French Veteran Breaking Through – Team Report from the Runner-up of Liverpool Regionals

Hello, everyone! I am Thomas Gravouille from France and if you heard about me before, it’s probably because I am a full-time content creator on YouTube (HARI) and Twitch (Hari_Live). VGC is my main content but I appreciate many ways of playing Pokémon like TCG, speedruns, and everything that I consider as Pokémon knowledge.

I started competing in the VGC scene in 2015 playing in all 3 European National Championships (Germany, United Kingdom and Italy). I never competed at the France National Championships since the last one took place in 2012, but I quickly befriended some old-time players like Raphaël Candelaresi and Nabil Lakehal and they told me so much on the scene when it was the Far West.

I had pretty good results for a beginner, as a fun fact I defeated Eric Rios in the last round of the 2015 Germany Nationals and I knew he was a real deal since he had made Top 4 at 2014 Worlds in the Seniors Division. He was the first top player I defeated and I could never imagine what was coming years later.

I qualified for 2016 Worlds where I made a solid 5-3 Day 1 run, but in 2017 I had a terrible season and I quit before TPCI lowered the CP bar.

My 2018 season did not start well and I had to win a bunch of CPs at the last minute, but luckily playing a non-Tapu team with Mega Gardevoir helped me win 2 MSSs in a row and I qualified for 2018 Worlds in Nashville. Some things happened in my life at this moment and I did not prepare for this event, so I played a crazy team with no hope of making something good. With no surprise I made a terrible 4-5 run, but I helped Bilel Lakehal, Nabil’s brother, make game plans in many rounds in the Juniors Division. Like his sister Sarah Lakehal did in 2011 Worlds, he reached the 3rd place and this is my most precious memory in the scene.

I took a break from competing in 2019 and we are finally going into the current season since I was back in the game in September 2019 in Ultra Series. Alekso Letexier and I used Xerneas + Groudon with Shedinja a lot on the ladder and we had very good success in Paris locals with it. We convinced Hippolyte Bernard to use it and for good since he won Köln Regionals being the second French player to win a Regional with Shedinja after Aurélien Forest in Cannes earlier that year.

I grabbed a good amount of CPs from locals, made a good run in Bochum and I ended 2020 with 275 CPs, then I only needed a Regional top 32 to secure my Day One invite.

I had a lot of frustrating Regional runs in the past bubbling top cut after losing to crazy RNG in the last round, so I worked more than I’ve ever done for a tournament, I played about 1200 games with the team. Here is the team with which I reached finals of Liverpool Regionals!

Table of Contents

Teambuilding process

Early in Series 12 Hippolyte Bernard gave me the first version of the team with Seismitoad and we both had a good success online with it, we played a lot together on my stream and it was so useful for me to learn how to use it.

zacian-crownedkyogreseismitoad

Zacian + Kyogre is probably the most consistent Restricted pair having an insane synergy and not relying that much on RNG, out of Play Rough and Origin Pulse accuracy, of course; but Kyogre is the first candidate for Dynamax so you don’t mind accuracy that often. I knew about Shedinja science for a while so I was enthusiastic about using it again in Series 12.

zacian-crownedkyogreshedinja

The rise of Charizard with Peng Chongjun’s victory in Salt Lake City was a major problem because, in practice, we knew this team was really hard to deal with if the opponent used Charizard well, but I spent too much time working on this team, it was too late to quit in my opinion and I was still confident after I reached the 3rd place on the Sword & Shield ladder and the 8th place on the Pokémon Showdown ladder.

zacian-crownedkyogreincineroarkartanashedinjathundurus

The Team

▶️ Get the team’s paste here!

Zacian-Crowned @ Rusted Sword
Ability: Intrepid Sword
EVs: 236 HP / 76 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 188 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Behemoth Blade
– Play Rough
– Sacred Sword
– Protect

This is a pretty standard Zacian and I switched from max Speed to a bulky spread. It’s great to outspeed every Zacian but you shouldn’t need this to secure your win consistently, while the bulky spread allows you to stay on the field one more turn.

I still speed-creep by a few points those who outspeed Cinderace even if it’s not a thing in the meta (192 on my Zacian vs 189 to outspeed Cinderace). I survived a lot of moves with less than 5 HP in practice but I still sacrificed 2 HP for this speed creep.

The coverage is mandatory with this team so we never considered Substitute.

Defensive calcs

Groudon 252+ Atk Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 236 HP / 4 Def Zacian-Crowned: 168-198 (85.2 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO

Calyrex-Shadow-Rider 252 SpA Calyrex-Shadow Rider Astral Barrage vs. 236 HP / 4 SpD Zacian-Crowned: 81-96 (41.1 – 48.7%) — guaranteed 3HKO

Kyogre @ Mystic Water
Ability: Drizzle
EVs: 116 HP / 28 Def / 108 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Water Spout
– Origin Pulse
– Ice Beam
– Protect

Big fish is the best Pokémon to Dynamax in Series 12 and you can bring it to 100% of your games. With Mystic Water you don’t need to invest much in SpA EVs to KO everything you can, so you can run a fast bulky spread.

Max Speed can be tricky with Max Hailstorm vs Max Geyser, Kyogre is the main guardian of Shedinja and you sometimes need to set up the rain just for the bug. I still like max Speed because you can get infos on your opponent’s team in lead with the Abilities and some games end with a Kyogre 1v1.

Both Water-type STAB moves are necessary and Thunder coverage never felt like a great idea.

I considered a Life Orb set (with Hyper Beam for Max Strike speed control and damaging Gastrodon without setting up the Hail) the day before the event, but it was too risky using it without practice.

Offensive calcs

Zacian-Crowned 108 SpA Mystic Water Kyogre Max Geyser (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Zacian-Crowned in Rain: 207-244 (104 – 122.6%) — guaranteed OHKO

Defensive calcs

Zacian-crowned +1 76+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 116 HP / 28 Def Kyogre: 81-96 (42.6 – 50.5%) — 2.3% chance to 2HKO

regieleki 252+ Atk Transistor Regieleki Max Lightning (130 BP) vs. 116 HP / 28 Def Dynamax Kyogre: 320-380 (84.2 – 100%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO

Shedinja @ Focus Sash
Ability: Wonder Guard
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Lonely Nature
IVs: 0 Def / 0 SpD
– Poltergeist
– Shadow Sneak
– Endure
– Ally Switch

Shedinja is really different from what it was in Ultra Series: many Max Moves are deadly to it, like Max Rockfall, Max Hailstorm, G-Max Wildfire… But its unique list of immunities is scary: would you use Max Quake on my Zacian if you doubt my Shedinja can switch in to it? Shedinja isn’t just made to win by itself once you’ve KO’d everything that can touch it; it also guarantees you favourable trades and that was the main reason for giving it the Focus Sash instead of Safety Goggles, plus they do not prevent G-Max Wildfire, G-Max Vine Lash or G-Max Cannonade damage anyways.

Do not forget Pokémon Sword & Shield timer mechanics make Shedinja unable to win to timer in 1v1 no matter your opponent’s remaining Pokémon unless it has only 1 HP left!

And obviously, Ally Switch makes it even scarier and forces risky plays or suboptimal turns like using the common Max Airstream even if it does not do a lot of damage to Shedinja’s partner.

Endure is optimal over Protect since it’s the only way to preserve your Focus Sash against Max Moves. Remember you are weak to Will-O-Wisp and Taunt without Protect, but Endure is still better for sure.

Both STAB moves are important: Poltergeist is a nice source of damage and scouts for opposing items, while Shadow Sneak priority ends a lot of targets and does a lot to Shadow Rider Calyrex.

Offensive calcs

Kyogre 252+ Atk Shedinja Poltergeist vs. 4 HP / 4 Def Kyogre: 88-105 (50 – 59.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Calyrex-Shadow-Rider 252+ Atk Shedinja Shadow Sneak vs. 4 HP / 4 Def Calyrex-Shadow Rider: 144-172 (81.8 – 97.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Defensive calcs

groudon-primal 252+ Atk Primal Groudon Fire Punch vs. 0 HP / 0- Def Shedinja in Harsh Sun: 720-848 (72000 – 84800%) — guaranteed OHKO

Incineroar @ Shuca Berry
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 108 Def / 132 SpD / 12 Spe
Impish Nature
IVs: 0 SpA
– Flare Blitz
– Darkest Lariat
– Parting Shot
– Fake Out

Why would you not use the best Pokémon in the game? Being Jamie Boyt, right?, but most of you are not.

Incineroar pivots so well against almost any team, the set is self-explanatory and standard.

I used Safety Goggles for a while but Peng Chongjun’s victory with Groudon in Salt Lake City convinced me to switch to the Shuca Berry.

Impish Nature allows you to take a +1 Atk Sacred Sword from max Attack Zacian and I think it is crucial; in the end it survived a ton of moves with less than 10 HP in my run.

My Incineroar reaches 82 Speed, which is intentionally slower than most of them, I don’t mind having a slower Fake Out, but I’m more comfortable having a slower Parting Shot. The biggest issue here is Throat Chop, which actually sealed the deal for Eric Rios in the very last game of the tournament.

I Dynamaxed my Incineroar a lot even if it is not made for it, but you sometimes have to double your support’s HP to win the game and Max Strike is actually a speed control tool to consider.

Defensive calcs

Zacian-Crowned +1 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Sacred Sword vs. 252 HP / 108+ Def Incineroar: 166-196 (82.1 – 97%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Groudon 252+ Atk Groudon Max Quake (140 BP) vs. 252 HP / 108+ Def Shuca Berry Incineroar: 129-153 (63.8 – 75.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Thundurus @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 236 HP / 140 Def / 4 SpA / 76 SpD / 52 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Thunderbolt
– Taunt
– Eerie Impulse
– Thunder Wave

Prankster Thundurus is so good against so many damage dealers in the format, it is the anti-problem support of the team.

Eerie Impulse shuts down Kyogre, Zapdos, Palkia… As long as there’s no Indeedee, you are fine bringing it.

I better use Thunder Wave in this team since I’m not afraid of Therian Landorus or Raichu and I don’t need to slow down Groudon, so there’s no need for Scary Face.

For the Regieleki case, special variants fear Eerie Impulse and most physical ones hold the White Herb anyways.

Taunt always finds its use. In practice we thought about Rain Dance for the Charizard match-up, but it did not make my life easy enough to drop Taunt which is important in many other match-ups.

Defensive calcs

zacian-crowned +1 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Play Rough vs. 236 HP / 140 Def Thundurus: 157-186 (85.3 – 101%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO

zapdos 252 SpA Life Orb Zapdos Max Lightning (130 BP) vs. 236 HP / 76+ SpD Thundurus: 140-165 (76 – 89.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery

Kyogre -2 252+ SpA Mystic Water Kyogre Max Geyser (150 BP) vs. 236 HP / 76+ SpD Thundurus in Rain: 141-166 (76.6 – 90.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery

charizard-gmax -2 252 SpA Solar Power Charizard G-Max Wildfire (150 BP) vs. 236 HP / 76+ SpD Thundurus in Sun: 127-150 (69 – 81.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery

Kartana @ Assault Vest
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 244 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Leaf Blade
– Smart Strike
– Sacred Sword
– Aerial Ace

We removed Seismitoad for Kartana for a faster Max Airstream user no matter the weather with a way stronger Max Overgrowth. Kartana appeared to be a way better option against Rillaboom, Kyogre, Ice Rider Calyrex and Gastrodon.

The spread looks weird but any Special Defense extra point makes a lot of difference in the calcs, especially with the Assault Vest, while extra Attack points do not represent much with a 181 base stat.

The moveset is once again fairly standard with great Max Moves bonuses.

In general, Kartana rewards good predictions and I love using this kind of Pokémon to snowball my momentum.

Defensive calcs

Zacian-crowned 76+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Sacred Sword vs. 4 HP / 4 Def Kartana: 100-118 (74 – 87.4%) — guaranteed OHKO

Kyogre 252 SpA Mystic Water Kyogre Max Geyser (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 244 SpD Assault Vest Dynamax Kartana in Rain: 126-148 (46.6 – 54.8%) — 67.2% chance to 2HKO

Tournament run

This was my run at the Liverpool Regionals!

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
R1WWFRA
Franck Bourachon
(Opalko)
zacian-crownedkyogreseismitoadRillaboomgrimmsnarlzapdos
R2WLWGBR
Jitong Ma
(Macco)
zacian-crownedgroudonincineroargastrodoncharizardgrimmsnarl
R3WWPOL
Sylwester Sajek
(Silver)
zacian-crownedgroudonincineroargastrodoncharizardgrimmsnarl
R4WWPOL
Dominik Górski
(Barlik)
zacian-crownedgroudonincineroargastrodoncharizardgrimmsnarl
R5WLLUSA
Ben Grissmer
(chef)
zacian-crownedcalyrex-shadow-riderdarmanitan-galarwhimsicotturshifuthundurus
R6LWWESP
Joaquín Blanch
(TheXich)
zacian-crownedkyogreIncineroarkartanawhimsicottzapdos
R7WLWGBR
Damian Blakey
(XerneusVGC)
zacian-crownedkyogreincineroarferrothornwhimsicottregieleki
R8WLWNDL
Bram de Jonge
(Bennbuild)
zacian-crownedgroudonincineroargastrodon-eastcharizardgrimmsnarl
Top 8LWWGBR
Cameron Smith
(Cameron)
lunalagroudonincineroarvenusaururshifuthundurus
Top 4LWWUSA
Ben Grissmer
(chef)
zacian-crownedcalyrex-shadow-riderdarmanitan-galarwhimsicotturshifuthundurus
FinalsLLESP
Eric Rios
(Riopaser)
zacian-crownedgroudonincineroargastrodon-eastcharizardgrimmsnarl

Conclusion

As you can see, I faced a lot of Charizard, but my game plan against it in best-of-3 worked really well in general, Eric was the only player who figured out what to do, especially in game 2.

As I said I worked a lot with the team and I couldn’t achieved this result without the help of many people: Hippolyte Bernard for the team idea and upgrades, Florian Henry, Eliott Legroux and Anthony Liuzzo for the practice with the team (even if Anthony turned to the Zard side) in the last minute, Joe Ugarte for the advice in this damn match-up, all the French crew supporting me in many ways the last weekend, and people from everywhere cheering and praising for me.

I’m thinking about quitting the scene as a player for a while and I know I can do it with no regret now. This season is not over yet, I’ll be glad to see you in Frankfurt for the EUIC, in Lille where I live for the Regionals, and obviously in London for Worlds.

Thank you for reading my story and see you soon!

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