“You Get A Boost, You Get A Boost, Everyone Gets A Boost!” — A Lancaster Regional Championships Top 4 Report

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Hi guys, it’s Tommy Valentine Cooleen here! If you don’t know me, I go by Tman online. The start of the 2016 Season marks my 3rd year playing VGC, and I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to continue playing this year. Going into Lancaster’s Regional Championships, I was a man on a mission. I had already proved to myself that I could top cut Regionals, having done so at 3 of them in my first 2 years playing, but I had been unable to win any of my best of 3 sets once making top cut. In a well developed format after Worlds, I’d have to play my best to even make it into top cut and give myself a chance to go deeper into the tournament.

For the Boston Open, I had decided to just use a team with a bunch of setup Pokémon and boost my way through the tournament. The team of Kangaskhan / Thundurus / Arcanine / Azumarill / Amoonguss / Aegislash ended up working much better than I’d expected for what seemed like such a gimmicky team with a bunch of stat boosting Pokémon. I ended up loving the versatility that leading multiple setup Pokémon gave me. Through Kangaskhan / Azumarill / Thundurus / Amoonguss, I had access to more than 10 plays on turn one that could give me a boosted Pokémon on turn 2 that could sweep an entire opposing team. After getting Teeter Danced in my final round of the Boston Open to miss top cut at X-2, I decided to stick with the team, only replacing Amoonguss with Togekiss to strengthen specific matchups. Here’s what I ended up with!

115-M

Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite
Ability: Scrappy
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 244 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Fake Out
– Return
– Sucker Punch
– Power-Up Punch

Kangaskhan, in my opinion, is the best Pokémon in the VGC ’15 format, and it isn’t even close. If you’re not using Kangaskhan at this point, I feel you’re playing with a handicap. I chose to use the standard Power-Up Punch Kangaskhan because, when partnered with some of the other neat tricks I have on this team such as Azumarill and Thundurus, you have plethora of ways to set yourself up on turn one, which is a huge part of playing this team. The biggest struggle in deciding on a Kangaskhan set was deciding between using Protect and Fake Out. I believe Protect is more useful than Fake Out because, with redirection, keeping your momentum becomes extremely easy. I ultimately decided on using Fake Out because I didn’t feel comfortable running Azumarill without Fake Out support.

 

642

Thundurus @ Life Orb
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power [Ice]
– Nasty Plot
– Protect

This isn’t the usual support Thundurus we’re used to seeing in VGC ’15, but this Nasty Plot set was definitely the MVP of the team. Nasty Plot allows Thundurus to boost its Special Attack stat two stages and allowed me to get an unexpected advantage on my opponents. The +2 Special Attack via Nasty Plot, Life Orb and max Speed stat all allow Thundurus to outspeed and remove threats such as opposing Kangaskhan and Assault Vest Landorus-T. With Fake Out support, redirection, and Protect, I was able to set up Thundurus and keep it on the field once set up. The reason I loved Thundurus so much is because I didn’t have to rely on the support to set up Thundurus like I’d normally have to with Azumarill. This team provides so much pressure, and it often forces switches or protects. I was able to capitalize on this by predicting these defensive plays from my opponent and stealing all their momentum by Nasty Plotting. Once set up, Thundurus would steamroll unprepared teams, and many of the teams I faced in Lancaster just couldn’t handle it.

 

184

Azumarill @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Huge Power
Level: 50
EVs: 132 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 116 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Play Rough
– Aqua Jet
– Belly Drum
– Protect

The Battle Bunny! Azumarill is one of my favorite Pokémon to use in tournament play. This Azumarill set is probably faster than most, but remains pretty standard outside of that. The 116 Speed EVs allow me to outspeed Kangaskhan with a few points once I set up Tailwind. I initially thought about Knock Off over Play Rough for accuracy’s sake, but decided on Play Rough, fearing missed KOs on things like Bulky Kangaskhan, as well as wanting options to hit the ever troublesome Mega Salamence. The reason I’m a fan of Azumarill, as well as the other Pokémon that can boost on this team, is because it’s really effective at minimizing bad luck. Most of the games I play with this team end pretty quickly whether I win or I lose. As long as you get your initial turn of setup, you can use Azumarill to target down Pokémon that could potentially give you issues, like Thundurus and Landorus-T, in addition to being able to KO opposing Pokémon one by one. A set up Thundurus, Kangaskhan, or Azumarill is always an extremely effective way to reach your end goals quickly. In most cases, it boils down to correctly identifying which Pokémon is the best to set up for your matchup.

 

059

Arcanine @ Choice Band
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 4 HP / 244 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Close Combat
– Wild Charge
– Extreme Speed

Another strange set is this Choice Banded Arcanine. Most players opt to use the bulkier set with Snarl and Will-O-Wisp, but I chose to use this more offensive variant. This slot could’ve easily been a Choice Band Landorus-T, as I wanted something that could OHKO Kangaskhan on Turn 1 if necessary, but with Aegislash and Amoonguss remaining very popular, I felt the need for something to deal with those efficiently as well. Having Arcanine allowed me to worry less about Amoonguss halting my progress as I could remove it in one turn via Arcanine. With the last two slots, I ran Extreme Speed as a very solid form of priority and Wild Charge, which allowed me to able to hit things like Charizard and Jellicent which I couldn’t touch otherwise.

 

468

Togekiss @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Serene Grace
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 92 Def / 4 SpA / 108 SpD / 60 Spe
Calm Nature
– Air Slash
– Follow Me
– Tailwind
– Protect

The morning of the tournament, I ran up to at least 6 or 7 people, asking them if I should use Clefable or Togekiss. The issue was even though I valued Unaware to combat the other Kangaskhan, Azumarill, and Calm Mind Cresselia in the field, I wanted speed control to help my matchups against Rain and Salamence. It was then that I decided on Togekiss. It’s funny because this slot wasn’t either of those Pokémon originally, but an Amoonguss. I made the change because facing other Amoonguss was one of my least favorite matchups. This made me look into Follow Me users with Safety Goggles, sacrificing my own Spore option for a very effective answer to opposing Amoonguss. The EV spread survives Kangaskhan Double Edges and Life Orb Aegislash Flash Cannons. The Speed allows me to outspeed Adamant Choice Scarf Landorus-T by one point in Tailwind. While I try not to rely on it unless absolutely neccessary, Air Slash is always an option to completely turn around games that you’ve lost control of. Thankfully, I only had to resort to Air Slashing my way to victory in one game. (Sorry Thatius Stephenson!)

 

681

Aegislash @ Leftovers
Ability: Stance Change
Level: 50
EVs: 132 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 116 Spe
Modest Nature
– Shadow Ball
– Flash Cannon
– Substitute
– King’s Shield

Aegislash was the Pokémon I brought to the least amount of games in Lancaster, but it was still definitely one of the most important. There are just some matchups where your opponent cannot beat a well played Aegislash. Its typing is absolutely incredible and it is so good at forcing your opponents into bad matches. As I’ve noted with a lot of my spreads, my Aegislash is probably faster than a lot of other Aegislash. I loved this on the Substitute + Leftovers set, as you would almost always outspeed Aegislash to get Substitute up, or just outspeed other Aegislash in general. The safety of knowing your Aegislash will outspeed most other Aegislash is reassuring and allows you to make aggressive plays to remove the opposing Aegislash before it has the chance to move, without losing your own Aegislash. Besides other Aegislash, the Speed investment also outsped Mega Salamence in Tailwind.

As a whole, this team plays best when you can control the tempo of the game and force your opponents to have to play around you. When backed up against a wall your opponent can only make so many plays, and being able to recognize this to get things like free Nasty Plots and easily predictable switches is what this team thrives on. Even with the changes, I still think Mega Salamence is one of the biggest threats to this team as, outside of Thundurus, you have to spend multiple turns trying to deal with it as it dishes out massive damage that is difficult to keep up with. Both of my losses in Swiss came against opposing Mega Salamence and I’m not surprised, even though I definitely could’ve played both of those games better. Overall, I think this team has answers to all of the omnipresent threats in the metagame and gives you a good chance to beat most of them if played correctly.

I’m not going to go into my games as I don’t remember specific details from most of the games. I ended up going 7-2 in swiss and placing 4th after losing to Wolfe Glick in a very lopsided Top 4 set. I don’t have any regrets from the set as I was really tired after playing all day and I simply couldn’t adjust to Wolfe’s outstanding play. I’m extremely happy with my performance and I’m relieved to have finally taken that elusive first top cut set and then do it again in Top 8 to beat Michael Lanzano, a player I look up to a ton.

 

Shout Outs

Evan Delisandwich, Jake Muller, Andrew Burley, Caleb Ryor, Tom Hull, Zach Carlson, and Luke Curtale: You guys always take the brunt of my excessive worrying and whining and I’d like to thank you guys for putting up with me and keeping me sane.

Pear Chat: I hate you all with all my heart. <3

Austen Vance, Vinny Speciale, James Hart, BJ Brownell and the rest of my TCG Friends: It’s so great to be able to see all of you again and I can’t wait until I get to do more stupid things with you guys.

Jake Rosen, Tiago Maltez, Danny Hemchand, Chuppa Cross, and the rest of the NY community: Thanks as always for making Regionals enjoyable.

Jen Badamo: I can’t thank you enough!!! You’re such a good friend to me, someone I look up to, and you do so much for me and the NY community. Thanks as always <3

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