Turboblaze the Metagame! – A VR Series 11 Challenge Top 8 Team Report

Hello, everyone! My name is Eden Batchelor, a.k.a. Xenoblade Hero. I am a UK based non-binary VGC player who has been playing since 2012. My accomplishments are the following:

Recently, I got a Top 8 in the VR Series 11 Challenge with the unconventional Pokemon Reshiram.

Originally, for Series 11, I was looking into White Kyurem as an option to beat sun archetypes. However, in testing it still had some weaknesses to “HotDog” (Zacian + sun), one of the most popular cores in the format, because of the amount of damage it took from Zacian and Charizard. Use an Assault Vest to tank Charizard’s move, and you do not have Protect against Zacian. The speed tier was not good enough to outspeed Pokémon in the mirror, either, if you went down the Life Orb offensive route. Speed control was very common, so I could not personally get it to work. However, testing this gave me an idea on a Pokémon that has a much stronger match-up against HotDog.

Table of Contents

Teambuilding process

Reshiram

One restricted Pokemon that stood out to me at this point was Reshiram. It has a 130 base power Fire-type move without the use of Dynamax, a 4-times resistance to G-Max Wildfire and G-Max Vine Lash, and a resistance to Behemoth Blade. This pointed me in the direction of making Reshiram a bulkier option than you might expect, which suits me since my preferred playstyle is more balanced. This specific Reshiram was built with the intention of taking combinations of attacks from the more prominent archetypes and dealing serious damage in return, the popularity of sun helping to boost Reshiram’s power unintentionally. Having the ability to OHKO Zacian goes a long way towards making it a threat, and not relying on Assault Vest to take on sun archetypes gives room for Protect and less predictable play.

ReshiramLandorus-Therian

I knew very early on that Landorus (Therian Forme) was a natural fit with Reshiram and supported the general direction of the team. Landorus has always been the best switch-in on opposing Landorus after all! I felt like it was the best Intimidate option for the team because Incineroar shares typing with Reshiram and they were weak to similar threats, and having Ground-type coverage on the team is always good. I wanted to make Landorus more resilient against status effects, since I spotted some Sableye and Dragapult usage during testing, both using Will-O-Wisp. Sleep Powder Venusaur was also something you needed to prepare for in teambuilding. This pointed me towards using a Lum Berry set and bulking Landorus out, having a Swords Dance option if I had an opportunity to use it and make up for the lower Attack investment.

ReshiramLandorus-Theriangrimmsnarl-gmaxrillaboom-gmax

With these two Pokémon established, Grimmsnarl and Rillaboom made absolute sense to include. Incineroar was not being used in the team, so these two helped the team’s defensive capabilities with Fake Out, speed control and dual screens support. Since my speed tiers were middling, and I knew opposing Landorus was always going to be an issue for the team, I made the controversial decision to opt for Scary Face over Thunder Wave. Alongside slowing Landorus, this was also done for two other reasons – 100% accuracy and the ability to slow myself if opposing Trick Room went up without Thunder Wave’s full paralysis. I opted for Miracle Seed on Rillaboom because I knew most tournament Kyogre tended to be more bulky, so you needed some extra power to guarantee a KO with Grassy Glide. Protect also gave counterplay to Kyogre + Life Orb Tornadus lead, because Assault Vest Rillaboom ran the risk of Tornadus Max Airstreaming for an OHKO. With Protect, the Kyogre had to predict if you were going to protect or go for an attack.

ReshiramLandorus-TherianGrimmsnarl-gmaxRillaboom-gmaxblastoise-gmax

I wanted extra countermeasures against Landorus (Therian) since my Reshiram had a difficult matchup against it. Extra means of attacking Groudon is always nice too. I tried Rapid Strie Style Urshifu for a while but discovered the constant sun in the metagame made Surging Strikes considerably weaker than normal, removing the immediate threat of its attacks from a Dynamaxed Landorus target. Porygon2 was tested as well but ultimately underperformed. In the end, my good UK teambuilding friend Matt Carter (Mattsby) suggested using Blastoise. I was skeptical of it on paper, but it honestly works perfectly in the team, and G-Max Cannonade is completely broken. I also lacked a key Dynamax target on the team, and it tended to depend on the matchup. I used a Life Orb in the end, opting to hit Landorus and Groudon as hard as possible, and I stand by this being the best option on this particular team. Another bit of fun trivia – the decision to put Blastoise in the team was done two hours before the tournament started, and Robert Brewer (Chimmy) went out of his way to help me use his Blastoise in time since I didn’t have one in-game. Thank you so much for that!

ReshiramLandorus-TherianGrimmsnarl-gmaxRillaboom-gmaxBlastoise-gmaxthundurus

I did not like having only one proactive threat against a common Restricted, and the Kyogre and Calyrex matchup was not favourable at the time. I also had a spare Assault Vest and wanted to deter the common Incineroar + Landorus core further, since I expected it to be on every other top cut team. In the end, I went with Assault Vest Thundurus with Defiant, since it covered the most gaps within the team and helped versus the matchups I discussed on paper. It also gave me a fast speed tier to Max Airstream with and a Ground-type immunity.

The Team

▶️ Get the team’s paste here!


Reshiram @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Turboblaze
Level: 50
EVs: 124 HP / 4 Def / 236 SpA / 4 SpD / 140 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Draco Meteor
– Blue Flare
– Earth Power
– Protect

  • Sitrus Berry makes 164+ Attack Zacian Sacred Sword a 3HKO.
  • Special Attack investment gives the highest stat jump.
  • As much of a speed jump on the low investment 90 base Speed tier as I could whilst still undercutting most middling speed Pokémon with self Scary Face in their own Trick Room. This Speed tier also outspeeds 180 Speed EVs Adamant Zacian with a Max Airstream which was the highest speed seen on common Adamant sets via Pikalytics.
Defensive calcs

charizard-gmax

252 SpA Life Orb Solar Power Charizard-Gmax Blast Burn vs. 132 HP / 4 SpD Reshiram in Sun: 70-83 (36.4 – 43.2%) — guaranteed 3HKO

252 SpA Life Orb Solar Power Charizard-Gmax Max Airstream vs. 124 HP / 4 SpD Reshiram in Sun: 164-192 (85.8 – 100.5%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO


Landorus-Therian @ Lum Berry
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 180 HP / 116 Atk / 4 Def / 36 SpD / 172 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Earthquake
– Rock Slide
– Fly
– Swords Dance

  • Attack investment gives a stat jump.
  • Speed tier outspeeds Modest max Speed Venusaur.
Defensive calcs

charizard-gmax 252 SpA Life Orb Solar Power Charizard-Gmax G-Max Wildfire vs. 180 HP / 36 SpD Dynamax Landorus-Therian in Sun through Light Screen: 252-297 (67.3 – 79.4%)

Accommodates for a few turns of G-Max Wildfire damage


Rillaboom
@ Miracle Seed
Ability: Grassy Surge
Level: 50
Gigantamax: Yes
EVs: 244 HP / 116 Atk / 4 Def / 124 SpD / 20 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Grassy Glide
– Wood Hammer
– Fake Out
– Protect

  • Attack investment gives a stat jump.
  • Small amount of Speed investment for Rillaboom mirrors.
  • Leftover EVs put into Special Defense to make up for the lack of Assault Vest.
Defensive calcs

zacian-crowned +1 164+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Rillaboom: 177-208 (85.9 – 100.9%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO


Blastoise
@ Life Orb
Ability: Torrent
Level: 50
Gigantamax: Yes
EVs: 196 HP / 196 SpA / 116 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Hydro Cannon
– Ice Beam
– Yawn
– Protect

  • Default Blastoise EV spread due to lack of time!
  • Special Attack investment gives a stat jump.
  • Speed tier outspeeds Zacian and Calyrex with Scary Face support.
  • Leftover EVs in HP to maximize defensive capabilities.


Grimmsnarl
@ Light Clay
Ability: Prankster
Level: 50
Gigantamax: Yes
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 124 Def / 116 SpD / 12 Spe
Careful Nature
– Spirit Break
– Scary Face
– Light Screen
– Reflect

  • Small Speed investment to outspeed other non-invested Grimmsnarl and win the Spirit Break mirror.
  • Special Defense investment gives a stat jump.
  • Leftover EVs put into Defense to maximize defensive capabilities.
Defensive calcs
kyogre 252 SpA Mystic Water Kyogre Max Geyser vs. 252 HP / 116+ SpD Grimmsnarl in Rain through Light Screen: 170-201 (84.1 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO


Thundurus
@ Assault Vest
Ability: Defiant
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Wild Charge
– Fly
– Superpower
– Lash Out

Standard EV spread, keeping a great 111 Speed tier and maximizing capabilities as an offensive threat. Defensive EVs didn’t really change much since I should almost always be Dynamaxing Thundurus, and with dual screen support, I can take most attacks anyway.

To sum up

The exciting thing about this team is it is still unrefined; I built this team in the span of a week with some last-minute decisions.

Ice Rider Calyrex is a matchup that I am looking into patching if it rises in popularity, but I never faced it in my tournament run, so that is something to bear in mind. Landorus could have had more Speed investment for Timid Venusaur and to outspeed Shadow Rider Calyrex since the Attack investment was not as important with the Swords Dance option. I also believe that Thundurus was not actually optimal, and going forward, other Pokémon cover weaknesses in the team better such as Regieleki. Defensive Zacian archetypes, HotDog and other sun matchups are incredibly strong for the team. I am likely going to keep bringing this team to future tournaments with some adjustments.

A small disclaimer to those thinking of trying the team out – this team is not amazing at best-of-one play mode. Dedicated Trick Room, Weakness Policy self-activation strategies, and lack of information in general give poor matchups for the team that do not normally succeed in a tournament setting.

Tournament run

This was my run at the VR Series 11 Challenge!

Swiss rounds

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPasteVideo
R1WWUSA
Isaac Work
(Eveon)
necrozma-dusk-manesalazzlelaprastapu-kokogrimmsnarlcrobat
🎥
R2WWDEU
Giannis Berikakis
(RomeruVGC)
groudonincineroarvenusaurporygon2grimmsnarlcharizard
🎥
R3WW
Sali Resuli
(Pokesun1)
groudonincineroarvenusaurregielekiumbreoncharizard
N/A
R4LWLSGP
Jude Lee
(CoalossalVGC)
zacian-crownedincineroarrillaboommoltres-galarurshifucoalossal
🎥
R5LWWITA
Edoardo Saggio
(Wisedy)
rayquazaincineroaramoongussregielekiurshifustakataka
🎥
R6WLWUSA
Sohaib Mufti
(Soh)
groudonincineroarvenusaurthundurusgrimmsnarlcharizard
🎥
R7WWAUS
Yuya Tada
(てんか)
zacian-crownedincineroaramoongussregielekirotom-washdragapult
🎥

Top cut

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamPasteVideo
Top 32ByeN/A  
Top 16WLWFIN
Oliver Eskolin
(Owe)
kyogreincineroarferrothornzapdosgrimmsnarldragapult
🎥
Top 8LWLJPN
Takehiro Nakata
(grand)
kyogrecomfeyrillaboomzapdosurshifukingdra
🎥

Conclusion

I am very happy with the team and how it performed, especially considering that there are ways the team can be improved further and having some bad luck that was impossible to play around in my final tournament match. I think some of my success was both in making a big team call and keeping relaxed during the tournament, although that comes with playing VGC for such a long time (going on for ten years now)! I was so happy about the amount of support I got during my run, people asking about my team, etc.

I hope with the rental team code you will all be able to try it out for yourselves and have success! If anyone wants to showcase the team as well, I would be honoured. As for me, my goal is to keep building on the archetype further and get Reshiram a tournament win for this season.

A huge thank you to my wonderful partner Beans for being a great source of moral support during my tournament runs – they always listen to my competitive Pokémon ramblings. They also helped me with the initial spell checking of the article. Thanks to you as well, the reader, for viewing this report and hopefully I’ll see you in the circuit!

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