Week Eleven vs Utah U-Turners
Finally I have had the time to make a one week post rather than a double header. This week (although a bit late for family reasons), I faced fellow top 4 side Utah, in a clash which will influence how the finals are shaped, especially as the winner would take a game advantage over the vanquished, with Utah coming off a loss in the previous week. You can find the results both by scrolling through this post, or in the League's Google Doc.
Firstly, here is Utah's squad.
Here were my notes:
Utah seems to bring the same 6 with similar sets most weeks. Obviously him changing this up would catch me off guard, but not greatly disadvantage me I think. From what I can tell, his sets are often (Italics represent uncertainty or things which can vary:
Garchomp@ Rocky Helmet; Stealth Rocks, Dragon Tail, Earthquake, ?
Cresselia @ Leftovers, Thunder Wave, Moonblast, Psychic, Moonlight
Tornadus @ Chesto Berry, Bulk Up, Knock Off, Rest, Acrobatics
Tentacruel@ Black Sludge, Toxic Spikes, Rapid Spin, Scald, Sludge Bomb/Ice Beam
Raikou@Specs, Volt Switch, Thunderbolt, Shadow Ball, Hidden Power Ice
Venusaur @ Mega; Sludge Bomb, Giga Drain, Synthesis, Hidden Power ?
Relies on his hazards (esp toxic spikes) to help grind opponents down due to ridiculous bulk of his team, has lots of good (and a bad) recovery options. Lacks strong immediate offense if you can get rid of Raikou & Garchomp early – Garchomp is vulnerable to being chipped down, but punishes physical attackers, which I have a few of. Galvantula, Keldeo can run HP ice to severely dent it
Latias likes this matchup a lot – only Cress resists Psychic. Win con can be passing speed to Latias, and setting up behind a surprise substitute, especially if allowed to by Cresselia, or possibly Venusaur. Raikou too if it is locked in to something weak against Latias. I have a lot of options that can punish Cress – not enough to dissuade him from bringing it I feel, but Latias would go even better with it out of the way.
Lots of flying/levitating/steel/lum can render toxic spikes irrelevant, as can having a spinner - perhaps more useful against rocks depending on use of Arcanine/Bugs. Toxic helps wear down Cress, Garchomp. Also Raikou, and Tornadus, although Torn can use rest.
Malamar can set up on Cress, and maybe Venusaur. With Speed it and Bisharp can beat Raikou. It can also 1v1 Tentacruel. Bisharp also can, but has to be worried about status (unless Lum).
Bisharp's priority can beat Raikou after some chip (say from rocks, etc) – get it down to 50% and it's done if Bisharp is still around. Stealth Rocks help that. Can use Raikou to give Claydol a great switch in chance if thunderbolt/volt switch is useable (i.e. Bisharp, Malamar, Ninjask). If choice locked in to something like Shadow Ball, Bisharp can come in for a free +2. This is a win-condition if Rocks and Web are up.
Sticky Web isn't so useful here per-se, but it can give Latias et al a bit better chance to set up in the absence of Ninjask, which can be blunted by rocks. However, he has a good spinner in Tentacruel, so will be important to preserve things until it is gone – I do have a lot of good ways to hit it for damage though. It does also help things start outspeeding Tentacruel, such as Bisharp and Malamar.
Tornadus is a worry if it gets set up with its bulk up/rest shenanigans, have to be wary of giving it the time to be naughty – Bisharp checks its usual set, Galvantula can outmatch it 1v1 if Sash is in tact. Accelgor can also just beat it out of hand. Shuckle would require skillful use to beat it, but it can be done with encore. Galvantula has decent all around matchup apart from its frailty.
Leads either with Garchomp or Tentacruel in vast majority of battles. Galvantula beats both of them - has a good time against everything except Raikou/Venusaur.
With that in mind, this was my team
Blow your top (Claydol) @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
- Stealth Rock
- Rapid Spin
Cruise Control (Ninjask) @ Leftovers
Ability: Speed Boost
EVs: 252 HP / 224 Atk / 32 Spe
- Baton Pass
Sailor Moon (Latias) @ Latiasite
EVs: 252 HP / 108 SpA / 148 SpD
- Calm Mind
- Stored Power
Knife Party (Bisharp) @ Lum Berry
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
- Swords Dance
- Knock Off
- Sucker Punch
- Psycho Cut
Squidward (Malamar) @ Lum Berry
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 Spe
- Knock Off
- Psycho Cut
Eye Spy (Galvantula) @ Focus Sash
Ability: Compound Eyes
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
- Sticky Web
- Bug Buzz
- Hidden Power [Ice]
Team Caps: 11 - Latias; 10 - Arcanine, Bisharp; 9 - Keldeo; 8 - Galvantula; 6 - Shuckle; 4 - Claydol; 3 - Aromatisse; 2 - Malamar, Ninjask; 1 - Togetic
I ran Toxic on Claydol to help me deal with annoying bulky Pokemon like Cresselia and Garchomp by putting them on a timer and helping chip them away for my other mons to finish off. Psychic also hit Tentacruel and Venusaur hard if need be, and a specially bulky set would live their attacks ok to hurt them if I needed. Rapid Spin was useful mainly for protecting Ninjask in case that became my best way to seek a win condition.
I ran a relatively offensive Ninjask because I figured I could get away with that, allowing Ninjask to pick up revenge KO's if needed rather than just relying on Baton Pass.
I decided to opt for a Substitute Stored Power Latias this week as I figured I could surprise Utah with Substitute, and get well and truly set up after perhaps speed passing and with a couple of CM's, making Stored Power immensly strong. I ran enough bulk to make Raikou's Choice Specs Shadow Ball a 3HKO from full health.
Lum Berry on Bisharp was chosen so that I could safely set up a Swords Dance on Cresselia, and proceed to sweep through with a +2 Knock Off. I also ran the SD set because I felt it could be really strong here, despite my inability to make best use of it in previous weeks. Psycho Cut was for Venusaur and Tentacruel (even though Knock Off does more) - I didn't need a steel move this week. Lum meant my damage output was less, but at least I wasn't taking recoil damage.
Malamar was picked because I felt that its coverage was excellent against Utah, better than Keldeo's, and that with some speed control it could outspeed and set up Superpower boosts pretty easily, especially on weakened foes, and from a +1 or +2 position, clean up. Lum Berry was also run here as Malamar was one of my few Pokemon so far in this lineup weak to Toxic Spikes, and I figured it may also help me against stray Paralysis too. I still opted for a bulky spread because I figure Ninjask is probably going to pass it a billion speed anyway, so bulk was going to be more useful.
Galvantula was the last mon added, since I figured it had a good matchup against many of Utah's support Pokemon, especially if running HP Ice for Garchomp, that Sticky Web wasn't the worst move in the world even with a couple of strong levitating/flying pokemon opposite, and despite it nearly always fainting after getting its web up this season, it generally can get its job done, and I thought it had a chance to finally get on the KO board this week. It also meant that I had a couple of speed control options and with opposing Trick Room unlikely, I felt this would help me get over the line despite Utah's only real fast threats being Tornadus and Raikou.
Replay Result: 5-0 WIN
Having decided that Galvantula would be an optimal lead choice, I was surprised when I saw Utah lead with Tornadus, which U-Turned (a new set! And fitting with the team name) out of harms way only for Venusaur to be paralysed by thunder. Garchomp took the chance to safely switch in as I got my web up, but I called the Stealth Rock and got great damage off with HP Ice, making Garchomp a non-issue for the rest of the battle as far as I was concerned.
Galvantula then struggled to break through Cresselia thanks to a Moonblast SpA drop, but Claydol was then able to safely come in and toxic it and set up Stealth Rocks, putting me in a great board position if I could stop Tentacruel from spinning them away. Raikou came in to threaten me with a Shadow Ball. Even though I could have used Rapid Spin and easily lived even a critical hit Choice Specs Shadow Ball from Raikou (muh bulk), I decided this would be a good time to sack off Galvantula (sorry my sacrificial spider buddy) and bring in Bisharp. The recipe for a win condition was there, and Raikou's damage output if not Specs'd like usual would be low enough that it would be a non-issue for Bisharp to receive a surprise Thunderbolt if Raikou did not switch out.
I successfully set up a Swords Dance, and was able to plough through the Tentacruel switch, then Sucker Punch the apparantly offensive Tornadus. Cresselia was never going to live a +2 Knock Off with the chip damage it had taken, even with a purely physical bulky set (which I doubted would be run - to be sure, it would have nearly had a chance to live from 82% HP given my lum set). I could have safely Swords Danced again, but Bisharp was in a hurry to Knife Party everything, so it did. Raikou was next, but I Sucker Punched in case it was Choice Scarfed for surprise, and Bisharp finished its slaughter with Venusaur and Garchomp. From being 5-6 down, I had taken my biggest win of the season with a 5-0 hammering. This and my last week's play give me confidence leading in to the finals, especially given I have beaten the three other teams in the top four during the season. Also, thanks Bisharp for putting up with me being bad, I hope this week made up for it.
MVP Votes Week 11 - This was easy, I only used three pokemon in this battle
3 - Bisharp, 2 - Galvantula 1 - Claydol
Overall MVP Tally
14 - Bisharp; 11 - Keldeo; 10 – Latias; 9 - Arcanine, 7 – Shuckle; 5 - Galvantula; 4 - Claydol; 3 – Aromatisse; 2 - Malamar; 1 - Ninjask
Golden Fist Week 11
6 - Bisharp
Overall Golden Fist
17 - Bisharp; 15 - Keldeo; 10 - Latias; 8 - Arcanine; 3 - Malamar; 2 - Aromatisse; 1 - Shuckle, Claydol
Art by Lordmacguffin. Find more of his work at http://lordmacguffin.deviantart.com/
Season Results: (9-2; +21 Differential, 2nd)
Week 11: 5-0 WIN vs Utah U-Turners (Replay)
Week 10: 4-0 WIN vs Sydney Shuckles (Replay)
Week 9: 0-3 LOSS vs Miami Heatmor (Replay)
Week 8: 2-0 WIN vs Richmond Raikous (Replay)
Week 7: 2-0 WIN vs Epping Eevees (Replay)
Week 6: 0-3 LOSS vs East Side Excadrill (Replay)
Week 5: 2-0 WIN vs Tottenham Espurr (Replay)
Week 4: 3-0 WIN vs Tullamarine Auras (Replay)
Week 3: 2-0 WIN vs New York Klefkis (Replay)
Week 2: 4-0 WIN vs Blackburn Brelooms (Replay)
Week 1: 3-0 WIN vs Wildwood Wobbuffets (Replay)
Vs Burwood Buizels
Even if he looks like a pirate currently and always has hax happen to him, Burwood's team is solid and has many crafty ways to turn a battle in its favour. I'll need to watch out with my teambuilding; I'd love to get the win needed to all but wrap up second place for the regular season, but Burwood's team is stronger than its middling record suggests.