Hey guys, my name is Rob Akershoek aka ApplePieVGC. I’m an active member of the online community on Showdown as a voice and in NPA as a member of the Akala Toucans.
I went to my first event in VGC 2017 (the Dutch Open), which I won. From that point on I’ve done decently at events and my main achievements include top 8 Sheffield Regional 2017, reaching Day 2 of the 2017 World Championships and finishing 22nd in London Internats 2018.
Other than that, I’ve finished top 16 at both the Bremen Regional 2017 and the Leipzig Regional 2018 where I bubbled as 9th ;-;. I’ve also finished Top 4 in the online Indy Challenge.
This team reached no.1 on the ladder early meta on showdown and was used by Riazyuu. I was inspired by him and built my own version, based on his 6 mons, and subsequently used this to win the first TT circuit grinder as well as my first 2018 PC. I also used it in the early weeks of NPA.
Furthermore I would have probably brought this to Leipzig Regionals, were it not for the Curse ban.
Charizard-Mega-Y @ Charizardite Y
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Heat Wave
– Hidden Power [Ground] – Protect
With the nerf of Kangaskhan and Salamence, Charizard has become one of the most prominent Megas in VGC ’18. And for a good reason. There are very few Pokemon that can switch into a sun powered Heat Wave or Overheat. Combine this with a Cresselia that can use Icy Wind to slow down opposing mons and Helping Hand to boost Heat Wave or Overheat, and you’ve got a strong force on your hands. Most Kangaskhan on ladder were Adamant when I was using this team, therefore going Timid max speed gave me a good shot at OHKOing them with Overheat (and otherwise having the option of risking the speed tie). Hidden Power Ground was added to help vs. Heatran. Solar Beam was not necessary since the team already has both a Kartana and a Tapu Koko for water types.
- 252 SpA Mega Charizard Y Overheat vs. 140 HP / 0 SpD Mega Kangaskhan in Sun: 195-229 (98.4 – 115.6%) — 87.5% chance to OHKO
- 252 SpA Mega Charizard Y Helping Hand Overheat vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T in Sun: 232-274 (118.3 – 139.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
Landorus-Therian @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 132 HP / 116 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Rock Slide
Good old Choice Scarf Landorus-T. Not only is this the best Pokemon in the format, it also has great synergy with Charizard, whose flying typing allows you to fire off Earthquakes and Heat Waves at your opponents. The Choice Scarf helped protect Charizard from opposing Tapu Koko and other fast threats, as well as serve as a late game sweeper. U-turn is great for pivoting and does wonders when combined with Tapu Koko’s Volt Switch. Scarf Rock Slide is always a good way to turn around a bad game, while Superpower is very useful in the weather war vs Tyranitar.
- 252 SpA Mega Charizard Y Flamethrower vs. 132 HP / 4 SpD Landorus-T in Sun: 160-189 (88.3 – 104.4%) — 25% chance to OHKO
Kartana @ Aguav Berry
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 140 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 244 SpD / 116 Spe
– Leaf Blade
– Sacred Sword
This team was built early meta when rain was very prominent. Rain teams usually had a good plan to stop Charizard Y by itself, but this Kartana is the perfect support. With the Adamant nature it hits almost as hard as a max-invested Jolly one, but it is really bulky. The berry really helps with the rain matchup and vs opposing Landorus-T and makes Kartana surprisingly bulky. Tailwind is a great support for Charizard, while Leaf Blade helps deal with water types. Sacred Sword is great vs opposing Tyranitar, Heatran and other Pokemon that are problematic for Charizard.
- 252 SpA Tapu Koko Gigavolt Havoc (175 BP) vs. 140 HP / 244 SpD Kartana in Electric Terrain: 133-157 (87.5 – 103.2%) — 25% chance to OHKO
- 4+ Atk Kartana Leaf Blade vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Tapu Fini: 168-198 (94.9 – 111.8%) — 62.5% chance to OHKO
Tapu Koko @ Electrium Z
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Volt Switch
– Hidden Power [Ice] – Thunderbolt
Tapu Koko is important in terms of positioning and for the fast offensive option the team offers. Combined with Helping Hand this Koko can wreak havoc with it’s z move. I opted for volt switch, since the pivoting was really important for this team and allowed the more bulky Pokemon in the back take the hits. Hidden Power Ice was for AV Landorus and potential Scarf Landorus on the switch or after a Icy Wind, since they could be problematic for the team. When I used this team early meta Kommo’o wasn’t as big of a threat and therefore I opted against Dazzling Gleam. However, this did make my matchup vs Scrafty and Kommo’o harder. But since most of those teams had Gengar and Scarf Bulu, going for the Cresselia Snorlax option was usually better anyway.
Snorlax @ Figy Berry
EVs: 116 HP / 140 Atk / 204 Def / 44 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
– High Horsepower
Snorlax was a great addition to the team since most of the other mons are very frail and offensive. Snorlax can act as a defensive pivot and switch in as well as give the team an advantage in Trick Room. Curselax is really good on this team, as the offensive members can take out threats and then Cursing up can be a clear win con. A decent attack investment was chosen in order to make Snorlax hit like a truck in Trick Room with Double-Edge, especially with Helping Hand support from Cresselia.
- 140+ Atk Snorlax Helping Hand Double-Edge vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Mega Charizard Y: 168-198 (109.8 – 129.4%) — guaranteed OHKO
- +1 140+ Atk Snorlax Helping Hand Double-Edge vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Tapu Fini: 181-214 (102.2 – 120.9%) — guaranteed OHKO
Cresselia @ Wiki Berry
EVs: 220 HP / 164 Def / 4 SpA / 116 SpD / 4 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Icy Wind
– Helping Hand
– Trick Room
Cresselia is very important for the team, as it is one of the only members that can really take hits (along with Snorlax). The threat of both Icy Wind and Trick Room gives the team a lot of flexibility. Helping Hand supports all the offensive Pokemon on the team and can really catch opponents off guard. The spread was made to be as bulky as possible since this Cresselia is not on the team for damage output, but to support the team with speed control and switch-in bulk throughout the entire game.
The main point of the team is to blow away your opponent with the pressure offered by Charizard-Y, Tapu Koko, and Landorus. The key is keeping speed control in your favor, either with Kartana’s Tailwind or with Cresselia’s Icy Wind and Trick Room. The team is not very bulky and thus requires you to play quite offensively and keep the pressure on your opponent. It is important to analyze what your opponent is going to do to stop the offensive mode, since that often opens up opportunities for the Snorlax Cresselia Trick Room mode.
Core Combinations and Common Leads
The usual lead is Cresselia + a offensive pivot, either Landorus or Tapu Koko, in order to position yourself in a way where you can try and sweep. The beauty of that lead is that you can look at what your opponent is bringing and then decide whether to go with Icy Wind speed control or Trick Room. When facing rain, a lead of Charizard and Kartana usually works best. The four Pokemon I bring the most are Charizard, Tapu Koko, Landorus and Cresselia. In a BO3 it usually works well to sometimes bring Snorlax over one of those.
The main key to look for in preview is, “how can I support my Charizard in firing off as many powerful sun-boosted attacks as possible?” When it feels like your opponent is over prepared for Charizard, going Cresselia and Snorlax usually works wonders, as people underestimate the damage of a Helping Hand boosted Double-Edge.
The tricky part of this matchup is navigating through the Mega Tyranitar which is usually in these compositions. Opponents usually tend to not bring Amoonguss to a Charizard matchup, which is why Snorlax Cresselia usually works well there. A lead of Landorus and Cresselia with Tapu Koko and Snorlax in the back is usually the play vs this team. This matchup needs to be approached in a way to do as much damage with Snorlax in Trick Room and then try to clean up with Tapu Koko and Landorus.
The common core to lead against rain is Charizard and Kartana. You remain in control by deciding when to Mega-evolve and to bring up the sun. Kartana with the berry can take a lot of hits and provides the speed control needed to sweep this kind of team. Versus this team composition, I usually have Tapu Koko and Snorlax in the back.
The main goal in this matchup is to pressure the Manectric with Choice Scarf Landorus (also giving you the option of repositioning with U-turn), while trying to set up Curse Snorlax early to make sure you can handle the Trick Room mode. These teams usually do kind of struggle vs Charizard (especially with Overheat), therefore its key to position it in a way where Snorlax can’t just set up for free. As the last mon I would suggest bringing Kartana as it threatens the Snorlax, Gothitelle and the Tapu Fini.
Charizard Koko mirror
A mirror is always tricky, but they key Pokemon here is Cresselia. It is of vital importance to keep the speed control in your favor. I suggest bringing Charizard Cresselia Snorlax and either Landorus or Koko depending on the exact composition of your opponent’s team and what you expect your them to bring. In a mirror situation, having the Snorlax Trick Room option is great when you are struggling with speed control. This ability to switching between fast and slow mode will put you in the driver’s seat.
Key Points to Remember
The main tip I can give about this team is realize that the team is flexible and if one mode is not working, it is very easy to switch it up and go with a different strategy. Always remember that Cresselia is your key Pokemon in maintaining control of the match.
Oh and of course, do not forget that Charizard is a great Mega, damage wise, but be careful of the 90% accuracy of both Heat Wave and Overheat. Changing Hidden Power Ground to Flamethrower is an entirely reasonable option.
Big thanks to Riazyuu (@somaaru) for creating the team and Jon Evans (@Ezrael) for helping me with my own version.
Thank you for reading this analysis and hopefully you will be able to read more of these from me in the future.
Credit to All0412 for featured image