Hello! My name is Benjamin Tan (@TheRealMination) and I’m a Singaporean VGC player. I was introduced to competitive Pokémon while I was in Norway during late 2016. During my first year of playing, I was a day 2 competitor at the 2017 World Championships. This season I wasn’t able to travel as much due to my national service, but I made a last minute decision to travel to Malaysia for the Special Event where I ended up winning the tournament undefeated (despite getting no sleep), and qualifying for Worlds this year!
A week before this tournament, I won a Midseason Showdown with a team similar in concept (Mega Metagross, Tapu Bulu, Tapu Koko, Porygon2, Incineroar and Araquanid), a team given to me by my good friends, Ben Markham (@BensterVGC) and Eduardo Cunha (@MeninoJardim). I replaced Mega Metagross and Tapu Bulu with Mega Gardevoir and Kartana, respectively, peaking at 1800s on Battle Spot and 1700s on Showdown. My friends, Lukas Muller (@KnappiKing) and Alessio Vinciguerra (@zlanif_vgc) also used this team after I won the Special Event. Lukas went 5-2 at the Stuttgart Regional, while Alessio finished 2nd place at the Milan Midseason Showdown.
Gardevoir @ Gardevoirite
EVs: 252 HP / 164 Def / 52 SpA / 4 SpD / 36 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Hyper Voice
– Trick Room
- -1 252 Atk Tough Claws Mega Metagross Iron Head vs. 252 HP / 164 Def Mega Gardevoir: 146-174 (83.4 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252 SpA Mega Gengar Sludge Bomb vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Mega Gardevoir: 146-174 (83.4 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
I picked Gardevoir as my Mega because of its powerful spread damage, Trace, and access to Trick Room. Trace was very helpful against opposing Intimidate Pokémon as well as Lightning Rod Pokémon. I picked Psyshock over Psychic because it’s one way to hit Tapu Fini even after Calm Mind, Zapdos after activating its seed, and also hitting Assault Vest Landorus. The speed allows it to outspeed Adamant Bisharp.
Porygon2 @ Eviolite
EVs: 244 HP / 100 Def / 164 SpD > 244 HP / 116 Def / 4 SpA / 140 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Ice Beam
– Shadow Ball
– Trick Room
- 252+ SpA Ludicolo Hydro Vortex (185 BP) vs. 244 HP / 164+ SpD Eviolite Porygon2 in Rain: 109-130 (57 – 68%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Pelipper Scald vs. 244 HP / 164+ SpD Eviolite Porygon2 in Rain: 51-60 (26.7 – 31.4%) — guaranteed 4HKO
Porygon2 is better than Cresselia at checking Landorus, which is important because this team has no ground immunity. I picked Shadow Ball on Porygon2 over Thunderbolt because I want to hit Mega Metagross, Aegislash, and Mega Gengar really hard, as they were causing problems for this team. The first spread was what I used for the event, but the second spread survives the same things and also gets the guaranteed 2HKO on Mega Gengar with Shadow Ball.
Incineroar @ Assault Vest
EVs: 236 HP / 116 Atk / 68 Def / 68 SpD / 20 Spe > 252 HP / 76 Atk / 4 Def / 116 SpD / 60 Spe
– Fake Out
– Flare Blitz
– Knock Off
– Low Kick
- 116+ Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 4+ Def Amoonguss: 224-266 (101.3 – 120.3%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 252+ SpA Ludicolo Hydro Pump vs. 236 HP / 68 SpD Assault Vest Incineroar in Rain: 168-198 (84 – 99%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Incineroar gives the team a Pokémon with Intimidate and Fake Out pressure. I chose Low Kick over U-turn or Snarl because I want to hit Snorlax, Tyranitar, and other Incineroar. Like Porygon2, the first spread was what I used for the event, but the second spread allows me to survive a Hydro Vortex from Tapu Fini if powered by Muddy Water. It also speed creeps, which is important if you want to have a faster Fake Out than the opposing Incineroar.
Tapu Koko @ Electrium Z
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Dazzling Gleam
The EV spread for Tapu Koko is standard. It was chosen because it’s one of the fastest Pokémon in the meta and hits Mega Charizard-Y and Tapu Fini super effectively. The Z move allows it to threaten many Pokémon in Electric Terrain such as Mega Metagross and Mega Gengar (if you win the speed tie, of course). I picked Taunt over Volt Switch or Hidden Power Ice because it allows me to prevent my opponent from setting up.
Araquanid-Totem @ Figy Berry
Ability: Water Bubble
EVs: 252 HP / 188 Atk / 68 Def
IVs: 0 Spe
– Bug Bite
– Wide Guard
- 252+ Atk Landorus-T Rock Slide vs. 252 HP / 68 Def Araquanid: 76-90 (43.4 – 51.4%) — 5.1% chance to 2HKO
Araquanid hits the two biggest Pokémon with Intimidate, Landorus and Incineroar, really hard. It gives Gardevoir and Porygon2 a reason to set up Trick Room. It also walls Mega Metagross and Mega Charizard-Y really well. Wide Guard is necessary because the team has no Earthquake immunities.
Kartana @ Focus Sash
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Leaf Blade
– Sacred Sword
The EV spread for Kartana is standard as well. Kartana allows me to set up Tailwind for the team so that Gardevoir can do lots of damage with a fast Hyper Voice. It also covers Incineroar’s weakness to Water, Ground, and Rock types. Sacred Sword allows it to threaten opposing Incineroar, Snorlax, and Tyranitar.
The team aims to hit hard and fast with Pokémon such as Tapu Koko, Kartana, and Gardevoir. There are three Pokémon with speed control, which ensures that you should be able to go first in most situations. The team also has a Trick Room mode with Porygon2 and Araquanid.
Incineroar helps Gardevoir with Intimidate support, which offsets Gardevoir’s poor physical defense. It also helps Gardevoir’s weakness to Metagross and Gengar. Finally, the Fake Out pressure is also helpful.
When opponents have Milotic, Bisharp, Braviary or the like, leading Incineroar is risky, so Tapu Koko is chosen instead. It threatens all of the aforementioned Pokémon.
This lead is good against teams which use Pokémon such as Landorus, Mega Charizard-Y, and Mega Metagross. Porygon2 can scare away Landorus and Incineroar’s Fake Out helps to set up Trick Room if needed.
This is a fast lead which is most helpful against setup teams such as Eevee teams or Azumarill teams. Tapu Koko has Taunt to stop both the setup and support Pokémon, and Kartana can just threaten Pokémon outright. Tailwind from Kartana also helps you keep speed control.
This is the very offensive core of the team. Incineroar helps Mega Gardevoir and Tapu Koko’s frail defenses with Intimidate and Fake Out pressure, to allow those two to do big damage to your opponent. Both Tapu Koko and Incineroar can threaten Mega Metagross, which is otherwise a big problem for Gardevoir.
This is a core which centers more around Trick Room. Incineroar’s Fake Out helps to set up Trick Room when you want to. Both Incineroar and Araquanid appreciate being in Trick Room, but you can bring Tapu Koko over Araquanid if you’re worried about things which threaten Incineroar.
In team preview, I identify if my opponent has any answers to Mega Gardevoir as this is the team’s main damage dealer. If the opponent has Landorus, you usually want to bring Porygon2. If there’s a Tapu Fini and Snorlax on the opposing team, Kartana and Tapu Koko are usually a good choice. Araquanid is good against hard Trick Room teams with Mega Camerupt, as well as teams that don’t have an answer to Trick Room.
Mega Metagross / Tapu Lele/Fini / Tyranitar / Amoonguss / Landorus-T / Zapdos
Incineroar is really good against almost half of the team members, and Porygon2 also helps against Mega Metagross and Landorus. You bring Tapu Koko to keep terrain control and ensure Amoonguss can’t Spore you. Mega Gardevoir is the final Pokémon and is able to deal good damage after Mega Metagross has fainted.
Mega Metagross / Araquanid / Incineroar / Porygon2 / Tapu Koko / Tapu Bulu
Again, Incineroar is really good here except against the Araquanid. Tapu Koko and Kartana will be useful here to check the Araquanid for Incineroar. Mega Gardevoir is usually the final member. You usually don’t need to worry about Tapu Bulu, because they don’t have a reason to bring it since the team doesn’t have any ground type spread moves.
Araquanid will be solid against rain teams, as the rain boosts its power. Pelipper is the only problem for Araquanid on the team, however, Hurricane will proc the berry. Leading Incineroar + a Trick Room setter can be good, so long as you get the reads right. You can bring both Gardevoir and Porygon2 to set up Trick Room for Araquanid. If the rain team has a Ferrothorn, you need to conserve your Incineroar. You could also consider bringing Kartana over one of the Trick Room setters.
Hard Trick Room with Mega Camerupt and Gastrodon
This is a very difficult matchup as Gastrodon prevents Araquanid from using any single target Water-type moves against Mega Camerupt, or any other members on the team. The objective is to not allow your opponent to set up Trick Room. Incineroar and Gardevoir is a good lead as you stop Staraptor with Fake Out and Hyper Voice, while forcing Trick Room mind games. Hyper Voice turn 1 is the better choice, as it punishes any switches and will do big damage to Staraptor if it stays in.
Rundown of Tournament
Round 1 vs Melvin Keh (4-2) WLW
Tapu Koko / Milotic / Landorus-T / Mega Charizard-Y / Snorlax / Tapu Lele
This is not the player you want to get paired with early in a tournament, as he is one of the best players in the region. Milotic was an issue for the team as it meant that I couldn’t lead Incineroar, and even if I lead Tapu Koko alongside Incineroar, he’ll always have a Choice Scarf Landorus with Milotic. I tried to focus on taking down the Landorus, as it threatens my Tapu Koko which is the best answer to his Mega Charizard-Y. I had an unfortunate critical hit in Game 2 but managed to win Game 3 and take the set.
Round 2 vs Dylan Tan (3-3) WW
Mega Lopunny / Tapu Koko / Volcarona / Suicune / Ferrothorn / Landorus-T
It was a funny matchup because my Round 2 opponent turned out to be my neighbor, and also the one that helped with my trip to this tournament.
Round 3 vs Harrold Khoo (3-3) WLW
Persian / Tapu Fini / Snorlax / Mega Manectric / Porygon2 / Ditto
Harrold is a good friend of mine and he certainly surprised me with his choice of team. Ditto was annoying because it kept copying my Incineroar, so I adjusted my lead in Game 3 and he copied my non-Mega Gardevoir, it was really funny.
Round 4 vs Alan Chia (3-3) LWW
Mega Camerupt / Mimikyu / Tapu Bulu / Reuniclus / Staraptor / Tyranitar
Alan is certainly one of the best players in Singapore, having many top cuts in Singaporean events. When I saw my matchup, I was glad that he didn’t have Gastrodon. He executed Game 1 really well, even though I haxed him. Game 2 and 3 were almost the same as I tried to prevent him from setting up Trick Room.
Round 5 vs Martin Teo (5-1) LWW
Tapu Bulu / Musharna / Lucario / Milotic / Mimikyu / Mega Camerupt
This match was streamed and whoever won this round would advance to Top Cut. It was the second hard Trick Room team that I faced in a row. Like the previous round, I was glad he didn’t have a Gastrodon either. I tried to play this set like I did in Round 4 against Alan’s hard Trick Room team. It was slightly more difficult because Lucario has a redirection option and also Roar to prevent me from reversing his Trick Room.
Round 6 vs Ang Wei Wen (5-1) WLW
Mega Charizard-Y / Venusaur / Tapu Koko / Cresselia / Snorlax / Landorus-T
We were the only 5-0s in the tournament, and he was an intimidating opponent since he’s in line for Day 2 Worlds. Just like Melvin, he has both Choice Scarf Landorus and Mega Charizard-Y, so I needed to conserve my Tapu Koko for his Charizard.
Top 8 vs Joel Lee (4-2) WW
Tapu Koko / Incineroar / Cresselia / Tapu Fini / Gigalith / Mega Venusaur
I finished 6-0 in Day 1 and got paired with the defending champion of the Malaysia Open from last year. My only answer to Mega Venusaur is my Mega Gardevoir, so I needed to play carefully with it to prevent it from fainting. I had to call his Ally Switch on his Cresselia to win Game 1, and Game 2 he overpredicted slightly which cost him the set.
Top 4 vs Khalid Alhuraiz (5-1) WW
Tapu Fini / Ferrothorn / Snorlax / Landorus-T / Mega Charizard-Y / Cresselia
I faced yet another Mega Charizard-Y in Top Cut, but fortunately this time, it wasn’t paired with a Choice Scarf Landorus. His Tapu Fini had Waterium Z, so I had to be careful with my Incineroar as it was one of the best answers for his Ferrothorn. Game 2 was tight, and I got a lucky critical hit on his Ferrothorn which sealed up the game.
Final vs Alister Sandover (5-1) WW
Mega Swampert / Pelipper / Ludicolo / Stakataka / Tapu Koko / Mega Gardevoir
Alister is a 2-time Regional Champion in Australia, and I was worried because of what he was using. Rain is a difficult matchup for this team because it requires a lot of mind games. I had to make sure Pelipper went down so that Araquanid could have a good time. He didn’t have Ferrothorn, so I could be riskier with my Incineroar. I managed to get several reads correct, which allowed me to win the finals.
- I’d like to thank my best friend, Nicole Saeed (@TamtamVGC) for helping me with most of the EV spreads and also helping me with my team report.
- Chuppa Cross IV (@ChuppaVGC) for helping me with my Top Cut matchups.
- Shoutouts to our Scandinavian group ( Pontus Westerlund (@PontusVGC), David Barker (@LDFBarker), Daniel van Diepen (@BluRayVGC), Sam Plassgård (@cooldboy64), Ola Nordby (@NostalgiaIsGood), Nils Dunlop (@Invicnati), Patrick Moore (@PatrickPurple94), Hjalmar Lind (@HjalmarLind) ).
- My good friends Bryan Cheang (@bryandara), Martin Tan (@mewmartVGC), Fede Turano (@AvatarFede), Patrick Donegan (@Pd0nZ), Henry Rich (@HobbitVGC) and Juan Ortiz (@MrPenguin93) for supporting me throughout the whole tournament.
- Lastly, I would also like to thank Will Tansley (@StarKO90), Nick Dailey (@Mr_Zigzagoon), Louis J. Milich (@UncleLou21) and Prooty Pratt (@ProotyBaby) for helping me ever since I first started playing competitively.
Credit to TamtamVGC for the featured image
Thank you all so much!