Hello! I’m Sie Meng-ru, but you can also call me Ryan. I’m a VGC player from Taiwan, and started playing VGC in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. I’m pretty fond of looking for rare Pokémon to counter the meta, and wish to bring more variety to the environment.
This top 4 at Taichung Regionals is the first time I got a satisfying result in an official tournament, and also an accomplishment of teamwork from several friends, so I’m glad to share this report to all VGC players abroad, and hope to provide some fresh ideas!
Table of Contents
The whole process is such an odyssey! It started from a team used by Hong Kong VGC player Kisch Cheng (Kassiddy) during a friendly tournament between Hong Kong and Korea. He built a slow-pace team, and caught my heart. Thus, I built my team with the same Pokémon, and the journey began.
After a couple games, I found it to be painful when facing Sun teams. The combination of Dialga and Yveltal wasn’t good enough for me, so I turned this team down.
Nope, how could I give up? I must try a more aggressive way. What came to my mind was: “A Sun team relies on Gastrodon to suppress Kyogre’s Dynamax, so what if I try to use Weezing and Kyogre?”
The countermeasure against Sun teams was established, but the lack of Yveltal was getting too heavy. I tried to use Glastrier to take some of its work, but my composition was not stable for a solid Trick Room. A Fake Out from Raichu + Max Darkness from Life Orb Yveltal could easily ruin everything. Even when I gave up Trick Room to fight with the basic speed, I’d get wiped out by Zacian at the end game.
Regigigas was also my pick to deal with Yveltal, but a Regieleki could easily ruin my advantage with Electroweb, and the purpose of Regigigas (dominating the field with high damage and speed control by Max Strike) would be futile, especially when I needed both Regigigas and Weezing, thus my Pokémon choice was restricted.
After a couple of changes, I got no progress for any breakthrough. For the team above as example, a Zacian team with Thundurus can bring high uncertainty, and much practice has proven my thoughts. The biggest frustration is that Dialga needs to Dynamax to bring its advantage, but I have to use other teammates to Dynamax to swipe out Dialga’s weaknesses… but in the end, a non-Dynamaxed Dialga is obviously not a good match against Zacian.
This didn’t bother me long. My Pokémon discussion group was still troubling about measures to deal with Sun teams. The latest thought was using Calyrex’s Ability Unnerve, which cannot be stopped, and use a Pokémon with a Rock-type move that outsped Charizard to ensure an OHKO.
This idea was close to my original strategy of Kyogre + Weezing. If there is a way to suppress the Sun team’s high damage, even Steel-type Pokémon such as Solgaleo, Dusk Mane Necrozma or Dialga can fight back decently.
With this glitter of hope, I started the third trial:
The difference between these two teams is the three Pokémon:
- Which should be the Steel-type Restricted Pokémon?
- Which Water type is a better pick to counter Trick Room?
- Which Pokémon to outspeed Charizard?
The answer of the first question directly answers both question 2 and 3. To compare Dialga and Dusk Mane Necrozma, they both fit my requirements, but the reason for choosing Dialga is because it better resists Yveltal’s terrifying damage. On the other hand, Taiwanese players tend more towards Kyogre than Groudon, which was another argument to choose Dialga, since it has a Water-type resistance.
For the Water-type Pokémon, I agree with the opinion of Ting Yu-liang (Brandon): A Water/Fairy type is a good choice; not only to switch in and take damages, but also to stress Palkia, Ice Rider Calyrex and Yveltal. Tapu Fini is obviously not suitable for this place. The choice of Azumarill and Primarina is just to balance the team’s physical or special moves.
For the Charizard slayer, and also considering both threats from Grimmsnarl’s Thunder Wave and damage from Groudon and Zacian, the last two choices were Garchomp and Incarnate Landorus. The major difference is that Landorus is immune to Ground-type moves, and Garchomp can take a hit of Zacian’s Behemoth Blade. I eventually selected the former.
Regieleki @ Magnet
EVs: 28 HP / 220 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Wild Charge
I tried many Regieleki sets, I even tried Choice Scarf to deal with speed ties towards Shadow Rider Calyrex teams with a rival Regieleki, so I could leave my Dynamax to Dialga. My mind changed after facing tough counters in the leads of Thundurus + Zacian or Thundurus + Shadow Rider Calyrex. After that, I changed my Regieleki to a physical set, which could ensure my priority with a Max Airstream.
Electroweb allows me to keep my Regieleki having another speed control without relying on Dynamax. To me, the speed priority is way better than the Max Darkness + Astral Barrage combo.
220 Atk Magnet Transistor Regieleki Max Lightning vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Zacian-Crowned: 144-171 (72.3 – 85.9%) alongside 252 SpA Calyrex-Shadow Astral Barrage vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Zacian-Crowned: 81-96 (40.7 – 48.2%)
A damage focus to ensure a one-turn KO of a defensive EV’d Zacian.
252 Atk Life Orb Transistor Regieleki Max Lightning vs. 36 HP / 52 Def Dynamax Thundurus: 224-265 (70.4 – 83.3%) alongside 252 SpA Calyrex-Shadow Astral Barrage vs. 36 HP / 12 SpD Assault Vest Dynamax Thundurus: 72-85 (22.6 – 26.7%)
Pity is this combo cannot ensure one-turn KO towards an Assault Vest Dynamax Thundurus, one of the unstable counters.
220 Atk Magnet Transistor Regieleki Wild Charge vs. 240 HP / 188 Def Dynamax Kyogre: 204-240 (49.7 – 58.5%)
In Kyogre match-ups, my Dynamax Pokémon would be Dialga, and my observation of the recent Liverpool Regionals, Dialga had a hard time dealing with Assault Vest Kyogre, so I needed to make sure of the actual damage a non-Dynamaxed Regieleki could deal to Kyogre, to build up a reasonable game plan.
+1 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 28 HP / 4 Def Regieleki: 132-156 (83 – 98.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
This EV spread can let Regieleki take one hit of a Behemoth Blade from a 333 Attack Zacian, and make the HP to 16n-1, which minimizes the damage from Sandstorm and Hail. The item was initially Life Orb, but Landorus needed it more than Regieleki, so I used Magnet instead for its major damage output.
Calyrex-Shadow @ Focus Sash
Ability: As One (Spectrier)
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
– Astral Barrage
The EVs are simple. The key point of Shadow Rider Calyrex is its position in the team: its speed domination. Being almost always the first to move, your opponent can hardly prevent its spread damage or its other coverage moves, as the old Weezing + Dialga lead was way more passive.
Mostly, Calyrex can force the opponent’s Dialga to Dynamax to reduce the damage from Astral Barrage. So when my Dialga switches in, the opponent might have wasted too much energy, and will get heavy pressure by our late Dynamax. When the opponent is afraid of the high-speed damage of Calyrex, they usually choose Tailwind or Max Airstream. This is when Dialga’s Trick Room starts to strike back.
Dialga @ Safety Goggles
EVs: 212 HP / 156 SpA / 140 Spe
– Flash Cannon
– Roar of Time
– Earth Power
– Trick Room
The major damage dealer of the team. In order to go for a two-way speed strategy, I invested some Speed. The 128 Speed stat is to outspeed the Global Exhibition Champion Leonardo Bonanomi’s Groudon, and with it it is faster than most Groudon.
Special Attack is to fit 11n, which gains an extra point. After that, the remaining EVs are just to make it as bulky as possible. Also, this Dialga can take one Sacred Sword hit from a 333 Attack Zacian.
Many players wonder: why would you give a Restricted Pokémon Safety Goggles? In countering other Restricted, Dialga are supposed to be good when facing Palkia and Ice Rider Calyrex, but the most challenging part is the interference from Amoonguss. Wasting Max Moves on Amoonguss is also a threat to your gameplan: why not make Amoonguss powerless and make Dialga free? Courtesy of experiences from Chou Tsung-hsiao (Teayue)!
Azumarill (M) @ Assault Vest
Ability: Huge Power
EVs: 204 HP / 236 Atk / 68 Def
– Aqua Jet
– Steel Roller
– Play Rough
The Attack EVs are the highest 11n, and HP is just same as the previous for Figy Berry activation set (3n). The remaining points are derived to Defense to increase the chance to take a Behemoth Blade of +1 Zacian.
However, some may ask why the nature is Brave but the Speed IVs are maxed. I let the actual Speed stat be 63 mainly because most Ice Rider Calyrex in the meta are mostly not the slowest Speed, so Azumarill can generally move first in Trick Rooms when facing them.
One special move is Steel Roller. With it, during the counter towards Ice Rider Calyrex + Palkia teams, Azumarill can easily suppress Palkia and might require Max Steelspike to increase its bulk, and also Incineroar can use Parting Shot to keep on switching out, causing Calyrex to fall into a difficult situation to deal enough damage.
For the fourth move, I first considered Superpower, also for Max Knuckle to increase Attack. However, my testing results showed the prior STAB move Aqua Jet is more advantageous in most games.
+1 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 204 HP / 68 Def Azumarill: 172-204 (85.5 – 101.4%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
Incineroar (M) @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 244 HP / 36 Atk / 92 Def / 76 SpD / 60 Spe
– Flare Blitz
– Fake Out
– Parting Shot
– Throat Chop
The EV aim is from the idea of Liu Jian-ting (Sayha): to take one Sacred Sword hit from a Zacian with an Attack stat of 333.
As for the other points, there is no specific aim, so I adjusted them for the following reasons. A faster Fake Out or Throat Chop (to block Parting Shot) than rival Incineroar, so several points to Speed; several points to Attack to increase some damage for a possible Incineroar Dynamax; and the rest to Special Defense.
+1 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Sacred Sword vs. 244 HP / 92+ Def Incineroar: 170-200 (84.5 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Landorus (M) @ Life Orb
Ability: Sheer Force
Level: 50 EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
– Earth Power
– Stone Edge
– Grass Knot
My counter-measure towards Sun teams, and also the toughest choice for me. I first considered its Sand Force Ability, because Incarnate Landorus has poor defenses to be a Dynamax choice for me, while also, facing Incineroar everywhere, its Intimidate was too painful for physical Pokémon; so Sheer Force with Earth Power is still my best choice against it.
The only purpose for the Rock-type move is slaying Charizard; Rock Slide or Stone Edge should be both fine, though my final choice was Stone Edge. When facing Gigantamax Charizard, an Astral Barrage + Rock Slide combo can take Charizard away; But if I take an Intimidate from Incineroar, the Astral Barrage + Stone Edge combo still has a high chance to take it down in one turn (although the accuracy is another issue).
The third move I chose was Grass Knot. Although it cannot be boosted by Sheer Force, it still gives decent damage to Gastrodon, Groudon, and Kyogre. However, after the tournament, I think Fly might be better, because I still Dynamaxed Landorus in several games, and Max Airstream for speed control might be a better move to deal with more situations.
0 Atk Life Orb Sheer Force Landorus Rock Slide vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Charizard: 213-255 (138.3 – 165.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
-1 0 Atk Life Orb Landorus Stone Edge vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Gigantamaxed Charizard-Gmax: 198-234 (64.2 – 75.9%)
How to use the team
- If the opponent has Tailwind, Regieleki won’t be selected in the game. Even if you are forced to pick Regieleki, it won’t stand as a lead.
- You need to consider Shadow Rider Calyrex + Incineroar or Dialga leads to weaken your oppponent. The most ideal situation is seeing your opponent Dynamax first, but making them have poor results in taking out your Pokémon.
- Azumarill and Incineroar are switching choices to slow the game pace, they don’t work as damage dealers unless they can move first.
- Regieleki and Landorus are counter-measures to deal with specific teams, so they are not selected as commonly as others.
|Archetype||Pokémon to bring as lead|
Zacian + Kyogre teams
Common Zacian + Kyogre teams have dual Dark-type Pokémon (Incineroar and Grimmsnarl). If you’re confident they would choose this lead, you can pick Incineroar + Dialga to deal some damage. Sometimes, if they choose Kyogre as the lead, your Incineroar would be in a very painful position (even Assault Vest Azumarill takes huge damage from Max Geyser in Rain, and would have merely an Aqua Jet chance in the next turn).
To avoid this kind of situation, I usually pick Calyrex + Dialga as my lead. One is to use Snarl to weaken Kyogre, and also let Dialga take down Grimmsnarl. Another lead would be Dialga + Azumarill, since no matter Kyogre or double Dark-type leads, you still have the type advantage to deal decent damage to them.
Details to consider:
– Who is faster? Your Dialga or their Kyogre?
– What is the item on Kyogre?
The safest lead would be Calyrex + Landorus. Most of the time, you cannot ignore the consequences if you face a Groudon + Charizard lead. In this case, Incineroar and Dialga would be in the back.
Details to consider:
– What is Grimmsnarl’s speed-control move?
– It would be a huge pain if Charizard is not in their lead!
Ice Rider Calyrex + Palkia teams
Calyrex + Dialga as the lead, with Incineroar and Azumarill in the back. Because of your Safety Goggles, it won’t be difficult to stop your opponent’s Trick Room. If you see Palkia and Amoonguss as their lead, just Astral Barrage + Max Wyrmwind.
If they have Porygon2 and Female Indeedee on the field, then preserve your Dynamax, just give some damage and let Calyrex use Snarl. The whole point is to let your opponent give up the thought to Dynamaxing Palkia. If their Calyrex didn’t gain any buffs, your win chances would be high.
Details to consider:
– When they have Porygon2, your Dynamax choice would be Azumarill.
– Match-ups with Tapu Fini would be troublesome.
Zacian + Yveltal teams
The reason for not choosing Regieleki is because Zacian + Yveltal teams mostly come with Electric-type counter-measures, such as Gastrodon, Landorus, Raichu…, making Regieleki difficult to do its work.
If Calyrex faces Yveltal, just use Snarl + Parting Shot from Incineroar, so that your Dialga can be ready to use Trick Room in the next turn. If you face Landorus, use Will-o-Wisp + Parting Shot, also for the preparation of Dialga’s Trick Room.
The most ideal scenario is having both Dialga and Azumarill on the field during Trick Room, then you can have your free damage outputs.
What is most crucial in this match is using Calyrex’s Focus Sash to create chances by its nerfing moves, and not to run away even when facing double Dark-type threats on the field. They both have to hit Calyrex to take you down in one turn, so your Incineroar either completes its mission without taking damage, or takes some damage but pressures more the opponent as Calyrex is still on the field for another nerfing move. (Still, look out for Neil Patel’s team, in which Grimmsnarl has both Fake Out and Throat Chop, it would make your strategy fail!)
Zacian + Shadow Rider Calyrex teams
If they lead Regieleki, either you deal with a speed tie, or just play switch games with your Incineroar to seek the chance to Dynamax. If they lead with Thundurus, you have to guess if it holds an Assault Vest. Many Assault Vest Thundurus have some bulk investment, so Max Lightning + Astral Barrage would not be a guaranteed KO. But to take Zacian away is definitely enough… So it is just mind game time.
Details to consider:
– They usually have Blastoise in their team!
– Don’t let your Regieleki and Calyrex lose HP too fast!
This was my run at Taichung Regionals!
You can watch my Round 1 match in streaming here, starting from 43:20!
Using Dialga to get to top 4 in Taichung Regionals was an amazing experience for me. I knew that Sun was very strong, but I didn’t want to give up building a different team, hoping to showcase the strength of some less common Pokémon.
It has been a long way, but this has been my motivation to play Pokémon VGC. Thanks to my friends who discuss with me, and those players who create inventive teams leading the meta.
I hope this team can bring you some inspiration, and see you in future tournaments!