Hello, everyone! My name is Mattie Morgan (@MattieMooVGC) and I’m a player from Ireland. Although I have had success in the Seniors division from 2016 to 2017, my Masters results have been underwhelming, and I have wanted to do better for a while. Last weekend I managed to finish 4th place at Malmö Regionals, and I am thrilled to finally top cut a Regional Championship!
The team I ended up using at Malmö is very much inspired by the team Justin “Lukamir” Ramirez used to with the 1st Rose Tower Clash Open.
I originally used this team to win a Premier Challenge, and following this I also won a Rose Tower Clash with it. This team really suited me and I enjoyed using it. However, before Malmö, it was announced that Series 3 would add the Kanto and Alola starters to the format, as well as some new Gigantamax forms. I felt somewhat obligated to try and incorporate some of the new options on my team.
I decided early on that I wanted to use Gothitelle, as I personally rank it as one of the best Pokémon in the format and I have experience using it. The oppressive nature of Shadow Tag eliminates so many of the opponent’s viable options, strengthening your own. The addition of Fake Out to its movepool in this generation pushes the support it provides to the next level.
Incineroar was added due to its proven strength beside Gothitelle in 2018. Incineroar is able to stack stat drops on the opponent’s side of the field with Intimidate and Parting Shot and also help Gothitelle set up Trick Room with its Fake Out support.
I inevitably tried out Lukamir’s team but with Incineroar over Arcanine. Straight away I hated the fact that Incineroar and Tyranitar stack typing and share three weaknesses. This composition was alright, however I disliked the negative synergy between Incineroar and Tyranitar. I also missed the speed that Arcanine boasts and Incineroar lacks, especially considering that Venusaur had just been added to the format and I only had Durant to outspeed it before it got off a Sleep Powder. Being forced to lead Durant is not ideal, as the opponent can prepare accordingly, and Durant relies on Dynamax to be used properly.
By briefly using Mudsdale, I realised just how good Tyranitar is and wanted it back almost immediately. Mudsdale is a lot less flexible as it is more reliant on Dynamax and Trick Room than Tyranitar. Furthermore, Tyranitar is able to easily deal with the Ghost types Gothitelle struggles with, which became a bigger struggle without Tyranitar. At this point, I was going to just use the original Arcanine version as it was still working well in Series 3. However, I then discovered just the Pokémon that fit my team perfectly…
Torracat gave me the best aspects of Arcanine and Incineroar, at the cost of some bulk and power. Like Arcanine, it is fast and pure Fire type. It also boasts the great support and positional moves Incineroar has, in Fake Out, Parting Shot and U-turn.
These were the six Pokémon I had the most success with. After some practice sets, I realised that Torracat is great at what it does, and the rest of the team is still as strong as ever. Part of the reason for my success at this tournament was my familiarity with this team, and the fact that I had finished it about a week and a half before the tournament. This allowed me to play plenty of practice sets against the New Bark Loud Puppies and some other friends.
Gothitelle @ Kasib Berry
Ability: Shadow Tag
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
– Fake Out
– Helping Hand
– Trick Room
The Pokémon I knew I wanted to use from the beginning; the main control and glue of the team. Gothitelle was so powerful, both in practice and during the tournament. As a lead, it can trap opponents from the beginning, allowing you to play against only the two Pokémon in front of you and reposition if necessary, whilst threatening Fake Out onto the opponent. In the back, it can switch in at any time and trap the opposing Pokémon into an unfavourable position.
As for move choices, Fake Out and Trick Room were a given. Fake Out is even stronger with Shadow Tag, as there is no risk of the opponent switching out to negate it. Trick Room allows me to set up for a sweep with Tyranitar and Sylveon against slower teams, and also beats other forms of speed control. Psychic does decent damage, and most noticeably hits Conkeldurr, which I would struggle with otherwise. Helping Hand is another move that is strengthened with Shadow Tag, as the opponent can’t switch out to waste your Helping Hand boosted attack. This move pairs well with many of the hard-hitting Pokémon on the team.
Maximum Defence investment and Kasib Berry ensured Gothitelle could survive Max Phantasm from Dragapult. The bulk was overall what worked best and it was still able to take both physical and special hits well. I opted not to minimise Speed as it is nice to sometimes be able to have a faster Fake Out than Grimmsnarl and Incineroar.
0 SpA Gothitelle Psychic vs. 252 HP / 180 SpD Conkeldurr: 110-132 (51.8 – 62.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 Atk Life Orb Dragapult Max Phantasm (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Kasib Berry Gothitelle: 103-122 (58.1 – 68.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Durant @ Life Orb
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Iron Head
– Stomping Tantrum
– Thunder Fang
This is the ant that everyone is terrified of. Durant demands attention at team preview, as a lead that cannot handle it will fall apart to the monstrous strength of this bug. That being said, I’m actually hesitant to bring Durant to a lot of games, especially game one. Durant becomes stronger once you learn where the opposing team’s checks to it lay, for example Flamethrower Dragapult or Babiri Berry Togekiss.
Durant’s main purpose is obviously to do a lot of damage, but its Dynamax secondary effects are also very useful. Max Steelspike and Max Quake allow Milotic to become a complete tank, and efforts to nerf Durant’s power with Intimidate will only strengthen Milotic due to Competitive. Thunder Fang was chosen over Rock Slide or X-Scissor to hit Milotic and Corviknight, as well as to block sleep with Max Lightning’s secondary effect of Electric Terrain. Maximum Attack and Speed and Life Orb allow Durant to hit as hard and fast as possible.
252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Lightning (120 BP) vs. 252 HP / 164+ Def Milotic: 216-255 (106.9 – 126.2%) — guaranteed OHKO
252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Lightning (120 BP) vs. 252 HP / 28 Def Corviknight: 221-260 (107.8 – 126.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
Milotic @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 164 Def / 68 SpA / 20 SpD / 4 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Muddy Water
– Ice Beam
Milotic, similarly to Durant, forced respect at team preview. Milotic’s Competitive ability deters Intimidate Pokémon from switching onto the field, which is perfect beside Durant or Tyranitar. It’s also a strong ability against stat-lowering Max Moves. This Pokémon could win games by chipping away at the opponent whilst recovering damage that it receives.
Muddy Water was chosen to deal consistent damage and ease prediction on switch-ins due to being a spread move. It also allowed Milotic to get around redirection. Ice Beam is a solid single-target move that gives overall good coverage. Recover and Protect extend Milotic’s longevity, allowing it to stick around for longer.
The EV spread is stolen from Bingjie Wang’s 2nd place Dallas Regionals team. I preferred Leftovers to an item such as Wiki Berry, as Milotic tends to stick around for a lot of turns when brought, allowing it to get full use from Leftovers. It can take powerful hits from +1 Atk Rhyperior, which is essential in the hard Trick Room match-up.
Tyranitar @ Weakness Policy
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 236 HP / 252 Atk / 20 Def
IVs: 26 Spe
– Rock Slide
Tyranitar has amazing stats all around, making it an excellent pick in a wide variety of match-ups and scenarios. This is the Pokémon I Dynamax most often. Unlike Durant, it can be Dynamaxed reactively, whilst still being able to Dynamax proactively to try and sweep. It also can function well without Dynamax. Very flexible and a key component in a number of gameplans.
The moveset is pretty self-explanatory. Rock Slide and Crunch are consistent STAB moves. Superpower rounds out Tyranitar’s coverage nicely, whilst allowing it to boost its attack with Max Knuckle.
Weakness Policy turns Tyranitar into a complete beast. It is the perfect item for this Pokémon; it makes opponents reconsider targeting it with one of its seven weaknesses. It can also be self-activated with the help of Sylveon’s Quick Attack or Torracat’s U-turn. Its immense bulk and monstrous attack alongside the support of Gothitelle can tear through teams when positioned correctly. The EV spread allows Dynamaxed Tyranitar to survive a Max Steelspike from Life Orb Durant. 26 Speed IVs were chosen so that it is more likely to underspeed opposing Tyranitar for Trick Room, whilst also underspeeding my own Sylveon by one point. This was useful to allow Sylveon to benefit from the Special Defence drop from Max Darkness.
Sylveon @ Throat Spray
EVs: 244 HP / 188 Def / 76 SpA
– Hyper Voice
– Quick Attack
Sylveon is a fantastic partner for Tyranitar, as it helps it deal with Fighting types such as Conkeldurr. Throat Spray allows it to become a potent sweeper in Trick Room with Hyper Voice, especially alongside Helping Hand support from Gothitelle. Quick Attack is mainly used to activate Tyranitar’s Weakness Policy, but comes in clutch sometimes by breaking a Focus Sash or just picking off a target with very low HP. Yawn is a move that helps in a plethora of situations, and is strengthened by Shadow Tag. Yawning a Dynamax Pokémon forces the opponent to choose to either withdraw their Dynamax or fall asleep.
Sylveon is also capable of threatening outside of Trick Room, mainly with the support of Torracat and Gothitelle. Its large investment in Defence helps a lot with this. The spread is taken from Lukamir’s team, but I never felt the need to change it. Most notably, it can survive a -1 Atk Max Steelspike from Excadrill.
Torracat @ Eviolite
EVs: 204 HP / 12 Def / 44 SpA / 4 SpD / 244 Spe
– Fake Out
– Parting Shot
As mentioned previously, Torracat is like a mix between Arcanine and Incineroar. On this team, it fits its role perfectly. That being said, when using Torracat it is important to remember that its bulk is not as good, so it cannot be switched in and out as many times as its alternatives. A second Fake Out user helped Gothitelle set up Trick Room more consistently, which is useful especially considering the lack of redirection on this team. Overheat was chosen as it is needed to hit decently hard with Torracat’s mediocre Special Attack stat. The Special Attack drop is seldom an issue as the other two moves Torracat can use after Overheat switch it out. Parting Shot is great in conjunction with Gothitelle to keep opponents with stat drops stuck on the field. U-turn’s main purpose is to proc Tyranitar’s Weakness Policy. I opted for this move over something like Will-O-Wisp or Taunt as I felt that activating Weakness Policy was extremely pivotal; it can put the game in your favour quickly, even allowing Tyranitar to OHKO the Trick Room Pokémon you would want to use Taunt against anyway.
The Special Attack investment ensure that Overheat always OHKOs Excadrill. The Speed investment allows Torracat to outspeed Excadrill by 1, whilst being 1 Speed slower than Roserade – I didn’t want to risk a speed tie against it and this would allow me to Fake Out it and go for Trick Room and then safely move before it in Trick Room. The HP and Defence investment allow Dynamaxed Torracat to survive a Max Rockfall or Max Quake from -1 Atk Life Orb Helping Hand boosted Durant.
The most oppressive lead on the team. Gothitelle can boost Durant’s power with Helping Hand and Shadow Tag eases prediction, allowing Durant to attack without wasting its Dynamax turns by ensuring the attack hits the intended Pokémon.
Gothitelle can support Tyranitar well, whilst Tyranitar can tackle the Ghost types Gothitelle does not like to face. The bulk and power of this lead makes it fantastic in a range of match-ups.
This lead is a good choice against slow bulky teams. You can fire off strong attacks with both Tyranitar and Sylveon to whittle away at the opposing team, or self Quick Attack to make Tyranitar immensely powerful.
Milotic deters the intimidators that Durant dislikes. Boosting Milotic’s defences with Max Steelspike and Max Quake enables a new win condition, as many teams are incapable of KO’ing boosted Milotic.
Torracat supports Tyranitar’s already high bulk with Intimidate and Parting Shot. It can also U-turn Tyranitar, boosting its attack and usually switching out to Gothitelle to continue supporting it.
If you decide to try out this team for yourself, I encourage you to test out different leads too as this list does not include everything!
|Dragapult is difficult to deal with before you find out its set, as you want to deal with it in different ways if it is Physical or Special, especially if it has a partner that can threaten Tyranitar.|
|Although Corviknight isn’t the biggest issue ever, Bulk Up/Iron Defence sets can give me trouble. It limits your options, practically forcing you to Dynamax Torracat if it gets defence boosts as it becomes the only way to deal significant damage to it.|
|Wash Rotom can threaten heavy damage onto my whole team, and is difficult to KO. It becomes even scarier if they can safely use Nasty Plot. I try to use Sylveon and Tyranitar to threaten it, or Yawn it with Sylveon as it cannot protect itself with its own Electric Terrain.|
|I consider Inteleon to be the hardest single Pokémon to beat for this team. With Helping Hand or Fake Tears support, it can OHKO every Pokémon on my team. Usually the only way to get around it is by Dynamaxing Tyranitar and making the right read turn one.|
I am pleased with my performance. The team is super fun; I encourage you to try it! Massive shoutouts to everyone who helped me practice and supported me during the tournament and thank you everyone who congratulated me on my run – it means a lot to me! Finally, thanks to the event staff and the Victory Road team for running the event smoothly and providing a fabulous stream!
Thanks for reading!