Hello everyone, my name is Emanuele Ciliberto a.k.a. Asuya, I started playing VGC in January 2020 and you probably have already seen my name in the top cuts of several online grassroot tournaments.
Today, I am presenting what I consider to be the strongest team in the format. Both I and the friends of mine who have tried it have achieved consistent results on the ladder and in grassroot tours.
To give you an idea of how solid this team is, I’m listing some its accomplishments here:
- My friend Arash Ommati placed in Top 4 of the Players’ Cup Invitational and reached the first place of the Showdown ladder with 85.1% GXE, the highest we have seen in this Series so far.
- With Team Italy, we brought this team 11 times during our World Cup run, with a W/L count of 10-1 (the only match it lost was played on a 6-0 score, in the semi-finals against South Korea).
- Players from other national teams also used this same team, and they achieved great results as well.
- My friends Andrea Pagano and Gaetano di Trapani respectively placed in Top 8 and Top 4 of the Rise of Galar Circuit Finals.
- I have cut every weekend tournament I’ve played since late July (and I’ve won one or two of them), other friends of mine have also achieved great results (among many, Francesco Deiana placed in Top 4 of the Desafio LATAM 2 Water Cup, and here’s a fun fact: while I’m writing this Team Report, he has just won the Steel Cup).
I know shoutouts are usually at the bottom, but I’d rather make them early on, so here we go:
- Shoutouts to Dario Cozzo for contributing to the creation of the archetype.
- Shoutouts to Andrea Pagano and Gaetano di Trapani for coming up with the starting idea around the team.
- Shoutouts to Arash Ommati and Leonardo Bonanomi, who I tested the team with up to refining it to its final form.
- Shoutouts to Luca Clemente for translating this report in English (without him, I would have never been able to publish it).
- Shoutouts to Francesco Deiana, Taran Birdee and Antonio Sanchez for providing me with the rental teams of the several versions I used in the last two months.
Series 10 was announced a month before its in-game release.
By mid-July, the metagame had already been partially defined and the ladder was populated by very offensive Calyrex teams which were generally featuring Mienshao, Indeedee and Whimsicott as common ground. Those teams all had one peculiarity, that is, forcing many 50/50s which, ironically, were more likely to be in their favor. In fact, they just needed one correct read to snowball on you with little effort, therefore, I decided to try out that composition.
In short time, however, I realized such playstyle didn’t suit my skills. This was due because I originally were a Singles player, so I’ve always preferred balanced team centered around repositioning, and this is what I was looking for even in VGC. To me, this last aspect of the game felt like it was slightly nerfed by Dynamax. On the other hand, Series 10 seemed to provide more space for longer games where board positioning and long-term thinking skills could make a difference. On top of that, I also noticed that Calyrex doesn’t just hit hard, but it also boasts decent defenses. All those aspects led me to thinking that a more balanced Calyrex build was no impossible feat.
Nevertheless, it was only thanks to Andrea Pagano that my concept saw the light of day, as he built the first version of the team.
From this starting point, we realized that our TornOgre and Zacian matchups were too difficult (the latter had started to run Play Rough on its set), this is why we decided to give Urshifu a Focus Sash in order to live a hit from Zacian or Rillaboom and run Choice Scarf on Regieleki to outspeed Kyogre even in Tailwind.
At a later stage, we agreed on giving Nihilego a Power Herb, as a Special Attack boost and Meteor Beam would be very useful against Ho-Oh, Yveltal and Xerneas teams.
The next step was equipping Incineroar with a Sitrus Berry. This made our Zacian matchup something very close to an autowin, as it allowed Incineroar to switch on Zacian’s attacks three times instead of just twice, but the most important aspect was being able to survive Urshifu’s Surging Strikes, and this would make our repositioning much easier against this archetype.
At this point, the World Cup kicked off, and I started working on the team with Leonardo and Arash. Here are the changes we made, in the following order:
- Changing Urshifu’s Nature to Adamant.
- Giving Nihilego. Clear Smog in place of Sludge Bomb.
- Replacing Regieleki with a very unusual Whimsicott set.
- Changing Calyrex’s Nature to Modest.
- Giving Sludge Bomb back to Nihilego and swapping Power Gem with Grass Knot.
I’ll explain each choice in the Pokémon descriptions.
Now, this is the team in its final form:
It should be noted that the same six were used by Regikitty to achieve a remarkable second place in the VR World Cup Open. However, her sets were very different and, consequently, so were her gameplans against the various matchups.
Calyrex-Shadow @ Life Orb
Ability: As One (Spectrier)
EVs: 28 HP / 4 Def / 220 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Astral Barrage
It just had to sit in the front row. The merciless dark emperor.
It has undoubtedly overturned my S10 game experience. I’ll admit that at the beginning of the season, I was feeling somehow lost since I had only played VGC in Dynamax metagames previously. As I started playing this Pokémon, however, I felt more and more at ease, maybe because this composition is very well-suited to my playstyle. Astral Barrage is so good it makes no sense: I still can’t see why it has 100% accuracy, but I’ll take it. I’ve lost count of how many times all I had to do was leading with Fake Out+Calyrex to start racking up damage without a second thought.
The main reasons behind Psyshock are Amoonguss, Bulky Urshifu, Eternatus and being able to bypass Wide Guard, especially from Mienshao. Substitute and Protect allow me to win whole games just by cycling Fake Out next to Calyrex, and they are also useful to stall Trick Room out. In addition to that, setting up a Substitute thanks to a good read can put you in such a favorable position that your opponent will never be able to recover ground.
Its EV spread is optimized for Life Orb recoil and grants a more favorable roll to live a Rain-boosted Water Spout from Scarf Kyogre. In the beginning, it was Timid, then I realized I could afford a Modest Nature as I can still win mirrors by playing better and without risking a Speed tie, or even by not bringing it at all. A Modest Nature will catch off guard all those EV spreads that are tailored to survive one or two hits from the Timid version; plus, it is also useful against Xerneas, as Calyrex will now bring it into a Nihilego Sludge Bomb range after Geomancy.
220+ SpA Life Orb Calyrex-Shadow Astral Barrage vs. 196 HP / 52 SpD Zacian-Crowned: 109-130 (56.7 – 67.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
220+ SpA Life Orb Calyrex-Shadow Astral Barrage vs. 172 HP / 116 SpD Assault Vest Rillaboom: 99-117 (50.2 – 59.3%) — 74.6% chance to 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
220+ SpA Life Orb Calyrex-Shadow Astral Barrage vs. 12 HP / 0 SpD Entei: 164-192 (85.4 – 100%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
220+ SpA Life Orb Calyrex-Shadow Astral Barrage vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Xerneas: 130-153 (55.7 – 65.6%)
220+ SpA Life Orb Calyrex-Shadow Psyshock vs. 252 HP / 156+ Def Amoonguss: 229-273 (103.6 – 123.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
220+ SpA Life Orb Calyrex-Shadow Psyshock vs. 172 HP / 28 Def Eternatus: 234-276 (98.7 – 116.4%) — 93.8% chance to OHKO
220+ SpA Life Orb Calyrex-Shadow Astral Barrage vs. 236 HP / 116+ SpD Suicune: 94-110 (45.8 – 53.6%) — 40.6% chance to 2HKO
76+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 28 HP / 4 Def Calyrex-Shadow: 123-145 (68.7 – 81%)
252+ Atk Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Surging Strikes (3 hits) vs. 28 HP / 4 Def Calyrex-Shadow on a critical hit: 126-153 (70.3 – 85.4%)
-1 196+ Atk Rillaboom Wood Hammer vs. 28 HP / 4 Def Calyrex-Shadow in Grassy Terrain: 109-129 (60.8 – 72%)
-1 252+ Atk Life Orb Stakataka Gyro Ball (150 BP) vs. 28 HP / 4 Def Calyrex-Shadow: 146-173 (81.5 – 96.6%)
252 SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 28 HP / 4 SpD Calyrex-Shadow in Rain: 160-189 (89.3 – 105.5%) — 31.3% chance to OHKO
+2 68+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Dazzling Gleam vs. 28 HP / 4 SpD Calyrex-Shadow: 130-154 (72.6 – 86%)
+1 68+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 28 HP / 4 SpD Calyrex-Shadow: 154-183 (86 – 102.2%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
Urshifu-Rapid-Strike (F) @ Focus Sash
Ability: Unseen Fist
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Surging Strikes
– Close Combat
– Aqua Jet
You could spend hours talking about it, and still, there wouldn’t be much new to hear. The crucial thing is that it allows me not to succumb to the first Pokémon in usage: Incineroar. It plays a key role against Zacian teams as it lets me rack up damage, even by forcing trades to make room for a Calyrex sweep.
It is a mandatory pick against Stakataka teams as it can stomach all its STAB attacks and subsequently OHKO it with Close Combat, even at -1 thanks to its Adamant Nature. During testing, I noticed I didn’t need to win speed ties against Jolly Urshifu as they are getting always rarer and sometimes, attacking second is actually in my favor. I’ve won some games just by pressing Surging Strikes and cycling my two Fake Outs.
Its EV spread is optimized for Grassy Terrain HP recovery. The reason behind its success on this team is its synergy with Calyrex, which allows me to make some repositioning maneuvers that would otherwise be impossible.
252+ Atk Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Close Combat vs. 196 HP / 20 Def Zacian-Crowned: 99-117 (51.5 – 60.9%)
252+ Atk Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Close Combat vs. 172 HP / 20 Def Rillaboom: 120-142 (60.9 – 72%)
-1 252+ Atk Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Surging Strikes (3 hits) vs. 252 HP / 68 Def Incineroar on a critical hit: 222-270 (109.9 – 133.6%) — guaranteed OHKO
-1 252+ Atk Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Stakataka: 160-192 (95.2 – 114.2%) — 81.3% chance to OHKO
252+ Atk Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 52 Def Tsareena: 109-129 (60.8 – 72%)
252+ Atk Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Close Combat vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Kyogre: 124-147 (70.4 – 83.5%) — 98.4% chance to 2HKO
252+ Atk Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 84+ Def Kyogre: 102-121 (49.2 – 58.4%) — 98.4% chance to 2HKO
-1 76+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Play Rough vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Urshifu-Rapid-Strike: 126-150 (71.5 – 85.2%)
116+ Atk Rillaboom Grassy Glide vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Urshifu-Rapid-Strike in Grassy Terrain: 152-180 (86.3 – 102.2%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
148+ Def Stakataka Body Press vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Urshifu-Rapid-Strike: 69-82 (39.2 – 46.5%) — guaranteed 3HKO
252+ Atk Life Orb Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Urshifu-Rapid-Strike: 121-144 (68.7 – 81.8%)
Incineroar @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 236 HP / 156 Def / 116 Spe
– Flare Blitz
– Throat Chop
– Parting Shot
– Fake Out
The best Pokémon in the format. It is thanks to it that I can handle the great majority of matchups. If it didn’t exist, this archetype would have probably never been born. When I decided to use it, many Incineroar were running Snarl and were only invested to be faster than max speed Amoonguss at best, so I decided to give it 116 Speed EVs to outspeed all of them and block their Parting Shot or Snarl. It should be noted that it outspeeds 189 Speed Zacian in Tailwind, a Speed tier used to be faster than -1 Regieleki. I was forced to invest all the remaining bulk in physical defense in order to let it survive Close Combat from Mienshao.
This is a crucial calculation which makes facing the offensive mirrors much easier. Surviving Surging Strikes from Adamant Urshifu is also a bliss.
Having no special bulk is not a major issue, as this is already sufficient to live 2 Scalds from Suicune.
Against Xerneas teams, I don’t even bring it, so that was never a problem.
Sitrus Berry is crucial to win all those games with plenty of repositioning without falling to the chip damage it takes on the switch-in.
Against some specific teams, this Incineroar is used in a very peculiar way. I’ll get into detail in the matchup section.
0 Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 196 HP / 20 Def Zacian-Crowned: 134-158 (69.7 – 82.2%)
-1 0 Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 196 HP / 20 Def Zacian-Crowned: 90-108 (46.8 – 56.2%) — 75% chance to 2HKO
0 Atk Incineroar Throat Chop vs. 212 HP / 0 Def Shadow Shield Lunala: 114-134 (47.6 – 56%)
0 Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Regieleki: 130-154 (83.3 – 98.7%)
0 Atk Incineroar Throat Chop vs. 0 HP / 76 Def Nihilego: 79-94 (42.9 – 51%) — 5.5% chance to 2HKO
0 Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Calyrex-Ice: 108-128 (52.1 – 61.8%)
252 Atk Mienshao Close Combat vs. 236 HP / 156+ Def Incineroar: 168-200 (84 – 100%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
252+ Atk Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Surging Strikes (3 hits) vs. 236 HP / 156+ Def Incineroar on a critical hit: 186-222 (93 – 111%) – Guaranteed 2HKO After Sitrus Berry Recovery
76+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Play Rough vs. 236 HP / 156+ Def Incineroar: 78-93 (39 – 46.5%)
-1 252+ Atk Life Orb Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 236 HP / 156+ Def Incineroar: 135-164 (67.5 – 82%)
252+ Atk Entei Flower Gift Boosted Stone Edge vs. 236 HP / 156+ Def Incineroar: 146-172 (73 – 86%)
0 Def Stakataka Body Press vs. 236 HP / 156+ Def Incineroar: 98-116 (49 – 58%) – 10.2% Chance To 2HKO After Sitrus Berry Recovery
4 SpA Suicune Scald vs. 236 HP / 0 SpD Incineroar: 92-110 (46 – 55%) – 16.4% Chance To 2HKO After Sitrus Berry Recovery
Rillaboom (M) @ Assault Vest
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs: 172 HP / 116 Atk / 4 Def / 116 SpD / 100 Spe
– Grassy Glide
– Knock Off
– Fake Out
Broken as never before. It is a key part of the team, allowing me to keep Zacian teams with Urshifu at bay in cooperation with my Incineroar, as well as to clean up TornOgre teams once Tsareena/Weavile have been cleared from the field.
With this spread, it lives +1 Zacian while only being 3HKOd by Astral Barrage from Timid Life Orb Calyrex. It also lives a +2 Moonblast from Xerneas, and this can be crucial in some critical situations where you are forced to send it on the field in place of Calyrex or Urshifu. It also very useful against Lunala teams, as I can KO it once Shadow Shield has been broken by one of the allies and it can also stomach Liquidation from Araquanid, a Pokémon which is frequently seen in that composition. Grassy Terrain recovery lets me win long games as well as make some aggressive plays even turn 1 (e.g. Astral Barrage even at the cost of taking a +0 Behemoth Blade, or attempting an almost free Substitute) because I know I’ll be able to recover enough HPs with Protect to keep on with the board positioning or the sweep.
118 Speed EVs allow me to usually outspeed Lunala, bulky Rillaboom, Suicune, Groudon in TR Sun teams and Choice Scarf base-90 Pokémon if I have Tailwind up.
116+ Atk Rillaboom Grassy Glide vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Kyogre in Grassy Terrain: 168-198 (95.4 – 112.5%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO
116+ Atk Rillaboom Grassy Glide vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Urshifu-Rapid-Strike in Grassy Terrain: 152-180 (86.3 – 102.2%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
116+ Atk Rillaboom U-turn vs. 188 HP / 20 Def Rillaboom: 82-98 (41.2 – 49.2%)
116+ Atk Rillaboom Knock Off vs. 212 HP / 0 Def Lunala: 160-192 (66.9 – 80.3%)
-1 116+ Atk Rillaboom Knock Off (97.5 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Calyrex-Shadow: 172-204 (97.7 – 115.9%) — 87.5% chance to OHKO
+1 76+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 172 HP / 4 Def Rillaboom: 168-198 (85.2 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
252 SpA Life Orb Calyrex-Shadow Astral Barrage vs. 172 HP / 116 SpD Assault Vest Rillaboom: 90-107 (45.6 – 54.3%) — 3.1% chance to 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
156+ Atk Tsareena Triple Axel (40 BP) (3 hits) vs. 172 HP / 4 Def Rillaboom: 144-174 (73 – 88.3%)
252+ Atk Araquanid Leech Life vs. 172 HP / 4 Def Rillaboom: 110-132 (55.8 – 67%)
+2 132+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 172 HP / 116 SpD Assault Vest Rillaboom: 166-196 (84.2 – 99.4%)
252 SpA Kyogre Ice Beam vs. 172 HP / 116 SpD Assault Vest Rillaboom: 88-104 (44.6 – 52.7%) — guaranteed 3HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
228+ SpA Life Orb Eternatus Sludge Bomb vs. 172 HP / 116 SpD Assault Vest Rillaboom: 179-213 (90.8 – 108.1%) — 50% chance to OHKO
180+ SpA Lunala Moongeist Beam vs. 172 HP / 116 SpD Assault Vest Rillaboom: 72-85 (36.5 – 43.1%)
68+ SpA Yveltal Oblivion Wing vs. 172 HP / 116 SpD Assault Vest Rillaboom: 102-122 (51.7 – 61.9%)
Nihilego @ Power Herb
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 12 HP / 60 Def / 180 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Meteor Beam
– Grass Knot
– Sludge Bomb
Originally, it was the last entry of the team, but this doesn’t mean it is the least useful one. Without it, some matchup would be outright unplayable.
The reason it is here is to spread panic against opposing Xerneas teams, as the majority of them are extremely weak to Nihilego, which can very easily snowball if it has entered the field at the right time or with Tailwind up.
It is also here to threaten Ho-Oh and Yveltal and to pressure bulky Kyogre teams which, Kyogre aside, are destroyed by Nihilego thanks to the double Fake Out support. Its EV spread improves my chances to live two Geomancy-boosted Moonblasts from Xerneas. Grass Knot is here for Groudon specifically, so I can double up on it with Calyrex/Urshifu and pick up the KO. It is also very useful against opposing Urshifu (without Grassy Terrain, it still has 50% chance to OHKO it).
+1 180 SpA Nihilego Meteor Beam vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Incineroar: 224-266 (112 – 133%) — guaranteed OHKO
+1 180 SpA Nihilego Meteor Beam vs. 244 HP / 84 SpD Assault Vest Entei: 218-258 (98.6 – 116.7%) — 87.5% chance to OHKO
+1 180 SpA Nihilego Meteor Beam vs. 236 HP / 12 SpD Assault Vest Yveltal: 192-228 (83.1 – 98.7%)
+1 180 SpA Nihilego Sludge Bomb vs. 172 HP / 116 SpD Assault Vest Rillaboom: 168-198 (85.2 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
180 SpA Nihilego Grass Knot (120 BP) vs. 236 HP / 4 SpD Groudon: 138-164 (67.3 – 80%)
180 SpA Nihilego Grass Knot (100 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Urshifu-Rapid-Strike: 160-190 (90.9 – 107.9%) — 50% chance to OHKO
180 SpA Nihilego Sludge Bomb vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Xerneas: 150-176 (64.3 – 75.5%)
+2 68+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 12 HP / 4 SpD Nihilego: 82-97 (44 – 52.1%) — 17.6% chance to 2HKO
252 SpA Transistor Regieleki Thunderbolt vs. 12 HP / 4 SpD Nihilego: 76-91 (40.8 – 48.9%)
252 SpA Life Orb Calyrex-Shadow Astral Barrage vs. 12 HP / 4 SpD Nihilego: 95-113 (51 – 60.7%)
4 SpA Kyogre Origin Pulse vs. 12 HP / 4 SpD Nihilego in Rain: 158-188 (84.9 – 101%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
-1 116+ Atk Rillaboom Grassy Glide vs. 12 HP / 60 Def Nihilego in Grassy Terrain: 81-96 (43.5 – 51.6%) — guaranteed 3HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
252+ Atk Entei Flare Blitz vs. 12 HP / 60 Def Nihilego in Sun: 123-146 (66.1 – 78.4%)
Whimsicott @ Rocky Helmet
EVs: 212 HP / 20 Def / 4 SpA / 52 SpD / 220 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Sunny Day
I used to run Regieleki before it, a Pokémon I would mostly bring against TornOgre and Xerneas if I noticed that my opponent wouldn’t respect the Regieleki+Calyrex lead (which has a high snowballing potential).
However, as the metagame evolved and Choice Scarf Kyogre started to spread (because of Santino’s team in particular), I felt the need to add a more solid answer to this archetype. From there, I came up with Whimsicott. Its set is very unusual and specific for it: Sunny Day grants me a more favorable TornOgre matchup, Encore is very useful against Xerneas and mirrors, Moonblast is its STAB attack, making it able to OHKO Urshifu and significantly weaken Weavile to pave the way for a Calyrex sweep. I also tried Grass Knot, but it was only useful against Groudon in case it didn’t KO me in the turn I was setting up Tailwind.
Rocky Helmet is just brilliant, I have to thank Dario Cozzo for this idea.
It allows me to chip the opponents into Calyrex or Urshifu range.
One example for this is Entei: if it gets chipped, it will be in a guaranteed Astral Barrage KO range. Another one is Weavile, which can’t KO Whimsicott with Triple Axel without risking to be KOed back by Astral Barrage. Even Tsareena will be much easier to be wiped out after the recoil damage. In some games, an already chipped Tsareena died from Rocky Helmet recoil after the first or second hit.
In my World Cup Top 8 match, I managed to kill the opposing Shedinja in both games with it.
This spread allows it to live a Triple Axel from Tsareena 76+ most times as well as an Astral Barrage from Timid Life Orb Calyrex.
With a 180 Speed stat, I’m faster than Tornadus, so I don’t have to risk getting Taunted once Rocky Helmet has been scouted.
4 SpA Whimsicott Moonblast vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Urshifu-Rapid-Strike: 134-158 (76.1 – 89.7%)
4 SpA Whimsicott Moonblast vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Weavile: 102-122 (69.8 – 83.5%)
4 SpA Whimsicott Moonblast vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Regieleki: 76-90 (48.7 – 57.6%)
4 SpA Whimsicott Moonblast vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Mienshao: 134-158 (95 – 112%) — 62.5% chance to OHKO
76+ Atk Tsareena Triple Axel (40 BP) (3 hits) vs. 212 HP / 20 Def Whimsicott: 138-168 (85.1 – 103.7%) — approx. 6.3% chance to OHKO
252 SpA Life Orb Calyrex-Shadow Astral Barrage vs. 212 HP / 52 SpD Whimsicott: 140-165 (86.4 – 101.8%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
How to use the team
How to face Match Ups
|Incineroar Calyrex with Urshifu and Rillaboom in the back.|
If they are running Milotic, I’ll just change the order in Rillaboom Urshifu with Incineroar and Calyrex in the back.
Oftentimes, I can afford a Fake Out+Astral Barrage at the cost of taking a +0 Behemoth Blade or a Thunderbolt/Electroweb from Regieleki, or even Surging Strikes from Choice Scarf Adamant Urshifu.
The key part is picking the right time to start racking up damage and eventually make a trade to win with your remaining three Pokémon.
Always keep in mind to preserve your Urshifu until the opposing Incineroar is at least at mid-health.
Another rule of thumb is avoid attacking Zacian with Flare Blitz and always go for Parting Shot or sometimes Fake Out.
This is because if your opponent switches Zacian out while repositioning themselves in the other slot, you may find yourself facing a +1 Zacian with your Incineroar already on the field.
Therefore, the secret is always keeping Incineroar in the back, so you can switch it in to give the dog an Attack drop.
|Calyrex Whimsicott with Nihilego Rillaboom in the back.|
This is another very favorable matchup. As opposed to the previous one, however, it is even simpler to play because you’ll have much less repositioning to do, as you’ll snowball earlier with Nihilego or Calyrex.
Sometimes, you can even afford sacrificing your horse turn 1, so you can rack up enough damage for Nihilego to clean up right away with the support from your remaining two Pokémon.
|Calyrex Whimsicott with Nihilego and Urshifu in the back, or in some cases even Rillaboom.|
They’ll often lead Entei Groudon, so you can go for Protect+Tailwind or even Astral Barrage+Tailwind.
You’ll have to capitalize on it and deal as much damage as possible by doubling up the right slots as your opponent will desperately try to reposition themselves. Groudon will always faint from a double up from Calyrex+Urshifu/Urshifu+Nihilego/Calyrex+Nihilego, unless it is extremely bulky and gets very lucky with damage rolls.
|+||Whimsicott Urshifu with Rillaboom and Calyrex in the back.|
In general, I’ll focus on weakening or getting the kill on Tsareena/Weavile so I can finish the job with Calyrex/Rillaboom.
The only variant which can potentially be a trouble is the Shedinja one if it starts winning too many turns with Ally Switch.
|Calyrex Incineroar with Rillaboom and Urshifu in the back.|
You can invert the order according to your preferences or to the opposing team. Keep in mind that Modest Calyrex has 50% chance to OHKO all those Lunala that are invested to survive the Timid one.
Urshifu is the key to handle Stakataka, Rillaboom will do the same against Araquanid.
|Incineroar Calyrex with Rillaboom and Urshifu/Nihilego in the back.|
You can invert the order according to your preferences or to the opposing team.
|Here, you can afford not bringing Calyrex and aim at winning by keeping the pressure on with Urshifu and Nihilego + the double Fake Out support.|
|You don’t always have to bring Nihilego to win.|
In fact, the pressure exerted by Calyrex and Urshifu with the double Fake Out support is often more than enough.
Keep in mind that if Calyrex is on the field, Gastrodon won’t be able to eat its Rindo Berry.
|Your four will be Calyrex, Rillaboom, Urshifu and Incineroar.|
The order can vary a lot, even between games, and depends on whether you want to exert huge pressure right away through a Calyrex Urshifu lead or prefer to play a slower game by leading with Fake Out.
|In the mirror matchup I usually lead Urshifu Rillaboom with Calyrex and Incineroar in the back.|
If the opponent is using a more offensive version (usually with Mienshao and such) your four will be Incineroar Rillaboom Calyrex Whimsicott or Whimsicott Incineroar Rillaboom Calyrex.
This is a very shaky matchup where you could win or lose in a turn depending on who takes the play.
If they don’t have Incineroar I often won turn 1 by making the aggressive play Fake Out + Grassy Glide on Mienshao.
Otherwise you can put Calyrex on Incineroar and cover the play by making Knock Off on the opponent’s Calyrex.
As you can see there is a lot of insecurity on both sides, whoever gets into the opponent’s mind wins.
- If you know your opponent will lead with Amoonguss, you can start with Rillaboom+Calyrex, go for Fake Out on the other slot and set up a free Sub.
- Don’t let Snarl scare you, you can often afford taking one to keep spreading damage.
- Once you understand your opponent is not respecting Substitute or, vice versa, they are focusing their resources on attacking Calyrex, punish their predictable plays.
- Avoid protecting your Urshifu from Fake Out in fear of losing your Sash, you’ll often restore it with Grassy Terrain anyway, or you may not need it at all if you’re cycling Fake Out the next turn.
- Sometimes, switching out Incineroar/Rillaboom manually is more convenient, in this way, you’re not risking your maneuver to be blocked by the opposing Fake Out.
|Grass Knot on Nihilego helps a lot in the sun matchup, however Power Gem is more useful in all other matchups.|
|Consider giving Light Screen to Whimsicott instead of Sunny Day, that way you have a move that can be useful in other matchups.|
|Aqua Jet on Urshifu is used on very few occasions, I’m also trying Helping Hand and I’m finding it very useful.|
|With the above change you can afford a Timid Nature on Calyrex to generally improve the matchup against mirrors.|
|Since Snarl Incineroar is now much less used, Throat Chop is not as functional as before, so you can try slower Incineroar to increase bulk to the special side.|