My name is Simone Sanvito, I’m from Italy and I started playing VGC back in 2013, but only performed well in 2016. My best result to date would be winning the 2017 London International Championship, which almost secured me Day 2 of Worlds by itself. As a result, I took a break for the 2018 Season and only played in local tournaments.
I’m here to tell you about my Worlds Run and the team I used which was a standard Gengar Kommo-o Team or Big K, if you are a VGC16 nostalgic.
Gengar Kommo-o has been one of my favorite teams to play with during the 2018 season, which made me do well both at locals and on the Ladder, but I would never have guessed that I would use it at Worlds. Towards July I started noticing how hard it became to use Kommo-o. People started using Tapu Fini and Cresselia (often with Psychium Z) in the same team, which was really hard to deal with, and furthermore people became generally better at playing against the archetype; because of that, my Worlds Practice consisted mainly with Charizard teams, but they didn’t feel good enough. A couple of days before leaving I played against this guy on Showdown which had a Gengar Kommo-o with a Perish Mode in the team, and felt that was very good, so I decided to give it a try, and really good it was.
The very day before my flight, I was talking to my friend and Kommo-o lover Dave Cognetta (@DesuVGC) about this team, and he told me straight up this team was bad, only to ask about my match-ups two minutes later. I felt like his experience with the team, in general, could have been really useful, and I also like having a friend to use the same team with.
I spent the night before leaving making last-minute practice and EV Spreads with my friends Manuel Micaletto (@keyboredom) and Roberto Carbonara (@DrakeVGC).
Before leaving, the team looked like this:
Gengar – Tapu Fini – Tapu Bulu- Kommo-o – Amoonguss – Incineroar
Once in Nashville I met with Dave and we discussed the team more and more alongside another Italian Kommo-o player, Mark Duò (@duomark) and decided to have Clefairy instead of Amoonguss was probably a smart idea because of Friend Guard, Helping Hand and it was generally a better Pokémon to have vs. Rain teams than Amoonguss.
After a crazy Day One, lots of doubts and some games on Showdown, Dave and I had convinced ourselves to use this team with Azumarill instead of Tapu Fini. I had zero practice with Azumarill, but both Dave and Mark thought Azumarill was generally better than Tapu Fini so I spent like an hour to max the happiness of an Azumarill I already had in my box, only to decide to go back to Tapu Fini the next morning (Day 2 morning) because other Amoonguss would have been a pain to play against without some sort of Spore check.
In line for the tournament check-in, I had more doubts, but it was too late, so I locked the team.
Gengar-Mega @ Gengarite
Ability: Shadow Tag
EVs: 188 HP / 220 SpD / 100 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Shadow Ball
– Sludge Bomb
– Perish Song
- 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 188 HP / 220 SpD Mega Gengar: 144-170 (90.5 – 106.9%) — 37.5% chance to OHKO
- 252 SpA Mega Gengar Shadow Ball vs. 188 HP / 220 SpD Mega Gengar: 140-168 (88 – 105.6%) — 25% chance to OHKO
Shadow Tag is one of the best abilities in the game, and Gengar, unlike Gothitelle, has an offensive presence and a very wide movepool, making it easily on of the best 3 Megas of VGC18. I feel like bulky Gengar is the best Gengar, as you don’t really need Special Attack investment as you always kill Tapu Koko and Tapu Bulu with Sludge Bomb, you kill bulkless Tapu Lele and miss the KO if they are bulky regardless of your investment, and I always assume Shadow Ball won’t KO Metagross. On the other hand, surviving attacks like Earth Power and random Z-moves like Nihilego and Tapu Fini’s is very good, and so is taking less damage from weaker attack like Muddy Water and Heat Wave, as I said before, Shadow Tag is really good, and the more you have it on the field, the better. The moveset is pretty standard as I didn’t want to commit too hard to Perish Song by using moves like Substitute or Disable instead of Sludge Bomb or Shadow Ball.
Kommo-o @ Kommonium Z
EVs: 20 HP / 4 Def / 220 SpA / 20 SpD / 244 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Clanging Scales
Outspeeds Jolly Braviary, Modest Scarf Tapu Lele and Adamant/Modest Landorus-T
Substitute survives Timid Charizard’s Heat Wave (assuming you are boosted)
Is Kommo-o good or bad?
I feel like this was a question every VGC player ask themselves after seeing its Z-Move at Worlds 2017. To be honest, it’s not that good, or, to word it better, its niche, as it’s not really that good outside of this team composition. It works really well with the Poison Typing and the Board Control provided by Gengar, and the terrain control provided by Tapu Bulu while giving the team a neat defensive typing (could be better, but Dragon/Fighting isn’t that bad), spread damage and a win condition alongside Perish Song.
I chose Substitute over a Fighting Move because buying turns for Kommo-o until you can switch-in safely your Gengar or Tapu Bulu is more important than Fighting Coverage, and it gives you a lot of momentum if you Sub on a defensive play. Substitute is a good move in general.
I like Timid Kommo-o more than Modest because outspeeding Adamant Z-Ground Landorus and Modest Scarf Tapu Lele are very good, but I have missed lots of KOs because of his Timid nature during practice. I’d say it depends on personal preferences.
Tapu Bulu @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 244 Spe
– Wood Hammer
– Rock Slide
Standard Scarf Tapu Bulu, at least you’d say so until you read the last move. I chose to use Protect on a Scarf Set because it works somehow well with Perish Trapping, to mess with my opponent in a Bo3 and for style points in general.
Tapu Bulu is a very important Pokémon for the team, as it is the only serious check to Tapu Fini and outspeeding and KOing Tapu Koko is nice too. Rock Slide is there (for extra Charizard insurance) because Scarf Rock Slide is another win condition and Superpower is to hit Incineroar and Snorlax.
Incineroar @ Aguav Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 100 Def / 156 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
– Flare Blitz
– Fake Out
- -1 252+ Atk Mega Blaziken Superpower vs. 252 HP / 100 Def Incineroar: 170-204 (84.1 – 100.9%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
- -1 252 Atk Kartana Sacred Sword vs. 252 HP / 100 Def Incineroar: 86-102 (42.5 – 50.4%) — 1.2% chance to 2HKO
Fake Out + Intimidate + U-Turn is really good with Shadow Tag. I gave it Protect over Knock Off because I didn’t want to use the same boring set everyone uses. I also have Protect to abuse my Perish Trap mode, and because Knock Off isn’t that important on Incineroar (on this team, at least).
I chose to use a very bulky set because Incineroar switches in-and-out a lot, and because you don’t really need offensive investment if most of the times you are clicking U-Turn and Fake Out.
I also chose to go as slow as possible because U-Turning after your opponent gives you a lot of momentum. Having the slower Fake Out isn’t as big of a deal as you might think, because this Incineroar always stands next to Gengar, so their Incineroar can’t Fake Out Gengar and this Incineroar can Fake Out their Incineroar to prevent an offensive move right from the get-go.
Tapu Fini @ Mago Berry
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 236 HP / 60 Def / 116 SpA / 28 SpD / 68 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Muddy Water
– Icy Wind
Outspeeds Nihilego after Icy Wind
Protect Incineroar, Scarf Protect and now Tapu Fini with Kommo-o? This team doesn’t make sense!
I bet this is what you are thinking, and so was I while writing this report. Still, Tapu Fini made sense here to improve the Metagross – Tapu Lele match-up and to go full Perish Trap Mode if my opponent has an Amoonguss. It doesn’t come to a lot of games, and it always comes without Kommo-o. The EV spread is pretty standard, and Icy Wind was put here to have at least some speed control as I don’t really like Calm Mind on Tapu Fini in this format. All and all, she did her job, but looking back I’d give her a Waterium Z instead.
Clefairy @ Eviolite
Ability: Friend Guard
EVs: 244 HP / 156 Def / 108 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Follow Me
– Helping Hand
- 252 SpA Mega Gengar Sludge Bomb vs. 244 HP / 108+ SpD Eviolite Clefairy: 140-168 (79.5 – 95.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Perfect teammate for Kommo-o and Gengar, giving them redirection, Helping Hand and Friend Guard to make damage rolls better. I chose Spotlight as a filler move because breaking through Rage Powder and Spotlighting my own pokémon is better than it sounds: for example, if you lead Gengar Clefairy vs another Gengar you can Spotlight your own Gengar because your opponent will probably anticipate the Follow Me and go for Sludge Bomb, and if they Shadow Ball you survive it anyway with Friend Guard. All filler moves on Clefairy are situational, but some are more situational than others, this is what I had in mind while choosing the last move on Clefairy, but keeping Clefairy alive is sometimes crucial.
The team is pretty easy to play and often you win or lose in team preview as it’s honestly pretty brainless. Having two win conditions in Perish Song and in the Kommo-o Z-Move makes the team really flexible and it’s really easy to position yourself in a winning position. That said, if your opponent starts picking up KOs before you do, you are probably going to lose.
You have two main modes:
Gengar + Incineroar + Tapu Bulu + Kommo-o: These are your standard four if you want to win with Clangorous Soulblaze and if your opponent doesn’t really have an answer to that
Gengar + Incineroar + Tapu Fini + Clefairy: This is the mode you go for when you want to win by Perish Trapping your opponent.
Gengar + Incineroar + Tapu Fini + Tapu Bulu: This is the “standard model” of the teams, meaning it kinda plays as a Gengar Fini team, but with a different grass type.
Core Combinations and Common Leads
This is the most common lead of the team. Fake Out, Intimidate and Shadow Tag is really good early game.
Leading both win conditions is also a good idea to decide how to play once you see your opponent’s lead. It’s also a good lead if your opponent has something that punishes Intimidate, like Milotic or Braviary
These two are the most common leads of the team, but you can basically lead Gengar + Anything. For example, you can lead Gengar + Tapu Bulu if you want to see if your opponent’s Landorus and/or Tapu Lele are Choice Scarf, or you can lead Gengar + Clefairy if you feel like you can pick up early KOs with the help of Helping Hand.
As previously hinted, it’s really important knowing your game plan going into the game, even if the team has gimmicky stuff like Perish Song and six Protects, I’d say it’s more a Bo3 team, because knowing your opponent’s sets and approach is really important; for example, Groundium-Z Landorus is very different than the Scarf one, so game one was often used for scouting things like these.
This team has a lot of good match-ups and only a few negative.
Charizard + Landorus + Cresselia + Tapu
This match-up is really good. Knowing sets is really important (Z Moves, Scarf and so on) but you win vs. this the majority of the times with Kommo-o + Gengar + Incineroar + Tapu Bulu
Gengar + Tapu Fini + Incineroar + Kartana + Landorus + Filler
Neutral match-up, but slightly advantageous. Preserving your Gengar is really important since this team has Shadow Tag itself and two U-Turns it’s not a smart idea to go for Perish Trap right from the get-go, so Kommo-o is usually your way to go here.
Metagross + Tapu Lele + Landorus + Amoonguss + Zapdos + Tyranitar/Incineroar
Negative Match-up if the Tapu Lele is Scarf and the Metagross has Zen Headbutt. Against these teams, I like to play very defensively with Gengar and Tapu Fini until I find myself in a position where I can win with Perish Song. Keeping Misty Terrain up is really important to prevent their Amoonguss from spamming Spore.
Metagross + Tapu Lele + Landorus + Amoonguss + Charizard + Nihilego
Near auto loss, you have to do lots of guessing, starting from their item to their lead, to their plays. For example, if you lead Gengar Tapu Bulu vs. Charizard Nihilego you choose the one to KO, but if you guess wrong you are probably going to lose (assuming their Nihilego isn’t Scarf)
Rundown of Tournament
Round One – Renè Alvarenga (WLW)
Tapu Lele – Metagross – Landorus-T – Zapdos – Tyranitar – Amoonguss
Round Two – Wei Wen Ang (WW)
Charizard Y – Nihilego – Tapu Koko – Cresselia – Snorlax – Landorus-T
Round Three: Brian Youm (WLW)
Manectric – Tapu Fini – Incineroar – Cresselia – Lurantis – Snorlax
Round Four: Melvin Keh (WW)
Tapu Lele – Tapu Koko – Charizard Y – Landorus-T – Tapu Lele – Snorlax
Round Five: Arash Ommati (WLW)
A-Persian – Tapu Bulu – Tapu Fini – Metagross – Landorus-T – Volcarona
Round Six: Nils Dunlop (WLW)
Metagross – Mimikyu – Snorlax – Landorus-T – Incineroar – Tapu Koko
Round Seven: Kiwamu Endo (Conceded)
Landorus-T – Gengar – Latias – Incineroar – Kartana – Tapu Fini
Top 16: Roberto Porretti (LL)
Kartana – Tapu Fini – Tyranitar – Gengar – Landorus-T – Incineroar
I feel like Top 16 is an okay result, I didn’t feel like I played super well, and I felt like I could have won the whole thing had I played better overall, but it is what it is. Still, it has been an amazing weekend and I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun playing Pokémon!
- Everyone that helped me with the team; Manuel Micaletto, Flavio Del Pidio, Dave Cognetta, Cased, Roberto Carbonara. Apologies if I’ve forgotten anyone.
- My opponents for not expecting Perish Song from my Gengar.
- All the Italian community for being the best (except the guy that beat me in Top 16).
- Everyone who supported me throughout the weekend.
See you in DC!
Credit to ishmam for featured image