Hello, everyone! I’m Alexandre L., but some of you may know me as @RadiumH3. I’m a rather discreet player and I’ve been traveling to VGC events since the end of 2016. After an incredible early season in 2019, where I managed to get 2nd place at 2 Regionals in a row, I’ve found myself flopping at most VGC events I go to. It’s kind of a relief to be here and write about a team, because it means I was able to do well again! Even if it is, for the 3rd time, a second-place finish at a Regional Championship. With that little self-introduction out of the way, let’s get started, shall we?
I’m a student with a part-time job and have a very limited amount of time to dedicate to teambuilding because of this. With that in mind, my preparation for this event was composed of local event farming, using a different team every time. Since I didn’t have time to practice, I used my local events in February to discover what clicked or what I disliked in the format. Pokémon HOME’s release made it hard, but I was able to find comfort using Sand teams. More particularly, this one:
I find this team to be able to deal with most stuff, and I was relying on my ability to play the game rather than the team itself. But, as I said earlier, Pokémon HOME released, which made my team testing rather atrocious. After watching my roommate @Ichi_XS use the team, I really came to hate certain flaws of this composition, like the fact that dealing with Water types like Milotic or Dracovish is difficult because of their ability to not have to activate the Weakness Policy on Tyranitar (Milotic can spam Hypnosis which is another flaw of the team, and Dracovish just straight-up one-shots you).
Pokémon HOME’s release meant the comeback of Incineroar and Venusaur, the two main threats. The rules update also allowed Gigantamax Lapras, which had huge success at Malmö.
Since I liked Sand Togekiss, I stuck with it. I wanted to use Incineroar, but there were multiple issues preventing me from doing so:
Venusaur just seemed like a worse Roserade to me, and despite having used Venusaur in the past, it didn’t click with me this time.
With that in mind, I kept the base of Excadrill, Togekiss, Tyranitar, and Arcanine, and tried to complete it. A Water and a Grass type for the final picks felt natural to me, as I’ve used that in my previous team and I like the type synergy that gives me, so I first chose Rotom-W, the standard Water of the format, which I love because it gives me a way to deal with other Water types. The idea of Tsareena came to me after I saw some of my NPA teammates using it (cf @Baked_VGC, and don’t forget to bark the yams up btw :] ), and it felt just like what I needed: a Grass-type Pokémon offering support in another way than putting stuff to Sleep, with interesting coverage options and an amazing Ability, but we will get to those points later. So, let’s get into the details!
Two days before the Regionals, I came up with this.
Excadrill @ Focus Sash
Ability: Sand Rush
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Iron Head
– Rock Slide
I don’t think you can find a more standard Excadrill than this one. Iron Head is mandatory to hit Fairies and Earthquake is my preference over High Horsepower, as being able to hit multiple targets is great and it can also help me to trigger my own Tyranitar’s Weakness Policy without waiting for my opponent to do it. Rock Slide is just Rock Slide, and I don’t think anything has to be said about this move. I’ve tested a bunch of different Excadrill sets like Life Orb or Adrenaline Orb with Swords Dance, but none felt as easy to pick up as this one. Focus Sash might seem like a waste considering its Steel and Ground STAB Max Moves boost your Defense and Special Defense, respectively, but the idea of being able to abuse Sand at least 2 turns or just force your opponent to double into your Excadrill is incredible. Protect just completes this set well.
Togekiss @ Scope Lens
Ability: Super Luck
EVs: 116 HP / 4 Def / 132 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Air Slash
– Dazzling Gleam
– Heat Wave
– Follow Me
I find this set to be terribly unhealthy for the game itself, but I always liked playing with the odds I was given, and the Scope Lens with Super Luck set still puts a smile upon my face when a crit happens. I Dynamax it in most of my games, so I wanted this set to be dedicated to offense rather than a more supportive set with Helping Hand or Yawn. Air Slash is obviously mandatory, as it gives you access to Max Airstream. Dazzling Gleam and Heat Wave are here for the coverage they offer, with Dazzling Gleam allowing me to damage mons like Dragapult or Scrafty (which could be problematic for me) and Heat Wave giving Togekiss a way hit Steel types but also support its teammates by reducing the damage of Water-type attacks with the Sun induced by Max Flare. The spread is just max Speed kiss a bit of bulk and the rest in Special Attack. As I’m using an offensive Togekiss, I wanted to have the maximum Speed possible to be able to Speed tie with Venusaur and also outspeed most Togekiss in the format. Also after an Airstream speed boost, this Togekiss is able to outspeed Dragapult and everything below its speed stat of 213.
Tyranitar @ Weakness Policy
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 156 HP / 92 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Rock Slide
– Brick Break
This Tyranitar is also, like the Excadrill, quite standard. Rock Slide and Crunch are great, and I like to have Protect on this set, which abuses the Weakness Policy boost. Brick Break is a nice plus, as it gives you access to Max Knuckle in order to boost your Attack even further. Brick Break’s side effect also helps you to deal with the effect of G-Max Resonance, the G-Max signature move of Lapras. This effect didn’t really come up during the tournament, but the access to Max Knuckle was key in some matches, and I don’t think I really needed Superpower that much. But this slot is really an open slot, and other moves like Superpower or even Special attacks like Earth Power could fit; I just haven’t found a superior option yet. The only notable thing about this Tyranitar are the 252 EVs in Speed with an Adamant nature. With this investment, it hits the key stat of 113 Speed, allowing it to outspeed base 100 Speed Pokémon like Charizard with an Airstream boost. Furthermore, with this unusual Speed stat, I can easily see if I’m facing bulky Tyranitar or a max Speed variant.
Rotom-Wash @ Life Orb
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Hydro Pump
– Dark Pulse
Life Orb Rotom-Wash hits like a truck. I never realized it before, as I’d mostly used defensive Rotom-Wash sets or Nasty Plot Rotom-Wash, but I’ve been really surprised by the damage this thing can do. Thunderbolt is there over Volt Switch for the 10 extra Base Power on Max Lightning, helping me against opposing Water types. Hydro Pump is the reason I’m using Rotom-Wash and not another Rotom—the Water coverage helps the team deal with opposing Sand, but also stuff with low Special Defense, like Durant. Dark Pulse is just for the coverage on Dragapult. Being able to lower Special Defense with Max Darkness can also ensure some KO’s later in the game, and makes it so you don’t have to rely on Hydro Pump’s Accuracy every time. I don’t know if Protect is the best choice, but since I wanted to access Max Guard and was running out of time before the Regional, I kept it.
Arcanine @ Figy Berry
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Def / 4 SpA / 36 SpD / 220 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Heat Wave
The glue of the team. This doggo saw the end of its VGC career on March 7th 2018. Thankfully, Incineroar being forced to stay in Pokémon Bank for the first 2 months of VGC 2020 allowed it to see some usage again. The new format is only one week old, so it’s hard to say if Arcanine is better than Incineroar or if it’s the other way around, but one thing is for certain: this mon isn’t going to disappear the same way it did previously, as it still has some tricks up its sleeve that Incineroar does not.
Heat Wave is a nice coverage move, and since Arcanine is my main way to beat Durant, I wanted its Fire move to not be simply redirected by Togekiss. Snarl couples well with Intimidate, increasing your bulk on both sides. Safeguard was here to patch the Venusaur / Roserade match-ups, with the spread allowing me to outspeed Base 90 Speed Pokémon and below. Preventing Sleep is the main use of the move, but it can also stop the confusion of G-Max Smite (Gigantamax Hatterene’s signature move) or Will-O-Wisp from Dusclops. Chlorophyll Venusaur can be painful, but having my own weather limits the impact of it to either Prankster Sunny Day, Tailwind, or fast Max Flare. Both of them are fine, in my opinion, since trading a turn of Sleep for a Max Move that’s not so good against my team or the lack of offensive pressure that is implied when you dedicate a turn to Sunny Day and Sleep Powder usually gives me a better position, and this is without accounting for the Sleep Powder having a chance to miss.
Protect is simply the safe option of the set. The lack of Will-O-Wisp seemed painful at first, but after a discussion at my AirBnB, I was quite convinced it was far from mandatory, and after this weekend, I agree even more with that assessment.
Also, this Arcanine wasn’t Timid with a Figy Berry, but rather Serious with a Nature Mint applied to it, so if you want to use it on Showdown, you should probably change that.
Tsareena @ Coba Berry
Ability: Queenly Majesty
EVs: 236 HP / 12 Atk / 4 Def / 84 SpD / 172 Spe
– Power Whip
– High Jump Kick
– Helping Hand
The star of the show! This mon is one of my favorite competitive-wise, as it gives you so many options. As I said earlier, I liked the Grass typing, but this Pokémon has much more to offer to Sand teams than just that. Its Ability helps you deal with Conkeldurr’s Mach Punch, as well as Fake Tears + Inteleon stuff. Power Whip and High Jump Kick are standard and U-turn gives you the ability to pivot around the field. Helping Hand offers support to partners like Togekiss or Rotom-W. The EV spread is terrible, mostly because I changed my set the night before and was too lazy to breed it again. It was supposed to be an Assault Vest Tsareena, but the only special move I really wanted to live was Max Airstream, and using a Coba Berry instead of an Assault Vest allowed me to use Helping Hand (which was much better than the original move, Play Rough). Coba Berry allows me to safely survive a critical hit 252 SpA Togekiss Max Airstream, in addition to taking Inteleon Max Airstream. The most interesting thing about this spread is the Speed stat. This Tsareena is quite fast (reaching a Speed stat of 114) compared to the standard Tsareena I’ve used in the past. This allows you to activate Tyranitar’s Weakness Policy with U-turn before Tyranitar attacks (with 252 Spe Adamant Tyranitar sitting at 113), giving you a way to position yourself and sweep right after turn 1. I didn’t expect Tsareena to be amazing, as it didn’t see much success in previous Regionals, but it ended up being an incredible mon to use this weekend.
As I picked up the team just before the Regionals, I won’t be able to give you the most detailed team MU sections ever. I also despise this section, since it seems people start playing teams like some bot after reading a team report, but here are some common core combination of the team:
: When I’m facing Excadrill Togekiss without Tyranitar or Milotic, this is usually my go-to lead. Arcanine supports your Togekiss well because of the possible stat drops from Intimidate and Snarl, Safeguard prevents status, and my Kiss being max Speed usually means I’m the faster one in a Togekiss mirror, allowing a turn 1 Dynamax in almost every case. This is usually with Excadrill and Tyranitar in the back, as they can finish the game pretty well.
: It might seem surprising, but this was not the most common lead I’ve used this weekend. However, the lead in general is pretty awesome: both of your mons can Dynamax, and you can either abuse Tyranitar’s enormous bulk and proc the Weakness Policy by Dynamaxing and clicking EQ or spam your defensive Max Moves with Excadrill and make your Tyranitar pretty much unkillable and force your opponent to activate your Weakness Policy later in the game. I usually choose the Sand lead against Charizard teams or Tailwind + Duraludon, since the Excadrill still outspeeds Duraludon in the Sand and can boost Tyranitar’s Special Defense with Max Quake.
: This allows you to take advantage of Rotom-Wash’s damage output by offering Togekiss support. This would be the lead I choose in Inteleon or Durant match ups when they don’t have redirection support (for example, Lukamir’s Goth Control). Rotom-Wash is able to deal with both, and the redirection allows you to keep your own Dynamax safe from your opponent’s one. As with the first lead, I usually have Tyranitar Excadrill in the back. There’s not much to say about this lead, except you shouldn’t hesitate to sacrifice Rotom to obtain a better positioning, even though you might not know what’s in the back for your opponent.
: This is not a Game 1 lead at all, but it could very well be used to adapt to one of your opponent’s strategies (especially Dusclops without redirection, which saw some usage in combination with Lapras). You can block an Incineroar Fake Out, activate your Weakness Policy with a side U-turn, and one shot Dusclops (be careful: it’s a roll on 252HP / 252+ Def Dusclops, and you could change the spread accordingly, which would mean to going up to 196 EVs in Atk with an Adamant Nature). If it doesn’t kill, use Togekiss and abuse its redirection with your already-boosted Tyranitar.
: This is a balanced lead I use when I don’t really know what to do. It usually has safe options against a lot of stuff, and doesn’t require you taking too many risks. I don’t like this lead too much, as it doesn’t fit my aggressive style, but there isn’t much that’s wrong with this lead, and you can win some games with it while just trying to scout information.
Since the team is quite standard, don’t expect to surprise anyone with it. However, that doesn’t mean you should be reactive when playing the games. This team asks you to be proactive and play accordingly to your opponent’s threats, not to react to them after they take a key KO. This is honestly the most important part: you don’t need some crazy techs or incredible strategy to do well, in my opinion. I’ve seen so many newcomers trying to innovate just for the sake of innovating, when they should rather focus on being able to play well.
Disclaimer: I don’t take many notes during tournaments, and I don’t record my W/L across the tour, so I will just write down the rounds I won and rounds I lost. I would have loved to write a more detailed tournament rundown, as I think they can be really interesting to read, but sadly, I can’t.
Round 1 : Craig Davis UK ( 1-4, Drop) WLW
Round 2 : Hjalmar Lind FL ( 5-3, 47th ) LWW
Round 3 : Tobias Koschitzki DE ( 11-0, Champion ) LWL
Round 4 : Albert Bos ES (6-2, 15th) LWW
Round 5 : Luke Dunscombe UK (5-3, 38th) WW
Round 6 : Javier Señorena ES (6-2, 14th) LWW
Round 7 : Marco Hemantha Kaludura Silva IT (6-2, 12th) WW
Round 8 : Jamie Boyt UK (6-2, 8th) WW
After day 1, I finished with a 7-1 record, ending up as the 3rd seed. I was honestly quite surprised about being in cut, since I wasn’t expecting it at all. I came here to lock up my invite and managed to do it while top cutting the Regionals. It was an awesome feeling to be back on the road after going negative in the following events: 3-4 Bolzano, 3-4 drop EUIC, 1-3 Drop Worlds Day 2, 3-4 Paris Special Event. Regardless, the results of those events weren’t what was important to me. It was that they showed me my lack of will to play. I am extremely competitive, and the poor results weren’t annoying me anymore; they didn’t matter. I took a step back from the game and came back a few months later, willing to qualify in a month’s time. I was able to do it in 5 weeks, and would like to do an early shoutout to the French TOs for consulting each other to avoid having multiple tournaments on the same day. Anyway, let’s move on to top cut!
Top 8 : Leonardo Bonanomi IT (7-1, 7th)
Top 4 : Mattie Morgan IR (6-2, 4th)
This set was streamed, and you can find the VOD here.
Finals : Tobias Koschitzki DE ( 11-0, Champion ) LWL
This set was also streamed, and here is the link.
I don’t think the result really reflects anything, since I got pretty lucky this weekend, but I guess that’s the game we play! Congratulations, once again, to Tobias for winning the Regional completely undefeated.
I have mixed feelings about this result, but I will try to only look on the bright side of it. Being able to top cut and make it to finals is always a great accomplishment (even if I would like to actually win someday ;-;). This also puts me at a good place in the NAIC TA Race (if it still happens), and I can only thank my friends for this. I have some shoutouts to make again: shoutouts to Rest of Europe and the Puppies, the two teams who welcomed me a few years ago and still trust in my ability to play, and more specifically AwesomePlatypus, VGC FR, and the French community in general for the awesome support. Le WatiPoleEmploi for the fun they bring me everyday, and Aurélien.
I don’t think the play is the friends we made along the way, but they’re the reason to keep playing and give your best every time. This puts and end to my team report. Thanks for reading!