Legends Never Die – A 9th place Latin America Internationals Team Report

Hi guys, my name is Gabriel Agati (@AgatiGa) and I’m here to show you the team I used to get 9th at the Latin America International Championships.

Before that, though, I’ll talk a little about myself in the competitive scenario of Pokémon: I was introduced in the VGC scene by watching Worlds in 2014 and after that I just couldn’t stop playing. My first major event was the Latin America International in 2017, where I surprisingly ended up in Top 4 after losing my first round of Swiss and winning all the 7 matches left without dropping a single game. In 2018 I attended my first Worlds and almost Day 2 with a 6-3 record, but the whole experience was so amazing I didn’t even care at the time. This year I wasn’t planning on attending Worlds, but since I got a Travel Award to Oceania after sneaking into Top 4 of LATAM’s CP ranking, I’ll do my very best to get a Day 2 invite this season.

Team’s achievements

  • Top 16 LAIC 2019
  • Top 16 at the December International Challenge (1815 rating)
  • 2x São Paulo MSS Champion
  • Top 10 at the Showdown Ladder multiple times, including 1st two times

Team Building Process

As soon as the VGC 19 rules were announced, during Worlds 2018, I remember the players were super excited to the new season and everyone was already trying to figure out the best cores for Sun Series. I remember saying to my friend Lorenzo Paleari that I expected setup-oriented strategies to be super strong in a metagame without Z-moves, megas and primals. The first two Pokémon that came into my mind were Xerneas and Snorlax.

My early season was basically trying out as many things as I could in teams evolving at least one of these two Pokémon. I quickly realized, though, that Snorlax was not good at all, since people were hard countering Xerneas and its answers are the same as the ones used to defeat Belly Drum Snorlax (Haze, Roar, Taunt, Kartana, Solgaleo, Incineroar and so on). Once I gave up of Snorlax, I started to focus on Xerneas archetypes because even with so many counter techs, it was still dominant in the metagame and, for me, it is easily the strongest restricted Pokémon in Sun series. I also quickly realized that Incineroar was just too good and had such an amazing synergy with Xerneas to be out of any team I was going to build.

My next step was to find my second restricted Pokémon. At this point everyoneknows I choose Solgaleo at the end, and while it’s important to know why I enjoy using it, I think knowing my thought process behind is also super important. Therefore, I’ll talk not only about my mindset behind this choice, but I’ll also explain quickly why I choose it over another restricted Pokémon.

So, let’s have a look at my options: I had Kyogre, Groudon, Yveltal, Lunala, Solgaleo and another Pokémon that are so suboptimal I won’t even include here (I didn’t test them besides Lugia anyways). My first choice was Yveltal, and while I think its super strong, I hated to have a restricted that is super weak against Xerneas (winning the speed tie and going for Knock Off is NOT a Xerneas answer, even if the 1500 Showdown players insist on doing that). Lunala and Kyogre were both amazing, but if you ever played a mirror match of those you know how dumb they are, and I didn’t like the rest of their standard team compositions either. Groudon had a very good offensive synergy with the Fairy coverage, but Precipice Blades is a terrible move: why would I use a broken Pokémon that can miss moves if I can use another broken Pokémon with 100% accurate moves? 

Now, let’s talk about my final choice. With so many strong Pokémon available, why choose Solgaleo? I’ll be completely honest with you guys: the main reason is because Solgaleo is the closest thing the format has to a Xerneas + Incineroar counter: it is the only Pokémon that can consistently OHKO non-bulk Xerneas regardless of Intimidate or Sp. Def boosts, while also being able to resist its STABs too. As if ignoring Intimidate wasn’t good enough, Solgaleo can damage hard Incineroar with Superpower too, which is super amazing. Many people tend to consider Pokémon like Ferrothorn or Amoonguss as their Xerneas counter, completely ignoring the fact that the deer is always with Incineroar. A surprisingly amount also believe that Crobat is an ultimate counter to it, even though it can’t offer much offensive pressure and Xerneas is a scary Pokémon even without a Geomancy boost. Xerneas is just too strong and most people don’t respect that. Crobat, Amoonguss, Ferrothorn and others are all fine Xerneas checks, but they are not even close to be consistent counters (just kidding, Ferrothorn is not even a good check and people seriously should stop using it). 

At this point you probably already think I’m kind of obsessed with Xerneas, but I do think every team in this metagame is weak to Xerneas and I do think not using it is throwing. You may disagree with me, call me a noob, say that I have a poor mindset (as my friend Nehuen told me once). I don’t care. I assumed those assumptions were right some months ago and its working quite nicely for me (so I guess that’s what matters most?). Anyways, let’s go back to Solgaleo.

Since Solgaleo + Xerneas was not a common duo and I had no basis to start building with that, I gave a step back to VGC 18 trying to find out a good inspiration for my new team: as Solgaleo and Metagross have so many characteristics in common, I wanted to analyze the most successful M-Metagross teams from 2018. Amoonguss was super strong with my two restricts on paper and that was my main reason to choose the standard M-Metagross + Tapu Fini team as my first inspiration. I wanted as many Water resistances as I could (shoutouts to Kyogre), and I really liked the idea of double Intimidate + redirection with Xerneas, so I gave up of Zapdos when trying to build my first team.

xerneassolgaleoincineroar landorus-therianamoongusstapu-fini
I ended up bringing this team to my first Premier Challenge of the season, on late September, losing in the Finals against my friend Rogério Catel, who was running a team with Ho-oh. After the PC, I knew Xerneas + Incineroar had to be in all my teams, but I wasn’t too confident about Solgaleo: it was very good to handle opposing Xerneas, but was that worth a restricted slot? I decided that I was going to try Kyogre for the next PC, and at the end I came up with these Pokémon.

xerneaskyogreincineroar landorus-therianamoongusscrobat
This team was okay, but had a very big issue: it was terrible against the combination of Kartana + Kyogre. I brought this team to my second PC and once again was the runner-up, this time being defeated by my friend Yan Sym, who was using the recently-built standard Xerneas/Kyogre tean of the season, the one with Tornadus and dual grass. I realized that both Landorus and Crobat were useless in the mirror and both my restricted were slower, which was quite annoying. On the other hand, I was really enjoying using Landorus-T against Groudon teams, and I didn’t want to give up of it.

I was super confident with the base Xerneas + Incineroar + Landorus-T + grass type, and so I wanted to focus on my 2 slots left. I was super worried about the standard XernOgre team that was becoming so popular, but I didn’t want to give up my XerDon matchup either. With that in mind, I thought Solgaleo was just so much better than Kyogre in this team, since it is surprisingly useful against Groudon teams and amazing against Kyogre ones too. At this point I was using Choice Band Landorus-T and I really enjoyed it, so I wanted a second ground immune on my team. This was a period where I tried out many stuffs and practiced a lot on Showdown. I was very proud I managed to find this team after some days.

xerneassolgaleoincineroar landorus-therianludicolothundurus
This team was amazing, and I managed to get #1 on Showdown ladder for the first time of the season with it. I hated to give up the idea of using Amoonguss (which is a much better Pokémon overall than Ludicolo, in my opinion) but without the latter, the team was just too weak against Kyogre (mainly Choice Specs variants). On the other hand, I really liked the idea of double Fake Out + double Intimidate + setup (people how saw me playing VGC 2018 knows that quite well) and this combination proved to be super strong in practice. I brought this team to my third event of the season, a MSS, and I won it, defeating some XernOgre teams through the day which made me feel super confident about this composition.

Still not good enough, though. Tapu Lele was a super annoying Pokémon to face since I couldn’t Fake Out or abuse of Prankster when the Psychic Terrain was on the field. I also realized that, while Thundurus-I was a very strong choice against Xerneas + Kyogre + Kartana and Xerneas + Lunala + Smeargle, it just wasn’t a great Pokémon overall, being useless in many matchups. I already had the Landorus-T to be the “I’ll just bring you for one specific matchup” Pokémon and I learned with Crobat that I couldn’t afford two of them again if I wanted a consistent team. I realized that I couldn’t have a positive matchup against all common archetypes, so I started to focus on a Pokémon good against Kyogre teams rather than the Lunala ones. I loved the idea of an Electric type Pokémon that could shut down sleep, so my natural second choice was…

The Team

Tapu-Koko Victory Road
Tapu Koko @ Choice Specs
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Def / 156 SpA / 236 SpD / 108 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Volt Switch
– Dazzling Gleam
– Thunderbolt
– Grass Knot

Even though Tapu Koko was my last addition, it ended up becoming one of my most important Pokémon in this team. Tapu Koko is the definition of a consistent sweeper: it’s fast, hits hard, has STAB Volt Switch, an amazing typing both offensively and defensively talking, and it is bulky enough to take a hit or two. Nevertheless, it offers passive support with its Electric Terrain, protecting my team from Sleep and allowing me to abuse of Fake Out even against Tapu Lele teams (If I position myself correctly).

Speaking of passive support, by the way, reminds me about Ben Kyriakou’s Worlds Team Report from 2014. Reading this in 2017 was the first time I saw someone classifying ways to support the team and I thought that was a very interesting thing to keep in mind. Well, board control is crucial in a such an offensive metagame, and that’s another pretty convincing reason to use Tapu Koko rather than Thundurus: they can both stop Sleep, but Thundurus takes a turn to use Taunt (active support) and his target can just switch out anyways. This makes me prone to lose momentum and I can’t afford that in this metagame. Tapu Koko guarantees my Pokémon won’t be sleeping for at least 5 turns against most compositions just by being send out on the field, which is much better overall against Amoonguss and still ok against Smeargle.

Ok, Gabriel, I understand why you love Tapu Koko so much: it does damage, supports the team and is a valuable tool to keep your board control thanks to Volt Switch. But holy guacamole, what is this spread? Simple, I wanted to do as much damage as I could while still being able to take Origin Pulse from Kyogre. That sounds quite dumb at first, right? Choice Scarf Kyogre could just Water Spout me and get the KO… except that I have Ludicolo into my team. Ludicolo outspeeds any Kyogre set outside of Tailwind, which means I can safely stay in front of Kyogre if I have Ludicolo on the field to threaten it with Grass Knot. I also often see myself in late game scenarios where Kyogre took so much chip damage I don’t even need to worry about Water Spout. Having this investment on Special Defense is also amazing if for some reason I want to stay on the field instead of using Volt Switch, which happened to be a lot more often than I was expecting at tournaments.

Keep in mind that Volt Switch is, by far, the most important move in this set. The speed allows me to outspeed max speed Tornadus-I by 1 point and Kartana by 2. Grass Knot was very rarely used against Groudon, but is still more useful than other coverage moves such as Electroweb or Discharge.

Offensive calcs

kyogre156 SpA Choice Specs Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Kyogre in Electric Terrain: 192-228 (109 – 129.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
xerneas156 SpA Choice Specs Tapu Koko Volt Switch vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Xerneas in Electric Terrain: 102-121 (50.4 – 59.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
groudon 156 SpA Choice Specs Tapu Koko Grass Knot (120 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Groudon: 166-196 (94.3 – 111.3%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO
incineroar 156 SpA Choice Specs Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Incineroar in Electric Terrain: 100-118 (50 – 59%) — guaranteed 2HKO 
kartana 156 SpA Choice Specs Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 4 HP / 196 SpD Assault Vest Kartana in Electric Terrain: 68-81 (50.3 – 60%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Defensive calcs

kyogre 252+ SpA Kyogre Origin Pulse vs. 4 HP / 236 SpD Tapu Koko in Rain: 123-145 (84.2 – 99.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
xerneas 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Dazzling Gleam vs. 4 HP / 236 SpD Tapu Koko: 66-78 (45.2 – 53.4%) — 25% chance to 2HKO
tapu-lele 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 4 HP / 236 SpD Tapu Koko in Psychic Terrain: 123-145 (84.2 – 99.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
venusaur 252 SpA Venusaur Sludge Bomb vs. 4 HP / 236 SpD Tapu Koko: 126-150 (86.3 – 102.7%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO

Xerneas Victory Road
Xerneas @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Def / 244 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Protect
– Moonblast
– Geomancy
– Substitute

The best Pokémon in the format, shoutouts Geomancy. This move is so great that Xerneas exerts a lot of pressure right on Team Preview. I tweeted some weeks ago about all this strength and how centralizing this Pokémon is. The possibility of even the most prepared teams being swept by Xerneas forces wise players to respect it all the time.

“The pressure exerted by Xerneas is usually so big that I can actually see that as a support role it plays for its teammates: the fact that your opponent can’t just ignore a Xerneas on the field (even before Geomancy) allows the deer’s partner to do its job more effectively” I used Modest Xerneas since the very start and I personally think it is stronger than the Timid one: the extra damage it provides, at least in this team, is a lot more important than outspeeding some Pokémon (such as Timid Tapu Lele or Lunala) or having (in worst case scenario) the speed tie with opposing Xerneas. I mean, after a Geomancy you are going to outspeed the whole metagame anyways, and if your game plan relies on winning speed ties… Well, that’s not really a consistent strategy, is it? More than that, many spreads are being made to take +2 Timid Moonblast, which means that I often get some KOes by surprise. After U-turn, Volt Switch or Fake Out chip damage, I should always KO those Pokémon with my boosted Xerneas, which is quite nice.

The first three moves are a must in every Xerneas, the only surprise here could be Substitute over Dazzling Gleam. What makes Substitute so amazing? I’d guess that’s a question that many players, mainly the new ones, would struggle to answer properly: most people would say Substitute is good because if you predict your opponent to Protect, you basically guarantee to stay one more turn on the field while also avoiding Fake Out flinches or Status conditions. Well, although this assumption is not incorrect, saying that Substitute will be good only if you get some predictions off is totally wrong. In fact, Substitute’s essence is exactly the opposite of it: it is such an amazing move because it has a low risk/high reward measurement. Substitute is also amazing to burn Trick Room or Tailwind and especially useful against teams that can’t prevent me using Geomancy by using stuff like Roar or Haze (example: Solgaleo + Zygarde teams).

Offensive calcs

kyogre +2 244+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Kyogre: 178-210 (101.1 – 119.3%) — guaranteed OHKO
incineroar +2 244+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Incineroar: 186 219 (93 – 109.5%) — 56.3% chance to OHKO
kartana +2 244+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 4 HP / 196 SpD Assault Vest Kartana: 124-147 (91.8 – 108.8%) — 56.3% chance to OHKO

Solgaleo Victory Road
Solgaleo @ Figy Berry
Ability: Full Metal Body
Level: 50
EVs: 68 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 116 SpD / 68 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Protect
– Superpower
– Sunsteel Strike
– Wild Charge

A very simple Solgaleo spread: I wanted to do max damage while also being able to take hits well. Since the team has double Intimidate, I invested a lot on Special Defense and it paid off: Taking a Water Spout relative comfortably is important because it allows me to take some chip damage before it if necessary.

The moveset is standard except by Wild Charge. After theorizing a bit and talking to my friend Catel, I decided to try it out and I felt in love with it. We realized that the Electric coverage is great in this
metagame and the damage output against Kyogre was super important in this team: this move not only OHKOes most Kyogre under the Electric Terrain, but it also puts it on Xerneas’ Moonblast KO range if I am outside the terrain.

Many people asked me if I don’t miss the OHKO on Incineroar with Superpower, something that the Life Orb set would be able to do. The team has many ways to chip it Incineroar, such as U-turn, Volt Switch and Fake Out, and Incineroar can’t even switch safely into Solgaleo since Sunsteel Strike + Superpower always KOes it. The speed EV’s is a dumb speed creep that also outspeeds max speed Adamant Tsareena by 2 points (I swear that came in handy more than once).A very simple Solgaleo spread: I wanted to do max damage while also being able to take hits well.

Offensive calcs

xerneas 252+ Atk Solgaleo Sunsteel Strike vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Xerneas: 204-242 (100.9 – 119.8%) — guaranteed
kyogre 252+ Atk Solgaleo Wild Charge vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Kyogre in Electric Terrain: 192-228 (92.7 –
110.1%) — 56.3% chance to OHKO
incineroar 252+ Atk Solgaleo Superpower vs. 236 HP / 4 Def Incineroar: 170-200 (85 – 100%) — 6.3% chance to
kartana 252+ Atk Solgaleo Superpower vs. 4 HP / 4 Def Kartana: 124-146 (91.8 – 108.1%) — 43.8% chance to

Defensive calcs

xerneas +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 68 HP / 116 SpD Solgaleo: 105-123 (47.5 – 55.6%) —
79.3% chance to 2HKO
kyogre 252+ SpA Choice Specs Kyogre Origin Pulse vs. 68 HP / 116 SpD Solgaleo in Rain: 186-220 (84.1 –
99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
incineroar -1 0 Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 68 HP / 4 Def Solgaleo: 98-116 (44.3 – 52.4%) — 15.2% chance to
2HKO after Figy Berry recovery

Incineroar Victory Road
Incineroar @ Assault Vest
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 252 HP / 172 Def / 84 SpD
Sassy Nature
– U-turn
– Fake Out
– Snarl
– Flare Blitz

Standard Incineroar, except by, maybe, Snarl. I choose it over Knock Off because… To be fair, I don’t know. I never understood too well why most people use Knock Off on the first place. Snarl is a great move and helps a lot against special attackers (mainly Xerneas and Lunala). I also love the fact that Kyogre can’t switch into Incineroar safely thanks to it.

U-turn is a great move to carry on Incineroar because it has Intimidate and it is slow. Once again, board positioning is crucial, and the capability of provide free switches while still conserving your Pokémon is awesome.

I choose Assault Vest over Berry because I wanted a spread that could always take –1 Choice Band Precipice Blades from Groudon and +2 Moonblast from Modest Xerneas. Being able to take Sacred Sword from Kartana so well was a surprisingly useful bonus that ended up becoming the main reason to keep the AV on it.

Bear in mind that Flare Blitz is the most unimportant move on Incineroar. By far. Flare Blitz should not be used in the early game unless the damage is crucial in that moment AND you will not be punished by an opponent’s free switch in the next turn. In other words, don’t Flare Blitz a Kartana if that means your opponents will get a free Water Spout with his Choice Scarf Kyogre in the next turn.

Defensive calcs

groudon 252+ Atk Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 252 HP / 172 Def Incineroar: 168-200 (83.1 – 99%) — guaranteed 2HKO
kyogre 252+ SpA Kyogre Origin Pulse vs. 252 HP / 84+ SpD Assault Vest Incineroar in Rain: 152-182 (75.2 – 90%) — guaranteed 2HKO
xerneas +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Dazzling Gleam vs. 252 HP / 84+ SpD Assault Vest Incineroar: 82-97 (40.5 – 48%) — guaranteed 3HKO
xerneas +2 252+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 252 HP / 84+ SpD Assault Vest Incineroar: 144-169 (71.2 – 83.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
kartana  -1 252 Atk Kartana Sacred Sword vs. 252 HP / 172 Def Incineroar: 80-96 (39.6 – 47.5%) — guaranteed 3HKO

Ludicolo Victory Road
Ludicolo @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs: 180 HP / 4 Def / 92 SpA / 4 SpD / 228 Spe
Calm Nature
– Fake Out
– Grass Knot
– Scald
– Leech Seed

I don’t think Ludicolo is an amazing Pokémon, but having a safe Kyogre switch was a must and I wanted something that could damage it hard as well. Since Ludicolo has a very good typing, an amazing ability to check scarf Kyogre and access to Fake Out, I was almost obliged to use it in this team. Not being weak to Thunder and the 4x resistance instead of 2 is surprisingly useful as well.

The first three moves are standard. Leech Seed was my last addition and it was honestly amazing: I was never clicking Protect, Ice Beam or Icy Wind when I tried them, so I thought having a tech to help against Xerneas was a good call for the last slot. The first move that came into my mind was Knock Off, but I realized that would only work if Rain was up, which was awkward since I don’t even have Kyogre in my team. After that, I decided to look for another move in Ludicolo’s movepool that could potentially help me against setup. I was surprised when I discovered that Ludicolo learns Leech Seed and even more surprised to see that no one uses it. It is extremely useful and I love the idea of using it with double Fake Out. While I very rarely go for it, it proved to be very strong when used correctly, allowing me to stall things like boosted Xerneas and Zygarde.

The EV train allows me to outspeed Timid Choice Scarf Kyogre while also 2HKOing 252 HP Kyogre. As this Ludicolo is not supposed to do damage, I run the rest on bulk with a Calm nature (some surviving relevant calculations already mentioned above). Sometimes I do miss firepower from it, but on the other hand being able to take attacks is super important because sometimes I need to use it as a punching bag early in the game and still have it alive to deal with Kyogre later.

Offensive calcs

kyogre 92 SpA Ludicolo Grass Knot (120 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Kyogre: 104-126 (50.2 – 60.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Defensive calcs

lunala 252 SpA Lunala Psyshock vs. 180 HP / 4 Def Ludicolo in Psychic Terrain: 142-168 (79.7 – 94.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
lunala 252 SpA Lunala Moongeist Beam vs. 180 HP / 4+ SpD Ludicolo: 81-96 (45.5 – 53.9%) — 40.2% chance to 2HKO
tapu-lele 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psyshock vs. 180 HP / 4 Def Ludicolo in Psychic Terrain: 150-177 (84.2 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Landorus-Therian Victory Road
Landorus-Therian @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 156 HP / 4 Def / 196 SpA / 4 SpD / 148 Spe
Timid Nature
– Earth Power
– Protect
– Grass Knot
– U-turn

The most niche member in the team, my third feline makes Groudon archetypes a lot easier to face: Landorus-T is the only Pokémon that can very safely switch into Groudon and Incineroar while also 2HKOing both regardless of Intimidate or Sun. It can also damage hard common partners such as Tapu Koko, Heatran, Stakataka and Kartana, which is amazing because it can sweep many teams once Xerneas is fainted. Let us take Yuree’s team, one of the most common XerDon compositions, as an example:

Landorus’ Intimidate is amazing against Groudon, Incineroar and Kartana, and it 2HKOes all these three. Landorus also outspeeds and OHKOes Heatran, and does not care much about Venusaur, too, thanks to Safety Googles and the little investment on bulk. The only Pokémon that threatens it is Xerneas, but I have Solgaleo and my own Xerneas to try to stop it.

The speed allows you to be faster than max Speed Adamant Groudon by one point. The item choice was a very interesting decision and it was suggested by my friend André Fumis: Safety Goggles makes the Groudon + Venusaur core a lot easier to face while also helps against random Rage Powders and Spores. The first three slots are self-explanatories; U-turn was chosen over other coverage moves because I realized that being able to pivot was a lot more important than the ability of damaging some random Pokémon a little harder.

Don’t forget Landorus is a very situational Pokémon and you are not supposed to bring it to most matches (sometimes I don’t even bring it against some Groudon teams). Overall, I think Landorus is a very underrated Pokémon and in this team specifically it puts on a lot of work against what it is supposed to face.

Offensive calcs

groudon  196 SpA Landorus-T Grass Knot (120 BP) vs. 252 HP / 156 SpD Groudon: 104-124 (50.2 – 59.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
incineroar 196 SpA Landorus-T Earth Power vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Incineroar: 102-120 (51 – 60%) — guaranteed 2HKO
venusaur 196 SpA Landorus-T Earth Power vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Venusaur: 64-76 (41 – 48.7%) — guaranteed 3HKO

Defensive calcs

groudon -1 252+ Atk Life Orb Groudon Fire Punch vs. 156 HP / 4 Def Landorus-T in Sun: 75-90 (40.7 – 48.9%) — guaranteed 3HKO
venusaur 252+ SpA Venusaur Grass Knot (80 BP) vs. 156 HP / 4 SpD Landorus-T: 76-90 (41.3 – 48.9%) — guaranteed 3HKO
kartana -1 252 Atk Kartana Leaf Blade vs. 156 HP / 4 Def Landorus-T: 72-85 (39.1 – 46.1%) — guaranteed 3HKO

Team Match-ups

Xerneas + Kyogre
ArchetypeAlways bringNever bringCommon leads
Probably the team’s best matchup, I usually lead Ludicolo + Tapu Koko with Solgaleo and Incineroar in the back. If you know for some reason that Kyogre is not Choice Scarf, Tapu Koko + Solgaleo is very good as well. I usually don’t bring Xerneas in Bo1 but it is a very strong choice in Bo3 if used correctly.Note: I bring Ludicolo only if i know that the opposing Kyogre is scarfed.
Xerneas + Groudon
ArchetypeAlways bringNever bringCommon leads
This matchup depends a lot on what Pokémon my opponent has, and the most common lead is Landorus-T + Solgaleo. Usually a 50-50 matchup.
Xerneas + Lunala
ArchetypeAlways bringNever bringCommon leads
A hard matchup. You should try to use Geomancy early in the game (your opponent is probably going to do that as well) and spam Snarl. I usually lead Tapu Koko + Xerneas with Solgaleo + Incineroar in the back.
Kyogre + Lunala
ArchetypeAlways bringNever bringCommon leads
Tapu Koko + Ludicolo is safer, but I usually lead Incineroar + Tapu Koko, since Kyogre is never Choice Scarf in this team and people always lead with Lunala + Tapu Koko or Incineroar. Ludicolo + Xerneas is a strong back.
Kyogre + Dialga
ArchetypeAlways bringNever bringCommon leads
A very funny and interesting matchup because both you and your opponent can usually bring literally any combination of Pokémon. I never bring Landorus-T but my friend Fumis told me once it is a fine option against this archetype. I usually lead with Ludicolo and have Incineroar in the back.
Solgaleo + Zygarde
ArchetypeAlways bringNever bringCommon leads
There are two modes against this team, but my favorite mode is the “protect the Xerneas and win”. You lead Ludicolo + Xerneas with Incineroar in the back, abuse of the combination of Substitute + double Fake Out and try to sweep with Xerneas. Bringing Tapu Koko, Landorus-T, Incineroar and Xerneas in any other is a possibility as well if you fear Roar Incineroar or Haze Fini.

Threat List

xerneasAll teams can lose to a well-used Xerneas and this one isn’t an exception. I can’t stop Xerneas from using Geomancy, which means that if my opponent somehow gets it for free (it should be hard since I have double Fake Out, Snarl, Leech Seed, my own Xerneas and Solgaleo to try to stop it) I’ll be in trouble. Xerneas is usually not a big problem but with certain partners (Smeargle + Lunala, for example) it can be very hard to handle.
mewtwoIt outspeeds and does a lot of damage against my entire team, but is bulk enough to take some hits. Can be very problematic with the right partners (see Pephan’s team, for example).
reshiramvolcaronaThe team is just naturally weak to the Fire type. Volcarona, Salazzle and Reshiram are good examples of Pokémon that can really mess up with the team if played correctly. Against those I usually try to chip them with Volt Switch and them bring Incineroar to take the moves, spam Snarl or try to use Geomancy with the help of Fake Out
lurantisI can’t KO this Pokémon quickly and having double Intimidate against Contrary doesn’t help at all.
gengarIt hits hard both my restrict Pokémon and threatens Ludicolo and Tapu Koko with the OHKO. It’s not exactly a bad matchup, but just a very ugly Pokémon to face.

The Tournament

Round 1 vs COL Juan Naar | LWW

A difficult matchup, since bringing Landorus was very risky if my opponent decides to use the Gravity + Trick Room mode with Lurantis. I bring Xerneas, Tapu Koko, Incineroar and Solgaleo while Naar brings Xerneas, Bronzong, Incineroar and Groudon in all matches (not necessarily in that order). An intense match against a good player and friend. I was feeling very confident after such a tough win.

Round 2 vs BRA Ney Secco | WW

I had the matchup advantage and knew how to approach it. My opponent played well, but Solgaleo is just too hard to handle without Kartana. Ney was a very kind person and we talked between sets a couple of times.

Round 3 vs USA Ashton Cox | LWL

I had a game plan against this team but for some reason I didn’t follow it at all (I was nervous and tired I guess). I play like a drunk man and Ashton takes game 1 and 3 quite easily, as you guys can see on stream. Ashton played much better than me and deserved the win. Congratulations for your second International title!

After this set, I was feeling quite strange because I knew I didn’t play well (and I was streamed rip) and I couldn’t afford any other loss if I wanted to cut. I decided I was going to focus on the next matches rather than trying to figure out what I could’ve done better against Ashton, as I knew I would be very angry with myself if I did so.

Round 4 vs DEU Fevzi Özkan | WW

Fevzi is a very nice guy and coincidentally we talked a little before pairings were up. I realized that Landorus-T was key in this match right on Team Preview, and it basically carried this set. Safety Googles puts on a lot of work on game 1: he leads Groudon + Venusaur against Landorus + Tapu Koko and I predict him to use Sleep Powder on Landorus since it was by far the biggest threat. I manage to get a turn 1 KO on Groudon before it can even move, giving me a huge advantage.

After that, I just started playing safe, since I was in a very comfortable position. Game 2 he tries the Trick Room mode with Bronzong but even a critical hit from his –2 Incineroar on my Landorus was not enough to stop it from putting on some work. Substitute on Xerneas was very good in this set.

Round 5 vs USA James Baek | WW

Just like Fevzi, I talked to James just before the round starts and we faced each other after that, which is super funny. A friend of mine had faced him before and told me his Kyogre was not Choice Scarf, which was good to know because I could lead Tapu Koko + Solgaleo right from the start. I took Game 1 easily since I had the matchup advantage and James didn’t approach it correctly. Game 2, James redeemed himself and played quite well. At some point I did a misplay and didn’t use Sunsteel Strike against his Xerneas when doing so was safe. He gets the Geomancy off and I only got to win because I did a very risky read on the late game: I bring Incineroar to the field and, predicting the Protect from both his Pokémon, I switch Incineroar into Ludicolo to have the Fake Out pressure again. James is a very strong player and I was happy to see him on Top Cut. His YouTube channel is pretty good and I recommend everyone checking it out.

Round 6 vs CHL Estephan Valdebenito | LL

When pairings were up, I was very worried because I was 4-1 going to face a 3-2, which could potentially mess up with my resistance (spoiler: it did). As if I wasn’t unlucky enough, I had absolutely no matchup and Pephan played quite well. Life Orb Mewtwo puts on a lot of work in this match and he surprised me on Game 2 with Choice Scarf Nature’s Madness Tapu Lele.

I was extremely nervous in this set for many reasons, and Pephan noticed that. He told me to stay calm a couple of times during the set and after it, he hugged me. I am very grateful for that and I’m glad the community has people like him.

Round 7 vs CHL Felipe Casas | WW

That was a very stressful set as, if I lost, I would get nothing; and if I won, I basically guaranteed (at least) a stipend for Oceania. I was going to win game 1 but I didn’t because his –1 Kartana revealed Guillotine on the penultimate turn and KOed my full health Incineroar. Literally the worst way to start of a decisive Bo3 match, I know.

I don’t remember much about this set except that I was salty during it and, when it was over, I felt that I had played it godlike (and to be fair I probably did because I got quite unlucky the whole set).

Swiss standings

17-0Ashton Coxxerneaslunalaincineroartoxicroaksmearglecrobat
26-1Jeremy Rodriguesxerneaslunalaincineroartoxicroaksmearglecrobat
36-1Michele Gavellikyogrelunalatapu-kokoincineroarkartanaamoonguss
46-1Ethan Frenchkyogrelunalatapu-leletoxicroakkartanaraichu
56-1Paul Ruizkyogrexerneastapu-leleincineroarludicolomoltres
65-2James Baek kyogrexerneasincineroartornaduskartanaamoonguss
75-2Melvin Kehgroudonxerneastapu-kokovolcaronatorracatferrothorn
85-2Caio Romaninikyogreyveltaltapu-leleincineroarcrobatferrothorn
95-2Gabriel Agatixerneassolgaleotapu-kokoincineroarlandorus-therianludicolo
105-2Juan Spinettakyogrelunalatapu-leleincineroarkartanaamoonguss
115-2Eduardo Cunhagroudonsolgaleotapu-finiincineroaraerodactylvenusaur
125-2Nick Navarregroudonxerneasincineroartsareenatalonflamevenusaur
135-2Alessio Y. Boschettogroudonxerneasincineroarheatrankartanavenusaur
145-2Stephen Meaxerneaslunalaincineroartoxicroaksmearglecrobat
155-2Yan Vianna Symkyogrexerneasincineroartornaduskartanaamoonguss
165-2Angel Mirandagroudonxerneasincineroartsareenatalonflamevenusaur

Conclusions and Moon Series viability

This team is not really very good in Moon Series, honestly. Z-moves make opposing Ludicolo and Lunala too strong against it. Groudon archetypes are also much harder to face. I tried the Z-move on Solgaleo, Tapu Koko, Landorus and even Xerneas, but the team is just not good enough anymore. My favorite adaptation until now was using Lunala (Z-move) and Amoonguss over Solgaleo and Ludicolo. Landorus can be replaced as well, but I’m not sure what to use.

In conclusion, I know it seems a little late for a report of a team that can’t be used anymore, but I still think everything written here was worth my time since this text still carries (in my biased opinion) lots of useful and interesting information. I had a lot of fun using this team and I’m honestly very proud with how its final version ended up becoming. Thanks to this team, I managed to get a Travel Award to Oceania! I am very excited for it and I know I’ll have a lot of fun in Melbourne. Let’s see how it goes!

Shoutouts Boyama 2018.

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