I’m Taka Maenishi (@taka_na_u), a Japanese Pokémon VGC player, and usually work as an engineer in Tokyo. I have been playing competitive VGC for several years in Japan, and am aiming to qualify for WCS. Unfortunately, however, I could not qualify for Japan Nationals this year.
This time, I finished in top 16 of the Trainer Tower Spring Scramble and was fortunate to be invited to write an article about my team. I’m very happy for the amazing opportunity of writing for Trainer Tower.
- Trainer Tower Spring Scramble (BO3)
- Round Robin: 19 Wins and 4 Losses, 1st Place in Moon Flight
- Final Result: Top 16
- In the qualifying round of Japan’s Championships, I also used a team of the same six Pokémon arranged for BO1. Here’s more details on the team (in Japanese) and the QR rental team.
Team Building Process
In creating a team for Ultra series, my first choices were Xerneas, Incineroar, and Amoonguss. The boosts offered by Geomancy make for a clear path to a win. I considered Primal Groudon and Mega Rayquaza as the second restricted Pokémon, and in the end, I chose Rayquaza. The main reasons are:
- The three Pokémon I already have can’t knock out opposing Groudon, and I want a strong counter against Groudon.
- The basic combination of Xerneas, Z-Move Incineroar, and Mega Rayquaza includes both legendaries, a Z-Move, and a Mega Evolution. It means the power of the Pokémon brought is at its highest.
Next, I picked Tapu Fini as a counter against Choice Scarf Tapu Lele, which is the biggest threat to both Xerneas and Rayquaza. Lastly, I decided to use Crobat in the last slot. Crobat is pretty good because it makes for a very easy Xerneas mirror matchup, in addition to having good synergy with Rayquaza.
Xerneas @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
EVs: 236 HP / 4 Def / 68 SpA / 4 SpD / 196 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Dazzling Gleam
- +2 68+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Xerneas: 211-250 (104.4 – 123.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
I chose Modest Xerneas because it often uses Geomancy after speed control, such as Crobat’s Tailwind or Tapu Fini’s Icy Wind. 144 Speed allows it to outspeed other Modest Xerneas, Modest Kyogre, and Adamant Landorus-T. 176 SpA allows it to KO opposing non-bulky Xerneas with +2 Moonblast. This is my favorite spread, so please try it.
Incineroar @ Incinium Z
EVs: 236 HP / 116 Atk / 4 Def / 124 SpD / 28 Spe
– Fake Out
– Flare Blitz
– Darkest Lariat
- 116+ Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Mega Mawile: 156-186 (99.3 – 118.4%) — 93.8% chance to OHKO
- 252 SpA Tapu Koko Gigavolt Havoc (175 BP) vs. 236 HP / 124 SpD Incineroar in Electric Terrain: 172-204 (86 – 102%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
Incineroar is the main supporter of this team with Intimidate, Fake Out, and in attacking opposing Steel-type Pokémon. As everyone knows, Incineroar is essential for both Xerneas and Rayquaza. I brought it in almost all of the matches.
Incinium Z is very effective to knock out Gengar, Lunala, Bronzong, etc. It is also good for damaging Kyogre in Trick Room. 84 Speed allows it to outspeed Quiet Kyogre in Trick Room and Timid Xerneas in Tailwind.
Amoonguss @ Focus Sash
EVs: 236 HP / 68 Def / 204 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Rage Powder
– Clear Smog
- 252+ SpA Primal Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 236 HP / 204+ SpD Amoonguss in Heavy Rain: 87-103 (39.7 – 47%) — guaranteed 3HKO
- -1 252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 236 HP / 68 Def Amoonguss: 87-103 (39.7 – 47%) — guaranteed 3HKO
Amoonguss is usually brought for Trick Room matchups. I think damaging moves are optional. I chose Clear Smog because I would sometimes bring it to a Xerneas mirror matchup.
In BO3 matches, it’s very important to check if the opponent’s Pokémon, ones such as Stakataka or Bronzong, have Safety Goggles in order to take full advantage of Amoonguss.
Rayquaza-Mega @ Life Orb
Ability: Delta Stream
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Dragon Ascent
– Extreme Speed
– Earth Power
- -1 252 Atk Life Orb Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 252 HP / 196 Def Incineroar: 101-121 (50 – 59.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- -1 252 Atk Life Orb Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 252 HP / 144 Def Tapu Fini: 90-107 (50.8 – 60.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
I gave Life Orb to Rayquaza in order to knock out as many Pokémon as possible after Crobat’s Super Fang. Thanks to Life Orb, the combination of Super Fang and one of Rayquaza’s attacks is especially wonderful because it can knock out many common Pokémon. This includes Pokémon such as Incineroar, Tapu Fini, or Xerneas even after Intimidate, unless they are considerably bulky.
In addition, Earth Power is very useful to deal with counters and checks to Xerneas, such as Stakataka, Nihilego, Gengar, or Groudon. I think Earth Power’s value is quite high on XRay teams. By defeating these Pokémon, my own Xerneas can easily set up Geomancy.
If the opponent’s Stakataka reveals Shuca Berry, it’s better to deal with it using Amoonguss in the next match.
Tapu Fini @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 244 HP / 12 Def / 4 SpA / 100 SpD / 148 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Nature’s Madness
– Icy Wind
– Light Screen
– Heal Pulse
- +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 244 HP / 92+ SpD Tapu Fini: 145-172 (82.3 – 97.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252 Atk Life Orb Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 244 HP / 20 Def Tapu Fini: 148-175 (84 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Tapu Fini is an excellent counter against Tapu Lele. I brought Fini mainly against Tapu Lele or for the Smeargle matchup.
Nature’s Madness and Icy Wind are essential, in my opinion, for damage and speed control. I chose Light Screen and Heal Pulse in order to make Lele matchups easier. I did not use Haze, because there are already many ways to deal with opposing Xerneas on my team. It is also good to consider Scald in order to clean up opposing Groudon alongside Rayquaza’s Air Lock or Delta Stream. The spread allows it to outspeed Mega Rayquaza after an Icy Wind.
Crobat @ Payapa Berry
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Super Fang
Crobat was chosen last, but it became a core member of the team despite that. It is usually sent out first together with Rayquaza. As noted in Rayquaza’s section, the combination of Crobat and Rayquaza is extremely amazing.
Payapa Berry allows it to survive an attack from Choice Scarf Tapu Lele, and in Delta Stream it has no weakness, which means it can set up Tailwind without fail unless the opponent’s Tapu Koko wins the speed tie and uses Taunt or Electrium Z (and Prankster Taunts, etc).
Taunt and Haze make Crobat a strong Xerneas counter. It worked very well in Xerneas mirror matchups. Taunt is also effective against Trick Room setters, especially against Fake Out plus Trick Room, thanks to its ability, Inner Focus.
Core Combinations and Common Leads+ / +
It’s better to start with Fake Out plus Geomancy, and guard Xerneas using Incineroar and Amoonguss. After Xerneas deals a lot of damage, Rayquaza eliminates the rest of the opposing team. This lead is preferred when facing Trick Room, or in case Amoonguss’s Spore or Rage Powder is very effective.+ / +
If Tapu Lele or Smeargle are on the opponent’s team, I recommend this lead. Incineroar and Tapu Fini can create a good position for the legendary Pokémon in the back thanks to Intimidate, Icy Wind, Light Screen, etc.+ / +
This lead is especially effective against teams without Trick Room, including Xerneas mirror matchups. My Xerneas can easily set up Geomancy after knocking out a common counter to Xerneas such as Roar Groudon, Haze Tapu Fini, etc.
Thanks to Crobat, this is a very easy matchup. While the opponent has difficulty dealing with my Crobat, it sets up Tailwind and does some damage using Super Fang. After Crobat faints, Rayquaza can knock out the weakened Pokémon, or Xerneas sets up Geomancy safely in Tailwind. If the opponent’s team has Trick Room setters such as Bronzong, it’s better to bring Amoonguss instead of Crobat.+
A very similar case to the XernDon matchups mentioned above. If the opponent’s team doesn’t have Tailwind or Trick Room, it’s an easy matchup thanks to Crobat. My Rayquaza has Earth Power and can OHKO the opponent’s Nihilego. Focus Sash Amoonguss is also powerful against opposing Rayquaza. It’s important to be cautious and use Geomancy before the opponent’s Xerneas can do it.+ (No Trick Room)
Crobat’s Tailwind is effective. Even if the opponent also sets up Tailwind, it’s not a bad matchup because my Rayquaza is max Speed and my Xerneas is faster than Modest Kyogre.+ / (+ etc.)
I think it’s a neutral matchup. Gengar should be dealt with by Rayquaza or Incineroar. Amoonguss is usually key in this matchup. It’s important to check the items of Bronzong or Stakataka in game 1 and make a plan for game 2.+
Lunala is a bit hard to deal with. Incineroar’s Z-Move is effective, but it’s hard to hit Lunala if the opponent plays well. I lost against this matchup in top 16. If my Tapu Fini knew Scald, it would be a bit easier as a matchup, because Tapu Fini and Rayquaza would be able to pressure Groudon.
Rundown of Tournament
I picked a few matches from the tournament.
Round 1 – vs. MarkitusPM
On the first turn, I Taunted Salamence to stop Tailwind. I planned to have Tailwind on just my side of the battlefield. However, I played bad, then lost Rayquaza due to being careless, ultimately losing Game 1.
Amoonguss’s Focus Sash proved effective against Salamence. On turn 1, the game became one-sided right away.
As planned, Crobat faced Markitus’ lead of Incineroar and Xerneas. On turn 2, I did not go for Tailwind because I expected Xerneas to not use Geomancy due to Crobat’s pressure. After three Intimidates to Rayquaza, Haze eliminated all status changes and Rayquaza knocked out his Xerneas. On the last turn of Tailwind, my Xerneas set up Geomancy safely.
Round 2 – vs. MechanicsPKMN
On turn 1, Crobat set up Tailwind and I gained the speed advantage. I chose to Earth Power the Togedemaru so there was no need to worry about Nuzzle. On the next turn, Rayquaza knocked out Togedemaru with Earth Power and let my Xerneas move freely in Tailwind.
I expected Bronzong in this game, because Togedemaru was easily OHKO’d by Rayquaza in g1. Bronzong was then sent out, as I expected. I took care to prevent Trick Room, because I did not bring Amoonguss. Crobat’s Taunt successfully stopped Bronzong’s Trick Room and Incineroar KO’d Bronzong even after his Intimidate thanks to its Z-Move.
Round 3 – vs. Sohaib
I planned to use Amoonguss against Togedemaru’s Nuzzle and Encore, but the plan did not work out because my Focus Sash was broken on turn 1. I did not expect his Xerneas to be bulky enough to survive two -1 Dragon Ascents. Unfortunately, my Xerneas’s SpA was dropped by my opponent’s Moonblast, meaning I could not defeat his AV Incineroar and lost g1.
I figured Incineroar was better than Amoonguss after all and changed my lead. I knocked out Togedemaru before anything else with Rayquaza’s Earth Power, in order to let my Xerneas move safely. Thanks to Crobat’s Taunt, my Xerneas set up Geomancy and my opponent’s Xerneas could not.
He played so well by switching Togedemaru to avoid Earth Power. I was forced to attack Togedemaru due to Nuzzle’s pressure. I lost Rayquaza before I knocked out Togedemaru, and it was too hard to handle his Xerneas and double Fake Out users.
Round 4 – vs. Duckpond
I brought Tapu Fini as a counter against his Tapu Lele. Incineroar and Tapu Fini made an excellent environment for Geomancy with Misty Terrain and Light Screen. My Xerneas set up Geomancy safely, and I won.
In this match, I tested Tapu Fini with Tapunium Z. I used the Z-Move against his Kangaskhan instead of his Xerneas. Due to this mistake, I could not defeat his Xerneas after Geomancy.
I found out Necrozma could not Ultra Burst in front of Xerneas and could not OHKO Amoonguss, so I decided to bring Amoonguss instead of Tapu Fini in g3. It worked excellently, and he forfeited soon after Geomancy and Spore.
Round 5 – vs. MasterWizardVGC
His team made the greatest impression on me in the tournament. On turn 1, I expected Kyurem to use Protect, but I was wrong. To make matters worse, Incineroar was unexpectedly knocked out by Super Fang plus Earth Power. I tried to win the Speed tie and stop my opponent’s Taunt, but failed and easily lost.
I planned to defeat Crobat and put Xerneas in a good position. I switched Xerneas to Incineroar and successfully took his Kyurem’s Z-Move, and he soon forfeited. I was very surprised at how much damage Icium Z from Kyurem did, even though it was reduced by half.
It’s such a difficult matchup because of Bullet Punch Mega Metagross. After I lost Rayquaza, I struggled to defeat his Metagross, and he played very well.
Top 16 match- vs. SaagAloo
He played so well, and I lost Tapu Fini easily. I couldn’t believe his Lunala used Trick Room after his Tailwind, right at the same time as my Xerneas’s Geomancy. If my double Protect had succeeded on the last turn of TR, I could’ve won, but it failed.
On turn 3, I guessed wrong about the target of Z-Move and lost easily. I was outplayed completely in both of the matches. Ggs.
I’m pretty happy to get good results in the tournament and to have been offered a great opportunity in writing a team report for Trainer Tower.
If you have any questions about my team, please feel free to contact me on Twitter. My DMs are open. I hope this article helps your teambuilding, and If you liked this article or the team, please don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.
Thank you very much for reading my article!
Credit to bluemak for featured image