Mindape’s Journey to the West

A Pokemon VGC Blog

Melbourne Battle Association: Draft & Preseason


G'day, and welcome to my MBA draft rundown post, where I reveal the team I drafted, and spruik their good points. 


This season's draft rules work like the Pokemon-Youtube UCL (That's their twitter in the link) - With a snake draft, where you get three picks from each of the Smogon singles tiers - OU, UU, RU and NU. Anything in a BL tier was treated as if it belonged in the higher tier, since they are banned in tiers below anyway. Mega Pokemon needed to be selected in their megas tier.

The draft was conducted over a skype conversation.


My picks for this season are as follows.


OU: Latias (Mega), Keldeo, Bisharp

UU: Galvantula, Arcanine, Shuckle

RU: Accelgor, Aromatisse, Togetic

NU: Claydol, Malamar, Murkrow


The full draft results are available in this google doc.


Now to give them each a rundown!




Ah, this little ninja bug. I fell in love with it during my time running a Monotype Bug team last year, and so had to pick it for my first RU pick. It is really fast, and although frail, has enough options to not be a one trick pony. On my monotype team, I liked to run Final Gambit as a good way to get damage off, potentially wall break, and give myself switching momentum, while also trolling with Me First. Aside from that, it has decent Special Attack and an interesting offensive movepool, while also giving me options for oddly specific support sets to help get my team rolling.



Where would I be without a loyal dog by my side? When Volcarona was taken before I had a chance to pick in OU, and with Darmanitan gone in the same fashion in UU, I still felt like I wanted a strong fire type Pokemon. Although Entei is nice, especially now that it gets Sacred Fire, I feel it lacked Arcanine's versatility. Wanting versatile but not outclassed options will be a strong theme in this report. As I learned when experimenting with it during VGC 2015, Arcanine can run both Bulky Support and Physical Offense really well, meaning my opponent won't be 100% sure what it's doing until it joins the field, and it will help me have options on a week to week basis. Physically Offensive sets have the ability to wall-break special walls for me, finish off battles, or at least just generally put enough of a dent in problem mons for me to make them no longer a problem, while Wil-o-Wisp, Morning Sun and Snarl can neuter offenses on both sides of the spectrum and get residual damage up for me while staying alive. Intimidate and Flash Fire are both great abilities, so it won't be easy to choose between them each battle.



Having got most of the way through the draft without a cleric, I decided Aromatisse would be a good pick from RU to fill that role. That said, it is a little underwhelming, although the ability to not be taunted when Wishing, or Aromatherapy'ing may come in handy, and its Special Attack is not complete garbage - Fighting and Dragon types in particular, watch out.



Given that I had picked Keldeo and Latias, I knew that having a way to deal with Fairies, and Psychic types would be essential. With Weavile already gone, the next best Dark type available in my eyes was Bisharp. Although it is a bit of a one trick pony, it does threaten against opposing Defog use, as well as if my own Sticky Web gets bounced back, or if an opponent. If anything on my team is a one trick pony, it's Bisharp, but what it does, it does very very well. Pursuit Trap, Iron Head vs Fairies, Sucker Punch for priority, and a very strong Knock Off, with access to Stealth Rocks and a bunch of other coverage moves. I needed a strong Physical attacker, and Bisharp really is one. Testing has shown that even when Bisharp isn't picking up KO's it is putting large enough dents in opposing teams to help get the rest of the team over the line, and even then Bisharp is generally good enough to trade at least one for one.



Well, I needed a reliable and dedicated Stealth Rock setter and Rapid Spinner coming in to NU, so when faced with the choice between this and Sandslash, I picked this because it gives me an Earthquake immunity and even more anti-fighting options. It also has an interesting support movepool to dig in to, which I will likely use more than its offensive movepool because of its underwhelming offenses, and lack of meaningful ways to recover outside of rest. That said, Grass/Poison types should be wary of Psychic, and Fire types of Earth Power, because they still hurt.


I'm honestly not sure if Galvantula is the right fit for this team, but this is another one that I fell in love with while running Mono-Bug. Sticky Web is an underrated entry hazard in my opinion, and coupled with the ability to run a less innacurate Thunder, Volt Switch, as well as potentially useful Bug/Grass and Hidden Power coverage. Nobody ever expects Hidden Power (Partly because it is poor coming off of unboosted Base 97 offenses).



Ah, my little pony with a big sword horn thing. I got it in part because I hear it is pretty awesome, and because it can hunt down dark types that can annoy Latias. It also gives me a strong water option, and the potential to run set up, or wall breaker sets depending on what I'm facing. With Sticky Web support, its already good speed tier becomes even better for disregarding Scarfed grounded pokemon, and water/fighting is great STAB coverage, especially when there are options to hit hard both specially and physically because of the mechanics of Secret Sword. I have been more than please with the sets I have tested on Keldeo so far


Latias, my first pick and this team's mega. I preferred it to Latios because of the bulk and potential support options it could provide, and the overall versatility it had in terms of its mega not being a complete waste. I could have gone with Gardevoir in this slot, but I felt like I could do more with Latias, and that its superior bulk would help me out in most theoretical matchups, even if the immediate offense is not there. Certainly testing has made me very appreciative of Latias' bulk, even with Soul Dew being banned. Although it is a bit weak to Fairies and Dark types, Latias' speed tier does allow it to make use of a secret sauce move or two to make this hilariously not a problem, so don't be surprised to see me bring them out against certain matchups. You can probably figure out the moves, but I'll keep them a surprise for now anyway.


Although it didn't help my team's matchup against Fairies at all, I liked Malamar as an NU pick because of its ability to get really scary really quickly if left unchecked, thanks to Contrary, especially if left to set up against a defensive mon. It also means that should my Sticky Web get bounced back, I've suddenly got a very fast Malamar on the field


With my last pick, I decided that Prankster was a pretty good option to go with, since it gives me access to Haze, Defog, and othe support options that are nearly guaranteed to be used, while with eviolite Murkrow doesn't always faint in one turn. It's no Sableye, but Murkrow can also neuter opposing offense to buy turns for my own team to get set up, and its offenses aren't terrible, although STAB Foul Play will probably the most attacking you'll see.



This guy was brought in for sheer troll value. While I can assure you that I won't bring Shell Smash Contrary Shuckle every weak, I'm certain it'll happen at some point during the season. Aside from that, it can also tank many hits while setting up Stealth Rocks and possibly also Sticky Web. Yes I sort of have monopolised Sticky Web support this season, although Smeargle, which I don't have can also set it up I guess. Shuckle also can Encore attempted set ups, and Power Split to neuter offensive threats, so don't be surprised if it nabs more KO's than it should, or surprisingly stops opponents in their tracks for a while to buy time for me to launch a counter attack.


And now we reach the last mon to be reported on. Togetic was selected as the last pick of RU after my preferences were one by one taken by others. I liked its bulk with Eviolite, and its ability to also act as a cleric, annoying supporter, or, if I'm feeling lucky, a bulky set up sweeper - anyone for thunder wave+nasty plot+...oh wait, it doesn't get air slash. Still has fantastic coverage options though, and can certainly be run with a variety of movesets. The Fairy typing brought by it and Aromatisse is useful in and of itself for its defensive and offensive qualities, but we shall see how that pans out.


Overall Team Structure

I feel like this team collectively fits under the bulky offense title. I wish I had an additional rapid spinner, in hindsight, but having the two best Sticky Web users, as well as two of the better discouragers of defog really does help this team out, and I do have a few other options for entry hazards, both clearing and setting. In testing, Keldeo, Latias and Bisharp have all worked really well together as an offensive core, and I'd forsee them being the mainstays of this team for most of the season. Arcanine has also proven itself as great for massively denting many mons. I guess they're high tier for a reason. I will endeavour to test out various iterations of the team to give every mon in the lineup a trial, since I feel like there should be a place for each of them depending on how I want to run the team, and I should be comfortable with various team lineups prior to the season beginning. Overall I think the lineup is a bit weak to fairies, although this is manageable, and it has some vulnerabilities to being set up on if I'm caught in a bad position or don't conserve switch ins enough. The style seems to be one of playing from behind then coming through with overwhelming momentum, so additionally I have to be sure not to leave my offensive threats too much work to do in the late game either.


Here are some pre-season replays:

vs East Side Excadrill (W) 2-0 Keldeo goes down early to a wild prediction/poor switch in, and the rest of the battle is an arm wrestle, especially after a Hoopa critical hit on my Latias (which mattered). Fortunately, board position allowed my Physically Offensive Arcanine to finish off the battle from 2-2.

vs Burwood Buizels (W) 4-0 Latias just refuses to get knocked out, and cleans up from a 4-6 position after my hazards are successfully brought in thanks to its amazing bulk and decent power after some Calm Minds.

vs Epping Eevees (W) 1-0 Keldeo cleans up after I get myself into a 1-3 position by losing other mons a little too easily in the process of setting up the board for Keldeo. Keldeo had a good matchup, but needed to pick the right time to come in to avoid a repeat of the East Side Excadrill match.

vs Tottenham Espurr (L) 0-4 Missed opportunities leave Keldeo and Arcanine with too much to do in the late game. A Pursuit on the Alakazam would have significantly changed the outcome, and other choices late game could have brought a closer scoreline.

vs Sydney Shuckles (W) 6-0 Keldeo gets out the broom against a B-side team with a strong water weakness. Without Slowbro, Gardevoir, Trevenant, Rotom-W featuring, this battle is not a true reflection of my opponent's team, which I expect to be one of my more difficult matchups come the season proper.

While I'm heartened by these results so far, and the 13-4 testing differential, I do have to keep in mind that others were in various states of testing, so the battles are not entirely reflective of how the season will pan out. It is also quite obvious that I'll need to find new and inventive ways during the season to find damage output outside of my OU mons, and new and inventive ways to conserve my big powerhouses to be unleashed at the right moment. I look forward to searching for them and unleashing them


This should be all until the season begins in mid-October, so I look forward to seeing all of you then (unless there is a suprise MBA post between now and then)!