A Shocker in Dallas! – A Top 16 Dallas Regional Report

Hello everyone! I am Trevor. You may know me online as blueebee. I have been playing VGC online since 2014, but this is my first year competing in real life events! After placing exactly 33rd in Anaheim, it was great to be able to perform well in Dallas.

A week before Dallas, I had absolutely no idea what to bring. I tested just about every restricted pair, but didn’t love any of them. I wanted to feel comfortable bringing both of my two most powerful Pokémon to almost every single match. I finally decided on the combination of Kyogre and Xerneas, because even though the pair has its share of problems, I felt that they were the best at overcoming obstacles just through sheer power.

Having decided my restricted pair, I was heavily inspired by Daniel Thorpe’s (TTT) “Don’t Jynx It” team report. Togedemaru is one of my favorite Pokémon and I thought the idea of using Nuzzle + Icy Wind to set up Kyogre sweeps had a lot of promise. While his team used Ho-Oh as the other legendary, I thought that my Modest Xerneas would also benefit greatly from this speed control premise.

Nicknames of the team are from cats I have met.

Team’s Achievements

  • Dallas Regionals Top 16
  • Enfield CT PC 1’st

The Team

Link to Paste

RACHMANINOV (Togedemaru) @ Assault Vest
Ability: Lightning Rod
Level: 50
EVs: 156 HP / 12 Atk / 4 Def / 84 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Fake Out
– Zing Zap
– Super Fang
– Nuzzle

  • 252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 156 HP / 84 SpD Assault Vest Togedemaru in Rain: 135-159 (84.3 – 99.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 SpA Lunala Menacing Moonraze Maelstrom vs. 156 HP / 84 SpD Assault Vest Togedemaru: 136-162 (85 – 101.2%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
  • 12 Atk Togedemaru Zing Zap vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Kyogre: 102-120 (57.9 – 68.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO

I took this Togedemaru spread straight from Daniel’s report. I saw no reason to change it and it has performed admirably for me. Togedemaru is a great lead as it has a fast Fake Out, can spam Nuzzle and Super Fang to help set up the end game, and goes down pretty easily allowing a free switch in once his job is done. Nuzzle can also give you a chance to seal contested games or escape from sure defeat.

TCHAIKOVSKY (Ludicolo) @ Mago Berry
Ability: Swift Swim
Level: 50
EVs: 28 HP / 4 Def / 20 SpA / 236 SpD / 220 Spe
Calm Nature
– Fake Out
– Icy Wind
– Grass Knot
– Scald

  • 252 SpA Tornadus Hurricane vs. 28 HP / 236+ SpD Ludicolo: 134-158 (84.2 – 99.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 20 SpA Ludicolo Scald vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Incineroar in Rain: 102-120 (51 – 60%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Ludicolo is my primary answer to opposing Kyogre. This spread focuses less on doing damage and more on maintaining field presence and speed control. I wanted to have to two Fake Out users on the team to support Xerneas setting up. Ludicolo is probably the member of the team I use the least, but is absolutely vital in its role.

LOLCAT-MEGA (Mandibuzz) @ Iapapa Berry
Ability: Overcoat
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 12 Def / 244 SpD / 4 Spe
Careful Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Tailwind
– Taunt
– Foul Play
– Whirlwind

  • 0 Atk Mandibuzz Foul Play vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Solgaleo: 176-210 (72.1 – 86%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ Atk Groudon Rock Slide vs. 244 HP / 12 Def Mandibuzz: 74-88 (34.2 – 40.7%) — guaranteed 3HKO
  • 252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 244 HP / 244+ SpD Mandibuzz in Rain: 133-157 (61.5 – 72.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 244 HP / 244+ SpD Mandibuzz: 180-212 (83.3 – 98.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Mandibuzz, “Yveltal-lite”, is a deeply underappreciated Pokémon in this format. Foul Play hits Solgaleo, Lunala, and Gengar for big damage. She has Tailwind, Taunt, and Whirlwind (or Snarl) for controlling the field. Also, she is immune to Prankster, Precipice Blades, and Sleep Powder. I added Mandibuzz to the team to help protect Xerneas against Solgaleo, beat Lunala, and to do a lot of work against teams like Raghav Malaviya’s Anaheim winning Groudon/Yveltal core. With the protection of Togedemaru, teams like that have a lot of trouble dealing damage to Mandibuzz while she sets Tailwind, denies Trick Room, or generally chips away.

Note: My Mandibuzz is Careful Nature because the night before Dallas I was considering running a physical move like U-turn or Brave Bird, but I decided on Whirlwind which is a great surprise against set up Xerneas. Calm is slightly better for switching into opposing Foul Plays.

THE VICAR (Volcarona) @ Firium Z
Ability: Flame Body
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 4 Def / 76 SpA / 12 SpD / 180 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Protect
– Rage Powder
– Whirlwind
– Overheat

  • 76 SpA Volcarona Inferno Overdrive (195 BP) vs. 220 HP / 140+ SpD Groudon in Sun: 195-231 (96 – 113.7%) — 75% chance to OHKO
  • 76 SpA Volcarona Inferno Overdrive (195 BP) vs. 236 HP / 228+ SpD Stakataka in Sun: 165-195 (99.3 – 117.4%) — 93.8% chance to OHKO
  • 252+ Atk Solgaleo Sunsteel Strike vs. 236 HP / 4 Def Volcarona: 67-80 (35.2 – 42.1%) — guaranteed 3HKO
  • 252 SpA Lunala Menacing Moonraze Maelstrom vs. 236 HP / 12 SpD Volcarona: 168-198 (88.4 – 104.2%) — 25% chance to OHKO

This spot was originally Incineroar, but I felt the team was too weak to Kartana and having 3 Pokémon without Protect seemed liked too much. Volcarona is a very effective partner for Xerneas. It is able to redirect away attacks, threaten OHKO’s on common Xerneas answers like Amoongus and Solgaleo, and can Whirlwind out opposing boosted Xerns. Although Kyogre hinders Volcarona’s damage output, with the Z-Move Volc is still able to handle Grass types that would otherwise threaten Kyogre.

This spread can probably be optimized, but it is effective enough. Speed is 1 more than Groudon’s. I wanted to have a decent chance to survive Lunala’s Z-move without sacrificing too much Physical bulk, so I put most of the remaining EVs into HP. The rest is dumped into Sp. Attack.

CLAUDE MONET (Xerneas) @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
Level: 50
EVs: 36 HP / 4 Def / 228 SpA / 28 SpD / 212 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Protect
– Moonblast
– Dazzling Gleam
– Geomancy

  • 252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 36 HP / 28 SpD Xerneas in Rain: 172-204 (83.4 – 99%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • +2 228+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Incineroar: 183-216 (91.5 – 108%) — 43.8% chance to OHKO

Xerneas is the powerhouse that the rest of the team is built around. This Xerneas is Modest. I considered that Timid might be more consistent, but the Xerneas I had in-game was Modest, so that’s what I ran. This team has enough speed control to support Modest Xern effectively and having now played many games with it, I am hesitant to give up the extra power. Protected by Volcarona or Fake Out, Xern often has enough room to Geomancy and run wild. This Xern hits the Sp. Attack bump, outspeeds Venusaur by 1, and has extra bulk to come in clutch.

LADY GWENE (Kyogre) @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Drizzle
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 28 Def / 76 SpA / 60 SpD / 108 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Water Spout
– Scald
– Ice Beam
– Protect

  • +2 252+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 236 HP / 60 SpD Kyogre: 169-201 (82.4 – 98%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 Atk Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 236 HP / 28 Def Kyogre: 90-106 (43.9 – 51.7%) — 11.3% chance to 2HKO

Kyogre is the other sweeper of this team. When I first started testing this team I began with Specs Ogre. But I didn’t like being locked into one move, so instead, I focused on a bulky Berry spread. With all the speed control on this team, I didn’t feel the need to run max Speed. Running Berry is quite useful as most of the time opponent’s will suspect a boosting item or Z-Move and are dismayed when Kyogre heals itself. Combined with Lightning Rod, this Kyogre can stay on the field for a long time. It outspeeds most bulky Groudon and hits the Sp. Atk bump.

Team Play

The plan of this team is pretty straightforward: get speed control through some combination of Nuzzle, Icy Wind, and Tailwind, then have Xerneas and/or Kyogre come in for the sweep. The team has enough tricks up its sleeve to deny opposing set up most of the time and to protect your own sweepers.

Core Combinations and Common Leads

Togedemaru is the most common lead for this team as it performs well it a wide variety of situations. If they have a potential Tsareena/Lele in the back, go for Nuzzle. When in doubt, Nuzzle.

Allows protection of your Xern while you Geo, Whirlwind to stop opposing Xern leads, and generally beats the common Amoonguss + Xern lead.

Pretty straightforward: fast Fake Out, Geo, spam Nuzzle / Super Fang. Very nice for facing Scarf Kyogre leads, especially if you bring Ludicolo in the back. This lead can also do work against the common Incineroar + Xern lead, as one play you can go for is turn 1 Fake Out their Incin and Geo, then turn 2 Nuzzle Xern + Moonblast Incin. The chip damage from even -1 Fake Out makes the +2 Moonblast roll into Incineroar highly in your favor.

This gives a lot of teams trouble and basically ensures you will have speed control. Mandibuzz can become passive after setting Tailwind, but Togedemaru’s fragility often means you will get the free switch.

Unlike other Rain teams, Kyogre + Ludicolo is not a very effective lead here due to Kyogre’s low Speed and Ludi’s lack of Sp. Atk or Z-Move.

Team Match-ups

One of the biggest pains with this team is that Kyogre can completely inhibit your own Volcarano from scoring KO’s. You must think a lot about positioning, or if you need Volcarona but don’t absolutely need Kyogre, bring Ludicolo instead. Going off that, Amoonguss can become a big problem because Volcarona is the only way to effectively damage to it. Strong players will recognize this and play to it. You may need to Super Fang it with Togedemaru first, especially in Rain. Mandibuzz can at least prevent it from putting the entire team to sleep, which may be enough to get you through a few turns. If all else fails, Nuzzle and cross your fingers.

Winning the weather war isn’t always necessary with this team because Volcarona becomes a massive threat in Sun. Also, bulky Kyogre with Ice Beam does not need the Sun to beat most Groudon. Weather is mostly about keeping Venusaur under control and limiting Fire damage to your team.

+ – Outstanding

Mandibuzz, Xerneas and Kyogre should be able to do a ton of work against this core. Bring Togedemaru or Volcarona depending on whether you want to shut down Tapu Koko or OHKO stuff in the sun.

+ – Good

I feel Togedemaru and Ludicolo should give this team the advantage most of the time in the mirror. It is harder to deny the opposing Geomancy with Volcarona threatened heavily by Kyogre, but Fake Outs, Nuzzle, and Icy Wind should keep your opponent on the back foot.

+/ – Good

This is another matchup where Mandibuzz shines. Buzz can Taunt Fini, Whirlwind out any boosts, stop Trick Room, and threaten OHKO’s onto Swaggered Solgaleo. Xern + Kyogre should deal enough damage to earn the win.

+++ – Questionable

Without Gengar, this matchup should be in your favor with Mandibuzz and if you position Volcarona / Kyogre well. Against Gengar, it gets harder because one Gengar with Taunt / Z-Destiny Bond can stop Mandibuzz, Volcarona and Xerneas from doing their preferred things. This matchup comes down a lot to leads and winning the weather war. I faced this core at Dallas and felt the matchup was about 50/50. However, I recently played in back to back PC’s against Zach Carlson (Prof. Shroomish). I was able to win our first Bo3 (with some timely hax) by leading Mandibuzz consistently into his Venu/Groudon. But in our second set he consistently led Gengar/Xern, and it crushed me both games. I’m not sure this team has an answer to that lead other than going for reads.

Rundown of Tournament

Round 1: vs Unknown – WLW

I didn’t realize until entering team preview of round 1 that the matchup vs Talonflame is pretty tricky. Games 1 + 3 were pretty similar, he led Kartana + Talonflame. I was able to make some defensive switches and get Nuzzles off. Once I had speed control, Xerneas + Kyogre swept. In game 2 he led Kartana and Kyogre which immediately put me on the back foot and I was never able to establish my set up.

Togedemaru came up huge with a couple of Zing Zap flinches and I started to feel good about my chances for the day.

Round 2: vs William – LL

I immediately recognized this as similar to Daniel’s “Don’t Jynx It” team, which I was not expecting to face. Unfortunately, after reading that article several times to get ideas for my team, I forgot what Jynx’s speed was. Game 1, I made suboptimal plays thinking that Jynx was base speed 100 (it’s 95 and slower than Togedemaru). Game 2 came down to him hitting Lovely Kiss through paralysis and Zing Zap, which he did. He made good plays and deserved the win.

Round 3: vs Angel Miranda – WLW

I was really hyped to be able to play a legend like Angel. Game 1 he led Gengar Xerneas, which I think is the best lead against my team. But I was able to squeak out a win by making some risky plays and Nuzzling everything in sight. Game 2 he led the same and closed the game fairly quickly. Game 3 he went away from that lead to Incineroar + Gengar, freely allowing Togedemaru to do his thing.

Round 4: vs Rajan Bal – WLW

Again I was pretty pumped to face a name I had seen a lot of online. Game 1 he led Yveltal + Ludicolo, probably expecting a Scarf Ogre lead. Enter the mouse. It came down to my 50% Kyogre 2v1 his paralyzed Kyogre locked into Ice Beam and paralyzed Yveltal. He Sucker Punched and activated Kyogre’s berry giving him more than enough health to seal it. Game 2 he led Kyogre + Yveltal and was able to get off enough Snarls while I was pivoting to take the game. Game 3 I led Toge + Xern into his Tsareena + Kyogre. I switched Xern into Ludi while he Feinted the Xern slot and Water Spouted. Toge survived and got the Nuzzle unto Kyogre. Geomancy followed shortly after.

Round 5: vs George – WW

In team preview, I instantly clicked Mandibuzz. With the protection of Lightning Rod, he had very little to deal with Buzz. I felt great about my last minute tech into Whirlwind because I was able to instantly phaze out his Z-TW Lugia. Mandibuzz shut down Sleep Powder and Trick Room and set Tailwind several times. Kyogre and Xerneas handled the rest.

Round 6: vs Jakob Swilley – LWW

This was my most intense set of the day. I was unsure how to go about dealing with Rayquaza + double Steel. G1 he led Ray + Ferro into my Toge + Xern. He got the advantage pretty quick with Earth Power into my Toge and surprised me with Life Orb Ferrothorn. G2 my Ludicolo knocked out Kyogre and I was able to get enough chip damage onto the Steels to set up a Geomancy. Going into G3, I decided that his Kyogre hadn’t really done all that much in the match and that he might not bring it, opening the door for Volcarona. My call was correct, as he brought Ray + Incineroar + Ferrothorn + Stakataka. It came down to a 2v3 situation. I had boosted Xern + Volcarona vs Incin (which had just eaten its berry to get to ~70%) + paralyzed Ray + Stak in the back. I Dazzling Gleamed and decided to burn Volcarona’s Z move into the Incin slot to guarantee the KO, cover for Stak switch in, and preserve Volc’s Sp. Atk for Stak. I got both KO’s and then +2 Moonblast + Overheat was able to KO and win.

Round 7: vs Josh Mecham – LL

This may be the worst match I’ve ever played. G1 I Geomancied in front of Amoonguss and was predictably instantly hit with Clear Smog. I was also surprised his Yveltal was not running Assault Vest and it OHKO’d Togedemaru Turn 1. G2 I let his Yveltal Knock Off my Power Herb before clicking Geomancy…

I think that I had lost steam towards the end of the day and wasn’t thinking through my moves properly. Black Glasses Yveltal is also a bigger threat to this team than I thought, as it threatens a ton of damage to almost everything. Josh played well and I was disappointed in my performancesuch silly mistakes! Looking forward to a rematch one day.

Round 8: vs Brandon Meckley – WW

I was definitely feeling fatigue set in at this point. G1 I switched out my fully boosted Xerneas for no reason. I’m guessing he was also tired, because I was immediately bailed out by his Solgaleo Wild Charging directly into my Togedemaru. I had heard rumors of an AV Solgaleo + Ice Z Kyruem going around, so I figured this was the team and made aggressive Water Spout plays without fear of Wide Guard to take the win. G2 I was able to KO Solgaleo early and Xerneas rolled to victory.

6-2 with strong resistance was enough to earn me 15th place and my best finish this year!

Conclusion

I am very proud of the way this team performed. I thought my two losses on the day were because of bad plays I made, rather than anything wrong with the team. Although a strong point of this team is the surprise factor, I think it has enough positive matchups to warrant some serious consideration.

That said, there is always room for improvement! Although I was able to beat a version of Nails’ Venu-Groudon-Xern-Gengar team at Dallas, the team’s record against that core since is spotty. Since it won, I’m sure it will be quite popular, so I will look to improve that matchup significantly either with new members or better leads.

Going forward, I am going to test variations of this team that don’t have the Kyogre-Volcarona disharmony. I think some possibilities are relying on a Fly-Z user rather than Fire-Z, or switching Mandibuzz for its stronger bird brother Yvetal.

Special Thanks to my parents, Esprit, r/stunfisk, and content creators Wolfe Glick, Aaron Zheng, and James Baek, without whom this wouldn’t have been possible.

Credit to kelvin trainerk for the featured image

One comment

  1. toge+mandibuzz cant ensure tail wind up,I considered toge+lugia,but for same reason. Zekrom can pass lighting rod and hit the setter of tailwind.

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