Team Analysis – Hard Trick Room’s Early Debut

Hey everyone! My name is James Eakes and I am a VGC player from Northern California! I started playing in 2014 and have had increasing results ever since! I was a Worlds invitee in 2016 and placed 2nd at the Anaheim Regional in 2017. Today, I am here to share with you a team that Andrew Nowak (@NowakGolfVGC) and I created for the first 2018 regional in Dallas, Texas!

Team’s Achievements

  • Dallas Regionals Top 8 Piloted by Mitchell Davies @MissingNoL
  • Dallas Regionals Top 32 (X-2 Record) Piloted by Andrew Nowak @NowakGolfVGC

The Team

Link to Paste

Mimikyu @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Disguise
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def
Brave Nature
– Play Rough
– Shadow Claw
– Swords Dance
– Trick Room

We’ll start with the main facilitator of the team and major MVP all around: Mimikyu! Drew thought that Mimikyu was essential for Hard TR as it can so frequently get TR up and I agreed. Amoonguss, however, was still really annoying until I thought of a brilliant plan. You read it right baby, Safety Goggles Mimikyu. This thing was an ABSOLUTE MONSTER! It was almost impossible to kill before TR goes up due to Mimikyu’s Disguise coupled with Staraptor’s pressure. So how do you stop it? Taunt? Staraptor. Roar? Staraptor. Spore? Every single player that had an Amoonguss Spored into Mimikyu to stop TR failed, and then was run over by Camerupt.

Against opposing Hard TR Mimikyu also Shined because on Turn 1 you can just go for Swords Dance and immediately start putting pressure on the opposing team. What if they don’t set up TR? Fine, Mimikyu is gonna start dealing out major damage and can set up TR later. If they set up TR? Well, you just got a +2 Mimikyu with it’s disguise still intact under TR with a free switch into one of your TR sweeping Pokémon.

Mimikyu was the TR setter to use against teams with:

  • Strong Dark and Ghost Pokémon such as Aegislash or Darkium-Z Tyranitar
  • Teams with Fake Out
  • Other strong Pokémon that threaten 1hko’s like Charizard-Y Overheat.

With Staraptor Backing up Mimikyu, TR was extremely easy to set up. The only things that could stop the TR were Pokémon with Roar or Taunt that had enough HP to Survive Final Gambit.

Reuniclus @ Psychium Z
Ability: Overcoat
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 252 HP / 140 SpA / 116 SpD
Quiet Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Psychic
– Focus Blast / Shadow Ball
– Trick Room
– Protect

I knew that we needed two TR setters in which the other was unable to be Taunted. That’s where Reuniclus comes in! With the addition of Reuniclus, we had TWO Trick Room setters that were both immune to Spore. Lots of people forget Reuniclus even existed, let alone what its abilities are. An embarrassingly large amount of players Spored into Reuniclus only to see it fail and TR go up. With the addition of Psychium-Z, Reuniclus would set up TR through Taunt every time, barring Roar or getting OHKO’d. However, that’s just where match-up knowledge and Staraptor comes in. Remember, if a Pokémon can have taunt, ALWAYS Z-Trick Room just in case. It’s not worth saving for a Shattered Psyche.

Reuniclus was the TR setter to use against teams with:

  • Taunt that we were unable to stop
  • Teams that needed a bit more immediate damage pressure under TR

At about 11pm the night before the tournament, Mitchell came to the conclusion that the team he was practicing with was trash, and that our team seemed dank. I told Mitchell that if he promised to use the team tomorrow, then we will give him all the info on the team and he agreed. His only change was that he used Focus Blast over Shadow Ball on Reuniclus. Both moves had their merits; Shadow Ball could help deal with Metagross and Aegislash, while Focus Blast would help deal with Tyranitar, Heatran, Kangaskhan, and Snorlax. Looking back I think Focus Blast was the stronger option and Mitchell made a very good decision deciding to run it instead.

Staraptor @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Final Gambit
– Brave Bird
– Close Combat
– U-turn

Staraptor was the other Pokémon essential to getting the team setup. It comes in with Intimidate and weakens physical attackers, preventing them from being able to KO Mimikyu and Reuniclus. Staraptor then Final Gambit’s the Pokémon who potentially has Taunt, Roar, or can OHKO the setter. It was very straightforward.

Here’s a list of important Pokémon who get KO’d by Final Gambit!

  • All The Tapus
  • Scrafty
  • Porygon2
  • Volcarona
  • Crobat
  • Latios and Latias
  •  Accelgor
  • Metagross
  • Charizard
  • Kommo-o

Now here’s a list of important Pokémon that get KO’d unless they are near MAX HP which they almost NEVER ARE.

  • Landorus-T
  • Tyranitar
  • Excadrill
  • Zapdos
  • Gyarados
  • Heatran
  • Hydreigon
  • Kangaskhan

And the list goes on. One very cheeky play that would win games was when the opponent would lead Fake Out and they would attempt to Fake Out Staraptor and let Mimikyu set up TR. From that, you would have a relatively useless Staraptor on the next turn and need to waste a TR turn switching it out. In this scenario, you can immediately switch Staraptor out into one of the TR sweepers and be in an amazing position to end the game in 4 turns. AND you have a full health Staraptor in the back for when TR is over to end the game with Final Gambit or regular attacks. Keep in mind however, if you only have Staraptor left and they only have 1 Pokémon left and you Final Gambit it, you lose. Not your opponent.


Camerupt @ Cameruptite
Ability: Magma Armor
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA
Quiet Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Heat Wave
– Earth Power
– Nature Power
– Protect

Now that we’ve shown how to set up TR, let’s introduce the things that do the killing. While I had the original idea of Torkoal for the weather control and damage, Drew thought that Camerupt was an overall safer option that didn’t rely on Eruption. Once again, I agreed with his vision. Eruption, while nice, was just not as consistent as Heat Wave; which is funny because of Heat Waves accuracy problems. Eruption also required having two Fire moves which weren’t gonna fly with our surprise coverage move: Nature Power. Nature Power with Tapu Bulu surprises and KO’s so many bulky water types, especially the ever present Tapu Fini. With regards to the calc below, even the bulkier Calm Fini’s have a very unfavorable roll surviving the Grassy Terrain boosted Nature Power. Most players were running physically bulky Amoonguss, since surviving Lele in psychic terrain was a lost cause.

  • 252+ SpA Sheer Force Mega Camerupt Energy Ball vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Fini in Grassy Terrain: 192-228 (108.4 – 128.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 252+ SpA Sheer Force Mega Camerupt Heat Wave vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Amoonguss: 222-264 (100.4 – 119.4%) — guaranteed OHKO

Also in practice, I Nature Power’d in Misty Terrain to kill a Mega Salamence that thought it was safe; it was dank. Always be mindful of the terrain and whether you can benefit from it with Camerupt!

Tapu Bulu @ Aguav Berry
Ability: Grassy Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Wood Hammer
– Rock Slide
– Superpower
– Protect
*Disclaimer* This spread is very lazy, I’m sure there is something better

Next, we’ll talk about everyone’s favorite meme: Tapu Bulu. Bulu provided a means of terrain control while also protecting Stakataka and Camerupt from the evils of Landorus’ Earthquake. It also provided much needed coverage for bulky waters which were still trying to dampen our plans. It’s terrain enabled Camerupt to surprise bulky waters as well, which was just another plus of Bulu.

For the moves, we had Wood Hammer for maximum damage since were looking to end the game fast. Rock Slide to surprise flying types like Charizard-Y for the OHKO and random flinches are always cool.
Finally while Superpower is barely used, we wanted it for the Snorlax matchup. There is a plethora of different moves you could try in the last slot and a few honorable mentions are: Taunt, Bulk Up, Swords Dance, and Horn Leech.

Stakataka @ Life Orb
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Lonely Nature
IVs: 17 Def / 0 Spe
– Rock Slide
– Gyro Ball
– Trick Room
– Protect

Finally we decided to add one of the new, weird Ultra Beasts: Stakataka. With the Lonely Nature set, this guy is made to sweep under TR, as long as he hits Rock Slide… Gyro ball does massive damage to almost everything, and having yet another TR setter never hurt. With Stakataka and Mimikyu/Reuniclus on the field with one turn of Trick Room left, a lot of players will try to double protect on the last turn of TR. Well, they will be met with a timely double Trick Room to reset the turns and swiftly finish the game.

Everything for Stakataka is pretty self-explanatory, he is brought to matches where Bulu isn’t needed and his coverage stabs will help mow down the opposing team.

Team Play

Like any good VGC player, I was at the airport with Mitchell Davies @MissingNoL and Patrick Smith @SalamenaceVGC waiting for our flight to Dallas for the Regional and I didn’t have a team or any idea of what to use. I had been dabbling the day before with a Hard TR consisting of Torkoal and minimum speed Charizard-Y for maximum TR sun spam. It was unsurprisingly bad. But I was 100% confident that this early in the format, people would not have answers for a well built Hard TR team and I was adamant that I would bring this archetype.

I then started building a team that looked liked Brendan Zheng’s (@Babbytron) early New York MSS team with Mitchell. We had Azumarill, Amoonguss, Hitmontop, and Psychic-Z Bronzong, with the additions of Torkoal and Staraptor. This team was surprisingly decent and while I had to stop playing to board the flight, I thought I was on to something. We got to Dallas and into the hotel room where I started fooling around with the team again. After having mixed results for about an hour and going to get Texas BBQ at Hard Eight (a Texas Must Go), Drew finally landed and he did not have a team either.

I told him about my team and was telling him that Hard TR was the play and he agreed. I then asked him, “If there was a gun up against your head and you had to bring hard TR tomorrow, what Pokémon would you use?” He replied with Mimikyu, Staraptor, Camerupt, and Tapu Bulu; so we started to build off that. From the wise words of Patrick Smith came the phrase “Hard TR never works in a format with Amoonguss”. These words, while somewhat true, inspired me to break the mold…

Core Combinations and Common Leads


Honestly, this is the lead about 80% of the time. Staraptor will want to pick off the enemy Pokémon that is threatening to stop TR. If none of them are able to stop TR, you should be trying to take out the opposing Pokémon that will cause the most issues later in the game.

For Example: a Landorus-Charizard lead. You can decide to kill either Pokémon with Final Gambit, and the other that is left won’t be able to stop TR. If you brought Camerupt Bulu, you can gauge whether you want his Intimidate gone, and kill Charizard with a Rock Slide later, or take the heavy damage source of Charizard away immediately and whittle down Landorus with Heat Waves or Wood Hammer. It just depends on the information you’ve learned in a best of three and so on.

Once again this lead is used when you think/know your opponent has a Taunt user that you are unable to deal with. Staraptor will proceed to do the Staraptor thing and safely let Reuniclus set up against the Taunt with Z-Trick Room. Remember that if you think a Pokémon has Taunt, then just use Z-Trick Room; it’s not worth your TR failing. Some uncommon Pokémon that can do this are Tapu Fini and Scrafty.

Reuniclus is also very useful against standard teams with Amoonguss and a Taunt user. Amoonguss will Rage Powder away the Final Gambit, and then Taunt into Mimikyu or Reuniclus. That’s where Z-Trick Room stops their plans and Camerupt comes in cleanly.


While I dont recommend this, there may be a team was that stops your TR no matter what. Such as a Ghost Type that can OHKO Reuniclus that also has Taunt, or a Pokémon with Roar that is too bulky too die to Final Gambit. You can play mind games and either get TR up or get Swords Dances up. But honestly this is like a Hail Mary against a team with perfect techs against ours. We never had to use this, Staraptor Mimikyu can deal with obvious Roar plays by doubling into the Roar user.


I’d say Camerupt and Bulu are the most synergistic of the bunch. But while I bring Camerupt to almost 100% of games, Bulu isn’t needed every single time with Camerupt. Bulu provides weakened Earthquakes for Camerupt to eat up, sets up terrain to dispose of bulky waters, and surprises Charizard-Y who would otherwise feel safe to stay in and attack.

Various Important Situations

In team preview, you should be looking for a couple things to help you decide your leads.

1. Potential Taunt and Roar users

This will help you decide on whether it is smart to bring Mimikyu or Reuniclus. Remember the HP stats of certain Pokémon that disrupt your plans so that you don’t flop with Staraptor.

2. Strong Mons that can OHKO Reuniclus

If an opposing team has Tyranitar or Charizard-Y I usually won’t bring Reuniclus. While it can’t get Spored, Taunted or Roared with Staraptor’s help, it could potentially just get OHKO’d by Darkinium-Z or Overheat. The two calcs below help Reuniclus survive strong moves the opponent might suspect KO.

  • 252 SpA Tapu Koko Gigavolt Havoc (175 BP) vs. 252 HP / 116 SpD Reuniclus in Electric Terrain: 183-216 (84.3 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 SpA Mega Gengar Shadow Ball vs. 252 HP / 116 SpD Reuniclus: 168-200 (77.4 – 92.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO

3. Tapu Bulu or Stakataka?

Who to pair with Camerupt is an important thing to gauge during team preview. If they have bulky waters such as Tapu Fini, Suicune or Milotic, then I believe both Tapu and Bulu Camerupt are essential. I also believe Tapu Bulu is needed vs Snorlax, as Stakataka and Camerupt won’t be able to break through the beast, whereas Tapu Bulu can. But against teams where you believe no Wide Guard is present and no bulky waters are present, you can bring Stakataka and spam Heat Wave and Rock Slide. Also, keep in mind that positioning Stakataka well could potentially set up a second Trick Room.

Team Match-ups

Tyranitar, Tapu Lele/Fini, Zapdos, Metagross, Amoonguss, Landorus-T
Difficulty Rating 3 out of 10

This is your run of the mill standard team at the moment. And you know what? This team gets dumped on by ours. With no disrespect to Chuppa Cross (@ChuppaVGC), who is an amazing player, after losing to Mitchell in swiss at Dallas using this core, he tweeted, “Played Mitch in what felt like a pretty hard autoloss.” It kinda goes to show that even extremely good players playing this standard core will have trouble.

The only way this team can stop your Mimikyu’s TR from going up is a Taunt from Lele or maybe some rouge Taunt from Tyranitar, but Staraptor usually kills them first. A potential problem to look out for is an Amoonguss-Lele lead. They can potentially Rage Powder and Taunt Mimikyu which isn’t the best. If you can predict this lead properly, Reuniclus beats it. However, I would usually bank on my opponent not thinking that far ahead and having the perfect lead and turn 1 play. Best of three is where this obviously comes into play more.

But Bulu and Camerupt do WORK against this team dealing huge damage to everything, a very positive match-up.

Charizard-Y, Landorus, Cresselia Cores
Difficulty Rating 4.5 out of 10

I’d put this at a pretty even matchup, honestly still favored on our side. Reason, why it is closer, is not due to the Charizard-Y but actually from the Cresselia. Cresselia is very bulky as we know, and can become a pain to take down even in TR. It threatens the ability to reverse Trick Room if we cannot KO it. Mimikyu with Swords Dances deals quite a number to Cresselia though, making this manageable. Oddly enough, against very slow leads such as a Cresselia-Amoonguss lead, I usually just opt to setup a Swords Dance in their face turn 1, and occasionally they will read your TR and set it up for you and then you’re in the money. In this match-up, whittling Cresselia down is extremely important, but if you just knock out all of Cresselia’s allies, Cresselia can’t win on its own.

Gengar-Whimiscott with Z-Nature Power Tapu Bulu
Difficulty Rating 7 out of 10

With Whimsicott being able to abuse our own Grassy terrain and fire off a priority Z-Nature Power, it is not fun. We also can’t stop a Taunt onto Mimikyu from Whimsicott. However, Reuniclus is EV’d to survive Shadow ball from Timid Mega Gengar, so Reuniclus is usually the key to this match-up; so long as they don’t double Reuniclus turn 1. It is difficult but doable. Luckily this team is a lot rarer than the two posted above.

Problem Pokémon

Aegislash: While your standard 252 HP Aegislash dies to Earth Power, it still could be bulky enough to survive. It can also Wide Guard your Heat Waves and OHKO a lot of Pokémon on the team.

Snorlax: Sometimes it is too bulky to wear down and focusing on it is a must.

Key Points to Remember

  • Look For Taunts and Roars
  • Don’t flub your Final Gambits because you aren’t sure on HP values
  • While Mimikyu is usually the go-to choice, weigh your options between him and Reuniclus. This is usually the set-deciding decision.
  • If Mimikyu is not threatened, don’t be afraid to go for early Swords Dances.
  • Always think of terrain and try to surprise your opponent with Nature Power.
  • Sometimes your match-up is so godlike that your opponent’s only way to stop TR is Rock Slide flinching Mimikyu turn 1. Just be aware that it’s eventually gonna happen and try not to rage too hard.


Andrew Nowak: Thanks for agreeing to build a team with me the night before the tournament and deciding to run it, haha. Your solid perception of Pokémon helped make our team extremely solid. You are a bro and I love whenever we get to hang. Bean Dip for Life!

Mitchell Davies: Thanks for showing the world what our team could do. I truly believe without that Heat Wave miss, or the slight misplay the turn before, you would be our Dallas Regional Champion. You’re a great friend who I always love playing Pokemon with and playing footsie with.

Patrick Smith: Thanks for inspiring me to destroy Amoonguss with everything I had. It felt very good watching these mushroom trainer’s looks of anguish as Mimikyu was not affected by Spore due to its Safety Goggles. <3 Team Yung Money, keepin it Yung 24/7 Team Tank Top, FunkyKong ASMR 4Life

Credit to ishmam for the featured image


  1. (even though i one this battle) i found Camerupt/comfey to be super annoying. I had to make sure the Camerupt stayed at low using heatwave (from charizard y… that camerupt was super strong in sun). This also KOd the Comfey eventually. Priority floral healing is no joke in trickroom.

  2. I have been using a Final Gambit Staraptor since 2014 and it is so rage quit inducing, lol.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.