Hot Wings! – A VR May Challenge 17th Place Team Report

Hi all! I’m Connor Swikart (CondorNJ in both Twitter and Twitch) or Condor as my friends call me and this is my team report on the team I used to finish 7-2 in Swiss (0-1 in Top Cut) in the VR May Challenge.I’m a relatively new VGC player with 2020 being the first format of VGC I’ve played. My first tournament I played in was in January of this year, but I’ve been steadily improving in every tournament I’ve played. I’m not new to competitive Pokémon as I used to play OU singles and topped the Gen 5 OU ladder on Pokémon Online for a time. This is a team that I built myself and is in fact the first team that I have actually built without anyone’s assistance.I’d first of all like to thank Victory Road for putting on this tournament and keeping us all sharp during this pandemic. I’m sure that we can all agree that a world with no VGC is a dark, dark world indeed. Without further ado, here’s what we had:

Teambuilding process

This team started as something completely different. I had just finally made the decision to drop Sirfetch’d from a team in favor of Conkeldurr. All of a sudden I realized I had a serious problem with Iron Defense Ferrothorn. Now I was thinking: this team needs a Fire type and preferably a special attacker. That’s where I thought to include Heat Rotom. Now I know this isn’t a revelation for most people, but in my iterations of running different Rotom (mainly Wash) I never thought to include and run Heat Rotom with the same set I run Wash Rotom with.

ConkeldurrRotom-HeatWhimsicott

That’s when I realized I could make Rotom a real offensive threat on this team (the kind that tears through things, not the kind that sets up). So, in order to do that I’d need to add a Fake Tears user. The best option for me was going to be Whimsicott as I had no Pokémon that needed Focus Sash yet and no real form of speed control.

ConkeldurrRotom-HeatWhimsicottTyranitarGastrodon-West

Now I needed a powerhouse with some coverage. I settled on Tyranitar as it was already on the team that I built this one from and its typing gave my defensive coverage options that I didn’t already have. However, this made me realize that I was astonishingly weak to Water. So, I felt the addition of Gastrodon would help. Gastrodon could also give me a counter to the Coalossal + Dragapult duo that has inundated the ladders.

ConkeldurrRotom-HeatWhimsicottTyranitarGastrodon-WestCorviknight

The initial version of this team had Dusclops as its sixth, which worked pretty well (I laddered it to 1600 on Pokémon Showdown pretty quickly). Luckily, Collin Heier (TheBattleRoom in Twitch) showed me a better way. And that way was Corviknight. Corviknight would offer me a secondary form of speed control as well as a reliable sand wall. The number of things it answered for this team FAR outweighed its risk. And after testing it I was able to ladder the team to 1750 without losing a game (I know that’s not that high but I was under massive time constraints). So now we finally had the finished product and were ready to unveil it to the world.

The Team

▶️ Get the team’s paste here!

Note: I tried to leave out things that I felt were obvious and focused on how the team plays.



Conkeldurr
@ Flame Orb
Ability: Guts
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 252 Atk / 20 SpD
Adamant Nature
– Protect
– Drain Punch
– Mach Punch
– Thunder Punch

Conkeldurr was a bit of a mixed bag on this team. It certainly had its moments in the sun, but its most important role ended up being what it often is. Keep Tyranitar in check, keep Excadrill in check, and punish predictable Togekiss switch-ins. I had two moveset decisions to make with Conkeldurr:

  1. Protect or Detect. Protect is the poor man’s Detect, and I just didn’t have the PP Ups to make it work. Go with Detect obviously if you have the resources. And…
  2. Thunder Punch or Ice Punch. I really liked the idea of Ice Punch as it would make Conkeldurr a reliable revenge killer of enemy Dragapult. However, I felt I had enough Dragapult checks and found the ability to setup Electric Terrain to be a bit more useful in this meta where sleep is so prevalent.

Notably I found I had difficulties switching in Conkeldurr because of its shared neutral and super effective weaknesses with the common leads on this team. That’s where I feel it was a mixed bag, as I would usually have to wait for one of my leads to go down before bringing it in. And having to wait (not necessarily but usually) a turn to proc burn meant that, if I brought it in against an Incineroar or Arcanine, they would be able to switch out and come back in to drop my Attack.

Offensive calcs

Tyranitar 252+ Atk Guts Conkeldurr Drain Punch vs. 220 HP / 0 Def Tyranitar (Dynamaxed): 412 (101.4%) – 492 (121.1%) — guaranteed OHKO

Excadrill 252+ Atk Guts Conkeldurr Drain Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Excadrill (Dynamaxed): 336 (90.3%) – 396 (106.4%) — 43.8% chance to OHKO

Excadrill 252+ Atk Guts Conkeldurr Mach Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Excadrill: 180 (96.7%) – 212 (113.9%) — 81.3% chance to OHKO

Incineroar -1 252+ Atk Guts Conkeldurr Drain Punch vs. 236 HP / 4 Def Incineroar: 162 (81%) – 192 (96%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Arcanine -1 252+ Atk Guts Conkeldurr Drain Punch vs. 244 HP / 20 Def Arcanine: 87 (44.3%) – 103 (52.5%) — 21.5% chance to 2HKO after Figy Berry recovery

Defensive calcs

Togekiss 60 SpA Togekiss Dazzling Gleam vs. 236 HP / 20 SpD Conkeldurr on a critical hit: 174 (82.8%) – 206 (98%) — guaranteed 2HKO after burn damage

Rotom-Wash +2 60 SpA Rotom-W Thunderbolt vs. 236 HP / 20 SpD Conkeldurr: 153 (72.8%) – 181 (86.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO after burn damage

Rotom-Heat @ Life Orb
Ability: Levitate
Level: 50
EVs: 196 HP / 76 Def / 156 SpA / 4 SpD / 76 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Protect
– Overheat
– Thunderbolt
– Dark Pulse

Heat Rotom was the bread and butter of this team. It was my biggest offensive threat for much of the tournament, mainly thanks to the Fake Tears pressure Whimsicott provided. However, what I think makes this Rotom somewhat unique is its ability to survive its Dynamax. In previous teams that I’ve used, there is a tendency to habitually do the following: Dynamax turn 1, pick up two KOs, faint on your third Dynamax turn. But because of its unique combination of bulk and power, Rotom was able to pick up a number of KOs while surviving long enough to see the Pokémon that the opponent hid in the back from it (namely Ferrothorn and Conkeldurr).

Protect was CRUCIAL, as it provided me a stay of execution against sand leads. This meant I could pivot partners while stalling long enough to eventually bring in Corviknight. This became a central theme of how I played this team. Protect on Rotom makes board positioning easy.

Offensive calcs

Dusclops 156+ SpA Life Orb Rotom-H Max Darkness (130 BP) vs. -2 248 HP / 252+ SpD Eviolite Dusclops: 135 (92.4%) – 161 (110.2%) — 62.5% chance to OHKO

Lapras 156+ SpA Life Orb Rotom-H Max Lightning (130 BP) vs. -2 252 HP / 8+ SpD Lapras (Dynamaxed): 484 (102.1%) – 569 (120%) — guaranteed OHKO

Togekiss 156+ SpA Life Orb Rotom-H Max Lightning (130 BP) vs. 236 HP / 156 SpD Togekiss: 198 (104.2%) – 234 (123.1%) — guaranteed OHKO

Excadrill 156+ SpA Life Orb Rotom-H Max Flare (140 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Excadrill (Dynamaxed): 385 (103.4%) – 455 (122.3%) — guaranteed OHKO

Whimsicott @ Focus Sash
Ability: Prankster
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Tailwind
– Fake Tears
– Moonblast
– Taunt

I think people would be surprised by the survivability of Whimsicott with no defensive investment. Not pleasantly surprised, but surprised nonetheless. The real reason I ran this set was because I needed max Speed Whimsicott. If opposing Taunt Whimsicott run max Speed and I don’t, it makes the game 10 times harder for this team. Taunt had a few good uses in this tournament, being notably good against the following Pokémon that tend to be a pain for this team: Venusaur, Milotic, Gastrodon, Dusclops, Swords Dance Mold Breaker Excadrill, Togekiss and Mimikyu.

Offensive calcs

Enough to break a Focus Sash!

Defensive calcs
Chandelure +6 252 SpA Chandelure Max Flare (140 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Whimsicott with Focus Sash: 134 (99.9%) – 134 (99.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Tyranitar @ Weakness Policy
Ability: Sand Stream
Level: 50
EVs: 228 HP / 164 Atk / 36 Def / 4 SpD / 76 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Rock Slide
– Superpower
– Crunch
– Protect

This Tyranitar set is un-optimized to say the least. It’s frequently on the fringe of Conkeldurr calcs, both while Dynamaxed and normally. However, the threat of Tyranitar is more about what it COULD do, rather than what it actually does. The ability to change weather was huge, as well as break potential Focus Sashes with sand damage. I actually found a strange amount of success running slightly faster Tyranitar than I thought I would. 76 Spe is enough to outspeed Modest 252 Spe Venusaur as well as 252 Spe Milotic when at +1. It outspeeds just about anything when Tailwind is up. Optimally you would run a bit more Speed or a bit more bulk on him but Tyranitar certainly got the job done this time around.

Offensive calcs

Togekiss 164+ Atk Tyranitar Max Rockfall (130 BP) vs. 236 HP / 196+ Def Togekiss: 186 (97.8%) – 218 (114.7%) — 81.3% chance to OHKO

Lapras +2 164+ Atk Tyranitar Max Rockfall (130 BP) vs. 228 HP / 0 Def Lapras (Dynamaxed) through Reflect: 374 (79.9%) – 442 (94.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO after sandstorm damage

Defensive calcs

Durant 252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Steelspike (130 BP) vs. 228 HP / 36 Def Tyranitar (Dynamaxed): 343 (84%) – 406 (99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Charizard 252 SpA Life Orb Solar Power Charizard Max Overgrowth (140 BP) vs. 228 HP / 4 SpD Tyranitar (Dynamaxed) in Sun: 273 (66.9%) – 322 (78.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Coalossal +2 252+ SpA Coalossal Max Overgrowth (140 BP) vs. 228 HP / 4 SpD Tyranitar in Sand: 170 (83.3%) – 200 (98%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Dragapult 0- SpA Dragapult Surf vs. 228 HP / 4 SpD Tyranitar in Sand: 26 (12.7%) – 32 (15.6%)

Gastrodon @ Rindo Berry
Ability: Storm Drain
Level: 39
EVs: 204 HP / 188 Def / 60 SpA / 52 SpD / 4 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Earth Power
– Scald
– Recover
– Protect

Storm Drain is powered by the tears of Dragapult + Coalossal users as they fire off Max Overgrowths into Gastrodon, only to find out that Gastrodon has Dynamaxed and their Coalossal is about to be retired without even setting up G-Max Volcalith. At +1, Max Quake is enough but even if they don’t fire off a Surf to proc Weakness Policy, Max Quake + Superpower/Rock Slide usually still does the trick.

Scald became an essential part of this Gastrodon set because of how necessary burn chip became in end games. I opted not to use Yawn because of how I’d be using Rotom and setting up Electric Terrain. It just didn’t make much sense to me. I decided on full Speed IVs with Gastrodon because I wanted it to be able to still be effective with Tailwind up against Incineroar and the lot with 60 base Speed. In hindsight, I don’t know if I’d prefer to run 0 Speed, the only thing I know is that I only saw 1 Rhyperior, and I’m very glad that I only saw 1 Rhyperior.

Offensive calcs

Coalossal 60 SpA Gastrodon Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 108 HP / 0 SpD Coalossal (Dynamaxed): 324 (81.4%) – 384 (96.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Rhyperior 60 SpA Gastrodon Max Geyser (130 BP) vs. -2 68 HP / 188 SpD Solid Rock Rhyperior (Dynamaxed) in Sand: 363 (91.2%) – 432 (108.5%) — 50% chance to OHKO

Defensive calcs
Coalossal +2 252+ SpA Coalossal Max Overgrowth (140 BP) vs. 204 HP / 52 SpD Rindo Berry Gastrodon (Dynamaxed): 280 (66%) – 330 (77.8%) — guaranteed 2HKORotom-Wash +6 252+ SpA Rotom-W Max Geyser (140 BP) vs. Storm Drain Gastrodon: 0 (0%) – 0 (0%) — aim for the horn next time

Corviknight @ Lum Berry
Ability: Mirror Armor
Level: 50
EVs: 228 HP / 100 Atk / 180 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Brave Bird
– Iron Head
– Bulk Up
– Roost

Actually though, the number of times that Corviknight was able to tank hit after hit after hit, only to end up with 5 HP and then Roost was INSANE. The pressure it provides extends way past itself. It can give both Speed and Defense boosts to a team operate at maximum efficiency with both of those boosts. I can’t count on two hands the number of times during Swiss that Corviknight came out of its Dynamax with +1 Atk, +3 Def, +1 Spe, and 50-80% of its health. That fact alone should be terrifying enough, but add in its ability to flinch with Iron Head and it is a late-game nightmare for anyone.

Lum Berry was super important for my matchups against sleep and burn teams. Most teams, once they knew about the Lum Berry, would just avoid it, which ended up being even better because it made their next move much more predictable.

Offensive calcs

Tyranitar +1 100+ Atk Corviknight Max Steelspike (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 56 Def Tyranitar (Dynamaxed): 212 (51.2%) – 252 (60.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Arcanine +1 100+ Atk Corviknight Max Airstream (140 BP) vs. 76 HP / 4 Def Arcanine: 154 (88%) – 183 (104.5%) — 31.3% chance to OHKO

Defensive calcs

Dragapult 252 Atk Life Orb Dragapult Max Phantasm (130 BP) vs. +1 228 HP / 0 Def Corviknight: 87 (43%) – 105 (51.9%) — 10.9% chance to 2HKO

Lapras 252 SpA Lapras G-Max Resonance (120 BP) vs. 228 HP / 0 SpD Corviknight: 88 (21.7%) – 105 (25.9%) — 2.9% chance to 4HKO

Typical leads

Whimsicott + Rotom-Heat/Corviknight

This is the lead anytime there is no Fake Out user on your opponent’s side of the field. Whimsicott now has free range to set up Tailwind OR if you are already faster, spam Fake Tears and Taunt. I’ll usually take Corviknight against teams that lead Arcanine because Lum Berry allows me to not fear Will-o-Wisp.

Rotom-Heat + Corviknight

This is a good lead to bring when you aren’t really sure what your opponent is going to bring but in team preview you see Excadrill, Togekiss and Tyranitar. You don’t know for sure if it’s going to be Mold Breaker or Sand Rush, so you hedge your bets. If it’s Mold Breaker Excadrill, you can just switch and Protect spam until it’s out of Dynamax. If it’s Sand Rush you Dynamax Rotom and start spamming Bulk Ups. And get ready for a 4-0.

Corviknight + Tyranitar

I led this combination a surprising amount in this tournament given that I didn’t really use it much in practice. That might just be because my opponents had similar cores but I think it is still viable outside of that instance. I brought it Game 1 in Rounds 5 and 6 and the only Pokémon those teams had in common was Tyranitar.

Tyranitar + Gastrodon-West

Only lead this against Coalossal + Dragapult. See below.

My run at the VR May Challenge

Summary

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
R1WWUSA
Aaron Traylor
DragapultCoalossalTogekissGastrodon-EastDusclopsConkeldurr
R2WWUSA
Matias Mills
MachampExcadrillTogekissArcanineWhimsicottDrapion
R3WWGBR
Andrew Fairbrother
Rotom-WashExcadrillTogekissArcanineFerrothornTyranitar
R4LWWESP
Manuel Barea
DurantMiloticHydreigonChandelureWhimsicottToxtricity-Low-Key
R5WWKOR
Lee Jong-seo
DragapultMimikyuRotom-MowArcanineGastrodon-EastTyranitar
R6WWKOR
Jeong Seong-jae
CharizardVenusaurTogekissTorkoalDusclopsTyranitar
R7WLWECU
Paul Ruiz
DragapultExcadrillTogekissArcanineGastrodon-EastTyranitar
R8LLUSA
Adrien Hurley
CharizardVenusaurConkeldurrNinetalesDusclopsRhyperior
R9LLESP
Kevin Rodríguez
HattereneVenusaurIndeedee-FemaleTorkoalDusclopsRhyperior
Top 24LLUSA
Ashton Cox
DragapultExcadrillTogekissIncineroarRotom-WashTyranitar

Swiss rounds

R1 vs  USA  Aaron Traylor (Unreality) (Swiss: 0-3 drop) — WW

DragapultCoalossalTogekissGastrodon-EastDusclopsConkeldurr

Aaron led as I suspected he would game 1 with Coalossal + Dragapult. However, instead of powering up Coalossal, he put up Light Screen which allowed me to take his Dragapult down to Focus Sash with one Crunch from Tyranitar while still chunking Coalossal for about 2/3 of its health (all without really taking any damage). He brought Dusclops and Conkeldurr in the back but I had Gastrodon, Tyranitar, Corviknight and Rotom so there wasn’t much he could do (although he made it astonishingly close by critting my Corviknight with his Conkeldurr).

I knew game 2 he’d change up his lead so I brought Rotom over Gastrodon in my lead and as I thought he brought Togekiss + Dusclops. I OHKO’d Togekiss which forced him to Dynamax Conkeldurr (which could only buff its own Attack). We ended up in a 1v1 turf war East Side Gastros vs West Side Gastros but the East Side Gastros didn’t run Recover. Therefore, the turf belonged to the West Siders.

R2 vs  USA  Matias Mills (Ripcoder) (Swiss: 1-3 drop) — WW

MachampExcadrillTogekissArcanineWhimsicottDrapion

This round was an exercise in futility for my opponent. You could clearly see that he was trying to catch somebody off guard by running the new Gigantamax Machamp. However, the thing about Gigantamax Machamp is that it can only boost its own crit ratio, not its Attack. So, at best it’s only ever going to do 1.5x damage. His goal I suppose was to boost Togekiss so that it could auto-crit, but Rotom and Corviknight were waaaaay too much for it to handle.

Side note: Did you know that Gigantamax Machamp using Max Steelspike (based off Bullet Punch) doesn’t knock Whimsicott down to Focus Sash? True story.

Game 2 he played much better, but Corviknight getting boosted proved to be too much and there was no one on his side who could deal enough damage to Corviknight in the end.

R3 vs  GBR  Andrew Fairbrother (Combustandy) (Swiss: 6-3) — WW

Rotom-WashExcadrillTogekissArcanineFerrothornTyranitar

Rotom too strong. He was Sand Rush Excadrill which meant that the only reliable killers of Rotom were Tyranitar or his Rotom. However the presence of Conkeldurr and Gastrodon on my team made it essentially impossible for him do any substantial damage to Rotom.

Game 2 was Corviknight’s turn to shine. I led with Rotom again to keep Ferrothorn in the back (so it wouldn’t try to switch in on Corviknight’s attacks). Then I just widdled down his Tyranitar, Excadrill and Togekiss with Corviknight until all the threat to Rotom were gone.

R4 vs  ESP  Manuel Barea (LeunamTG) (Swiss: 4-3 drop) — LWW

DurantMiloticHydreigonChandelureWhimsicottToxtricity-Low-Key

This was probably a set I should have lost. Not only did I not play very well, but I got pretty lucky in the third game. I took a massive 4-2 lead in game 1 but fell for the classic blunder of not having Tailwind set when Durant came to party.

Game 2 I switched up my lead to Whimsicott + Rotom but I made the mistake of ignoring his Chandelure and letting it set up Trick Room right after I’d used Tailwind. On top of that his Durant crit my Rotom with Max Darkness which (if he didn’t) would’ve immediately won me the game. This meant I’d have to stagger Trick Room and Tailwind turns in order to stay in it. I eventually got it to a 1v1 Durant vs Corviknight. I survived his Crunch with 3 HP and Roost spammed all the way back up to full for the win.

Game 3 was wild. I can’t completely describe the rollercoaster of emotions so watch it below 🙂

R5 vs  KOR  Lee Jong-seo (Crystal) (Swiss: 5-3 drop) — WW

DragapultMimikyuRotom-MowArcanineGastrodon-EastTyranitar

This matchup is where this team’s balance and adaptability really shined. I had to have predicted 3 Ally Switches incorrectly and fallen for at least 2 other cheesy techs (Mental Herb Mimikyu). But still we were able to finish quickly (only 18 minutes for the full set). The thing about the matchup was that he was never really able to apply any real offensive pressure (he Dynamaxed Gastrodon in both games). I think leaving Dragapult on the bench was a mistake for him but I’ll take what I can get.

R6 vs  KOR  Jeong Seong-jae (Nayeon) (Swiss: 7-2; Top Cut: Top 4) — WW

CharizardVenusaurTogekissTorkoalDusclopsTyranitar

I love this matchup. Because once you get past the bluster of seeing Venusaur, Dusclops and Torkoal, there is really nothing on this team that our team feared. Charizard, Torkoal and Dusclops are all checked by Tyranitar and Venusaur and Togekiss are checked by Corviknight. That leaves just Tyranitar and we check that with either our own faster Tyranitar or Conkeldurr. This meant we could bring Whimsicott for Taunt disruption. Game 2 was much closer than game 1, but in the end Corviknight just did Corviknight things picking up 3 out of 4 KOs and hanging on with 15 HP to win us the game.

R7 vs  ECU  Paul Ruiz (Ralfdude) (Swiss: 7-2; Top Cut: Top 16) — WLW

DragapultExcadrillTogekissArcanineGastrodon-EastTyranitar

Now I’m really glad I didn’t know this was Paul while we were playing the set, otherwise I would’ve been SUPER nervous. In my very limited VGC experience, he was definitely the most established player I’ve ever played in a best of 3. That being said our team put in WORK. Game 1 he was plagued by a few tough switches and hard reads. He still managed to turn what was a 3v1 into a 1v1 but, fortunately for me, it was Gastrodon vs Arcanine.

Game 2 we would have won if not for a few very timely crits for Paul (namely Max Steelspike into +3 Corviknight). Just that crit should put into perspective the kind of positions that Corviknight was putting people in.

Game 3 I stayed calm and did what all basic VGC boys do. Keep Calm and Max Corviknight. I felt in the end of the game like I was in an awkward position but he kept using Fly into my Conkeldurr’s Protect in order to get Swords Dance boosts off with his Excadrill. If anything I’d like to hear from Paul about what he was doing there (so Paul, if you read this, hit me up, I need to learn).

R8 vs  USA  Adrien Hurley (ColdingLight) (Swiss: 8-1; Top Cut: Top 8) — WLW

CharizardVenusaurConkeldurrNinetalesDusclopsRhyperior

Now at this point we had already qualified for day 2 but I still wanted the joy of going undefeated. However, it was really late in the day (hour 8.5 of non-stop focusing) and I made some bad assumptions. Once I saw that his Venusaur was not Focus Sash’d, I made the leap of thinking his Ninetales had to have Sash. And because I Tailwinded and Max Airstreamed both games, he was able to hide the fact that his Ninetales actually had Choice Scarf, which became my undoing in game 2. Game 1 I have no excuse for. I was just so out of mind with adrenaline and fatigue that I just made dumb mistake after dumb mistake after dumb mistake. Game 2 was better, but again not knowing the item on Ninetales made it impossible to account for in the late game. It won the speed match-up with Rotom in Tailwind and became my undoing. Both of these games were winnable so I don’t feel too bad posting the video.

R9 vs  ESP  Kevin Rodríguez (Kim) (Swiss: 7-2; Top Cut: Top 24) — LL

HattereneVenusaurIndeedee-FemaleTorkoalDusclopsRhyperior

Game 1 I got destroyed by Rhyperior, because of how greedy I played. It was the only real threat to my team and instead of Dynamaxing Corviknight and spamming Max Steelspikes I Dynamaxed Tyranitar. Game 2 was totally winnable (I pressured really well early and he had to Dynamax Indeedee) but in my fatigue and stupidity forgot that sometimes Rhyperior run Superpower. If I Protected my Tyranitar that turn I win game 2, but I was still so hyped on making top cut I didn’t care. And that was the problem, because losing this matchup seeded me 10th (Top 8 got byes). And of course, that meant I had to roll the dice with first round matchups.

Top Cut

Top 24 vs  USA  Ashton Cox (Ash 🟊) (Swiss: 7-2; Top Cut: Top 16) — LL

DragapultExcadrillTogekissIncineroarRotom-WashTyranitar

Now this is in no way an accusation, and even if it was it is ENTIRELY my OWN fault. But this being my first top cut meant I didn’t know about scouting. I didn’t realize players could look or hear about what teams their opponents were running. I was told afterwards that matchups were up an hour before the matches started, and when I looked at my Twitch VODs from the previous day my stream from the previous had 8 times as many views as my normal VODs. Again… not an accusation. What makes this MY fault is that Ashton streamed Day 1 as well. So, while I was eating my grilled cheese sandwich and watching Michael Jordan hype clips on YouTube, I could’ve been finding out that his Wash Rotom had Eerie Impulse. A fact that had I known I probably could’ve won this series. Not knowing what he had kept me a step behind for the entirety of game 1 which made me feel like I had to make hard reads. I think if I had just stayed calm and not made such hard reads in game 2 I would’ve won for sure. If you watch the video you can hear me say things like “There’s no way he would…” only for him to do that exact thing. I think going forward if I just trust myself and my gameplay a bit more I can win matches in Top Cuts like this one.

Take-Aways

This team certainly has gaps. Obviously Whimsicott does not deal well with the threat of Fake Out that prevents its ability to set up. Luckily we saw no Fake Out until top cut. We also have trouble dealing with Rhyperior in Trick Room IF we aren’t able to get Corviknight boosted quickly enough to wall it.

If there were any changes I might make to the team I think it would be maybe running Hitmontop over Conkeldurr. Or possibly running Assault Vest Conkeldurr instead of Flame Orb to make it impactful on switch-ins.

Overall I think I learned more about myself as a player through my run. I definitely have a tendency to burn out at the end of a long day. My time in top cut taught me that there’s no need to make constant hard reads into good players. Sometimes it’s better to just trust your team. I think if I had just trusted in the team I built I could’ve won 1 more match in Swiss, and probably 1 more match in top cut.

Regardless, I hope you got something other than just the rental code out of this team report. If you’d be so kind as to follow me on Twitch (CondorNJ). I usually stream 2-3 times per week on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (depends on whether or not there’s a tournament).

Thank you to my friends who supported me throughout my run! It definitely made it easier knowing I had people in my corner. And thanks to Collin Heier and Raghav Malaviya, whose sets I will continue to steal until I die.

Main Heat Rotom art by Smogon user Pipotchi

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