G'day everyone. First up for my MBA battle prep and analysis series will be the audition battle that I was required to win in order to make the jump in to the league, as there were more applicants than positions available. This is also sort of a run through for what I intend to do each week, in terms of preparation and post-match analysis posts
All applicants were required to make a team from a list of 12 provided, with any 6 selectable:
From this I could see that it would be potentially defensive, stally type battle, with whoever could manage their pokemon and sieze winning opportunities better to come out on top.
While there were also a number of offensive pokemon available, I felt like Scizor had an underwhelming matchup against most of the bulky defensive mons, as did Salamence, while Volcarona could be a potential win condition against almost any team provided it could switch in safely to get a Quiver Dance up and Mamoswine could also hit not only the bulky pokemon hard, but also the offensive ones (excluding Scizor).
Hippowdon seemed a no brainer as a hazard setter, Mandibuzz as a hazard clearer, and Miltank seemed useful as a cleric and potential paralysis inflicter. Sableye's ability to status everything in sight was also valuable in my eyes. Lilligant seemed like a much worse Volcarona with Sleep Powder, while Doublade seemed ok but also vulnerable to knock off and WIl-o-Wisp. Golbat seemed vulnerable to Stealth Rocks and could be set up on by everything except Volcarona, while Chesnaught seemed underwhelming given that all the offensive mons could hit it hard, and many of the defensive ones like Mandibuzz, Sableye and Golbat could also beat it one on one.
BZZZZZZ (Volcarona) (F) @ Lum Berry
Ability: Flame Body
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
- Quiver Dance
- Fiery Dance
- Giga Drain
- Hidden Power [Ice]
Bone to Pick (Mandibuzz) @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
- Knock Off
Twitch (Sableye) (F) @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 148 Def / 100 SpD / 8 Spe
- Foul Play
Maami (Mamoswine) (M) @ Life Orb
Ability: Thick Fat
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
- Ice Shard
- Icicle Crash
- Rock Slide
I'm down (Hippowdon) (F) @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 HP / 156 Def / 100 SpD
- Stealth Rock
- Slack Off
Milk Tank (Miltank) @ King's Rock
EVs: 252 HP / 100 Def / 156 SpD
- Heal Bell
- Seismic Toss
- Body Slam
- Milk Drink
Volcarona's item was something that I vacilated over for quite a while. Although I messed up getting an even HP stat to guarantee sitrus setting up on stealth rocks, the plan was to give me more than one switch in to stealth rocks if necessary. In hindsight, Lum Berry would also have been a good idea. I also thought of running Charti Berry for random Rock Slides, but decided against it since that strategy is weak to critical hits and chip damage. Hidden Power Ice was to OHKO Salamence, since I had no need to run anything else other than Fiery Dance and Giga Drain for coverage, and Giga Drain made Roost a moot point. I chose modest for the damage output, although this would have made it risky had I tried to face a Scarfed Salamence at +1, since I would be slower than a Jolly one, and tie with an Adamant one.
Mandibuzz was designed to be heavily physically bulky given most threats here were physical, to clear hazards, and toxic stall opponents if nothing else presented itself as an option. I always hated facing Mandibuzz when I played singles, so I figured if you can't beat them, join them. I opted for Overcoat to stop sleep powder and sandstorm being an issue
Sableye was so threatening because of Prankster. I ran a little speed in mine to try to speed creep opposing Sableye and taunt them I went for Foul Play because of the amount of Physical attackers in the format, and because Wil-o-Wisp does not decrease its damage output for you, while neutering the Scizor, Mamoswine and Salamence of the world. Recover meant much longeivety and the ability to whittle down neutered opponents.
Mamoswine was made super offensive to help it wall break opposing mons, and so also got a life orb - this helped turn attacks on things like Hippowdon in to guaranteed 2HKO's. Mamo would have no chance of outspeeding even neutral max speed Volcarona and Salamence, so I didn't bother, and I wanted the ability to switch moves rather than be scarfed for speed or banded for even more damage. I decided not to bother running Superpower for opposing Mamoswine, because I figured I had enough other ways to deal with it anyway.
Hippowdon was given a toxic stall and roar shuffling job on top of its hazard setting task. I could have run an offensive move, but its output is terrible for the most part anyway, so I decided not to bother. Rocky Helmet punished attacks from most of the other mons out there, apart from Volcarona, and Ice moves from Mamoswine, and Sandstorm meant more chip damage to help things like Mamoswine and Volcarona pick up KO's
Miltank was the last added, being given the role of a cleric. I gave it Kings Rock, Body Slam and Scrappy to allow it to annoy with para-flinch, potentially, although I did see someone else use rock slide to good effect, so that was also an idea. Milk Drink added to the regenerative capacity, meaning if opposing teams had no cleric and were not in a position to set up, Miltank could join in the slow process of wearing down through toxic or burn damage.
Coming in, I had planned in my head that my keys to winning would be having Sableye around at the right moments to neuter physical attackers and stop support work from opponents, using my physically defensive pokemon to tank physical hits where possible, particularly Hippowdon with its Rocky Helmet and ability to Slack Off damage, collectively getting rid of clerics to win a potential status stall war, and using any opportunity I could to get Volcarona in safely, set up and sweeping, while preventing that from happening to me, so I tried my best to put those plans in to action on the battlefield. I also had to be mindful of keeping the late game situation out of range of a sweep from opposing Scizor, Salamence or Mamoswine by conserving particular pokemon like Sableye and Miltank, and Hippowdon's Rocky Helmet.
Turn 1: Sableye was able to taunt his Volcarona switch in, giving me room to switch out safely the next turn to get some better board positioning as Mandibuzz could take 4 fiery dances with leftovers, set up status and knock off items.
Turn 3/4: Opponent decided to switch in Scizor to take a potential toxic, then opted to attempt a set up with swords dance. This gave me a great opportunity to get my Volcarona in to the game early, with no hazards set up and my opponent lacking a prankster taunt option. Betting on my opponent not wanting to lose his Scizor early, this meant I had a free turn to Quiver Dance on turn 5.
Turn 7: Having switched in a Thick Fat Miltank to take my Volcarona's hits, my opponent gets lucky with his second Body Slam paralysing my Volcarona, while not activating Flame Body either time. Here I really regret not having a Lum Berry, as I see a potential win condition wasted, just as I had the potential to set up a 6-0 sweep from capitalising on the early opportunity Scizor had provided me with.
Turn 11: Having got lucky with paralysis, I finish off his Miltank, and get rid of his only cleric option. Instead of switching in Salamence to finish off my crippled Volcarona, my opponent switches in Hippowdon. I get lucky again with Paralysis, and OHKO it with a +2 Giga Drain. His Volcarona also gets sacrificed to my Moth in the next turn, meaning my opponent also lost his switch in to Wil-o-Wisp. Finally he switches in Salamence, and is able to finish off my Volcarona with Earthquake, albeit too late, as my Volcarona had already punched a sizeable hole in his team.
Sableye has fun from this point, although I did lose a few items in switching around to get his Mandibuzz out of the way safely - in hindsight some of it, like Hippowdon's Rocky Helmet, was unnecessary to lose and detrimental to my overall game position. Rather than lose Mandibuzz, Travis' switch in to Salamence on turn 22 ended up losing him his Salamence, as he ate a Foul Play to the point where toxic damage KO'd him that turn. With that out of the way I continued to taunt Mandibuzz and watch it suffer.
Turn 27: Scizor was my opponent's last pokemon, but it is quite good at late game comebacks, and with the loss of Hippowdon's Rocky Helmet, I couldn't rule out being swept by it if things went poorly, which they can, because that's how Pokemon works. I knew I would have two chances to burn Scizor with Sableye before potentially being overwhelmed - a ~6% chance to miss twice in previous generations, and a ~2% chance in Gen VI. As +2 252+ Bullet Punch was a 2HKO on my spread, and I needed burn chip and the +2 boost to be able to KO with Foul Play, I knew I could safely click Wil o Wisp twice. Fortunately I connected on turn 1, when he had boosted with Swords Dance. I opted not to Taunt because of the risk of him not Swords Dancing, and going for damage instead, though in hindsight I probably should have used taunt, as Swords Dance was the only real way to win from there. The burn also allowed me to not be OHKO'd by +2 Bug Bite. Ultimately, Foul Play on turn 28 was the finishing move for me, as Bug Bite was unable to be a critical hit KO and make me more nervous. Should that have occurred, Miltank was in a pretty good position to Seismic Toss to victory, unless the opposing Scizor ran Roost, since an effectively neutral Scizor could only 2HKO with Superpower, 3HKO with Bug Bite, and 4HKO with Bullet Punch, and could not gain enough turns through further Swords Dance boosting for it to be effective.
Volcarona 3, Sableye 3.
Coaches MVP: Sableye
Stay tuned for more MBA news after the weekend draft, and congratulations to Mark Lowerson for winning the season one finals earlier this week.