Fake Out, Geomancy, U-turn, Water Spout – a Top 8 at Oceania Internationals Team Report

Hi guys, my name is Gabriel Agati (@AgatiGa on Twitter) and I’m here to share with you the amazing experience I had in the 2019 Oceania International Championship, held in Melbourne, Australia. This report will focus mainly on my Teambuilding process and in the event experience.

Team’s achievements

  • Top 8 at the Buenos Aires Special Event
  • Top 8 at the 2019 Oceania IC

salamence-mega Team Building Process

Sun series was over, and Moon came out. Looking for Pokémon that I thought would be a lot stronger with Z-moves, I started trying out many different stuffs, but very few called my attention to be considered “best VGC”. Volcarona, Lunala and Ludicolo were those.

xerneasincineroar
When practicing, I quickly realized that, just like in Sun series, not using Xerneas and Incineroar was throwing, so I naturally started to include both on every single team I was going to build. Once again, I had absolutely no regrets of doing that.

xerneaskyogreincineroarludicolo
Volcarona was amazing, but Groudon sucked hard and I wasn’t comfortable on using the moth without Drought. Lunala was also stupidly strong, yet I hated the fact that XernAla is a team naturally weak to Snarl Incineroar. Ludicolo + Xernogre, on the other hand, had very few issues on theory, and I felt love with it on practice.

xerneaskyogreincineroarludicoloamoongussaegislash-shield
Once I was determined to use XernOgre, I decided to ask for help to one of the best XernOgre players in the world, Paul Chua. Paul helped me a lot back then, mainly teaching me how to approach matchups with the team. I started watching him playing in order to understand his mindset as well.

I focused on this team for many weaks early in the format, even creating an account on Showdown named Xernogre Master just because it sounded cool (it’s not mine anymore, I gave it to Juan). I managed to consistently stick very high on the ladder with it, and I was very convinced I would use these 4 Pokémon until the end of Moon series. Back then, Kyogre was Choice Scarf.

I tested a huge amount of Pokémon in the last two slots, including Tornadus, Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu, Naganadel, Clefairy and Talonflame. The one with you saw above ended up being my Buenos Aires version.

Aegislash was my sacred tech against Lunala archetypes, mainly XernAla, and it was actually amazing against Ashton and Jeremy’s team. It was a useful team member back then and so deserves to be in this team report:

Aegislash

Resultado de imagen de aegislash dream world

Aegislash @ Fightinium Z
Ability: Stance Change 
EVs: 172 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 76 Spe 
Adamant Nature 
– King’s Shield 
– Iron Head
– Sacred Sword 
– Shadow Sneak

After a reasonable finish (Top 8) at the Special Event, I realized that I had to improve both my team and my plays if I wanted to have a blast in Melbourne. Although it was very clear for me that Aegislash and Amoonguss were the most replaceable Pokémon, I just couldn’t find any substitutes for these slots.

Since I couldn’t find the perfect XernOgre team, I decided to give up of it and started to focus on XY and XernAla. I even brought it to Brazil’s Special Event (and I won it!). At that time, I thought that Xernala was stronger than Xernogre, at least on theory. I was going to use Xernala on OCIC too, but I give up of it 2 days before the tournament. If you want to know more about my Xernala team, you should definitely check out the team report (in Spanish) of the Oceania International Champion from the Senior division, Juan Salerno. He is a friend of mine and a teambuilder partner as well.

xerneaslunalatapu-kokoincineroaramoongusshitmontop
I barely played any VGC after Brazil’s Special Event because I had already practiced tons of Moon series, to the point that laddering wasn’t being productive at all (I was already sure I was going to use either Xernogre or Xernala in Melbourne). I decided to prioritize other things in life and honestly, I have absolutely no regrets: taking a break from VGC was great and I have a lot of fun (I was in vacation) in the last two weeks before OCIC.

The story behind the change between Lunala and Kyogre doesn’t matter too much, summarizing it I thought that A) I’m a much better Xernogre player than a Xernala’s and B) Xernogre is better to deal with Xerdon and to random stuff in general. Meghan Hyman (@PinkySylvie) helped me a lot with the Xerdon matchup, so shoutouts to her. After some theory, I replaced Aegislash on the team because Tornadus is better to deal with Xerdon and random stuff in general. Even though I barely practiced with it I knew it was going to work because it is standard in this composition (spoiler: it works).

xerneaskyogreincineroarludicolotornadusamoonguss
One day before the event and the team is finished! I was very excited to play my first International outside of my home city, São Paulo. I was super nervous as well, since I had to go well in this tournament if I wanted my Worlds Day 2 invite.

salamence-mega The Team

▶️ Get the importable version of the team here!

Kyogre Victory Road

Kyogre @ Choice Specs 
Ability: Drizzle 
EVs: 140 HP / 4 Def / 92 SpA / 20 SpD / 252 Spe 
Modest Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
– Water Spout
– Thunder
– Scald 
– Ice Beam 

Kyogre was my MVP in Oceania. Choice Specs was an amazing call and people not expecting it was quite good as well. Having the Choice Specs also allows me to invest a lot more in Speed and bulk while still doing sick damage. The bulk allows me to take a +2 Moonblast from Modest Xerneas.

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

Same Xerneas from my LAIC team. Substitute is amazing with double Fake Out and I choose Modest over Timid because I was comfortable with that and never saw reason to change it.

Incineroar Victory Road
Incineroar @ Assault Vest 
Ability: Intimidate 
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 68 Def / 100 SpD / 84 Spe 
Careful Nature 
– U-turn 
– Fake Out 
– Snarl
– Flare Blitz 

Being faster than pretty much any other Incineroar (I outspeed every Incineroar I faced at OCIC) and able to take +2 Moonblast 100% of the time was very good against Xerdon on theory, so I decided to try that and felt in love with it. My spread from Buenos Aires was different, but I don’t remember what it was.

Defensive calcs

kartana -1 252 Atk Kartana Sacred Sword vs. 252 HP / 68 Def Incineroar: 90-106 (44.5 – 52.4%) — 17.2% chance to 2HKO

groudon -1 252+ Atk Life Orb Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 252 HP / 68 Def Incineroar: 164-195 (81.1 – 96.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Ludicolo Victory Road

Ludicolo @ Waterium Z 
Ability: Swift Swim 
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe 
Modest Nature 
– Fake Out 
– Hydro Pump 
– Grass Knot
– Scald

Standard Ludicolo set. I choose Scald as my last slot because Hydro Pump has a terrible accuracy.
In the past I had some bulk, but I realized it wasn’t being useful at all. If you don’t mind missing moves, you should probably run Icy Wind in the last slot.

Amoonguss Victory Road

Amoonguss @ Payapa Berry 
Ability: Regenerator 
EVs: 236 HP / 76 Def / 196 SpD 
Sassy Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk / 4 Spe 
– Grass Knot 
– Clear Smog
– Spore 
– Rage Powder

Standard Amoonguss set. I think I stole the spread from Riley Factura’s team, so shoutouts to him or whoever did that spread because I really like it. Payapa is not good anymore and I wish I had Lum Berry instead. Amoonguss is very important in the Xernala matchup and against Trick Room teams.

Defensive calcs

incineroar 4 Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 236 HP / 76 Def Amoonguss: 186-218 (84.9 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Tornadus Victory Road

Tornadus @ Flyinium Z 
Ability: Prankster 
Level: 50 
EVs: 220 HP / 4 Def / 28 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe 
Timid Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
– Tailwind 
– Taunt 
– Hurricane 
– Rain Dance 

Tornadus is my only source of speed control, of course not counting Fake Out and Geomancy. I don’t think Rain Dance was used a single time throughout the tournament, but I didn’t miss Protect either and I defeated the only Groudon I faced anyways. I don’t know whether I like this spread or not because I barely practiced with Tornadus. I don’t think I’ll build for Moon Series ever again but if I must do so, I’d probably try a Tornadus with more SpA (not sure if less bulk or less Spe). Z-Tailwind can be very useful in the mirror.

[edit: Stephan Mea (@GramgusVGC) just won Toronto Regionals with that Tornadus spread so it should be good I guess]

Offensive calcs

kartana 28 SpA Tornadus Supersonic Skystrike (185 BP) vs. 68 HP / 252 SpD Assault Vest Kartana: 126-148 (88.1 – 103.4%) — 25% chance to OHKO

amoonguss 28 SpA Tornadus Supersonic Skystrike (185 BP) vs. 236 HP / 180+ SpD Amoonguss: 230-272 (105 – 124.2%) — guaranteed OHKO

Defensive calcs

kyogre 252+ SpA Kyogre Origin Pulse vs. 220 HP / 4 SpD Tornadus in Rain: 153-181 (84 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO

 

salamence-mega Tournament Run

Round 1 vs USA Patrick Donegan | WW
solgaleozygardeincineroartapu-finitoxicroakvenusaur

I was super nervous going into this set. Oceania Internats was about to start! I didn’t know much about my opponent except that he travels a lot to play. I was very focused.

Game 1
I bring: incineroarkyogre + xerneasamoonguss
He brings: solgaleotapu-fini + toxicroak

 I surprised him with the Choice Specs Kyogre, doing over 95% to his Solgaleo on turn 1 while I Fake Out Fini. After that, Xerneas was already in a pretty good spot since its biggest threat was basically gone. I managed to win by just playing safe. He forfeited before revealing his last Pokémon, but I assumed it was Zygarde based on how he was playing.

Game 2
I bring: incineroarkyogre + xerneasamoonguss
He brings: solgaleotapu-fini + toxicroakzygarde

I knew he was going to be a lot more careful on game 2 so this time I use U-turn instead of Fake Out. He protected Solgaleo and switched Tapu-Fini into Toxicroak. He managed to set up Trick Room and later KO my Amoonguss on a switch with the Z-move. I don’t remember much about this game except that Patrick predicted an Incineroar switch + Protect from my Xerneas at the last turn of Trick Room, and KOed it with Superpower. Now it was my almost full health Kyogre + boosted Xerneas against his entire team. I think I used Water Spout and proceed to get somehow a free Substitute in the next turn. Substitute was huge and so was the Modest nature, because Toxicroak couldn’t Fake Out Xerneas anymore and I managed to get an OHKO on it with Moonblast.

I was quite happy after this set because I thought I played it super well.

Round 2 vs USA Justin Burns | WW
xerneasgroudonincineroartapu-kokoamoongussvolcarona

You can see our match by clicking here (1:14:08) 

I was very excited to face such a talented player on stream. I was still nervous and, honestly, I was scared too.

Game 1
I bring: tornadusincineroar + xerneaskyogre
He brings: tapu-kokogroudon + xerneasamoonguss

I managed to get both Xerneas and Kyogre under Tailwind on game 1, and once again Choice Specs put on a lot of work. Using Geomancy in front of Amoonguss was very smart because A) He couldn’t Clear Smog me without potentially losing momentum, B) He didn’t know about Choice Specs, so trying to get a Geomancy off with his own Xerneas looked like a good play and C) you don’t usually expect Xerneas to use Geomancy in front of Amoonguss. He tried to comeback with a double Protect but thankfully he didn’t get it.

Game 2
I bring: xerneasincineroar + kyogretornadus
He brings: xerneastapu-koko + groudonamoonguss

I expected adjustments from Justin, so I decided to change my lead. Choosing between Tornadus or Amoonguss and my last Pokémon was very hard. Turn 1 he went straight for Moonblast into my Xerneas, getting a SpA drop in the process. Turn 2 I made a very good read and managed to punish him hard. Turn 4 I missplayed and sacked Incineroar (switching into Tornadus instead was the right play) and then the situation was Tornadus + Kyogre against Groudon + Tapu Koko in the rain. I thought I was going to lose, but Justin couldn’t OHKO my Kyogre with his Tapu Koko: I got the OHKO into Groudon with Scald and Tailwind while he revealed Discharge. Kyogre outspeeded Koko and I managed to take the game!

Winning on stream against such a good player made me feel very confident for the rest of the day.

Round 3 vs USA Stephen Mea | WW
xerneaskyogreincineroartornadusamoongusskartana

Stephen is an amazing player and I had recently lost to him on the World Cup, so I was quite hungry for a revenge in this round. He’s also a very funny guy.

Game 1
I bring: kyogreludicolo + xerneasincineroar
He brings: xerneastornadus + kyogrekartana

I knew my opponent didn’t want to take any big damage with his Xerneas on turn 1 so I predicted him to Protect or switch and I Fake Out the Tornadus + Water Spout, immediately getting a KO (he does Protect). I don’t remember if he brought Kartana or Incineroar but all I know is that he targets the Kyogre slot with Fake Out/Leaf Blade and I OHKOed Xerneas with the Z-move (it was a roll in my favor). 2 KOes in 2 turns and the game is over.

Game 2
I bring: kyogretornadus + xerneasincineroar
He brings: xerneastornadus + kyogrekartana

At some point he tried to predict me not using Taunt on his Xerneas, because if I used Taunt and he went for Moonblast, I may have been in trouble. I got the mind game right and that put me in a good spot. I don’t remember anything else about this game except by his Kyogre being scarfed and my opponent saying that I played the set very well when it was over.

Round 4 vs GBR Ethan French | WW
kyogrelunalahitmontoptapu-kokostakatakaclefairy

Woah, another snowball incoming. This was starting to get a bit annoying, but on the other hand facing great players is always funny. Ethan seemed to be a very nice guy.

Game 1
I bring: kyogreincineroar + amoongussludicolo
He brings: lunalatapu-koko + kyogreclefairy

I faced this team on Showdown a couple of times, and so I knew it was Trick Room Lunala. This information was huge because it impacted in the way I was going to approach the matchup. In turn 1 I went with Fake Out the Tapu Koko slot and Water Spout because it got lots of damage and is safe. He switched into Clefairy and went for TR. I don’t remember if Clefairy went down this turn or in the next one, but I’m quite sure he got a free switch into Kyogre at some point. I don’t know exactly what happened in this game and what happened in game 2 because their starts were very similar, but I made some smart switches and managed to take the win. I also made a bold play of staying in with Kyogre locked on Water Spout under Trick Room; he tried to predict the switch and get little damage to it, while I retaliated doing big damage to both of his Pokémon. Having two very good Kyogre switches in the back was crucial in this game.

Game 2
I bring: kyogreludicolo + incineroaramoonguss
He brings: lunalahitmontop + kyogreclefairy

I had a very strong lead in the last game, so I knew he was going to try to counter it. I realized that his optimal lead against my previous lead was Hitmontop + Lunala, so I correctly countered it by bringing Ludicolo instead of Incineroar. When Ethan saw Ludicolo getting out of its Pokeball, he tapped his head and smiled, which I thought was very funny. Once again, I Fake Outed and Water Spout; Ludi activated Hitmontop’s eject button and Clefairy took about 95% of health while he used TR again. Once again, I’m not sure what happened in this game or in game 1, but I remember predicting his Kyogre to Protect (I had Incineroar with Fake Out pressure on the field + Ludicolo, Kyogre was on Fake Out KO range) by switching Ludi + using U-turn in the other slot, so I had Fake Out pressure again.

I defeated another strong player and I’m 8-0 in games! Is that a dream?

Round 5 vs USA James Baek | WLL
kyogrexerneasincineroartornaduskartanaamoonguss

James is a friend of mine and easily one of the best players in the world right now. We were talking to each other before pairings were up and he told me he was using Z-Psych Up Kyogre, which was something I didn’t want to face.

Game 1
I bring: kyogreludicolo + xerneasincineroar
He brings: kyogretornadus + xerneaskartana

I don’t remember this set too well, which is strange because I usually remember my losses quite well. I probably used Fake Out + Water Spout in turn 1 while he used Protect with Tornadus. He used Z-psych up at some point with Kyogre and I got a Scald burn in Kartana that guaranteed me the win.

Game 2
I bring: kyogretornadus + xerneasincineroar
He brings: kyogretornadus + xerneaskartana

At some point he did a very good read by using Geomancy in front of my Tornadus. I don’t remember anything else, so I suppose that after this play the game was over.

Game 3
I bring: kyogretornadus + xerneasincineroar
He brings: kyogretornadus + xerneaskartana

He used Scald on my Tornadus and got a burn that made me faint in the next turn. He managed to boost his Xerneas before mine and after that Xerneas + Kartana was just too much offensive pressure for me.

This loss did not shake me at all, since James played well, and we had a very good set.

Round 6 vs FRA Alexandre Lissardy | WW
kyogrexerneasincineroartornadusamoongusstsareena

At this point I was not surprised to face another super strong player; I was excited to finally get to meet Alexandre since we are in the same NPA team, the New Bark Loud Puppies.

Before the match starts, current standings were shown up in the big screen, and I was very happy to see I was the x-1 player with the best resistance in the tournament.

Game 1
I bring: kyogreludicolo + xerneasamoonguss
He brings: tornadustsareena + kyogrexerneas

Not having Kartana made the matchup much easier. I doubled into Tsareena with the combination of Water Spout + Hydro Vortex while he switched into Kyogre and went for Tailwind; Tornadus fainted. He brought Xerneas and used Geomancy + Thunder while I switched out Kyogre for Amoonguss and KOed his Kyogre with Ludi’s Grass Knot. Next turn he protected Xerneas and did chip damage into my Amoonguss with U-turn. I thought the game was already over, but he revealed Helping Hand on Tsareena and used Moonblast into Amoonguss… which survived in the red! Amoonguss used Spore and I managed to win from that point.

Game 2
I bring: kyogre