Hey guys! My name is Daniel Thorpe, or TTT online, and I recently Top Cut the Anaheim Regional Championships. In this article, I’m going to talk about the team I used and my experiences at the regional.
I had an extremely stressful week leading up to Anaheim because it was the start of my finals week and I was still deciding between four teams. I had a fairly standard Zygarde/Solgaleo team, a variant of a Japanese team I played against with scarf Dialga, aura break Zygarde and Braviary, a hard trick room team with slow brutal swing Smeargle and weakness policy Dusk Mane Necrozma, and a team I built with Jynx, Naganadel, Ho-oh and specs Kyogre. I decided to use the Jynx team because I had the most experience with it out of the four teams and it had a really good matchup against the popular Tornadus/Kyogre/Xerneas team, which I expected to see a lot.
Team at a Glance
Team Building Process
This was my first team in Sun Series. The team was focused on setting up sweeps for specs Kyogre with double tailwind, airlock, lightning rod, psychic surge, and rage powder. I got 3rd at a Premier Challenge in Minnesota with this team.
One problem my team had was that it didn’t have enough good ways of dealing with opposing Kyogre and Amoonguss. Because of this, I decided to switch my tailwind setters to Ho-oh and Kartana. I won a Premier Challenge in Minnesota the next day with this version of the team.
Later in the season, I had moved past the specs Kyogre teams and was focusing more on a Zygarde/Groudon team I had built. I first got the idea to use Jynx when my friend Matt Jackson (@S_McBuckets) showed me this team. His team was focused on supporting Xerneas, and also had the option to skill swap the dry skin ability onto his Ho-oh so it could take on Kyogre. I wasn’t a big fan of the team as a whole, but the combination of Jynx and Ho-oh really interested me.
I realized that Jynx would make a lot of sense next to Kyogre; it could use skill swap to reset rain against Groudon teams and could also take advantage of rain to recover health and keep its focus sash intact. I used this version of the team to get Top 16 in one of Sam Pandelis’s (@zeldavgc) online tournaments.
My team was still slightly weak to Kyogre and I hardly brought Incineroar, so I decided to switch to Amoonguss for the final version of the team. I had some success on the Pokémon Showdown ladder and in World Cup of Pokémon with this team, but I never had the confidence to bring it to an actual tournament. It was about a month and a half before I finally decided to bring the team to Anaheim.
Kyogre @ Choice Specs
EVs: 220 HP / 4 Def / 4 SpA / 28 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Water Spout
– Ice Beam
- 4 SpA Choice Specs Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Xerneas in Rain: 207-244 (102.4 – 120.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
- +2 252+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 220 HP / 4 SpD Kyogre: 178-210 (87.6 – 103.4%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO
I chose to base my team around Kyogre because, in my opinion, it is by far the best-restricted Pokémon in the format. Xerneas is good, but there are too many Pokémon like Necrozma, Solgaleo, and Amoonguss that can shut it down easily while a properly supported Kyogre can plow through teams without needing a turn to set up geomancy. I chose choice specs in order to take full advantage of my tailwind turns and make it much harder for my opponent to switch into water spout without taking a lot of damage.
Ho-Oh @ Passho Berry
EVs: 244 HP / 68 Atk / 4 Def / 92 SpD / 100 Spe
– Brave Bird
– Sacred Fire
- 252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Thunder vs. 244 HP / 92+ SpD Ho-Oh in Electric Terrain: 174-211 (82 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 244 HP / 92+ SpD Passho Berry Ho-Oh in Rain: 103-123 (48.5 – 58%) — 95.3% chance to 2HKO
Other than their shared electric weakness, Ho-oh makes a pretty perfect partner for Kyogre. It’s able to set tailwind to give Kyogre an edge speed-wise and can take care of pesky grass types with its fire and flying STAB moves. I chose to use Passho berry so my Ho-oh could survive a water spout from scarf Kyogre and set tailwind or receive a skill swap from Jynx in return.
Naganadel @ Life Orb
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Def / 188 SpA / 124 SpD / 188 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Sludge Bomb
- 188 SpA Life Orb Naganadel Sludge Bomb vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Xerneas: 195-229 (96.5 – 113.3%) — 75% chance to OHKO
- 252 SpA Kyogre Ice Beam vs. 4 HP / 124 SpD Naganadel: 126-150 (84.5 – 100.6%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
Naganadel is a super underrated Pokémon in my opinion. It’s incredibly fast, has great type coverage, and resists common attacking types in this format like grass, water, and electric. It’s specifically good on this team because it’s able to quickly dispose of Xerneas and Kartana before they can set up Geomancy or outright KO Kyogre respectively. I’d highly recommend trying out Naganadel on other teams as well.
Togedemaru @ Assault Vest
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 156 HP / 12 Atk / 4 Def / 84 SpD / 252 Spe
– Fake Out
– Zing Zap
– Super Fang
- 252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 156 HP / 84 SpD Assault Vest Togedemaru in Rain: 135-159 (84.3 – 99.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Since both of my restricted Pokémon are weak to electric, I needed a lightning rod user to prevent electric types like Tapu Koko from tearing through my team. Togedemaru offers fake out support, speed control, and solid disruption options between nuzzle and zing zap. Togedemaru’s primary roles on the team were to switch into Tapu Koko and to spam nuzzle against teams with Xerneas and Lunala.
Jynx @ Focus Sash
Ability: Dry Skin
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Fake Out
– Icy Wind
– Lovely Kiss
– Skill Swap
- 252 SpA Jynx Icy Wind vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Tornadus: 78-92 (50.6 – 59.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
I rarely ever got to pull off the skill swap + dry skin combo onto my Ho-oh, but Jynx still ended up being one of the most valuable members of my team. Between fake out, icy wind, and lovely kiss, Jynx is the perfect tool for priming the opponent’s team for a specs Kyogre sweep. The biggest issue I had with Jynx is that sometimes my team relied a little too heavily on Lovely Kiss hits, but otherwise it’s support was amazing and accuracy didn’t end up being a huge problem during Anaheim Regionals.
Amoonguss @ Payapa Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 108 Def / 148 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Clear Smog
– Rage Powder
- 252+ Atk Dusk Mane Necrozma Photon Geyser vs. 252 HP / 108 Def Payapa Berry Amoonguss in Psychic Terrain: 186-220 (84.1 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Amoonguss was probably the least brought member of the team, but it was definitely useful in certain matchups. Its main role was to try to stall out trick room with spore and rage powder so I could clean up with Kyogre at the end of the game. It was also helpful in preventing Yveltal from hitting Kyogre with knock off before it could attack.
This matchup is fairly simple because typically, nothing the opponent leads will have a good matchup against Jynx/Naganadel. Try to get as much damage off on Kyogre as possible early on and then sweep with Kyogre and Ho-oh in the back. Be wary about letting the opponent set up Geomancy.
The best way to approach this matchup is to lead Togedemaru and Jynx and try to get as many nuzzles and icy winds off as possible at the start of the game. Once Xerneas and Lunala are slower than Togedemaru and Kyogre, it should be fairly easy to chip through them with water spout and zing zap. Make sure to preserve Ho-oh in case they bring Toxicroak or if Xerneas gets out of hand.
Against Groudon teams, I usually lead Naganadel/Jynx or Naganadel/Ho-oh. The key to this matchup is getting tailwind up and allowing one or both of your Pokémon to go down as soon as possible in order to get a free switch into Kyogre in tailwind. Once tailwind and rain are up, it’s usually fairly easy for Kyogre to sweep through Groudon teams with the help of chip damage from Naganadel or Ho-oh or skill swap and icy wind from Jynx.
This is probably the hardest matchup for the team. I usually like to lead Kyogre/Togedemaru and attempt to super fang/water spout the Necrozma right away to deny trick room. If trick room goes up, it’s up to rage powder from Amoonguss and fake out cycling to attempt to stall it out and clean up with Kyogre in the late game.
Yveltal is another somewhat tricky matchup for the team because it’s faster than Togedemaru, Jynx, and Kyogre, and can deal massive damage to them with knock off. If the opponent has Lele, it’s a good idea to try to take advantage of psychic terrain to prevent Yveltal from sucker punching Kyogre, otherwise, you will need Amoonguss to redirect its attacks.
This matchup is fairly simple as long as you choose the right move to lock into with Kyogre. It’s important to get rid of Zygarde early on (Kyogre’s ice beam will sometimes get the KO, otherwise chip from icy wind is necessary), but Solgaleo can cause some problems if Kyogre is locked into ice beam. I usually lead Kyogre/Jynx against these teams with Ho-oh and any of the other three Pokémon in the back.
Rundown of Tournament
I arrived in Anaheim at around 8:00 on Friday night and met up with my friend Kyle (@AnimusVGC) at the airport. We dropped off our luggage and met Justin (@JWanie99) and Dustin (@dlamdorus) at the hotel room and then went out to eat pizza near the convention center.
I didn’t sleep very well because I volunteered to sleep on the floor and I forgot to grab a blanket before everyone else fell asleep, so I was stuck using my jacket and my sweatshirt as blankets. Raghav (@MudhimanVGC) came into the hotel room at some point after I fell asleep. We all woke up at around 6 am to shower and eat breakfast.
Once I was at the convention center and checked in, I just wandered around and listened to music, trying to clear my mind before the tournament.
Unfortunately, I can’t remember every detail about all of my matches, but I’m going to list all of the people/teams I played against and what I can remember about the matches.
Round 1 vs Christopher E (WW)
Lunala Kyogre Crobat Kartana Mimikyu Incineroar
I decided to lead with Jynx and Kyogre in order to do as much damage as possible. I can’t remember much about game 1, but I’m pretty sure I won fairly convincingly. Game 2, my opponent brought Crobat and Incineroar as a lead against my Jynx/Kyogre. He revealed quick guard on his Crobat, which was not a great play to begin with, but he also faked out my Jynx, allowing me to score a double knockout with full HP water spout. He revealed wide guard on his Lunala which gave me a little bit of difficulty, but there was no coming back for him once I gained a 4-2 lead on the first turn.
Round 2 vs Joel E (WW)
Joel and I had a nice conversation before our battle and he told me that it was his first tournament. Unfortunately for me, that led me to underestimate his skill a little bit, but luckily he was using a team I knew I could beat. I led Jynx/Naganadel in game 1, and he locked his scarf Kyogre into water spout, not knowing that Jynx had dry skin. Game 2 was a little bit more difficult for me because he got rid of my Jynx early on with a combination of hurricane from his Tornadus and thunder from his Kyogre, which left me extremely weak to his Kyogre. Luckily I was able to clean up the game by locking my own Kyogre into thunder.
Round 3 vs Stephen Mea (@GramgusVGC) (WW)
I recognized his team as a common team used by Ashton Cox (@Linkyoshimario) and Jeremy Rodrigues (@SerapisVGC). I led off with Jynx and Togedemaru to try to slow down his team so I could sweep through it with Kyogre. I assumed that his Xerneas would be slower than my Jynx, Togedemaru, and Kyogre because Ashton and Jeremy both used modest Xerneas, but he revealed that he was using timid when his geomancy went before my nuzzle. I put myself in a good position to win game 1, but I accidentally let my Ho-oh go down on the last turn of tailwind and left myself with a low HP Jynx and Kyogre against his nearly full HP paralyzed Xerneas. Luckily for me, his Xerneas was fully paralyzed as I icy winded and scalded it, then icy winded and scalded it again for the win. In game 2, I prioritized slowing down the Xerneas even more. I went with the same lead but this time, doubled up into Xerneas with icy wind and nuzzle. Within a few turns, I got myself into an incredibly strong position, and the game pretty much ended when his paralyzed and icy winded Xerneas failed to protect against my Kyogre’s water spout.
Round 4 vs Zheyuan Huang (@KenVGC) (WW)
Ken and I both lived in the Chicago area for a long time and we have a long history of playing against each other. We have about an even record against each other, but I knew that my team had an incredibly good matchup against his team. He played the set pretty well, but I got lucky and didn’t miss any of my lovely kisses and got all of the sleep turns I needed.
Round 5 vs René Alvarenga (@ReneVGC) (LWW)
After going the first half of the day without losing a single game, I was feeling incredibly confident. I immediately noticed that René would have a hard time dealing with Ho-oh if I could get rid of his Lele and Lunala. In game 1, he led Lele/Lunala against my Jynx/Togedemaru. I was able to slow down his team a little bit, but his damage output was too much for me to preserve Ho-oh through the game. In game 2, he changed his lead to Kartana/Lele which immediately put me on the back foot. He was in a controlling position for most of the game until I decided to go for a ballsy read and water spout with my Kyogre in front of his Toxicroak and Kartana. I was able to switch in my Ho-oh freely and preserve my Jynx for a late game fake out, while KOing his Kartana without losing my Kyogre. I was hesitant to lead Ho-oh in games 1 and 2 because I knew that keeping it healthy was really important, but I decided to lead Jynx/Ho-oh in game 3. He led Kartana/Lele again and attempted to take out my Ho-oh right away with a knock off and psyshock double up, but I was able to survive in the low yellow range and use icy wind and tailwind. With speed control heavily in my favor, I was able to spam lovely kiss and recover and set myself into a winning position.
Round 6 vs Alejandro Jiminez (@LegacyVGC) (LL)
Normally against Groudon teams, my first priority is to get tailwind up and allow my Pokémon to faint so I can sweep with Kyogre. I lead Jynx/Naganadel against Alejandro’s Groudon/Venusaur. Expecting him to use precipice blades, I fake out his Venusaur and attempt to tailwind. Unfortunately for me, Alejandro makes a great play and switches in his Tapu Lele for Groudon and sleep powders my Naganadel. Props to him because that is the first time I’ve ever seen anyone make that play. He denies my tailwind for the rest of the game and my Kyogre is never able to switch in. Game 2 was pretty similar to game 1; I icy winded instead of faking out his Venusaur on turn 1, but it didn’t end up mattering and Alejandro still cleanly chipped through my team and never granted me a free switch in.
Round 7 vs Matthew Jackson (@S_McBuckets) (WW)
I was extremely disheartened when I saw that I was playing Matt at this point in the tournament because we’re good friends and I knew that he is a strong player. Luckily for me, this is just about the easiest matchup I could’ve asked for. I got off to an extremely good start with Jynx and Naganadel in game 1, and he forfeited early on in the game. Game 2 was much closer, ending with my Ho-oh against his scarf Kyogre locked into thunder outside of rain. He managed to paralyze my Ho-oh and even got me down to 4 HP at one point, but I was luckily able to pressure stall him and allow him to KO himself with struggle.
Round 8 vs Bridger Snow (@Squirtwo) (WLL)
This was the round when my luck ran out. Not only did Bridger have a Dusk Mane Necrozma, which was already hard for my team to deal with, he also had a Tapu Koko to prevent my Amoonguss from stalling his trick room with spore and a Hydreigon which was faster than my Togedemaru, Jynx, and Kyogre and could deal massive damage. I managed to win game 1 after a series of lucky zing zap flinches on his Necrozma, but he bounced back in game 2 and defeated me convincingly. In game 3, I decided to lead Togedemaru/Ho-oh so I could deny his tailwind, but he paralyzed my Ho-oh with discharge and was able to set up tailwind with his Hydreigon the next turn. This game was the closest match I played all day; it was an extremely long and methodical game which ended with my near full HP Togedemaru against his low HP Hydreigon and his specs Tapu Koko locked into grass knot. All I had to do was hit the Hydreigon with one zing zap and the game was mine, but he managed to flinch my Togedemaru with dark pulse. I knew that it was going to happen before the turn even began, but I covered my face in disappointment. Looking back, it was completely fair because I lucked my way through game 1 and shouldn’t have even been allowed to play game 3, but it was a pretty terrible way to end the day.
Post Day 1
After ending my tournament run on such a low note, I realized that my resistance might be good enough to get me into Top Cut. Luckily, I was right! My insane resistance of 70.31% was enough to get me into Top Cut at 6th seed, but my joy was hindered when I noticed that I would have to play Bridger again in Top 8.
I headed out to eat dinner with Kyle, Matt Jackson, Bridger, Ryan (@RyanSchambers07), Matthew (@Picklesword), and Emilio (@PlebeianNoob). We went to Red Robin and I had a great chicken sandwich. While at dinner, I discussed my Top Cut matchup with my friend William (@FootstoolVGC) and we decided that I should bring Naganadel instead of Ho-oh.
After dinner, Kyle and I headed back to our hotel. At around 8:30, I met up with Dustin again to go to the SoCal Discord party. I met and hung out with lots of cool VGC players at the party and had an overall great time. In hindsight, I probably should have done more prep instead of staying out late and partying, but I felt that I thought about the matchup adequately enough to formulate a game plan ahead of time.
I got about four hours of sleep before waking up to get ready. My friend and former NPA teammate Alex (@RadiumH3) had just gotten second at Harrogate Regionals in Europe, so I was feeling motivated to do better than him. Raghav and I walked to the convention center earlier than everyone else and I made a bold claim that I would win the Regional if I made it past Top 8.
Top 8 vs Bridger Snow (@Squirtwo) (WLL)
This time, I knew exactly what I wanted to do against Bridger’s team. Game 1, I led Togedemaru/Naganadel against his Tapu Koko/Hydreigon with Kyogre and Amoonguss in the back. I immediately hard read his Koko switching into Necrozma and doubled into it with flamethrower and zing zap. I can’t remember the rest of this game that well. He missed a draco meteor at some point and claims that he might’ve won if it hadn’t missed, but as far as I can remember I won the game fair and square. Game 2 started off similarly, but midway through the game, he managed to KO my Amoonguss with dark pulse + draco meteor which I didn’t expect. After he set up trick room, I pretty much forfeited immediately. In game 3, I decided to switch out my Naganadel for Ho-oh and go for the same game plan that I went for in game 3 of our swiss match. I managed to wear down his team enough to where I felt it would be okay to let Ho-oh go down, but he revealed that he had brought Lurantis instead of Tapu Koko after I had already sacrificed my Ho-oh and thought I was in a winning position. Unfortunately, my Amoonguss wasn’t able to do enough damage to Lurantis as it superpowered through my Kyogre and Togedemaru and I lost the game.
Overall I was incredibly happy with my performance at Anaheim Regionals! It’s been a long time since I’ve Top Cut a regional, so it’s cool to see my hard work so far this season paying off. I still think that if I could have won in Top 8, I would’ve won the whole tournament, but I guess I will never know. Outside of Pokémon, this was one of the most fun weekends I’ve ever had at a tournament. I’m incredibly thankful for the hospitality of the SoCal players and all the other people I met and hung out with over the weekend.
- The NPA 7 Loud Puppies for cheering me on, especially William Sepesi (@FootstoolVGC) for helping me come up with a game plan for my Day 2 match
- Matt Jackson (@S_McBuckets) for originally giving me the idea to use Jynx
- Justin Wan (@Jwanie99) for allowing me to stay in his (affordable) hotel room
- Everyone I hung out with at the tournament, especially Matt, Kyle (@AnimusVGC), Nick (@_LightCore), Tommy (@tlyee61), Quentin (@GalacticVGC), and Kareem (@treedoodle).
- Everyone I hung out with at the party, especially Ben (@NightLight26), Eugene (@vizelgg), Terran (@camria), Maura (@KillerQueenVGC), Terry (@ScerryTerry), and Abdul (@Bigslim_World).
- All of my opponents for giving me some great matches
- Everyone who was cheering for me or supporting me from home
Credit to bluemak for featured image