The Team of the Rising Sun! – Team Report from the Japan Decisive Battle Champion

Hello! I’m Kōhei Sakurai (Chandy) from Liberty Note. I won at the Masters division of the final stage of the 2020 Japan Decisive Battle. I want to thank all people who supported and congratulated me.

Teambuilding process

This team is based on the team I used at the 2020 Japan Decisive Battle main stage (on 1 August). So I will briefly explain the teambuilding process of it first.

Team used at the main stage

In teambuilding, I tested a popular core of Venusaur + Torkoal first. Here’s the team:

TogekissUrshifuDusclopsTorkoalVenusaurTyranitar

After dealing as much damage as possible by Togekiss and Urshifu, they pass the torch to Dynamaxed Venusaur, or to Dynamaxed Tyranitar in Trick Room.

My thoughts on the team were:

  • Togekiss and Urshifu caused a lot of critical hits, and kept dealing so much damage even if they got Intimidated or Snarled.
  • Togekiss and Urshifu were very strong against opponent Dragapult and Tyranitar. Thanks to them, Dusclops or Venusaur in the back worked very well.
  • It was also effective to deal much damage with Venusaur’s G-Max Vine Lash first and to defeat the damaged Pokemon with Urshifu’s Sucker Punch.
  • Dynamaxed Tyranitar in Trick Room was so powerful, despite having considered it as a second choice at first, and it became the main choice.
  • It was hard to deal with Cinderace and Dynamaxed Togekiss.

Based on these, I revised it to a team focusing on Dynamaxed Tyranitar in TR. I replaced Venusaur with Cinderace with Max Steelspike in order to deal with opponent Togekiss, and replaced Torkoal with Incineroar for Intimidate against Cinderace. To deal with Amoonguss, a huge threat against the Trick Room core, I added Taunt to Dusclops, and replaced Bulldoze with Earthquake in order not to be outsped by Amoonguss in Trick Room.

Here’s a rental code of the team:

I finished with 1593 rating and a 9-2 record, and got 3rd place at main stage. I was qualified to the final stage!

Team used at the final stage

I kept testing the team above, and I found bulky Torkoal was explosively increasing (some player used it at main stage). Especially the combination of bulky Torkoal and Incineroar was a huge threat for my team, for both Dynamaxed Cinderace and Dynamaxed Tyranitar. This was because most of my team were physical Pokémon. For the same reason, physically bulky Pokémon, such as Duraludon and Corviknight, were problematic as well (I was very lucky not to come across these Pokémon so much at the main stage).

So I tried special Dragapult and Duraludon instead of Cinderace, or special Tyranitar, but I was not satisfied with them. At that time, I had the chance to see Taka Maenishi‘s team with bulky Torkoal and Charizard. It won TERURUN Challenge #5, a Japanese grassroots best-of-three tournament held one week before the final stage. I tried his team and found it so strong. It had an advantage over the combination of Torkoal and Incineroar as well. I decided to build a team based on it. Take a look at Taka’s team report!

My thoughts on Taka’s team were:

  • Bulky Torkoal was stronger than I had expected.
  • Togekiss and Tyranitar could be Dynamaxed regardless of whether it was sunny or not.
  • Dynamax core of Charizard, Venusaur and Togekiss were not bothered by Intimidate.
  • It was hard to deal with opponent’s Tyranitar.
  • Dusclops was rarely brought.

That’s why I dismissed Dusclops and Tyranitar, and added Urshifu and Incineroar. Urshifu was added in no time, because I had already tested it and found it strong, and moreover it was so strong against Tyranitar. I added Incineroar to stall opponent’s Tailwind and Trick Room turns on behalf of Dusclops, and to prepare for fast sweepers (especially Cinderace).

TogekissCharizardIncineroarTorkoalVenusaurUrshifu

Common strategies of this team are:

  1. Starting with Charizard or Venusaur’s G-Max Moves, and Urshifu with Focus
    Sash defeats the damaged Pokemon.
  2. Dealing much damage first by Dazzling Gleam, Heat Wave or Wicked Blow, while
    distracting with Torkoal’s Yawn. And then, Dynamaxed Pokémon sweep the rest.

The Team

▶️ Get the team’s paste here!

Normal Sprite

Venusaur-Gmax @ Expert Belt
Ability: Chlorophyll
EVs: 156 HP / 4 Def / 236 SpA / 4 SpD / 108 Spe
Modest Nature
– Leaf Storm
– Sludge Bomb
– Earth Power
– Protect

I often brought Venusaur against match-ups such as starters + Terrakion, a common threat for Charizard. Both Charizard and Venusaur worked very well without Dynamax and I brought both of them at the same time. I didn’t want to see Venusaur OHKOed by Scope Lens Togekiss, so I chose this spread.

I added Protect instead of Sleep Powder. I tested Sleep Powder at first, but I found it difficult to use unless in sun and made it more dependent on weather. Of course Sleep Powder was very strong, but I expected Protect would result in more wins. I gave it Expert Belt because Life Orb was already taken. Expert Belt goes better with a bulky spread than Life Orb.

Deffensive Calcs

Togekiss 252 SpA Togekiss Max Airstream vs. 156 HP / 4 SpD Venusaur (Gigantamaxed) on a critical hit: 314-372 (89.7 – 106.2%) — 37.5% chance to OHKO

Speed Calcs

Tyranitar Outspeeds Adamant max Speed Tyranitar

Normal Sprite

Charizard-Gmax @ Life Orb
Ability: Solar Power
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Heat Wave
– Air Slash
– Scorching Sands
– Protect

I selected Heat Wave as the Fire-type move, because Blast Burn was easily dealt with by using Follow Me in this format in which all moves had been revealed in advance.

As for the Flying-type move, I added Air Slash instead of Hurricane for its accuracy to hit it against Dragapult after Dynamax. Max Quake (based on Scorching Sands) allowed it to OHKO Incineroar thanks to its Solar Power.

Normal Sprite

Torkoal @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Drought
EVs: 236 HP / 20 Def / 252 SpD
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Burning Jealousy
– Body Press
– Yawn
– Protect

It’s a trendy bulky Torkoal. I faced it in ranked battles many times and found it so strong. That’s why I decided to bring it to the final stage.

I wanted my team to be overall as strong against Togekiss as possible, and chose a specially bulky spread to use Yawn against Dynamaxed Togekiss, while at the same time a physically bulky spread for a stronger Body Press to use against Tyranitar and Cinderace.

Burning Jealousy was very effective to prevent opponent’s choices such as Follow Me + Max Airstream and Follow Me + Dragon Dance, because, as I stated before, all moves had been revealed at the final stage beforehand.

Deffensive Calcs

Togekiss 252 SpA Togekiss Max Airstream vs. 236 HP / 252 SpD Torkoal on a critical hit: 156-184 (89.1 – 105.1%) — 31.3% chance to OHKO
Cinderace 252 Atk Life Orb Libero Cinderace Max Airstream vs. 236 HP / 20+ Def Torkoal: 90-107 (51.4 – 61.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO (it activates Sitrus Berry)

Speed Calcs

Rhyperior Outspeeds Rhyperior at -1 Speed (after Bulldoze) in Trick Room.

Normal Sprite

Togekiss @ Scope Lens
Ability: Super Luck
EVs: 188 HP / 4 Def / 76 SpA / 4 SpD / 236 Spe
Modest Nature
– Dazzling Gleam
– Air Slash
– Follow Me
– Protect

Togekiss was so multi-talented that I had no choice but to add it to my team, especially in the current best-of-three format. It played so many diverse roles, such as just attacking, being Dynamaxed, and boosting allies with Max Airstream.

I thought Follow Me was essential in this “open sheet” format, for example, to restrict activating the opponent’s Weakness Policy. Scope Lens was super helpful both during Dynamax and out of it.

Offensive Calcs

Dragapult 76+ SpA Togekiss Max Starfall vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Dragapult (Dynamaxed) on a critical hit: 380-450 (97.4 – 115.3%) — 87.5% chance to OHKO

Deffensive Calcs

Dragapult 252+ Atk Life Orb Dragapult Max Phantasm vs. 188 HP / 4 Def Togekiss: 156-185 (84.7 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO

Speed Calcs

Dragapult Outspeeds Adamant max Speed Dragapult at +1 Speed.

Normal Sprite

Urshifu @ Focus Sash
Ability: Unseen Fist
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Close Combat
– Wicked Blow
– Sucker Punch
– Protect

Urshifu was so difficult to be disturbed thanks to its high Speed and its speciality of ignoring opponent’s Protects (with Unseen Fist) and Intimidates (only by Wicked Blow though).

I didn’t choose the Gigantamax version because I expected it would be most likely to Dynamax against Fake Out + Trick Room for Max Darkness + Dazzling Gleam. However, due to the choice, there was a possibility of losing by Indeedee’s Max Guard in the semifinal, so I don’t know which would have been better.

Normal Sprite

Incineroar @ Passho Berry
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Atk / 60 Def / 108 SpD / 92 Spe
Careful Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Snarl
– Parting Shot
– Fake Out

Incineroar was added to deal with opposing Cinderace, but it was so useful that I customized it for the other players at the final stage.

Snarl was very effective against a team with the Porygon2 + Primarina core at main stage. I expected it would be helpful for the starters team played by Takashi Yamamoto (Migawari) at the main stage. I set its speed to outspeed Timid max Speed Amoonguss, because Takuto Notohara (Notton) used it at main stage.

Passho Berry was playfully picked for a completely specific matchup: the Whimsicott + Lapras team used by Yūki Itō (Ito) at the main stage, who would be my opponent in semi-final. He didn’t bring Lapras, so Passho Berry was never activated after all. However, Incineroar was still strong even with no item so I don’t think it was a bad choice.

Deffensive Calcs

Lapras 252+ SpA Life Orb Lapras Helping Hand Max Geyser vs. 244 HP / 108+ SpD Passho Berry Incineroar: 169-200 (84 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Speed Calcs

Amoonguss Outspeeds Timid max Speed Amoonguss

Tournament run

Final stage summary

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
Top 4WLWJPN
Yūki Itō
(しあん)
indeedee-femalecinderacecorviknightincineroardusclopstyranitar
FinalsWWJPN
Takuto Notohara
(のっとん)
togekisscinderacedragapultincineroarclefairymagnezone

Top 4 vs  JPN  Yūki Itō (しあん) (result: Top 4) — WLW

Indeedee-femaleCinderaceCorviknightIncineroarDusclopsTyranitar

Preparation

My opponent in the semifinals. Knowing that I would be facing Ito, I spent the entire day examining how I could beat him the day before the tournament. Generally, I thought the following combination would be effective:

  • My lead: CharizardTorkoal
  • My back: UrshifuIncineroar

However I did not know the Speed stat of Tyranitar, and if his Tyranitar was max Speed with a neutral nature, Cinderace + Tyranitar would be his strongest lead against Charizard, and it would be difficult for me to counteract that via defensive switch-ins. Thus for the first game, I decided to lead with Urshifu + Torkoal to check the Cinderace + Tyranitar lead:

  • My lead: UrshifuTorkoal
  • My back: CharizardIncineroar

I would lead the main duo of Charizard + Torkoal from game 2 onwards. Once Torkoal went down I could not stop Tyranitar under Trick Room from causing havoc with these four, so if my opponent aimed to execute such a gameplan I was considering to change Incineroar to Togekiss, so it could support Urshifu via Follow Me to defeat Tyranitar.

If the Tyranitar was slow, I expected him to bring the following:

  • His lead: CinderaceIndeedee-Female
  • His back : TyranitarDusclops

and manoeuvre Tyranitar via Trick Room or Max Airstream after removing Torkoal as his gameplan. If I led Charizard + Torkoal against this lead, his Cinderace would not be able to do much due to the presence of Burning Jealousy, and I initially planned to read a switch into Tyranitar and go for the Body Press against that slot.

Match

In the actual match he led Dusclops + Indeedee in G1, which was completely unexpected; his gameplan was to sweep through with Cinderace after Urshifu and Torkoal were chipped enough. I did not consider his option of using Dusclops not to set up Trick Room but to constantly deal chip damage via Night Shade, so this was my fault for not preparing for such an option. Honestly the match itself was extremely difficult, but I managed to take the game by Dynamaxing Urshifu which neither of us initially expected.

In G2 he brought the exact lead I mentioned above, so I went straight for the Body Press reading the switch, but he switched Indeedee out instead of Cinderace. Since Cinderace is often piloted as a Dynamax user, I thought he would want to conserve its health, plus it seemed like a safer position for him to go for Expanding Force rather than High Jump Kick, but I made the wrong call. The end came down to whether his Tyranitar would Protect or not, but I lost the 50/50 and the game.

Since I lost G2 against his Tyranitar under Trick Room, I chose Togekiss in G3 as planned.
I was forced into a tight spot after missing Heat Wave in turn 1 and not removing Indeedee fast enough, so I was in a position where I had to Dynamax Urshifu. In the last phase of the match, I would have lost if he had Protected his Indeedee, but I expected him to assume my last slot to be Incineroar given how games 1 and 2 were, and he would lose if his Tyranitar went down when Indeedee Protected, so I targeted the Indeedee, which ultimately paid off.

If the finals had been… vs  JPN  Takashi Yamamoto (とおか) (result: Top 4)

togekissCinderaceprimarinaIncineroarrillaboomTyranitar

Preparation

I considered him to be the most difficult opponent out of the 3. I expected him to bring:

  • His lead: CinderaceTogekissTyranitar (2 out of these 3)
  • His back: Incineroar + CinderaceTogekissTyranitar (something out of these 3)

And I also considered his option of changing Incineroar to Primarina if he found Torkoal to be bothersome. His Tyranitar was definitely fast, and since he had two Pokémon which could use Max Airstream, Charizard seemed difficult to manoeuvre in this match-up.

I planned on bringing:

  • My lead: IncineroarTorkoal
  • My back: TogekissVenusaur

And since his Tyranitar did not have Protect, I aimed to Fake Out to remove the Sash while controlling my position with Torkoal’s Yawn and Body Press, so that Togekiss or Venusaur in the back could Dynamax late-game.

Finals vs  JPN  Takuto Notohara (のっとん) (result: Runner-up)

togekissCinderacedragapultIncineroarclefairymagnezone

Preparation

My opponent in the grand finals. A notable feature with his team is how he had two Follow Me users, and I could foresee his gameplan revolving around Dragapult as an attacker while having the Follow Me user next to it. Neither Magnezone nor Incineroar seemed like they could do much to my team, so I expected him to bring
  • His lead: DragapultClefairy
  • His back: CinderaceTogekiss
Since I knew my Togekiss would be effective against his team if I chipped his Clefairy and Togekiss, I decided to bring:
  • My lead: VenusaurTorkoal
  • My back:TogekissUrshifu
My opponent had to go for Follow Me in order to prevent Yawn from connecting to his Dragapult, so my plan was to chip his Pokémon with Sludge Bomb so that they would be in range of my Togekiss’s Max Airstream. However, these four would slightly struggle against Magnezone, so I planned on replacing Togekiss with Charizard in G3 if I lost G2 against Magnezone.

Match

Although he actually led Togekiss instead of Clefairy, I managed to win G1 accordingly to my initial plans. In G2, he did not go for the turn 1 Dynamax, so that he would not have to use Follow Me, but I gained a huge momentum from the Sludge Bomb crit on the same turn. Although he landed his Sing, I continued to maintain my dominant position from the beginning and won from there.

Other options for the team

Selection 1

  • My lead: CharizardUrshifu
  • My back: TogekissTorkoal

This lead aims to keep on attacking with Charizard and Urshifu. You could go for various options, such as aiming for the OHKO by switching into Torkoal and going for G-Max Wildfire, or chip the opponents via Heat Wave whilst switching into Torkoal, so it is a very versatile selection where you can go for numerous plays after you see the opposing 6 in Team Preview.

Selection 2

  • My lead: VenusaurTogekiss
  • My back: TorkoalUrshifu

I would often bring these four against teams consisting of the three starters + Dragapult + Terrakion + Porygon2. The main gameplan is to chip the opponents via G-Max Vine Lash and go for a late-game sweep with Urshifu.

Others

I often led Torkoal against teams which use Max Airstream as their main means of speed control, and aimed to disrupt their momentum via Yawn and Burning Jealousy.

There were some teams that I did not account for due to the unlikelihood of facing them during the tournament. Specifically, the core of Whimsicott + Male Indeedee + Cinderace + Dracovish and the core of Dragapult + Coalossal are difficult for my team.

Final Thoughts

Although this year’s World Championships have been cancelled, I am extremely happy to achieve the best result I could ever ask for. However, I am aware there is still room for improvement for myself, and I have yet to achieve my prime goal of cutting Worlds, so I will continue to play VGC from next season onwards in order to become a better player.

Moreover, thank you to those who always view our articles on Liberty Note or publish the articles for us. We will continue to produce useful information for VGC, so thank you all for the continuous support!

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