Hello everyone. My name is Allan Martinez. I am a player from Southern California, who has had a pretty good 2019 season overall. I attended my first regional in 2013 at the age of 14 years old, where I pretended I was 15 so that I could play in the Masters Division. I started playing more competitively in 2016. Throughout the years I’ve had a couple of Top 32 finishes, but I had yet to actually cut a regional. I’ve always been the type of player that refused to play standard teams. Instead, I put my efforts into trying to make overlooked Pokémon shine. I try to be creative with my teambuilding whenever I can, which is what led me to build around the duo of Kyogre and Ho-Oh. I’ve been using variations of this team throughout Sun Series and kept using it in Moon Series, so I hope those reading will enjoy its uniqueness, as I have put a lot of work into the team.
Prior to Collinsville, this team’s biggest achievement was reaching Top 16 at the Anaheim Regionals. There I had Ludicolo and Kartana over Toxicroak and Amoonguss. That variation also allowed me to top cut every single PC and MSS I attended throughout Sun Series within SoCal, which includes one PC win. Although that was a different variation, Kyogre and Ho-Oh have definitely gotten me results that I’m happy with.
Kyogre @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Water Spout
– Ice Beam
– Origin Pulse
The team started off with Kyogre. Kyogre is the quick heavy hitter of the team. I thought Choice Scarf Kyogre would be a dominant force in both Sun and Moon Series, so I decided to build around that. We all know how powerful Kyogre is and how it can obliterate things with its max HP Water Spouts. One thing to note here is that I decided to run Ice Beam over Scald. This is because I did not think players would be running Wide Guard. I also wanted an alternative way to hit Groudon, Zygarde, and Grass types; hitting Zygarde was especially important. This is your standard Kyogre set otherwise.
Tapu Koko @ Choice Band
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Wild Charge
– Brave Bird
– Quick Attack
- -1 252 Atk Choice Band Tapu Koko Wild Charge vs. 236 HP / 4 Def Incineroar in Electric Terrain: 115-136 (57.5 – 68%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252 Atk Choice Band Tapu Koko Brave Bird vs. 236 HP / 76 Def Amoonguss: 226-268 (103.1 – 122.3%) — guaranteed OHKO
Tapu Koko is my alternative heavy hitter. Teams that are weak to Tapu Koko will get destroyed by its boosted Wild Charge. U-turn allows Tapu Koko to switch out into any other Pokémon, usually Ho-Oh. Brave Bird will catch many Grass types off guard and OHKO them, including specially defensive Amoonguss sets, although Amoonguss can actually be EV’d to survive Brave Bird. Quick Attack was easily the most hype attack in the set, and one many people didn’t even know Koko had access to. I originally had Sky Drop over Quick Attack, but I NEVER used the move at all. Since Tapu Koko can become dead weight if my opponent has Tailwind up, I figured I should be running Quick Attack to get that last bit of chip damage. It just made so much sense in a Choice Band set, since I wasn’t using the fourth move anyway. I’m glad I decided to run Quick Attack, as you can see in my match against Nails in Top 8.
Weavile @ Focus Sash
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Icicle Crash
– Knock Off
– Fake Out
Weavile is the enabler that allows Kyogre and Tapu Koko to go off on a tear. Having the fastest Fake Out allows me to dictate how the first turn is going to play out. Icicle Crash is Weavile’s strongest Ice type move with the added bonus of possible flinches. Just be wary of a possible miss. Knock Off is a given here, as it removes my opponent’s items, including Xerneas’ Power Herb. Taunt allows me to prevent Pokémon from setting up Trick Room, Geomancy, and any other means of support moves. My favorite play with Weavile is Knocking Off Xerneas’ Power Herb and then going for Taunt the next turn. However, people can play around this, so be careful. Pressure is the only Ability you should be running on Weavile, but I wanted to add the fact that it also serves as a form of checking which Pokémon is faster or slower than Weavile. It’s most handy for identifying Assault Vest Tapu Koko sets.
Ho-Oh @ Flyinium Z
EVs: 236 HP / 68 Atk / 4 Def / 92 SpD / 108 Spe
– Sacred Fire
– Brave Bird
- +2 252+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 236 HP / 76 SpD Ho-Oh: 78-92 (36.9 – 43.6%) — guaranteed 3HKO
- 252+ SpA Kyogre Origin Pulse vs. 236 HP / 76 SpD Ho-Oh in Rain: 168-200 (79.6 – 94.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
I initially had Xerneas at the beginning of Sun Series, but I switched to Ho-Oh when I realized that I was relying on Kyogre more than Xerneas. The Speed EVs allow me to outspeed Pokémon speed creeping Ludicolo by one point. I put EVs in HP and SpD to allow Ho-Oh to 1v1 Xerneas and take an Origin Pulse if needed. The rest was dumped into Attack. Ho-Oh allows me to have a favorable matchup against Groudon teams, as long as they don’t carry a rock move. I could not stand to use Incineroar, so Ho-Oh also served to be my main Fire type. Being able to wall Xerneas and potentially 1v1 it was huge, since Xerneas can run right through my team otherwise. Up until the morning of the Regional, I had Passho Berry on Ho-Oh, but because my Kyogre matchup was free I decided to switch to Flyinium Z. I’m glad made the switch, because the Z Move helped a lot throughout the day.
Toxicroak @ Assault Vest
Ability: Dry Skin
EVs: 148 HP / 108 Atk / 4 Def / 244 SpD / 4 Spe
– Poison Jab
– Low Kick
– Fake Out
– Sucker Punch
- 252+ SpA Kyogre Thunder vs. 148 HP / 244 SpD Assault Vest Toxicroak: 53-63 (29.9 – 35.5%) — 2.9% chance to 4HKO after Dry Skin recovery
I have to give a shoutout to Justin Burns, as this set is actually his. I wanted to have a better Kyogre matchup, so I took out Kartana in favor of Toxicroak. Toxicroak did the job I wanted it to do so well that I didn’t feel the need to touch the EV spread. Thank you, Justin. I have Sucker Punch over Feint so that Toxicroak can catch those Lunala off guard. It also serves to get that last bit of chip damage before Toxicroak goes down.
Amoonguss @ Wiki Berry
EVs: 236 HP / 76 Def / 196 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 2 Spe
– Grass Knot
– Clear Smog
– Rage Powder
- 252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 236 HP / 196+ SpD Amoonguss in Rain: 76-90 (34.7 – 41%) — guaranteed 3HKO after Figy Berry recovery
- +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 236 HP / 196+ SpD Amoonguss: 95-112 (43.3 – 51.1%) — 6.6% chance to 2HKO after Figy Berry recovery
I took this Amoonguss spread from Preston Gadling’s team, although I assume this is the standard Amoonguss spread anyhow. Admittedly, I could have optimized this spread to better fit my team. Amoonguss still performed its job pretty well, so I can’t complain. Amoonguss and Toxicroak together made the TornOgre + Xern matchup super free. I liked being able to remove Xerneas’ boosts and put things to sleep, something that Ludicolo could never do. Not much can really be said about this beautiful shroom aside from the fact that it’s really good.
This hyper offensive team relies on your ability to bully your way through your opponents team. You have Weavile to support Kyogre or Tapu Koko with its attacks and pick up the KOs that Kyogre or Tapu Koko might miss. You’ll generally find yourself leading Weavile along with either Kyogre or Tapu Koko. A Weavile & Ho-Oh lead can work as well. As long as there’s no opposing weather, Kyogre will have a good time throwing out its Water attacks. Your main means of playing defensively is knowing when to switch out and which slot to switch your Pokémon into. You have to think a couple turns ahead of the game and be willing to sack some Pokémon if it means that you’ll be in a better position afterwards. Sometimes you just want to sit there and throw out Origin Pulses even though you’re in Sun, because you might, for example, need to protect your Tapu Koko or Ho-Oh. What you bring varies team by team, but you’ll almost always have Weavile, Kyogre, and Ho-Oh.
Core Combinations and Common Leads
This lead is generally used when there’s no opposing weather, although you can lead this against Groudon when you suspect your opponent won’t be leading Groudon. You have the advantage here because you can simply Fake Out a slot and Water Spout or Origin Pulse, depending on the situation. Often times it won’t be that straight forward, so play cautiously.
This lead is used when the opponent has a lot of things weak to Tapu Koko. I use this lead against Groudon teams to scout their lead and attack or switch to Ho-Oh depending on their lead. You’re either dealing massive damage with Wild Charge or U-turning into Ho-Oh or Kyogre, there is almost no in-between.
This lead is the less used of the three. I mainly use this lead against Groudon teams. You’re able to go straight for damage or set up Tailwind. You have the ability to spread Burns if you’re lucky or attempt to nuke something with Ho-Oh’s Z move. Just be wary of Intimidate drops, because Ho-Oh does not like being Intimidated.
Important Stages of Play
Dealing With Weather
This mainly applies to Groudon teams, but this also applies to Hail and Sandstorm teams, wherever they may be. It’s important to keep Kyogre in the back until you can safely get Kyogre in. I usually bank on the free switch-in so Kyogre comes in as safe as possible and I can start launching Water Spouts. Having Kyogre in Rain is extremely important so you can pick up the KOs you’re used to seeing. Sometimes, however, you might find yourself having to switch in Kyogre and risk taking a heavy amount of damage if it means putting yourself in a better position. You still have Origin Pulse anyway, which is still pretty powerful.
Keeping Kyogre Healthy
Kyogre’s biggest selling point is its Water Spouts, which deal massive damage. Keeping Kyogre at full HP is encouraged, although it is not always necessary. Because you have Origin Pulse, it is not mandatory to protect Kyogre at all costs. It varies game by game, but you just need to analyze whether you’ll need Kyogre in the end game or not and play accordingly. Sometimes sacking Kyogre is necessary if it means you pick up an important KO before it goes down.
Playing Around Dry Skin
Dry Skin users are a big problem for Kyogre since they can just sit there and launch attacks. The key to dealing with these Pokémon is through the use of your other Pokémon. Tapu Koko can easily deal with all of the potential Dry Skin users. Ho-Oh can deal with Toxicroak, although it has trouble with Heliolisk. Having Kyogre in the back is usually how I approach Dry Skin users, so I can try to KO them first and have Kyogre come in once the user is out. Removing these Pokémon first is important so that Kyogre can clean up in the late game.
This matchup is super free. You simply lead Weavile and Kyogre while having Toxicroak and Amoonguss in the back. Play accordingly based on what other Pokémon your opponent has. Amoonguss and Toxicroak are almost always able to close out the game should Weavile and Kyogre go down. Should a Pokemon have a Psychic type move somewhere in there, you’ll need Ho-Oh over Amoonguss to deal with that Pokemon (e.g. Psycho Cut Kartana).
These types of teams vary depending on the composition. Bringing Weavile, Kyogre, and Ho-Oh is a given, but playing against Toxicroak for example will change how the matchup should be played. Smeargle is also not a fun Pokémon to go against, so always take Smeargle seriously until you learn which moves it has. Always be wary of the many tricks these teams are capable of wielding.
These types of teams are generally difficult for this team to beat, especially because Groudon these days carry a Rock move. This matchup relies on how well you can position yourself while also making the appropriate reads and trade offs. If Groudon can go down, Ho-Oh will have no problem walling Xerneas. Be careful of Tapu Koko, as that Pokémon will only make the matchup that much harder.
Rundown of Tournament
Round 1: John Gray – WW
My first round opponent never showed up, so free win for me I guess. I would have won anyway.
Round 2: Huston Rhodes – WW
This was Preston’s exact team, and I knew exactly how I wanted to play against it. The Weavile Kyogre lead absolutely destroyed him both games. Even if he had gotten through my lead, I had Ho-Oh and Amoonguss in the back waiting for him.
Round 3: Cory Esmeier – WW
Cory had Aura Break on his Zygarde, so I didn’t have to worry about popping the Power Construct ability. He didn’t bring Toxicroak game one, so my Kyogre overwhelmed his team. Game two he made the adjustment and brought Toxicroak as a lead, but was caught off guard by Tapu Koko’s Brave Bird. Throughout the second game, he tried to go for Trick Room many times but kept getting Taunted by Weavile. Being able to deny Trick Room ultimately won me the set.
Round 4: James Evans – WW
This matchup was a little tricky because I had to play around the Toxicroak before I could bring in Kyogre. I found out here that Ho-Oh can live a Helping Hand boosted Z Move from Lunala and KO it back with Supersonic Skystrike. Unfortunately, I’m unable to remember the entire details of this match, but I was able to break through Toxicroak and win out both games. The end game of game two saw Weavile hitting Icicle Crash on Tapu Koko. I was under Tailwind, so Ho-Oh was able to hit the Z Move on Toxicroak, only to find out it had a Focus Sash. Tapu Koko flinched, but it didn’t matter because I still had Kyogre in the back ready to KO either Pokémon, as they were both at low HP.
Round 5: Alex Underhill – WLL
Game one I was able to catch Alex off guard as he switched out Lunala turn one into Groudon. I Fake Outed the Incineroar and hit U-turn on the Lunala slot to switch into Kyogre. I clicked one Water Spout and he forfeits the next turn. Game two he was able to implement his core strategy and wound up beating me with his Choice Band Groudon under Trick Room and Gravity. Game three I was able to stall out Trick Room and had Weavile and Ho-Oh left against his Tapu Fini and Lunala with Groudon in the back. My play here was to Knock Off the Lunala and Sacred Fire it, but I got into my own head and thought the Lunala would be faster than Ho-Oh for some reason, so I tried to go for the flinch with Icicle Crash and Sacred Fire, which didn’t KO and allowed him to set up Trick Room again. Had I just stuck with my original plan, I would have won by doubling the Groudon the next turn. He ended up setting Gravity again with Fini and won the set with Groudon.
Round 6: Mathew Pearson – LWW
Game one went pretty badly for me, luck wise. He led Tsareena Kyogre as I led Weavile Kyogre. He went for Feint on Weavile and Water Spouted with Kyogre as I opted for Origin Pulse. Next turn I missed an Origin Pulse on Tsareena, which allowed it to live my Toxicroak’s Poison Jab as it proceeded to KO my Kyogre with Power Whip. I also got crit a couple of times, which prevented me from having any chance of stealing the victory. Game two I read that he wouldn’t go for the same play again as we had the same leads, so I Icicle Crashed into the Tsareena slot as I Origin Pulsed again. The game went exactly as planned when it comes to playing against TornOgre. Game three, Mathew decided to lead Incineroar Palkia while I stayed with the same lead. I read he wouldn’t switch Tsareena in, so I went for Fake Out on Incineroar and went for Water Spout. Toxicroak and Amoonguss helped close out the set for me, meaning I was moving on to a win and in the match.
Round 7: Alex Williams – WLW
This match was easily the most intense and emotional match for me. I dominated game one while he took game two in a close match. Game three is where I was about to cry. I led Weavile and Ho-Oh, expecting a Ferrothorn lead like in game two, but he opted to lead Ludicolo and Kyogre. I immediately felt like I had lost the set from the get go, but I was determined to come back from this. I double switched turn one into Toxicroak and Kyogre as he went for Fake Out on Toxicroak and Water Spout. I then Fake Out the Ludicolo and go for Thunder on the Kyogre slot, which was now a Ferrothorn. Turn three I thought he might sack Ludicolo and go for the Hydro Vortex on the Kyogre slot so I switched in Weavile to take the Z move, which he did go for. Ludicolo then went down to Toxicroak’s Poison Jab. I was able to get into a position where Ho-Oh was able to set up Tailwind and was able to KO his Kyogre with Supersonic Skystrike. Ho-Oh and Ferrothorn were the only Pokémon he had left, but they were both heavily damaged. Ho-Oh was able to pick up the KO on both of them, sealing up the set for me and launching me into Top Cut. I was overwhelmed with joy and excitement at achieving this feat.
Top 8: Nick Navarre – WLW
I prepped with my friend Riley Factura the night prior, and we came to the conclusion that a Groudon Venusaur lead is the worst thing for me to face, because Venusaur can outspeed everything and deal massive damage while also threatening to put Ho-Oh to Sleep. I knew I wanted Tapu Koko here to prevent Venusaur from spamming Sleep Powder. I decided to stick with a Tapu Koko / Weavile lead to scout for what Nick would lead, since I felt that lead covered most of Nick’s potential leads. I came to realize that Venusaur doesn’t carry Protect, so I used that to my advantage in game one. I was able to take game one after Kyogre was able to connect Origin Pulse on Groudon. The second game caught me by surprise because he made an adjustment I didn’t think he would make. I was ready to face Venusaur Groudon all three games. I was glad to see that adjustment. He was able to position himself better in game two and wound up winning. Game three I decided I needed to go all in and lead Weavile Kyogre because I figured he wouldn’t lead Groudon. He ended up leading Xerneas Talonflame again. I was able to KO Incineroar as it switched in for Talonflame turn one with Origin Pulse, but Nick was able to set up Tailwind for Groudon as it switched in for Xerneas. Here was where I made the call to sack Tapu Koko so I can bring in Weavile and potentially match Tailwinds. Luckily for me, he Protected with Groudon. Here is where Quick Attack was useful, as it let me KO the Talonflame. I was able to stall out Tailwind and cause what others will consider a huge upset.
Top 4: Jake Magier
Another Groudon matchup. How exciting for me. I tested with my friend Jackson Finch a couple days before the Regional, because I feared I might run into it. The matchup is extremely tough for me, but Jake had Assault Vest on his Tapu Koko, so I thought I might have a chance. I’m usually able to break through the Xerneas Incineroar leads, but this time was different. Jake played much better than I did in the first game, knowing what to switch out and everything, so I had to adjust for game two. He brings the same lead while I bring Weavile Kyogre. I thought he would want to trade Fake Outs first and then switch, so I decided to Fake Out Incineroar and Water Spout. I had Amoonguss with me as well, so I wanted to remove Incineroar as quickly as possible. Unfortunately for me, he read this and brought out Groudon for Incineroar and was able to set up Geomancy. I was so upset with that switch that I ended up not making the best plays. The turn I used the Z move I should have targeted the Incineroar and not Xerneas. Jake was the better player here who had a relatively easy matchup against me, so congrats to him for putting an end to my fantasy run.
Overall this team is really fun to use. If you like hyper offense and like playing risky, then give this team a shot. It can always be modified to suit your needs. I think this team is pretty good with pretty good matchups, although Groudon teams are the only difficult matchups this team has. I’ll be carrying this team to continue dominating my locals. There are many variations to the team that one could use, such as David Koutesh’s take on Kyogre & Ho-Oh or that of my opponent in Swiss, Alex Williams. Take this team and feel free to expand on it in your own way. I also encourage everyone to be creative with your teambuilding. It feels really great when that creativity pays off. Next time you see Kyogre & Ho-Oh, you’ll be signing the match slip as you go 0-2.
Credit to koidrake for featured image