Hey, my name is Labib Haq (@slippingbug) and I’m here to tell you more about my team I used to top cut Dallas Regionals 2020, possibly the largest VGC regional ever.
Before we get started with the team I’d like to tell you a little more about myself. I am actually not primarily a VGC player, and Dallas Regionals 2020 was actually my second regional ever, with Dallas 2018 being my first one for VGC. My history with VGC has really just been playing a few weeks in every format since 2017 on Showdown using other people’s teams and playing with my friends. 2020 was the first year I really started building my own teams and played a bit more serious.
I was primarily a Pokkén Tournament player and I top 8’d the World Championships in 2017. In addition to that I have won several fighting game tournaments and was ranked #1 in North America for Pokkén on the Wii U. I mained Pikachu Libre in Wii U, and Decidueye in Pokkén DX, so just search me on YouTube if you are interested at seeing some high level play for those characters. Even though I don’t play Pokkén anymore, it’s a very underrated game that you should all give a try! Enough about me, now let’s get into how I built the team for this regional.
As soon as I saw Galarian Weezing I knew I wanted to try at least one team with it. I didn’t think I’d be able to use it so effectively with some of my other favorite Pokémon though. I started with the core Gyarados, Togedemaru, and Braviary. This core was something I used in 2017 since these 3 were some of my favorite Pokémon and in this format, max airstream is one of the best max moves. The combination of Tailwind, Nuzzle, and Max Airstream was a very good foundation for speed control.
In 2017, a ground type was usually paired with the core, so I immediately defaulted to the best ground type this format, Excadrill. Excadrill was safe from intimidates when partnered with Braviary and was able to Earthquake very freely next to Gyarados and Braviary. It also has amazing switch synergy with Gyarados so it was a great pick with the above 3.
Even with all this speed control I saw that sand and rain were very popular at the beginning of the format so I wanted something to deal with those strategies since I always wanted my Pokémon to be moving first. Then I came to realize that Galarian Weezing helps me start on a Dragon-Fairy-Steel core and also allows me to activate intimidate while Gyarados is still out on the field. Lastly I decided to try Dragapult who was a dragon type and was the fastest Pokémon this format when you didn’t take weather and choice scarf into account so I decided to go with that.
So with my first draft of the team, I played a lot on showdown and against my friends and I quickly noticed a few things. Gyarados is a monster when Dynamaxed and I definitely loved it in combination with everything else on my team. However, trick room was a very hard match up for this team especially with Rhyperior which hits almost everything superffectively. I decided that Choice Scarfing Excadrill for speed and dropping Dragapult for a slower Pokémon might be the correct choice. I experimented a bit with Appletun but redirection was also a very annoying problem when partnered with a trick room setter. At this point I just had to go all in on preventing the trick room which is when I saw Sejun Park use the strategy of Earthquaking his own Duraludon to proc the Weakness Policy and destroy any TR setter through redirection. That settled it, Duraludon completed the D-F-S core and offered me another way to deal with Trick Room. This way, I got to the final team you saw above.
Gyarados @ Assault Vest
EVs: 140 HP / 196 Atk / 172 Spe
– Power Whip
Gyarados was the MVP of my team. It hits so hard, has very good bulk, and can boost its speed with Max Airstream. Intimidate is very good against physical attackers, and you can reapply it whenever Weezing switches out. Moxie was considered, but it doesn’t activate when Weezing is out, so I decided to go with Intimidate. I saw that most people were running Jolly max speed with max attack, but I decided to go for a slower, bulkier, and stronger set. The Assault Vest allowed me take special attacks like they were nothing, especially when Dynamaxed.
Running adamant on Gyarados let me reach the 187 Atk stat (the same as Excadrill), so it made remembering calcs easier.
The 140 HP was just what I had leftover but it was definitely worth it, since there were many times Gyarados lived with under 30 HP and was still a crazy threat because it had boosted its speed, so it could outspeed the opposing Pokémon next turn. Gyarados is significantly weaker when not Dynamaxed, so I usually try to Dynamax it when I bring it most games. It has amazing coverage and max moves, and red Gyarados is one of my favorite shinies, so I was very pleased with this Pokémon.
Togedemaru @ Focus Sash
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Fake Out
– Zing Zap
– Spiky Shield
Togedemaru is one of my favorite Pokémon and I try to use it on almost every team if I can. The Fake Out support is nice to break Focus Sash from important support Pokémon and buy you a turn to set up Tailwind or Max Airstream. There were many times where I could lead Togedemaru + Gyarados or Braviary and Fake Out a Whimsicott, then Max Airstream to outspeed it the next turn. By switching in Weezing, I was able to get rid of Prankster, KO the Whimsicott, prevent Tailwind and have speed control for the rest of the game.
Even if Tailwind got up, I could Nuzzle stuff to neutralize the speed and also threaten para flinch since a lot of my team has flinching moves. Lightning rod made it very tough for my opponents to KO Gyarados and also stop Gigantamax Pikachu in its tracks. I decided to just got with Jolly max speed to outspeed Arcanine so I can Nuzzle it and make sure my slower mons can outspeed it the same turn. Focus Sash really helps Togedemaru stick around and due to its steel typing, it can’t take residual damage from sand which is one of the more common weathers. Very pleased with how it did.
Excadrill @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Mold Breaker
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Rock Slide
– High Horsepower
– Iron Head
Excadrill was an amazing partner for Gyarados with Braviary. It was a very good lead against Charizard since Rock Slide does so much damage to it. It also served as a good late game cleaner whenever the other team’s Pokémon had taken a good amount of damage. Most people try to intimidate it, but with Braviary next to it, that makes it a lot more tricky. Dynamaxed Braviary can help boost its attack and speed so Earthquake + a Dynamax partner threatens a lot of damage on the opponent.
Choice Scarf with Jolly max speed was very good at outspeeding a lot of common threats that would otherwise be annoying Pokémon. Arcanine, Charizard, opposing Excadrill, scarfed Rotom, and Whimsicott were all way easier to deal with since Excadrill was scarfed. Mold Breaker was nice to be able to oneshot Mimikyu and deal with levitate Pokémon such as Rotom or Bronzong. If I ever needed to switch moves, I still had the option to Dynamax Excadrill, but I didn’t prioritize it as a Pokémon I needed to Dynamax. It had good switch synergy with my flying types and always made people second guess hitting me with a ground move. Amazing Pokémon!
Braviary (M) @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 156 HP / 100 Atk / 252 Spe
– Brave Bird
– Close Combat
Braviary filled a similar role to Gyarados but it could also fill more of a support role instead of a damage dealer. Not only does it deter intimidate on my team of mostly physical attackers, but it also helps deter people from using stat lowering max moves (looking at you Dragapult). Tailwind was very nice to match other people’s tailwinds and when I didn’t want to Dynamax off the bat for speed control.
Close Combat was important for hitting steel and rock types which was annoying for my team and the max version increased my attack, so I would hit harder in the next turn. I definitely sacrificed attack for Jolly max speed and some bulk so I could reliably get speed control, outspeed annoying Pokémon like Butterfree, and speed tie a lot of other base 80 speed Pokémon such as Togekiss, Chandelure, opposing Braviary, etc. Overall, Braviary a great support Pokémon on my team and a great Dynamax carry whenever it got Defiant boosts.
Weezing-Galar @ Air Balloon
Ability: Neutralizing Gas
EVs: 236 HP / 20 Def / 4 SpA / 236 SpD / 12 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Clear Smog
– Strange Steam
Weezing is one of the most underrated Pokémon in this format. It stops so many opposing strategies and shuts down so many Pokémon that rely on their abilities. Abilities like Prankster, Strong Jaw, Hustle, Swift Swim, Sand Rush, Sand Stream, Levitate, Justified, Intimidate, Clear Body, Storm Drain, Guts, Solid Rock, Defiant, Magic Bounce… are all important abilities in the metagame that Weezing just shuts down.
I decided to go with the Air Balloon item since my team has 4 Pokémon weak to ground. This allowed me to switch it in on ground moves and also Earthquake next to it. Items like Focus Sash and Balloon make it so that people try to target down the support Pokémon instead of the damage dealer, so Weezing just existing on the field is already a threat.
Clear Smog was very nice to chip at other fairies and clear stat boosts from setup moves, Dynamax moves, and Weakness Policy. Strange Steam was my main form of damage and the extra chance to confuse Pokémon in addition to all the flinch and paralyze on my team was a nice. I previously ran Will-o-Wisp on my Weezing, but decided to go with Taunt to help stop Trick Room, set ups, and other annoying support moves such as Follow Me, Tailwind, and Sleep Powder. Being able to Taunt Hatterene and Grimmsnarl was such a big deal. At + 1 speed, Weezing could outspeed a lot of Togekiss as well and stop future Follow Me, Helping Hand, and Yawn. Loved using this Pokémon and would definitely use it again on other teams.
Duraludon @ Weakness Policy
EVs: 252 HP / 204 SpA / 52 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Dark Pulse
– Draco Meteor
– Flash Cannon
Duraludon was the last addition to my team and I added it to mainly deal with Trick Room + redirection. Against a lot of TR leads, I could lead Gyarados + Duraludon and people would be very comfortable thinking they could set up Trick Room. Gyarados having Earthquake was a neat surprise for them chipping at their mons and activating my own Weakness Policy.
+2 Duraludon Max Darkness KOes just about every TR setter in the format. Thank you to Sejun Park for showcasing this strategy at the World Champion Invitational. I went max HP and ran 52 speed EVs to outspeed Dragapult in Tailwind or when its nuzzled but I’m sure there is a better spread for this Pokémon. I didn’t really bring it much outside of TR match-ups, but I’m sure there are more situations where this Pokémon is more useful and I hope people can find out more creative ways to use it on this team.
Overall, I don’t really have a flowchart for what Pokémon to bring: I just bring the 4 Pokémon I think will give me the best chance vs their team. I’ll go over a couple different leads you can do against common stuff and bring the other 2 in the back depending on the match-up you’re facing.
This lead is good against balanced teams where Gyarados can threaten a lot of opposing Pokémon and boost its speed with Max Airstream. I lead this when I see they don’t have Intimidate and I want to gain speed control with Max Airstream / Nuzzle. I also lead this vs Whimsicott often because I can Fake Out + Max Airstream on turn 1, then switch in Weezing to outspeed and KO the Whimsicott.
This is good whenever you don’t want Gyarados to get intimidated or their weather to get set up. Also good against support Pokémon since Weezing has Taunt. I like this against teams with Gastrodon as well, because it allows me to use Water-type moves freely, without worrying about Storm Drain. Switching out Weezing also activates Intimidate and that is neat.
I like leading this against Butterfree a lot since Braviary and Togedemaru can both outspeed it and knock it out. I also lead this against Intimidate or Dragapult + Togekiss since Dragapult can’t use Max Moves that lower stats without boosting Braviary. Togedemaru also threatens lots of damage on Togekiss and can slow down Dragapult with Nuzzle.
This lead is good when you want to threaten a lot of damage on the opponent and they don’t have priority Tailwind to stop you from snowballing with Max Airstream. Scarf Excadrill is hitting a lot of stuff that would normally outspeed it like Charizard, Arcanine, or Dragapult. I don’t lead this too often, but it is nice when you can.
I lead this whenever I think Excadrill is important for stopping their leads. Pretty good against stuff like Whimsicott + Charizard or Charizard + Torkoal to stop sun / Prankster. Really good against Grimmsnarl as well, since you can stop Grimmsnarl with Fake Out or Neutralizing Gas. Good against hyper offense teams too, because it can stop damage-boosting abilities, you can raise your defense with Dynamax Excadrill, and Nuzzle fast opponents for speed control for your team in the back.
I lead this vs Fake Out + TR setter, Butterfree + TR setter, or Hatterene + Indeedee. Togedemaru being so fast allows it to Fake Out the partner for the TR setter and lets Weezing go for a Taunt onto the setter. Then turn 2 you can Nuzzle the partner, and usually Taunt it as well if it’s something like Butterfree, Togekiss or Indeedee. This lead can also be nice against offensive Togekiss because you can Nuzzle it to activate the Weakness Policy and then Clear Smog it to get rid of the boosts.
I usually lead this vs redirection + TR or Pokémon I need to KO. You go for Earthquake on Gyarados to activate the Weakness Policy and Max Darkness to KO the TR setter. Usually you win the game if this works since Duraludon will just start KO’ing everything.
The biggest threats to this team are Steel-types, since you can’t Clear Smog their stat boosts, as well as anti-Intimidate, Will-o-Wisp, Foul Play, mid game TR, sleep, and my lack of Pokémon knowledge haha.
|Corviknight can be especially annoying if its allowed to set up Bulk Up. Togedemaru is a good check to it and so it Taunt from Weezing.|
|Ferrothorn can be annoying to KO sometimes, since my team doesn’t have any fire moves.|
|Durant can be hard to kill since my team is mostly physical attackers and it hits so hard even with non-STAB moves. Lack of a fire move hurts here.|
|Rhyperior can hit my whole team super-effectively with STAB, so it can be very scary if TR is set up. Weezing getting rid of Solid Rock and being able to clear its Weakness Policy boosts is a nice thing, though. The key to beating this Pokémon is to weaken its attack with Intimidate and stopping TR from going up.|
|My team relies a lot on switching to mitigate damage, so Gothitelle restricting that with Shadow Tag is quite annoying. Having Fake Out to threaten my Gyarados + Duraludon anti-Trick Room lead is also very annoying.|
Round 1 vs Joseph Brummett | LL
Game 1 I led Gyarados + Duraludon (totally forgetting Gothitelle learns Fake Out) vs Gothitelle + Dusclops. My Gyarados got faked out, and I wasn’t able to kill Dusclops. Turn 2 he used Gravity + Hypnosis and started sleeping my Pokémon. He switched in Rhyperior, brick breaking it to activate its Weakness Policy and without the ability to switch and also Gravity I got dumpstered.
In game 2, I lead Togedemaru + Weezing and faked out the Gothitelle and taunted the Dusclops. This game went better for me until he was able to get into a position where he brought in Dusclops while my Weezing was not on the field and set up trick room in the mid game, and I lost from there. Joseph said he really likes my Pikachu Libre in Pokken and wished me luck in the rest of my games.
Round 2 vs Amalio Orozco | WW
I led Gyarados + Duraludon both games and used Earthquake + Max Darkness and swept his team pretty convincingly.
Round 3 vs Justin Brauer | WW
I led Gyarados + Togedemaru with Weezing in the back. After I got rid of Butterfree, I was able to threaten his entire team with Gyarados and had the speed control, so both of the games ended pretty quickly.
Round 4 vs Stefan Mott | WLW
This one was one of the harder games because of Corviknight. His strategy was to use Bulk Up, Substitute, and Roost to set up a scary Corviknight while supporting it with redirection. Some key plays that won me the round was switching in Weezing to get rid of Prankster and taunting Corviknight. Scarf Excadrill was key in stopping his opposing Excadrill. His Corviknight not having Body Press nor Iron Head made the match-up easier.
Round 5 vs Ryan Brooker | WW
This one was tricky because I couldn’t Taunt his Jellicent because it held the Mental Herb. However, he had no answer for Gyarados because of Togedemaru absorbing Lucario’s Thunder Punch. His Lapras had Blizzard and didn’t have Freeze Dry to deal with Gyarados either, so I was able to sweep with it even with Trick Room up.
Round 6 vs Joshua Ritz | LL
This round I also got kind of dumpstered as well. In game 1, I had no idea what Umbreon’s movepool or stats were so he yawned my Gyarados which Dynamaxed on turn 1, which immediately gave him the momentum to sweep my team. Game 2, I tried to play around Yawn by taunting it, but apparently Umbreon learns Foul Play as well and it did a lot of damage to my physical attackers. A miss on Strange Steam against his Umbreon sealed the deal for my opponent. My team was ready for a lot of common Pokémon, but I was not ready for Umbreon.
Round 7 vs Abdul Barrie | WW
I was confident against this team because it was pretty standard stuff. I predicted he would lead with TR, since my team looks very weak to it from team preview, but Gyarados + Duraludon KO’d Bronzong and proceeded to sweep from there. Game 2 he led Dragapult + Togekiss and I led Excadrill + Togedemaru knowing he wouldn’t go for the TR strategy again. Scarf Excadrill was very nice outspeeding Dragapult and chipping everything down.
Round 8 vs Irving Pantoja | WW
This one was also a standard TR team with redirection. Gyarados + Duraludon were able to KO the setter and sweep the rest of the team both games.
Round 9 vs Jeremy Gross | WW
Again, I led Gyarados + Duraludon vs the TR mode in game 1. I was able to sweep game was pretty easily. In game 2, he used the fast mode of his team, but I was ready for it with Togedemaru’s Nuzzle and Weezing disabling Togekiss.
Round 10 vs Max Simon | WW
I knew once I saw the team that I had a good chance against this since my team had a good matchup. In game 1, I led Excadrill + Braviary. I KO’d Charizard turn 1 with Rock Slide, another situation where scarf Excadrill was clutch throughout the tournament. I proceeded to sweep his team by slowing it down and supereffective moves.
In game 2, he decided to G-max his Charizard this time so I used Gyarados and Togedemaru to deal with Whimsicott. Assault Vest proved to be amazing, as Charizard could barely do like 20% with Max Airstream vs Dynamax Gyarados. And with this win, I qualified for day 2 after 10 rounds of Swiss!
Top 32 vs Bingjie Wang | WLL
As soon as I saw Durant and Milotic I knew this would be a hard matchup. Chandelure also was a difficult Pokémon because I couldn’t tell if I would be faster than it or slower with certain Pokémon on my team.
In game 1, I was able to win by weakening Durant with Intimidate spam and getting rid of Hustle. In game 2, I led Gyarados + Duraludon to try to hit Durant on the special side, but I didn’t have the speed control to deal with Durant and my Duraludon went down. A Heat Wave burn on Gyarados was also unfortunate, and when I attacked his Chandelure, I didn’t get the clean OHKO because of it, so I didn’t know it was Focus Sash until game 3.
In game 3, he led Milotic against my Gyarados and I didn’t lead Weezing to try to stop the Competitive, so the boosted Milotic was very tough to deal with. I honestly got really outplayed most of game 3. There was a crucial turn where I thought I could KO his Chandelure with Max Geyser, so I didn’t double into it. It turned out Chandelure held the Focus Sash. I really thought Whimsicott would be the one to have a Sash, but I had no way of knowing for sure since he never brought it and in game 2 I didn’t proc the Sash because of the burn. Chandelure then was able to put a lot of pressure on my team, as I had to waste more Dynamax turns to KO it and he brought Dynamax Durant in the back. I didn’t have enough offense to kill his Pokémon and this is where my run ended.
Good games to Bingjie, and I’m happy he was able to make it all the way to the finals.
Overall, for my 2nd VGC regional I am very happy I was able to top cut. I really didn’t have any expectations going into the tournament, and I think that helped with the mental endurance and nerves during day 1 of Swiss. It’s crazy that I was able to use a team of Pokemon that I really like and it was a solid team that was able to do well in the tournament.
I really don’t think I am an exceptional Pokémon player or anything, but my team had a lot of good ways to deal with many common Pokémon and I was able to catch people by surprise with my sets and strategies. I don’t know if I will really continue with VGC this season outside of a couple locals and nationals, but we’ll see. I hope you all enjoy using my team and make it even better with your own ideas!
Thanks for reading my report.