Sand for Rillaboomers – Rose Tower Clash Champion Report

Hello! I’m Ramsés Quintana (@kaoru_kitsune), a Spanish Pokémon VGC player who has been playing Pokémon VGC since 2015. Just recently, I won Rose Tower Clash 11, which had almost 200 players. I am very happy to have the opportunity to write this report.


  • X1 MSS Winner (Series2).
  • 2 in Showndown ladder some weeks ago
  • Rose Tower Clash 11 First Place

Teambuilding Process

First, I must say that the base idea for the team was from my friend, @Agatino174, and I polished it later with @mrsidi5. Like Agatino told me, Sand is a great archetype, but it has some problems:

  • The main core (Tyranitar and Excadrill) are both weak to Fighting, Water, and Ground, with Conkeldurr being the main problem for them. For that reason, my friend considered Indeedee-M, not only for Psychic Terrain-boosted Psychics, but also to prevent Conk from going for Mach Punch. Like most other Sand teams, I added Togekiss for support and to put even more pressure on Fighting types. Indeedee-M was chosen over Indeedee-F thanks to its access to Trick Room + Imprison, which covered the hard TR matchup. I added an Arcanine as my Fire type, also giving me access to Intimidate and allowing me to handle some Steel types, like Ferrothorn, Corviknght, and Durant, which can be a problem for Sand teams.
  • The next problem was Water types. At first, I used Gastrodon, but bulky Waters like Milotic and opposing Gastrodon were still too annoying from my point of view. For that reason, I searched for a Grass type to use in this slot. I considered Roserade (when this team was built, Venusaur wasn’t alowed yet), but in the end, I opted for Rillaboom due to its access to Fake Out, U-turn, and and due to the fact that it can OHKO (or 2HKO if Dynamaxed) all Water types in the meta with Wood Hammer save for Dracovish. All bulky Waters have great special bulk (Lapras, Milo, etc), so a physical Grass type was just perfect for this.
  • With the 3 main attackers of the team being physical, the fact that Intimidate was a problem became clear in testing, so I also tried Braviary instead of Togekiss, but Togekiss was just too good. Finally, I solved this problem giving Excadrill a Life Orb to ensure it can OHKO Arcanine and almost any Incineroar (once in series 3 and 4) even at -1 Atk (a recommendation from @Mrsidi5 ), and I gave Togekiss Helping Hand so that I could get the KOs I needed even if my Pokémon were Intimidated.

The Team

Rental Code

Excadrill @ Life Orb
Ability: Sand Rush
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Earthquake
– Iron Head
– Rock Slide
– Protect

LO Excadrill can destroy opponents even without first setting up SD or using up a Weakness Policy, and with Helping Hand Togekiss, it can get the KOs even if it is Intimidated. Its function is to eliminate the opponent’s Intimidate mon as soon as possible and cause great damage to the opposing team. My set does not have bulk, so to improve defensive calcs, make sure to take advantage of Max Steelspike and Max Quake’s side-effects.

Offensive Calcs

  • -1 252+ Atk Life Orb Excadrill Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 100 HP / 180 Def Arcanine: 213-252 (119.6 – 141.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • -1 252+ Atk Life Orb Excadrill Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 84 Def Incineroar: 218-257 (107.9 – 127.2%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 252+ Atk Life Orb Excadrill Helping Hand Max Rockfall (130 BP) vs. 244 HP / 196+ Def Togekiss: 255-302 (133.5 – 158.1%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • -1 252+ Atk Life Orb Excadrill Helping Hand Max Rockfall (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 84 Def Incineroar: 216-255 (106.9 – 126.2%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • -1 252+ Atk Life Orb Excadrill Max Rockfall (130 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Gyarados: 177-208 (52 – 61.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ Atk Life Orb Excadrill Max Steelspike (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 44+ Def Eviolite Dusclops: 75-91 (51 – 61.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Fun Calc

  • 252+ Atk Life Orb Excadrill Helping Hand Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Milotic: 204-242 (100.9 – 119.8%) — guaranteed OHKO

Defensive Calcs

Remember that these calcs are with defenses raised by Max Moves:

  • 252+ SpA Life Orb Primarina Max Geyser (140 BP) vs. +1 0 HP / 4 SpD Excadrill: 312-369 (84.3 – 99.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ Atk Life Orb Excadrill Helping Hand Max Steelspike (130 BP) vs. 68 HP / 0 Def Solid Rock Rhyperior: 294-347 (73.8 – 87.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Tyranitar @ Weakness Policy
Ability: Sand Stream
Level: 50
EVs: 204 HP / 44 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Rock Slide
– Crunch
– Superpower
– Protect

Tyranitar’s role is to set the Sand. In some matchups, it is also the main attacker, in which case I Dynamax it and self-proc the Weakness Policy with U-turn from Rillaboom or Earthquake from Excadrill (but the latter makes you too much damage, so be careful). The Tyranitar set is really simple: I had a more bulky one without EVs in Speed during Series 2, but Incineroar with Parting Shot and Tyranitar mirrors with Superpower made me go for a faster Tyranitar with 252 Speed.

Deffensive Calcs

  • 252+ Atk Strong Jaw Dracovish Fishious Rend (Doubled) vs. 204 HP / 4 Def Tyranitar: 342-404 (85 – 100.4%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
  • 252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Steelspike (130 BP) vs. 204 HP / 4 Def Tyranitar: 351-416 (87.3 – 103.4%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO

Togekiss @ Babiri Berry
Ability: Super Luck
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 196 Def / 4 SpA / 4 SpD / 60 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Heat Wave
– Helping Hand
– Follow Me
– Dazzling Gleam

The role of Togekiss is simply to support the team, especially Excadrill, and to do chip damage. At first, I used it with Air Slash and Serene Grace, but Durant and Corviknight were quite annoying, so I decided to use Heat Wave over Air Slash and therefore gave it Super Luck.

Deffensive Calcs

  • 252+ Atk Excadrill Max Steelspike (130 BP) vs. 244 HP / 196 Def Babiri Berry Togekiss: 108-127 (56.5 – 66.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Steelspike (130 BP) vs. 244 HP / 196 Def Babiri Berry Togekiss: 165-195 (86.3 – 102%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO
  • 252+ SpA Duraludon Max Steelspike (130 BP) vs. 244 HP / 4 SpD Babiri Berry Togekiss: 102-121 (53.4 – 63.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Indeedee (M) @ Focus Sash
Ability: Psychic Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Psychic
– Protect
– Trick Room
– Imprison

I need Indeedee to hit very hard and very fast (it’s faster than most Arcanine), so I have not made any concrete calcs. It is also there to stop the opponent’s Trick Room. You have to be very careful not to break your own Focus Sash with Tyranitar’s Sand.

Arcanine @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 92 HP / 188 Def / 228 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Flamethrower
– Will-O-Wisp
– Snarl
– Protect

Arcanine’s Speed stat lets it outspeed Roserade by 2 points (and thus avoid Speed ties with opposing Arcanine who outspeed them by 1 point). I used the rest of the EVs to make it take Max Rockfall from an Intimidated Tyranitar.

Offensive Calcs

  • 0 SpA Arcanine Flamethrower vs. 252 HP / 128 SpD Corviknight: 102-122 (49.7 – 59.5%) — 99.6% chance to 2HKO

Deffensive Calcs

  • -1 252 Atk Tyranitar Max Rockfall (130 BP) vs. 92 HP / 188 Def Arcanine: 150-176 (84.7 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO after sandstorm damage and Sitrus Berry recovery
  • -1 252+ Atk Excadrill Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 92 HP / 188 Def Arcanine: 162-192 (91.5 – 108.4%) — 43.8% chance to OHKO

Rillaboom @ Assault Vest
Ability: Overgrow
Level: 50
EVs: 204 HP / 236 Atk / 68 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Wood Hammer
– Superpower
– U-turn
– Fake Out

I chose Rillaboom over Rotom-Wash because it is more effective against Gastrodon and opposing Rotom-Wash. It is also capable of OHKOing the vast majority of Water types of the meta without any kind of boosting move (also, now that it sets Grassy Terrain, it’s even stronger). It also has access to Superpower, which allows me to OHKO other Tyranitar without risking my own to a possible Speed tie. It has enough Speed to outspeed Adamant 252 Spe Tyranitar by 1 point, and the Atk EVs are to ensure you OHKO Milotic.

Offensive Calcs

  • 236+ Atk Rillaboom Wood Hammer vs. 252 HP / 236 Def Milotic: 204-240 (100.9 – 118.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 236+ Atk Rillaboom Wood Hammer vs. 252 HP / 44 Def Rotom-W: 198-234 (126.1 – 149%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 236+ Atk Rillaboom Wood Hammer vs. 228 HP / 124 Def Lapras through Reflect: 149-177 (63.6 – 75.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Deffensive Calcs

  • 252+ SpA Life Orb Primarina Max Starfall (130 BP) vs. 206 HP / 0 SpD Assault Vest Rillaboom: 138-164 (68.6 – 81.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Team Matchups


Common lead: Excadrill Togekiss
Back: Rillaboom Arcanine

Mirrors are relatively complex, because they depends a lot on the opponent’s sets. For example, if their Excadrill is Sash with Earthquake, the best option usually is to Dynamax your own Excadrill, but if it is not, it is better to go for Earthquake and preserve the Dynamax. In Game 1, I try to scout the opponent’s sets to plan for the second and possible third game.

VS Dragapult, Togekiss, Excadrill

(The same game plan usually works vs Triple Ghost, but Mimikyu could be annoying if the opponent goes for Trick Room. The matchup is still is playable.)

Common lead: Excadrill Togekiss
Back: Rillaboom Tyranitar

In this matchup, leading with Excadrill Togekiss is a good option, since you can almost always get a KO on turn 1, allowing you to take the advantage in the game. Remember that you have Tyranitar in the back in case you need to give Excadrill a Speed boost (allowing you to KO Arcanine or damage Dragapult before they attack). If the opponent has Rotom-Wash make sure to be careful with Rillaboom. It is a relatively simple matchup.

VS Durant

Common lead: Excadrill Togekiss
Back: Rillaboom Arcanine

Against this matchup, the opponent usually leads Durant Milotic or Durant Togekiss. With Heat Wave Togekiss, you can easily KO Durant (but be wary of the possibility of Max Rockfall onto Togekiss; do not be afraid to switch to Arcanine). In G2, Rillaboom should be able to deal Milotic even after a Coil if you do some chip damage to it first, and with Grassy Surge it should now be able to OHKO Milo even at +1. The trick to this matchup is usually taking care of the Durant: if you KO it the opponent loses almost all of their offensive pressure. Try not to let the Milotic go out of control too much.

VS Lapras

(This game plan works against hard TR too, but bring Rillaboom instead of Togekiss.)

Common lead: Excadrill Indeedee
Back: Tyranitar Togekiss

The best way to deal with this matchup is usually with Indeedee going for Imprison + Excadrill increasing your Special Defense with Max Quake. By focusing down Dusclops, you should be able to set it up for a KO on the next turn. The Lapras will be easier to KO once its Dynamax ends, whereas Incineroar goes down easily to Excadrill or Tyranitar. The real problem is Conkeldurr, which is the reason we bring Indeedee with Togekiss in the back. It’s generally easier if you can prevent Indeedee from going down until late game. Tyranitar is brought in case the opponent decides to save Dusclops for late game, but otherwise Rillaboom will do better in late game. If the opponent does not have access to Fake Out, another option to deal with the matchup is leading Tyranitar Rillaboom and making use of a Dynamaxed Tyranitar + self U-turn from Rilla OHKO Dusclops and threaten enormous offensive pressure (after U-turning, going into Togekiss is a very good option).

VS Sun + TR (Rhyperior)

Common lead: Excadrill Indeedee
Back: Tyranitar Rillaboom

This match up is much more complex than it may seem. The opponent usually leads with Venusaur + Dusclops with Torkoal and Rhyperior in the back. Turn 1 produces a 50/50 of whether to go for TR or switch out Venusaur. The best thing you can do is usually to go for Imprison + Iron Head into the Venusaur, which lets you prevent TR and, in case they switch to Torkoal and try to put you to sleep with Sleep Powder, you can go into Tyranitar to try to KO the Venusaur. Be very careful about late game Dusclops.
If the opponent doesn’t have access to TR, Tyranitar is your obvious win condition. Be sure to take care of it or even save your Dynamax for it.
(I’ve considered giving Arcanine Safety Goggles to improve this MU.)

VS Coalossal

Common lead: Togekiss Tyranitar
Back: Rillaboom Excadrill

The idea is to Dynamax Tyranitar and pressure the opponent. If they use Surf with Dragapult, it will also activate your Tyranitar’s Weakness Policy; if they lead Primarina Coalossal, you have the option of redirecting a possible Aqua Jet or using Helping Hand Max Rockfall. If the opponent doesn’t have a Primarina, Excadrill Tyranitar is usually a better lead option (but be careful about a potential Ally Switch from Dragapult), and if the opponent has Dusclops, then Tyranitar Excadrill is also the better lead option (you can self-activate your WP with Earthquake while Dynamaxing Tyranitar to OHKO the Dusclops, and if they lead with Coalossal, you still have options).

Rundown of Tournament

ROUND 1 vs Javier Señorena

(My opponent did not show up, so I won this round.)

ROUND 2 vs Mogar LWW (1-1 drop)

(Raichu, Gastrodon, Shiinotic, Ninetales, Venusaur, Charizard)

On turn 1 of game 1 (I led with Tyranitar and don’t remember the other Pokémon right now), I manage to KO his Gigantamax Charizard with my Dynamaxed Tyranitar in Sun, but I take a lot of damage from his Max Overgrowth (he had changed the weather that turn by switching into Ninetales). At this point in the fight, I had a small advantage that I kept until almost the end, but even so, I lost since I did not expect Energy Ball from Ninetales to KO my already wounded Tyranitar in Sand (all I had seen before were Solar Beam Ninetales). That turn, I remember that I had Togekiss next to Tyranitar, so with Follow Me + Rock Slide, I could have safely won this game, since Heat Wave in Sand should not KO the TTar and the partner of his Ninetales was low (it was a Raichu, if I remember correctly).

In game 2, he changed his approach and led Raichu Venusaur, which gave him the option of changing the weather with Volt Switch into Ninetales. This game was quite close, but after a lot of rotating my mons in and out, I managed to win it. The match was tough, and I knew that the same approach would probably not work for me in game 3, so I decided to lead with Indeedee Togekiss with Tyranitar Rilla in the back, with the intention of setting TR eventually, but not before OHKoing Venu with Psychic (his Raichu went for Fake Out into Togekiss). On turn 2, I went for Follow Me + TR, and since he KO’d my Togekiss, I was in a really good position with Tyranitar in TR vs Charizard, Ninetales, and Raichu, easily winning this game.

ROUND 3 vs Quaqsimon LL (6-2 top 4)

(Corviknight, Arcanine, Gastrodon, Grimmsnarl, Toxtricity, Tyranitar)

This was by far the worst matchup I faced in the tournament—what we might call an impossible MU. Corviknight is already annoying enough to have to deal with, and screens make it worse. He simply dedicated himself to setting up his Corviknght with screen support and rotating his Intimidate in and out. What I was looking for was to crit the Corviknight, since otherwise it would be really difficult to win. After a lot of rotating and stalling, I just end losing. G2 was similar, although I tried to change the game plan.

ROUND 4 vs Toranks WW (5-3)

(Lapras, Togekiss, Conkeldur, Dusclops, Excadrill, Incineroar)

In game 1, I simply went with the game plan I explained above for this matchup and won easily.
In game 2, he changed the game plan by leading Dynamax CritKiss + Incineroar, which made the fight much more difficult and complex. Despite the numerous crits from his Togekiss, I managed to win with some reads in the late game, without which it would have been impossible to win the game.

ROUND 5 vs Yuree WW (6-2 top 8)

(Dracozolt, Incineroar, Primarina, Excadrill, Corviknight, Clefairy)

You can see this re-uploaded battle on Yuree’s Twitch. Outside of the Corviknight, this matchup seems incredibly good to me. Almost the entire opposing team is threatened by Excadrill. So I led with Togekiss and Excadrill, with Arcanine Rillaboom in the back. He led Incineroar Corviknight. Game 1 was dedicated to sweeping with Excadrill, leaving dealing with Corviknight for the end.

In game 2, I changed the approach and led Excadrill and Arcanine with the intention of getting the KO on Corviknight with a combination of Max Rockfall + Flamethrower on turn 1, eliminating the main problem and then dealing with the rest of the team. In game 2, Yuree’s good play made the game more difficult despite the matchup, but even so, I managed to get the victory, controlling the game.

ROUND 6 vs Gataen42 WW (4-4)

(Pikachu, Gyarados, Excadrill, Togekiss, Conceldurr, Sylveon)

Unfortunately, I don’t remember this match very well. The matchup seems very good to me, and I remember that I won both games easily.

ROUND 7 vs Sombrak04 WW (6-2 top 16)

(Dragapult, Excadrill, Togekiss, Incineroar, Rotom-Wash, Clefairy)

I went into this fight with a Togekiss + Excadrill lead and he with Togekiss + Rotom-Wash. He went for Nasty Plot and an Incineroar switch-in, which then was OHKO’d by Helping Hand Max Rockfall from my Excadrill. I made sure I could take the KO regardless of whether the Togekiss is Babiri berry or not, or even if he decides to switch to Incineroar (which many players do), and also set the Sand with it. Despite the Rotom’s offensive pressure, I was able to win thanks to Rillaboom in late game, who is literally on the team to deal with opponent Water types.
In game 2, he tried to change the game plan by leading Excadrill + Incineroar to pressure me with a possible Fake Out + Max Quake (and Intimidating) since he had seen that my Excadrill had no Focus Sash. On the first turn, I decided to switch Togekiss for Tyranitar to make sure I could hit his Exca first with Max Steelspike with the intention of raising my Defense, breaking the Sash, and surviving his attack. If he had decided to attack the Togekiss instead, he would have activated my Tyranitar’s WP due to the switch and I would still have kept the offensive pressure. At this point, I had the momentum and managed to win while maintaining control.

ROUND 8 vs MercuryVGC (6-2 top32) WLW

(Tsareena, Incineroar, Rotom-Wash, Tyranitar, Excadrill, Togekiss)

I do not remember this game very well, since we had both secured the top and played much more relaxed as a result. What I do remember is that I applied the game plan explained above for the mirrors, which ended up in 3 close games.

TOP16 vs Sombrak04 WW

After our battle in round 7, he tried to change the game plan by leading Incineroar Dragapult. I went with Excadrill Togekiss again, but this time, I Dynamaxed my Togekiss to OHKO his Dynamax Dragapult. From there, I had a great advantage and easily won game 1.

In game 2, he changed the game plan again by leading Dragapult Togekiss with Rotom and Clefairy in the back, which resulted in a fairly close and fun game. I tried to KO his annoying Fairies with Excadrill, trying to take into consideration his possible switches to Rotom-Wash to take the damage while Dragapult prevented me from gaining an advantage. But I finally managed to win thanks to Tyranitar taking a KO on the Dragapult. With that, Rillaboom was able to comein without any problems to KO the Rotom-Wash in the late game.

TOP8 vs Yuree WW

Both game 1 and game 2 were a replay of the Swiss game 2, but this time, I Dynamaxed my Arcanine to more easily deal with his Corviknight and thus set the Sun to reduce damage from his Primarina’s Water attacks. I managed to win both game 1 and 2 with a little more ease than in Swiss, but Yuree still played this horrible matchup pretty well.

TOP4 vs Gold WW

(Togekiss, Excadrill, Grimmsnarl, Milotic, Dracozolt, Venusaur)

Since this matchup was similar to the one vs Yuree, I led with Excadrill Togekiss and brought Rillaboom Tyranitar in the back. Grimmsnarl had screens and Scary Face, which was quite tough to handle since once my Togekiss went down, he forced me to put the Sand up only to play for a Speed tie since his Scary Face neutralized the speed boost my Excadrill gained with the Sand. Still, I managed to deal with it, only to find myself in facing down a +2 Def Milotic behind a Reflect in late game. First, I decided to stall the Reflect using Protect with my mons and Fake Out with Rillaboom, and then I looked for a flinch while attacking with Rilla, which after several attempts and some Hypnosises went well.

Game 2 was a repeat of game 1, but this time, his Milotic was crit by my Rillaboom, finishing the match much more quickly.


(Lapras, Incineroar, Dusclops, Conkeldurr, Dracozolt, Mimikyu)
In game 1, I applied the approach that I explained for this match up. However, he swapped Dusclops for Incineroar, which was Shuca Berry, preventing me from OHKOing him, which became a major annoyance as he started rotating Incineroar in and out, reducing my damage output more and more. This caused me to lose game 1.

In game 2, I decided to improvise another game plan, which consisted of leading Tyranitar Excadrill with Indeedee and Togekiss in the back. The idea was to Dynamax Tyranitar while self-proccing the Weakness Policy with Earthquake to ensure I had all the offensive pressure needed so that even Dusclops could be OHKO’d. He switched Dusclops for Incineroar again, however I was able to put out enough pressure to prevent the Trick Room and win game 2.

In game 3, I went with the same game plan (but with Arcanine instead of Togekiss due to a misclick), and he led with Dusclops and Conkeldurr, Dynamaxing the latter. I used Earthquake + Crunch to OHKO his Dusclops with the WP boost on Tyranitar; this was a 50/50 call since he could have switched to Incineroar again, and I was able to predict correctly. The read turned out well for me, as without a Trick Room I had all the advantage and once Tyranitar went down I could get a free switch into Indeedee, which I Dynamaxed to finish off the Conkeldurr which was already damaged from Life Orb recoil and my Excadrill’s Earthquake on turn 1. At this point, the match was practically mine, so I simply finished off his last 2 Pokémon, Lapras and Incineroar, with my Dynamax Indeedee and Excadrill, still keeping the Arcanine in the back.

They were 3 really close and hard games that I really enjoyed a lot.

Conclusion and Shoutouts

In conclusion, I think that in what remains of series 4 and even series 5, the team could still achieve good results, especially with Rillaboom getting new moves and a new Ability in Grassy Surge. If you intend to try the team, I encourage you to use an Excadrill with High Horsepower instead of Earthquake (due to the Grassy Terrain set by Rillaboom).
I am really happy with this result and hope to this well or better in the future.
Once again, I must say that the base idea of this team was made by @agatino174 and improved by myself and @MrSidi5, so shoutouts to them, as well as the friends who cheered me on during the tournament.
If you have any doubts or want to ask any questions about the team, feel free to contact me on Twitter. I hope this article helps you. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, and thank you very much for reading this article.