Hello everyone, my name is Bingjie Wang. I started to join Pokémon tournaments in 2019, when I first attended Toronto Regionals, and found it a big pleasure outside my university life. I enjoy building teams without the most popular archetypes, and when I use the team I built by myself, I feel a sense of accomplishment no matter what results I got.
Today I’m here to showcase the team I used to get 2nd place at Dallas Regionals a couple weeks ago.
Firstly, I want to briefly talk about how I start to build a team. There’s not a specific reason why I chose Durant. If any, it’s because my girlfriend hatched for me a 5 IV one, and I found Durant’s name was same as one of my favorite basketball players Kevin Durant (I didn’t know Durant’s English name before).
My team building methodology itself is simple: choose a core and build a team around it. In the Ultra Series (VGC19), I built teams around Palkia using said concept and managed to top cut three events with it. So, for me, it’s always interesting to build a team like this, as you start at zero and get all your satisfaction when the team works. If the core doesn’t work after some trials, then you swap it for another. Luckily, Durant is worth being a core of the team.
Back to the team building process for this team, I found that Durant has very good offensive potential after looking at its move pool. It can play a similar role to Excadrill, but has stronger damage output and is also faster than Charizard. Because of its ability Hustle, Durant’s attack is incredibly strong. Considering the offensive threats in the current meta (Charizard, Duraludon, Dragpult, Rhyperior, Excadrill, Togekiss…), Durant’s unique type and coverage make it not weak to any of them. Similarly, none of the other cores aforementioned can be played like Durant. After deciding on Durant, the next step was finding its best partners to support it.
The first thing I considered was that I want to Dynamax Durant every game, because without doing so its moves may miss. Therefore, I needed teammates that were not relying too much on Dynamax to function. I started with Togekiss because of its redirect ability, which comes in handy for Durant’s weak special defense. Then, in order to guarantee that Durant moves first, Whimscott is added, especially for the Charizard/Whimscott match ups. Finally, I added Milotic to the team because Durant is afraid of being repeatedly intimidated.
I tried a bunch of Pokémon for the last two slots, but in the end, I found that adding another mode of speed control increases the diversity of the team. Besides, the 4 members are still a bit weak to hard Trick Room teams, so Chandelure is added to address these issues. Lastly, I noticed my team is weak to the sand brothers after Durant is KOed, so I added Flame Orb Conkdurr as my answer to that and also as my Trick Room sweeper that doesn’t rely on Dynamax to function.
Durant @ Life Orb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Iron Head
– Stomping Tantrum
– Rock Slide
Durant is the core of the team, almost chosen every game and Dynamaxed all the time. Certainly, Durant is a Pokémon that needs good teammates around it to keep up its good offensive pressure. Nonetheless, Durant by itself is worth as a team’s starting point, as it is one of the best offensive threats in the format. Its 109 base speed helps it outspeed many offensive cores in the current meta without needing any speed control, and also allows to profit more from the three turns of Dynamax.
Fire-types are Durant’s only weakness, and given that its Dynamax moves increase its bulk, Durant can stay on the field and take some hits while knocking out your opponent’s monsters. All of Durant’s moves are necessary for different situations, as there are no Pokémon that can prevent Durant’s attacks very well. I’ll illustrate how strong these moves are with on some damage calculations.
This is Durant’s main damage output move. When combined with Togekiss’s Helping Hand, a few Pokémon can survive this without Dynamaxing. And even then, it raises the physical defense on our field.
252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Helping Hand Max Steelspike (130 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Dragapult (dynamax): 363-426 (110.6 – 129.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
-1 252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Helping Hand Max Steelspike (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Togekiss (dynamax): 398-471 (103.6 – 122.6%) — guaranteed OHKO
252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Steelspike (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Conkeldurr: 199-235 (93.8 – 110.8%) — 62.5% chance to OHKO
Durant is weak to fire? No problem. Max Rockfall helps KO all Fire-type Pokémon before they can even touch you. It also gets rid cleanly of the two most popular Intimidate users, Arcanine and Gyarados, at -1 attack. Of course, it also KOes most Charizard, even if they carry a Charti Berry (which halves the power of the first Rock-type attack used against it).
-1 252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Rockfall (130 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Gyarados: 205-244 (120.5 – 143.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
-1 252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Rockfall (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Arcanine: 203-239 (103 – 121.3%) — guaranteed OHKO
252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Rockfall (130 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Charti Berry Charizard (dynamax): 312-369 (101.2 – 119.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Rockfall (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 196+ Def Togekiss: 200-237 (104.1 – 123.4%) — guaranteed OHKO
A very good coverage move against steel types which also provides utility by increasing the special defense on our field. Thanks to Helping Hand, it can do overwhelming damage if needed.
252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Helping Hand Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Jellicent: 252-298 (121.7 – 143.9%) — guaranteed OHKO
252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Duraludon (dynamax): 229-270 (64.6 – 76.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Excadrill (dynamax): 382-452 (102.6 – 121.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
Its damages are pretty similar to Max Steelspike’s, but this is mainly used to deal with bulky Water-types.
252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Flutterby (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 84+ Def Rotom-C: 307-361 (97.7 – 114.9%) — 81.3% chance to OHKO
252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Flutterby (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 44+ Def Rotom-W: 157-187 (100 – 119.1%) — guaranteed OHKO
252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Flutterby (130 BP) vs. 244 HP / 108 Def Gastrodon: 226-266 (104.1 – 122.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Flutterby (130 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Dracovish: 191-226 (115 – 136.1%) — guaranteed OHKO
Togekiss @ Scope Lens
Ability: Super Luck
EVs: 252 HP / 108 Def / 76 SpA / 4 SpD / 68 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Dazzling Gleam
– Air Slash
– Helping Hand
– Follow Me
Togekiss is Durant’s partner in crime. The two make up for the most common lead of the team, too. Follow Me needs no explanation, and Helping Hand + any of Durant’s moves can catch your opponents off-guard while also allowing Togekiss to be useful when expecting a Fake Out.
For its two attacking moves, my team has Chandelure and Conkeldurr to deal with Ferrothorn, so I choose Air Slash and Dazzling Gleam as they are both STABs, too.
The item choice here is interesting. I wanted my Togekiss to not only support the team but also become a good sweeper under Tailwind. Because of its Super Luck ability, if you combine it with Scope Lens (item), every time when it attacks, there is 50% chance to land a critical hit. This allowed me to play carelessly if I got Snarl’d.
When it comes to the spread, I trained my Togekiss’s special attack to 11n, and built it for 109 speed to speedcreep opposing Togekiss going for the 107 benchmark, which allows outspeeding Dragpult under Tailwind. The leftover EVs are placed into HP and Defense.
76+ SpA Togekiss Max Airstream (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 12 SpD Arcanine: 118-141 (59.8 – 71.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Figy Berry recovery
252+ Atk Excadrill Max Steelspike (130 BP) vs. +1 252 HP / 108 Def Togekiss: 156-186 (81.2 – 96.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Milotic @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 164 Def / 68 SpA / 20 SpD / 4 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Muddy Water
– Ice Beam
Milotic became the team’s MVP during a lot of sets that seemed hard for me. After Togekiss + Durant, Milotic + Durant is the second most common lead when playing this team.
Since Durant is a physical attacker limited by Intimidate, Milotic can put in key work to prevent the Intimidate users come onto the field back and forth. Its synergy with the ant is excellent, too, as Durant can use Max Steelspike and Max Quake to increase Milotic’s bulk, making it unbreakable in the late game. The combination of Leftovers and Recover maximize Milotic’s ability of standing on the field as long as possible.
Muddy Water is extremely good if the game lasts for a long time, and it also ignores Storm Drain to hit Fire-types alongside a Gastrodon, for example. Protect is a very good move since Milotic gets double targeted often. Moreover, it’s not a bad idea either to Dynamax Milotic if you find your opponent will have a hard team dealing with it.
As for the spread, I invested a lot on physical bulk for the Rhyperior and Mudsdale match ups.
+2 68 SpA Milotic Muddy Water vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Arcanine: 198-234 (100.5 – 118.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
+2 252+ Atk Rhyperior Max Quake (130 BP) vs. +1 252 HP / 164+ Def Milotic: 156-184 (77.2 – 91%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Whimsicott @ Expert Belt
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Energy Ball
Whimsicott is the best Tailwind setter in the format. Given that Chandelure needs having the Focus Sash more than Whimsicott, I had it hold an Expert Belt to boost its damage output.
Thanks to Expert Belt, it knocks out Dragpult and Dracovish in one shot and hits harder any opposing Water-types. On the other hand, not having Focus Sash makes it much more likely to get a free switch right after setting Tailwind, especially in some situations where you don’t want to lead Durant.
252 SpA Expert Belt Whimsicott Moonblast vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Dracovish: 166-197 (100 – 118.6%) — guaranteed OHKO
252 SpA Expert Belt Whimsicott Energy Ball vs. 252 HP / 148+ SpD Rotom-W: 101-118 (64.3 – 75.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery
Chandelure @ Focus Sash
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Heat Wave
– Shadow Ball
– Trick Room
Chandelure is the second speed control user on the team, which allows for smoother play overall. Chandelure fits this team pretty well too, and can play variant roles.
If you lead Durant + Togekiss, when you predict Fire moves aimed against Durant, you can always switch in Chandelure immediately to get Flash Fire activated and next turn threaten your opponent with Follow Me + Trick Room. Of course, Chandelure also threatens the popular lead of Follow Me + Trick Room leads thanks to Imprison, so I used that move pretty often, too.
Although it carries Focus Sash, it’s still easily being knocked out by two consecutive attacks. But since it exerts so much pressure to your opponents and forces them to double target Chandelure to get rid of it, Focus Sash is much needed. I trained it to be max speed for any potential Chandelure mirrors.
252 SpA Chandelure Shadow Ball vs. 140 HP / 0 SpD Dragapult: 186-222 (102.7 – 122.6%) — guaranteed OHKO
Conkeldurr @ Flame Orb
EVs: 252 HP / 236 Atk / 20 Def
IVs: 14 Spe
– Mach Punch
– Drain Punch
– Thunder Punch
As the main Trick Room attacker in the team, Conkeldurr is not only good against the sand duo but also against Pokémon lacking damage output, like the Rotom family and Gastrodon, thanks to Drain Punch.
Protect is nice to trigger Flame Orb, and when burned, Mach Punch + Drain Punch cleanly KOes Pokémon with great bulk like Arcanine. I chose Thunder Punch as my coverage move because my team does not have many ways to hit Jellicent and Gyarados. Thunder Punch also hits Charizard under Trick Room. The speed here allows to move before opposing Jellicent and Lapras under Trick Room while still outspeeding most Tyranitar under Tailwind.
236+ Atk Guts Conkeldurr Thunder Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Gyarados (dynamaxed): 360-424 (105.2 – 123.9%) — guaranteed OHKO
236+ Atk Guts Conkeldurr Thunder Punch vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Jellicent: 194-230 (93.7 – 111.1%) — 62.5% chance to OHKO
236+ Atk Guts Conkeldurr Drain Punch vs. 252 HP / 44 Def Rotom-W: 100-118 (63.6 – 75.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery
236+ Atk Guts Conkeldurr Drain Punch vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Arcanine: 132-156 (67 – 79.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
236+ Atk Guts Conkeldurr Mach Punch vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Arcanine: 70-84 (35.5 – 42.6%) — guaranteed 3HKO
Common lead: + or
These are probably the most popular combinations in the meta. Durant + Togekiss always beats Dragpult/Excadrill + Togekiss. The strategy here is always trying to KO Togekiss first unless you know it has Protect.
If they have Intimidate users, Milotic is a good lead, too. If you get the Competitive boost, you can use Milotic to wear down opposing Pokémon and switch Durant out in the first turn, as late game Dynamaxed Durant is unstoppable. I always bring Chandelure as well, as it beats Dragpult and Excadrill without Focus Sash one vs one.
The other potential approach to this match-up is leading Chandelure + Togekiss, using Trick Room mode in the early game, and sweeping with Durant in the late game.
Hard TR ft.+
Common lead: + or
Never bring: (unless they are mixed Trick Room teams)
Handling hard Trick Room teams needs very good game plans. The main idea is to use Durant to deal damage as much as possible in the early game, then use bulk-boosted Milotic to beat Torkoal and Rhyperior in the late game. Whimscott is only used as a lead when they have a Sleep Powder user like Vileplume.
First turn, usually use Chandelure’s Imprison to stop Trick Room. If Chandelure gets knocked out, switch in Milotic and use Max moves to increase its bulk. If you have a good feeling that your opponent will not Follow Me, an attack from Durant + Chandelure will KO all Trick Room setters.
If against a Vileplume + Torkoal lead, always use Taunt on Vileplume and Max Rockfall on Torkoal. Dynamaxing Torkoal is one of their better choices, so swapping Durant for Chandelure right away is also a good choice.
Common lead: +
Never bring: None
Milotic plays a big role in this match up thanks to Recover. Mudsdale can’t really do anything when Milotic’s defense is boosted, plus Milotic also means no free switches for Arcaine to weaken our physical attackers. If they decide to play around this with Rotom-Wash, once you weaken it by Max Flutterby, Whimscott can easily knock it out with Expert Belt-boosted Energy Ball.
Except for Milotic and Durant, you can bring any of the other 4 Pokémon depending on the rest of the opposing team.
Common lead: +
Never bring: None
Durant + Whimsicott will simply beat this combination unless they have Follow Me users paired with Charizard. In this case, you will need to play smart around it. All the team is viable once again.
+ Hyper Offense
Common lead: + or
Durant just beats hyper offense teams because Durant itself is the best offensive monster without hitting blind spots. If they have nothing faster than Durant, lead Whimscott. If they do, lead Togekiss and keep Whimscott in the back.
+ TR + Follow Me
Common lead: +
Never bring: (unless they don’t have follow me users)
Leading Durant + Chandelure is good for both of their Trick Room + Follow Me potential leads. Small tip: always target the Snorlax in case they Protect their Follow Me users.
Dynamax Snorlax can’t KO neither Chandelure nor Durant in one hit unless they have a Fire-type coverage move. Try to knock out Snorlax’s teammates and stall its Dynamax turns, and then Conkeldurr will win the game.
|Dragapult with a Fire-type move is unpredictable in the first game of best of three set, especially if there is already a Fire-type on the opposing team. Whenever you’re unsure about this, Follow Me is always the safest play.|
|Sylveon can be scary once Durant is KOed, and also all by itself as it can threaten Durant with Mystical Fire. You have to keep Durant alive until KOing Sylveon even if that means losing your Dynamax advantage.|
|There is not many things on my team that can handle Corvinight, no matter if it’s the Tailwind or the Iron Defense set. In the Corvinight match up, Milotic and Chandelure are extremely important.|
|This combination is very hard to deal with. Rotom-Wash pressures offensively my whole team, and Durant has a hard to get rid of it because of Arcanine and Togekiss. Besides, Rotom-Wash threatens Milotic, too. The way of dealing with this is to use Conkeldurr or Whimscott when Rotom’s Dynamax ends.|
|Rain Teams||Both Ludicolo and Seismitoad can do huge amounts of damage to Durant while being faster than Durant under rain. Once they KO Togekiss, chances are you are in a bad spot. But Dynamax Togekiss is very considerable in this match up, as it can put in a lot of work against them.|
|Heat Wave + Follow Me||Togekiss can not redirect the spread Fire-type moves, normally used by Charizard or Chandelure. If you see this combination, Durant should better switch to Chandelure immediately.|
Top Cut Matches
Top 32 vs Labib Haq | LWW
Team preview: I had no idea how his team would play. It’s interesting to play an unprepared match-up and such a big brain team for the first set of top cut. I noticed my Durant could give his team a bad time, just as his well-supported Gyarados gave mine.
Games 1 & 2: I don’t remember our leads, but I had a lucky Heat Wave burn in game 2. During the first two games, I learned that his strategy against my team was to switch in and out his Weezing to Intimidate my Durant repeatedly.
Since Gyarados was his main offensive threat in our match up and performed very well in first two games, I concluded he would probably led it in game 3. So my strategy was to use Milotic to weaken his team and Dynamax Durant after his Dynamax had finished.
Game 3: I led Durant + Milotic against his Togedemaru + Gyarados. I protected my Milotic and switched Durant to Togekiss in turn one. The following turns I just spammed Follow Me + Muddy Water. After my Togekiss got KOed, my Durant swept his team.
Top 16 vs Vishy Vasudevan | WW
Team preview: Vishy has a very offensive team, but nothing in his team can take Durant’s attack well. Scarf Dracovish and potential Fire-type moves on Togekiss could be something I needed to be wary.
Game 1: I led Durant + Togekiss against his Duraludon + Whimscott. I assumed he would use Max Steelspike to KO my Togekiss first and went for Helping Hand plus Max Quake on his Duraludon. However, he went for Max Lightning on my Durant. My Durant was knocked out by his Togekiss’s Heat Wave later on, and the late game came to the dominance of my own healthy Togekiss, which landed multiple crits and helped me take the first game.
Game 2: I led Durant + Whimscott against his Whimscott + Dracovish. I won the speed tie to Taunt his Whimscott and went for Tailwind the following turn. I won from there.
Top 8 vs Ryan Schambers | WLW
Team preview: His team doesn’t have fire type monsters for my Durant, the potential fire move will be carried by Tyranitar. Jellicant is maybe the key pokemon for him to stall out my dynamax turns, because it can set trick room and use strength nap to weaken Durant. So my strategy is very clear, leading Durant to give immediate offensive pressure and putting Conkeldurrr in the back for the trick room mode.
Game1: I led togekiss and Durant against his Jellicant and Braviary. I went for helping hand max steelspike to his Braviary’s slot and killed Scrafty that switched in. He set up trick room. After knocking out his Briviary, my Conkdurr won me a game.
Game2: We both used the same lead, I thought he would protect his Briviary and went for Max Quake into his Jellicant and dazzling gleam. But his Briviary didn’t protect and used Max Airstream, in the meanwhile his Jellicant had Sitrus berry. After a bad turn1 play, I could not find chance to knock out his jellicant the whole game.
Game3: I led togekiss + Durant once again again to his Tyranitar and Jellicant. After Game2’s loss, I thought my main goal is to knock out jellicant as soon as possible. Then I went for helping hand Max Quake and killed his Jellicant. And nothing in his back could stop my durant + Conkeldurr.
Top 4 vs Andrew Burley | WLW
Team preview: He had both a Tailwind and a Trick Room mode, but Whimscott + Durant lead could handle all kinds of leads coming from him. Milotic is also very good in this match up.
Game1: I led Togekiss + Durant against his Bronzong + Rhyperior. At this point in the tournament, I assumed he knew I had Taunt on Whimscott and went for a double target on his Rhyperior, which got KOed. Later on, I had a lucky Muddy Water crit on his Charizard, but given Solar Power + Life Orb’s added chip damage and my Conkeldurr’s Mach Punch, this maybe did not matter that much. In this first game, I learned that his Bronzong did not carry a Mental Herb, which meant that my Whimscott could continue putting in great work.
Game 2: I used the same leads against his Whimscott + Butterfree this time. I tried to Taunt his Butterfree, but it Dynamaxed. Unfortunately, my Durant got put to sleep twice in this game and I lost fast.
Game 3: After knowing his Butterfree carried the Focus Sash, I knew my Chandelure could outspeed it and deal some damage before durant coming in the field. In the meantime, if he went back to his game 1 lead, Energy Ball + Imprison was also a good start for me. I led Whimscott + Chandelure against his Whimscott + Duraludon. After trading the Whimsicott in turn 1, my Durant + Milotic combination in the back were unstoppable and I took the game.
Grand Finals vs Aaron Traylor | LL
Team preview: Togekiss + Charizard will be scary for the team. Honestly, I was too nervous in the team preview and forgot that my friend just told me Aaron’s Charizard had no Heat Wave. Based on this, my plan was to lead Togekiss + Durant and switch Chandelure in immediately to bait his Heat Wave.
Game 1: As I planned, I led Togekiss + Durant against his Charizard + Togekiss. My game plan actually worked well, but came to a mind game in the last turn, where I had Dynamaxed Durant + Conkeldurr against his Charizard + Duraludon. Conkeldurr’s Thunder Punch could KO his Charizard while LO Duraludon could get rid of my Conkeldurr. I expected Charizard to Protect, which ended up being the wrong call, so I lost the game from there.
Game 2: We both used the same leads, but this time I realized his Charizard had no spread Fire moves. He switched in his Jellicant after I knocked out his Togekiss with Max Rockfall. I could Follow Me + Max Rockfall the following turn, too, but if he protected his Charizard and used Water Spout, I would lose immediately.
Therefore, I used Helping Hand + Max Quake to try and knock out his Jellicent, but he didn’t protect his Charizard and I lost from there.
In the end, I don’t regret over predicting this turn, because this was the team’s play style and it worked out pretty well throughout the tounament. If needed, never hesitate to make reads. Just because Champion’s Charizard has no fear of attacking!
I managed to get this impressive result partly because the player field was not prepared well for the Durant match-up, but I hope Durant proved how good of a Pokémon it can be thanks to this tournament.
I am very satisfied about how I played and enjoyed Pokémon the whole weekend. Thank you for reading until here. I hope you keep on having fun while playing Pokémon, too!