TornOgre History – Team Report from James Baek, 3rd place at the 2019 World Championships

Yahallo, James Baek here. Today, I’ll be going over my season report for the Ultra Series of VGC19. I’ve had a large amount of success in the previous Sun and Moon series, however, I wanted to do well in Ultra Series with two International Championships and the Pokémon World Championship over the horizon. I started experimenting with ideas in March, one month before Ultra Series started, because I wanted to get a head start since I wasn’t competing in the late Moon Series tournaments.

I played around with a lot of different cores and restricted Pokémon throughout the month, including Pokémon that were new thanks to Ultra Series including various Mega Pokémon, Mega Rayquaza and Ultra Necrozma. By the end of the month, I had built over 80 teams with almost every restricted pair imaginable. While I had a lot of ideas, there weren’t many teams that stood out to me. The one team that I really liked involved a core of Mega Gengar, Incineroar, Landorus-T, Kyogre and Xerneas. I decided to focus on building this core for the European International Championship that was approaching fast.

salamence-mega Tournaments

Daytona Regionals | 1st Place (9-1)

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Daytona Regionals was a tournament that was one week before EUIC so it was the perfect training ground to get some experience playing the format, and see the team compositions other players were using. I didn’t want to reveal the team I was experimenting with for Berlin and didn’t have much time to experiment and learn another team for Daytona. A few days before Daytona, I message Oliver Eskolin and ask him about his Kyogre Yveltal team that he got Top 4 at the Zelda Money Tournament. 

Oliver told me the details about his team including a brief rundown of how the team played with some general plans against a few common matchups. I created my version the team, changing some details so that it would be more comfortable to pilot. I felt this was a good team to run because it was great against the standard Xerneas Groudon teams, it has some similar elements to what I was going to run in Berlin so I could test EV spreads and see if they needed to be updated. 

I ended up winning the tournament while starting 0-1, finishing 6-1 in Swiss and going undefeated throughout Top Cut. I was very happy with the result as it was a good confidence booster going into Berlin next week and seeing the team compositions to help anticipate what I would see at the EUIC.

European Internationals | 59th Place (6-3)

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At the beginning of April, I decided to stick with the team core that I created: Mega Gengar, Incineroar, Landorus-T, Kyogre and Xerneas. Xerneas and Kyogre is something I was really comfortable with after using it for the majority of Sun and Moon series and I thought Mega Gengar would love to partner with these restricteds. Mega Gengar is really strong in GS Cup thanks to its ability Shadow Tag, which can trap Groudon so Kyogre can knock it out with a water type attack and not have to worry about Desolate Land, as well as being really good against Xerneas. 

Landorus-T was nice because ground type coverage with fairy is amazing being able to hit super effectively the types that resist fairy. Also, having a switch in and a way to knock out Primal Groudon and Stakataka in one hit was incredible with the Groundium Z. Having double Intimidate was great allowing Xerneas and Kyogre to take less damage from physical attacks where Kyogre has naturally high Special Defense and Xerneas can boost its Special Defense with Geomancy. It also allowed me to always have a way to have a switch-in and Intimidate the opponent’s side of the field in certain situations.

I was struggling to find a last slot for the team. I needed something to help against Amoonguss and opposing Kyogre. I decided to add Tapu Fini since it gave me speed control, change the terrain against Tapu Koko which can be troublesome and prevent sleep from Amoonguss and Smeargle while being able to set up Light Screen to help against Kyogre and use Heal Pulse which helped out my restricteds. For the final version, I switched my Gengar set from Substitute two attacks to Perish Song in order to help the Shedinja matchup and the team could function like a Perish team and give it a new mode. 

The team was fantastic in practice but at Berlin, it was difficult to use the team. I ended up facing a lot of tough matchups with opposing fast Kyogre which made it difficult to maneuver around. I ended up being out of contention for advancing to Day 2 in the middle of the tournament but was still able to finish with a 6-3, top 64 finish. At least I was able to enjoy a fun time in Berlin with some sightseeing and doing stuff with friends.

Hartford Regionals | 4th Place (7-2)

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Hartford was the weekend after Berlin. After returning to the US, I wouldn’t be able to experiment because I had final exams. Raghav Malaviya and I ended up stuck at the airport in Berlin after our flights were delayed. I asked him if I could try the team he built for Kimo who finished in the Top 8 of the European International Championship. He gave me the team, and we spent some time laddering on Pokémon Showdown while waiting for our flights. I liked the team so I made some small changes and brought it to Hartford.

I was able to finish 6-1 in Swiss and won my Top 8 set. Then, I lost a really close set against Tommy Cooleen who was able to win the Regional and get his first ever Regional Championship win which I was very about. Now, I could take a small break from Pokémon and focus on my exams.

Santa Clara Regionals | 27th Place (4-3)

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I had just finished my school semester two days before Santa Clara. I wanted to go to there to get some more Championship Points towards a potential Travel Award to the first International Championship in 2020 and mainly see a lot of the players on the West Coast who I rarely get to see. However, since I just finished my semester, I didn’t have time to practice or try using a new team. I didn’t want to use the same team from Hartford even though I really liked Raghav’s team because I wanted to get tournament experience with new restricted pairs to experiment around.

I looked back at Flavio’s team winning European International Championship. I was a big fan of Xerneas Rayquaza when I was experimenting in March and really enjoyed playing the composition. I decided to build something very similar for the event. The Pokémon I knew I would have on the team would be Xerneas, Rayquaza, Tapu Fini, and Incineroar. I decided to incorporate the Nihilego as well because it was a strong pick vs. opposing Xerneas, Incineroar and Tapu Fini. I didn’t like the Amoonguss because Flavio’s didn’t run Clear Smog since he already had Nihilego and Tapu Fini’s Misty Terrain prevented Amoonguss from using Spore on grounded Pokémon

While searching for a Pokémon I could add, I thought about Clefairy. Friend Guard is one of my favorite abilities and would help increase the bulk of Xerneas and Assault Vest Rayquaza even further. Clefairy could also provide a large array of support moves that could benefit the team such as Helping Hand. Encore, Heal Pulse and more. Although having three fairy types was a bit concerning, I felt the team would still be solid enough to handle most common threats.

The tournament didn’t go well for me as most players had an idea of how to handle the matchup. It also didn’t help that I faced a lot of difficult matchups that the team struggled against. I ended up finishing 4-3 and having my second lowest Regional placement of the year. It was very frustrating especially after losing to an Icy Wind miss game three in the last round but at least I learned a lot about the team composition and obtained a few Championship Points. I ended up having a blast at the Airbnb with the west coast players so it was still a great weekend overall.

Madison Regionals | 12th Place (5-2)

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After Santa Clara, I finally had some time to experiment with some new ideas and team compositions. Rayquaza Kyogre, Xerneas Rayquaza and Xerneas Groudon were the three most common archtypes in the metagame at the moment and I wanted something that had a good matchup against all of these archtypes. I thought that Psyspam is very annoying for these teams to handle especially with Ultra Necrozma able to do a lot of damage to all these restricteds. I also haven’t played with Ultra Necrozma since the beginning of Ultra Series so I thought it would be fun to try it again.

I started with Necrozma and Tapu Lele as the core because Tapu Lele could boost Necrozma’s powerful Psychic type attacks and provide Magic Room support to help against Xerneas and Assault Vest or Focus Sash Rayquaza. I chose Necrozma-Dawn Wings over Dusk Mane because Moongeist Beam would be great coverage to hit opposing Necrozma, Lunala and Tapu Lele. For my next restricted, I wanted it to not be affected by Magic Room so it was between Groudon or Kyogre which could also help deal with Incineroar. I chose Kyogre based off comfort pick. Special Groudon is something I thought didn’t really work well on the team and I didn’t want to miss Precipice Blades with Groudon. 

Adding Incineroar which allowed me to switch into Lunala and be able to handle Ferrothorn. I wanted better answers to Kyogre, Xerneas and another Pokémon that could take on other psychic types like Lunala, opposing Necrozma and Tapu Lele. I added Assault Vest Ferrothorn from Hartford because I thought it was a very good set and could help provide speed control which my team currently lacked. For the last slot, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted. I ended up choosing Salamence because it allowed me to switch into Primal Groudon safely, could help against Mega Rayquaza which I was still worried about and provide more speed control.

The team did very well in practice and I had a great start at the regional. However, I was unable to finish strongly and ended the tournament at 5-2. I felt alright about the result, especially going 2-1 in sets against three of the eventual Top 8 in CP in NA with Ashton Cox, Stephen Mea and Wolfe Glick who I played in Swiss. It was also fun being able to return to Madison after three years since my last visit. 

New York Locals & May International Challenge

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I was experimenting around trying to find a team that I could comfortably pilot for NAIC. I built a Best of 1 oriented team for the International Challenge just to mess around and have fun. Choice Scarf Lunala was surprisingly solid as it was able to do a lot of damage and surprise opponents with Trick or get big chunks of damage to set up for a Xerneas sweep. I decided to try out the team a bit more and bring it to some locals in New York which I could finally attend.

The team performed well as I finished with an 1811 rating in the May International Challenge with a variant of Kangaskhan, got a Top 8 Midseason Showdown finish with two Top 4 Premier Challenge finishes with Landorus-I. While I thought the team was really strong, it was extremely hard to pilot and maneuver against certain situations. I didn’t have enough confidence with the team to do well at the upcoming North America International Championship.

North America Internationals | 12th Place (10-4)

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With very little time left after dropping the team I was going to use, I decided to go back to my roots. I tried a version of the team that I used to great success in the Sun and Moon Series. I wanted to remember what made this team feel great to me and maybe find a way to incorporate those elements into a new team for NAIC. As I was playing with the team, I continued winning and enjoying playing with the team. I ended up deciding that I would use this team for the North American International Challenge.

It was a great call for the event as I was able to play comfortably with the team throughout the event even with all the new problems and matchups this team had to encounter in Ultra Series. I was able to finish 7-2 to advance onto Day 2 and 3-2 in Day 2 losing the last round which was a win and in for Top Cut. I was very surprised and impressed with the team’s performance. Three out of the four losses I had at the tournament were to the finalists (2 to Gram and 1 to Wolfe). I wasn’t sure if I would use it again at the World Championships but at least I had a possible team to consider.


I took a little break after NAIC to relax and catch up on other work but a month before the tour some time everyday practicing for the event. I was working with the original version of the team I used at NAIC as well as some edited versions with replacements for the Kartana slot. There were some other teams I messed around with for Worlds that include Rayquaza Lunala Infernape, Yveltal Groudon Perish, and Xerneas Groudon. After playing a lot of games, I found most teams were really weak to Kartana for some reason and when I didn’t have Kartana, I missed it a lot. I decided that I would use the original version of the team for one last time with some slight edits.

salamence-mega The Team

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Xerneas Victory Road 
Yuigahama (Xerneas) @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura 
Level: 50 
EVs: 44 HP / 4 Def / 204 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe 
Timid Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
– Moonblast 
– Dazzling Gleam 
– Geomancy 
– Protect 

Xerneas is a really strong Pokémon with the ability to boost its Special Attack, Special Defense and Speed by two stages in one turn. It is always a threat that players have to be concerned about in team preview and applies pressure even when I don’t bring Xerneas. I went with Timid Xerneas because I wanted to outspeed Lunala and hit the same Special Attack stat as the common Modest 68 Xerneas. The leftover evs were put into HP because I didn’t need those extra evs anywhere else.

Offensive calcs

groudon-primal +2 204 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 252 HP / 100 SpD Primal Groudon: 102-120 (49.2 – 57.9%) — 98.4% chance to 2HKO

stakataka +2 204 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 252 HP / 252 SpD Stakataka: 82-97 (48.8 – 57.7%) — 96.1% chance to 2HKO

Defensive calcs

rayquaza-mega -1 252 Atk Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 44 HP / 4 Def Xerneas: 91-108 (43.9 – 52.1%) — 12.9% chance to 2HKO

lunala 252 SpA Lunala Menacing Moonraze Maelstrom vs. 44 HP / 4 SpD Xerneas: 178-211 (85.9 – 101.9%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO

Kyogre-Primal Victory Road 
Yukino (Kyogre) @ Blue Orb 
Ability: Drizzle 
Level: 50 
EVs: 204 HP / 4 Def / 44 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe 
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk 
– Water Spout 
– Origin Pulse 
– Ice Beam 
– Protect  

I prefer Kyogre over Groudon because having a reliable spread move that is boosted by weather that can’t miss is amazing. While Groudon can use Eruption, it isn’t as strong as Kyogre’s Water Spout and I prefer to use Physical Groudon which relies on Precipice Blades.  I decided to use Origin Pulse over Scald because I valued having more pressure on the field where it makes it harder for opponents to switch into Kyogre and taking the trade for being weaker to Wide Guard and potentially missing. 

Overall, Kyogre put in a ton of work for me over the course of the season and I didn’t have to rely on Origin Pulse every game where if I was using Groudon, I would have to rely on hitting Precipice Blades a lot. I ran max speed Modest to outspeed Smeargle and Necrozmas so if they decided not to Burst to take attacks better from my Xerneas, Kyogre could outspeed and do a lot of damage.

Offensive calcs

xerneas 44+ SpA Primal Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Xerneas in Heavy Rain: 183-216 (90.5 – 106.9%) — 43.8% chance to OHKO

necrozma-dusk-mane 44+ SpA Primal Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Necrozma-Dusk-Mane in Heavy Rain: 168-198 (97.1 – 114.4%) — 81.3% chance to OHKO

Defensive calcs

groudon-primal -1 252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 204 HP / 4 Def Primal Kyogre: 76-91 (37.8 – 45.2%) — guaranteed 3HKO

tapu-koko 252 SpA Tapu Koko Gigavolt Havoc (185 BP) vs. 204 HP / 4 SpD Primal Kyogre: 170-204 (84.5 – 101.4%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO

Tornadus Victory Road
Hikigaya (Tornadus) @ Flyinium Z
Ability: Prankster 
Level: 50 
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Def / 44 SpA / 4 SpD / 212 Spe 
Timid Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
– Hurricane 
– Role Play 
– Taunt 
– Tailwind  

I love Tornadus with its ability to be able to get a priority Tailwind off or a priority Taunt to shut down opponent’s set ups, and also reset the Primordial Sea with Role Play. Flying coverage also compliments Kyogre well to help deal damage against Pokemon like Amoonguss. I decided to use a bulky Tornadus so it could stay around a bit longer, which is important in a weather war between Groudon and gave it enough speed to outspeed my Kartana.

Offensive calcs

amoonguss 44 SpA Tornadus Supersonic Skystrike (185 BP) vs. 236 HP / 228+ SpD Amoonguss: 224-266 (102.2 – 121.4%) — guaranteed OHKO

kartana 44 SpA Tornadus Supersonic Skystrike (185 BP) vs. 4 HP / 252 SpD Assault Vest Kartana: 127-151 (94 – 111.8%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO

Defensive calcs

xerneas +2 68+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Dazzling Gleam vs. 244 HP / 4 SpD Tornadus: 156-184 (84.3 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO

kyogre-primal 4+ SpA Primal Kyogre Origin Pulse vs. 244 HP / 4 SpD Tornadus in Heavy Rain: 153-180 (82.7 – 97.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Kartana Victory Road
Iroha (Kartana) @ Assault Vest 
Ability: Beast Boost 
Level: 50 
EVs: 20 HP / 28 Atk / 4 Def / 236 SpD / 220 Spe 
Jolly Nature 
– Leaf Blade 
– Smart Strike 
– Knock Off 
– Sacred Sword  

I’ve tried many different Pokémon for this slot but Kartana is the best Pokémon for this slot. I’ve tested Persian-A, Metagross, Gengar, Kangaskhan, Raichu just to name a few but I didn’t like any of them. Kartana provides a roll that is to help against opposing Xerneas, Kyogre, Stakataka, Ferrothorn, Lunala and psyspam. Without Kartana, the team is weaker against a lot of matchups. Also, I felt a lot of teams that I was encountering before Worlds also struggled against Kartana. The spread allows it to speed creep Nihilego and live +2 Xerneas Moonblast.

Offensive calcs

kyogre-primal 28 Atk Kartana Leaf Blade vs. 100 HP / 4 Def Primal Kyogre: 188-224 (100 – 119.1%) — guaranteed OHKO

xerneas -1 28 Atk Kartana Smart Strike vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Xerneas: 96-114 (47.5 – 56.4%) — 75.4% chance to 2HKO

Defensive calcs

xerneas +2 252+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 20 HP / 236 SpD Assault Vest Kartana: 118-139 (86.1 – 101.4%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO

kyogre-primal 252+ SpA Primal Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 20 HP / 236 SpD Assault Vest Kartana in Heavy Rain: 101-119 (73.7 – 86.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Incineroar Victory Road
Haruno (Incineroar) (F) @ Figy Berry 
Ability: Intimidate 
Level: 50 
EVs: 236 HP / 36 Def / 236 SpD 
Sassy Nature 
IVs: 0 Spe 
– Flare Blitz 
– Fake Out 
– Roar 
– U-turn 

Standard Incineroar in VGC 2019 but it works well. Intimidate with Fake Out and U-turn allows for many positional options and benefits the team greatly. Its typing is great to help cover weaknesses like Ferrothorn, Kartana and gives the team a psychic immunity and a ghost resist. I used Roar over a dark type move because I never found myself wanting a dark type move when I use Incineroar on this team and having a way to disrupt set up from my opponent is fantastic.

Offensive calcs

ferrothorn -1 0 Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Ferrothorn: 168-196 (92.8 – 108.2%) — 43.8% chance to OHKO

metagross-mega 0 Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Metagross: 108-128 (69.2 – 82%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Defensive calcs

xerneas +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Incineroar: 169-199 (84.5 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

groudon-primal -1 252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 236 HP / 36 Def Incineroar: 152-180 (76 – 90%) — guaranteed 2HKO

rayquaza-mega -1 252 Atk Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 236 HP / 36 Def Incineroar: 91-108 (45.5 – 54%) — 39.5% chance to 2HKO

Amoonguss Victory Road
Hiratsuka (Amoonguss) (F) @ Focus Sash 
Ability: Regenerator 
Level: 50 
EVs: 236 HP / 76 Def / 196 SpD 
Calm Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk / 22 Spe 
– Grass Knot 
– Clear Smog 
– Spore 
– Rage Powder  

Amoonguss was a necessary member as it helped against opposing Xerneas and could either redirect attacks from Kyogre and Xerneas or spread status to give my other Pokémon some time to work with. The spread was from Sun Series and I didn’t see it necessary to change it because I wanted Amoonguss to take Special hits from opposing Kyogre and Xerneas. I also had Focus Sash so I would be guaranteed to at least take two hits before Amoonguss went down. I gave it 22 speed ivs with a Calm Nature to speed creep most Incineroar under Tailwind so I could get a Spore off before they get to move.

Offensive calcs

stakataka 0 SpA Amoonguss Grass Knot (120 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Stakataka: 58-70 (34.5 – 41.6%) — guaranteed 3HKO

kyogre-primal 0 SpA Amoonguss Grass Knot (120 BP) vs. 204 HP / 0 SpD Primal Kyogre: 80-96 (39.8 – 47.7%) — guaranteed 3HKO

Defensive calcs

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

xerneas +2 68+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 236 HP / 196+ SpD Amoonguss: 91-108 (41.5 – 49.3%) — guaranteed 3HKO

Since I had a Day 2 invite, I was able to skip Day 1 and relax before the tournament. In Day 2, I lost Round 1 and then won 6 straight sets to advance into Top Cut and win two more sets until I lost in the semifinals vs. Naoto who ended up winning the whole tournament. I end up finishing in 3rd place and getting a Pikachu Trophy.

If you want to read about my Worlds warstory, there is one on Trainer Tower where I explain all the battles I had at Worlds, and if you want to know more about TornOgre itself, I have a video showcasing the history of it in detail, which you can watch here:

salamence-mega Closing Words

I had a pretty good run in Ultra Series despite not really enjoying the format. There are moments which I wish I could’ve found a bit of time to practice more in between Regionals and done better but overall, it was a successful season.

While I wasn’t a huge fan of any of the series, I had a lot of fun playing with Tornogre and I liked pushing myself by testing different restricted duos each tournament. I’m excited to play next year at 2020 Worlds in London and hoping to do well, and maybe become the next Pokémon World Champion.

salamence-mega Shotouts

Gaz – Best friend group! David Mancuso, Ashton Cox, Jeremy Rodriguez, Stephen Mea, Jake Skurchak, Emilio Forbes, Eduardo Cunha, Mark Mcquillan, Luka Trejut, Brady Smith, Joseph Costagolia, George Tifferman, Mihrab Samad, Joe Nunziata, Michael Spinneta McCarthy, Vinny Speciale, Nathan Wright, Wacka and more. These guys and I always have fun talking to each other everyday and always love cheering for each other and helping each other out.

AGG – My other main friend group that doesn’t compete in VGC but helps me practice. They helped me with team testing and practice sets for the entire season and I don’t think I could’ve been as successful without their help.

Edu & Emilio – Extra shoutout to these guys as they always help me with matchup theories or practice sets and have really helped me improve over the past few years.

Oliver & Raghav – Thanks for the teams that allowed me to Top Cut both Regionals. Fantastic teambuilders.

East Coast – Had a lot of fun at events with locals to Regionals to Internationals and Worlds with everyone from the East Coast. Way too many people to name but they know who they are.

Snowball Crew – Loved everyone I’ve met this season and having the opportunity to travel around the world and play a game I love. It was also refreshing playing against international players.

Friends, Family and Fans – I wouldn’t be here without the support of everyone who has helped me along the way. Thank You to everyone who has helped me over the years and am looking forward to the future with everyone!

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