The Sun Rises in Winter – Team Report from the VR Circuit: Winter Series Champion

Hi! I’m Kevin Salvetto, aka Wilfire70. I am an Italian/Cuban VGC player who started playing in 2014. I made my biggest accomplishments as Senior in 2015, but I also got some results during my first and second year as Master. Then I dropped the game for various motivations, till last year. During 2020 I was able to get the invite for Worlds Day 1.

This team report will show you the team I played during the VR Circuit: Winter Series Grand Finale.

Huge shoutouts to Jekyll who built the original team and to Simone Sanvito (Sanvy) that made me discover it. Shoutouts also to Marco Alterio (Borbotti) and Arash Ommati (Mean) that helped me with the tour and match-ups.

Teambuilding process

Since I did take a stop of 5 to 6 months from VGC, I wasn’t feeling too confident on building a team by myself, so what I did was just try every core. Zacian was the Restricted Pokémon I was feeling most confident with, and also the one I thought that was stronger, so I decided pretty fast that I would use a team with it.


Going into the tournament I knew that people would be well prepared for Zacian + Lapras or Zacian + Thundurus. So the first core I decided to build around was Zacian + Venusaur + Torkoal, which I had already tested and seemed very strong.


The first three other Pokémon I tried with this core were Grimmsnarl, Porygon2 and Incineroar. Grimmsnarl was really useful, and I fell in love with it paired with Zacian since the first match I played with them.


The team was doing pretty well, but I wasn’t too confident about the Trick Room mode and Porygon2 or Incineroar. Sanvy was doing well in the Players Cup III Region Qualifiers with a similar team, so I decided to take a deep look at his team (he was also inspired by Jekyll’s original team). I preferred the original version of Jekyll (Sanvy was playing Occa Berry Venusaur and Life Orb Charizard) and started trying it since it was really similar to the team I was already using.


I did really like Jekyll’s team and I was doing pretty well with it, so with just a week remaining before the VR Circuit: Winter Series Grand Finale, I decided to focus on it, and tried to modify it a little bit around my playstyle. The only changes I made from the original version were:

grimmsnarl Thunder Wave over Taunt on Grimmsnarl (if you saw the stream, then you know how important it was during the tour), as I was feeling it helped me in more match-ups than Taunt, and also because it gave me other speed control options.

venusaur-gmax Sleep Powder over Protect on Venusaur, as with open teamsheets Sleep Powder puts incredible pressure and forces some plays, and I mainly used Max Guard and not Protect on Venusaur during testing. The key was to never use Sleep Powder in early game, and just take advantage of the pressure it puts on the field to do big damage with the Life Orb; this was really important on the semifinals match against Kyle Geffner (North).

zacian-crowned I also changed Zacian’s spread a little bit: he had 20 Atk and 4 Def EVs, and I swapped them. The 20 points in Attack would have given me more possibilities to take some OHKOs (like on Landorus), but I didn’t feel they were too important, as my team has a lot of possibilities to do chip damage, and, before attacking those Pokémon I know could be in roll range, I always tried to do some of it. The 20 Def EVs gave me some extra bulk and helped me with some rolls from Urshifu and Zacian, making Surging Strikes a 50% 2HKO and Behemoth Blade a 50% 3HKO at -1 (crazy).

The Team

▶️ Get the team’s paste here!

Normal Sprite

Grimmsnarl (M) @ Light Clay
Ability: Prankster
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 92 Def / 148 SpD / 12 Spe
Careful Nature
– Light Screen
– Reflect
– Spirit Break
– Thunder Wave

Grimmsnarl was the most important Pokémon of the team: I do lead it in 90% of my games. screens are really important for this team so Light Clay was an obvious choice. I needed it to handle special moves well, as I was finely covered physically by having Intimidate.

Defensive calcs

palkia 140+ SpA Life Orb Palkia Max Geyser vs. 252 HP / 148+ SpD Grimmsnarl: 169-200 (83.6 – 99%) — guaranteed 2HKO

zacian-crowned 252+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 252 HP / 92 Def Dynamax Grimmsnarl through Reflect: 284-336 (70.2 – 83.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Normal Sprite

Charizard-Gmax @ Wacan Berry
Ability: Solar Power
Level: 50
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Ancient Power
– Blast Burn
– Hurricane
– Protect

This Charizard set is not that common. Ancient Power was obviously chosen for mirror teams as I knew that i would probably play against them; I even texted Arash the day before the tour telling him I was pretty sure that I would face a mirror against Víctor Medina (Torviv), I don’t know why but I was feeling it and I was also right lol.

Charizard has to set its G-Max Move when Venusaur would not be able to do it. The Wacan Berry helps it to stay in the field for more turns to spread some damage, and also ensures me to have the possibility to set G-Max Wildfire almost always, as its main counters are Thundurus and Regieleki. You can see how important the Wacan Berry was in some match-ups: for example, in the Top 8 set against Matteo Agostini (UltraMatt). If his Regieleki had not been Modest I could have resisted even the double target on Charizard (if it was, it would have been a roll).

Offensive calcs
zacian-crowned 252 SpA Charizard-Gmax G-Max Wildfire vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Zacian-Crowned: 204-240 (102.5 – 120.6%) — guaranteed OHKO
Defensive calcs

252 SpA Transistor Regieleki Thunderbolt vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Wacan Berry Gigantamax Charizard-Gmax: 109-130 (35.6 – 42.4%) — guaranteed 3HKO
252 SpA Transistor Regieleki Thunderbolt vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Wacan Berry Gigantamax Charizard-Gmax through Light Screen: 54-65 (17.6 – 21.2%) — possible 5HKO
thundurus 140 Atk Thundurus Max Lightning vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Gigantamax Charizard-Gmax through Reflect: 114-135 (37.2 – 44.1%) — guaranteed 3HKO

Normal Sprite

Zacian-Crowned @ Rusted Sword
Ability: Intrepid Sword
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 20 Def / 140 SpD / 92 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Protect
– Behemoth Blade
– Sacred Sword
– Substitute

This Zacian is incredible, it’s almost immortal; with screens it takes ridiculous damages from opponent Pokémon. Its role was mainly to clear in the late game after its teammates have done chip damage, but it’s important to understand when you need it in the mid game (for example, I switched it in the field in turn 2 of game 3 in the Top 8 set against Matteo; in this case I was needing it to put immediate offensive pressure).

Its Speed makes it able to outspeed max Speed Thundurus. Enjoy these funny defensive calcs too.

Defensive calcs

kyogre 84+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 140 SpD Zacian-Crowned in Rain through Light Screen: 82-97 (41.2 – 48.7%) — guaranteed 3HKO (double target)
calyrex-shadow-rider 252 SpA Life Orb Calyrex-Shadow Astral Barrage vs. 252 HP / 140 SpD Zacian-Crowned through Light Screen: 62-74 (31.1 – 37.1%) — 76.8% chance to 3HKO (double target)
+1 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 252 HP / 20 Def Zacian-Crowned through Reflect: 91-108 (45.7 – 54.2%) — 51.6% chance to 2HKO
252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 252 HP / 20 Def Zacian-Crowned through Reflect: 61-72 (30.6 – 36.1%) — 49% chance to 3HKO
urshifu 252 Atk Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Surging Strikes (3 hits) vs. 252 HP / 20 Def Zacian-Crowned on a critical hit: 90-108 (45.2 – 54.2%) — approx. 23% chance to 2HKO

Normal Sprite

Torkoal (M) @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Drought
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 252 Def / 20 SpD
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Yawn
– Burning Jealousy
– Body Press
– Protect

Torkoal was really important obviously to set up the sun, mainly for Venusaur; the matches where I took it with Charizard weren’t too many. It completely walls Zacian and Incineroar, especially in the late game, and can put pressure on Dynamax with Yawn. As I don’t have Trick Room, this is the best set for Torkoal in this team, and even with Trick Room it worked really well.

Unfortunately I never brought it during the tour, but in the only testing match I did before Sunday Top 8 in Battle Stadium it went epic and did 4 kills… You will never be forgotten, Torkoal, your moral support for the team was really important.

Offensive calcs
incineroar 252+ Def Torkoal Body Press vs. 244 HP / 148 Def Incineroar: 100-118 (49.7 – 58.7%) — 98.4% chance to 2HKO
Defensive calcs

188+ Atk Landorus-Therian Max Quake vs. 236 HP / 252+ Def Torkoal: 146-174 (83.4 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
-1 188+ Atk Landorus-Therian Max Quake vs. 236 HP / 252+ Def Torkoal through Reflect: 65-77 (37.1 – 44%) — guaranteed 3HKO
zacian-crowned +1 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Close Combat vs. 236 HP / 252+ Def Torkoal: 72-85 (41.1 – 48.5%) — guaranteed 3HKO

Normal Sprite

Venusaur-Gmax @ Life Orb
Ability: Chlorophyll
Level: 50
EVs: 108 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 140 Spe
Modest Nature
– Sleep Powder
– Weather Ball
– Earth Power
– Frenzy Plant

Venusaur was my favourite Pokémon of the team. With Life Orb it puts an incredible pressure, and it’s amazing how many situations it resolves: I’m not afraid to lead it against Heat Rotom or Incineroar, it punishes their passive plays doing over 50% damage with G-Max Vine Lash and the residual damage (it’s ridiculous and unexpected how much damage it does even against Pokémon that resist it).

Offensive calcs

rotom-heat 252+ SpA Life Orb Venusaur-Gmax G-Max Vine Lash vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Rotom-Heat: 71-86 (45.2 – 54.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Vine Lash damage
incineroar 252+ SpA Life Orb Venusaur-Gmax G-Max Vine Lash vs. 244 HP / 20+ SpD Incineroar: 74-87 (36.8 – 43.2%) — 14.1% chance to 2HKO after Vine Lash damage
zacian-crowned 252+ SpA Life Orb Venusaur-Gmax Weather Ball (100 BP Fire) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Zacian-Crowned in Sun: 185-218 (110.1 – 129.7%) — guaranteed OHKO

Normal Sprite

Landorus-Therian (M) @ Assault Vest
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 212 HP / 188 Atk / 36 Def / 4 SpD / 68 Spe
Adamant Nature
– U-turn
– Rock Tomb
– Earthquake
– Fly

This kind of Landorus was really important in the Shadow Rider Calyrex match-up. With Assault Vest and screens it can survive almost everything, and Intimidate could as well help the team. Rock Tomb was here to have some extra speed control, as I only had Max Airstream from Charizard (that wasn’t used so much) and Thunder Wave with Grimmsnarl.

Defensive calcs

+1 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 212 HP / 36 Def Landorus-Therian: 163-193 (85.3 – 101%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
+1 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 212 HP / 36 Def Landorus-Therian through Reflect: 81-96 (42.4 – 50.2%) — 1.2% chance to 2HKO
252+ SpA Life Orb Solar Power Charizard-Gmax G-Max Wildfire vs. 212 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Dynamax Landorus-Therian in Sun: 289-341 (75.6 – 89.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Wildfire damage
252+ SpA Life Orb Charizard-Gmax G-Max Wildfire vs. 212 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-Therian: 130-153 (68 – 80.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Wildfire damage

How to use the team

I think this team does well against most match-ups. I felt that the most difficult were the ones were I face rain + Cinderace (as it outspeeds my Zacian) and Heat Rotom (I need to play well Venusaur to beat it).

Mirror team
grimmsnarl+landorus-therian/zacian-crownedcharizard, zacian-crowned/landorus-therian
calyrex-shadow-ridergrimmsnarl+charizard/zacian-crownedlandorus-therian, zacian-crowned/charizard
Palkia or rain teams
grimmsnarl+venusaurzacian-crowned, torkoal
calyrex-ice-ridertorkoal/grimmsnarl+zacian-crownedcharizard, torkoal/landorus-therian
rotom-heatgrimmsnarl+venusaurzacian-crowned, torkoal/landorus-therian

Tournament run

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamStream
Víctor Medina
Matteo Agostini
Kyle Geffner
Eric Rios



Going in to this tour I was very prepared and feeling confident. I had over 250 test matches on Battle Stadium and knew the team perfectly. I wanted to win the tour and trained a lot in order to do it, but I still don’t believe that in the end I was really able to win it.

By the way, I also led the Season 17 Ranked Battles ladder for most of April!

Huge shotouts again to Jekyll, the original builder of the team. He also wrote a report about this team on Liberty Note! Shooutouts too to my friends that helped me approach the tour and to everyone that supported me during the stream!

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