Hello everyone! My name is Benjamin Tan (@TheRealMination) and I’m a Singaporean/Norwegian VGC player. I was more active during the 2017 and 2018 season where I qualified for the World Championships both years, playing in Day 2 during 2017. I managed to win three VGC Special Events and one VGC Regional Championship during those two years. This season, I haven’t been very active but I have continued team building, and helping others for both Sun and Moon Series, and we will be talking about of one those teams today.
One of the most common teams in Sun Series consisted of Xerneas, Kyogre, Tornadus, Incineroar, Amoonguss, and Kartana, piloted well by Riley Factura (@GENGARboi_) and Paul Chua (@Paul_Chua_). Both of them were kind enough to walk me through the team during Sun Series. Unfortunately, I didn’t have as much time to use the team as I would have liked, but I decided to give it a try in Moon Series. People were using Waterium Z Kyogre on the team and I think it’s really strong, especially with Tailwind support. Waterium Z boosted by Water Spout is not something you want to take unless you have Storm Drain or Water Absorb. As Ashton Cox and Jeremy Rodrigues’ teams were going strong into Moon series (due to Lunala being able to hold Lunalium Z), I was joking about Z-Psych Up Lunala with a few friends during a local Premier Challenge and was shocked at how broken that move is. So, my friend, Dylan Tan (@MrDyllie98) and I decided to look into it more. Getting Shadow Shield back with Z Psych-Up can be nice, but imagine restoring to full health and also getting a Geomancy boost for your rain and STAB boosted Water Spout…now that’s really scary.
Initially, the team started with a Shedinja in the Amoonguss’ slot. I also released a pastebin of that team on my Twitter. However, it’s just a beta version. We then tested the team with Smeargle over Shedinja, and finally decided to use the original Pokémon on that slot, Amoonguss. I was also testing a fast Kyogre on that team, but after discussing it with Nicole (@TamtamVGC), she raised the idea of a bulkier and slower Kyogre to abuse Z-Psych Up. I took it seriously and didn’t regret it.
I got to Top 20 on the VGC 2019 Moon Series ladder on Pokémon Showdown with the final version of the team. However, I couldn’t attend any tournaments, so I handed the team to Ismat (@Ismatmyron) and Andy (@TwiddleDee96) for their respective tournaments. Ismat then proceeded to win the Malaysia VGC Masters Division Special Event, while Andy finished Top 4 in his local USA Premier Challenge. Despite releasing the sets of the team online, the team was still able to achieve a total of 212 Championship Points in a short period of just one week. I also handed the team to Singapore’s Seniors Division player, Corey Yuen, who also managed to win the Malaysia VGC Seniors Division Special Event. It makes me happy to see how the team worked out, and see the success it was able to bring to each of these fantastic players. Congratulations, guys!
Moving on to the team…
“If powered up by a Normalium Z into Z-Psych Up, the user regains all of its HP.”
This is probably as broken as Z-Stockpile. It’s too good not to use! Oh, and please don’t ask me what Z-Protect does! Don’t ever click that move.
Xerneas @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
EVs: 28 HP / 4 Def / 196 SpA / 28 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Dazzling Gleam
Initially, I was using a max Special Attack and Speed Xerneas. However, after not being able to take a Choice Scarf Water Spout from Kyogre very well, I changed the spread. Bulky Xerneas is nice, but being slower than an opposing Xerneas that can 2HKO you is not. So I picked a max Speed Xerneas to put myself in a speed tie position. Coincidentally, the new spread also lives Lunala’s Menacing Moonraze Maelstrom most of the time, which is a plus.
- 252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 28 HP / 28 SpD Xerneas in Rain: 172-204 (83.9 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252 SpA Lunala Menacing Moonraze Maelstrom vs. 28 HP / 28 SpD Xerneas: 175-207 (85.3 – 100.9%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
Kyogre @ Normalium Z
EVs: 252 HP / 108 Def / 36 SpA / 4 SpD / 108 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Water Spout
– Psych Up
As I’ve said, I was using a Timid Max Speed Kyogre at first but decided to change it to a bulkier Kyogre. I wasn’t sure how fast I wanted the Kyogre to be since I knew I would be investing a lot of EVs into bulk. I decided to make sure my Kyogre was faster than neutral speed Ludicolo in rain, after setting up Tailwind with Tornadus. Kyogre is 2 points faster than Ludicolo outside of rain, so I can also speed creep any Pokémon that’s EVed to outspeed Ludicolo by 1 point.
- 36 SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Incineroar in Rain: 216-254 (106.9 – 125.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 36 SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Groudon in Sun: 98-116 (47.3 – 56%) — 73.8% chance to 2HKO
- 252 SpA Tapu Koko Thunder vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Kyogre in Electric Terrain: 174-206 (84 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- +2 252+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Kyogre: 178-210 (85.9 – 101.4%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
- +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Kyogre: 162-192 (78.2 – 92.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252 Atk Kartana Leaf Blade vs. 252 HP / 108+ Def Kyogre: 174-206 (84 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ Atk Ferrothorn Power Whip vs. 252 HP / 108+ Def Kyogre: 162-192 (78.2 – 92.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Life Orb Ludicolo Grass Knot (120 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Kyogre: 174-205 (84 – 99%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Venusaur Grass Knot (120 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Kyogre: 140-168 (67.6 – 81.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252 Atk Black Glasses Dark Aura Yveltal Sucker Punch vs. 252 HP / 108+ Def Kyogre: 85-102 (41 – 49.2%) — guaranteed 3HKO
- 252+ SpA Kyogre Thunder vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Kyogre in Electric Terrain: 172-204 (83 – 98.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Amoonguss @ Payapa Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 236 Def / 4 SpA / 12 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Grass Knot
– Clear Smog
– Rage Powder
It’s really hard to bring Shedinja to most games if opponents have ways to hit it, therefore, switching back to Amoonguss was probably the best choice. Without it, you don’t really have a good support to switch in or redirect anything for the team. Smeargle only offers redirection and sleep support, while Amoonguss has both and also offers Grass Knot and Clear Smog as a form of offense. Both moves are important to hit the three most common restricted in the meta: Xerneas, Kyogre, and Groudon. So, if it’s not broken, why fix it? In saying that, because I chose to invest more bulk on the physical defense side, a boosted Xerneas Moonblast will always 2HKO Amoonguss, and most moves from Kyogre will also 2HKO it. So it’s a good idea to play around those two properly! My advice is to put them to sleep. :winks:
- 252+ Atk Life Orb Groudon Fire Punch vs. 252 HP / 236+ Def Amoonguss in Sun: 187-221 (84.6 – 100%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
- 252+ Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 236+ Def Amoonguss: 188-224 (85 – 101.3%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
- 252+ SpA Life Orb Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 252 HP / 12 SpD Payapa Berry Amoonguss in Psychic Terrain: 195-230 (88.2 – 104%) — 25% chance to OHKO
- 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 252 HP / 12 SpD Payapa Berry Amoonguss in Psychic Terrain: 150-177 (67.8 – 80%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Life Orb Tapu Lele Psyshock vs. 252 HP / 236+ Def Payapa Berry Amoonguss in Psychic Terrain: 134-160 (60.6 – 72.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Lunala Psyshock vs. 252 HP / 236+ Def Payapa Berry Amoonguss in Psychic Terrain: 108-127 (48.8 – 57.4%) — 93.4% chance to 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Lunala Psychic vs. 252 HP / 12 SpD Payapa Berry Amoonguss in Psychic Terrain: 156-184 (70.5 – 83.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252 SpA Choice Specs Lunala Psyshock vs. 252 HP / 236+ Def Payapa Berry Amoonguss in Psychic Terrain: 145-172 (65.6 – 77.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252 SpA Choice Specs Lunala Psychic vs. 252 HP / 12 SpD Payapa Berry Amoonguss in Psychic Terrain: 211-249 (95.4 – 112.6%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO
- 252 SpA Tornadus-T Hurricane vs. 252 HP / 12 SpD Amoonguss: 198-234 (89.5 – 105.8%) — 37.5% chance to OHKO
- 252 Atk Black Glasses Dark Aura Yveltal Knock Off (97.5 BP) vs. 252 HP / 236+ Def Amoonguss: 123-145 (55.6 – 65.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Yveltal Oblivion Wing vs. 252 HP / 12 SpD Amoonguss: 180-212 (81.4 – 95.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Tornadus @ Mago Berry
EVs: 124 HP / 4 Def / 20 SpA / 244 SpD / 116 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Rain Dance
Paul Chua and Riley Factura both proved that Tornadus is one of, if not the best, support Pokémon in Sun Series. Initially, I used a Focus Sash set with max EVs in Special Attack and Speed and a Timid Nature. However, a bulky Tornadus helped a lot, because even after being chipped, it can still survive a Geomancy boosted Dazzling Gleam from Xerneas and proc my berry. I am not using Focus Sash, therefore, I can sacrifice Protect and have Rain Dance instead. Rain Dance has helped a lot against Groudon match-ups!
- 252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 124 HP / 244+ SpD Tornadus in Rain: 145-172 (85.2 – 101.1%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
- +2 252+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Dazzling Gleam vs. 124 HP / 244+ SpD Tornadus: 126-148 (74.1 – 87%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252 SpA Lunala Menacing Moonraze Maelstrom vs. 124 HP / 244+ SpD Tornadus: 148-175 (87 – 102.9%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO
Incineroar @ Figy Berry
EVs: 188 HP / 252 SpD / 68 Spe
– Fake Out
– Flare Blitz
– Knock Off
There are many different spreads for Incineroar. I know there’s a specific spread (236 HP / 236 SpD) that allows Moonblast from a Geomancy boosted Xerneas to be a guaranteed 2HKO, I decided to run a spread that has a favorable roll to take a Moonblast from Xerneas, while also outspeeding other Incineroars. Having a faster Incineroar is always important, as you have the faster Fake Out.
- +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 188 HP / 252+ SpD Incineroar: 168-198 (86.5 – 102%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
Kartana @ Assault Vest
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 52 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 228 SpD / 220 Spe
– Leaf Blade
– Smart Strike
– Sacred Sword
– Knock Off
Last, but not least, The Origami! I’ve been using this Kartana spread ever since Sun Series. With Kartana’s pathetic Special Defense, Assault Vest is definitely the best item for it. This is especially true when you want Leaf Blade to hit Kyogre, Smart Strike to hit Xerneas, Sacred Sword to hit Incineroar, and also have Knock Off for Lunala, or even knocking off Xerneas’ Power Herb, as you outspeed it. We’ve faced many Assault Vest Kartana that are faster than ours, so I decided to make it a little bit faster while retaining the defensive calcs we initially opted for.
- +2 252+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 52 HP / 228 SpD Assault Vest Kartana: 118-140 (83.6 – 99.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 4 Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 52 HP / 4 Def Kartana in Rain: 120-144 (85.1 – 102.1%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
- 252+ SpA Ludicolo Hydro Vortex (185 BP) vs. 52 HP / 228 SpD Assault Vest Kartana in Rain: 102-120 (72.3 – 85.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 52 HP / 228 SpD Assault Vest Kartana in Rain: 88-104 (62.4 – 73.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252 Atk Black Glasses Dark Aura Yveltal Foul Play vs. 52 HP / 4 Def Kartana: 114-135 (80.8 – 95.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Core Combinations and Common Leads
These are what I usually lead and bring. As Riley said, you really need to lead depending on what you face, and how your opponent plays. However, because this is Moon Series, if you are able to get Kyogre into a good position, Psych Up will almost always guarantee you a win. Do not over-rely on trying to Psych Up your Xerneas’ boost. Z-Psych Up can also be used to fully restore your HP, allowing you to deal more damage with Water Spout again. When using Tailwind, this particular strategy is very effective. Additionally, you don’t have to use the Z-Move to Psych Up your Xerneas. You can just use regular Psych Up, and save the Z move for later, in case you need the HP recovery.
Tornadus, Kyogre, Xerneas, and Kartana are really good against this match-up, especially when you have Rain Dance on your Tornadus. With Tornadus, you can also Taunt a Venusaur’s Sleep Powder or an opposing Xerneas’ Geomancy. The Moon Series version now has a Gengar, which usually carries Ghostium Z, for Destiny Bond or Shadow Ball. Fortunately, Destiny Bond is not a priority, so you can taunt it to prevent it from redirecting your Psych Up.
I feel like Kartana, Xerneas, Incineroar, and Kyogre are really good here, especially when they don’t have any Pokémon that can actually OHKO Incineroar. If you are able to take out the opposing Xerneas early, Incineroar will have a great time.
Assault Vest Yveltal with Snarl can be really annoying, but I usually bring Incineroar, Xerneas, Kartana, and either Amoonguss or Kyogre for this match-up. Knocking off the Assault Vest from Yveltal can make the game a little bit easier. Most Xerneas + Yveltal teams have Landorus, which is why Amoonguss can be really good here for redirection or even putting it to sleep if they are not wearing Safety Goggles. Usually, they will want to bring Incineroar, Yveltal, Amoonguss, and Xerneas against you.
Again, most of the Yveltal on this team are Assault Vest. Stopping Stakataka is the main priority, which is why I think having Kyogre and Kartana to support Xerneas can be nice. As for the last slot, all three Pokémon are honestly good here, since Tornadus has Taunt and Rain Dance, and Amoonguss can redirect any single Electric-Type attack move from Tapu Koko, while also benefiting under Trick Room. Incineroar is good for Fake Out and Intimidate pressure. In best of 3 sets, it’s easier to figure out which Pokémon you want to bring for your last slot.
To be honest, if it’s a mirror, then I suggest bringing Tornadus, Kyogre, Xerneas, and either Amoonguss or Kartana. How to decide between the two Grass-Types? It depends on if you want to play the slow game and if you think you can take out their Tornadus quickly. However, Kartana can be good, as your opponent might bring their Kartana, which is really good against your own Amoonguss.
Kartana is really good here since the main priority is to take out their Tapu Fini. Many think that Tapu Fini is a deadweight because it’s not very offensive, but Icy Wind with Swagger and Heal Pulse support can be VERY annoying. Xerneas can also be very good for the super effective match-up, but be wary of Solgaleo. If their other restricted is Groudon, then their Xerneas answer is usually Stakataka, which is why Kartana is really good. I recommend bringing Tornadus, Kyogre, Xerneas, and Kartana, as Tornadus has Rain Dance and Taunt support.
I’m just gonna steal Riley’s thoughts on this with his permission <3 (I also think the same as him) “I wasn’t really seeing this on the ladder anymore, so I was okay with giving up this matchup the most. Either way, I felt like Xerneas supported well, could sweep through these types of teams since Stakataka gives your opponent a positioning liability due to its poor typing versus almost everything except Xerneas.” – Riley Factura.
I never thought Z-Psych Up Kyogre will actually be this good. Great job to Ismat
(@Ismatmyron) for making it work and winning the Special Event! Shoutouts to Dylan Tan (@MrDyllie98) for teambuilding with me. Also, Riley Factura (@GENGARboi_) and Paul Chua (@Paul_Chua_) for guiding me. This team was inspired by what you guys did in Sun Series, (except my Kyogre is cooler than both of yours :winks:) HAHA! I was also discussing this team with a few other players, and I was told to keep them anonymous as they will be using this team in the near future. Some of them think that Gengar over Kartana might be better because of how common Xerneas and Lunala is right now, and it’s nice to have a Pokémon immune to Fake Out. In my opinion, you can also have a Shedinja there instead! This team now has won 4 major tournaments in total in VGC 2019, but it certainly won’t be as good in Ultra series anymore because of Primals and Mega Evolutions. It’s not dead for now though!
Thank you for reading, and I hope you guys will enjoy using this team!
Credit to bluemak for featured image