The One Nation of Gamers Pokémon Invitational sponsored by GEICO has come to a close. While there can be only one champion, at the end of the day, all Pokémon fans and players alike can rejoice in this victory. Below are the teams used by the eight competitors in this event. Included are QR codes to use in game, as well as importable sets for playing on Pokémon Showdown!
Shoma Honami is always a force to be reckoned with whenever he enters a tournament, and it was no different in the ONOG Pokémon Invitational. This time he piloted a team built around the core of Choice Specs Tapu Lele and Psychic Seed Drifblim. By using this combination, Drifblim receives a Special Defense boost from Psychic Seed, as well as an additional Speed boost thanks to its ability Unburden, allowing it to set up a Tailwind to provide further support for the team without fearing a fast Taunt or powerful Z-move. Once Tailwind is up, strong hitters like Swords Dance Garchomp and Dragon Dance Gyarados can start setting up and dealing heavy damage to the opponent’s team. Tapu Lele’s low speed stat thanks to minimal EV investment into speed also allows it to underspeed many opposing Tapus, such as Cybertron’s Tapu Fini, as showcased in the finals match. This allows Tapu Lele to retain maximal offensive pressure, as its Psychic Terrain remains active. Magnezone’s good offensive and defensive typing allows it to offer offensive pressure against Pokémon like Celesteela, Alolan Muk, and each of the Tapu Quartet. Lastly, Pheromosa is another a hard-hitting attacker on this team, whose incredible speed stat allows it to function without Tailwind being active. Furthermore, it’s strong STAB High Jump Kick allows it to pressure Porygon2; the most common Trick Room user in the format, which helps Drifblim’s Tailwind to maintain its position as the more effective form of speed control.
Coming off recent success at Regionals and a win at the Melbourne Challenge, Aaron Zheng was hungry for a win at this tournament. He opted to bring a team similar to the one he brought to the recent Anaheim Regionals, showing off the common yet powerful combination of Calm Mind Tapu Fini and Life Orb Arcanine, which can support the former with Intimidate and offensive pressure against threats like Kartana and Tapu Koko. These are accompanied by a Trick Room mode consisting of Porygon2, Alolan Muk and Gigalith, whose Rockium Z allows it to deal major damage to any Pokémon that does not resist Rock-type attacks. Alolan Muk is another useful tool to hit the Tapus for super effective damage, while Porygon2 puts pressure on opposing Garchomp and sets up Trick Room. Last but not least is Swords Dance Garchomp, which can tear holes in a lot of teams if it is able to set up, and also serves as a mean to play a faster game should Trick Room not prove an effective option.
Going into the tournament, not many people expected Dan Clap to have any success whatsoever, quickly writing him off as “shiny hunter”. Despite this, he managed to prove himself to be a highly competent competitor, proving himself in extraordinary fashion as he took consecutive sets off two formidable players, topping group A and making it all the way to the semi-finals. His team consisted of the rarely seen Lightningrod Togedemaru and two offensive Water-type Pokémon in Choice Specs Tapu Fini and Dragon Dance Gyarados. Togedemaru’s ability allows it to redirect Electric-type attacks to itself when it is on the field, which the other Pokémon greatly benefit from. Arcanine and Alolan Muk offer good offensive pressure against some of the most used Pokémon in the format with their naturally strong STAB (same type attack bonus) moves, while the latter also helps shut down potential Trick Room setters with Taunt. The team is rounded out by Garchomp, whose Choice Scarf allows it to clean up the field in the late game or just deal big damage quickly and also score surprise knockouts on the likes of Tapu Koko and Kartana.
Enosh Shachar is known for his rather unconventional yet clever team choices, and it was no different this time around. His team features the common “AFK” core consisting of Arcanine, Tapu Fini and Kartana, though he put a personal spin on each Pokémon to give him the edge in his matches. Tapu Fini has an unconventional set, as Enosh ran it with Nature’s Madness/Guardian of Alola to set up the opponents’ Pokémon for knockouts from his own teammates. His decision to invest heavily into speed allows Tapu Fini to outspeed many of its teammates, allowing them to strike after its Nature’s Madness to pick up KOs. Scope Lense Kartana also made an appearance, boosting the chance of a Critical Hit on Leaf Blade to 50%, acting as an out to set up strategies such as Extreme Evoboost or the notorious Smeargle + Pallosand Combination, while also allowing Kartana to hit the likes of Arcanine for sizable damage on the switch in should the 50% chance land in its favour. By opting to run Toxic on Arcanine, Enosh had another option to deal with the likes of Snorlax and Porygon2 in the late game. On this team, Garchomp forgoes its most popular item in Groundium Z and uses an Assault Vest instead, to be able to support the team with speed control in Bulldoze, but also to just deal regular chip damage to the opposing team. A very bulky Calm Mind Tapu Lele is the last Pokémon on the team, and while it is not a very common set, it is still a force to be reckoned with thanks to the huge damage output in Psychic Terrain and the support it gets from Garchomp’s Bulldoze, Arcanine’s Intimidate, and Tapu Fini’s Nature’s Madness.
Sejun Park is known as an innovator, and his innovations were exactly what he showcased in this tournament. Sejun’s team consists of a quirky combination in Metagross and Goodra. Assault Vest Goodra is able to tank hits with its massive Special Defense, but it is also able to provide Speed Control with Bulldoze. His Metagross is a faster Weakness Policy variant with Agility. In tandem with Goodra, Goodra can use Bulldoze and activate Metagross’ Weakness Policy, boosting its Attack by 2 stages, while also being able to boost its speed by 2 stages with Agility, and thanks to its Clear Body ability, its speed is not lowered by Bulldoze. Ninetales and Arcanine provide support for the team, with Aurora Veil and Intimidate respectively, while Ninetales also provides Speed Control in the form of Icy Wind. The team is rounded off by the fast and hard-hitting combination of Pheromosa and Tapu Lele. Tapu Lele is equipped with the Psychium Z, allowing it to deal a tremendous amount of damage in Psychic Terrain, while Pheromosa helps the team in covering other threats such as Kartana and Snorlax. Pheromosa is Naïve natured with 252 Speed EVs, which also allows it to outspeed Modest variants of Choice Scarf Tapu Lele.
Like Enosh, Markus Stadter’s team also revolves around the Arcanine, Tapu Fini and Kartana core. Alolan Persian is a Pokemon with a variety of support moves, and its role here to support the rest of the team with moves like Fake Out and Taunt. Parting Shot switches Persian out and decreases the opposing Pokemon’s Attack and Special Attack, enabling Tapu Fini to set up a Calm Mind, while also acting as a pivot and allowing Arcanine to come in and provide further support through Intimidate. The last two members are filled out by Snorlax, and interesting Normalium Z + Nature Power Tapu Koko. This allows Tapu Koko to use Gigavolt Havoc (Thunderbolt) in Electric Terrain as well as Twinkle Tackle (Moonblast) in Misty Terrain.
QR Code (coming soon)
Wolfe Glick is known for his defensive play-style and team preference, as well as his affinity for his favourite Pokémon; Exeggutor. It should be no surprise, then, that his team for the invitational featured the aforementioned grass-type, alongside a defensive cast that included bulky Aguav Berry Arcanine, and a supportive Tapu Fini with Light Screen. What was a surprise, however, was his first round defeat at the hands of underdog ‘aDrive’, whose clever management of Intimidates and smart predictions managed to secure him a huge upset victory over the reigning World Champion. Glick was, unfortunately, unable to claw his way back into the tournament from there, knocked out in the following round by Sejun Park. Though it didn’t bring him as successful a run as he may have been hoping for, it’s fair to say that Wolfe’s Exeggutor and friends have the potential to see more success than they found in the ONOG invitational.
Last but not least is Alex Ogloza’s sun team, built around the core of Lilligant, Torkoal, and Porygon2. Though his Quick Claw Mudsdale caught everyone by surprise, it wasn’t quite enough to help Alex out of the group stage, as he was defeated by Markus Stadter and Shoma Honami in consecutive sets. Though there is no shame in losing to such accomplished opposition, Alex was disappointed not to continue further in the tournament to show off his tech choices, which included Choice Scarf Tapu Bulu and Hidden Power Fire Nihilego.