SolgRay – A 2019 Japan Nationals Champion’s Report

Translation by @TamtamVGC (if you find any errors, feel free to DM me!). Big thanks to @vivalavlade for helping me out with sections I was uncertain about. Original team report by @hirosipoke (Kimura Hirofumi).

Hello, Ka’El here.

Following up on last years’ Japanese Nationals, I managed to win in 2019 as well. I want to thank all the people who supported me and who congratulated me. I’ve never been happier.

This time, I finished 5-2 after the Swiss rounds, ending in 17th place and qualifying to the next stage of the tournament. In cut, I went 10-4 and ended up in first place, so in total, SolgRay went 15-6. Last year, the win-loss ratio that netted me first place was almost impossibly high, but this time the wins and losses went back and forth, and I only won after a great struggle. I just barely managed to win both times, but they were truly passionate battles.

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Table of Contents

Teambuilding Process

The aim of the team

For Japan Nationals, my objective was to ensure the team I was creating would have an advantage against XRay / RayOgre / XernDon. I saw these 3 archetypes leave behind many notable results, both in Battle Spot and at overseas tournaments, and given their strength I made the conclusion that many people would be bringing them to Japan Nationals as well.

Choosing the core of the team

When I started deciding on team members, the first thing I wanted to focus on was having Xerneas counters. By looking at the results from VGC16 and my results in Sun as well as Moon series when trying to come up with a counter, I reached the conclusion that a Steel-type that can use Trick Room would be most optimal. (During Sun I used Stakataka, and during Moon I used Dialga.)

The Steel-types that could use Trick Room which popped into my head were Bronzong and Stakataka, but I decided against using either of them. The reasons were the following:

  • In Bronzong’s case, Incineroar, which is so good that I could be certain it would be used against it, could use Intimidate to lower its damage. This makes it easy for Bronzong to be sidelined. It is also easily KO’d by Incinium Z.
  • Stakataka has greater Attack, but even in this case, Incineroar’s Intimidate lowers it. With the increase in Ground-type moves being used by Pokémon such as Rayquaza, Stakataka became more difficult to use. If you use Shuca, then you instead end up being helpless against Amoonguss.

Therefore, my choices were narrowed down to the restricted Steels Solgaleo, Dialga, or Dusk Mane Necrozma, but with Dusk Mane Necrozma being a physical attacker, it was vulnerable to being Intimidated by Incineroar as well. Conversely, if they’re special attackers, I figured they can’t really threaten Xerneas and would be unsuitable as counters, so I said goodbye to using them.

My original choice was Dialga. I had an attachment to it since I always used it in Sun/Moon series, but thanks to its typing, it was also strong against RayOgre, so I decided it was best against the 3 meta archetypes. After testing Dialga-based teams, I found that Tapu Fini’s ability to set up Light Screen and cut the damage of Dialga’s Dragon-type moves in half thanks to Misty Terrain was a major issue that couldn’t be solved, so I rejected it. For reference, you can see the teams of the Dialga team below:

As a result, the only thing left was Solgaleo. I knew it would be overwhelmingly strong against Xerneas teams, but I thought it couldn’t really beat anything else, so I was hesitant to use it. However, as I used it, I noticed it had these strong points:

  • It’s strong not only against Xerneas, but also against Rayquaza
  • A physical attacker whose Attack can not be lowered is quite effective in the current meta
  • It has good bulk with no 4x weaknesses, so it can reliably set Trick Room

Since Incineroar’s Intimidate does not work on it, the pressure exerted onto the opponent is always unchanged. With the top 3 archetypes all having Rayquaza or Xerneas on them, I became convinced that using Solgaleo was not a mistake.

Choosing the supporting cast

From here, deciding on the team up to its fifth member went relatively smoothly. First, the second member was chosen to be a restricted that had excellent synergy with Solgaleo and that was strong against both the Primals that Solgaleo was weak to + that could check them—Rayquaza.

Then, I chose the duo that had seen use since the start of Ultra series, which was fantastic at controlling the board and which complimented Solgaleo/Rayquaza perfectly—Incineroar and Tapu Fini.

The fifth member exerted great pressure against RayOgre, as well as being strong against Yveltal, which the current four members struggle against—Tapu Koko. I felt leading with a Pokémon that could set Trick Room alongside Tapu Koko was a particularly strong play and something I noticed from Sun/Moon series, which was one of the main reasons I chose Koko.

However, searching for the perfect member for the sixth spot took up quite some time.

How I arrived at Gastrodon

While I searched for a Pokémon that would be an appropriate fit for the above 5, I realized what role I wanted the sixth slot to fill.

  • It needed to be strong against Mega Gengar and the Primals
  • It needed to be able to swiftly deal with Mega Metagross / Solgaleo. Few Pokémon can threaten these two, so mirror matches would be difficult to win (especially at this phase of the meta).

And so I searched for a Pokémon that fulfilled the above criteria. As Mega Gengar / Primal Groudon / Mega Metagross / Solgaleo are all weak to the Ground type, I quickly realized that I should be using a Ground-type Pokémon.

What I used at first was . With a Choice Scarf, it could pin Mega Gengar with Stomping Tantrum, and Huge Power Foul Play gave you a good chance of dealing with Solgaleo / Mega Metagross; these were the points in its favor. Foul Play could even OHKO most Ultra Necrozma, I’m sure.

However, when Mega Gengar is paired with Intimidate support, Diggersby can no longer OHKO it. When I also realized it had a poor matchup against Gengar + Kyogre after all, I discarded it.

What I used next was . With a Special set, it could one-shot Mega Gengar regardless of Intimidate, and I figured that it could do decent enough damage against Kyogre with Grass Knot.

Ultimately, it turned out that while it was certainly strong against Mega Gengar, it did almost nothing against the Kyogre it was partnered with, so the idea was discarded. I acknowledge that Grass Knot can chip Kyogre, but Landorus could only 3HKO it while being OHKO’d in return, which was a weak point.

When I reflected on what I’d learned up until then, I concluded the ideal sixth member needed to 1) be a Ground-type, while also 2) being strong against Primal Kyogre.

With it needing to be a Ground type, being weak to Water types was unavoidable, so there was no choice but to look at Abilities which might protect from them. And so, the choice came down to Seismitoad or Gastrodon. When I compared the two, I noticed that

  • There was no great difference in terms of damage output or bulk
  • When taking a Water-type attack, Seismitoad recovers health, whereas Gastrodon increases its Special Attack
  • Under Trick Room, the slow Gastrodon performs better

Ultimately, the reason I chose to go with Gastrodon was due to the benefit it received from taking Water-type attacks. Both Sesimitoad and Gastrodon have a base Special Attack below 100, which is not an impressive number by any means, so I decided that rather than recover health when taking Water-type attacks, I’d rather exert pressure by increasing my damage. Moreover, even if a Pokémon with Seismitoad’s meagre bulk recovers 1/4 of its HP, it’s rarely the deciding factor in a game, so there was also that.

Completion of the team

… and that’s how I decided on my team. The result was a team strong against XRay / RayOgre / XernDon, and with that goal reached, the team was complete. With SolgRay being strong against major meta teams while not being a target of the current meta, I gather that that, too, made it feel all the more complete.

The Team

Solgaleo

Solgaleo @ Solganium Z
Ability: Full Metal Body
Level: 50
EVs: 36 HP / 220 Atk / 252 SpD
Adamant Nature
IVs: 15 Spe
– Protect
– Superpower
– Trick Room
– Sunsteel Strike

The core of the team and its Trick Room setter.

It’s a physical attacker that has the advantage of being unaffected by Intimidate thanks to its Ability, so the pressure exerted onto the opponent is unchanged.

This is a Pokémon that is often the target of attacks, so make good use of Protect and switches to handle that. Even if it does take damage, there are times when you have the possibility of using Tapu Fini’s Heal Pulse to restore its health to make for a strong play.

Its good bulk makes it easy to safely go for Trick Room, and combined with the thorough support from Incineroar’s Intimidate / Snarl and Tapu Fini’s Light Screen / Heal Pulse, breaking through Solgaleo becomes very difficult.

Stats

Attack

  • 220+ Atk Solgaleo Searing Sunraze Smash vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Rayquaza: 190-225 (104.9 – 124.3%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 220+ Atk Solgaleo Searing Sunraze Smash vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Yveltal: 199-235 (98.5 – 116.3%) — 93.8% chance to OHKO

Special Defense

  • 4 SpA Life Orb Mega Rayquaza Overheat vs. 36 HP / 252 SpD Solgaleo: 182-216 (83.8 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 36 HP / 252 SpD Solgaleo: 92-108 (42.3 – 49.7%) — guaranteed 3HKO

Speed

  • 1 Speed slower than neutral Nature Primal Groudon / Kyogre

I originally used 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD, but:

  • Since it’s mainly brought against RayOgre and Xerneas teams, you often had to be able to take Special Attacks
  • On the physical side of things, it’s easy to tell whether or not you’ll be able to take an attack

With these points in mind, I first focused on its Special Defense.

Then, by making its Attack high, I could defeat low bulk investment Mega Rayquaza, and after getting some chip onto Incineroar with attacks such as Tapu Koko’s Volt Switch, Superpower could threaten a KO. Since the removal of these Pokémon is prone to being delayed, being able to bring them down with Solgaleo is important. With these and more reasons in mind, I decided to invest in both Attack and Special Defense.

In order to easily be able to tell which of Solgaleo and opposing Groudon / Kyogre were faster, I took it upon myself to lower its Speed so that I could also be faster in Trick Room.

Item
As you can see by looking at the above damage calcs, the amount of Pokémon you can KO increases significantly with Solganium Z. Being able to OHKO even very bulky Xerneas is also fantastic.

Moves

– Protect
By Protecting, you can switch in Incineroar and then go for Fake Out + Trick Room. Against Xerneas teams, it’s especially important to be able to do so, so from that point of view it’s an indispensable move.

– Superpower
This lets you run through Incineroar and Stakataka. Against Incineroar in particular, you can’t OHKO it, so you need to make use of for example Tapu Koko’s Volt Switch or Incineroar’s U-turn to get it into range of Superpower.

– Trick Room
Trick Room for Gastrodon is obvious, but it’s often set to ensure it can be the ace in the hole. If not for this move, then I would easily lose to a Geomancied Xerneas + a Pokémon faster than Solgaleo that can also threaten it, so I can’t go without it.

– Sunsteel Strike
The main weapon. There’s no way that a barrage of a STAB move with a base power of 100 which can’t be lowered by Intimidate would ever be weak.

Rayquaza

Rayquaza @ Assault Vest
Ability: Delta Stream
Level: 50
EVs: 196 HP / 44 Atk / 12 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
– Extreme Speed
– Crunch
– Earth Power
– Dragon Ascent

With Rayquaza being both a restricted and a Mega, it’s brought 100% of the time. It’s strong against Groudon / Kyogre, which Solgaleo struggles with, and thanks to having Crunch, it’s also good against Lunala. It has excellent synergy with Solgaleo both when they’re on the field together and when used as a switch-in for it, and they generally cover each others’ weaknesses. With an Assault Vest, it can participate in lengthy positioning battles. Together with Solgaleo, they make for an incredible restricted duo.

It’s good to be aware of the gameplan of using Tapu Fini and Tapu Koko to get damage off with their Nature’s Madness in the early to midgame so that Rayquaza can come in and sweep in the endgame.

It’s quite obvious that both its Attack and Special Attack reach a stat of over 200 and that this makes for a speedy damage dealer, but its effective Special Defense stat is also very high at 180. During a match, it can choose between functioning either as an attacker or a defensive team member, making it very strong.

Stats

Attack

  • 44 Atk Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Lele: 147-174 (100.6 – 119.1%) — guaranteed OHKO

Special Attack

  • 12 SpA Mega Rayquaza Earth Power vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Koko: 146-172 (100 – 117.8%) — guaranteed OHKO

Speed

  • Max Speed

I invested the minimum amount needed into Attack and Special Attack for the spread, and the rest was used to ensure good bulk. This team places a big emphasis on lengthier games, so bulk is valued above damage (the benefit from Heal Pulse is also even greater).

As for its Speed, I knew I wanted to outspeed Mega Metagross and Mega Lucario, so I needed to reach a Speed stat of 181 at minimum. For the former in particular, it could have spreads ranging from Adamant variants which invest in HP and Attack to Jolly max Speed ones, so it was necessary to always be faster in order to be certain of how their Speed stats would interact. Since I had invested this much in Speed already, I figured that I might as well go max Speed so that I could gamble on the Speed tie just in case.

As for Rayquaza’s Nature, you can tell by looking at the above damage calcs and explanations that the Attack, Special Attack, and Speed only barely reach what they needed to be. Since you also have to be able to check Kyogre, I couldn’t lower its Special Defense. Therefore, I made it Hasty.

Item
I used Assault Vest to increase its Special bulk. With this item, you’re not at a disadvantage against Lunala. Under Light Screen, Rayquaza’s Special bulk becomes absurd.

Moves

– Extreme Speed
Used to pick up Pokémon with their HP in the red. Being able to get around Follow Me / Rage Powder is also fantastic.

– Crunch
This attack doesn’t really have any good targets other than Bronzong / Lunala / Dawn Wings Necrozma, but Lunala and Dawn Wings Necrozma are both difficult for the team to handle, so there is no reason not to include Crunch as it quickly deals with them. You can also hit Ultra Necrozma hard, provided your Attack has not been lowered.

– Earth Power
It does super effective damage against a wide array of Pokémon, including Primal Groudon, Incineroar, Metagross, and Tapu Koko. It’s not STAB, but since Rayquaza’s stats are so high, most Pokémon are 2-shot by it anyhow.

– Dragon Ascent
Main weapon. An incredibly strong STAB attack with a base power of 120 and 100% accuracy.

Incineroar

Incineroar @ Aguav Berry
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 252 SpD / 20 Spe
Careful Nature
– Fake Out
– U-turn
– Snarl
– Flare Blitz

The perfect Pokémon. It supports Solgaleo and Rayquaza by letting them move more freely, or when led alongside Fini, it allows you to control the board. With the Ability Intimidate and Snarl at its disposal, it increases the overall longevity of the party.

Further, it is able to easily check opponents that are difficult for Solgaleo to handle, such as Lunala / Yveltal / Necrozma. The synergy between Incineroar and SolgRay is good from both an offensive and defensive standpoint.

It’s just a bit faster than its partner Tapu Fini, which enables you to go for the combo of U-turn + Heal Pulse. This ensures attacks aimed at Incineroar are tanked by it and lets you safely restore the health of your damaged Pokémon in the back.

Stats

HP

  • Multiple of 4

Speed

  • 2 points faster than min Spe Tapu Fini

With this spread, the role assigned to Incineroar is more bulk-oriented than damage-oriented, so that you can check the opponent time and time again. With the aid of Solgaleo’s Trick Room and Tapu Fini’s Light Screen as well as its own Fake Out, you can stall out opposing Tailwind turns, etc. I feel this is very strong, so I made the choice to invest in its bulk first.

The attacks you want Incineroar to be able to take on the physical side (such as Groudon’s Precipice Blades) are already covered thanks to its Ability Intimidate, so I invested fully in Special Defense. This way, you can safely take Lunala’s Z-Move, and if you’re forced to eat an Earth Power, Incineroar takes on that burden too.

Incineroar’s Speed EVs were originally enough to outspeed Tapu Fini by 1 point at 82, but I repeatedly Speed tied other Incineroar, which completely threw my plan off. That made me concerned, so I ended up going with a Speed stat of 83. There’s no particular reason for anyone to use 83 Speed on Incineroar, so it was the most suitable amount of investment for avoiding Speed ties.

Item
In order to cycle Incineroar in and out as well as take as many resisted attacks as possible, I gave it an easy-to-activate Pinch Berry. I chose Aguav Berry to not reveal my Nature to the opponent.

Moves

– Fake Out
If used alongside Solgaleo, you can safely set Trick Room. With it also letting you stall out Tailwind and Trick Room turns, the applications of this move are infinite.

– U-turn
I wanted Incineroar to be taking on the burden of tanking as many hits as possible, so being able to take an attack and then switch out made this move indispensable.

– Snarl
Unlike Darkest Lariat, Snarl lowers the opposing offensive pressure, so it’s easy to make use of in lengthy positioning battles. Further, it considerably enhances Solgaleo’s ability to take Special attacks and makes it difficult to break through, which makes it easier to go for Trick Room.

– Flare Blitz
Used to hit Ferrothorn and Celesteela hard. If you have Rayquaza next to Incineroar, then you can use it even in Heavy Rain.

Tapu Fini

Tapu Fini @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Misty Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 188 Def / 76 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Scald
– Light Screen
– Heal Pulse
– Nature’s Madness

Usually led alongside Incineroar, this Pokémon, too, is used for board control.

Most important is using Light Screen to reduce the opposing side’s damage. With Nature’s Madness, you can go through Screens and Intimidates to continuously chip the opponent. This team forces the opponent into a positioning battle, so you can easily hit Nature’s Madness on a full HP Pokémon as it switches in. As a result, you’ll end up ahead in the damage race.

After cycling in and out, Solgaleo and Rayquaza will naturally take damage. When that happens, Fini has Heal Pulse to make sure they’re not knocked out.

Since Japan Nationals used a Total Time-style game timer, you can spam Heal Pulse on your allies to ensure you’ll have more HP remaining and aim for a victory by stalling out the game timer.

Stats

Defense

  • 252 Atk Choice Band Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 244 HP / 188 Def Tapu Fini: 148-175 (84 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Speed

  • Min Spe

Since the Special Defense can be aided by Fini’s own Light Screen and Incineroar’s Snarl, I invested heavily in physical Defense. Being able to neuter the damage from Incin Z is also amazing.

As for the Speed, I decided to use min Speed due to the aforementioned Incineroar U-turn + Heal Pulse combo. As a bonus, I’m able to outspeed opposing Kyogre in Trick Room and go for Nature’s Madness to lower the damage of their Water Spout.

Item
Since the idea from the start was to be taking physical attacks as well as special attacks (due to Light Screen increasing the ability to take the latter), I went with a Pinch Berry for the item, as it activates quite often. To not reveal my Nature to the opponent, I chose Wiki Berry.

Moves

– Scald
With Rayquaza beside it, Scald can completely deplete Primal Groudon’s HP. Even if you don’t KO it, getting the damage off is most important, so as to not allow it to take any attacks after that. You can threaten it even more once Solgaleo has set up Trick Room.

– Light Screen
Increases all allies’ Special Defense. At the current point in the meta (or, should I say, since always) there’s been a trend of having a lot of Special Attackers, which has proven effective. Many Special Attacks are used to attempt to take down Solgaleo in particular, so this move puts in work in that sense as well.

– Heal Pulse
When locked in a positioning battle, your team members’ HP will end up falling no matter what you do, so this move is used to make up for that. Since Japan Nationals used Total Time, I also utilized Heal Pulse to go for the timer win condition.

– Nature’s Madness
Used liberally and puts the opposing Pokémon in range of Solgaleo’s and Rayquaza’s attacks. I had little choice in using this as I thought that, since Tapu Fini can’t really do a lot of damage to begin with, if I don’t have Nature’s Madness on it, it’ll just end up being a sitting duck. Once you’ve shaved off half of something’s health, Solgaleo / Rayquaza can generally pick up the KO afterwards.

Tapu Koko

Tapu Koko @ Iapapa Berry
Ability: Electric Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 100 SpD / 156 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Protect
– Nature’s Madness
– Volt Switch
– Wild Charge

Tapu Koko is what I generally bring against RayOgre and Yveltal teams. Investing in its bulk ensures it can withstand many attacks and participate in positioning battles, and with the Pinch Berry its ability to stay on the field is even better. Since its bulk is still only decent, I was worried the Pinch Berry would not activate much, but when your HP is just above the activation range you can use Wild Charge’s recoil damage to get there, so it wasn’t a problem.

Further, Koko is one point faster than Rayquaza, so being able to outspeed and use Nature’s Madness + one of Rayquaza’s attacks to pick up KOs makes for a solid idea. Since Nature’s Madness is Fairy-type, you can ruin your opponent’s plans by, for example, dealing damage with it even if a Lightning Rod Togedemaru is switched in from the back.

Stats

Defense

  • 252 Atk Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Tapu Koko: 74-87 (42 – 49.4%) — guaranteed 4HKO after Iapapa Berry recovery

Special Defense

  • 12+ SpA Primal Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 244 HP / 100 SpD Tapu Koko: 130-154 (73.8 – 87.5%)

Speed

  • Outspeeds max Spe Mega Rayquaza

For this EV spread, I started by deciding on the Speed. I gained nothing from Speed tying other Koko, and without Dazzling Gleam there’s no need to outspeed Ultra Necrozma, so there was no point in going max Speed. There are almost no Pokémon in the 190 – 198 Speed range, and even if there were, there’s no reason for Koko to be outspeeding them, so there’s no problem with having a Speed under 190. With no Fairy-type moves and with this Koko being a physical variant, I figured that there was no reason to outspeed Mega Salamence either. In fact, going second and being able to Volt Switch it after it had moved was better. The Speed range from 185 – 188 was the same as the range from 190 – 200. Therefore, I decided to outspeed max Spe Mega Rayquaza.

What was left now was deciding on how much to invest in bulk, so I started by almost maxing the HP with the aim of making Mega Rayquaza’s Dragon Ascent a clean 4HKO (with the Berry). The rest went into Special Defense, with the leftover 4 EVs being allotted to Attack.

Since Koko’s Special Defense investment is plentiful, this allows it to take Kyogre Water Spout in Air Lock. With Rayquaza in place next to it, Koko can be relied on even against Scarf Kyogre variants.

Item
Koko doesn’t have particularly good bulk, nor does it have particularly good resistances, but it’s just barely able to avoid being one-shot, or if it’s not in Berry range it can use Wild Charge’s recoil to activate it. Therefore, I chose the Pinch Berry as it would be able to proc it decently often, and went with Iapapa Berry to not reveal my Nature to the opponent. Moreover, I was able to check Yveltal more often with it.

Moves

– Protect
Koko’s nature is such that it is weak to being hit before it can move. Being able to stall opposing Tailwind turns or simply ensuring you’re not at a disadvantage when under Solgaleo’s Trick Room are some reasons to use Protect.

– Nature’s Madness
The main reason for using Tapu Koko. RayOgre users know Koko can be an issue, so Nature’s Madness puts in much work against the Lightning Rod Togedemaru that is often used on the archetype. If I had only Electric-type attacks, I’d be helpless against Togedemaru and also be unable to do anything to a Kyogre sitting next to it.

However, with Nature’s Madness, you can simply ignore that and shave off some HP, so even if they bring Togedemaru, there’s no issues.

– Volt Switch
I can’t use it often when up against Lightning Rod, but it’s a necessary move to allow me to cycle Koko in and out.

If you get a high roll, you can pick up the KO on Crobat with Electric Terrain Volt Switch + Mega Rayquaza’s Extreme Speed.

– Wild Charge
Since I wanted to hit Primal Kyogre and AV Yveltal for super effective damage and since they’re usually more inclined toward Special Defense, I used Wild Charge instead of Thunderbolt. Being able to ignore Light Screen is a plus. While Intimidate lowers your offense, Volt Switch lets you deal damage and switch in those situations, and Nature’s Madness pays no attention to the lowered Attack, so you can still do chip.

Gastrodon

Gastrodon @ Expert Belt
Ability: Storm Drain
Level: 50
EVs: 148 HP / 92 Def / 252 SpA / 12 SpD
Quiet Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Protect
– Surf
– Earth Power
– Ice Beam

It was the MVP of the finals! … well, not quite, but it restricted my opponent’s choices, so it did its job plenty well.

I often bring it against Mega Gengar and RayOgre. It’s strong against Gengar by virtue of being a Ground type, and since it has Storm Drain it’s also strong against Kyogre, which are points I appreciate.

When I bring Gastrodon, it’s often alongside Solgaleo, so that it can be used as my Trick Room ace in the hole. With its Ground-type and Ice-type moves, it can hit many Pokémon for super effective damage, and with the Expert Belt I’m not too concerned about it not dealing enough damage.

Stats

Defense

  • 252+ Atk Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 148 HP / 92 Def Gastrodon: 172-204 (83.9 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Special Attack

  • 252+ SpA Expert Belt Gastrodon Earth Power vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Mega Gengar: 168-202 (100.5 – 120.9%) — guaranteed OHKO

Special Defense

  • 4 SpA Mega Gengar Shadow Ball vs. 148 HP / 12 SpD Gastrodon: 84-99 (40.9 – 48.2%) — guaranteed 3HKO

Speed

  • Min Spe

Since its primarily role is to go wild under Trick Room, I started by maxing out its Special Attack. I then increased physical Defense to hit the calcs needed. I often ended up taking physical attacks such as Mega Metagross’ Stomping Tantrum, so I believe I made the right choice.

As for its Special Defense, I figured that max Special Attack Gengar is almost nonexistent, so I went with the above calc instead. Primal Kyogre’s Ice Beam is a 3HKO, too, so this investment is surely enough.

Min Speed is used since the idea was to attack under Trick Room.

Item
Defeating Mega Gengar with Earth Power was one of the roles Gastrodon needed to fill, so I used Expert Belt since I appreciated the fact that, unlike Life Orb, it doesn’t reduce your HP. With it increasing damage dealt, Gastrodon became even more oppressive under Trick Room.

Moves

– Protect
Against teams that don’t have a way to OHKO Gastrodon, they often resort to double-targeting it, so being able to Protect when that happens can net you a considerable advantage.

– Surf
This move is used to catch Follow Me + Primal Groudon off-guard. Unlike Muddy Water, it always hits, and since Rayquaza is generally taking the side-hit, the cons of using Surf aren’t too big of a deal.

– Earth Power
Earth Power is, of course, used in order for Gastrodon to fulfill the role of taking on Mega Gengar, but it can also threaten Metagross, Togedemaru, and Solgaleo.

– Ice Beam
Used to threaten Mega Salamence and Mega Rayquaza. Since most opponents which cannot be taken down by Earth Power are generally weak to Ice Beam, it complements it perfectly.

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Matchups

vs 

Always bring:

Don’t bring:

Usual lead:

A somewhat favorable matchup. Keep in mind that Solgaleo is used to take on Xerneas and Salamence, whereas Mega Rayquaza can take on Primal Groudon and Incineroar. If Solgaleo goes down, Xerneas is quite likely to be able to run amok, and the same goes for Primal Groudon if Rayquaza goes down, so it’s important to keep track of the HP of these two Pokémon.

I usually pick Tapu Fini as the fourth member, but if the opponent’s team has Mega Gengar, you can bring Gastrodon instead.

vs 

Always bring:

Don’t bring:

Usual lead:

A favorable matchup. Solgaleo is incredibly strong against both opposing restricted, so take care to make sure Solgaleo does not go down, even if it requires you to sacrifice Mega Rayquaza. Support Solgaleo with all your power using Incineroar’s Intimidate / Snarl and Tapu Fini’s Light Screen / Heal Pulse.

vs

Always bring:

Don’t bring: N/A

Usual lead:

It may seem like a disadvantageous matchup, but it’s actually somewhat in your favor. Bring Solgaleo and Tapu Koko, and then, after seeing the opponent’s lead,

  1. Go for the Trick Room mode by switching Koko for Gastro, or
  2. Switch Solgaleo for Rayquaza and go for dominance via speed

Being able to choose between these two patterns of play is quite strong. The fourth member depends on the opponent’s team. If they have Ferrothorn or Celesteela, bring Incineroar, and if they have Bronzong, bring Tapu Fini.

vs

Always bring:

Don’t bring:

Usual lead:

An unfavorable matchup. Since the opponent will usually lead Incin Gengar, I answer that by leading Incin Gastro.

Ideally, you want to deal with Yveltal as quickly as possible to allow Rayquaza free reign, but if Rayquaza goes down to Gengar’s Perish Song, your win condition disappears. So in addition to quickly disposing of Yveltal, you should preferably play in such a way that you are also able to deal with Gengar at any time.

You may be tempted to think that Tapu Fini would be a good choice based on the fact that YvelOgre can’t threaten it, but its forte is in positioning battles, which Mega Gengar puts a stop to. On top of that, Sludge Bomb lets Gengar take down Fini, so you can’t really bring it.

vs

Always bring:

Don’t bring:

Usual lead:

Neither unfavorable nor favorable, this is a neutral matchup. Neither of the opposing restricted can easily break through AV Mega Rayquaza, and since Mega Rayquaza is able to 2HKO both of them, thinking about how you maneuver in this matchup will be important.

Usually, the opposing team will have Tapu Lele and Salamence, so against those opponents, Solgaleo can be chosen and its Trick Room can be used to counter Tailwind.

Closing Words

Owing to all the Juniors, Seniors, and everyone else who helped me with refining the team and whom I consulted when teambuilding before Japan Nationals, I became the Japanese Champion for the second time in a row. Thank you so much. Even I’m surprised—I never thought I would rise to the top of the same stage again.

I have no intention of bringing this SolgRay variant to this year’s World Championships. At last year’s World Championships, I brought the CressQueen that I won that year’s Japan Nationals with (although I used Nidoking), but I finished with a very vexing score of 1-3. People start to develop better gameplans and get better at playing against teams which leave a significant result behind, so of course it becomes more difficult to win with the same team down the line.

I’ll make a team from the ground up again, and I think I’ll be able to create the best team in the world.

I’ll be doing my best this year as well!!!

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