Team Report – Lopunny and friends take on Oceania

My name is Graham Amedee, aka Ammodee and I’m a member of the Brisbane Buzzwoles. I started playing Pokémon at the start of 2015, primarily on the Battle Spot Singles ladder on Pokémon Showdown. I found this was a fun way to spend some time in between work and gym. My brother, Paul Amedee (BB_Mastodon), encouraged me to play VGC, as it was the official competitive format. Since then, I’ve attended Australian Regional and National-level events. In the beginning, I mainly used meme teams like Void Cats and Perish Trap, but since June 2017 my other brother (Brian Amedee/Brian159) and I worked together to build a cool, hyper-offense team. That team gained some success when we both made top cut for Sydney and Brisbane Regionals in 2017. We are always brainstorming ideas together.

Team’s Achievements

  • Prior to the Oceania International Championships 2018, the team did not have experience at any competitive events. However, this team was made to counter CHALK teams and the common Tapu Fini, Tyranitar, Landourus-Therian, Amounguss, Zapdos and Mega Metagross team.
  • During the weekend of the Oceania International Championships 2018, the team was one win away from making the top 8. It also made the top 8 of the Midseason Showdown that was hosted that Saturday.

The Team

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Lopunny-Mega @ Lopunnite
Ability: Limber
Level: 50
EVs: 36 HP / 212 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Fake Out
– Fake Tears
– High Jump Kick
– Return

I chose Mega Lopunny because it has access to Scrappy and one of the fastest Fake Outs in the game. Fake Tears was a favourite of mine, as it helped soften up targets for Tapu Lele/Greninja/Zapdos to smack with their strong special attacks. I ran 212 Attack EVs, which allows me to Fake Out opposing Tapu Koko and follow up with Frustration for the KO. The attack EVs also allow me to OHKO 252/0 Aegislash 75 percent of the time. Defense-wise, the EVs allow Mega Lopunny to survive a Dazzling Gleam from Choice Specs Tapu Koko 75 percent of the time.

Blacephalon @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 244 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Overheat
– Shadow Ball
– Hidden Power [Ice] – Heat Wave

I decided to run Choice Scarf Blacephalon due to its potential. Its Ghost-type makes it immune to Fake Out, and its fantastic Special Attack stat made it an excellent late-game sweeper. The Speed EVs allow Blacephalon to out-speed anything up to and including Jolly Choice Scarf Landorus-T, while a Modest nature and 252 Special Attack EVs picks up the OHKO on any non-Assault Vest Landorus-T. Max Special Attack also allows me to OHKO Choice Scarf Tapu Lele and 4/0 Mega Metagross with Shadow Ball.

Drampa @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Cloud Nine
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 100 Def / 156 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Tailwind
– Flamethrower
– Hyper Voice
– Roar

I hate switching in and out to beat weather, so I decided to use Drampa. The idea was that Drampa would sit on the field to support Lopunny and the team while denying my opponents any advantage from the weather, which a majority of teams have access to. With a Calm nature, 252 HP EVs and 156 Special Defense EVs, Drampa could live a Moonblast from Modest 252 SpA Tapu Lele. Tailwind and Roar were vital for speed control, and allowed me to force out opposing Pokémon that like to set up. From word of mouth, many VGC competitors did not expect Drampa to have moves like Tailwind and Roar.

Greninja @ Life Orb
Ability: Protean
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
– Ice Beam
– Low Kick
– Gunk Shot
– Protect

Mr Versatility. Greninja is one of the fastest Pokémon in the format and has awesome offensive coverage. Protean is the cherry on top, which helps take full advantage of its diverse move-pool. Max Speed allows it to get the drop on Pokémon such as Choice Scarf Tyranitar and Mega Salamence and OHKO them with Low Kick and Ice Beam, respectively. Protean plus Life Orb even allows Ice Beam to OHKO Assault Vest Landorus-T, while Gunk Shot can OHKO Tapu Lele and Tapu Fini.

Zapdos @ Electrium Z
Ability: Pressure
Level: 50
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Thunderbolt
– Tailwind
– Roar
– Hidden Power [Ice]

This is an offensive Zapdos with speed control options. As with Drampa, I ran both Tailwind and Roar, allowing me to either boost my own speed or deny my opponents the chance to set up Trick Room (or set up in general). With Modest nature and max Special Attack, Zapdos can OHKO both Mega Mawile and Mega Metagross with a Gigavolt Havoc, while HP Ice picks up the OHKO on Mega Salamence and non-Assault Vest Landorus-T. Even Cresselia is at risk, as Gigavolt Havoc can OHKO should Lopunny get a Fake Tears off before Zapdos attacks. Another advantage of having Electrium Z is the ability to bypass things like Prankster Encore from Whimsicott and Liepard, should they lock Zapdos into Tailwind or Roar. Finally, Pressure was a useful ability to have as it allowed me to scout certain Pokémon to determine their relative speeds.

Tapu Lele @ Choice Specs
Ability: Psychic Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Def / 244 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Psychic
– Moonblast
– Dazzling Gleam
– Shadow Ball

Of the four Island Guardians, Tapu Lele is my favourite. I particularly like having access to Psychic Terrain, which protects my grounded Pokémon from opposing priority attacks (preventing Sucker Punch from hitting Blacephalon is a prime example). I decided to have Tapu Lele hold Choice Specs, as its damage output would place tremendous offensive pressure on my opponent. With terrain and Choice Specs, Psychic would basically OHKO anything that didn’t resist it. Tapu Lele was vital for matches against teams with Kommo-o and Scrafty.

Team Play

The idea of the team was to exert offensive pressure and pick up KOs before the other team they could do anything. Having terrain control, Fake Out, weather control, and multiple Tailwind/Roar users meant I could be in control of the field and deny my opponent the chance to set-up. I also had a variety of fast offensive Pokémon that gave me the ability to pick up quick KOs. This team thrives off punishing defensive switches and opponents spamming Protect.

Core Combinations and Common Leads

My thought process in team preview was seeing what my opponent could do to shut down a Zapdos and Mega Lopunny lead, and adjust my next game accordingly. Leading those two gave me the use of Fake Out, Tailwind and Roar, and Pressure on Zapdos meant I could gather a lot of information from my opponent’s team from the first turn. This lead was particularly good against CHALK teams and Tapu Fini/Metagross/Landourus-T teams. Blacephelon served as a fantastic secondary lead if I felt my opponent would lead counters to Lopunny (eg: opposing Tapu Lele). In the back, I normally ran Greninja and Blacephalon for the offensive pressure. The only matchups I wouldn’t bring all four at once is against weather teams that have a Pokémon that gain speed from their weather.

Against rain and sun teams, I lead Tapu Lele/Drampa. Psychic Surge helps prevent opposing Fake Out, allowing Drampa to go for a Tailwind or Roar while Cloud Nine helped deny my opponents from getting any weather related boosts. If I felt like running with complete offense from turn one, I would lead with Blacephalon/ Greninja. Together, these two have great coverage and fire power to pick up double KOs in the first turn. If I had a game one lead and felt like getting a cheap game two win, then these two would get the job done. Great for big competitions.

Team Match-ups

Approaching team preview is very important for any team, particularly any hyper-offence team. I would almost always lead two Pokémon that have the best chance against my opponent’s biggest threat to my team. I would take in mind speed tiers of the opposing pokemon, potential items that they might be holding, look out for the potential Mega Pokémon, see who could set up terrains and weather, see what use of speed control they might have, and also possible set up combinations they can use. With experience, I would try to play out the first few turns of the game mentally before I select the 4 pokemon before the start of the match.

Match-ups

  • CHALK and Tapu Fini/Tyranitar/Landourus-T/Amoonguss/Zapdos/Mega Metagross team: These were my favourite match-ups, as Mega Lopunny and Zapdos threaten these teams a lot. I would gain speed control with the use of Fake Out from Mega Lopunny and Tailwind/Roar from Zapdos. Together, they create enough offense with their high attack and special attack stats, whilst also having the option of using Fake Tears and Electrium-Z was a fantastic way to unexpectedly kill a threat.
  • Sand: A well played sand team would be difficult for this team to beat. Particularly, if they had Belly Drum Azumarill, which could prove threatening should it set up. Also, Amoonguss redirecting attacks with Rage Powder could make playing around Sand teams even harder.
  • Sun: Drampa is fantastic at walling sun teams. Drampa paired with Specs Tapu Lele had great damage output for sun teams.
  • Rain: Drampa’s Cloud Nine was fantastic at denying my opponents the benefits of rain (Swift Swim and damage boost to Water-type moves). Pairing Drampa with Tapu Lele meant that Tapu Lele could kill some threats to Pokémon that could kill Drampa, eg: Mega Swampert with Ice Punch/Superpower.
  • Hail: Pretty much non-existent. Drampa and Blacephalon smashed Hail teams.
  • Ally Switch: Of course, Ally Switch made teams hard to beat, as it was an extra factor to consider when choosing optimal plays. I hated playing opponents who were competent with Ally Switch, since they get to dictate the pace of the game. Facing them was a difficult test during the tournament.

Rundown of Tournament

Overall I went 6-2 on the day. Going into the last round of Swiss I was a chance to make Top Cut, but couldn’t get over the line.

Round 1: Ty Power (Australia) 2-1 (L,W,W)
Ran: Tapu Koko/Cresselia/Tapu Bulu/Snorlax/Incineroar/Mega Gyarados

Round 2: Bailey Owen aka Bargens (Australia) 1-2 (W,L,L)
Ran: Mega Manetric, Snorlax, Gothitelle, Tapu Fini, Landorous- Therian, and Celesteela.

My initial thought was, “jeez, another consistent Australian VGC player.” I knew this was not going to be an easy game. In game one, Bargens brought Fini, Manectric, Landorus-Therian and Celestela. It was a tough first game, which came down to his Tapu Fini and Celesteela versus my Zapdos. I made the call that he would double attack, managed to KO his Celesteela and my Zapdos survived a Moonblast from his Fini. Had Bargens protected his Celesteela, he would’ve won the first game.

In the second game, he decided to lead his Gothitelle and Manectric and had Fini and Snorlax at the back. With access to roar on Zapdos, I did not fear being trapped by Gothitelle.  I did have to play around Manetric and its lightning rod, though. Bargens was defensive with it, and I had to punish him any time he would protect with it. I could have closed out game two had I landed a Gunk Shot on to his Gothitelle. Bargens managed to get up trick room and used Snorlax optimally to win.

Game three was probably the most frustrating game I’ve ever played. The game was Bargens chipping my Pokémon away with optimal defensive positioning. It was close after the first couple of turns, but I got to the point where I needed to land a gunk shot on Gothitelle so I wouldn’t activate its 50 percent berry with a weaker offensive move. I missed another three gunk shots in a row, which gave Bargens enough time to pick up some key KOs. Leading up to the play, I was willing to take my chances and miss a gunk shot. After Bargens picked up some key KOs, it was too late for me to come back. Apart from my pure frustration at the end of the game, I thought Bargens was very tough to beat, and he obviously knew how to use his team well. I’m not surprised he went X-3 or better throughout the day.

Round 3: Jo Horsfield (Australia) 2-1 (W,L,W)
Ran: Mega Metagross, Tapu Lele, Landorus-Therian, Mega Tyranitar, Amounguss and Zapdos

Round 4: Jira (Thailand) 2-0 (W,W)
Ran: Suicine, Volcarona, Landorus- Theiran, Mega Kanghaskan, Ferrothorn and Tapu Koko.

Round 5: GOMI (Japan) 2-1 (W,L,W)
Ran: Mega Manetric, Tapu Fini, Celesteela, Gothitelle, Snorlax and Landorus- Therian.

Round 6: Joshua Ware (Australia) 2-1 (L,W,W)
Ran: Mega Metagross, Tapu Lele, Amounguss, Mega Tyranitar, Landorus- Therian and Zapdos

Round 7: Alex Underhill (United States) 2-0 (W,W) (Minor Stream)
Ran: Tapu Fini, Kartana, Landorus-Therian, Mega Kangaskan, Cresselia and Heatran.

Round 8: Javier Valdes 0-2 (L,L) (Main Stream)
Ran: Weavile, Nihilego, Mega Metagross, Scrafty, Gastrodon and Volcarona.
For the final round of Swiss, I was super excited to play on the main stream for the first time. When I saw Javier’s team in team preview, I thought it was very unique. In game one, I lead Mega Lopunny and Zapdos to find out information. This was useful, as I found out Javier’s Nihilego wasn’t choice scarfed. I knew I could get Blacephalon in without it fainting as long as Javier went for the straight-forward Ice Punch into Zapdos. Unfortunately, my Blacephalon was frozen. I was ready to spam Heat Wave and High Jump Kick for the entirety  of game one. Javier capitalized on the freeze and won the first game comfortably.

For game two I realised that Mega Lopunny and choice scarfed Blacephalon was a tough lead for him to counter. Javier led Nihilego and Weavile, and made a smart play by swapping his Weavile out for Volcarona. From here, I knew Blacephalon was the threat, and I assumed he would want to use his Nihilego’s Power Gem to pick up the knockout. Turn two, I was so close to calling a Nihilego Protect and doubling the Volcarona for a KO. I thought the worst case with High Jump Kicking Nihilego and Heat Waving was I would lose 50 percent of Lopunny’s HP and most likely still have my Blacephalon on the field. I brought in Choice Specs Tapu Lele which was faster than his Nihilego, but I had to lock myself into an attack. At the time, I thought Psychic was too obvious, and that he would switch in a Dark type. I thought as long as I hit my Heat Wave on Volcarona, I would have a strong chance of winning the game. I look back and realize that Psychic would’ve been the most optimal play which could’ve taken me to a game three. Looking back I felt comfortable with this match up even though I got all the calls wrong in game 2. I was happy for Javier to make top cut with such a unique team. Thanks Javier for the fun match.

Conclusion

I loved using this team throughout the Oceania International Championships. I think it takes a certain mind and playing style to pilot something so unique. I am so used to hearing from the majority of competitors saying that hyper-offense is all “50/50” plays and too frail to win consistently. Personally, I think this team is viable for any offensively-minded, experienced VGC player. If you can read your opponent and punish defensive plays, you will enjoy using this team. I don’t think people will counter-team this team, either. In fact, people write the team off instantly because it doesn’t have Intimidate, it doesn’t have good synergy and doesn’t have enough bulk. I do plan to update the team with more accurate attacks, however. I also think I can make a better Tapu Lele set that supports the rest of the team.

The biggest thank you goes to my brother Brian Amedee. We live together and we constantly try to come up with teams that are unique and viable. Also, a big thanks to Paul Amedee who is always willing to help train my Pokémon so that they’re ready for competition. Next, a big shout out to the rest of the Brisbane Buzzwoles. They are the best bunch of people in the Pokémon community. There is always plenty of fun banter and cool ideas for VGC teams in this community. And finally, thank you to The Pokémon Company International and ESL for running a fun event for us all.

Credit to TOKIYA_SAKUBA for featured image

One comment

  1. Your team was awesome! I really want to use it, not sure about greninja but still. Well played (: did you make some changes?

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