Monkey Lead is still alive! – Santiago Special Event Winner Team Report

Hi everyone. I’m Juan Pablo Naar, also known in the community as Don. I am a Colombian VGC player and Worlds Day 2 attendee in every year since 2015. Last season, I managed to get a travel award for the Latin America IC in Brazil, which encouraged me to pursue the Oceania IC award as well, given that it is the only one I have left to play.

Today, I’ll be presenting the team I used to win the Santiago de Chile Special Event this past October, which gave me a great shot of attaining the travel award to Australia.

Team Building Process

kyogre-primal Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadsalamence-mega Victory Roadthundurus Victory Roadamoonguss Victory Roadsmeargle Victory Road
Back in 2016, I enjoyed playing with Xerneas. This was the team that allowed me to advance onto Day 2 at the 2016 World Championships in San Francisco. With this in mind, I kept the key concepts behind this team to build an adaptation for this new season featuring Xerneas and Lunala.

xerneas Victory Roadlunala Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadkartana Victory Roadamoonguss Victory Roadsmeargle Victory Road
This team, the first rough draft I made, allowed me to win a Premier Challenge in my hometown of Barranquilla. Soon afterwards, a Midseason Showdown in Medellín, Colombia, was also announced, and I began preparing it. Being conscious on what the local metagame was, I was now looking forward to replace Lunala to further increase my team’s solidness, so I decided on Groudon as my restricted partner for Xerneas.

xerneas Victory Roadgroudon Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadkartana Victory Roadamoonguss Victory Roadsmeargle Victory Road
After testing things out, I found out that Amoonguss wasn’t really proving its weight, as it was weak to the sun I set up and did not get much use anyway. I wanted something on that slot to perform some sort of speed control and potentially alleviate Groudon’s time on the field, so I tried out Bronzong.

xerneas Victory Roadgroudon Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadkartana Victory Roadbronzong Victory Roadsmeargle Victory Road
As I hoped and expected, Bronzong worked really well, as it allowed me to still pressure opposing Xerneas as Amoonguss did, but also provided proactive support for Groudon, setting up Trick Room and Gravity as well as potentially abusing of Hypnosis. Nevertheless, I was completely certain on having a dedicated counter to Xerneas, so I equiped the Red Card on Bronzong to force them out upon switching in. Thanks to Bronzong’s Heatproof ability, Fire-type attacks were no longer a weakness despite its Steel typing or the sunny weather. With this final replacement, I was able to take home Medellín’s Midseason Showdown.

xerneas Victory Roadgroudon Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadlurantis Victory Roadbronzong Victory Roadsmeargle Victory Road
A few days after that MSS, a Special Event in Santiago de Chile was announced. I was hesitating whether or not attending the event, given that flights were quite expensive and the Chilean community is one of Latin America’s finest. However, I also knew that attending was mandatory if I was pushing forward the travel award to Australia, so I ended up buying my flights. Then, I had to decide on the team I was using. I first assessed I wanted to keep using Xerneas paired with Groudon rather than Lunala, as I was more comfortable with the Continent Pokémon. I noticed, though, that I was struggling against teams featuring Kyogre + Dusk Mane Necrozma under Trick Room, which reflected on swapping out Kartana for a slower, bulkier Grass-type. I initially tested Ferrothorn, Tsareena and Lurantis, picking up the latter after constating the good effects of Contrary to both protect my physical attackers, 4 out of 6. Ulimately, this allowed me to have an extra option to KO opposing Incineroar if intimidated.

The Team

Groudon @ Figy Berry
Ability: Drought
EVs: 20 HP / 252 Atk / 236 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Protect
– Precipice Blades
– Fire Punch
– Stone Edge

This is a rather basic min speed bulky Groudon, although it’s heavily invested in Special Defense in order to take Grass Knot from unboosted Venusaur and Ludicolo. On the other hand, Origin Pulse from most Kyogre variants is now a 3HKO under sun. Despite investing low in HP and defense, I feel like Groudon’s natural bulk and Incineroar’s Intimidate ability cover up the physical spectrum well enough.

Regarding its moves, Precipice Blades and Fire Punch are the go-to moves for Groudon, and I chose Stone Edge as my filler move over something like Swords Dance so I had a better match-up against Ho-Oh, Yveltal and Tornadus.

Xerneas @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
EVs: 140 HP / 124 Def / 244 SpA
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Protect
– Geomancy
– Moonblast
– Substitute

The final set you’ve just seen came after several changes and fixes. At the beginning, I used a max speed variant with Dazzling Gleam, as pretty much everyone did. I then realized I could sacrifice some speed in order to gain bulk to take attacks such as Solgaleo and Dusk Mane Necrozma’s Sunsteel Strike.

As I kept improving my EV distribution, Substitute Xerneas caught my attention. I gave it a try and I was captivated right from the start, as it kept threats such as Amoonguss out of the equation by blocking Spore and tanking two Clear Smog without losing the boosts. Upon testing this move, I also felt like I could go away without Dazzling Gleam, and +2 Moonblast still guaranteed most of the benchmarks I wanted, especially KOing most Incineroar variants at full health or with very little cheap damage.

Finally, by focusing more on bulk rather than speed, I acknowledged this Xerneas’ decent synergy with Trick Room when Geomancy wasn’t set up, especially thanks to the defensive play that Substitute allowed.

Incineroar @ Iapapa Berry
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 236 HP / 4 Atk / 244 Def / 20 SpD / 4 Spe
Impish Nature
– Fake Out
– Throat Chop
– Flare Blitz
– Roar

This team’s Incineroar looked standard at first sight, but the small tweaks you may have noticed came in clutch in several games. Given the amount of special bulk and Xerneas answers on my team (watch out for Bronzong!), I felt like investing on physical defense was better to approach some match-ups, especially Groudon teams. This particular distribution allows Incineroar to withstand Life Orb boosted Superpower from Jolly Solgaleo and Precipice Blades from Life Orb Jolly Groudon, this last one even at neutral attack.

You may be wondering why is Throat Chop chosen over Knock Off or even Snarl (or even what it does, for instance). This move allows me to block all sound-based moves against my team, notably Roar but also Snarl, while also dealing consistent damage.

Finally, Roar was chosen over U-Turn to have a better matchup against opposing Xerneas, other setup strategies and Trick Room-reliant teams.

Bronzong @ Red Card
Ability: Heatproof
EVs: 252 HP / 196 Def / 60 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Trick Room
– Gravity
– Hypnosis
– Gyro Ball

Bronzong is, without a doubt, the team’s core. This was both my anti-Xerneas and pro-Groudon utility. Thanks to its unexpected Red Card, opposing Xerneas were almost never an issue, as Bronzong wasn’t required to setup Trick Room or survive the turn and get a Gyro Ball off to effectively deal with them. Similarly, Bronzong led to powerful end-game scenarios with Groudon, Trick Room, Gravity and potentially Hypnosis, as not many teams were ready to deal with it after Xerneas got off a couple Moonblast.

Regarding the spread, Bronzong is able to take Max SpA Modest Kyogre’s Water Spout under rain and Adamant Groudon’s Precipice Blades while its Heatproof ability endures hits like Incineroar’s Flare Blitz under sun.

Lurantis @ Assault Vest
Ability: Contrary
Level: 50
EVs: 156 HP / 188 Atk / 164 Def
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Solar Blade
– Leaf Blade
– Superpower
– Knock Off

Lurantis’ main role was protecting its partners from the overpresent Intimidate from Incineroar while also packing strong Grass-type coverage. Thanks to Contrary, Lurantis is able to remove most variants of Incineroar upon being intimidated with Superpower, and Leaf Blade serves as its main attack against bulky Water-types like Kyogre.

The Assault Vest allows for more survivability, which led me to using Knock Off and Solar Blade as its filling moves for extra utility and options. Having a high BP Grass-type move that could benefit from the sun was also promising in theory, but I never gave it much use. Its spread allows it to take Kyogre’s hits comfortably while the physical bulk tanks Incineroar’s Flare Blitz without accounting Defense boosts from Superpower.

Smeargle @ Focus Sash
Ability: Moody
EVs: 124 HP / 132 Def / 252 SpD
Careful Nature
– Fake Out
– Spiky Shield
– Follow Me
– Wide Guard

Smeargle rounds up the team and does a pretty good job despite all the nerfs when compared to Gen 6. Most notably, I preferred not to use any sleep-inducing moves, as I valued the supportive options over playing the rulette. The initial builds had Amoonguss and Bronzong, so I didn’t think I needed any extra sleep.

Due to the fully supportive nature of this Smeargle, speed wasn’t necessary, so I invested on bulk to increase its survivability while benefitting from any cheeky Moody boosts should they come. Moves are pretty self-explanatory, as Fake Out and Follow Me provided direct support to Xerneas and Wide Guard protected my team from threats like Groudon and Kyogre. Spiky Shield was added to preserve my Focus Sash and stall turns if needed.

The Event

The event took place a few months ago, so I don’t remember clearly the games. However, I finished the swiss rounds with a 5-1 record, with my only loss being against a Solgaleo/Yveltal team also packing Crobat and Nihilego.

In top 8 I faced Dorian Quiñonez, Worlds 2017 Top 8 player, who this time used a Xerneas/Kyogre team with Psych Up on Kyogre. After winning that match, I took on Nacho Sepúlveda in the semi finals on an almost mirror-match between Xerneas/Groudon teams.

Lastly, my Finals opponent was Estephan Valdebenito with an interesting team of Kyogre/Mewtwo with Magic Room Tapu Lele and Celesteela, overall an unorthodox choice of team.

Top 8 teams are shown down below, and you may check all Top 16 teams and usage stats here. If you want to see some of the replays, check out the official vods of the event (starting on 6:42:00) here.

1Juan Naar200 CPgroudon Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadsmeargle Victory Roadlurantis Victory Roadbronzong Victory Road
2Estephan Valdebenito160 CPkyogre Victory Roadmewtwo Victory Roadtapu-koko Victory Roadtapu-lele Victory Roadcelesteela Victory Roadhydreigon Victory Road
3Javier Parada130 CPkyogre Victory Roadrayquaza Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadgengar Victory Roadscizor Victory Roadtsareena Victory Road
4Ignacio Sepúlveda130 CPgroudon Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadtapu-lele Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadkartana Victory Roadamoonguss Victory Road
5Felipe Farías100 CPkyogre Victory Roadtapu-koko Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadkartana Victory Roadludicolo Victory Road
6Sebastián Reyes100 CPkyogre Victory Roadtapu-lele Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadzapdos Victory Roadamoonguss Victory Road
7Dorian A. Quiñonez100 CPkyogre Victory Roadxerneas Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadtornadus Victory Roadkartana Victory Roadamoonguss Victory Road
8Sergio Oyarzún100 CPxerneas Victory Roadyveltal Victory Roadtapu-lele Victory Roadincineroar Victory Roadkartana Victory Roadamoonguss Victory Road

Closing Words

After taking home 200 CP from this Special Event and some extra CP at the Latin America IC in Brazil, I have locked up my Oceania paid trip. I’m really looking forward to visiting Australia and I hope to see you there! Thanks for your team on reading my team report.

Leave a Comment

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!