Crikey Mate! Greninja Conquers Oceania – A Top 16 International Report

My name is Graham Amedee AKA Ammodee, and I’m a VGC player from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. I have been playing in VGC competitions since 2015. However, I only started taking the game more seriously in 2017. I am mostly known for building hyper-offensive unorthodox teams, e.g. using Mega Lopunny, Blacephalon, Greninja, and Drampa. I am also known as the John Cena lookalike from the Brisbane Buzzwoles. A little more about me: I love to work out, play soccer, and I work for a social purpose organisation specialising in managing foster care placements.

Team’s Achievements

  • This team was very similar to my Sun Series team, which achieved Top 4 placing at Brisbane Regionals. The difference was replacing Sableye with Greninja.
  • I had cut Premier Challenges with this team throughout Moon series, prior to the Oceania IC.

The Team

Link to Paste

Groudon @ Life Orb
Ability: Drought
Level: 50
EVs: 188 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 236 SpD / 76 Spe
Careful Nature
– Precipice Blades
– Fire Punch
– Stone Edge
– Protect

Groudon was brought to every single matchup. His job was to come in late game and sweep. He was fantastic when used late game against the majority of teams. Offensively, Groudon was able to OHKO the majority of max HP Incineroar using Precipice Blades. Groudon was trained defensively to ensure he was able to take key attacks: +2 Moonblast from Timid Xerneas, the Z Move from Lunala, and Grass Knot from Modest Venusaur.

Xerneas @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
Level: 50
EVs: 92 HP / 4 Def / 156 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Moonblast
– Dazzling Gleam
– Geomancy
– Protect

Xerneas is an unbelievable Pokémon, given the fact it can double its Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed in a single-turn set up. The team was built around supporting Xerneas in achieving its boosted in stats from Geomancy.

Xerneas was Timid max Speed to get fast Geomancy off, particularly before Lunala can Z Move it. Xerneas had enough bulk to live a Modest Water Spout in the Rain.

Tapu Koko @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Electric Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Def / 244 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Volt Switch
– Thunder
– Electroweb
– Discharge

I’ve been sick of versing Choice Scarf Kyogre ever since I first played Sun series. I decided to have a faster Scarfer which can do good damage. Tapu Koko was key in aiding me through Swiss rounds, where a lot of my opponents had Tornadus/Kyogre teams. Most of the time, Scarf Tapu Koko was able to catch my opponent off-guard in games 1 and 2. I managed to win 2 out of my 3 TornOgre matchups.

Tapu Koko has a very basic EV spread and was trained to be as fast and as offensive as possible.

Incineroar @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 244 SpD / 28 Spe
Careful Nature
– Fake Out
– Flare Blitz
– Knock Off
– Roar

Incineroar, AKA the most used Pokémon in VGC 2019, was the MVP throughout the tournament. The item on Incineroar was the key which allowed me to beat Xerneas set up teams, where they would use Rage Powder for redirection. In three of my Swiss rounds, I managed to Roar their boosted Xerneas when their Amoonguss would Rage Powder.

Incineroar had enough bulk to live the +2 Moonblast from Timid Xerneas.

Crobat @ Focus Sash
Ability: Inner Focus
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Tailwind
– Super Fang
– Brave Bird
– Taunt

Crobat would be my go-to lead for the majority of my matches. Crobat was selected for its ability, Inner Focus, which ensured it would not flinch from Fake Out and be able to set up its speed control using Tailwind to increase my team’s Speed or Taunt to prevent their status moves.

Tailwind, Taunt, and Super Fang have always been standard moves for Crobat. I decided to add Brave Bird, as it worked out well for poor matchups against Venusaur, Volcarona, and Amoonguss. The item I chose for Crobat was the Focus Sash. If I didn’t have this item, my team would’ve struggled to beat Choice Scarf Tapu Lele.

Greninja @ Darkinium Z
Ability: Protean
Level: 50
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
– Dark Pulse
– Ice Beam
– Gunk Shot
– Protect

The most interesting member of the team was Greninja. I gave so much thought to this final slot. The role of the last slot was to help against matchups where Tapu Koko and Crobat weren’t so useful.

Greninja was trained primarily in Speed and Special Attack. Its item of choice was the Darkinium Z, which helped me against Solgaleo and Lunala teams. Greninja’s Z-Dark Pulse was able to OHKO Solgaleo and offensive Lunala, even through Shadow Shield.

My team always struggled to beat Zygarde teams with Solgaleo and Venusaur. Having Greninja with Ice Beam was a fantastic way to threaten that core.

Team Objective

Achieving speed control was the first priority with the team. Crobat was the go-to lead for the majority of games, as it would give me the Speed I needed with Tailwind and had Taunt to prevent the opponent’s speed control.

Another mode was to set up Xerneas with a Geomancy and protect it using Incineroar and Groudon. I didn’t choose this mode often, as I don’t have the best support for this game strategy. However, it was still an option.

Groudon was almost never my lead, as I liked to use it late game and win the weather war with it against opposing Kyogre teams.

Common Leads

+ – This lead was a very safe way to figure out my opponent’s leads, style of play and what sets they had on their Pokémon.

+ – This lead was utilised versing teams with Prankster Taunt. I would attempt to gain board positioning instead of going for speed control, pivoting between Tapu Koko and Incineroar.

+ – This lead was common if my opponent didn’t lead Incineroar or Tapu Koko. Greninja was great to lead against Lunala teams, as the Darkinium Z would catch my opponents off-guard.

+ – Fake Out and Geomancy was a no brain play. You’d be surprised at how easily you can win with this lead if your opponent doesn’t have answers to it.

Assessing Team Preview

  • What is their primary source of damage? Which Pokémon of mine can take hits from them well, and deliver good damage in return?
  • What’s my opponent’s form of speed control? Keep in mind abilities that utilise the weather and terrains for speed increases.
  • What’s my favourite game plan? What can my opponent do to stop it?
  • Does my opponent have Pokémon that have access to moves that can put my Pokémon to sleep? If so, do I have answers (e.g Taunt, Terrain Control) and abilities/items to prevent this?
  • Using this information, work out what the opponent’s game plan is. Instant offence? Set up? Defensive stall? Etc.

Team Matchups

I wouldn’t say there were any good matchups. Ones I did favour versing were standard Yveltal/ Groudon, standard Xerneas Lunala, and standard Xerneas Yveltal. Matchups I didn’t favour were Kyogre teams (but I knew how to deal with those).

+:
– Lead Incineroar/Crobat or Xerneas/Crobat.
– Set up your speed control and prevent Trick Room.
– Utilise Brave Bird to hit Volcarona/Venusaur for damage.
– Try set yourself up for late game with boosted Xerneas paired with Groudon.

+:
(This was used in my stream match versus Luke)
– Lead Xerneas/Crobat or Crobat/Incineroar.
– Set up speed control and prevent Trick Room/Spore.
– Kill the Yveltal before it can get off two Snarls on Xerneas.
– Make sure I am in a position to still Roar the opposing Xerneas.
– Prioritise killing Xerneas, as it is the primary damage output.

+
– Lead Crobat/Incineroar or Crobat/Greninja.
– Set up speed control and prevent Lovely Kiss from Smeargle.
– Utilise Darkinium Z from Greninja to threaten Lunala.
– Make sure I am in a position to Roar the opposing Xerneas if it decides to Geomancy.
– Prioritise killing Xerneas.

+:
– Lead Incineroar/Tapu Koko or Tapu Koko/Xerneas.
– Crobat isn’t useful due to the threat of Prankster Taunt from Tornadus.
– Play the board position game, using Incineroar and Tapu Koko to pivot.
– Prioritise killing Tornadus, then utilising Groudon’s Sun to neuter Kyogre’s damage output.
– Pivot yourself to a position where you can Fake Out and Geomancy.

+:
– Lead Crobat/Tapu Koko or Crobat/Greninja.
– Set up speed control using Tailwind or prevent theirs with Taunt. Clicking Taunt and spamming Electroweb helps me get Xerneas and Groudon in under Tailwind to sweep.
– Utilise the Z move on Greninja to OHKO Lunala.
– Aim to get Geomancy boosts with Xerneas, as offensive LunalaOgre teams struggle to kill Xerneas if Groudon’s Sun prevents Kyogre from doing as much damage as it otherwise would.

Rundown of Tournament

Round 1: Edu (PRT) – LL

– Lost first game due to wasting Taunt turns on a unusual Smeargle with Crafty Shield.
– Adjusted for game 2, but Lunala’s Z Move crit and KO’d my Groudon. Losing in game 2 cost me the chance to take the set to game 3.

Round 2: Jeremy Rose (AUS) – LWW

– He won game 1 where I missed two Precipice Blades and a Gunk Shot.
– He almost won game 2, where I missed a key Precipice Blades. He also had Sash on his Solgaleo. I Z-Dark Pulsed Solgaleo, but he lived and OHKO’d me back. I only barely managed to win.
– Game 3 was straightforward and I managed to win.

Round 3: Gunter (AUS) – WLW

– In game 1 he revealed Scarf Lele with Taunt. He prevented my Tailwind. However, I managed to position myself to get a Geomancy off with my Xerneas to win.
– Game 2 we both exchanged Geomancies. I missed a Precipice Blades on his Incineroar for the KO. I got a Burn and a crit on his Groudon. He managed to still take game 2.
– Game 3 was similar to game 2 (I can’t really remember), but I managed to get myself in a position where I got my Geomancy off and was able to do big damage before he could Geomancy.

Round 4: Kester – LWW

– Game 1, he out-positioned me and managed to sweep me with his Kyogre, which came in with weather advantage and speed control.
– Game 2, I made some calls and made some optimal plays where I was able to stay a step ahead with my board position. I chipped away at his Pokémon to beat his team.
– Game 3 was an even game. While I never Geomancied in front of his Taunt Tornadus in previous games, I managed to get a cheeky Geomancy off in front of it as he was banking on me not clicking it. I managed to support my Xerneas to KO his team from there.

Round 5: Kevin (MA) – WW

– Same team matchup as last round. It was fresh in my mind and I was very prepared to play against this.
– Game 1, I managed to pivoted to ensure I kept a good board position while chipping away at his Pokémon and preventing his Xerneas to setting up. I also ensured Kyogre would not do much damage thanks to Groudon’s weather control.
– Game 2 was similar to game 1. Thankfully, I had Safety Goggles on my Incineroar. When he was in a position with Amoonguss that could Rage Powder to take hits for my Intimidated Incineroar and Tapu Koko, I managed to Roar Amoonguss’ partner since my Incineroar ignored the Rage Powder. That helped me win and ensure Xerneas’ damage output was not a threat anymore.

Round 6: Luke I (AUS) – WW (stream match)

– Game 1, I made a lot of calls where I knew he wouldn’t use Spore with Amounguss since I had a Crobat that could Taunt it. I managed to get good damage off early in the game to ensure I had the upper hand to play in a straightforward manner and win from there.
– Game 2 was pretty straightforward, where I set my speed control and prevented Luke from putting me to sleep or setting up Xerneas early game. He managed to put my Xerneas to sleep mid-game. Fortunately, I got a first turn wake and I was able to capitalise from there. Apparently, I won all the Xerneas speed ties, and that made securing a solid win in game 2 easy.

Round 7: Matthias Loong (SG) – LL

– Game 1, he beat me because I thought he wouldn’t have Roar on his Incineroar. That sealed Game 1 as I had few ways to deal damage. He kept his Tailwind up and played around Tapu Koko well.
– Game 2, I got smashed as I decided to bench Xerneas and bring Greninja (which I never normally bring) for offensive Z Move pressure. I did not feel confident playing against Roar Incineroar first game to bring Xerneas again the next game. I got absolutely outplayed.

Conclusion

I was happy with how the team played up until my last round. I wish I had Throat Chop over Knock Off on my Incineroar to prevent opposing Roar. Apart from that, I was very happy with how the team performed throughout the day. The downside to this team is always how inaccurate Groudon’s Precipice Blades is.

I would like to thank my brother Paulo (the mastodon) Amedee for always helping me with final touches to improve certain matchups. I’d also like to thank my other brother Brian Amedee. He hasn’t played much this year due to work and study commitments, but his outside-of-the-box thinking and knowledge of the game helped me decide on unique items and moves to flowchart key threats to the team. Lastly, I want to thank the Brisbane Buzzwoles for always providing quality practice at local Premier Challenges and also plenty of banter and fun whenever we travel for these big events.

Credit to shadowbattle for featured image

One comment

  1. It is a very nice team and judging from the interview the guy behind it is also very cool

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