S1 Battle Spot 7th Place (2000+) Team Report

Introduction

Hey everyone, my name is Ricardo Pinto and I’m a VGC player from Portugal that mostly plays online. As season 1 of Sun & Moon Battle Spot comes to an end, I thought it would be cool to do the same thing that strong Japanese players have been doing for a while and write a small team report of the squad I used to break the 2000 barrier on the Championships Battle format (VGC).

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After around 380 battles i managed to reach the goal of hitting the 2000s on the ladder, and luckily my last opponent ended up being a 2004 rated player from Japan, so the win against him gave me several extra points above the initial goal.

I ended up in 7th place with a 2015 rating and as the highest rated non Japanese player on the ladder, which was pretty satisfying. So without further ado let’s take a look at the team I used.

Team

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The Tapu Fini + Kartana + Arcanine core has gotten pretty common as you might have noticed already, however this is not how i started up building this team. Around 2 weeks ago i was playing on Pokemon Showdown with a team inspired by @Yejiang_CHN’s team, which he used to top the Battle Spot ladder recently. I had Metagross over the Kartana, Ninetales over Vanilluxe, and was playing around with Mandibuzz as the 6th slot to help with my Trick Room matchup, however there were some things I did not like about the team. I hated the fact that Metagross can’t learn a strong 100% accurate STAB attack, and I knew I wanted a better way to hit Water types besides Ninetales’ Freeze Dry, which was still pretty weak despite being Super Effective. I immediately thought about Kartana and added it to the team. It also made my Rain matchup much better, as Ninetales switch-ins weren’t good enough for handling that archetype.

After that, I still felt that the team wasn’t good enough, Ninetales was not doing as much as I wished, Aurora Veil was nice but I could rarely set it up without taking a lot of damage, and it was pretty underwhelming offensively, so I replaced it with Vanilluxe as it did the same job but hit harder and faster. It destroys opposing Garchomp with Blizzard even if they have an Assault Vest (which Ninetales couldn’t do) and it still gave me the Hail to help out against Rain. The most important thing about it though was the extra speed it gave to the team. Facing Tapu Koko and Kartana combined was a problem for it before, but now I had something that outsped and dealt over 50% damage to both of them, making it a big threat as I could just weaken opposing Pokémon and bring the Vanilluxe in for a late game clean up.

Lastly, I wasn’t pleased with my Trick Room matchup, as Mandibuzz was a sitting duck most of the time and made my team weaker to Tapu Koko. I also didn’t feel like I could abuse Tailwind very often as Fini didn’t actually do damage without the Calm Mind boosts, unlike the Choice Specs set which was way more common at the time, so despite liking the Ground type immunity it added to my team, I knew I wanted to find something better. The next thing I did was replace Mandibuzz with Taunt Muk and hoped it could help me prevent Trick Room from going up most of the time, but well, it didn’t. It took too much damage from Trick Room sweepers and I didn’t like having to lead with it every time I saw a Porygon2. After about a week of playing with that, I decided to replace it with Snorlax and just let my opponents set up Trick Room all they wanted, as I could take advantage of it. Snorlax was actually surprisingly good and it covered the holes that the team had perfectly.

So, now that I’ve briefly explained my team building process, let’s look at each Pokémon individually. The following table was created so the Japanese community can understand the basic details of my team, since this report is written only in English.

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Team In-Depth

Tapu Fini @ Leftovers
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 204 HP/ 204 SpA/ 100 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Protect
– Muddy Water
– Moonblast
– Calm Mind

Relevant Damage Calculations:

  • +1 204+ SpA Tapu Fini Moonblast vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Koko: 132-156 (90.4 – 106.8%) — 37.5% chance to OHKO;

  • 252+ SpA Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. +1 204 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Fini: 74-90 (43.2 – 52.6%) — guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery.

The only reason I chose to try out Tapu Fini was because I wanted to see for myself if it was as good as Sejun and some other asian players were making it seem, but I must admit it felt a bit underwhelming in the end. Calm Mind was situational, I used it mostly when playing bulky teams that didn’t have Tapu Koko or Kartana, and it worked out quite well against those, but I’m convinced it is only a mediocre Pokémon, a trend that will soon fade. I thought about using the Choice Specs set as well and I did try it, but having another Pokémon without Protect on the team was not ideal, and Tapu Fini was a Pokémon I wanted to preserve very often so I stuck with the Calm Mind set.

The 204 SpA EVs allowed me to always do 90% damage minimum to standard Tapu Koko with Moonblast after a Calm Mind, meaning it would faint if it took Life Orb recoil before or after my attack. If they were Sash, i could easily 2HKO them as they wouldn’t have enough offense to 2HKO me after the SpD boost and Leftovers recovery.

The Speed EVs allowed Tapu Fini to outspeed Modest 252 Speed Pelipper as well as every other Tapu Fini i faced while using this team, and it was actually pretty important as it often let me prevent Tailwinds from going up as well as beating Choice Specs Tapu Finis, as long as they didn’t crit me or got ridiculously lucky with SpA drops.


Kartana @ Assault Vest
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 84 HP/ 20 Atk/ 4 Def/ 148 SpD/ 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Leaf Blade
– Smart Strike
– Sacred Sword
– Night Slash

Relevant Damage Calculations:

  • 252 Atk Garchomp Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 84 HP / 4 Def Kartana: 121-144 (83.4 – 99.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO;

  • +1 0 SpA Porygon2 Ice Beam vs. 84 HP / 148 SpD Assault Vest Kartana: 61-72 (42 – 49.6%) — guaranteed 3HKO.

Kartana did exactly what I needed it to do for the team, and I could not have been more wrong about the Assault Vest set. At first I thought it was a terrible idea due to its very low SpD stat, however, with some HP and SpD EVs it becomes decently bulky and allows you to switch it in and out a couple times, which you can’t easily do with the Focus Sash or any other item. I also realized it didn’t really need too many Atk EVs to do its job, Leaf Blade was still doing a great amount of damage to Water types, and Sacred Sword was still easily a 2HKO on opposing Kartanas, so I just dumped the remaining 20 EVs in Atk after reaching my defensive goals, which are pretty self explanatory.

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Arcanine @ Firium Z
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 76 HP/ 252 Atk/ 4 Def/ 12 SpD/ 164 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Protect
– Flare Blitz
– Extreme Speed
– Roar

Relevant Damage Calculations:

  • -1 252+ Atk Arcanine Inferno Overdrive (190 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Celesteela: 204-242 (100 – 118.6%) — guaranteed OHKO;
  • 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 76 HP / 12 SpD Arcanine in Psychic Terrain: 150-177 (85.7 – 101.1%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO.

Arcanine was another surprise to me. At first i thought it wasn’t very good as I had tried support sets before and they were not working out for me. Once I switched to offensive Arcanine it felt so much better to play with, because it actually picks up KOs.

The EV spread was taken from Sejun’s team report, I had been using a similar Arcanine but the Speed stat wasn’t hitting any specific number, so I just took his which outspeeds Modest 252 Speed Xurkitree while still living LO Thunderbolt from Timid Tapu Koko and Psychic from Modest Tapu Lele.

When you think about it, Arcanine might actually be one of the best pokemon in this metagame as it gives you an answer to several threats and strategies all in one team slot. I had it mainly because of Steel types and Hail teams, but it was super helpful against Lilligant + Torkoal + Oranguru teams, Extreme Evoboost Eevee teams and Z Conversion PorygonZ teams, and it was all thanks to Roar. I must admit I did miss Wild Charge sometimes, but Extreme Speed was very good for finishing off weakened Tapu Koko and Garchomp after a hit from another team member, or Kartana and Pheromosa after I knocked them down to Sash. I really didn’t want to drop Roar either as it was very helpful against all the things I mentioned above as well as Trick Room.

As for the item, i went with Firium Z because I didn’t feel like there was anything better. It really came in handy in some situations, for example, when there was a Flamethrower Celesteela threatening my Kartana and a Pokémon with Intimidate in the back, I could still 1 hit KO the Celesteela at -1 and safely attack the other slot with Kartana. It also saved me in some situations where my opponents tried protecting their Kartana in order to scout for my Protect on an ally Pokémon and I just OHKOd them through the Protect or put them in Extreme Speed range, in case they had the Focus Sash.

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Garchomp @ Groundium Z
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 4 HP/ 252 Atk/ 4 Def/ 44 SpD/ 204 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Protect
– Earthquake
– Poison Jab
– Fire Fang

Relevant Damage Calculations:

  • 0 SpA Porygon2 Ice Beam vs. 4 HP / 44 SpD Garchomp: 156-184 (84.7 – 100%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO;
  • 252+ Atk Garchomp Poison Jab vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Tapu Bulu: 180-212 (101.6 – 119.7%) — guaranteed OHKO;
  • 252+ Atk Garchomp Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Garchomp: 177-208 (96.7 – 113.6%) — 81.3% chance to OHKO.

Garchomp is one of my favourite Pokémonto use in this format, if not the absolute favourite. On top of being naturally bulky and speedy, the Groundium Z just makes it so much more threatening since you can 1 hit KO several different Pokémon with it.

For this particular team I chose to use it with Fire Fang over its secondary STAB, simply because Dragon Claw doesn’t really pair up well with Misty Terrain, but also because Kartana is a very annoying pokemon to deal with, so I thought it was worth it, and it worked out fine. Swords Dance is an option I might consider in the future though.

As for the EV spread, it’s pretty simple as well. I’ve been using standard Garchomp for a while and I noticed the Speed EVs were not doing anything for me at all, so I decided to change its nature from Jolly to Adamant. This one has enough Speed to outspeed Adamant 252 Speed Arcanine and Modest 252 Speed Tapu Lele. I didn’t really care about speed ties with other Garchomp, and there was nothing in between to EV for. I also really liked the extra damage that the Adamant nature provided. The remaining EVs were just dumped in the SpD stat as they allowed Garchomp to live an Ice Beam from unboosted Porygon2, which came in handy in some situations.

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Vanilluxe @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Snow Warning
EVs: 52 HP/ 4 Def/ 252 SpA/ 4 SpD/ 196 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Blizzard
– Freeze Dry
– Icy Wind
– Sheer Cold

Relevant Damage Calculations:

  • 252 SpA Vanilluxe Blizzard vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Garchomp: 192-228 (104.9 – 124.5%) — guaranteed OHKO;
  • 252 SpA Vanilluxe Freeze-Dry vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Gastrodon: 252-300 (115.5 – 137.6%) — guaranteed OHKO;
  • 252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 52 HP / 4 SpD Vanilluxe in Electric Terrain: 129-152 (84.3 – 99.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO.

I think Vanilluxe is pretty underrated, as it was so good on my team, and it was clutch in so many games. I brought it mostly against Rain and Tapu Koko + Kartana + Garchomp/ Salamence teams, but it also put in work against other types of teams. Once the opposing team is weakened, you can send in the Vanilluxe for a clean up. It’s as simple as that.

As for the EVs, it has enough Speed to outspeed Adamant 252 Speed Pheromosa, maximum SpA investment for maximum damage output, and the rest was added into the HP stat, which ended up being enough to let Vanilluxe always survive Life Orb Thunderbolt from Timid Tapu Koko and have a good chance of living a Psychic from Modest Tapu Lele as well.

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Snorlax @ Figy Berry
Ability: Gluttony
EVs: 68 HP/ 244 Def/ 196 Atk
Brave Nature
– Protect
– Return
– High Horsepower
– Curse

Relevant Damage Calculations:

  • 252+ Atk Water Bubble Araquanid Hydro Vortex (160 BP) vs. 68 HP / 244 Def Snorlax: 208-246 (85.2 – 100.8%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO.

I think Snorlax was the least used Pokémon of this team, but it never let me down when I brought it. Its strength lies in its ability to fight Trick Room sweepers while in Trick Room, which means you don’t have to be worried about your opponent setting it up all the time, as you can just benefit from it. Boosted Returns do a lot to Araquanid, Porygon2, Mudsdale, etc, and they won’t be doing much back to you once you get those Def boosts from Curse. High Horsepower was also very important as it allowed me to hit Gigalith, Torkoal, Marowak, Magnezone and others for super effective damage. Besides that, I didn’t think Recycle was necessary as Snorlax is already super bulky naturally and has the Figy Berry, which combines perfectly with the Gluttony ability.

The EV spread does exactly what that calculation shows, Snorlax is my Trick Room answer and most Trick Room sweepers are physical attackers so I wanted it to be able to take hits pretty well and dish out solid damage in return, and that’s exactly what it did.

Conclusion

So that’s the team. Playing with it was fun and it helped me understand some Pokémon better, but now I think it’s time to ditch it as everyone has already used/ is still using Tapu Fini teams similar to this one, and players are better prepared to face them as well.

Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to try to reach 1st place in the end, but that is a goal I will try to reach in season 2 for sure. Even though best of 1 can still get really frustrating sometimes, this is one of the most fun formats I’ve played.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post, and thank you for reading!

10 comments

  1. I thought I was the only one using Vanilluxe… I’m gonna miss using Rotom-F with Choice Scarf and apparently Vanilluxe is the nearest thing to it that I can get in the metagame.

  2. I really like how you use Snorlax as I started using him myself recently. I’ve been meaning to do BS Special and with 2 allowing the whole Pokedex things ought to get pretty interesting

  3. I never thought I’d see Vanilluxe be used so often in competitive play.

  4. so he’s saying vanilluxe has more fire power then ninetales?

  5. 0 speed IVS Snorlax?
    I find some team like yours without Snorlax in ladder!

  6. Really cool looking team. The AFK core is truly strong if a format like this. Arcanine itself is amazing as it can fit so well with all the Tapus tbh. My favourite calc was the one for Snorlax. I thought about it. And the more I thought about it, the better an idea it sounded. I was wondering why Snorlax wouldn’t have Sp Defense investments, similar to how Calm Mind sweepers usually have defensive bulk (though I know yours didn’t lol). But Snorlax’s Special Defense is so good. And Water Vortex from Araquanid is insanely powerful. Very threatening for a Trick Room counter for sure. And with the combination of Figy + Gluttony, it heals so much and burns out your opponent’s Z-move. So wonderful!

  7. Olá Ricardo, eu também sou um vgc player de Portugal e gostaria de saber se conheces algum grupo português dedicado ao pokemon vgc.E também se tu ou alguém conhece alguns torneios que existam em Portugal.
    Obrigado e cumprimentos a todos os Vgc players 🙂

    • Oi DM, conheço sim, podes entrar no grupo “Pokémon VGC Portugal” no Facebook, ou se quiseres, no chat do Discord da comunidade portuguesa, onde podes ser melhor informado sobre os eventos (e sim, existem torneios em Portugal, que são os Premier Challenges e os Midseason Showdowns).

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