XY Strikes Back! – Spring Scramble Top 16

Hey everyone, my name is Joseph Ugarte or JoeUX9 as most people know me on Showdown. I have been playing VGC since late 2017, and have always loved it, regardless of where/when I play. I’m usually able to attend more local events than regionals, which is great practice anyways since I’m in the NY area. I’m definitely looking forward to playing more at Hartford Regionals as well! Some people may already know how much I love Yveltal, which is evident with my use of it on this team.

Team’s Achievements

This team has mostly been constrained to the scramble since it is very early in the season and I haven’t been able to attend locals as of late. However, it’s record in the scramble is definitely something that has shown me the team’s potential and how strong the XY core is. My overall record was 31-8, but my record with XY was 31-4, which was pretty impressive. I look forward to using this core at more events and seeing its potential.

The Team

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Xerneas @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
Level: 50
EVs: 92 HP / 4 Def / 156 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Moonblast
– Dazzling Gleam
– Geomancy
– Protect

Xerneas is by far one of the best-restricted choices in the format. Respectable bulk, great offensive stats; this mon has it all. This Xerneas is trained to be very offensive and fast, with some bulk investment. Despite this, it still is able to tank a lot of attacks. The team is built to support Xerneas with Double Intimidate, Will-O-Wisp, Taunt, Heal Pulse, Icy Wind, and Light Screen so that one can afford to invest so much in offense. There are many tools on this team to allow Xerneas to set up and take minimal damage, then heal right back up to full health with Fini (if it makes sense to bring in the matchup). Usually Xerneas will be played two different ways with this team:

  1. Set it up from the start to offer immense pressure from the beginning with Yveltal, or;
  2.  Wear down the opponent’s team until you can safely bring in Xerneas, set it up, and sweep.
  • 0 Atk burned Bronzong Gyro Ball (150 BP) vs. 92 HP / 4 Def Xerneas: 81-96 (38 – 45%) — guaranteed 3HKO
  • 252 Atk Life Orb burned Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 92 HP / 4 Def Xerneas: 87-104 (40.8 – 48.8%) — guaranteed 3HKO

Yveltal @ Life Orb
Ability: Dark Aura
Level: 50
EVs: 12 HP / 204 Atk / 4 Def / 36 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Foul Play
– Knock Off
– Sucker Punch
– Protect

Yveltal has always been my favorite restricted Pokémon from the start. It has always been a great member for my team, despite it filling an offensive or defensive role. It is always appreciated. This one, however, was given a set that highlights it’s offensive prowess. Many may ask why not Black Glasses, but the difference it makes is significant. For example, it can get a Sucker Punch OHKO on Lunala while Black Glasses has a chance to miss the KO. Along with this, Yveltal can still OHKO Bronzong at -1 with Knock Off, which is huge. Life Orb Sucker Punch at neutral will also pick up Bronzong. Life Orb Foul Play also does loads of damage to many physical attackers. Another key thing with Life Orb is you can Dazzling Gleam at +2/Moonblast at neutral with Xerneas and combo that with Knock Off from Yveltal to kill Amoonguss. Life Orb Yveltal is definitely good for exerting pressure on the opponent to make the correct calls. You will also live a Moonblast from Scarf Tapu Lele.

  • 204 Atk Life Orb Dark Aura Yveltal Sucker Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Shadow Shield Lunala: 221-265 (103.7 – 124.4%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • -1 204 Atk Life Orb Dark Aura Yveltal Knock Off (97.5 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Bronzong: 166-198 (95.4 – 113.7%) — 75% chance to OHKO

Incineroar @ Assault Vest
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 204 HP / 252 SpD / 52 Spe
Careful Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Snarl
– U-turn
– Fake Out

AV Incineroar is definitely super important on this team. It can tank attacks that a normal Incineroar normally couldn’t, and can constantly snarl and get healed from Fini, removing the need of Berry. It is overall great support and has obviously made its place onto the team because of the great combination of Intimidate, Fake Out, and U-Turn. This particular build is great vs. Psyspam, which earlier versions of this team had issues with.

  • +2 252+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 204 HP / 252+ SpD Assault Vest Incineroar through Light Screen: 82-97 (41.8 – 49.4%) — guaranteed 3HKO
  • 252+ SpA Primal Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 204 HP / 252+ SpD Assault Vest Incineroar in Heavy Rain through Light Screen: 137-164 (69.8 – 83.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Tapu Fini @ Misty Seed
Ability: Misty Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 156 Def / 4 SpA / 92 SpD / 4 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Nature’s Madness
– Heal Pulse
– Light Screen
– Icy Wind

Tapu Fini is and always will be the best member on almost any team. The combination of extremely useful moves, it’s solid typing, it’s ability, and it’s remarkable bulk all serve to make it a great choice for this team. Tapu Fini’s main job is to support the other partners next to it, with a combination of Heal Pulse, Icy Wind, and Light Screen. Nature’s Madness also allows it to weaken opposing teams so that Xerneas can sweep in the endgame. Fini is also great in Psyspam and XL matchups, for removing Psychic Terrain and partnering well with Incineroar as a lead against those teams. The Misty Seed allows it to live Gigavolt Havoc from Koko and +2 Moonblast from Modest Xerneas.

  • 252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 252 HP / 156+ Def Tapu Fini: 76-91 (42.9 – 51.4%) — 6.3% chance to 2HKO
  • 252 Atk Choice Band Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 252 HP / 156+ Def Tapu Fini: 139-165 (78.5 – 93.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Landorus-Therian @ Groundium Z
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Earthquake
– Rock Slide
– U-turn
– Protect

Landorus-T is definitely the simplest and most self-explanatory of all the members of the team. There isn’t much to say other than it helps the Primal Groudon matchup and allows you to OHKO it with Tectonic Rage. You can also OHKO Incineroar through Intimidate. It can also do heavy damage/kill Amoonguss.

  • -1 252 Atk Landorus-T Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 244 HP / 92 Def Incineroar: 218-260 (108.4 – 129.3%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 252 Atk Landorus-T Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 236 HP / 76 Def Amoonguss: 201-237 (91.7 – 108.2%) — 50% chance to OHKO

Gengar-Mega @ Gengarite
Ability: Shadow Tag
Level: 50
EVs: 92 HP / 20 Def / 172 SpA / 4 SpD / 220 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Sludge Bomb
– Will-O-Wisp
– Taunt
– Protect

Mega Gengar has long been my favorite Mega. This teams whole functionality involves a ton of support, and Mega Gengar does just that. The best part is that Mega Gengar has so many helpful support moves. Though many people believe Will-O-Wisp isn’t good, it is a great tool that many people do not expect to come out from a Gengar. Will-O-Wisp allows Gengar to live through many huge attacks and threatens any Fairy or Grass-types with Sludge Bomb. The EV Spread allows Gengar to have a lot of offensive presence but still keep enough bulk where it can effectively function as a supportive partner for Xerneas and survive reliably with Double Intimidate trapping. Further, Taunt is definitely helpful, allowing it to prevent moves like Haze and Tailwind.

  • 252 Atk Choice Band burned Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 92 HP / 20 Def Mega Gengar: 114-135 (77.5 – 91.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • -2 252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 92 HP / 20 Def Mega Gengar: 126-150 (85.7 – 102%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO

Team Play

Ok, so this team can function in three different ways:

Offensive XY Mode: This is all about exerting pressure on the opponent with Xerneas, Yveltal, Landorus, and Incineroar. You constantly threaten big attacks and set up Xerneas when appropriate. The combination of moves and the raw power of Yveltal and Xerneas attacks combined will force your opponents to have to adapt to high powered attacks being thrown out every turn.

Defensive Intimidate Trap Xerneas Mode: Good in matchups that don’t involve Psyspam or XL, this is all about wearing down your opponent to the point where your Xerneas can sweep. Here, you will always lead Gengar+Incineroar, with Landorus and Xerneas in the back. It is crucial that you call these first turns correctly and accurately. Your objective will be to either wear everything down and burn all the big physical attackers or find a crucial moment where you can bring in Xerneas on trapped opponents for a setup they can’t stop. Regardless, this is definitely a key mode to keep in mind.

Defensive XY: Gengar won’t be favorable in every Xerneas matchup. For teams like XL and Psyspam UNec with Xerneas, you need to be able to adapt. Here, Fini and Incineroar will be doing all the work when it comes to stopping opposing Xern through a combination of Light Screen + Snarl. The objective of having Xerneas sweeping is the same, but with different coverage for threats. Yveltal’s Life Orb Sucker Punch and other Dark Attacks will clean up a lot of Pokémon that Xerneas couldn’t alone.

Core Combinations and Common Leads

Here are the key leads for the modes mentioned before:

Offensive XY Mode:

+/+/

The main thing you have to judge here is which lead will exert more pressure on the opponent from Turn 1. Majority of the time, Yveltal Xerneas will do this, but on some occasions, Xerneas Incineroar will do a better job of this. You should bring this versus Lunaladon and Yveldon.

DITXM (I really need a better name for this):

++

The goal here is to weaken the opponent and trap them in a position where Xerneas can sweep and get set up safely. You will need to be smart with keeping Trap up, pivoting correctly, and putting Xerneas in a solid position where it can sweep effectively. You should bring this versus Xerndon and X-Ray.

Defensive XY:

++

This is very good vs teams with Kyogre or teams with Lunala/UNec. You will be able to tank pretty much every attack and disrupt with Light Screen, Snarl, Intimidate, and Fake Out. This will also allow you to have your otherwise less bulky restricteds with much more sizable bulk due to Light Screen and Intimidate, along with Heal Pulse support. You should bring this versus Rayogre, Xernogre, UNec Xern Psyspam, XL, Yvelogre, and any other Kyogre or Psyspam based comp. You will wear them down with all your status reducing moves and after buffing your side so that you can effectively pressure with little risk involved.

Team Match-ups

This team is based on a certain kind of play style, which is a mix of offense and defense. In some respects, this team is extremely offensive, but in other ways, it is very defensive. The biggest advantage you will have with this team is your ability to adapt and use it in a way that will fit well for each game and against your opponent’s team. Your biggest issues will usually be redirection Xerneas’ leads, which you can still stop with Taunt. However, you may need to be prepared to play slight mind games in such a matchup. This team rewards your ability to predict your opponent and make appropriate calls that will give you an advantage early in the game so you are in control. When looking in Team Preview, the biggest indicators I look at is the restricted pairs. If I see a Groudon, I am almost certainly taking Landorus. If I see Xerneas (except in cases of XL or UNec Xerneas) I am taking Gengar. Kyogre matchups usually require a Fini to disrupt the Kyogre and set up Light Screen. Another thing to consider is Terrain, with Psychic Terrain being the worst of the bunch. You almost always want to bring Fini here, and in some instances, if there is a Koko. That being said, you will need to see the value of what you pick and decide which will help Xerneas vs the threats on the opposing comp that make its job harder.

Good Match-ups

Great Matchup: Yveldon/Lunaladon/Necrodon

Simply lead Xerneas Incineroar with Yveltal Landorus in the back. You will be able to constantly threaten the Groudon with Landorus, cycle intimidates, and setup Xerneas against them fairly simply. The ideal endgame will be a setup Xerneas and Yveltal vs their comp, but solo Xerneas set up (as long as it’s threats are removed) also works.

Favorable Matchup: XL/NecroX

Lead Fini and Incineroar here immediately. Usually, turn one you will fire off a Snarl or Fake Out and set up a Light Screen. From there you will systematically break down the team and Heal Pulse your partners so they can effectively damage and threaten the opponent. After a Light Screen and a Snarl, a Geomancied Xerneas will do near nothing to you. Be careful to not lose Incineroar too early though, as it is key in this matchup.

Even Matchup: X-Ray/Xerndon

Here you will always lead Gengar and Incineroar religiously. Knowing the Rayquaza set is really important, and normally you will want to have a burn on the Rayquaza or have it removed (along with the Amoonguss if they have it) so your Xerneas can get set up in the back and sweep. Make sure you are safely able to find out the Rayquaza set or put it in a position where it wouldn’t make a difference. For Xerndon, you will need to really be smart after you lead Gengar Incineroar, and make the correct calls with Taunts and Intimidate swaps.

Bad Match-ups

Bad Matchup: Rayogre/Yvelogre + Stakataka

These compositions aren’t normally that bad to face without Stakataka, but when you see a Kyogre Stakataka you should be concerned. You need to do your best to adjust to this, as it may mean bringing Landorus to a matchup you would normally assume it would be bad in. You definitely can’t ignore Kyogre Stak in team preview, because in TR you will be in a very bad position vs both of them. Try to use whatever tools seem best for the matchup. However, I definitely believe that out of everything usually, you will never want to bring Gengar, as it won’t do enough damage to something like a Stakataka, and Ogre threatens Gengar too hard.

Rundown of Tournament

For the tournament, I do have a limited amount of replays and a limited recollection, so I will be examining only two wins and two losses. Along with this, in some replays, I have different versions of the team since this is prior to finding exactly what I wanted for the Fini slot, but you will see that the team plays almost the same.

Bigslim45

Replay

Essentially a free matchup for XY, Yveldon is not challenging whatsoever. You will see that, for the most part, Yveldon does not have enough tools to beat XY. Landorus and Incineroar were clearly important here, and you will see turn one that I went for a more aggressive play to punish a Roar or something. Life Orb Foul Play + Moonblast has some crazy damage. I won the other game fairly similar to this.

Bopper

Replays: Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3

Doubling up as both our Zelda Challenge set and Scramble set, this was a high stake set of games. I do have the replays for all three games and I do think that they all show that despite Blake playing extremely well in game 2, XY really has the MU advantage. G1 and G3 were a good showing of that. Roar on Lunala was a little annoying, but once I was able to remove that from play the rest became easier. Having two Ground resists and Double Intimidate/Double Dark really does not allow Lunaladon to do what it wants to.

Peppe

Replay

So I do end up losing this match (but I win the set) due to some bad calls in the beginning and some luck from Peppe’s side. I definitely couldn’t have done anything on the turn where Rayquaza crit me and Xerneas gleamed, but preserving my Incineroar definitely would’ve been a good call for the late game. I also should’ve been more cautious about where I used my Z because removing the Ditto could’ve been more useful. In future games, I adapted to these changes and came out on top.

Bsmiffy

Replay

As you guys will be able to see, I played extremely defensively to put my Xerneas in a good position to sweep. This match was a bit of a heartbreaker because it lost me my Top Seed in the Scramble, but I am proud of my play in it. You will see I constantly kept my Trap up so I could put my Xerneas in a position where it could efficiently sweep the opponent, which it almost did. This is how you need to play Xerndon MU’s regardless of the leads.

Conclusion

I think this team will have a lot of potential in the upcoming months of Ultra, and that it is definitely an archetype worth looking into. If you see me online, always feel free to ask me any questions about the team. I look forward to continuing building, playing, and being an active member of the VGC community. I think that we have a great community here and that we have the potential to grow and really make one of the best gaming communities. Everyone I’ve met has been passionate about the game in their own ways and it’s really been inspiring. I want to thank Soulja Gang, you guys are honestly the best and have been amazing people to spend time with IRL and online. Along with this, I’d like to thank the NY/NJ local scene because it’s the reason why I have grown so much as a player. It really has given me good practice. I’d also like to thank anyone else I have spent time with whether it be playing or helping because you also help me grow as a player and person.

Credit to bluemak for featured image

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