attacks. Volcarona is an absolutely scary threat on Kash's team as if I let the fire moth setup Quiver Dances, I could lose a game, heck the series if not prepared well enough. If Kash wasn't already in short demand of wall breakers, the potent Sheer Force user Nidoking can efficiently hit my entire Pokemon with super effective damage, provided it can predict well enough. Sableye was a rather interesting pickup by Kash, however this Ghost/Dark-type single-handedly walled most of Mudkiplegend's entire defensive core + his new Mega Medicham. In that series, Kash spread as much Will-O-Wisp as possible knowing Sylveon wasn't there on the battle. Ironically, Alec's team wasn't able to deal with Sablye's rather annoying moveset consisting of Wisp, Recover, Taunt, and another move I forgot. (You can watch the Alec V Kash series here on Kash's Youtube). The last Pokemon I felt rather confident he'd bring was the Hitmontop as it seems like it was Kash's only hazard removal. 

Rest of the Pokemon Kash had on his team where kinda niche at best, but I didn't seem them coming, or didn't focus too much on them. The three of the remaining six Pokemon, only Gastrodon, Tauros, and Eelektross had a semi good matchups. Gastrodon is a decent wall for this battle with access to Clear Smog to reset any stats, not to mention the threat of Scald burns, and most importantly the Curse set. Funny enough, Gastrodon was the only Pokemon in the PFA league which got a 6-0 score as a result of using Curse to the point his opponent's team couldn't do anything, except hope for crits. Tauros was one of the leading Pokemon in kills on Kash's team often used for its base 110 and access to Sheer Force attacks. The main flaw Tauros had was its special defense is below average meaning most of my special attacks can 2HKO the bull with ease. Eelektross was the last Pokemon I felt "confident" he'd bring given 1) the lack of natural type weaknesses, 2) the wide variety of moves to select from, and finally 3) the slow Volt-Switch to his premier wall breakers. The last three Pokemon on Kash's team were Umbreon, Furfrou, and Golurk, all of them which I didn't see coming to this battle as "viable" options.  Of the three, Umbreon probably makes a better mixed wall, however everything else either frail on the special end, setup fodder, or made his matchup worse. 

Overall, Kash has one of the more complete teams in the PFA. Even with his premier SDF core, and potent wall breakers, I immediately recognize one glaring weakness. Aside Hitmontop, Kash didn't have any "reliable" Defoggers or hazard removal to make use of for this matchup.  Why do I stress this fact? Well for starters, this was the only immediate advantage our team had against Kash considering if we successfully hazard stack, this pretty much makes our wall breaker's jobs easier to complete. Regarding what team I planned on constructing, Hyper Offense was perhaps the best option, especially with the Victini/Manaphy/Mega Altaria core.  While I do try to have "defensive checks", there was no way my team can handle a wall breaking core of Mega Gardevoir, Kyurem-B, Volcarona, and Nidoking combined. This whole battle planning became moreso, on how can I "outgun" Kash with my own squad, which are respectively strong, rather than bulk it out, because doing the latter will result on a series exit

Teambuilding was not surprisingly "long", but I did run some test with KevinVGC (shoutouts to him), to see how the six Pokemon I chose performed, and they mostly did fine. There were some sets here and there I threw around, but given this was playoffs, I wanted to cover for "everything", even the occasional lower tiers "surprises". Anyways going to cut right into the team we brought and assisted with KevinVGC for teambuilding assistance.  


Roserade @ Life Orb  
Ability: Technician  
Level: 50  
EVs: 28 HP / 240 SpA / 4 SpD / 236 Spe  
Timid Nature  
IVs: 1 Atk / 30 SpA / 30 SpD  
- Sludge Bomb  
- Hidden Power [Ground]  
- Toxic Spikes  
- Spikes  

-OHKOS no investement (non air ballon/shuca/av/sashed) Heatran 100% of the time, and has a high chance to OHKO a specially defensive one.
-LO Sludge Bomb can OHKO Mega Gardevoir with up to 64 HP Evs
-HP Ground can OHKO Nidoking as well bar random after-mentioned stuff mentioned with heatran.
-Outspeeds Timid Heatran, Modest Mega Gardevoir, and Timid Nidoking.

Funny enough, we start with the last Pokemon added on the team. Heavily debated about whether to hazard stack or not in this matchup, and if running a Grass-move was viable here. Given Kash's only hazard removal was a Hitmontop, this Roserade can spam Sludge Bombs on the Fighting-type, maybe snag a Poison.  Aside Heatran, none of his Pokemon appreciated being hit by Sludge Bombs, even his Ground-types as the 30% chance for Poison was extremely potent here. 
For Heatran specifically, HP Ground was opted to nuke it before it can setup rocks, though I have to scout for other items, like an Air Ballon. For its last slots, Roserade has both Toxic Spikes and regular Spikes to spread across the battle, and chip away at Kash's team.  If Nidoking is around, Roserade will only use Spikes to as Kash can easily remove Toxic Spikes as simple as switching in once with his Poison-type. Extremely likely Roserade was going to be the lead to get in as many hazards as possible, while hit hard with either STAB Sludge Bomb or HP Ground.

Bronzong @ Light Clay  
Ability: Levitate  
Level: 50  
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpA / 244 SpD  
Sassy Nature  
IVs: 0 Spe  
- Stealth Rock  
- Gyro Ball  
- Earthquake  
- Light Screen  

-Takes two Shadow Balls from Timid Max Special Attack Mega Gardevoir
-EQ for Heatran / Nidoking
-Gyro Ball for Kyurem-B / M-Gardevoir / Tauros
-Light Clay Light Screen to halt "momentum" from Kash's Special Attackers

The thought of running a Suicide Lead Bronzong did occur, however with most of his team already threatening my own, felt that my only Steel/Psychic-type with Levitate can serve long-terms roles. Aside being the obligatory make-shift shitty counter to Mega Gardevoir and Kyurem-B, Bronzong can wall most of Nidoking's attacks and can take most of Tauros's hits, assuming it comes.  As per any game, Stealth Rocks was mandatory to get vital chip damage (also render Volc at 50% HP), but work in conjunction with Spikes/Toxic Spike to ensure the matchup was mine. Gyro Ball again is for the aftermention threats, while Earthquake served as an option to predict the Heatran / Nidoking switch out. Light Clay Light Screen and no "Reflect" enables Bronzong to carry the additional Ground coverage while gives me more turns of the field condition to abuse instead of setting up the other screen. Essentially given the potential of predominate Special Attackers on Kash's end, Light Clay Light Clay can shut down his momentum, while enable my own team to setup.

Gengar @ Black Sludge  
Ability: Levitate  
Level: 50  
EVs: 76 HP / 20 Def / 204 SpA / 12 SpD / 196 Spe  
Timid Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Hex  
- Sludge Bomb  
- Disable  
- Substitute  

-Outspeeds Furfrou (yes Furfrou) to get a quick Substitute.
-Can 1v1 the Gastrodon if Scald is the only attack to hit my levitating Ghost-type.
-T-Spikes + Hex can kinda manhandle most of Kash's team, bar Sableye or Umbreon (which I have Manaphy / Mega Altaria).

This was honestly the most "fun" set I've never used on a Gengar, even all the time I've played/used this popular Ghost-/Poison Pokemon for Singles and Doubles. The way the Gengar set works is to setup a Substitute on either Heatran,  Gastrodon, and most importantly Hitmontop. Most of these Pokemon here have one coverage move to run like Scald, Lava Plume, Sucker Punch, etc. If I get rid of there only coverage move with the Sub - Disable combo, Gengar can basically semi wall them, even with its Ability Levitate to prevent these mons from using Ground moves. Gengar can provide to slowly chip away at Kash's entire team, and even has the potential to cleanup late game. Both Sableye and Umbreon walls this set, but I can at least Disable something, and switch out to my other mons to force them out. As a part Ghost-type, I needed Gengar to prevent hazards from being spun, so essentially this was its primary job. To make the matchup with Hitmontop easier, if it had Sucker Punch, I can Disable the incoming Sucker Punch (or any else which can hit Gengar) and prevent the Fighting-type from doing anything, as Normal / Fighting moves can touch Ghosts. 

There were some "problems" with my ace in the battle. If Hitmontop has Foresight, this makes the matchup annoying as it can hit me with STAB Close Combat now, though resisted.  Problem running this move exclusively on Hitmontop was it made itself more setup fodder to Mega Altaria and not to mention, almost everything on this team threatens the lone Rapid Spinner for moderate damage. The other problem was Tauros. For Gengar to at least 1v1 Tauros, it must have Substitute against bull to deal damage. Also forgot to mention just about everything else on the Kash's roster can nuke Gengar easily like Mega Gardevoir, Kyurem-B, Nidoking, or heck Heatran. 

Also Toxic Spikes + Hex Gengar is stupidly dumb...

Manaphy @ Wacan Berry  
Ability: Hydration  
Level: 50  
EVs: 124 HP / 4 Def / 124 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
Timid Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Surf  
- Dazzling Gleam  
- Energy Ball  
- Tail Glow  

-Speed Ties with Mega Gardevoir/Volcarona, can Outspeed Kyurem-B (non speed boosted)
-Wacan Berry to take an Electric type hit from Eelektross / Fusion Bolt from Kyurem-B
-Dazzling Gleam to hit Umbreon/Sableye/Kyurem-B.
-Energy Ball to Hit Gastrodon, though the thought of running Rain Dance did occur.

Won't explain this set much as its a standard TG Manaphy with some bulk HP. With some hazards and a +3 Tail Glow, Manaphy has the potential to sweep most of Kash's team or at least wall break for another member to finish what it started. I think with at least one damage counter of Rocks/Spikes/T-Spikes makes +3 Surf can OHKO a 4 HP Mega Gardevoir, while again everything else kinda dies. Some Pokemon I could setup included was Gastrodon, Umbreon, Sableye, Umbreon, and even Hitmontop if possible. Not much to say about this set, but Energy Ball is only for Gastrodon. Might save Bloo the Manaphy only if Heatran is a problem late game, but I'm probably going to continue attacking until we win. 

Victini @ Assault Vest  
Ability: Victory Star  
Level: 50  
EVs: 76 HP / 92 Atk / 12 Def / 108 SpD / 220 Spe  
Jolly Nature  
- V-create  
- Power-Up Punch  
- U-turn  
- Flame Charge  

-Assault Vest to live most special attackers hits, be my makeshift wall for Mega Gardevoir.
-Outspeeds Kyurem-B, while underspeeds Mega Gardevoir (Scout for Modest/Timid)

This set was rather unorthodox, even for what I normally consider niche. In essence, my team needed a check for Mega Gardevoir, and Volcarona consider the lack of special walls on my side. There sorta an "identity" crisis as I didn't know what Victini set to run for this match. Choice Band was great, but it allows Kash to gain momentum with by dropped speed and can easily be revenge killed with the lower defenses. Scarf as really tempting as +1 ensured Victini can "maybe" speed tie with +1 Timid Volc at worst. Heck even the moveset was strangely difficult to consider, except but U-Turn and V-Create. After toying around with the damage calculator, the thought of running an AV Victini became intriguing as it can take multiple Hyper Voices from M-Gardevoir and even one boosted Bug Buzz + Fire move on Volc. The last two slots eventually surprisingly decent, yet throwaway options for Kash: Flame Charge and Power-Up Punch. Main reason for using such attack was to "preserve" V-Create Power Points (total at eight), and keep the momentum in my favor with boosted speed or attack.  The idea for Flame Charge was really to boost Victini's speed to +1, or ensure I can outspeed Scarf Kyurem-B and fire a V-create at it. Power Up Punch is a filler move, but if Victini gets even one attack boost, V-Create will start essentially nuke stuff not named Heatran or Gastrodon.  

Altaria @ Altarianite  
Ability: Natural Cure  
Level: 50  
EVs: 180 HP / 156 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 164 Spe  
Adamant Nature  
- Facade  
- Earthquake  
- Dragon Dance  
- Roost   

-Outspeeds non Scarf Tauros by +1.
-OHKOes Heatran with +1 Earthquake (without Shuca Berry)
- +1 Pixilate Facade OHKOs 4 HP Mega Gardevoir without Rocks. 
- Can OHKO and sweep the majority of Kash's lineup if status with Burn/Poison

Finally, we have the most important Pokemon of the matchup (possibly only Bloo and Rose are vital), our own Dragon/Fairy-type Mega Altaria. Aside the the looming threat of Heatran, Kyurem-B, Nidoking, and  Mega Gardevoir, I felt pretty confident of the Dragon Dance set, however with one key change. Instead of perhaps Return, Mega Altaria has the Facade, for those who don't know doubles in power when hit with status (Burn/Poison/Paralysis). Combined this with the Pixilate ability, STAB, and then a couples DDs, Mega Altaria has a good chance to sweep. Of course, missing out in the extra power from running Body Slam/Return/Double Edge, but I felt "insurance" and the high probability Kash will status my Mega. If there was one Pokemon I was concern with the most, it was definitely some kind of weird Volcarona set (I probably made up in my head), with Wisp, Quiver Dance, Roost, and Bug Buzz/Fiery Dance.  I kinda didn't want Kash to "send" in  Volc just to burn me, so eventually settled on the DD set. Sableye and Gastrodon were also likely candidates to get status, yet kinda don't know if he'd bring it. 

The game plan for Mega Altaria is pretty simple. Send it in on something like I can setup on, DD a once or twice, and just keep going. I recall ev'ing Altaria to outspeed a Scarf Positive speed Kyurem-B after 2 DDs, however kinda risk the possibility of dealing with a scarf Heatran (though I outspeed at +1).  Do have option to maintain my Mega for a couple turns as we allowed people the option to keep the megas in their pre-forms, like in standard play. 


Team Preview and Pre-Game Mindset

My Team: Roserade, Bronzong, Gengar, Manaphy, Victini, Mega Altaria

Kash's Team: Heatran, Kyurem-B, Mega Gardevoir, Umbreon, Tauros, Hitmontop.

Note: Kash did a Youtube video of the series, so here's the link.

Already I can tell this matchup was kinda favorable as Kash didn't bring either Nidoking or the Volcarona, the latter was just a problem both teambuilding and testing. Hitmontop was a strange pick to me, but given the only good thing it can do is attempt to spin, most of my Pokemon can beat it 1v1 bar Bronzong. Now Umbreon was the most surprising Pokemon to me as I wasn't sure what it can do aside Wish Protect (maybe with Toxic), or setup Curses to Baton Pass to something. Mega Altaria and Manaphy were really potent in this battle as they just need a single boost to sweep. Tauros was still there, likely either the Sheer Force variant, or a Scarf set. Lastly was the infamous core of Heatran, Kyurem-B, and Mega Gardevoir, so I kinda have to "scout" early on and judge immediately whether to  initiate my offense or not. If anything, Heatran was likely going to be defensive with Stealth Rocks as this is Kash's only rock setter aside Nidoking and Golurk. For leads, the thought of leading Roserade to counter the potential pre-mega Gardevoir, however there was a good chance he might go straight for Kyurem-B/Heatran. Given how everyone else was "important", Roserade can at least setup as many hazards as possible, maybe even kill Heatran with HP Ground. 

Game 1

I lead with Roserade as Kash lead with Heatran...but its has an Air Balloon, meaning we are already behind far behind the matchup. This Air Balloon Tran already messes up my plans to setup hazards and I'm immediately forced out into something, Knowing Kash will get up rocks, Roserade is recalled for Manaphy, as strangely he switches to Umbreon. If anything, that double switch from Kash alone lost him a ton of momentum for what happens next. Manaphy can tank as many Foul Plays and can stay in with Toxic, so there was no reason not to Tail Glow. Kash immediately recalls Umbreon for Kyurem-B and I'm guessing this has to be Scarf. Knowing Kyurem-B is a huge threat, went for the Dazzling Gleam, instantly the Ice/Dragon is beaten down. Tauros is sent out, yet Manaphy has the bulk to beat Tauros with a +3 Surf. As the Tauros went for Rock Climb (probably for confusion hax), thankfully it doesn't confuse Bloo, so I net another kill. Mega Gardevoir is sent out, and here I had to assess the whole battle. Fainting both Tauros and Kyurem-B meant only Kash's Mega Gardevoir was his fastest mon, and probably best hope to win the battle at this point. Despite Bloo being at +3, the threat of Heatran remain, and didn't feel confident to kill the fairy on a damage roll. So I switch to Ohayo the Victini, as it easily tanks the Hyper Voice, likely confirming Timid, or at least not Modest.  

Knowing Gardevoir would switch to  Heatran, decided to go for U-Turn to get the initiative back, and got in my Roserade. Same matchup, this time no Air Ballon and I'm guaranteed faster with Rose. There was no thought here as HP Ground was the play regardless. Heatran goes down and now we are really in a good spot, just we got to faint the Mega Gardevoir, which switches in. This indicates to me the Gardevoir is definitely Timid nature, but here I went with Bronzong to tank either one of the STAB. Instead it gets hit with a Shadow Ball, but Bronzong tanks it well. Here I let Bronzong go down to setup the Light Screen, however Kash switches out to Hitmontop. At this point, kinda felt confident I had the game in my favor with the Light Sceen up, Mega Altaria can take one Hyper Voice from Mega Gardevoir to setup. 

Here I make a double switch play to Gengar  on Hitmontop to bait the Umbreon, then out to Mega Altaria to setup and win the game with +2 Dragon Dances. As Kash goes back to Hitmon for another Intimidate, I Dragon Danced two times to be at +1/+2. Now from here, Mega Altaria essentially sweeps Kash's remaining team, with Umbreon, Hitmontop, and a frail Mega Gardevoir unable to faint my mega. As I cleanup the battle, I learn Hitmontop had Close Combat, Bullet Punch, Toxic, and likely Rapid Spin, which basically means Gengar can kinda wall it. Knowing Heatran was Air Ballon and Kyurem-B wasn't scarf assured me of my team matchup for the next games, provided I didn't mess up.

Game 2

Here I feel like this battle was going to be far more contested as Kash will likely preserve Kyurem-B and not send in Umbreon too often for fodder. Here I send in my AV Victini as the Air Ballon Heatran is sent out. Immediately I go for U-Turn to break the Ballon, and switch into Altaria on either his Earth Power or Stealth Rocks, which was the latter. Here I make a legal play to setup on Dragon Dance on my non mega form as Kash's Heatran hits me with a neutral Flash Cannon. Do want to recall this was 100% legal, especially after the league ruled a Mega Heracross sweep valid as a result from a battle from Week 1. Still some people here (Marc, ItalianG62, Alec, Abrupt, others) have used this ruling to their advantage (all against me once), so I was within that right to do so. At +1, Mega Altaria outspeeds and OHKOs the Heatran, and now it looks like a repeat of the last game, only a potential sweep from early game. Hitmontop is sent out to get the Intimidate drop, but I Roosted, and Dragon Dance once more. Kash makes a questionable play to Toxic my Mega Altaria as I get to +1/+2 and a 140 Pixilate attack ready. Debated whether to faint the Hitmontop, but decided to faint it as it meant no hazard removal for him.

Tauros is sent out, and I kind felt confident I'd outspeed at +2, but after this turn learn it was Scarf with Iron Head. Now I've lost a strong Pokemon for the matchup, but didn't worry much as this was a free Stealth Rock/Light Screen with Bronzong. Kinda one thing regret these next couple turns, in not setting up Rocks. Bronzong is able to get those screens up, but I foolishly decided not to go for rocks to at least get vital chip damage. Went for Gyro on the Kyurem-B, and the following turn should have went for rock on the Umbreon switch in. Here Kash doubles to Garevoir, but I send in Roserade to counteract.  As Tauros is sent out again, Rose inflicts like 90% damage with STAB Sludge Bomb, and gets the poison, resulting in a quick KO.

Kyurem-B is immediately sent out, with Kash predicting my switch into Bronzong by going for LO Fusion Bolt. Decide to tet Bronzong faint, but the LO recoil leaves low where Flame Charge Victini can take it out, while still give me the speed. With Kyurem-B gone, Mega Gardevoir is sent out, but at this point Victini can OHKO it with V-Create. With Umbreon being Kash last Pokemon, Victini U-Turns on the Umbreon to send in Gengar, maybe to Disable Foul Play. Unfortunately, Kash gets a lucky crit, but this does give me a free switch into Manaphy. Essentially the game is over as all I had to do was  Tail Glow setup with Manaphy, and hit Dazzling Gleams to win the series in a surprisingly commanding fashion. 


Despite the blow out in game 1 and the convincing win game 2, Kash was honestly the strongest opponent I haven't faced on our league yet, just by team matchup. All season, there were a few scenarios where I actually thought how this battle would go down, however with different Pokemon at the time. This was reaffirmed when Kash was able to stunningly beat Alec in both games through a good amount of defensive maneuvering and knowing when to pick off his team. There were some Pokemon on Kash's end I felt confident he'd bring like the Nidoking and Volcarona, yet I assume he didn't want to compound the Water-type weakness to Manaphy. The battle did seem "easy" but didn't want to give Kash anything that can potentially get him back in the game, even if its either making misplays, or just the hax/chance scenarios which can screw me over. 

The preparation for this battle was the second most in terms of practice, as I did play with a couple people, even myself included testing different versions of my team and Kash's at Pokemon Showdown. Guess those battles did help me mental prepare for the actual matchup, possibly contributing to the results. If I had to say what really set the tone for the series, it was the first turn switch out to Umbreon. That play was extremely questionable on Kash's part,  but it allowed me to an instantly favorable matchup via getting a +3 Manaphyon the field.. Really don't blame Kash for scouting out, but the switch was a defining factor as it instantly turned into my favor. 

Guess there wasn't much for Kash to stop a Tail Glow Manaphy as he lost both Kyurem-B and his evidently Scarf Tauros. It seemed as if he sacked mons, Kash wanted to leave Bloo at a low HP to the point where Hyper Voice from Mega Gardevoir can kill, though assuming I stay in and crit. From there, I kept the momentum in my favor the whole time as all Kash had was a Heatran and Mega Gardevoir to pull a potential comeback, but on my side only Manaphy took damage. By the time it was only Gardevoir/Hitmontop/Umbreon, I just needed to get in Altaria on Umbreon/Hitmontop, setup  and win the game. Overall, Game 1 was as close to perfect execution I ever did since my battle against Sanyer, though didn't gain much info for the second game aside kinda "predicted" moves. 

Game 2 was moreso competitive between the two of us, but felt I kinda had a good board position most of the time. If there was a play that threw off Kash was Altaria switching in, and not Mega Evolving turn 1 as he Flash Cannon with Heatran. Even this rule wasn't in effect the entire season, Kash partakes with other leagues with it. Not saying this was a huge misplay, but it was a slight oversight that's understandable. The Dragon Dance setup put Kash in a similar position as the last game, only this time he was able to weaken it with Toxic over time, and outspeed via revealing Scarf Tauros. If there was any misplays on my end, it was definitely not setting up Stealth Rocks ASAP having fainted Hitmontop. No hazard removal meant the kill on Tauros was assured (without Poison), and the Kyurem-B would be at low HP.

Honestly did not expect Victini to actually be useful aside tanking Pixilate Hyper Voices, yet it somehow did. Not only did Victini performed this role beyond expectations, but the two throw away attacks were useful late game. Flame Charge allowed Victini to pick off the heavily low HP Kyurem-B, and outspeed Mega Gardevoir to get the guaranteed OHKO (assuming standard). U-Turn was a great call on my end to get switch initiative, also popping the Air Balloon item on Heatran in both sets. 

Hard to call the MVPs of the battle, but have to award it to both Manaphy and Mega Altaria for semi sweeping, and OHKOing key members on Kash's side. This battle demonstrates why Mega Altaria is one of the dangerous Megas to prepare for in league, despite Kash having decent revenge killers for it. Though this statement might seem naive, Mega Altaria was an incredibly viable pokemon for this matchup with its modified DDD sets I've used. Funny after Week 5 "massacre", never got to "sweep" with Mega Altaria until doing so game 1. Bloo continues to do well in the latter half of the season, getting 3 kills combined in both games and initiating the offense. 

Overall this battle shows my team, heck I am able to perform Hyper Offense when needed. All it takes is some proper prediction calls, and getting in those key mons at the right time. Good Game to Kash, especially congratulation for him for getting third place in the PFA league overall. Now next time, I'll battle a familiar opponent for the PFA S3 Finals, perhaps one of the most tense battles I've ever had in all of Generation 6. This is saying a lot, but trust me as this series was by far the hardest series to prepare for. Until then, see you all later. 

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