Hey, I’m Matt Carter, a UK VGC player otherwise known as Mattsby online. I’ve been playing VGC since 2012 and started taking it more seriously in 2016 and the following years. In 2016 I went undefeated in games during day 1 of the World Championships and managed to make top 8 at the Birmingham Regionals in 2017. After a long hiatus with occasional dabbling in VGC, the announcement of the 2020 World Championships being held in London sparked me up and I was ready to jump back in full force.
After taking a break due to a dismal finish in the Berlin IC early in 2019, I was all but done with VGC as a whole. I would occasionally play on Pokemon Showdown with various silly teams, usually including Pokémon such as Ampharos and Aggron, but I really enjoyed the core of Tapu Lele, Groudon, and Ultra Necrozma, which became the eventual starting point of the team I ended up bringing.
I enjoyed nothing more than smashing teams with a lead combination of Tapu Lele and Necrozma, but noticed some massive flaws in this plan. Follow Me in combination with Xerneas or Lunala is an almost instantaneous loss, and if you aren’t scoring KO’s before your opponent does, you’re also likely to lose. I had to find a way to maintain the momentum in my favour as often as possible, as losing a turn with this hyper offensive team was devastating.
Necrozma-Dawn-Wings @ Ultranecrozium Z
Ability: Prism Armor
EVs: 84 HP / 4 Def / 132 SpA / 36 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Moongeist Beam
– Photon Geyser
– Earth Power
Ultra Necrozma struck a cord with me personally. It has hilariously absurd damage output, straight up OHKO’ing a majority of the format with a neutral Light That Burns the Sky, and when boosted further by Psychic Terrain, it just deletes opposing Pokémon from the game. It also has the benefit of having two different base forms: Dusk Mane and Dawn Wings, with Dusk Mane having a much better defensive typing than Dawn Wings but lacking the move Moongeist Beam which I find all too useful (especially against the influx of Lunala post-Worlds).
I opted for a Timid Nature to at least ensure a Speed tie with opposing Ultra Necrozma, as I didn’t really care for speed creeping Weavile. The Special Defense investment was to be able to take on a bulkier Mega Gengar’s Shadow Ball, although this rarely came into play. I seldom stayed in Dawn Wings form, but it can be used in a pinch for STAB on Moongeist Beam and to better take Ice Beams aimed at an Ultra Bursted Necrozma.
Tapu Lele @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Psychic Surge
EVs: 28 HP / 28 Def / 220 SpA / 4 SpD / 228 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Magic Room
– Dazzling Gleam
Tapu Lele was an obvious partner, but also the one I questioned the most throughout the process. I always felt like all it accomplished was launching off high-powered attacks before fainting immediately after. It also lends itself heavily to a hyper offensive play-style, which I was not too familiar with beforehand, as I often preferred to have many defensive options during battle, something Lele did not provide. That being said, the priority blocking provided by Psychic Terrain and the ability to outspeed most of the format with a Choice Scarf was incredibly valuable. I made this Lele deliberately underspeed Mega Aerodactyl so a combination of Rock Slide + Moonblast would KO most Yveltal without setting off a Berry. I opted for Psychic over Psyshock since it does much more damage to Groudon and since I rarely attack a Geo’d Xerneas with it.
Groudon-Primal @ Red Orb
Ability: Desolate Land
EVs: 188 HP / 156 Atk / 4 Def / 132 SpD / 28 Spe
– Precipice Blades
– Fire Punch
Next up was the other Restricted Pokémon. Necrozma is flexible in its partner restricted options, with most players opting for one of Xerneas, Kyogre, or Groudon.
I personally chose Groudon as it is the one I am most familiar with and comfort is important to me. The Ground coverage it provided helped massively in breaking through the Steel types of the format, which would usually resist the ‘Psyspam’ half of the team. It also benefits from Necrozma’s massive on-board pressure to remove any threat to Groudon instantly. It naturally threatens Incineroar, which is a nuisance Pokémon to almost any team. I opted for Physical Groudon as I disliked being useless against a Geomancied Xerneas and Intimidate really wasn’t a huge deal, with Salamence being pressured by the PsySpam core and Incineroar having to take massive damage to lower Groudon’s Attack. Substitute was a very strong choice on this Pokémon, as it punished the defensive switching and play required whenever it’s on the field.
Incineroar (M) @ Figy Berry
EVs: 236 HP / 4 Atk / 148 Def / 4 SpA / 116 SpD
IVs: 10 Spe
– Flare Blitz
– Fake Out
Incineroar was a natural pick to round off the core, having access to Fake Out, slow U-turn, and Snarl, which helped me pivot and ensure the flow was always in my favour. Nothing fancy about this choice, other than that I opted for a more physically defensive variant to better take on Rayquaza, though this ended up being a less than optimal choice and hurt my overall matchups more than it helped. 10 Speed IVs was basic Speed creep, outspeeding min Speed Incineroar and those that tried to creep it also. It also alerted me to a min Speed Incineroar and slow U-turn play instantly. Incineroar ended up being the worst Pokemon on the team, and was brought to around 2-3 games throughout the day.
Aerodactyl-Mega @ Aerodactylite
EVs: 92 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 164 SpD / 244 Spe
– Rock Slide
– Sky Drop
– Wide Guard
Aerodactyl has become one of my favourite Pokemon over the past few years. I used it in 2016 to go undefeated in day 1 of the World Championships, and I used it again this year in its Mega form to great success. I mentioned earlier that PsySpam has issues with redirection. Normally, I would opt for a Tapu Koko to Sky Drop the problem mon, but the Electric Terrain would disrupt the flow of the team. The team also struggled with Crobat RayOgre teams, Yveltal as a whole, and needed a Speed control option. Enter Aerodactyl: its blistering 150 base Speed allows it to outspeed pretty much every Pokémon in the format, up to and including Scarf Tapu Lele, which would normally outspeed and OHKO Necrozma. Wide Guard is an incredibly strong option paired with Groudon.
Bisharp @ Assault Vest
EVs: 244 HP / 92 Atk / 4 Def / 156 SpD / 12 Spe
– Iron Head
– Low Kick
– Sucker Punch
Bisharp is a funny Pokemon. I needed something that could pressure the ever-present Incineroar whilst also being able to deal with Xernala cores, which the team struggled against. While I don’t believe it to be the best choice for its slot on this team, it certainly performed in the tournament, and I’m glad I used it. Assurance allowed for massive damage when used in combination with almost any attack and was especially useful against Dusk Mane Necrozma and Bronzong. Iron Head hits Xerneas hard and cannot be weakened in any way, and Low Kick was a way to hit back against Incineroar and Stakataka. Assault Vest was a silly item that allowed Bisharp to take some ridiculous attacks, though I believe Careful was incorrect, as I missed the power of an Attack-raising Nature on many occasions.
The hyper offensive nature of this team requires key targeting of specific threats whilst taking a maximum of one big attack per game, usually from a Groudon or Rayquaza. Key targets to KO ASAP are Incineroar, any Trick Room setter, Rayquaza in RayOgre cores, and Xerneas as a whole. In the majority of games, Necrozma Aero is the lead of choice. The exceptions to this rule are against Xernala, where Bisharp should be used over Necrozma, XernDon, with Incineroar over Aero, and any Bronzong or Dusk Mane team, which requires a Bisharp lead.
Anything + Aerodactyl is often the best option in almost any matchup.
Exceptions being a suspected Xerneas + Redirection lead or an Incineroar + Tapu Fini lead. The former requires a Groudon lead adjustment to prevent a free Geomancy. The latter is much more complicated, with the best course of action often being baiting a Snarl and Icy Wind and switching in Bisharp to nab free boosts.
A general rule of thumb is to select Aero Necrozma as a lead if you are unsure on an approach, as this combination covers a lot of options the opponent might throw at you.
Aerodactyl is the strongest Pokemon in a lead spot and is the go-to when unsure about a matchup. Its Pressure ability and it being slower than max Speed Tapu Koko in regular form can alert you to Koko’s Speed instantly. If it is faster than Aero, then expect a Twinkle Tackle variant and play around it. If Aero is faster, then the partner Necrozma can score a free early KO with Earth Power and Rock Slide, swinging massive momentum and often winning the game. The aim of the game is to deny the opponent’s Speed control, whilst netting a KO as soon as possible, even at the cost of massive HP loss.
If against a Rayquaza, they can be baited to Mega Evolve early to avoid taking super effective damage from Rock Slide. This is advantageous to Groudon, which enjoys not playing in Air Lock and can also shut off Delta Stream to allow for full-powered Rock Slides onto Rayquaza. Aero can shut down most support Pokemon, whilst its hyper offensive partners can tear through opposing teams alongside it. It also applies constant hax pressure in the form of Rock Slide flinches. Whilst not the primary use of the move, a single flinch can shift a game entirely to your favour. Missing a turn in GS cup formats is always something you want to avoid, but with constant 30% rolls falling on you, it can be difficult.
Rayquaza Kyogre: Despite being the archetype the team ultimately fell to, I find this matchup to be incredibly positive. The pressure of PsySpam paired with Aerodactyl and, occasionally, Bisharp to stop any Trick Room can often be too hard for the opponent to overcome.
Xerneas Groudon: A matchup that ranges from positive to neutral depending on if a Tornadus is spotted on preview. No Tornadus usually means that a Tapu Lele Necrozma lead can blow through after an early Magic Room. Tornadus complicates matters if it Taunts Aerodactyl early on. It can be hard to fight back against Xerneas if it boosts its Special Defence before you can move.
Groudon Necrozma: The mirror is horrible to play, often relying on Speed ties, but I’d argue it is slightly in favour of this team due to Bisharp and Aerodactyl.
Yveltal teams: Yveltal is the worst Pokémon to see. Aerodactyl and Lele combined can take it down alongside Incineroar, but in a BO3 scenario, it can be hard to pull off consecutively. If Yveltal is paired with Kyogre, it can be incredibly hard to gain any kind of momentum. This is the worst matchup by far, and is close to unwinnable, requiring a few Rock Slide flinches and solid calls to have a chance.
Round 1: RayOgre – WW
Round 2: Ethan French – YvelDon – LWW
Round 3: Richard Fairbrother – XernDon – WW
Round 4: Baz Anderson -MewtwoDon – LL
Round 5: RayOgre – WW
Round 6: XernDon – WW
Round 7: YvelDon – WW
I remember being incredibly nervous and lacking in confidence during R1, and losing in R2 all but had me beat mentally. When I took a game against what I deemed to be the worst matchup for the team, I felt a newfound fire inside me and I felt unstoppable, winning the set. This fire continued until R4, when I played Baz. The RNG in this set was absolutely disgusting, and whilst we both found it to be hilarious at the time, it did send me on the path to tilt and lose my confidence. With the help of my friends, I managed to shake it off and find that fire again, carrying me all the way to the end of Swiss with a 6-1 record.
Going into the first top cut I had played in a very long time, I wasn’t exactly sure what I should be doing. I briefly looked into my opponent’s team and played some games on Showdown against a rough draft of what I expected, losing 90% of the games, and opted to just relax and enjoy the company of friends by completing a local eating challenge and making myself ill in the process.
In top 8, the team I played against was completely different to the one I had been losing against the prior night, and I ended up winning the set by using Light That Burns The Sky onto Calvin’s Kyogre. I was ecstatic! I had been trying for years to break through to top 4 at a Regional after so many top 8 failures. I was completely fine with losing at this point, and I believe that attitude cost me in top 4. I believe I could have won this set, but my approach mentally was all wrong. Due to that, I didn’t play to the best of my ability.
In hindsight, this is frustrating, as I believe the team could have taken it all, but I’m just happy I finally won my first brick and am halfway to getting an invite to a Worlds in my home country.
I believe this team is still strong going forward, but there are obvious changes to be made, mainly Incineroar and potentially Bisharp.
I’d like to personally thank Luke Dunscombe for being a bro and helping me with the team, and also running it with me at the event. (Breloom is better!) Also, shoutouts to Jonathan Marston and David Partington for helping me prep for top 8 and for laughing at me as I ate all that food.
I’m hoping to be a lot more active this year in the community (especially the local scene, which I love so much) and I also plan to attend EUIC next year.
I hope you enjoy the team!!