Barbarie Blastoise! – A VR Series 11 Challenge Top 8 Team Report

Hi, everyone! I’m Rafa Busutil, also known as PokeRaf. For anyone that hasn’t heard of me, I’m a Spanish VGC player that started playing VGC in early 2020.

The most important accomplishments I’ve achieved since then are:

But today I’m here to showcase the team that I created and with which I managed to reach first position in the Pokemon Sword and Pokémon Shield in-game ladder and Top 8 in the recent Victory Road’s Series 11 Challenge featuring Assault Vest Blastoise.

Table of Contents

Teambuilding process

groudonumbreonvenusaur-gmaxregielekigrimmsnarlcharizard-gmax

At the very beginning of the season I started playing a similar sun team to the one I used to reach PC III Global Finals, but felt like Leonardo Bonanomi’s version was more versatile and overall better than mine, so I decided to start building something different but with the main idea of beating sun cores.

groudondragapult

My first approach was that adding Dragapult to my sun team could help with the mirror, but after trying different versions of the team with Eliott Legroux (Ethox) we couldn’t find a way to cover both sun cores and Ice Rider Calyrex (which was the main threat when playing both Dragapult and Groudon in the same team). After this main idea I decided I wanted to play Dragapult, as it is especially good against Groudon and Kyogre teams and well supported it is an incredible sweeper.

zacian-crownedincineroaramoongussdragapult

I told my idea of how good Dragapult could be in early meta to Oriol Plaza, as he is the person with whom I test and build the most. He told me he also liked that idea, and that he was going to take a look at it. Without talking to each other, we both actually thought of adding Zacian, Incineroar and Amoonguss to the team. Zacian helps Dragapult to deal with Fairy and Ice types; Incineroar supports Dragapult providing Fake Out pressure so that you can boost its Attack & Speed with Dragon Dance or just lower opponents’ Attack with Intimidate, helping it to take more hits; and Amoonguss redirects moves to prevent Dragapult taking damage and, more importantly, it’s absolutely crucial against Trick Room teams.

zacian-crownedincineroaramoongussporygon2dragapultglastrier

A couple of days after this, Oriol came up with a team that featured all Pokémon mentioned above and adding Porygon2 and Glastrier. The idea was, with the abovementioned main core, be able to beat Grimmsnarl + Zacian teams; it was decent against Kyogre teams and playable against sun. With that in mind, he wanted to improve the match-up against both Shadow Rider and Ice Rider Calyrex teams and more importantly, Coalossal. Those two Pokémon fit perfectly on the team as Assault Vest Glastrier, in Trick Room, underspeeds Ice Rider Calyrex, so you could boost its defenses before being hit, with Lash Out as coverage move you could demolish Shadow Rider Calyrex compositions, and with the ability of setting up Trick Room you could sweep Coalossal teams with Glastrier playing those Trick Room turns perfectly.

After some days trying his version of the team, I had several drawbacks about the team:

groudon/torkoal Sun was still hard to beat even with Glastrier, as opposing Incineroar were difficult to deal with (and having 3 Fire weaknesess + no super effective move against Charizard made it almost impossible).

kyogre Kyogre teams were more difficult to play against than expected.

zacian-crownedcoalossal-gmax Coalossal without Yveltal (standard Zacian cores) were super hard to beat.

So I decided to search on my own for other two Pokémon that could solve those main issues.

blastoise-gmax

I took the idea of having a bulky Pokémon with a Dark-type move that could help with that match-up, but looked for another that resisted Fire and could be used as both Dynamax and non-Dynamax… and that’s where Blastoise came into place:

groudon/torkoal It’s good against sun, as it provides both Fake Out pressure and offensive pressure, as both Regieleki and Venusaur are the only Pokémon that deal damage to it (and with Assault Vest Blastoise tanks every hit from those two).

calyrex-shadow-rider With Dark Pulse and its bulk, it’s able to deal with Shadow Rider Calyrex, and it also handles pretty well some of the Pokémon that are used next to it (like Urshifu or Cinderace). Furthermore, with the Assault Vest + redirection, it was insanely good against opposing Regieleki.

kyogre It was also good against Kyogre teams as Fake Out pressure + Amoonguss could catch many opponents off guard in early game.

coalossal-gmax Against Coalossal, pretty obvious. It pressures every Pokémon other than Rillaboom.

It is important to mention that Blastoise is not in the team to deal damage with its Max Moves. Your main objetive with Blastoise is to deal enough damage (either with Max Moves or G-Max Cannonade residual damage) so that everything is into Behemoth Blade or Thunderbolt range.

zacian-crownedincineroaramoongussregielekiblastoise-gmaxdragapult

The last Pokémon to add to the team was an easy choice. The team didn’t have any super effective move against Water types such as Kyogre, Rapid Strike Style Urshifu or Tapu Fini, and speed control was needed, as we only had Dragapult with the possibility of using Max Airstream. So that’s why I decided to add Regieleki: with its incredible Speed and Electroweb, it outspeeds every Pokémon and can drop their Speed, so that either Zacian, Dragapult or Blastoise gets the KO on the next turn.

The Team

▶️ Get the team’s paste here!


Zacian-Crowned
@ Rusted Sword
Ability: Intrepid Sword
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 132 HP / 76 Atk / 4 Def / 76 SpD / 220 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Protect
– Substitute
– Behemoth Blade
– Close Combat

Zacian‘s HP EVs optimize the use of Substitute. Its Speed stat of 196 speed-creeps Pokémon that are intended to outspeed Adamant Dragapult and +1 Venusaur in Sun.

Offensive calcs
zacian-crowned 76+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Zacian-Crowned: 93-109 (55.3 – 64.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
Defensive calcs

venusaur-gmax 252 SpA Venusaur Max Flare (130 BP) vs. 132 HP / 76 SpD Zacian-Crowned in Sun: 154-182 (83.6 – 98.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO

regieleki 252+ SpA Magnet Transistor Regieleki Max Lightning (130 BP) vs. 132 HP / 76 SpD Zacian-Crowned: 153-180 (83.1 – 97.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO

kyogre 252 SpA Mystic Water Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 132 HP / 76 SpD Zacian-Crowned in Rain: 160-189 (86.9 – 102.7%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO

groudon 156+ Atk Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 132 HP / 4 Def Zacian-Crowned: 156-186 (84.7 – 101%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO


Dragapult
@ Life Orb
Ability: Clear Body
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Dragon Dance
– Dragon Darts
– Phantom Force
– Fly

A standard full-offensive Dragapult.


Amoonguss
@ Focus Sash
Ability: Regenerator
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 236 HP / 156 Def / 116 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Protect
– Spore
– Rage Powder
– Pollen Puff

AmoongussHP EVs are to optimize its Regenerator Ability; its Speed serves to outspeed Ice Rider Calyrex under Trick Room; and its item, the Focus Sash, allows to force really good mindgames against Dynamaxed Pokémon.

Defensive calcs

zacian-crowned 4+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 236 HP / 156+ Def Amoonguss: 99-117 (45.2 – 53.4%) — 32% chance to 2HKO

incineroar 52+ Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 236 HP / 156+ Def Amoonguss: 176-210 (80.3 – 95.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO

kyogre 252 SpA Mystic Water Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 236 HP / 116 SpD Amoonguss in Rain: 101-119 (46.1 – 54.3%) — 53.1% chance to 2HKO

venusaur-gmax 252 SpA Venusaur Max Flare (130 BP) vs. 236 HP / 116 SpD Amoonguss in Sun: 194-230 (88.5 – 105%) — 31.3% chance to OHKO

calyrex-shadow-rider 252 SpA Life Orb Calyrex-Shadow Max Mindstorm (130 BP) vs. 236 HP / 116 SpD Amoonguss: 359-424 (99.9% – 99.9%)


Incineroar
@ Safety Goggles
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 124 Def / 76 SpD / 52 Spe
Impish Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Parting Shot
– Fake Out
– Taunt

Incineroar‘s Speed lets it outspeed Umbreon with 4 Speed EVs. Its item, the Safety Goggles, is really good against the sun match-up.

Defensive calcs

calyrex-ice-rider 252+ Atk Calyrex-Ice Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 124+ Def Incineroar: 170-200 (84.1 – 99%) — guaranteed 2HKO

zacian-crowned 252+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 124+ Def Incineroar: 160-190 (79.2 – 94%) — guaranteed 2HKO

venusaur-gmax 252+ SpA Life Orb Venusaur Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 76 SpD Incineroar: 177-211 (87.6 – 104.4%) — 25% chance to OHKO

charizard-gmax 252 SpA Solar Power Charizard Max Airstream (140 BP) vs. 252 HP / 76 SpD Incineroar in Sun: 159-187 (78.7 – 92.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

landorus-therian -1 252+ Atk Landorus-T Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 124+ Def Incineroar: 152-182 (75.2 – 90%) — guaranteed 2HKO


Regieleki
@ Magnet
Ability: Transistor
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Protect
– Electroweb
– Thunderbolt
– Volt Switch

A standard, full-offensive Regieleki.


Blastoise-Gmax
@ Assault Vest
Ability: Torrent
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Def / 204 SpA / 52 SpD / 4 Spe
Modest Nature
– Hydro Cannon
– Blizzard
– Dark Pulse
– Fake Out

Blastoise‘s HP EVs are to minimize the end-of-turn damage of G-Max Vine Lash, G-Max Wildfire and G-Max Volcalith.

Defensive calcs

venusaur-gmax 252 SpA Venusaur-Gmax G-Max Vinelash (140 BP) vs. 244 HP / 32 SpD Assault Vest Gigantamax Blastoise: 126-150 (34 – 40.5%) — guaranteed 3HKO
2% chance to KO after 2 turns of G-Max Vinelash damage!

regieleki
252 SpA Life Orb Transistor Regieleki Thunderbolt vs. 244 HP / 32 SpD Assault Vest Blastoise: 156-187 (84.3 – 101%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
252 SpA Magnet Transistor Regieleki Helping Hand Max Lightning (130 BP) vs. 244 HP / 32 SpD Assault Vest Gigantamax Blastoise: 312-368 (84.3 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO

thundurus 252 Atk Thundurus Helping Hand Max Lightning (130 BP) vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Gigantamax Blastoise: 306-360 (82.7 – 97.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO

calyrex-shadow-rider 252 SpA Life Orb Calyrex-Shadow Max Phantasm (140 BP) vs. 244 HP / 32 SpD Assault Vest Gigantamax Blastoise: 117-138 (31.6 – 37.2%) — 82% chance to 3HKO

kyogre 252 SpA Mystic Water Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 244 HP / 32 SpD Assault Vest Gigantamax Blastoise in Rain: 59-70 (15.9 – 18.9%) — possible 6HKO

zacian-crowned +1 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Gigantamax Blastoise: 156-184 (42.1 – 49.7%) — guaranteed 3HKO

rillaboom
252+ Atk Rillaboom Grassy Glide vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Gigantamax Blastoise in Grassy Terrain: 168-198 (45.4 – 53.5%) — 0.4% chance to 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
252+ Atk Rillaboom Wood Hammer vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Gigantamax Blastoise in Grassy Terrain: 284-336 (76.7 – 90.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery

Common leads

If you want to know more about specific leads, I will explain them more in depth in the ‘Tournament run’ section. Overall, the team doesn’t have “must-go” leads (compared to Trick Room or Tailwind teams). It is really versatile, but this are some of the leads you can make:

zacian-crowned + blastoise/incineroar/amoonguss More aggresive leads

amoonguss + blastoise/incineroar/dragapult More passive leads

regieleki + incineroar Regieleki + Incineroar

As you can see, you can both lead taking a passive position with Fake Out + Amoonguss in order to try to put opponent Pokémon to sleep, or lead Fake Out or Amoonguss + Zacian or Dragapult and be more aggresive.

Tournament run

This was my run at the VR Series 11 Challenge!

Swiss rounds

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
 R1 WWITA
Kevin Salvetto
(Lil Bo Peep)
zacian-crownedtorkoalvenusaurcharizardgrimmsnarllandorus-therian
Team preview

This is the kind of team I made my team for. As you can imagine, Blastoise is amazing in this match-up, as the only Pokémon that really deals damage to it is Venusaur, and I have enough resources to deal with it (Incineroar, Zacian, Dragapult, Amoonguss by using side-Pollen Puff to Blastoise…).

Game 1
I decided to lead really aggressively with Blastoise Zacian as he led Grimmsnarl Landorus. I decided to spam Behemoth Blade to deal as much damage as possible but switching out Blastoise for incin, as I expected him to switch out landorus with U-turn into incin. That worked perfectly, as with Behemoth Blade damage onto Landorus & Venu + Blastoise late game dyna finished it up easily.
Game 2
I decided to lead Incineroar Amoongus as I expected him to lead Venusaur and to also pick torkoal on the back). He did exactly that, and Sporing every mon other than Venu + early parting shot to decrease its damage output made it impossible for Kevin to make a comeback.
RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
 R2 WWITA
Gaetano Di Trapani
(Gae)
zacian-crownedrotom-heatrillaboomgastrodon-eastgrimmsnarllandorus-therian
Match summary

This match-up in pregame seems kind of rough, as Gastrodon + Rotom + screens and Thunder Wave spam are really good against Zacian, Blastoise and Dragapult.

 

For some reason, my opponent decided not to pick Grimmsnarl, which made it easier than what it could have been. My gameplan was to lead Zacian + Incineroar with Amoonguss and Dragapult in the back, and prepare an end-game sweep with Dragapult after getting a safe switch into it with either Fake Out or redirection on the field. As he didn’t pick Grimmsnarl, once Zacian was Intimidated I could just click Max Wyrmwind and Max Phantasm to every Pokémon without being wary of being hit by a Behemoth Blade.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
 R3 LWWAUT
Ian Dertschei
(Ian)
groudonenteivenusaurporygon2grimmsnarlthundurus
Team preview

This team was an okay match-up for both players, as we both had tools to deal with each other’s offensive Pokémon. It is true that Thundurus and Entei seem really threatening against my team, but with the right positioning Dragapult and Amoonguss can be really threatening too.

Game 1

I decided to lead Zacian + Blastoise, but as soon as I saw his Groudon + Thundurus lead I realised that it was almost game over for me. Max Lightning + Precipice Blades made it almost impossible for me to reposition or to try to make a comeback in the late game.

Game 2

I decided to lead Zacian + Dragapult, to start with more offensive pressure. He led the same (if I remember correctly), but Amoonguss in late game was too much for his team, as Spore and Pollen Puff recovery on Incineroar sealed the game.

Game 3

Game 3 was perfect for me. He decided to lead Groudon + Venusaur as I repeated my G2 lead. As I was EV’d to take a Max Flare, I clicked Behemoth Blade into Venusaur and switched Dragapult out for Incineroar. And that was exactly what happened: I KO’d the Gigantamax Venusaur on turn 1 after taking a Max Flare, and that was almost GG for me on the first turn.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
 R4 WLWDEU
Jakob Hoven
(Jacky)
zacian-crownedincineroarrillaboomthundurusblastoiselandorus-therian
Match summary

First of all, I want to give big shoutouts to him as this was one of the best sets I’ve ever played. From my perspective, it was super hard to deal with Thundurus, and my gameplan was based on trying to turn it to sleep and KO it before it woke up.

 

I am not going to enter too much into details because you can imagine that this was a super slow-paced game where repositioning and mind games were all over the place. Games ended up either on timer or with a super close 1v1. The only thing to mention is that the picks for these kind of teams are Blastoise + Amoonguss with Incineroar and Zacian in the back, and you can consider picking Regieleki instead of Incineroar (as I did in G3 and which ended up working perfectly).

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
 R5 LLJPN
Takehiro Nakata
(grand)
kyogrecomfeyrillaboomzapdosurshifukingdra
Match summary

This was an absolute nightmare for me. Although it was an even match-up and I had enough tools to play around his weird techs, he absolutely demolished me. I didn’t approach either G1 or G2 correctly. He literally beat me in team preview as I didn’t know what to lead or which gameplan to follow.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
 R6 WLLJPN
Shun Kato
(シュン)
calyrex-ice-riderincineroaramoongussregielekiurshifumimikyu
Team preview

I had a favourable match-up, I knew my gameplan and how to approach each game (both G1 and G2) before starting the set.

Game 1

I executed my G1 game plan perfectly: I led Amoonguss + Zacian with Incineroar and Blastoise in the back, and an early Substitute + Spore allowed me to beat him without my Dynamax.

Games 2 and 3

G2 and G3 were just terrible for me. I led Blastoise + Zacian with Incineroar and Amoonguss in the back, as I expected him to lead with Incineroar (which didn’t happen). But apart from that, I just threw the game by Gigantamaxing too early with Blastoise and missplaying several times. This got even worse in G3, where in the late game we stood Blastoise + Incineroar (with Fake Out) against Regieleki + Urshifu, and instead of using Fake Out onto Regieleki and Hydro Cannon on Urshifu (which was a guaranteed win) I used Fake Out onto Urshifu as my opponent used Helping Hand + Rising Voltage on Blastoise (which had a 37% chance of getting the KO, but it did).

Match summary

This set got me absolutely frustrated.

 

Overall, the idea against this kind of teams is to play Zacian + Amoongus and Incineroar, using Substitute with Zacian and forcing mind games with Incineroar and Amoonguss until you stall Trick Room and get Blastoise in, ready to Gigantamax and spam G-Max Cannonade onto everything on the field.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
 R7WLWNZL
Alex Donaldson
(Ranghome)
zacian-crownedtorkoalvenusaurthundurusgrimmsnarllandorus-therian
Match summary

Luckily, I had the exact same match-up as in Round 1 except for Thundurus instead of Charizard. Even with that, the match-up was absolutely favourable to me. We went to G3 just because in turn 1 of G2 I misclicked. He led Grimmsnarl + Venusaur and I led Zacian + Blastoise. I wanted to Fake Out Grimmsnarl and Behemoth Blade the Venusaur, but clicked Fake Out into Venusaur as I ran out of timer. But, apart from that, my gameplan was exactly the same as in Round 1.

Top cut

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
Top 16LWW
Sali Resuli
(Pokesun1)
groudonincineroarvenusaurregielekiumbreoncharizard
Team preview

This was the match-up I didn’t want to lose to. As I mentioned in Round 1, this was the kind of team I wanted to beat. I spent Sunday’s morning preparing the match-up with Ramsés Quintana (KaoruKitsune) and Oriol looking for the perfect gameplan.

Game 1

When I had all set and a defined gameplan, I thought of another one and executed it in G1, which was leading Incineroar + Blastoise with Zacian and Dragapult in the back. This didn’t work at all, as once I KO’d Venusaur, Charizard absolutely demolished me.

Games 2 and 3

For G2 and G3 I took advantage of some info I had about my opponent: I was told he liked to click Sleep Powder pretty often, even with Fake Out pressure on the field. Therefore I changed into the gameplan I had prepared (which is what I should have done in G1) and led Blastoise + Zacian with Dragapult and Incineroar in tha back. On turn 1 I clicked Fake Out + Behemoth Blade onto Venusaur in both games, KO’ing it and allowing me to sweep with Blastoise.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
Top 8LLSGP
Jude Lee
(CoalossalVGC)
zacian-crownedincineroarrillaboomcoalossalurshifumoltres-galar
Game 1

This was the game I had a perfect game plan for… and I played it terribly. I could have won the game in turn 2, but due to being nervous I misplayed several times and ended up losing G1.

Game 2

G2 started perfectly for me, as my opponent ran out of timer and I knew exactly what he had picked and which was his gameplan. But that ended up being worse for me, as I thought it was almost a guaranteed win and started to make misplays turn after turn. Even in the very last turn, I could have won by clicking Fake Out onto Moltres (and KO’ing it) + Rage Powder with Amoonguss to take a Behemoth Blade, and then repeat the same turn but clicking Flare Blitz onto Zacian and forcing a Game 3; but I just played at my worst and Jude played it perfectly taking advantage of every incorrect play I made. Big shoutouts to him for reaching Top 4!

Conclusions

Overall, I think this is the best team I’ve built so far. The combination of speedy offensive Pokémon like Dragapult and Regieleki with bulky support Pokémon like Amoonguss and Incineroar next to the offensive pressure of Zacian and the one and only Assault Vest Blastoise makes this team super good and super funny to play!

I want to thank once more Oriol Plaza for helping me prepare for every tour I play; Alex Gómez (PokeAlex) as he was the one that taught me the most essential knowledge of VGC; and all my friends from Arca9Squad for all their support throughout the tour!

Enjoy the team!

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Victory Road