The Yveltal Warrior — Team Report from Kazuki Kobayashi, Semi Finalist at the 2019 World Championships

Hi everyone, my name is Kazuki Kobayashi, also known as Buraari. In this article, I will be showcasing the team I used at Worlds 2019, where I placed 4th after qualifying from Day 1 with a 7-2 record.

My records for the event were as follows:

  • Day 1: 7-2 Swiss, qualified for day 2
  • Day 2: 5-2 Swiss, qualified for top cut
  • Top Cut: 3-1, lost in Semi Finals, 4th overall

salamence-mega Team Building Process​

After Japan Nationals, I got bored of using RayOgre, so I tested out various teams and archetypesI felt none of them suited me, so I went back to YvelDon, which I had been using since Sun Series. This was my first 6, with a Gengar-based YvelDon core:

groudon-primalyveltalgengar-mega tapu-finiincineroarlandorus-therian
The team aims to support Max HP/SpDef Gengar via Intimidate while allowing Groudon to sweep either under Trick Room or after using Icy Wind. Although the team was able to counter opposing XernDon, which Yveltal teams use to struggle against, I gave up on these six after realizing how strong Rayquaza teams were against it, especially considering their huge damage output. With Gengar as my mega, I couldn’t think of an answer to opposing Landorus either, which was popular back then, and the 50/50s between Banded/SD Ray were painful, too.

As I gave up on Gengar, I searched for other megas and cores that could fit YvelDon. After looking at Ryusei Yamane’s Tapunium Z + Bullet Punch Metagross team, which got Top 8 at Japan Nationals, I noticed how versatile and powerful they were against non-Xerneas teams, so I began testing it. In regards to using Metagross as my mega, I wasn’t concerned about its strength since my two friends Marshmallow and Sepal have been using it.  

When thinking about the other 2 slots, Incineroar was a must in order for YvelDon to function. For the final slot, I noticed how the only speed control against Xerneas I had was Tapu Fini’s Icy Wind, so I wanted Trick Room to counter Geomancy. Thus I chose Stakataka, which I have been using since Sun series as well.

With these 6, I didn’t have anything that could easily take Water Spout + Dragon Ascent from RayOgre teams, and I noticed how I was forced to play passively from the start, just like happened with my Gengar version. In order to threaten the two Pokémon above from the beginning, I replaced Tapu Fini with Tapu Koko. Koko’s Volt Switch allows the team to easily maneuver around during the weather war against Kyogre.

groudon-primalyveltalmetagross-mega tapu-kokoincineroarmimikyu
5 of the slots were weak to Ground, and opposing Groudon were problematic although I had counters. I was using Shuca Berry Stakataka initially, but I never brought it to those games for a number of reasons: it can’t really take a hit, then set up TR next turn; opposing Eruption were hard to deal with; and even if you do set up TR against Ray, Special Groudon Shuca Stakataka still failed to beat Ray. So I replaced Stakataka with Mimikyu in order to solve this problem.  

groudon-primalyveltalmetagross-mega tapu-kokoincineroarmimikyu
I settled down with these 6 quite early. I was still unsure about the Mimikyu slot, so I tried to look for replacements, but couldn’t think of anything better than Mimikyu. When testing out the team, I began to understand how late game Trick Room was very effective against X-Ray and Tailwind teams with Crobat/Tornadus (which is obvious)Against Kyogre teams, even with Trick Room (in fact, with every speed control option), you have to pivot around with Groudon to take the weather advantage, so I noticed how disadvantageous it was to waste turns.

Although it’s hard to determine when to bring each one, I noticed how strong the team’s two major gameplans were, especially on a best of three setting: 

  1. Pivot around with Koko/Incineroar.
  2. Wreak havoc with Koko/Metagross, then finish opponents off with Groudon under Trick Room in the late game.  

salamence-mega The Team

▶️ Get the importable version of the team here!

Yveltal Victory Road
Yveltal @ Aguav Berry  
Ability: Dark Aura   
Level: 50   
EVs: 172 HP / 84 SpD / 252 Spe   
Timid Nature   
– Foul Play   
– Sucker Punch   
– Snarl   
– Protect 

Spread benchmarks:

  • Speed: hit max speed
  • Sp. Def: SpD: 252+ SpA Kyogre-Primal Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 172 HP / 84 SpD Yveltal in Heavy Rain: 187-222 (83.8 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO 

Max speed was necessary for Yveltal to always move before Lunala. I didn’t think firepower was necessary for both Snarl and Sucker Punch, so I invested the rest of the EVs towards its bulk, so it can at least switch into Kyogre’s attacks.

Since I used Snarl the most out of the attacking moves, I gave it a Timid nature. Although Yveltal’s chances of surviving a Moonblast from 252 Timid Xerneas are over 50%, I never bring it against Xerneas teams.  

A pinch berry made Yveltal stronger in exchanging blows with opposing Pokémon, especially during Yveltal mirrors, when the match often comes down to whose Yveltal gets put in range of being KO’d from Incineroar’s Flare Blitz first. Though I considered Z-move (which would require SpA investment), Dark Pulse simply lacks firepower. Moreover, there aren’t any oppoonents I would want to use Dark Pulse against, either.  

In regards of Tailwind, even if I set it up with Yveltal, that often lead to the following sequence of moves: Opposing Incineroar comes in → I switch out Yveltal for my Incineroar → They U-turn. Therefore, I wasn’t able to make full use of it, which is why I eventually scrapped it. Sucker Punch instead was very valuable to the extent it allowed me to take a set by itself.

Groudon-Primal Victory Road
Groudon-Primal @ Red Orb
Ability: Desolate Land
Level: 50
EVs: 108 HP / 4 Def / 236 SpA / 116 SpD / 44 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Earth Power
– Eruption
– Hidden Power [Ice]
– Protect

Spread benchmarks:

  • SpA: almost fully invested
  • SpD: 252 SpA Groudon-Primal Earth Power vs. 108 HP / 116 SpD Groudon-Primal: 164-194 (86.7 – 102.6%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO 
  • Speed: this range allows me to win most Groudon mirrors if they are not invested in Speed

Significant SpA investment was necessary in order for Groudon to KO most opposing Groudon. I did not want to decrease Eruption’s firepower either because its role is to deal as much chip damage as possible. 

I wanted my Groudon to be able to move before opposing non-max speed Groudon, but I also wanted to invest into its bulk too. After some extensive research on how others built their Groudon, 36 speed EVs were slightly popular, so I gave 44 EVs to my Groudon to outspeed them. In all seriousness, I was able to outspeed a lot of opposing Groudon, so this adjustment was perfect.  

I wanted Groudon to survive Earth Power with the remaining EVs, but decreasing its HP would make me further weaker to Precipice Blades, and would put me in a disadvantageous position during a pivoting war, so I settled down with a 12.5% chance of getting OHKO’d.   

Finally, I had trouble deciding whether to use Hidden Power Ice or Overheat, but considering how none of my slots were able to KO Salamence efficiently, and I wanted coverage against Rayquaza, I chose HP Ice. It still does roughly around 50% even under Strong Winds and if I fire it after Rayquaza Ascents, it deals quite a bit of damage, so if you combine it with Koko’s Nature’s Madness or Metagross’s Iron Head, it is strong enough to knock them out. 

Metagross-Mega Victory Road
Metagross @ Metagrossite
Ability: Clear Body
Level: 50
EVs: 156 HP / 132 Atk / 220 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Bullet Punch
– Iron Head
– Stomping Tantrum
– Protect

Spread benchmarks:

  • Speed: outspeeds max speed Landorus-Therian
  • HP: -1 252+ Atk Incineroar Malicious Moonsault vs. 156 HP / 0 Def Metagross-Mega: 146-174 (83.4 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • Atk:
    • 132+ Atk Tough Claws Metagross-Mega Stomping Tantrum vs. 252 HP / 252 Def Kyogre: 52-62 (25.1 – 29.9%) — guaranteed 4HKO
    • 132+ Atk Tough Claws Metagross-Mega Iron Head vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Xerneas: 204-242 (100.9 – 119.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
    • 132+ Atk Tough Claws Metagross-Mega Bullet Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Xerneas: 102-122 (50.4 – 60.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Since I had Yveltal on the team, Metagross didn’t need to outspeed Lunala, so I made it slightly slower. However, its pre-mega speed was faster than my Groudon, and this was a bit problematic because when Metagross was next to Groudon, I couldn’t deal with Amoonguss + Groudon on the field. Aside from that, I didn’t want to make the following speed sequence for my Pokémon: Metagross (158) > Mimikyu (117) > Groudon (114).

I invested the remaining EVs towards HP and Atk but I couldn’t find a suitable benchmark for its bulk, so the HP adjustment was questionable. Maybe I should’ve invested more into Atk, as there were many situations where Iron Head barely did 50% towards Tau Fini or bulky Rayquaza, and twp Bullet Punches became a roll against bulky Xerneas, too. Although this is simply from my natural instinct, I felt the defensive benchmark was just about right, so I kept it the way it is.

Since the team has moves that can deal great damage, Metagross synergized perfectly with it, especially with Tapu Koko’s Nature’s Madness, which allows me to KO opponents without activating their berries.

Tapu-Koko Victory Road
Tapu Koko @ Tapunium Z   
Ability: Electric Surge   
Level: 50   
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpD / 252 Spe   
Timid Nature   
IVs: 0 Atk   
– Electroweb   
– Nature’s Madness   
– Volt Switch   
– Protect  

Spread benchmarks:

  • Speed: Max speed was necessary for Koko to move before Ultra-Necrozma and to use Volt Switch against Crobat/Gengar.
  •  HP:
    • -1 252+ Atk Groudon-Primal Precipice Blades vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko: 164-194 (92.6 – 109.6%) — 50% chance to OHKO 
    • 0+ SpA Kyogre-Primal Origin Pulse vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Tapu Koko in Heavy Rain: 160-189 (90.3 – 106.7%) — 43.8% chance to OHKO (doesn’t survive from Max SpA Kyogre) 
    • 0 SpA Rayquaza-Mega Earth Power vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Tapu Koko: 142-168 (80.2 – 94.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO 

Being able to survive Rayquaza’s Earth Power was huge, as it prevented me from getting into a disadvantageous situation in terms of Pokémon count, something you always want to consider during a pivoting war.

Tapunium Z covers up for its lack of firepower. I can use it while doubling up into many common targets for a clean KO: against Groudon with Metagross’ Stomping Tantrum, against Xerneas to put it into Bullet Punch range… It’s also great at dealing significant damage to opposing Groudon switching in predicting an Electrium Z into their slot. I guess the strongest point of this move is its 100% accuracy, though.

Electroweb is used against opposing Tapu Koko, so Metagross can threaten them the following turn with Stomping Tantrum, and used with Snarl to deal chip damage. If I land it on Rayquaza, Foul Play threatens it. Finally, I can also KO Tapu Fini without activating its berry with Nature’s Madness + Electroweb + Iron Head.

Mimikyu Victory Road
Mimikyu @ Mimikium Z
Ability: Disguise
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 76 Atk / 132 Def / 60 SpD / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Play Rough
– Shadow Sneak
– Taunt
– Trick Room

Spread benchmarks:

  • Def: 252+ Atk Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 236 HP / 132 Def Mimikyu: 129-153 (80.6 – 95.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • SpD:
    • 252+ SpA Kyogre-Primal Origin Pulse vs. 236 HP / 60 SpD Mimikyu in Heavy Rain: 133-157 (83.1 – 98.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
    • +2 252+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Dazzling Gleam vs. 236 HP / 60 SpD Mimikyu: 135-159 (84.3 – 99.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • Atk: leftover EVs

The defensive benchmarks were necessary, as its main role is to set up TR against boosted Xerneas. Focus Sash was not needed since Yveltal checked the likes of Solgaleo/Lunala, and since I wanted to exert pressure under TR, the Z-crystal became essential. However, Mental Herb may have been an option too due to the rise of Kangaskhan/Tornadus teams, although I rarely faced them at Worlds.

In regards to the Taunt slot, I tested various moves ranging from Protect to Swords Dance, but Protect felt unnecessary for Mimikyu to do its job, and even after a Swords Dance, it still lacked the damage output to OHKO Xerneas, so I taught it Taunt in order to have better matchups against Amoonguss. Aside from Amoonguss, Taunt allowed me to deal with gimmicks and TR stalling plays from opponents such as Incinearoar + Xerneas’ Protect→ Fake Out + Moonblast →Protect.

Incineroar Victory Road
Incineroar @ Assault Vest
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 164 Atk / 92 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Flare Blitz
– Knock Off
– Fake Out
– U-turn

Spread benchmarks:

  • SpD: 4+ SpA Kyogre-Primal Origin Pulse vs. 252 HP / 92 SpD Assault Vest Incineroar in Heavy Rain: 168-200 (83.1 – 99%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Same spread as the Incineroar I’ve been using since Sun/Moon series. Although I was testing it with Snarl right before the tournament, I felt Knock Off would give me better momentum during Yveltal mirrors, so I changed it right away. Since my Tapu Koko wasn’t the Electrium Z variant, getting rid of opposing Tapu Fini was difficult so removing its berry was advantageous for me.

Consequently, Knock Off also allowed me to deal with Lunala much faster, remove Rayquaza’s berry, and deal chip damage to Kyogre, so having Assault Vest made the Atk investment worthwhile. Moreover, decreasing Kyogre’s Water Spout damage with Knock Off rather than using Snarl to lower its SpA was much more efficient.

I’ve been told this by someone, but maybe I should consider Incineroar’s role within a YvelDon team to be constantly dealing chip, due to its firepower boosted by both Yveltal’s Dark Aura and Incineroar’s Harsh Sunlight.

salamence-mega War story: Day 1

Round 1 vs CAN Daravone Souphommanychanh | WW (1-0)

1tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalincineroar vs xerneassmearglelunalaincineroar
2tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalincineroar vs xerneassmearglelunalaunown

This was rather a hard matchup because of how Metagross, my main Xerneas counter, was slower than Lunala and Yveltal, and also didn’t exert much pressure towards my opponents other slots.

  • Game 1: he went for Fake Out + Geomancy while I went for Volt Switch and switched Metagross into Groudon, and after I dealt some chip to his Xerneas with EruptonMetagross finished it off with Bullet Punch.
  • Game 2: he started by using Follow me + Geomancy, then positioned himself with his Lunala next to Xerneas. I thought I was screwed when he set up Tailwind after I protected my Metagross, but an Eearth Power crit eliminated his Xerneas, and I was able to sweep from there.  

Round 2 vs USA Nicholas Borghi | WW (2-0)

1tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalmimikyu vs xerneasamoongusskyogre-primalincineroar
2tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalmimikyu vs xerneasamoongusskyogre-primalkangaskhan-mega

An unique team, where the infamous XernDon Tornadus team’s Groudon slot is replaced by KyogreMetagross was very good in this matchup, and nothing on his team really threatened it under the harsh sunlight.

  • I was able to win game 1 by reading his Xerneas’ Protect and taunting into his Amoonguss switch-in.
  • In game 2, Metagross survived a Dazzling Gleam + Crunch double-up, and I won from there.  

Round 3 vs JPN Takuro Suefuji | WLW (3-0)

1tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalyveltal or incineroar vs rayquaza-megaincineroarkyogre-primalmimikyu
2tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalyveltal or incineroar vs rayquaza-megatapu-kokokyogre-primalincineroar
3tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalyveltal or incineroar vs tapu-kokoincineroarrayquaza-megakyogre-primal

A match against a fellow Japanese, Otsuyu. The matchup was even, although Groudon can sweep his team as long as I get rid of Rayquaza. However, if his Rayquaza was still active, bringing in my Groudon was difficult and his Tapu Koko exerted so much pressure, too.

  • Game 1: I was able to win when I doubled into his Rayquaza slot with Nature’s Madness + Iron Head as he switched Rayquaza into Mimikyu and gained the remaining Pokémon advantage from there.
  • Game 2: match was going even until I doubled-up into his protecting Rayquaza, and I lost from there. 
  • Game 3: I was able to gain momentum by protecting my Metagross from his double-up, and took the game from there.

Round 4 vs ITA Roberto Porretti | WLL (3-1)

1tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalmimikyu vs xerneassalazzlerayquaza-megaincineroar
2tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalmimikyu vs rayquaza-megasalazzlexerneasincineroar
3tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalmimikyu vs rayquaza-megasalazzlexerneasincineroar

Salazzle was very problematic for the team.

  • Game 1: I read him faking out into Tapu Koko, KO’d his Salazzle with Metagross, and won thanks to Metagross sweeping the rest of his team.
  • Game 2: I thought I won after playing well, but his -1 Speed Rayquaza moved before my Groudon under Trick Room and, after taking a +2 Ascent, Eruption did nothing to his Xerneas, which lead to my defeat.
  • Game 3: he won because his Xerneas survived 2 Bullet Punches from Metagross. Apparently, it survived with 1 HP.

Round 5 vs ITA Manuel Manzari | WLW (4-1)

1tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalmimikyu vs kangaskhan-megawhimsicottxerneasgroudon-primal
2tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalmimikyu vs (maybe) groudon-primalkangaskhan-megaxerneassmeargle
3tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalmimikyu vs (maybe) groudon-primalkangaskhan-megaxerneassmeargle

From this match onwards, I was too tired to take notes and didn’t remember much about my battles. Forgive me.  

  • Game 1: I brought in Mimikyu as he set up Tailwind, but I was able to set up Trick Room and win from there seeing how he didn’t have a Taunt user.
  • Game 2: I lost because Mimikyu got flinched from Bite.
  • Game 3: I could’ve lost if he ignored my Mimikyu, but he didn’t, so I won thanks to using it to distract from my win condition.

Round 6 vs USA Michael Lanzano | WLW (5-1)

1Can’t remember vs rayquaza-megamimikyugroudon-primal
2Can’t remember vs incineroarstakatakagroudon-primaltapu-fini
3Can’t remember vs groudon-primalmimikyuincineroartapu-fini

A Trick Room team consisting of Gravity Tapu Fini. All I remember is his Rock Polish Groudon sweeping through my team in G2. 

Round 7 vs USA Gavin Michaels | WLL (5-2)

1tapu-kokoyveltalgroudon-primalincineroar vs lunalajumpluffgroudon-primalsnorlax
2tapu-kokoyveltalgroudon-primalincineroar vs groudon-primaljumplufflunalatapu-fini
3tapu-kokoyveltalgroudon-primalincineroar vs groudon-primaljumplufflunalatapu-fini

This match was streamed. I seriously played horribly in it, and I would prefer not to look back at it. For some reason, I assumed Jumpluff learned Tailwind and was ignorant about the existence of Encore/Rage Powder. My brain was fried from Rage Powder, Encore and the fact that this was a streamed match.  

  • Game 1: after discovering how his Snorlax was a Recycle variant, I knocked it off after defeating his Groudon and won. But I made some extremely questionable plays such as bringing in Tapu Koko during the very last turn of Electric Terrain.
  • Game 2: I was unaware of Jumpluff’s Encore and lost by unknowingly Faking Out and Protecting in front of it. I was also shocked by how it survived my Foul Play too. 
  • Game 3: I started off the game really poorly with his Rage Powder redirecting my Earth Power. I was intending to go for Volt Switch + Eruption in order to catch a Lunala switch-in but hilariously chose Earth Power instead (I would’ve Volt switched into Groudon if it didn’t get redirected). During the extra turns, it was a 50/50 between his Lunala firing its Z or protecting. I went for the Foul Play predicting the Protect but he had his Z move remaining so of course he would fire it I would’ve won without the double Protect, but I played terribly in the set, so I deserved to lose.  

Round 8 vs PER Ernesto Serpa | WW (6-2)

1tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalmimikyu vs xerneasamoongussgroudon-primalincineroar
2tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalmimikyu vs groudon-primalincineroartapu-finiamoonguss

From now on, I was not allowed any more losses to get into Day 2.

  • Game 1: my Groudon (50% HP) and Koko (full health) vs my opponent’s Groudon and Incineroar (front), and Amoonguss (back) under Trick Room (2 turns left). My Groudon survived my opponent’s Malicious Moonsault, and defeated their Groudon by using Earth Power. Then, my Tapu Koko hit Tapunium Z to Incineroar. That was huge and I took the win.
  • Game 2: I knocked out my opponent’s Incineroar as I noticed I would lose if he sent out Xerneas, but actually he didn’t bring it to the game, so I managed to win.

Round 9 vs KOR Ree Jeongso | LWW (7-2)

1tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalyveltal vs gengar-megaincineroaryveltalkyogre-primal
2tapu-kokoyveltalgroudon-primalincineroar vs gengar-megaincineroaryveltalkyogre-primal
3tapu-kokoyveltalgroudon-primalincineroar vs gengar-megaincineroarkyogre-primalstakataka

The match was an important match. Yveltal + Tapu Koko is very effective against Gengar + Yveltal + Kyogre, so the matchup was pretty good, although the only threat for me was Stakataka’s Trick Room.

  • Game 1: I selected Volt Switch and Stomping Tantrum on the first turn but he used Fake Out to my Metagross, and my Tapu Koko was knocked out by Sludge Bomb (speed ties are painful). I sent out Yveltal and showed that both his Pokémon could be KOed, by Sucker Punch and Stomping Tantrum. I expected he would switch Incineroar to Yveltal so I used Iron Head + Foul Play to Incineroar, but he didn’t withdraw nor use Protect and I lost this match easily. After that, by the way, I tried to use Stomping Tantrum to my Yveltal and double its BP next turn, but I made a mistake to use it to my Groudon lol.
  • Game 2: based on the result of game 1, I played without reading too much and won.
  • Game 3: I was surprised to see Stakataka in the lategame, but I switched Incineroar carefully to dominate my weather and took the win.

Looking back, I matched all the different pair of legendaries except for XernDon. I think it’s probably good for Yveltal because it can deal with various matchups (although I didn’t bring it).

salamence-mega War story: Day 2

Round 1 vs JPN Yusuke Ikeda | LWW (1-0)

1tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalincineroar vs xerneasamoongusslunalakangaskhan-mega
2tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalincineroar vs xerneaslunalakangaskhan-megaamoonguss
3tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalincineroar vs lunalakangaskhan-megaxerneasincineroar

My first match was Ikeda, who stayed in my same room. I should have asked him about his team the day before. His team was XernAla with Crobat. The combination of Lunala and Xerneas in Tailwind is very hard for me. Taunt could make this matchup harder.

  • I don’t remember what happened in games 1 and 2, though I lost the first and won the second.
  • In game 3, on the key turn, I switched in Tapu Koko and aggressively attacked with Metagross’s in front of Lunala, and it paid off: I KO’ed  his Lunala on the following turn with Knock Off and took the set from there.

Worth noting: my Tapu Koko survived his Xerneas’ Dazzling Gleam, so I thought his Xerneas was bulky, but it turned out to be spreaded to all SpA/Spe when I asked him after the matches.

Round 2 vs ITA Davide Carrer | LL (1-1)

1tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalincineroar vs salamence-megatapu-finixerneasgroudon-primal
2tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalincineroar vs xerneasincineroargroudon-primalsalamence-mega

He played in day 2 for 3 consecutive years, so he was clearly a strong player. I carefully played not to lose my Tapu Koko, because of his Shedinja.

  • Game 1: his Xerneas never used Protect in front of my Metagross and I couldn’t deal with it.
  • Game 2: my Groudon and Metagross stood in the lategame against his damaged Xerneas and Salamence. I thought I would win this match but his Salamence had Earthquake and I lost.

I felt there was a line in day 2 because I could not read his choice properly at all.

Round 3 vs JPN Yusei Matsuno | WLW (2-1)

1tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primal vs crobatincineroarxerneasmetagross-mega
2vs xerneasamoongussmetagross-megaincineroar
3vs necrozma-dawn-wingsamoongussxerneasincineroar

He is Vete, a renown Japanese competitor and also Worlds 2018 Semi Finalist with his Competitive Gothitelle.  In Day 1, he said to me “my Yveltal matchup is bad, so I don’t want to play against you”, but his team has Xerneas (lol).

  • Game 1: I lost my Koko from his Crobat’s Sludge Bomb, but I won this match by the combination of Groudon + Metagross.
  • In games 2 and 3, I don’t remember exactly what happened because both matches were pivoting wars. My Incineroar’s Flare Blitz defeated his damaged Amoonguss through an Occa Berry for me to take the set, good thing I invested attack.

Round 4 vs ITA Arash Omati | WW (3-1)

1tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primal vs xerneasjumpluffkyogre-primalincineroar
2tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primal vs kyogre-primalincineroarxerneasmetagross-mega

I was very happy to play with Arash for a 3-1 record at Worlds. I feared Jumpluff, but it was knocked out more easily than opposing Amoonguss thanks to Volt Switch and Iron Head.

  • Game 1: he selected Rage Powder + Geomancy and I knocked out his Jumpluff with the aforementioned combo. I ended up winning this match thanks to Metagross in the harsh sunlight.
  • Game 2: I won thanks to the huge advantage that I got after doubling one of his Pokémon as the other protected.

Round 5 vs BRA Gabriel Agati | WLL (3-2) xerneaslunalatapu-kokokangaskhan-megaincineroarditto

1tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalincineroar vs lunalatapu-kokoxerneasincineroar
2tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalincineroar or yveltal vs lunaladittoxerneasincineroar
3tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalincineroar or yveltal vs lunalakangaskhan-megaxerneasincineroar
  • Game 1: I properly switched into Incineroar against his Lunala’s Moongeist Beam and took the win.
  • Game 2: in view of my success in game 1, I didn’t use Metagross’s Protect in front of his Lunala, but he nonetheless used Moongeist Beam. I was able to come back but ultimately lost because to his Ditto.
  • Game 3: in the end, my Groudon stood against his Xerneas (herb knocked off), Incineroar, and Kangaskhan, all of them damaged. I read a Fake Out + Moonblast play, but he switched into Kangaskhan and used Geomancy without Power Herb. Of course I considered that option, too, but I was afraid to click Eruption. Really great matches nonetheless.

Round 6 vs JPN Takumi Soma | WW (4-2)

1tapu-kokoyveltalgroudon-primalincineroar vs lopunny-megastakatakagroudon-primalmandibuzz
2tapu-kokoyveltalgroudon-primalincineroar vs lopunny-megastakatakagroudon-primalmandibuzz

He is Akaba. Third time I played against a Japanese.

  • Game 1: I successfully switched to Incineroar against his After You + Gyro Ball. After some turns, my Groudon’s Eruption defeated his Mandibuzz and won me the game.
  • Game 2: I pushed the advantage of having a positive team matchup, and won.

Round 7 vs SWE Nils Dunlop | WW (5-2)

1tapu-kokoyveltalgroudon-primalincineroar vs tapu-leleincineroargroudon-primalsalamence-mega
2tapu-kokoyveltalgroudon-primalincineroar vs groudon-primalstakatakasalamence-megatapu-lele

The important match for Top Cut was against Nils, who I have seen every year since 2017. His team was NecroDon, so it’s a really good matchup for me.

  • Game 1: I played carefully and double protected in the first turn, in order to check what move his Lele locked itself into. At some point, his Incineroar used Snatch to my Yveltal, but it failed. I won thanks to the team advantage. It was also huge that my Groudon was faster than his.
  • Game 2: after his Trick Room expired, he switched in to Lele expecting my Fake Out, but I properly selected U-turn and won the match, which made me advance into top cut! Or so I thought…

salamence-mega War story: Top Cut

Top 16 tiebreaker vs AUS Graham Amedee | WW

1tapu-kokoyveltalgroudon-primalincineroar vs lunalamedicham-megakyogre-primalnihilego
2tapu-kokoyveltalgroudon-primalincineroar vs lunalamedicham-megakyogre-primalnihilego

After Swiss, I placed 15th in the standings. 18 people were qualified for Top Cut, and the lowest seeds had to play for the final spots. I was matched to 18th place, Graham from Australia, in the win-and-in round. I liked him very much, and I knew all of his team’s insights, such as Nihilego’s Role Play.

  • Game 1: I believed his Medicham would be defeated by Volt Switch + Snarl, but it survived. I was a bit surprised at it, but I defeated it by Sucker Punch anyway. I read his Role Play and didn’t switch to Groudon. I successfully won.
  • Game 2: I expected him to use High Jump Kick against my Tapu Koko because he was bold playing and predicting. I selected Electroweb and Foul Play against his Lunala, successfully defeating it, as I took with ease the High Jump Kick. I won the match a few turns later.

Top 16 vs BRA Gabriel Agati | WW

1yveltalmetagross-megagroudon-primalincineroar vs lunalakangaskhan-megaxerneasincineroar
2yveltalmetagross-megagroudon-primalincineroar vs lunalatapu-kokoxerneasincineroar

Rematch from swiss rounds. Back then, he always led with Lunala, so I decided to lead my Yveltal. Thanks to this, I took the win advantageously in both of the matches. It was also good that I knew his Tapu Koko held the Choice Specs.

Top 8 vs ESP Alex Gómez | WLW

1tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalyveltal vs kyogre-primaltapu-kokorayquaza-megaincineroar
2tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalyveltal vs nihilegoincineroarkyogre-primalrayquaza-mega
3tapu-kokometagross-megagroudon-primalincineroar vs nihilegoincineroarkyogre-primalrayquaza-mega
  • Game 1: I selected Metagross’s Protect and Koko’s Electroweb and he selected Volt Switch to my Metagross and Kyogre’s Protect. It was very advantageous for me. On the next turn, I doubled Tapunium Z and Stomping Tantrum to his Kyogre. He switched both and the moves hit his Incineroar, activating his Pinch Berry. I defeated his Incineroar quickly, and also knocked out his Rayquaza by Foul Play after Koko’s Electroweb.
  • Game 2: he switched his strategy towards Trick Room. His Rayquaza used Swords Dance twice as he switched Incineroar many times skillfully, so my attacks activated Rayquaza’s Berry. I couldn’t deal with it and lost the game.
  • Game 3: I brought Incineroar for the pivoting wars. He used Fake Out + Sludge Bomb to my Tapu Koko, predicting that I expected Trick Room. I successfully switched Koko out for Incineroar and it didn’t get poisoned. Then, I hit Knock Off to his Rayquaza as it switched in for his Incineroar, and took the advantage from there. I defeated his Rayquaza quickly, but my Groudon was knocked out by Hidden Power Water Nihilego as he switched in Kyogre. I played very carefully not to lose my Metagross after that. In the end, I could wither Protect or Bullet Punch his Nihilego as his Kyogre could attack, and I made the right call, advancing into the Semi Finals.

Top 4 vs JPN Hirofumi Kimura | LWL

1groudon-primalyveltalincineroartapu-koko vs umbreontapu-lelesalamence-megagroudon-primal
2groudon-primalyveltalincineroartapu-koko vs umbreontapu-lelesalamence-megagroudon-primal
3groudon-primalyveltalincineroartapu-koko vs umbreonsalamence-megatapu-lelegroudon-primal

He is Hirofumi, also known as Kael. I thank him for staying in his room, even though we had never talked. We actually played on the day before day 1, and I lost 1-2 as well. My Tapu Koko was knocked out his Lele’s Moonblast with Helping Hand back then, so I got some information about his Modest Lele and how his Umbreon worked.

Watch the video for the details of the match, though I’d like to explain my reasonings behind some plays:

  • Game 1: I expected his Lele + Umbreon first and brought Groudon + Yveltal for them. I used Tapunium Z to Groudon by fairs of Eruption but his Groudon doesn’t have Eruption. My biggest mistake was losing Koko too easily. However, I would have won without his double Protect by switching Yveltal into Groudon’s slot and U-turning out…
  • Game 2: I felt Yveltal was not thay important and selected my 4 roughly. When my Yveltal was knocked out by his Helping Hand + Fire Punch, I felt it was ok. I hoped the choice would be success but it failed.
  • Game 3: I ended up thinking I would win when my Koko survived his Helping Hand + Double-Edge. Why did I select Sucker Punch, even if I could not win by hitting Earth Power?

salamence-mega Closing words

Honestly, my goal was just making it into day 2, and I would’ve never expected to finish in top 4. I’m very happy to mark a good result with my favorite core as well. However, I made many mistakes in the process, and I will try to improve on them to win the trophy next year!

My performance in Pokémon affects strongly my mood, so I would say I have enjoyed a lot being in America. Thanks to everyone who supported me, also thanks to Hiia and Netti going together, and Kael and Ikeda staying the same room.

The next Worlds is in London. I’m very happy because I wanted to go there so much. I’m already qualified for day 1 thanks to this Worlds, but I will aim for a day 2 invite by winning Japan Nationals next year.

Thank you for reading!

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