Hello everyone, my name is Ryan Loseto, or perhaps better known by my online name ‘SableyeVGC’. I am a Canadian VGC player who has been playing for just over 3 years. 2019 was my breakout season, as I managed to Top 8 Collinsville Regionals back in February of this year and qualify for the 2019 World Championships.
This report will be going over the team building process as well as my tournament run during the Atlantic City Regional Championships, where I placed within the top 16, so let’s jump right into things.
This team came into creation a while ago, nearing the end of April. It was at that point that me and my go-to team building partner, Fiona Szymkiewicz (YoshiandLugia), decided that X-Ray was definitely the team we wanted to bring to the North American International Championships.
We decided to start with the normal core for this team composition consisting of Xerneas, Rayquaza, Tapu Fini and Incineroar. We wanted the other two slots to be changed as the current builds seemed super reliant on Tapu Fini and Incineroar, as well as having struggles against Groudon and Xerneas.
We tested numerous combinations and eventually settled on Excadrill and Amoonguss, as both dealt with Xerneas, and Excadrill would outspeed the Groudon’s and be able to take the knock out with Tectonic Rage.
However, at NAIC, max speed special Groudon became popular and absolutely cleaned the floor with Excadrill, rendering it useless in the matchup it was meant to win.
We both went back to the drawing board and that was where I suggested Aegislash, as Wide Guard would help defend against both Primals, Gyro Ball would help deal with the Xerneas, and Ghostium Z would be able to pick up unsuspecting Lunala’s through Shadow Shield. Both of us brought the team to Worlds and unfortunately neither of our runs were successful, as we faced a lot of matchups that we overlooked heading into the tournament. Post-Worlds, we made a few minor changes that helped with those matchups and felt comfortable. After a poor performance at Worlds, we were ready for redemption at Atlantic City.
I Like It (Xerneas) @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
EVs: 156 HP / 84 Def / 188 SpA / 36 SpD / 44 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Dazzling Gleam
Yes, my Xerneas is super slow, I am aware. I wanted to be able to be bulky while at the same time still being able to hit hard, as after the Geomancy boost it would be outspeeding the entire format anyways, apart from opposing boosted Xerneas. I’ve been running bulky Xerneas since Sun Series and I honestly don’t know how people position themselves with a 252/252/4 spread, it just doesn’t feel right to me.
The calcs will speak for themselves, but in general living Mega Gengar’s Sludge Bomb and Jolly Banded Dragon Ascent from Rayquaza made positioning super easy beside Incineroar and Amoonguss. Shoutout to Andre Fumis (FumitoVGC) for bringing my Moon Series spread into question, as I was able to fine tune this one way better.
+2 188+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Incineroar: 178-210 (89 – 105%) — 31.3% chance to OHKO
+2 188+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Primal Kyogre: 153-180 (73.9 – 86.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
+2 188+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Dazzling Gleam vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Primal Kyogre: 96-114 (54.5 – 64.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
+2 188+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Primal Groudon: 123-146 (69.8 – 82.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
+2 188+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Primal Groudon: 123-144 (59.4 – 69.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
+2 188+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Dazzling Gleam vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Primal Groudon: 77-91 (37.1 – 43.9%) — guaranteed 3HKO
+2 188+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. +2 4 HP / 0 SpD Fairy Aura Xerneas: 117-138 (57.9 – 68.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Mega Gengar Sludge Bomb vs. 156 HP / 36 SpD Xerneas: 186-218 (84.1 – 98.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
4+ SpA Primal Kyogre Origin Pulse vs. +2 156 HP / 36 SpD Xerneas in Heavy Rain: 64-76 (28.9 – 34.3%) — 3.1% chance to 3HKO
252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 156 HP / 84 Def Xerneas: 102-121 (46.1 – 54.7%) — 59.8% chance to 2HKO
252 Atk Choice Band Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 156 HP / 84 Def Xerneas: 186-220 (84.1 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 Atk Necrozma-Dusk-Mane Sunsteel Strike vs. 156 HP / 84 Def Xerneas: 186-222 (84.1 – 100.4%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
252 Atk Solgaleo Sunsteel Strike vs. 156 HP / 84 Def Xerneas: 170-204 (76.9 – 92.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
+2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. +2 156 HP / 36 SpD Fairy Aura Xerneas: 106-126 (47.9 – 57%) — 88.3% chance to 2HKO
Gold Digger (Rayquaza) @ Assault Vest
Ability: Air Lock
EVs: 68 HP / 108 Atk / 36 SpA / 124 SpD / 172 Spe
– Dragon Ascent
– Extreme Speed
– Earth Power
The second restricted of the team and arguably the most important part of the team comp is Rayquaza: being able to shut down both Primal weathers as well as hitting Steel-types with Earth Power and Overheat basically made games end the moment we had a boosted Xerneas and Rayquaza on the field.
Overheat was incredibly clutch, as it provided a way to deal with Pokémon like Ferrothorn, Celesteela, Solgaleo and even Dusk Mane Necrozma. This made it super easy to deal with Steel types as even the bulkiest of them have trouble taking less than 50% from a +2 Moonblast. Assault Vest was definitely the best item that Rayquaza could have held, the ability to survive +2 Dazzling Gleams and/or non boosted Moonblasts, as well as Fairy Z-Moves from the likes of Tapu Koko and Tapu Fini, which made positioning a relatively easy task especially since our Tapu Fini had Heal Pulse and helped Rayquaza heal any sufficient damage that had been done to it.
108 Atk Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Primal Kyogre: 132-156 (63.7 – 75.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
36 SpA Mega Rayquaza Earth Power vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Primal Groudon: 126-150 (60.8 – 72.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
108 Atk Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Xerneas: 127-150 (62.8 – 74.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
108 Atk Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Rayquaza: 121-144 (66.8 – 79.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
108 Atk Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. -1 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Rayquaza: 181-214 (100 – 118.2%) — guaranteed OHKO
36 SpA Mega Rayquaza Overheat vs. 252 HP / 36+ SpD Ferrothorn: 260-308 (143.6 – 170.1%) — guaranteed OHKO
36 SpA Mega Rayquaza Overheat vs. 180 HP / 148+ SpD Celesteela: 132-156 (67.6 – 80%) — guaranteed 2HKO
36 SpA Mega Rayquaza Overheat vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Prism Armor Necrozma-Dusk-Mane: 117-138 (57.3 – 67.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 Atk Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 68 HP / 0- Def Mega Rayquaza: 145-172 (76.7 – 91%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Ultra Necrozma Light That Burns the Sky vs. 68 HP / 124 SpD Assault Vest Mega Rayquaza: 121-144 (64 – 76.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ SpA Primal Kyogre Ice Beam vs. 68 HP / 124 SpD Assault Vest Mega Rayquaza in Strong Winds: 84-100 (44.4 – 52.9%) — 12.9% chance to 2HKO
+2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Dazzling Gleam vs. 68 HP / 124 SpD Assault Vest Mega Rayquaza: 162-192 (85.7 – 101.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
252+ Atk Primal Groudon Dragon Claw vs. 68 HP / 0- Def Mega Rayquaza: 144-170 (76.1 – 89.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Tapu Koko Twinkle Tackle (160 BP) vs. 68 HP / 124 SpD Assault Vest Mega Rayquaza: 132-156 (69.8 – 82.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ SpA Tapu Lele Moonblast vs. 68 HP / 124 SpD Assault Vest Mega Rayquaza: 104-126 (55 – 66.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Lunala Menacing Moonraze Maelstrom vs. 68 HP / 124 SpD Assault Vest Mega Rayquaza: 105-124 (55.5 – 65.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Better Now (Incineroar) (M) @ Figy Berry
EVs: 236 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 236 SpD / 28 Spe
– Flare Blitz
– Fake Out
At this point there really isn’t anything I need to say about Incineroar, but in short, Fake Out and Intimidate support is incredibly helpful when using a team that is as position-based as this one. Having access to U-Turn is also very helpful, as we can pivot in and out of certain scenarios. The 28 speed EVs are to make sure we underspeed Primals under Trick Room, as well as potentially still being the faster Incineroar if we had to go for the speed ties. As I mentioned, there’s nothing really fancy here, it is just a basic Incineroar.
4 Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 236 HP / 76 Def Amoonguss: 186-218 (84.9 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
+2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Incineroar: 169-199 (84.5 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
-1 252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 236 HP / 4 Def Incineroar: 152-182 (76 – 91%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ SpA Primal Kyogre Origin Pulse vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Incineroar: 152-182 (76 – 91%) — guaranteed 2HKO
-1 252+ SpA Primal Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Incineroar: 138-164 (69 – 82%) — guaranteed 2HKO
-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 236 HP / 4 Def Incineroar: 156-184 (78 – 92%) — guaranteed 2HKO
-1 252+ Atk Stakataka Stone Edge vs. 236 HP / 4 Def Incineroar: 138-164 (69 – 82%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ SpA Neuroforce Ultra Necrozma Earth Power vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Incineroar: 132-157 (66 – 78.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Nightmare (Tapu Fini) @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 244 HP / 60 Def / 4 SpA / 196 SpD / 4 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Icy Wind
– Nature’s Madness
– Heal Pulse
Tapu Fini is, by far, the least used Pokémon on the team, however it is very important in the few matches that it comes to. Tapu Fini initially started out as another answer to Xerneas with Haze and Light Screen.
However, having Haze didn’t feel right beside our own Xerneas, and there were few scenarios that we found ourselves wanting to use Light Screen. Fiona then suggested Heal Pulse, which is incredibly consistent beside a bulky Xerneas and Rayquaza, as often it will be healing more damage than your opponent can dish out.
Scald is really good to have on this team because it allows for easy positioning against Groudon. Whether they stay in to take the Scald, which sadly, doesn’t always get the KO, or they swap out, this allows for the potential to exploit the scenario and have a chance to bring in Xerneas for the set up. Scald also does massive damage to Stakataka, who would normally be a pain for us to deal with if they are holding a Shuca Berry. Using Tapu Fini primarily as a Groudon counter, Fiona suggested we have a Bold nature in order to take hits from Precipice Blades, and even Dragon Ascents from Rayquaza. Nature’s Madness basically puts everything in range to be knocked out by either Xerneas or Rayquaza in the end game.
4 SpA Tapu Fini Scald vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Primal Groudon: 192-228 (92.7 – 110.1%) — 50% chance to OHKO
4 SpA Tapu Fini Icy Wind vs. 0 HP / 0- SpD Mega Salamence: 72-88 (42.3 – 51.7%) — 3.5% chance to 2HKO
252 Atk Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 244 HP / 60+ Def Tapu Fini: 102-120 (57.9 – 68.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 244 HP / 60+ Def Tapu Fini: 82-97 (46.5 – 55.1%) — 66.4% chance to 2HKO
252+ SpA Lunala Menacing Moonraze Maelstrom vs. 244 HP / 196 SpD Tapu Fini: 135-159 (76.7 – 90.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 244 HP / 196 SpD Tapu Fini in Electric Terrain: 128-152 (72.7 – 86.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 Atk Tapu Koko Wild Charge vs. 244 HP / 60+ Def Tapu Fini in Electric Terrain: 164-194 (93.1 – 110.2%) — 62.5% chance to OHKO
252 SpA Tapu Koko Gigavolt Havoc (175 BP) vs. 244 HP / 196 SpD Tapu Fini: 168-198 (95.4 – 112.5%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO
252 SpA Mega Gengar Sludge Bomb vs. 244 HP / 196 SpD Tapu Fini: 132-156 (75 – 88.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
+2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 244 HP / 196 SpD Tapu Fini: 148-175 (84 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Crank That (Amoonguss) (F) @ Payapa Berry
EVs: 244 HP / 76 Def / 188 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Rage Powder
– Clear Smog
– Grass Knot
Amoonguss had many purposes on this team, the first being a Trick Room answer, as often other teams would set up Trick Room and get put to sleep, or just opt to not set up the Trick Room at all, which was to the favour of the team.
Amoonguss was also one of our answers not only to Xerneas because of Clear Smog, but also to Kyogre with Grass Knot, chipping them in range of a Dragon Ascent from Rayquaza.
Rage Powder + Geomancy was another important win condition for the team, as once you could get into a position where they had two single attackers on the field Xerneas would basically be given a free Geomancy. Rage Powder beside Rayquaza was also convenient at times to redirect potential Ice Beams or other hard hitting attacks in general.
The choice of Payapa Berry was questioned quite a few times during building, with potential replacements being Coba Berry, or Wiki Berry. In the end we stuck with Payapa as it was helpful in redirecting Psyshocks from Lunala as well as potentially giving us a win condition against Choice Scarf Tapu Lele and Ultra Necrozma if they chose not to Magic Room turn one.
0 SpA Amoonguss Grass Knot (120 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Primal Kyogre: 80-96 (45.4 – 54.5%) — 47.3% chance to 2HKO
-1 252 Atk Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 244 HP / 76 Def Amoonguss: 210-248 (95.4 – 112.7%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO
252+ SpA Primal Kyogre Ice Beam vs. 244 HP / 188+ SpD Amoonguss: 128-152 (58.1 – 69%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ SpA Primal Kyogre Ice Beam vs. 244 HP / 188+ SpD Amoonguss: 128-152 (58.1 – 69%) — guaranteed 2HKO
+2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 244 HP / 188+ SpD Amoonguss: 96-113 (43.6 – 51.3%) — 6.6% chance to 2HKO
+2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Dazzling Gleam vs. 244 HP / 188+ SpD Amoonguss: 60-71 (27.2 – 32.2%) — guaranteed 4HKO
252 SpA Tornadus Hurricane vs. 244 HP / 188+ SpD Amoonguss: 162-192 (73.6 – 87.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Neuroforce Ultra Necrozma Photon Geyser vs. 244 HP / 188+ SpD Payapa Berry Amoonguss in Psychic Terrain: 170-202 (77.2 – 91.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 244 HP / 188+ SpD Payapa Berry Amoonguss in Psychic Terrain: 112-133 (50.9 – 60.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Mega Mewtwo Y Psystrike vs. 244 HP / 76 Def Payapa Berry Amoonguss: 139-165 (63.1 – 75%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Primal Groudon Eruption (150 BP) vs. 244 HP / 188+ SpD Amoonguss: 188-224 (85.4 – 101.8%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
-1 252+ Atk Primal Groudon Fire Punch vs. 244 HP / 76 Def Amoonguss: 146-174 (66.3 – 79%) — guaranteed 2HKO
-1 252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 244 HP / 76 Def Amoonguss: 85-102 (38.6 – 46.3%) — guaranteed 3HKO
Nights (Aegislash) (F) @ Ghostium Z
Ability: Stance Change
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 116 Def / 60 SpA / 76 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
– King’s Shield
– Wide Guard
– Shadow Ball
– Gyro Ball
Aegislash was by far the MVP of the team in Atlantic City. Its two primary uses include almost winning the X-Ray mirror match by itself, as well as dealing with pesky Dusk Mane Necrozma and Solgaleo.
I would consider OHKOing Lunala’s through Shadow Shield as a secondary purpose as you don’t survive a Menacing Moonraze Maelstrom. However, with a little bit of positioning Aegislash could definitely deal with Lunala, especially if you can make them burn their Z-Move early.
The Quiet nature does miss out on some knockouts onto Xerneas, however, it allowed for Ghostium Z to still potentially knock out Lunala through shield, which I felt was more important to the overall positioning of the team. After all, Rayquaza can Extreme Speed the little HP that Xerneas would have left if it missed the knockout.
This EV spread is meant to live things that you would normally think can kill Aegislash such as -1 max attack Incinium Z, Precipice Blades from Groudon, Moongeist Beam from Lunala, as well as full power Eruption outside of Desolate Land. The most important of these in my opinion is making sure Xerneas’ +2 Moonblast is a 3HKO in shield form. This allows for Aegislash to successfully 1 v 1 Xerneas.
60+ SpA Aegislash-Blade Never-Ending Nightmare (160 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Shadow Shield Lunala: 276-326 (113.1 – 133.6%) — guaranteed OHKO
-1 60+ SpA Aegislash-Blade Never-Ending Nightmare (160 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Shadow Shield Lunala: 186-222 (87.3 – 104.2%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO
60+ SpA Aegislash-Blade Shadow Ball vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Shadow Shield Lunala: 140-168 (65.7 – 78.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
4 Atk Aegislash-Blade Gyro Ball (143 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Xerneas: 240-284 (118.8 – 140.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
60+ SpA Aegislash-Blade Never-Ending Nightmare (160 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Prism Armor Necrozma-Dusk-Mane: 204-243 (117.9 – 140.4%) — guaranteed OHKO
60+ SpA Aegislash-Blade Shadow Ball vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Ultra Necrozma: 152-180 (87.8 – 104%) — 25% chance to OHKO
60+ SpA Aegislash-Blade Never-Ending Nightmare (160 BP) vs. -1 4 HP / 0 SpD Mega Rayquaza: 220-259 (121.5 – 143%) — guaranteed OHKO
60+ SpA Aegislash-Blade Never-Ending Nightmare (160 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Primal Groudon: 160-189 (90.9 – 107.3%) — 43.8% chance to OHKO
4 Atk Aegislash-Blade Gyro Ball (103 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Lele: 210-248 (143.8 – 169.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
60+ SpA Aegislash-Blade Never-Ending Nightmare (160 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Stakataka: 144-171 (85.7 – 101.7%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
+2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 252 HP / 76 SpD Aegislash-Shield: 72-85 (43.1 – 50.8%) — 3.9% chance to 2HKO
+2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Dazzling Gleam vs. 252 HP / 76 SpD Aegislash-Shield: 45-54 (26.9 – 32.3%) — guaranteed 4HKO
252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 252 HP / 116 Def Aegislash-Shield: 138-164 (82.6 – 98.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ Atk Primal Groudon Fire Punch vs. 252 HP / 116 Def Aegislash-Shield: 116-140 (69.4 – 83.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Primal Groudon Earth Power vs. 252 HP / 76 SpD Aegislash-Shield: 116-138 (69.4 – 82.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Primal Groudon Eruption (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 76 SpD Aegislash-Shield: 144-170 (86.2 – 101.7%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
-1 252+ Atk Incineroar Malicious Moonsault vs. 252 HP / 116 Def Aegislash-Shield: 134-162 (80.2 – 97%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ SpA Primal Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 76 SpD Aegislash-Shield in Heavy Rain: 135-159 (80.8 – 95.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
60 SpA Life Orb Mega Rayquaza Earth Power vs. 252 HP / 76 SpD Aegislash-Shield: 101-122 (60.4 – 73%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ SpA Lunala Moongeist Beam vs. 252 HP / 76 SpD Aegislash-Shield: 132-156 (79 – 93.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Pretty standard lead, nothing really interesting to say about this one. Works great for trading Fake Out Geomancies with your opponent, or a simple Fake Out + Geomancy of your own. You can probably get away leading this as long as they don’t have hard Xerneas checks such as Roar or 5 Poison/Steel types. Common archetypes to lead this against are XernDon, X-Ray, and XernOgre.
I find it amazing how many teams still struggle to deal with this lead. Whenever you can recognize that your opponent only has single target moves to deal with Xerneas, this lead is a safe call. Rage Powdering forces them to target Amoonguss while Xerneas can set up safely. It’s a bonus if they kill Amoonguss because then you are able to have Xerneas and Rayquaza on the field at the same time.
This one is a bit more unique, so I will try to explain it a little more than the last few. This lead started out as the Rayquaza Kyogre counter and it still is, if they have RayOgre lead this! This lead covers virtually everything that those teams can do, whether it is Trick Room, set up Tailwind or Super Fang + Rayquaza combinations this lead allows the team to pivot relatively freely against any of those options. This lead is also very effective if there is no Xerneas on their team, as many of the popular non-Xerneas cores struggle to position properly around it. Rage Powder allows Rayquaza to put in work and start spreading damage across the board well keeping it relatively healthy. By the time Amoonguss dies, there’s a good chance Xerneas can get set up pretty easily. This lead can also be used for Perish Trap teams that have Kyogre instead of Groudon as Amoonguss can Spore the Gengar safely after Rayquaza’s Earth Power, although sometimes switching turn one against Perish is the right call, depending on what they have in the back.
This lead was not used often however it helped solve a few very specific matchups. The first being the Ashton Cox Perish Trap team or generally an Perish Trap team with Groudon. Leading Aegislash allowed for a quick double into Gengar for the knockout unless they used protect. If they went for protect, Aegislash would survive the Thunderbolt from the Tapu Koko in Blade Forme and still threaten the knockout onto Gengar. The other time this lead was used was against the Lunala + Kyogre + Mawile teams that saw slight usage around the time of Internats. It forced their Lunala to target Aegislash rather than set up a form of speed control which gave Rayquaza an extra turn to do damage, and of course if they didnt target Aegislash they could kiss their Lunala goodbye.
This lead was a go to comfort lead for when leading Incineroar + Xerneas wasn’t an option. Having the option to either Fake Out, U-Turn, or straight up Flare Blitz beside Rayquaza opened up a lot of potential pivots to take advantage of board position. Do not lead this if they have an option to lead Xerneas, as pivoting out of that is very difficult. This lead was commonly used against the likes of LunaDon and Lunala Rayquaza as it will always threaten their restricteds if they choose to lead one or both of them.
This is a lead that X-Ray compositions take a lot of criticism for, however, there are times where a passive lead such as this one allowed for board position that cannot be generated with a different lead. For example, Icy Winding and U-Turning into either Rayquaza or Xerneas depending on the situation could be very advantageous. Leading this every now and again, perhaps after going up a game in a set, can change the pace of the game and potential add a second element that allows you to come out with an early lead in game two. I wouldn’t advise leading this too often, but it is definitely a viable option that should be mentioned.
Round 1 vs Tom Hull | WW
Sitting down for round one across from Tom was not really where I wanted to be, as I knew Tom had been around for a while and he would know what he was doing. Team preview starts and my attention is immediately drawn to the Xerneas, Rayquaza, Metagross, Volcarona core and I knew that my normal game plan versus this team composition wouldn’t quite work out the same way with the number of Xerneas answers his team had.
Going into game 1 I didn’t deviate from my standard plan, because I wanted to scout and see what potential techs his team had before making any adjustments. I lead Incineroar Xerneas into his Volcarona Xerneas. This turn was relatively safe for me since I know I’m able to allow his Xerneas to set up and I’m able to get mine set up well by Faking Out the Volcarona, this also scouted for a potential red card without me risking my boosted Xerneas to find out. Turn two, I decided to go for the Dazzling Gleam + Flare Blitz, however his Volcarona was bulky enough to survive and get a Whirlwind off to take care of my Xerneas. From here on out my game plan was to deal with his Volcarona so that Aegislash would be able to deal with the Xerneas in the end game. I don’t remember too much more about this game other than the fact that I managed to take game one.
Game 2 we both decide to go for the Incineroar Xerneas lead option, both of our Xerneas get the Geomancy boost off, with my ability to Snarl down his Xerneas, and his Incineroar being in range of my Xerneas’ Moonblast I’m feeling super confident about my position in this game. That was immediately taken away as he proceeds to crit my Xerneas with his Moonblast, thankfully I was able to crit him back with Aegislash’s -1 Gyro Ball for the knockout a few turns later and and have Rayquaza Aegislash to close out the end game.
Round 2 vs Aaron Traylor | WW
Aaron was not the opponent I wanted to play round two (I would have preferred maybe in top cut or a win and in type of game, but definitely not round two). In team preview I see RayOgre and take a slight sigh of relief, as that is the matchup I felt the most confident in going into the tournament. Here I stuck directly to my gameplan of leading Rayquaza Amoonguss.
Game 1 he brought the Mimikyu mode, so I knew that Trick Room was definitely an option for him to go for at some point, because of this I made a point of preserving my Amoonguss for when it inevitably happened. From here simply positioning to setting up my Xerneas while using Rayquaza to kill and hinder Kyogre’s damage output was able to give me the game rather handily.
Game 2 was much to the same effect, however he did not bring Mimikyu, meaning there was no threat of Trick Room. The end game was one of the reasons I love Modest Xerneas, in short Moonblast did 50% to his celesteela to KO it before it was able to knock me out with what I can assume was an incoming Heavy Slam, from here Xerneas was able to clean up the low health Kyogre and Incineroar in the back without too much effort. This game potentially could have changed in a heartbeat had that Celesteela survived the Moonblast.
Round 3 vs Fiona Szymkiewicz | WW
Not only did I play a Canadian, I played the Canadian I built the team with! This is a matchup we have had to endure at locals in the past and for those of you who have never played a 6 Pokémon mirror down to the EV before, all I can say is try to keep it that way. Basically the whole game comes down to either 1 speed that is won at a critical time, 1 extra sleep turn or a slip up on someones end.
Game 1 I was able to protect my Xerneas a little better and deal with her Amoonguss before she could deal with mine, this allowed me to use Amoonguss in the end game to put multiple Pokémon to sleep while I finished off the rest of their hp with Incineroar and Rayquaza.
Game 2 I won after turn two when I got the special attack drop on her Xerneas with Moonblast from my Xerneas. This made that game so much easier to pivot around and eventually bring in Rayquaza to clean up shop with its massive damage output.
Round 4 vs Cedric DeRouchie | LWL
Seeing the team in team preview, I was really scared of a potential perish trap situation, so I made sure that I would have a least the slightest answer to it by bringing Aegislash even though it would lose to both of his restricteds.
Game 1 plays out basically as I expected, where he lead Tapu Koko Gengar, and I lead Aegislash Rayquaza. Gengar goes for Substitute as Aegislash goes for Shadow Ball to break it immediately. At this point I really need to make this an information gathering game even if I lost, so I play the game out gathering information such as his Icy Wind Gengar, no Perish Trap option, Shuca Berry Stakataka and physical Groudon. As expected, I lost game one and moved on to game two.
Game 2 we both lead the same as in game one however this time I make a conscious effort to get rid of Gengar as soon as possible, in order to allow me to switch and preserve my ray for the end game. Tapu Fini played a big part in grabbing this win as it was able to Scald kill the Stakataka, which took some of the pressure away from Rayquaza and Xerneas in the end game. I noticed that his Groudon was attacking after my Tapu Fini under Trick Room. So I was able to use that to my advantage in game three.
Game 3 went exactly as I expected; same leads, similar play styles from both of us. Coming down the end game, I know that once connected a Nature’s Madness into Groudon. I win the game since his Stakataka is already in +2 Moonblast range and Groudon would have been in Earth Power from my Rayquaza after Tapu Fini dies the following turn. However, because I missed the Nature’s Madness on the Groudon I had to predict whether his Stakataka would have Wide Guard or not. Of course like any other coin flip of a call, I got it wrong as I Dazzling Gleamed into is his Wide Guard and he was able to keep Groudon alive and KO my Xerneas to win the game. As much as the miss set me back in game three, I don’t think it decided the set as Cedric did a great job of playing to his win-con and keeping enough information hidden until game three.
Round 5 vs Kunal Kanodia | WW
Before this round I was talking with a few of the Canadians (don’t quite remember who) about what some of the teams bad matchups are. And of course Kunal’s team was the number 1 threat that I could come up with. Of course it would be my next round matchup. I was pretty scared in team preview and I could see my tournament run ending in a few short minutes. However, I was able to settle down and manage to play the set really really well, in my opinion. From experience against similar teams at locals I was able to position in a game that is all about positioning. Saving Aegislash’s Z-Move for the correct time, know when to sacrifice or protect my Xerneas in this matchup is super important. Without going into too much detail about this one it’s basically just getting the calls right and preserving your win conditions to the best of your ability. Tapu Fini plays a huge role in this as Nature’s Madness helps place most of his team in KO range of Xerneas or Aegislash. Near the end of game two Kunal started reading me really well. Thankfully I was off to a big enough lead early in order to win. I’m pretty confident if it went to game three I would have lost the set.
Round 6 vs Chuppa Cross | LWW
At this point in the tournament, I was feeling really good about my chances at earning CP, but now I want to make that push for top cut. In team preview I recognize the 6 Pokémon as the Alex Gomez/Eric Rios RayOgre team from worlds, thankfully as mentioned before I feel super confident in the RayOgre matchup.
Game 1 is all about me trying to position to a point where I can get Xerneas in the end game to sweep the rest of the battle. I finally position to where I needed to be, however, Chuppa revealed Poisonium Z and was able to KO my Xerneas from full, which I was not expecting. In retrospect I definitely could have protected Xerneas and then Rage Powdered next turn to get set up for free. With Xerneas gone I had no way to win game one.
Game 2 I managed to position where Rayquaza was able to take down most of his team, I did get a bit lucky with an Earth Power crit into his Tapu Koko through Light Screen in order to set up a super easy end game, it would have been a lot closer had I not killed the Tapu Koko there.
Game 3 I expected him to try a Trick Room option that I figured he would still have so I made sure to preserve my Amoonguss in order to put on pressure if he were to set it up. I was successfully able to pivot around the first Trick Room and get to an end game where a boosted Xerneas would sweep his low HP Pokémon in the back. However there was one more call that needed to be made, whether he would Trick Room on the turn I tried to set up Geomancy. He had Tapu Koko and Nihilego facing down my Xerneas and Amoonguss, my thought process was that if he went for Trick Room I would still have Amoonguss on the field, so I decided to keep my Xerneas safe and go for the Rage Powder Geomancy. He goes for a Volt Switch and a Sludge Bomb (which would have knocked out Xerneas) into my Amoonguss for the knockout, however at this point I had won the game with a 75% HP boosted Xerneas that would sweep the rest of his team. What was surprising to me about this set was that he opted to not bring Rayquaza to any of the three games. As this let’s my Rayquaza put in a good chunk of work to dwindle down his entire team without being threatened too much.
Round 7 vs Paul Chua | LWL
This was it, I made it to my win and in match. At this point I achieved more than what I came for, CP. I was also feeling pretty comfortable with my resistance to achieve top 16 if I ended up losing.
Game 1 I was fully expecting him to lead the Tornadus Kangaskhan so I decided to go with my normal answer to that by leading Xerneas Amoonguss, However he went with his Groudon and Xerneas. Already on the back foot, I try to position in Rayquaza to lessen the damage my Xerneas would take from a potential Eruption, However even outside of the Desolate Land, the Eruption did way to much damage, plus a boosted Xerneas on his side of the field absolutely steam rolled me. Moving into game two I decided to mix up my lead by going with Aegislash Xerneas as this time I would have the threat of Wide Guard to stop the potential Eruption. Paul decided to mix things up on his end by leading Incineroar Xerneas.
Game 2 was all about positioning and my main goal was to deal with Groudon so that Aegislash and Amoonguss would be able to deal with his Xerneas. I don’t remember exactly how the game played out, but I remember chunking his Groudon really early and managed to barely snag the win.
Going into game 3 I figured Paul would go back to his game one lead of Groudon and Xerneas, so I decided to shake things up and go with Rayquaza Tapu Fini. Sure enough I guessed his lead correctly and was in an ample position to start this game strong. My thought process was that I could go for the Dragon Ascent and a Nature’s Madness into the Xerneas slot, as there was no way he would be keeping his Groudon on the field, This would put Xerneas into Extreme Speed range for the next turn or later in the game if i needed to pivot around a Fake Out. The turn begins and I see Groudon swap out, it was at this moment I realized that he was probably going to click Moonblast and and kill my Rayquaza, and of course that’s exactly what he did. At this point the game was over as I had no way to deal with Groudon and the Xerneas that boosted on the few turns later.
I will keep this closing rather short as the rest of the report has gone on long enough. First off, good games to all of my opponents, it was great to not only battle you, but get to meet you guys as well. Secondly, shoutout to the Canada squad for supporting me the entire time and of course for all the fun times outside of competing. Special shoutouts to Nathan and Yihui for the ride down, wouldn’t have had this chance without you guys. Special thanks to Fiona for building the team with me and sitting through countless hours of prep. Finally to anyone I may have missed, thank you for everything.
Just before I wrap this up, I do have a VGC YouTube channel so feel free to check that out here if you guys are interested.
Thank you guys for reading my report, and I look forward to seeing you at events the rest of the season.