Are you sleeping on rain teams? – A Bochum Regionals Top 4 Team Report

Team Building Process

During the final weeks of December, I was looking for a team for the first European Regional on the Nintendo Switch with my bro Cykomore. We tried to build around all the ideas we had or that we found interesting when battling on the Showdown ladder, which is how we found this team.

We later discovered it was probably built by Alex Underhill, as he finished 20th in a Galar Weekly with it. I saw only a few of the team in action, but I immediately thought it was very interesting and felt that the call could be incredible for Bochum, as people seemed to largely sleep on the potential of rain teams since the beginning of VGC20, and would not prepared to battle against it at all. Cykomore tried to reproduce the team as he could, and next we tried to improve it as much as possible.

PelipperLudicoloJellicentGastrodon-EastTogekissCorviknight

The original team had a full SpDef. Corviknight with an Iron Defense/Body Press set. It seemed to be an interesting choice, providing a key resistance against some types that were not easy to deal with for the team, like Flying, Fairy and Poison. In the end, though, I found it too passive for such an aggressive team, and I wanted to have an answer against annoying threats to the team such as Gyarados, Duraludon or Charizard that was still good against Tyranitar and Excadrill.

PelipperLudicoloJellicentGastrodon-EastTogekissConkeldurr

I ended up with Conkeldurr on that slot, which was not the perfect Pokémon, as it didn’t help much in the Charizard/Whimsicott match-up, but with Thunder Punch it posed a big threat under Trick Room against the aforementioned issues to the team, or in general. Moreover, it seemed to fit better with the all-in nature of the team, and it was a Pokémon I loved using in my first teams in the format as well.

The FX Saga Team

Pelipper
Bjorn (Pelipper) @ Focus Sash
Ability: Drizzle
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Tailwind
– Hurricane
– Surf
– Protect

The base of any rain team, providing rain and speed control with Tailwind. The set is the simplest within my team, I just wanted Pelipper to do Pelipper things: putting as much pressure as possible on the opponents with Hurricane and Surf.
 
Surf will be used in every Water-type on the team, allowing for consistent offensive pressure on most Pokémon of the team, without the inaccuracy of Muddy Water and also helping Jellicent and Gastrodon. It’s really tempting to stupidly spam this move with all the team, but you should keep in mind that not all your Pokémon are imunne to Water-type moves, like Togekiss, Conkeldur, or Pelipper itself.

Ludicolo
Askelaad (Ludicolo) @ Assault Vest
Ability: Swift Swim
Level: 50
EVs: 68 HP / 252 SpA / 188 Spe
Modest Nature
– Fake Out
– Ice Beam
– Surf
– Energy Ball

Ludicolo is another key member of the rain core of the team. I just put enough speed to allow it to outspeed Dragapult or scarf Darmanitan under the rain, or Timid Vileplume out of sun.

The rest of the investment went to HP, which allows Assault Vest Ludicolo to have a pretty good special bulk and to tank a bit better my own Surfs. I found this defensive investement very helpful during the event.
 

Ludicolo’s Grass STAB was crucial against opposing Gastrodon and other Water-types, and the Ice coverage was great against Grass and Dragon-types, like Dragapult or Mow Rotom.

Jellicent
Ragnar (Jellicent) @ Kasib Berry
Ability: Water Absorb
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 236 Def / 20 SpD
Impish Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 SpA / 0 Spe
– Trick Room
– Surf
– Sludge Wave
– Will-O-Wisp

Jellicent was the most important member of the team, in my opinion. And also Togekiss’ best friend. Even though it has offensive moves, Jellicent’s main role is to support the team. It can burn the opponents and set up Trick Room, which was the speed control I used the most during the tournament, because the team is actually not that fast.

Sludge Wave allows him to activate the Togekiss’ Weakness Policy without dealing too much damage (that is, as long as you don’t poison yourself). That’s also why I trained Jellicent to have minimum SpA. Surf was mainly here to make cheap damage on the opposing teams while boosting Gastrodon. The 2 spread moves are also very useful to break potential Focus Sashes of the enemies.

I maximized Jellicent’s Defense because most of the metagame is physically offensive. I also put 20 EV in SpD to allow him to survive a Max Overgrowth (Grass Dynamax move) from Timid Charizard out of sun. This calc allows for some mindgames in the Charizard/Whimsicott match-up, but in the end wasn’t very helpful, as I never had to deal with those teams during the tournament (I guess I had to once, but my opponent didn’t bring them).

I chose to play the Kasib Berry instead of the more common Colbur one just before the tournament because iI was thinking that there would be a lot of Dragapult, and that the berry would help me against Ghost-types in general. It turned out useful during the Swiss rounds, but Colbur berry may have been better for me in the Top cut. In any case, I think both berries are playable on this set.

Togekiss
Canute (Togekiss) @ Weakness Policy
Ability: Super Luck
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 4 Def / 164 SpA / 4 SpD / 100 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Follow Me
– Dazzling Gleam
– Air Slash
– Heat Wave

The offensive goat of the team. Togekiss is, in my opinion, one of the best Pokémon to Dynamax with when using Weakness Policy.

While you can set Togekiss up by activating its item with Jellicent’s Sludge Wave and then go for Max Airstream for speed control, you can also use it to redirect and protect its allies, like the own Jellicent or Gastrodon. Heat Wave was cool against the Steel-type threats that resist both of Togekiss’ STABs, like Corviknight or Ferrothorn, which can get quite annoying for the team.

As I used the offensive mode most of the time, Super Luck seems to be the best ability for the extra crits :p. I put just enough speed to outrun Vileplume out of sun, which i was very afraid of.

Gastrodon
Thorfinn (Gastrodon) @ Rindo Berry
Ability: Storm Drain
Level: 50
EVs: 196 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 52 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Ice Beam
– Earth Power
– Surf
– Recover

A more offensive Gastrodon than usual. I invested on some speed to be faster than Jellicent, thus allowing Jellicent to boost Gastrodon before it attacks under Trick Room.

I taught it Ice coverage for the same reasons as on Ludicolo. I was hesitating on whether to teach it Protect instead of Recover, but Recover definitely came in clutch during the Swiss rounds, and it also allows you to use Max Guard when Dynamaxing, anyway. As it is an offensive set, the Rindo Berry makes more senses than any other recovery berry. Overall, Gastrodon was a really good option of Pokémon to Dynamax under Trick Room that  I may have under-used during the tournament.

Conkeldurr
Thorkhell (Conkeldurr) @ Flame Orb
Ability: Guts
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 76 Atk / 180 SpD
Adamant Nature
IVs: 29 Spe
– Drain Punch
– Thunder Punch
– Protect
– Mach Punch

The Guts plus Flame Orb combo hits so strong that I invested on bulk rather than attack to improve Conkeldurr’s special bulk. This ultimately allowed him to tank any move from Life Orb Dynamax Duraludon, even if the Flame Orb just got activated.

Drain Punch allows Conkeldurr to a way of recovery, which raises its staying power. I bred it with some less speed IVs (under 31) to make sure that there was no speed ties with my other Pokémon. Conkeldurr proved to be another good option of Dynamax in the team, specially under Trick Room.

Gameplans

I mainly used 3 modes to play and start the games with this team, and 2 of them use the same lead, which made really hard for the opponents to know on which of all ways you are going to play, even if they are aware of how the team functions.

Pelipper The Hard Rain mode

The Hard Rain mode featured the classic Pelipper+Ludicolo lead, which provides great offensive pressure, and allows you to easily go for Tailwind to have a better set-up for the Pokémon that you are keeping in the back thanks to Ludicolo’s Fake Out. It’s overall a pretty straightforward mode that everyone is well aware of.

Togekiss The Sweep Mode

The Togekiss sweep mode consists in leading Togekiss plus Jellicent and getting speed advantage with Max Airstream while Jellicent activates its Weakness Policy.

Jellicent The Trick Room mode

Finally, the TR mode is based on leading Togekiss and Jellicent once more, but this time we will redirect the opposing attacks with Togekiss while setting TR up with Jellicent. Later, we will use that to sweep with Gastrodon and/or Conkeldurr. This mode can also work with Togekiss as a sweeper if you don’t go for Max Airstream.

Threat List

PokémonComments
SylveonThe team doesn’t have good switch-ins to its Pixilate-boosted attacks, and its speed tier falls between the slowest (Gastrodon, Jellicent and Conkeldurr) and the fastest Pokémon of my team, thus potentially giving a lot of troubles to any mode.
GyaradosGyarados’ resistances, and its Flying and Grass coverage makes it an annoying threat to face for the team, as it forces me to use the Trick Room mode most of the time.
DuraludonDuraludon’s arsenal of potential coverage moves is painful for the team. It can get hard to knock it out when holding an AV set, because it survives Togekiss’ moves at +2. I recommend you to make sure that they don’t get any Defense boosts using Max Steelspike.
LaprasLapras and other Freeze Dry users… I think you all understand why.
CharizardCharizard is really hard for me to check, whatever its team is, but specially when used with Whimsicott.
GengarGengar isn’t actually a common threat, but every time I faced it on the ladder it just crushed my team.
DracozoltDracozolt just destroys my entire team.

My journey in Bochum

Round 1 vs. DEU Leonard König (WW)
TogekissExcadrillChandelureRotom-WashCorviknightDragapult

Hard match-up for my opponent. The fast rain mode gave me a good advantage, and Gastrodon, unafraid by any grass moves thanks to its Rindo Berry, cleaned the game. My berry choice on Jellicent already came in clutch in round 1, which make me feel very confident for the next battles. It was my opponent first regional and it didn’t do so bad. Shout out to you man, if you’re reading this, I appreciated getting to meet you!

Round 2 vs. DEU Philipp Peixeto (WW)
TyranitarExcadrillMiloticRotom-WashArcanineGrimmsnarl

I don’t remember very well this game, I just know that Conkeldurr cleaned the game, probably under Trick Room. They didn’t bring Milotic, even though I didn’t have a good feeling about it, because it’s very bulky on the special side, and my only heavy physical attacker on the team is Conkeldurr.

Round 3 vs. NOR Jens Arne Maekinen (LWW)
TogekissDuraludonMiloticSilvallyRhyperiorBronzong

“Crap, another Milotic”, I told myself upon seeing the team preview screen come up. Fortunately again, Jens didn’t bring it, but there were anyway other heavy threats in his team. In game one, he properly set up TR and destroyed me with Rhyperior and Body Press Bronzong before I could even reverse it with Jellicent. I do not remember what happened in game 2, but I won. In game 3, I set up Togekiss perfectly and, at +1 in SpA (because of Silvally’s snarl) and +1 Speed, I just OHKO’ed his Dynamax non-AV Duraludon. I was a bit surprised to one shot it, although this essentially gave me the game, as Togekiss destroyed Bronzong with Max Flare before it could set Trick Room up or attack.

Round 4 vs. NDL Jorijn Raijmakers (WLW)
TogekissExcadrillDragapultGrimmsnarlRotom-HeatGastrodon-East

A very hard match up for Jorijn, I must say. Each game I kept setting up with my faster Togekiss while getting rid of his was my priority. He had to rely on connecting Excadrill’s Horn Drills, which allowed him to take the second game. Fortunately for me, he didn’t connect a single one in game 3, and I took the win and the set.

Round 5 vs. ESP Alex Soto (WW)
BraviaryTyranitarSylveonArcanineRotom-WashFerrothorn

Quite differently from what would happen in our set in the Semi Finals, there was no suspense during this round. Each game I could easily set up my Togekiss and sweep his team as I picked the right targets, but he clearly did not make good use of his Tyranitar and his Sylveon. If I recall correctly, he tried to bring his Ferro in both games but it turned out to be totally useless for him.

Round 6 vs. ESP Pablo Hernández (WW)
DragapultCoalossalDuraludonGrimmsnarlRotom-MowGastrodon-East

This is the round that I probably remember the less about. I just know that i won the last game thanks to a critical hit, probably thanks to Super Luck Togekiss. Sorry for not knowing much else!

Round 7 vs. DEU Emre Sahan (LWL)
TogekissGyaradosTorkoalDusclopsRhyperiorGothitelle

I didn’t kick things off in the first game, because I didn’t know the team and got caught off-guard by the Hypnosis. I think I played pretty well the next games, I just needed a bit more luck to take the set, like some Hypnosis missing or less sleep turns on my Pokémon. I think that trying to Dynamax Gastrodon could have been a good idea, but it would have meant to play without the misty terrain. Would it have been better? I am not sure. You can watch the set, since it was streamed:

Round 8 vs. GBR Taran Birdee (WW)
WhimsicottCharizardDragapultDuraludonSylveonDracovish

One of the strangest Bo3 I have had in a while, in the sense that in the first game he led Whimsicott and Dragapult, but I got all the reads correctly and managed to set up my Togekiss, quickly KO his Dynamax Dragapult, and take a comfortable advantage, which allowed me to win the game pretty easily. In the second match, we repeated exactly the same first turns, which meant I won quite comfortably again.

I think Taran was trying to predict me anticipating to him not repeating the same plays that led him to lose the first game, but that just didn’t happen, which I found quite odd. Moreover, I think Taran already had some information about my team thanks to the stream, because he litteraly never targeted my Jellicent with his Dragapult, even if I always let it stay on the field in front of it.

Round 9 vs. ITA Flavio del Pidio (WLL)
TogekissExcadrillHitmontopVanilluxeDusclopsSnorlax

I wasn’t very confident when the first game kicked in because I had no clue on his Vanilluxe, and it could have Freeze Dry, which is a huge threat to my 4 Water-types. This was also the first time in the day I was facing a Snorlax. The Water spam and Conkeldur are, normally, good answers to Snorlax, but I wasn’t confident in this particular match-up.

In the first game, I managed to set up my Togekiss as Flavio tried to set up his Snorlax, but i KOed it thanks to a Togecrit (% super luck). Flavio got his revenge during game 2, winning thanks to a critical hit, too.

Then, I got destroyed in game 3: Flavio made some perfect reads to activate his own Weakness Policy (but not mine), and I got totally screwed when he revealed Taunt on his Vaniluxe, stopping my Jellicent from setting Trick Room up.

Top 16 vs. ESP Kevin Añò (WW)
WhimsicottDuraludonArcanineRotom-MowMimikyuDracovish

I prepared the match-up with Cykomore the night before top cut. We supposed that he would bring Duraludon, Mimikyu, Rotom and probably Whimsicott. The plan was to make sure that Duraludon couldn’t get a Max Steelspike Defense boost, and then sweep with Conkeldurr. It worked out perfectly in the first game, leading the rain duo with Togekiss and Conkeldurr in the back. I thought he would adapt for the 2nd game, so I led Togekiss and Jellicent, but no. Fortunately, he didn’t use Max Steelspike at any point, so I worked my way through the game and advanced into Top 8!

Top 8 vs. NDL Florian Van Hooijdonk (WW)
BraviaryDracozoltGrimmsnarlRotom-MowArcanineGastrodon-East

A pretty hard match up, as dynamax Dracozolt had the potential to destroy all my team. However, I won the first game thanks to lady luck being on my side, as I got a Hurricane confusion and self-hit on the Dracozolt when Dynamaxed, which got me a precious extra turn to bring it down. In my opinion, he also misplayed at the end of this game by using -2 Volt Switch on my Togekiss, which allowed my Togekiss to activate its Weakness Policy to almost no cost and then sweep the rest of his team.

In the 2nd game, he didn’t lead with Dracozolt. I adapted in this game by leading Togekiss and Jellicent instead of the rain duo from the first game, and this allowed me to easily set up my Togekiss under Trick Room and sweep his team.

Top 4 vs. ESP Alex Soto (WLL)
BraviaryTyranitarSylveonArcanineRotom-WashFerrothorn

Rematch of my 5th swiss round. This time he made some better choice of Pokémon and gameplan overall. I got lucky in the first game, so did he in the second one. I don’t know how his Sylveon was trained, but the critical hit on my Conkeldurr didn’t matter as long as it was max SpA. Perhaps, I should have hard switched my Ludicolo for Togekiss on the turn were he gets the double protect, but I think that I would have had to rely on getting a flinch on Sylveon with Air Slash, anyway.

In the 3rd game, I got quite unlucky with the self-poison of Togekiss. The game would have been totally different without it, because Togekiss could have survived one or 2 more turns (as long as I got rid of the sandstream with Max Flare). Anyway, I was really surprised that he doubled on my Togekiss, as I thought he would do so on Jellicent. I think I should have tried to bring and set-up my Dynamax Gastrodon, because it clearly seemed that he would not bring his Ferrothorn after being useless on Saturday. This set was also streamed:

Conclusion

Even if I was a bit frustrated on the way I got eliminated, so close to getting into the Finals, I am so proud to have reached my 1st major Top Cut, get my 1st brick and all this during the 1st regional on the Switch and the biggest one we have ever had

I would like to thank so many people. First of all, my friend Nicolas Carvalho (aka Cykomore), whose help was key in getting the team and prepare for the event. Thanks as well to everyone who supported me during this weekend, as well as all my opponents, because it was very enjoyable to play against you all (plus, you got me some good resistance to make it into cut :p). Thanks as well to all the judges and the TOs of this amazing tournament, and thanks to the Victory Road team who provided us with a really clean and professional stream. I hopes it will continue like this !

I think that using this team in Bochum was an excellent call. As I expected, people were not ready to play against a rain/water spam team at this point of the meta. Now, I’ll let you all make a good use of this team. I think it always has the potential to be improved, so feel free to try it out!

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