Hi! I’m Antonio Sánchez (Rahxen), I’ve been playing competitive Pokémon since 2010, although it wasn’t until 2017 when I started getting into VGC more seriously.
I haven’t attended any regional-level or higher tournaments, so my accomplishments besides this result are winning the VR Ultra Series Open and winning several local-level tournaments (PCs and MSSs).
Managing to qualify for the final stage of the Players Cup meant a lot to me, since I consider it my first result at a high-level event.
Shoutouts to Miguel Pedraza (Ahicodem), since we’ve been working together on this team for a long time, with the premise that “bulk will prevail ._.” meaning that we believed that, no matter the state of the metagame, piloting a bulky team was a correct choice. Hence, this report shows that “bulk prevailed”.
This was the main core, Arcanine + Gastrodon works very well defensively. Grimmsnarl added more bulk with screens and Corviknight seemed like the best defensive Steel type in the format.
Ahicodem and I built this team with which he got Top 4 at VGCStats’ Galar Weekly #3 back in December, even before Series 2 was announced. Mow Rotom was the only decent Grass type at the time and Dragapult looked like a good Pokémon to complete the fantasy core.
Fastforward 4 or 5 months later, Charizard, Venusaur, Torkoal and Lapras teams get popular, therefore it was a must to find some techs for those match-ups. Dracozolt was very good therefore.
We considered Rillaboom even before it got access to Grassy Surge. Wash Rotom was a bit troublesome, so having a way to delete it from existence with STAB Wood Hammer was a nice addition.
When it was confirmed that Rillaboom’s Hidden Ability was going to be released, it became the 6th slot immediately. Getting access to Grassy Glide was a bonus too.
These are the six I ended up using in the European qualifier.
Scope Lens Togekiss, Wash Rotom + redirection and Beat Up + Justified were troublesome, so we added Amoonguss for those match-ups.
Adding a small change going into the final stage meant that my opponents couldn’t just use their flowcharts versus my team, since redirection + Spore changed the flow of some battles considerably.
Grimmsnarl (M) @ Light Clay
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 148 Def / 100 SpD / 4 Spe
– Spirit Break
– Light Screen
Prankster screens with Light Clay fits this bulky team perfectly. Spirit Break was very good to have even more damage control and to have Fairy-type coverage on the team. Taunt was very good with open team lists, since your opponent had to respect it from turn 1.
Arcanine @ Iapapa Berry
EVs: 68 HP / 236 SpD / 204 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Heat Wave
In spite of Incineroar being legal since march, Arcanine has still a very important niche. The Speed stat lets it spam fast Snarl and Will-O-Wisp to do damage reduction before your opponent moves, which is huge. Heat Wave lets Arcanine hit both opponents without caring about redirection, letting it chip away at them.
Corviknight @ Lum Berry
Ability: Mirror Armor
EVs: 228 HP / 20 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Brave Bird
– Iron Head
– Bulk Up
Corviknight is a Pokémon that you’re forced to respect in team preview; it reminds me of Celesteela back in VGC17. It has a very good typing and decent bulk, which means that it’s not easy to take down without a super effective move. Bulk Up wasn’t super common a few months ago, since Taunt was the preferred 4th slot. It basically allowed Corviknight to exert offensive pressure and get into unbreakeable board states.
Gastrodon @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Storm Drain
EVs: 252 HP / 148 Def / 60 SpA / 44 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Earth Power
Gastrodon usage was supposed to go down after Rillaboom’s spike in usage. Without Gastrodon, it would be way more difficult to stop some opposing Water-type Pokémon from snowballing, like Rapid Strike Style Urshifu and Primarina. Storm Drain lets Arcanine exert damage reduction in front of Water-type Pokémon, which is huge.
Dracozolt @ Life Orb
EVs: 100 HP / 156 Atk / 4 Def / 100 SpD / 148 Spe
– Bolt Beak
– Dragon Claw
– Stomping Tantrum
Even though Dracozolt isn’t picked in every match-up, your opponent has to respect it in team preview. Late-game Dracozolt is very good since it can catch your opponent off guard and sweep the game from there.
Amoonguss (M) @ Coba Berry
EVs: 196 HP / 132 Def / 180 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Sludge Bomb
– Rage Powder
This Amoonguss is somewhat speedy while still having nice defensive calcs. Once it’s at +2 Speed, it reaches 146 Speed stat, which is nice to start spamming fast Spores next to Corviknight.
Tournament run - Europe Online Qualifier
I had Rillaboom over Amoonguss here.
Antoine de La Forest
Antoine de La Forest
I don’t recall every single match so I’ll detail the match-ups I remember.
WR3 vs Antoine de La Forest (otékal) (result: Top 6) — LWL
Tough match-up since Dragapult + double redirection is handled with Corviknight, but Magnezone shuts it down entirely. I lost 1-2 in really close games. Losing this early meant that I had to win 9 rounds in a row to qualify.
LR8 vs Luca Marcato (Polpolpo) (result: Top 24) — WW
This was the last round of Week 2. His team had some trouble dealing with Corviknight, so I just went for Grimmsnarl + Arcanine planning for a Corviknight endgame. I managed to mitigate his Duraludon with damage reduction, which led to Corviknight + Gastrodon winning in the endgame pretty comfortably.
After going 4-0 during Week 2, my confidence was boosted considerably. Now I had a week to prepare for Week 3 and the upcoming match-ups.
LR9 vs Leonardo Bonanomi (Leo) (result: Top 16) — WLW
I realized a way to auto-win the match-up if he double-Protected with Talonflame + Lapras turn 1. Game 1 I led Dracozolt + Rillaboom and went for Max Lightning into Talonflame and switch into Grimmsnarl. As expected, he double-Protected, and I broke Gale Wings, which meant that I could just Taunt the Talonflame and attack the Lapras for free. I won 4-0. Game 2 he Dynamaxed Talonflame and I just lost. Game 3 was closer but in the end early-game Dracozolt was enough to let Rillaboom and Arcanine win in the endgame. This match was very close.
LR10 vs Lukas Auer (SaltySylveon) (result: Top 12) — WLW
He had Rock Head Alolan Marowak, which meant that I didn’t have to worry about making reads with Dracozolt. I lead Dracozolt + Rillaboom all 3 games. Game 3 I realized that he wasn’t bringing Rillaboom so I made a read in team preview. I brought Gastrodon predicting him not to bring Rillaboom. He brought a Lapras + Talonflame lead with Alolan Marowak and Porygon2 in the back all 3 games, so in G3 I just won with Gastrodon.
LR11 vs Guillermo Castilla (KastyTP) (result: Top 8) — WW
I was so excited to play against Kasty. Fortunately this match was streamed, you can watch it here from 1:03:58. Self-WOW, let’s go!
LR12 vs Antoine de La Forest (otékal) (result: Top 6) — WLW
This was the win-and-in. Winning here meant qualifying for the final stage, and losing meant that getting this far was for nothing. I had to win this, but Otékal was my only loss so far. I decide to go for Grimmsnarl + Corviknight with Gastrodon and Arcanine in the back all 3 games.
We go to game 3 and he leads Magnezone + Dragapult. He can Dynamax Magnezone and just 2HKO Corviknight, meaning that I could just go Gastrodon in that slot. I decide to make an aggresive turn 1 read by Dynamaxing corviknight in front of Magnezone and going into Arcanine to have Snarl pressure and to take a Max Steelspike. I get turn 1 right and several Snarls and Will-O-Wisps later, Gastrodon + Corviknight win the endgame.
I did it! I qualified for the final stage of the Players Cup!
Tournament run - Final stage
I made the change of Amoonguss over Rillaboom; it gave me a better TED + Wash Rotom match-ups, another tool to handle crit-‘Kiss and helped vs. Beat Up strategies.
(g r e e n)
Alessio Y. Boschetto
Edoardo Giunipero Ferraris
WR1 vs Geovanni Polanco (g r e e n) (result: Top 16) — LWW
Grimmsnarl + Arcanine as a lead handles everything pretty well, which means that I can mitigate his Dynamax and then just clean up with a Dynamax Gastrodon, Dracozolt or Corviknight.
Watch it here from 1:02:58!
WR2 vs Alessio Y. Boschetto (Emily) (result: Top 6) — LWL
Tough match-up but fortunately he didn’t have a Fire move on his Togekiss. G3 endgame was a bit messy on my end, since I expected his Excadrill to survive an Earth Power and get a Weakness Policy boost. I also thought he was going to Protect Excadrill and switch into Amoonguss at some point.
Watch it here from 3:36:09!
LR2 vs Edoardo Giunipero Ferraris (Inkling) (result: Top 8) — LWL
This match up would be very ugly without Amoonguss. His Beat Up option forced me to lead Corviknight + Amoonguss, and from there I could either try and guess the turns to gain advantage, or just play it safe. I managed to call correctly the two first turns in game 3 but unfortunately Corviknight went down to a critical hit from Porygon2, which meant that my only way to win the endgame versus Porygon2 was gone.
Watch it here from 5:40:00!
Even though I didn’t manage to get a top 4 placement in the finals stage, I’m still quite glad with the result. As I’ve mentioned, I haven’t attended any huge events so far, so getting this result in a high-scale event means a lot to me.
Also, shoutouts to Team Pechito (Juan Carlos Mateos, Pablo Gambero and José Antonio Rodríguez). Funnily enough, this team is completely legal going into Series 6 and most of its weaknesses or weaker match-ups were removed, especially Scope Lens Togekiss.