Strelitzia! – Team Report from the VR Series 11 Challenge Runner-up

Hello! It’s your friendly neighbour Emanuele Briganti, or Lele, here to talk about the team I used to get to the finals of this Series 11 Challenge! 🙂

Table of Contents

Teambuilding process

As you can see, I didn’t invent anything singular. These six Pokémon are just my variant of the endless sun-based teams existing in the metagame already, so I’m not going to give many details since I don’t think there is the need. I’ll focus more on giving tips on how, in my opinion, the team should be played.


Charizard, Groudon, Venusaur and Incineroar are mostly the “must-have” on sun teams, and for the last two slots, after testing different variations, I felt more comfortable with Grimmsnarl and Porygon2, since they both offer me a lot of damage control and speed control options, with screens, Eerie Impulse, Thunder Wave and Trick Room.

The Team

▶️ Get the team’s paste here!

@ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Drought
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 228 HP / 156 Atk / 20 Def / 28 SpD / 76 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Swords Dance
– Rock Slide
– Protect
– Precipice Blades

The huge red mountain. Other than giving you heart attacks every time you click Precipice Blades, Groudon is obviously useful on setting sun to make the team work properly. The Sitrus Berry is to make it live longer and have more chances to set up a free Swords Dance, also supported by screens, Fake Out and Intimidate.

The spread is pretty standard: 76 Speed EVs to outspeed Thundurus at +1, 156 Attack EVs Adamant to get the bump, and the rest in HP and the defenses.

@ Light Clay
Ability: Prankster
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 100 Def / 140 SpD / 12 Spe
Careful Nature
– Thunder Wave
– Spirit Break
– Reflect
– Light Screen

Grimmsnarl is, honestly, one of the best if not the best support in any Dynamax format. Great typing, screens being always useful and a long-term investment win condition in Thunder Wave.

As for the EV spread, the 12 EVs in Speed are to outspeed Urshifu at +2. The 252 HP EVs + 100 Def EVs allow it to always live max Atk Zacian at neutral with Reflect; and the rest in Special Defense.

Defensive calcs

zacian-crowned 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 252 HP / 100 Def Grimmsnarl through Reflect: 169-201 (83.6 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

@ Life Orb
Ability: Solar Power
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Hurricane
– Protect
– Blast Burn
– Heat Wave

Here is what I think to be the strongest Pokémon of the game at the moment. Charizard has an insane output damage that also lasts when it dies (G-Max Wildfire), great Speed with a speed-control Max Move (Max Airstream), and spread damage options (Heat Wave). I don’t think I can be surprised by its damage anymore.

@ Eviolite
Ability: Trace
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 244 HP / 188 Def / 76 SpD
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Foul Play
– Trick Room
– Eerie Impulse
– Recover

Porygon2 is “the Duck”, what to say? It is just a great support Pokémon, and with Foul Play and Eerie Impulse it has in my opinion the best set there, since it helps to keep control on opponents’ stat boosts while playing my game of Recover and Trick Room when needed. Trace is better than Download for obvious reasons.

@ Weakness Policy
Ability: Chlorophyll
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 156 HP / 4 Def / 156 SpA / 4 SpD / 188 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Sleep Powder
– Frenzy Plant
– Weather Ball
– Earth Power

Venusaur is maybe the most “particular” piece of the team. I didn’t feel like Coba Berry was needed with screen support; same could be said as well for Focus Sash; and Charizard already has the Life Orb. As a result, I just gave it the Weakness Policy to make it exert even more pressure, making the opponent scared to focus it (because of the Weakness Policy), but also scared of not attacking it because Sleep Powder exists. To sum up, it is just a horrible Pokémon to play against, hard to ignore whenever it joins the field.

I chose Frenzy Plant over Leaf Storm because of the extra damage when Gigantamaxed, and because if you use it without Gigantamaxing it is either because you need to use it once or you probably already lost. Weather Ball and Earth Power have better coverage than Sludge Bomb does.

@ Assault Vest
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Atk / 108 Def / 132 SpD / 20 Spe
Careful Nature
– Fake Out
– Snarl
– Flare Blitz
– U-turn

I think Incineroar explains itself: Fake Out pressure, good typing (Fire/Dark), great Ability (Intimidate) and good moves. I tried different moves for the last slot, such as Burning Jealousy, Lash Out, Throat Chop and Assurance, but after facing several Safety Goggles Heat Rotom I decided to give it Snarl to help me versus that.

Regarding the spread, 244 HP EVs + 132 SpD EVs with Careful Nature and Assault Vest allows me to always live a Max Quake from Life Orb Shadow Rider Calyrex at +1, while with the 108 Def EVs it allows me to always live Precipice Blades from Adamant Groudon with 156 Atk EVs at neutral. The rest was for Speed.

Defensive calcs

calyrex-shadow-rider +1 252 SpA Life Orb Calyrex-Shadow Max Quake vs. 244 HP / 132+ SpD Assault Vest Incineroar: 169-200 (84 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

groudon 156+ Atk Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 244 HP / 108 Def Incineroar: 168-200 (83.5 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

How to use the team

How to face match-ups


This match-up is actually pretty good in my opinion. What your opponent usually brings is Landorus + Grimmsnarl in lead and Zacian and Charizard in the back, which means the only thing that stops your Charizard from winning is their Grimmsnarl’s Thunder Wave. So I usually bring Incineroar + Grimmsnarl in lead and Groudon and Charizard in the back.

Their play most of the times is either U-turn with Landorus + Spirit Break my Grimmsnarl, or Rock Slide + Spirit Break, or even set up a screen; so what I do is U-turn + Spirit Break their Grimmsnarl to do as much damage as I can and send in the Charizard on Incineroar’s U-turn. On the following turn, Spirit Break Grimmsnarl again while switching Groudon over Charizard to make sure I don’t get hit by a Max Rockfall (and wasting one of their Dynamax turns if they do so); winning from there should not be that hard.

Also remember that Blast Burn has the same power as G-Max Wildfire, so you may want to surprise your opponent by clicking it and Dynamaxing Groudon instead of Gigantamaxing Charizard based on the circumstances of the game.


What they usually lead is Mimikyu + Incineroar with Calyrex and some other in the back (Tapu Fini to avoid Thunder Wave is what I have seen most of the times). What I do is leading G1 with Charizard + Incineroar and Grimmsnarl and Groudon in the back.

In turn 1, Heat Wave with Charizard while switching Groudon in while they Fake Out my Incineroar slot and go for either Trick Room or Taunt with Mimikyu, but both options are actually good: if they don’t Trick Room, you just win by going G-Max Wildfire on Mimikyu (or even Heat Wave) + Precipice Blades with Groudon; and if they do Trick Room, then you can safely go for Heat Wave + Protect with Groudon, meaning they can’t switch Calyrex in or they die from Heat Wave and you get a kill on Mimikyu + good chip damage on the other slot (which is another kill if it is Regieleki or an Urshifu without Focus Sash).

If it goes with Parting Shot on Charizard and goes for Tapu Fini as a switch-in, it means you can’t get burnt by Will-o-Wisp from Mimikyu, so you can Swords Dance + switch in Grimmsnarl to set screens and not get damage from anything on the field, while stalling Trick Room turns and winning from there.

Kyogre teams

Most match-ups against Kyogre teams are pretty balanced, but it depends on its teammates. You often don’t have that much of a choice: Venusaur + Grimmsnarl is going to be your lead and Groudon and Porygon2 your back.

If you face a version with Dragapult, Zapdos or Life Orb Tornadus, aim on wasting their Dynamax turns or slowly chipping them down to let Venusaur have an easier life, so what you do is setting up a Light Screen and switching Porygon2 over Venusaur. Click some Thunder Waves and play the game by taking your time clicking Recover, Eerie Impulse, etc. The key to win this match-up is using your Dynamax in the best way, which doesn’t always mean getting as many kills as possible, but also getting end-of-turn damage with the G-Max Moves in the right moment or even Dynamaxing Groudon if a Special Defense boost might let your Porygon2, Grimmsnarl or Venusaur win the game. Taking your time and thinking calmly is very important against Kyogre teams.

Coalossal teams

A Coalossal match-up just being a Coalossal match-up. What you should do is always lead Porygon2 and support it with either Incineroar, Grimmsnarl or Venusaur in lead;
and bring Groudon and Incineroar or Venusaur in the back (pick the one you didn’t lead with), and pretty much play from there.

The best way to pressure your opponent is, in my opinion, to abuse the fact that your Venusaur has the Weakness Policy (and with Light Screen support becomes very bulky) and play it well. There are plays they are forced not to do such as using Max Flare to avoid activating your Weakness Policy and make you fast with the sun up.

I’m going to leave down some replays of one of my NPA sets against Coalossal:

“LapDog” teams
“LapDog” (Zacian + Lapras) is probably one of the best match-ups you want to play against. Based on their team composition, you choose to lead either Charizard or
Venusaur with Grimmsnarl
, while having Incineroar and Groudon in the back.

From there, you can decide to make different plays such as switching Groudon in + Sleep Powder with Venusaur; switching Groudon in + G-Max Wildfire with Charizard; switching Groudon in + G-Max Vinelash; Light Screen or Reflect + G-Max Vinelash… Just stick with the plan you think works better versus their team composition, just think long-term when doing that and see if these turn trades are worth it or not for you.
This team pretty much has all the standard stuff that bothers sun, especially the combination of Thunder Wave & Taunt & Eerie Impulse Thundurus + Swords Dance (Lum Berry) Landorus, so you have to play very carefully and not let your opponent get too far, or you are most likely not going to be able to recover from there.

What I usually do is lead Incineroar + Grimmsnarl with Groudon and Venusaur or Charizard in the back; on turn 1, go for U-turn for Groudon + Reflect; and on the next turn, Swords Dance with Groudon (or just chip with Rock Slide if I can’t because of Taunt) and switch Incineroar back in in order to make sure that their Landorus doesn’t raise its Attack too much and try to keep the game under control by slowly taking progress and going from there.

The match-up is very hard, so you need patience to win it and not rush things. The key is probably Dynamaxing later than your opponent; even one turn later might be a huge difference. Porygon2 + Grimmsnarl with Groudon and Venusaur or Charizard in the back might be a solid alternative lead if you want to pressure Landorus with Foul Play.
Shadow Rider Calyrex teams
This match-up is pretty good in my opinion. You almost always want to lead with Grimmsnarl and, based on what your opponent has, you pick one of Groudon, Incineroar or Charizard to lead with it: lead Groudon if they have Defiant Thundurus; lead Incineroar if they don’t; and go for Charizard if they have Defiant Zapdos.

In the back, you should bring the best Pokémon based on their composition, which most of the times are Porygon2 and Groudon if you lead Incineroar + Grimmsnarl; Porygon2 and Charizard if you lead Grimmsnarl + Groudon; and Groudon and Porygon2 or Incineroar if you lead Charizard + Grimmsnarl.

Tournament run

This was my run at the VR Series 11 Challenge!

Swiss rounds

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
Ingrid Rystedt
Match summary

As I wrote in the team match-up section, I led Grimmsnarl + Venusaur and brought Porygon2 and Groudon in the back, while they led Landorus + Volcarona with Rapid Strike Style Urshifu and Kyogre in the back. On both games I set up Reflect + switched in Porygon2 over Venusaur, managing to let them waste their Dynamax turns and winning the late game by supporting my Venusaur with Groudon and Porygon2. Not many details or weird things happened in this match.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
Daniel Hernández
Match summary

Faced a weird team this time, with a piece of my heart called Palkia not by my side this time.


Game 1 ended in a bunch of turns. They led Regice + Palkia while I led Charizard + Grimmsnarl. On turn 1, I switched Grimmsnarl out + used G-Max Wildfire on Regice, who Dynamaxed, but anyway I got the kill and snowballed from there. Game 2 I led the same way, but they swapped Palkia for Grimmsnarl. This time I went for Light Screen + switched Porygon2 over Charizard, stalled their Dynamax turns and won with my Charizard and Groudon in the late game.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
Boris Paredes
Match summary

I used my gameplan for Shadow Rider Calyrex teams, leading Grimmsnarl + Incineroar and bringing Groudon and Venusaur in the back. Sadly I don’t remember many details of this set. What I do remember is winning game 1 kind of safely by setting screens and spamming Thunder Wave on their Pokémon since they didn’t bring Indeedee; and losing game 2 because of a High Jump Kick crit. Anyways, all I did for the three games was just stick to my plan.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
Shuji Endo
Match summary

I also don’t remember that much of this set. My match-up was pretty bad, but not unwinnable. My opponent played very well and was really solid. I managed to win game 2 by using the not-Gigantamaxing-Charizard-but-Blast-Burning surprise and Dynamaxing Groudon, taking them off guard since they went for Behemoth Blade on Charizard expecting me to Gigantamax it. Another thing I remember is that all three games were pretty close, and maybe I could’ve performed better. Overall, hats off to them for taking advantage of their team.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
Alexis Esparza
Match summary

Another very, very tough match-up: Safety Goggles Incineroar, Lum Berry Swords Dance Landorus, and Leer (horrible to play against) &  Thunder Wave & Eerie Impulse Thundurus really gave
me a lot of trouble.


I lost game 1 pretty bad. They played well and exploited their match-up in a solid way without really risking much. Games were very long, so I’m not going to give all the details but the most important ones. I managed to get on a positive position during game 2, being able to stall one of their Dynamax turns and using Trick Room to have some more ways to control their Blastoise (which had its Speed boosted) with Eerie impulse… but then they went for a self-Thunder Wave and missed Hydro Cannon. I honestly don’t know if that really mattered much for my final victory, but for sure it would’ve been way harder for me to win. Then I got to win game 3, but I don’t have memories of that, sadly.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
Jakob Hoven
Match summary

Aaaaand another one! This time the match-up was “less bad” thanks to the fact that Thundurus did not have Leer. My plan for the games
had always been to position my Groudon in the best possible way to either Dynamax and win the game or just break early to close it with
something else.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
Shun Kato
Match summary

Not much to say here. I had my plan ready and did follow it on both games.

Top cut

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
 Top 16 WWESP
Juan Borreguero
Match summary

Watching this, my first thought was: “Okay, they literally built a team to beat sun, I’m f****d”.


I was expecting something like Incineroar + Spectrier or Zapdos + Spectrier in lead, but they went for Zygarde + Tapu Fini instead, while I led Charizard + Groudon. On turn 1 I expected them not to Dynamax their Zygarde because, even if it got the kill on Charizard, it would not have been that huge based on the fact that a neutral Zygarde, with the option of Intimidate and screens, was not going to be very bothersome. So I went for Max Airstream on Tapu Fini + Swords Dance while they used Coil + Icy Wind. They then went for Protect with Tapu Fini + Dynamax Zygarde, while I G-Max Wildfire the Zygarde + Precipice Blades with Groudon; they get a kill on my Charizard, but even at +1, I managed to not get bothered too much by it because of my Reflect support, and my Groudon eventually won the game by going for Precipice Blades spam.


Game 2 was very similiar to game 1, but if I remember correctly, they Dynamaxed on turn 1 this game and killed my Charizard instantly + switched Tapu Fini out for Incineroar (…I may be wrong, but I guess that’s what happened). Anyways, I managed to support Groudon well enough again and let it sweep with Precipice Blades this time as well.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
 Top 8 WWJPN
Sota Miyazaki
Match summary

Same as round 7: I followed my plan and won. Not many interesting details.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
Takehiro Nakata
Match summary

Ok. There I guess I faced the worst match-up of the whole tournament.


I tried to go Venusaur + Grimmsnarl on game 1, but then I realized that Zapdos + Rillaboom covered it perfectly and was a good enough lead against everything else I could bring. Either way I tried to see if I could win somehow, and even if I got most of the important turns right, they managed to not make mistakes and win pretty easily.


G2 and G3 were literally the same games. After game 1, where I got the plays right, I realized I could not win if I put on a balanced game, just because my match-up was too bad to have solid shots, even if I got every call right. So I went all-in and led Venusaur + Charizard with Grimmsnarl and Groudon in the back, as they led again Zapdos + Rillaboom. I decided to force it to a 50/50, and I won the speed tie versus their Zapdos twice, getting to kill it with G-Max Wildfire and Groudon switching in on Venusaur, and from there they had literally no way to recover. I feel like they could’ve taken their time instead of forcing the tie, since I was the one who needed it to have chances of winning the game, in my opinion.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPaste
 Finals WLLUSA
Joseph Ugarte
Match summary

You can watch the match on their Twitch channel, and I really suggest you to watch it here. Such a close best-of-3 with good plays and unexpected plot twist from both sides, that ended up in a roll with no Pokémon on the field… probably the closest best-of-3 I’ve played in my life.


I’m pretty satisfied with my run overall, losing only two best-of-3s and one of them being in finals… and I had not even been sure to join the tournament! So I can’t really not be fulfilled about how the tournament went.

As always a huge thanks to my brother Francesco Pero, that was there to let me vent in his PMs during rounds while being in a restaurant lmao.

Luv u! 😛

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