The Genius of the Sandstorm – A VR Circuit: Spring Series Qualifier #1 Top 4 Team Report

Hi everyone, my name is Roberto Parente, also known as TrainerRob in the community.

I’m 18 years old and I’ve started playing VGC back in 2017 and from there I earned several Regional Top Cuts and an invite for the 2019 World Championships.

I’m here today for doing a report of the team I used at the first Victory Road Circuit: Spring Series Qualifier with which I got Top 4.

Teambuilding process

Going into the tournament I didn’t have a team I was particularly confident with.

I’ve been using the Team of my friend Giulio Tarlao for all the Series 7, but I wanted to use something else.

I felt interested in using a sand core, and started testing using

tyranitarexcadrillthundurus dragapulttapu-fini

I wanted to test Swagger Thundurus in order to swagger my Dragapult and Excadrill abusing the Tapu Fini’s Misty Terrain to avoid the confusions. Testing it I didn’t feel so much confident, so talking about it with my friend Antonio Raimondo, he suggested me to use a more standard sand team, so I started testing this 6.

tyranitarexcadrillthundurus tapu-finiincineroaramoonguss

I continued testing this team for the 2 days before the Tournament and since I felt confident with it, I decided to use it in the tournament.

The Team

▶️ Get the team’s paste here!

Excadrill @ Focus Sash 
Ability: Sand Rush 
Level: 50 
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe 
Jolly Nature 
– Earthquake 
– Iron Head 
– Swords Dance 
– Protect

Excadrill is a very strong Pokémon. Its high attack stat and its decent speed stat, combining with its ability, Sand Rush, which doubles the speed under Sandstorm makes it a threat for lots of teams.

I choose Earthquake since I wanted a powerful  double target move and it is even a way to trigger Tyranitar’s weakness policy.

Iron Head is to have a powerful STAB attack.

I preferred Swords Dance over Rock Slide in order to do as much damage as possible.

The evs spread is standard because I thought with Focus Sash Excadrill didn’t need to have a lot of bulk, even because it can boost its defenses with Dynamax moves.

@ Weakness Policy 
Ability: Sand Stream 
Level: 50 
EVs: 156 HP / 124 Atk / 228 Spe 
Jolly Nature 
– Rock Slide 
– Lash Out 
– Superpower 
– Dragon Dance

Tyranitar is obviously the best partner for Excadrill.

Rock Slide, Lash Out and Superpower are the best moves for Tyranitar, I choose Dragon Dance as the last moves because I wanted to make a lot of pressure on the opponents.

The speed is needed to outspeed Kartana and Thundurus after a Dragon Dance.

Like Excadrill, I didn’t make Tyranitar too bulky cause I just wanted to do damage.

Offensive calcs

Moltres-Galar +2 124 Atk Tyranitar Rock Slide vs. 204 HP / 100 Def Moltres-Galar: 176-210 (92.1 – 109.9%) — 56.3% chance to OHKO
Ferrothorn +2 124 Atk Tyranitar Superpower vs. 244 HP / 228+ Def Ferrothorn: 156-184 (86.6 – 102.2%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO
Dusclops +2 124 Atk Tyranitar Max Darkness (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 204+ Def Eviolite Dusclops: 174-206 (118.3 – 140.1%) — guaranteed OHKO

Thundurus @ Life Orb 
Ability: Defiant 
Level: 50 
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe 
Jolly Nature 
– Fly 
– Wild Charge 
– Superpower 
– Protect

Thundurus is another important member of the team.

It’s a good partner for Excadrill, since with its ability it prevents opponents of spamming Intimidate, and also because it can boost Excadrill’s attack and speed stats with its Dynamax moves.

The moveset is pretty standard, I choose Protect as last move because I want it to stay on the field some turns more.

Life Orb is to maximize its offensive pressure. For the same reason I opted for a classic simple spread.

Tapu Fini @ Leftovers 
Ability: Misty Surge 
Level: 50 
EVs: 252 HP / 196 SpA / 52 Spe 
Modest Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
– Muddy Water 
– Moonblast 
– Calm Mind 
– Protect

Tapu Fini is here to prevent Excadrill and Tyranitar to get afflicted by opponent’s status moves basically.

Since I wanted it to deal with Landorus and any other ground type pokemon, and since it has a decent natural bulk, I decided to make it a bit more offensive.

Moveset and item are standard.

Offensive calcs

Moltres-Galar 156+ SpA Tapu Fini Moonblast vs. 204 HP / 4 SpD Moltres-Galar: 110-132 (57.5 – 69.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Landorus-Therian 156+ SpA Tapu Fini Muddy Water vs. 4 HP / 4 SpD Landorus-T: 114-134 (69 – 81.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Incineroar 156+ SpA Tapu Fini Muddy Water vs. 252 HP / 44 SpD Incineroar: 98-116 (48.5 – 57.4%) — 91.8% chance to 2HKO

Defensive calcs

Regieleki 252 SpA Transistor Regieleki Thunderbolt vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Fini: 156-186 (88.1 – 105%) — 25% chance to OHKO
Kartana 12 Atk Kartana Leaf Blade vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Tapu Fini: 152-182 (85.8 – 102.8%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO

Incineroar @ Shuca Berry 
Ability: Intimidate 
Level: 50 
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 156 Def / 20 SpD / 76 Spe 
Impish Nature 
– Flare Blitz 
– Will-O-Wisp 
– Parting Shot 
– Fake Out

I don’t like Incineroar a lot in this format, but I think that in this team having an Intimidate is usefull.

Flare blitz, Fake out and Parting shot are a must, I choose Will -O-Wisp as last in order to have a way to deal better with Metagross. For this reason, it could be possibility to make Incineroar a bit faster to outspeed Metagross.

Shuca Berry is here to help against Glastrier basically, but it is a very helpful item overall.

For the same rason, I chose a bulky defensive spread.

Defensive calcs

Urshifu 252 Atk Urshifu-Single Strike Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 156+ Def Incineroar: 174-206 (86.1 – 101.9%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
Landorus-Therian252 Atk Life Orb Landorus Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 156+ Def Shuca Berry Incineroar: 118-140 (58.4 – 69.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Glastrier252+ Atk Life Orb Glastrier Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 156+ Def Shuca Berry Incineroar: 96-114 (47.5 – 56.4%) — 85.2% chance to 2HKO

Amoonguss @ Coba Berry 
Ability: Regenerator 
Level: 50 
EVs: 252 HP / 100 Def / 156 SpD 
Sassy Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe 
– Rage Powder 
– Spore 
– Pollen Puff 
– Protect

Amoonguss is a very good supporter Pokémon in this format.

It helps against Trick Toom based teams and helps Excadrill, Tyranitar and Tapu Fini setting up their moves.

The set is very simple and standard.

Defensive calcs

Landorus-Therian 252 Atk Life Orb Landorus Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 100 Def Amoonguss: 165-195 (74.6 – 88.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Moltres-Galar+1 252+ SpA Life Orb Moltres-Galar Max Airstream (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 156+ SpD Coba Berry Amoonguss: 181-214 (81.9 – 96.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Metagross188+ Atk Metagross Max Hailstorm (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 100 Def Amoonguss: 186-220 (84.1 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

How to use the team

Obviously this team needs the sandstorm up in order to work properly, but I usually follow two different type of plans with this team: the sand core and the “control” mode.

Common leads

excadrill+thundurusDespite all you could think, the most common lead is Tyranitar Excadrill, I prefer leading this way because Thundurus is an excellent Dynamax partner for Excadrill, boosting it while Excadrill spams Earthquake, and in this way you can also switch in Tyranitar on Thundurus and Dynamax Excadrill.
Incineroar+tapu-finiThis lead is more solid and gives you a lot of choices: You can go for Parting Shot/Fake Out while using Calm Mind with Tapu Fini or you can just pivot better the board.

Common threats

metagrossrotom-washgrimmsnarlThis archetype is really hard to deal with, since Metagross under screens and Rotom can just sweep the team easily after a Weakness Policy being activated or a Nasty Plot boost. The lead for this match up is Excadrill Amoonguss, trying to set up a Swords Dance and if possible to put asleep opponent’s pokemon.
coalossalurshifuRillaboomEven if it could seem strange, this match up is problematic because each pokemon you need to deal with this three(or four if there is an Incineroar) is threatened by a pokemon of your opponent. I usually lead Thundurus Excadrill trying to guess the lead of the opponent, but probably you will have to predict a lot in the course of the match. .

Tournament Run

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
Alberto Pérez
Nishant Joshi
Sergio Zea
Nitesh Manem
Siddharth Singhal
Orlando Luna
Ian Dertschei
Alessio Y. Boschetto
Ian Dertschei
Austin Acosta
Orlando Luna


I hope you will enjoy reading this report and even if the series is over.

I want to thanks the staff of Victory Road for the possibility of writing this report and Rey for the time spent testing with me.

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