Hey, everyone! My name is Joseph Ugarte, otherwise known as JoeUX9 online. I began playing VGC in 2017, after seeing a YouTube video of the 2017 World Championship Finals. I was incredibly interested, and soon after I went to my first event in Brooklyn, New York, and couldn’t stop playing after.
I want to be the best American player who has ever touched this game, and surpass what I view to be my own current limits. I am so excited for events to come back and cannot wait to push and challenge myself to achieve the things I want, including winning Worlds. I also am a full-time VGC content creator, coach, and Tournament Organizer, which gives me ways to connect and help others who are passionate and love VGC as well, which I am immensely grateful I can do.
Table of Contents
Going into this tournament, I was incredibly motivated to perform well, about a year prior I won the VR Tundra Challenge at the start of Series 7. I wanted to prove to myself that I was able to perform at that level again.
My first goal was to use a team suited to my play style. I have always felt comfortable with Yveltal, and wanted to find a way to use it in the current metagame, as I had found success with it in Series 8. I was testing Jonathan Evans‘ Players Cup III winning team, and since I am friends with the creator of the team, Navjit Joshi (NJ11, otherwise known as JonesIsAStarter), I was able to understand the team fully and learn a lot about it. My favorite part of the team was the bulky Coba Berry Venusaur and support Torkoal with Yawn and Burning Jealousy. The amount of board control those two offered was exactly what I was looking for. With this duo you are able to spread status, force swaps, and punish early Dynamaxing with relative ease.
With the core of Grimmsnarl, Yveltal, Venusaur and Torkoal, the natural next choice was Landorus (Therian Forme). Landorus offered Intimidate to reduce damage from opposing physical attackers, and was able to freely click Earthquake next to Yveltal, which was a great way to spread damage without having to commit Dynamax.
I debated over the last slot for a bit, initially testing Metagross, but realized it was just too weak and didn’t offer much outside of Dynamax. This was problematic because Venusaur and Landorus also really liked using Dynamax. So, for this team to be successful, I needed to ensure that the Dynamaxing was centralized around Venusaur and Landorus, BUT both Pokémon could function without it. With this recognition, I wanted something that could improve my Ice Rider Calyrex and White Kyurem matchup without using a Pokémon slot which required Dynamax. I eventually settled on Incineroar. It offered me an extra way to pivot with Parting Shot, Fake Out pressure to force out early Dynamaxes, and a second Intimidate to be even more oppressive to physical attackers like Landorus (Therian) and Zacian. With that, I had settled on the six Pokemon I wanted to use:
Everyone has a different teambuilding process, but I typically like to determine all of the Pokémon on a team before adding items, movesets and EVs. The exception to this usually comes with certain ideas the team is based around, which in this case was the Coba Berry Venusaur + support Torkoal and Grimmsnarl with screens. For the rest of the Pokémon, I spent time thinking about which items would be most appropriate. I will be going through each Pokémon individually, so that you can understand the thought process behind each and how they synergize with one another.
Get the team’s paste here!
Torkoal @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 244 HP / 92 Def / 4 SpA / 164 SpD / 4 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Burning Jealousy
– Body Press
Torkoal was one of the best members of the team, along with being the most straightforward in its role. Besides weather control, I wanted Torkoal to pressure the opponent to consistently swap with Yawn and Burning Jealousy. Body Press was the next choice, giving me the ability to chunk away at Incineroar swaps so I could soften them up for the other team members in the back. Protect goes hand in hand with Yawn, allowing you to stall another turn, avoiding significant damage while waiting for the sleep effect. Yawn is always an effective way to stall Dynamax turns.
92 Def Torkoal Body Press vs. 236 HP / 4 Def Incineroar: 94-112 (47 – 56%) — 78.5% chance to 2HKO
252+ SpA Venusaur Max Quake vs. 244 HP / 164+ SpD Torkoal through Light Screen: 91-107 (51.7 – 60.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Venusaur @ Coba Berry
EVs: 156 HP / 4 Def / 236 SpA / 12 SpD / 100 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Leaf Storm
– Weather Ball
– Earth Power
– Sleep Powder
Venusaur was Torkoal’s partner in crime, being essential to exerting pressure on the opponent with Sleep Powder and G-Max Vine Lash. Forcing them to respect it in team preview and when it was on the field. Knowing what my opponent had Safety Goggles and Lum Berry on was helpful as well. Letting me determine what slots to target and what slot I could exert the most pressure on. Venusaur paired nicely with double Intimidate and screens as well, as you could weaken them by Intimidate cycling and stacking G-Max Vine Lash chip damage. Weather Ball gave Venusaur a strong option to do devastating damage to Zacian, making it much easier to break. Earth Power allowed Venusaur to use Max Quake next to Yveltal, making them even more bulky in front of special attackers.
The Venusaur was very slow and bulky, and this was mainly so it could take hits out of Dynamax, the most crucial being Max Airstream from Adamant Assault Vest Landorus. I made sure I was still able to outspeed Zacian, Shadow Rider Calyrex and Pheromosa after Chlorophyll being activated, hitting 226 Speed in sun, and outspeeding Charizard, Entei and Zapdos at +1 (from being next to Yveltal or Landorus clicking Max Airstream).
196+ Atk Landorus-Therian Max Airstream vs. 156 HP / 4 Def Coba Berry Venusaur-Gmax: 147-174 (84 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Yveltal @ Assault Vest
Ability: Dark Aura
EVs: 172 HP / 4 Def / 68 SpA / 12 SpD / 252 Spe
– Foul Play
– Oblivion Wing
– Sucker Punch
I am so happy that Yveltal fit this team and contributed a lot to its success, as it is my favorite Pokémon and is so versatile when on the right team. It perfectly fits in with the idea of weakening the opposing team and setting up its partners to sweep in Dynamax.
Yveltal can punish setup with Foul Play; Oblivion Wing gives it a good way to pressure Grass and Fighting types; with Snarl and Sucker Punch rounding out its moveset to reduce damage from special attackers and pick up Pokémon sitting at low health before they could get another attack off.
Assault Vest perfectly complemented the moveset and how I wanted to use it, allowing it to take a lot of special hits comfortably after Snarl and ensuring it could at least get one move off before being KO’d. The Speed allowed Yveltal to outspeed Shadow Rider Calyrex and Zacian at +1, meaning it was able to pressure them after one Speed boost. It also outspeeds Adamant Urshifu and Timid max Speed Venusaur naturally.
Grimmsnarl @ Light Clay
EVs: 220 HP / 4 Atk / 140 Def / 116 SpD / 28 Spe
– Spirit Break
– Thunder Wave
– Light Screen
Grimmsnarl has a pretty straightforward role on this team, offering strong board control and damage mitigation with the combination of screens, Thunder Wave, and Spirit Break. Spirit Break allows Grimmsnarl to drastically reduce the threat of opposing special attackers, along with giving it an option to chip opposing Grimmsnarl.
This Grimmsnarl has a general bulk investment, with the main important benchmarks being focused around Speed. It has enough Speed to outspeed all of the most standard Grimmsnarl, potentially allowing it to nab a KO before the opposing Grimmsnarl can even move if it’s doubled into. Thunder Wave is something I had decided is much better than Scary Face, since I would rather sleep or burn the Pokémon that were immune to Thunder Wave and have the bonus chance of the opponent not being able to move.
Incineroar @ Safety Goggles
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 156 SpD / 100 Spe
– Flare Blitz
– Parting Shot
– Throat Chop
– Fake Out
Incineroar didn’t do anything more than it usually does on most VGC teams, utilizing the common three moves Flare Blitz, Parting Shot and Fake Out. Needless to say, having the option of Parting Shot to reposition combined with Fake Out to disrupt non-Dynamaxed Pokémon is an excellent combination, especially with Intimidate. Flare Blitz gave Incineroar its much needed STAB move and an extra way to set sun for Venusaur if I ever needed to Dynamax it. Throat Chop was the final move I decided on, and that directly influenced the Incineroar having a lot of Speed investment, since it could prevent other Incineroar from using Parting Shot and Snarl.
The idea behind this was being able to have a ton of flexibility in my pivoting while being very oppressive to my opponents swaps, either shutting them down or punishing the swaps on entry. I focused all of the bulk on HP and Special Defense since Burning Jealousy and double Intimidate was more than enough to weaken physical attackers.
Landorus-Therian @ Life Orb
EVs: 36 HP / 228 Atk / 4 Def / 12 SpD / 228 Spe
– Rock Slide
One thing that was different about this Landorus than most others is the lack of Swords Dance. This was a choice that was inspired through many Japanese players I faced on Ranked Battles combined with my own theory.
Protect is arguably the most important part of this Landorus because it allows it to stall turns of Dynamax without having to Max Guard, which is invaluable in a format where capitalizing off of your Dynamax turns is essential. This also offered the team extra flexibility because the opponent wasn’t able to freely target the Landorus slot because it couldn’t Protect. It also allowed me to go for plays like Protect + Max Airstream next to Yveltal, which came into play in a multitude of games. I actually ended up winning the finals because of this choice as well. Besides that, the other moves are as expected.
The Speed EVs are for outspeeding Zacian and Shadow Rider Calyrex at +1. The small HP investment is optimized to take minimal Life Orb damage, and the Special Defense is optimized to get the best boost from Max Quake. Besides that, the rest of the EVs were dumped into the Attack stat so Landorus could hit as hard as possible.
One thing that is unique about how I play and test my teams is I don’t like using ladder too much as a medium to test my ideas, mostly because I feel it is very different than best-of-3 scenarios. This team was purely theoretical and I used my intuition as a player to try and build the best, most well rounded team I could, which I tested in a smaller money tournament the day before, hosted by NinoPokeBros. After winning that tournament, I was confident in the team and brought it with no changes.
If you are interested in my Swiss sets, you can view those here.
I will be breaking down Top Cut, along with linking timestamps for the battles so you can look at them if you’d like.
This was a bit of an interesting matchup, mainly because we had a lot of similar Pokémon on our teams besides the Restricted. It ended up being more favorable to have Yveltal, but me and Francis had played before in Swiss, allowing him to adapt his approach for this set.
I ended up getting a little too greedy and Dynamaxing my Yveltal early, which put me at a severe disadvantage from the start. The lead was also more troubling because I was forced to swap Venusaur, giving Francis a free turn to capitalize.
This game was really close. It played very similar to the first game, with us slowly chipping away until we both began using our Dynamax to go for harder hits. The endgame was very close, and I was put in a tough situation. Clicking side Oblivion Wing into my my own Torkoal to get increased recovery (I wouldn’t have gotten enough HP targeting Kyogre since it had Special Defense boosts), allowing Yveltal to live. After the turn was over, Kyogre fell asleep because of the Yawn I had clicked a turn before. This decision saved my game and allowed me to chip down the Kyogre and take the win with a combination of Body Press and Foul Play.
Even closer than the last game, I was put in a tricky situation where I lost Landorus and Yveltal early and only had access to Venusaur and Torkoal. I had to get every turn right to win this endgame, and I made every correct call needed to seal the win for myself.
I was feeling pretty good about this matchup, especially because this team wasn’t using Tapu Fini, like the two other Calyrex teams I faced. This allowed me to exert more pressure with Sleep Powder, and force more linear plays from Shun’s Mimikyu, which was using Safeguard.
Shun led Incineroar + Mimikyu into me, while I led my own Incineroar + Venusaur. I called the Mimikyu to go for a Safeguard this time around, so I targeted the Mimikyu slot with G-Max Vine Lash to break the disguise. After getting this call right, I was able to immediately remove Mimikyu next turn before Trick Room was set, leaving Calyrex horribly out of position. From there, I was able to clean up with Yveltal and Incineroar after chipping the rest of the team down with Venusaur.
Shun led Regieleki + Mimikyu, and I made sure to play very aggressively to prevent any free swaps into Calyrex. I was able to land an immediate G-Max Vine Lash into Regieleki, chunking it down into 30% HP range, and breaking Mimikyu’s Disguise with a Throat Chop. Similar to the first game, I targeted down Mimikyu next turn to ensure Calyrex would not be able to utilize Trick Room. Since the Regieleki was in range, I was able to Sucker Punch it with Yveltal and clean up the rest of the game from there.
From what I had heard, Jude was a very seasoned Coalossal player and very comfortable with the archetype. This was pretty evident after our first game, and I knew that it was going to be important to utilize my Landorus and Venusaur properly to find success.
This game, I decided that I was going to test the waters and see how Jude played Coalossal so I would have that information for the rest of the set. With that in mind, I immediately swapped to Torkoal for my Grimmsnarl and went for Max Flare into Zacian, which was instantly punished by a swap to Coalossal and Steam Engine being activated. The game was pretty much a wash from here, as I didn’t have anything that could stop the combined pressure of Coalossal and Zacian. However, I was able to get an idea of how Jude played and how I would adapt in Game 2.
I decided to not bring Torkoal, as I was not able to freely click Earthquake with Landorus in the previous game, along with Torkoal not offering much besides Chlorophyll for Venusaur, which still ended up making Coalossal’s Max Flares stronger. Yveltal over Torkoal gave me more flexibility and allowed me to go for more damage earlier with Landorus’ Earthquake. I called my opponent to lead Zacian + Incineroar, same as the first game. I immediately made sure to set Reflect with Grimmsnarl and continued to click Earthquake with Landorus, chunking both the Incineroar and Zacian and setting up my Venusaur to sweep in the back once it came in with Dynamax. From there, Yveltal and Venusaur were able to clean up, especially since I made sure to paralyze Zacian with Grimmsnarl so it would be slower than the rest of my team.
This game I knew that my opponent would likely expect me to go for the same play as I did the previous game, so I decided to immediately Dynamax Landorus and decimate the Zacian with Max Quake, also baiting a Fake Out into the Landorus as well. After this turn. It became incredibly difficult for my opponent to win, as I had a lot of pressure with both my Landorus and Speed-boosted Yveltal. I made sure to get the game into a situation where the Urshifu could not Aqua Jet the Coalossal, denying it the Speed boost it needed to pressure my Venusaur late game. I was able to get the Venusaur in a situation where it was 1v1 vs Urshifu, and luckily I was able to connect Leaf Storm and take the set.
I led Grimmsnarl + Landorus into the opponent’s lead of Incineroar + Grimmsnarl. I knew that they were going to try and weaken the current board to allow Charizard to come in and sweep. At first the game seemed to be in my favor, however, after a Rock Slide miss from Landorus on the Charizard, I was put in a much worse situation. I was unable to chip the Groudon effectively enough for my Venusaur to clean up the endgame.
I decided to forget Grimmsnarl this time and bring Incineroar, giving me more leverage against Grimmsnarl and Incineroar and not allowing Groudon a free Swords Dance. This worked better and I was able to call a huge turn right with the opponent’s Charizard, Max Guarding the Landorus and landing a Snarl so I could live G-Max Wildfire next turn. After this, I was able to utilize my remaining options to win the rest of the game.
I went back to Grimmsnarl + Landorus, calling my opponent to lead Charizard + Incineroar this time to exert more offense. I was able to get turn 1 right, Thunder Waving and using Max Rockfall on the Charizard as Groudon came in, instantly KOing it and removing the sun. I made sure to get as much damage as I could out of all of my Pokémon, but it ended up coming down to a really close endgame between their Groudon and my Landorus. If I were running the usual Landorus set of Swords Dance, the situation would’ve been an automatic loss and the game would have been over for me. However, because I had Protect I was able to stall out the remaining turns of Groudon’s Dynamax and eventually Reflect, allowing me to barely pick up Groudon with Earthquake and win the game.
And with that, I was able to win the VR Series 11 Challenge! I was really happy to finally get another win under my belt, especially since I had won the Series 7 VR Tundra Challenge almost exactly a year before this tournament. It meant a lot to me that I won this tournament, and the support of both my viewers and fellow players was really meaningful! I was really content with my performance and the team. Besides the team itself, if you guys are interested in getting to know me better as a person and player, you can check me out on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and my professional coaching site!
Thanks for reading!