Rain Gets the Upper Hand: 4 Months into Series 12!

It’s been four months since Series 12 officialy started! Let’s take a look at everything that happened in May and what is coming in June!

Table of Contents

Highlights from May

The time for Rinya Sun is over as Rain teams have found their answers. We are back to the start!

zacian-crownedkyogre

Zacian + Kyogre, the most common core during the whole Series 12 metagame has finally found consistent success. After a significant time without wins, the team that American Joseph Ugarte first used for a major win back in February has come back with renewed force. Rain teams with this core have achieved lots of top cut spots and have won in Regionals in Indianapolis, Lille and Bremen and the VR May S12 Challenge, as well as both best-of-one ladder tours: the Global Challenge 2022 Spring (serving in Japan as their Nationals Qualifiers) and the monthly Ranked Battles season. A special mention must be done to Korean Jeongso Lee, who, using a team of Zacian, Kyogre, Incineroar, Rillaboom, Grimmsnarl and Zapdos, won the VR May S12 Challenge and topped the May Ranked Battles season, as well as qualified for the semifinals of Korea’s Trainers Cup, to be played this month.

zacian-crownedcalyrex-shadow-rider

In an upwards trend we can find the pair of Zacian + Shadow Rider Calyrex. This very oppresive duo features the fastest possible Restricted combination, with the physical Zacian greatly damaging Dynamax Pokémon and the special Calyrex reducing foe’s choices with its powerful spread moves. American Emilio Forbes piloted the team to victory in Secaucus, while many others reached top cut standings with variations of it.

lunalagroudon

While other cores were celebrating their victories, the core of Lunala + Groudon slowly crawled up the standings. With sparse top cut teams represented in Bilbao, Lille, Secaucus and Bremen, American Gavin Michaels made it justice with a win in Vancouver, which featured many original cores trying to dethrone the popular Rain teams.

As this unusual season approaches its end with the last events this month, the Road to London is on fire!

June switches in

The last big tournaments on every region have been announced for this month, up to the last International Championships before Worlds. Are you planning to attend? Check out our compendium of major events for sign-up instructions to all of them!:

  • 4 June: KOR Trainers Cup Finals
  • 4-5 June: ITA Milan Special Event
  • 4 June: CHL Santiago Regionals
  • 11-12 June: AUS Melbourne Regionals
  • 11-12 June: JPN Japan Nationals
  • 11-12 June: TWN Taiwan Nationals
  • 11 June: MYS Malaysia Nationals Playoffs
  • 11-12 June: Victory Road to Columbus
  • 12 June: PHL Philippines Nationals Playoffs
  • 12 June: SGP Singapore Nationals Playoffs
  • 12 June: HKG Hong Kong Nationals
  • 18-19 June: USA Milwaukee Regionals
  • 24-26 June: USA North America International Championships (NAIC)
North America CP standings
RankPlayerCPsSeason Major Achievements
1USA Joseph Ugarte18592022 Europe Internationals Top 4
2020 Portland Regional Champion
2USA Connor Woitalla15502020 Oceania Internationals Top 4 (SR)
3USA Enzo Reci15002020 San Diego Regional Champion (SR)
2020 Knowville Regional Champion (SR)
2019 World Championships Quarter-finalist (SR)
4USA Brady Smith12682020 Oceania Internationals Top 8
2020 Daytona Beach Regional Champion
5USA Zach Gray12402020 Dallas Regional Champion (SR)
2020 Atlantic City Regional Champion (SR)
6USA Emma Cox
11402020 Richmond Regional Champion (SR)
7USA Ashton Cox11382020 San Diego Regionals Runner-up
8USA Cedric DeRouchie10802020 Atlantic City Regionals Top 4
9CHN Peng Chongjun10742022 Salt Lake City Regional Champion
10USA Jeremy Rodrigues10462020 Indianapolis Regionals Runner-up
2020 Latin America Internationals Top 8
11USA James Baek10012020 Latin America International Champion
2019 World Championships Semifinalist
12USA Paul Chua9202020 Atlantic City Regional Champion
Europe CP standings
RankPlayerCPsSeason Major Achievements
1ESP Eric Rios22052022 Europe International Champion
2022 Liverpool Regional Champion
2020 Oceania Internationals Top 8
2020 Latin America Internationals Top 4
2019 World Championships Quarter-finalist
2ITA Federico Camporesi16612020 Oceania Internationals Runner-up (SR)
2020 Bochum Regional Champion (SR)
2020 Latin America Internationals Runner-up (SR)
2020 Cologne Regional Champion (SR)
3ITA Marco Silva15442022 International Challenge February 1st place
2020 Oceania International Champion
4FIN Oliver Eskolin13582022 Europe Internationals Runner-up
5PRT Eduardo Cunha12032020 Oceania Internationals Runner-up
2019 World Championships Top 16
6ITA Alessio Y. Boschetto10942020 Players Cup Kickoff Invit. Winner
2020 Collinsville Regionals Top 4
7ESP Iago Pardo10702020 Sheffield Regional Champion (SR)
8ESP Guillermo Castilla10452020 Bochum Regional Champion
9POL Szymon Wojdat10192020 Cologne Regionals Top 16
10ESP Alex Gómez10092020 Cologne Regionals Runner-up
2019 World Championships Quarter-finalist
11SWE Nils Dunlop9822020 Richmond Regional Champion
12ITA Giovanni Piscitelli9202022 Bremen Regionals Runner-up
13FRA Thomas Gravouille9152022 Lille Regional Champion
14ITA Roberto Parente9142020 Paris Special Event Top 8
15ITA Flavio Del Pidio8922020 Cologne Regionals Top 8
16ITA Andrea Cassinese8482020 Cologne Regionals Top 4
17FRA Hippolyte Bernard8232020 Cologne Regional Champion
18GBR Taran Birdee7782022 Liverpool Regionals Top 8
19ITA Davide Carrer6882020 Players Cup II Runner-up
2020 Cologne Regionals Top 16
20FRA François-X. de Lageneste6712020 Bochum Regionals Top 4
21AUT Lukas Auer6682020 Paris Special Event Top 4
22GBR Richard Hodge6562022 Bremen Regionals Top 8
23ESP Joaquín Blanch6142022 Bilbao Special Event Top 32
2020 Sheffield Regionals Top 4 (SR)
24DEU Fevzi Özkan6072021 Players Cup IV 3rd place
2020 Cologne Regionals Top 8
Latin America CP standings
RankPlayerCPsSeason Major Achievements
1CHL Vicente Fuentes
13932020 Latin America Internationals Top 8 (SR)
2CHL Javier Valdés13852022 Europe Internationals Top 8
2020 Latin America Internationals Runner-up
2020 Campinas Special Event Winner
3ARG Juan Salerno12902020 Latin America Internationals Top 4
4CHL Heriberto Pacaje11952020 Santiago 19U Special Event Winner
5CHL Javier Venegas1040
6BRA Gabriel Agati Madeira10222020 Latin America Internationals Top 16
2019 World Championships Top 16
7CHL Nicolás del Campo10072020 Santiago S3 Special Event Winner
8SLV René Alvarenga9102020 San José Special Event Winner
9ECU Juan C. Ortiz8752020 Latin America Internationals Top 16
10PER Jean P. López8352020 Latin America Internationals Top 8
11ECU Paul Ruiz8352021 Players Cup 25th Anniv. Invit. 3rd place
2020 Guayaquil Special Event Top 4
12ARG Joaquín Salerno8112020 Montevideo Special Event Runner-up
Oceania CP standings
RankPlayerCPsSeason Major Achievements
1AUS Alfredo Chang-Gonzalez10402020 Melbourne Open Winner
2AUS Christopher Kan8512020 Perth Regionals Runner-up 2020 Melbourne Open Runner-up
3AUS Jack Gilbert8452020 Oceania International Champion (SR)
4AUS Meaghan Rattle8142022 & 2020 Brisbane Regionals Runner-up 2019 World Championships Quarter-finalist
5AUS Henry Rich6722022 Brisbane Regional Champion
6AUS Finn Cooper666
7AUS James Katsaros6512020 Oceania Internationals Top 8 2020 Melbourne Open Top 4
8CHL Diego Ferreira4852020 Oceania Internationals Top 16
9AUS Sam Pandelis4542022 Perth Regionals Runner-up
10AUS Luke Iuele4322022 & 2020 Brisbane Regionals Top 8
11GRC Christos Giagozoglou4272022 Brisbane Regionals Top 16
12AUS Graham Amedee4042019 World Championships Top Cut

Teambuilding focus

Crystal Rain

Two new cores have completely replaced Rinya Sun. The most popular one is already being dubbed Crystal Rain, in honor of the nickname of its most accomplished user, Jeongso Lee, even though this core of six has been in use since the beginning of the format. The second core is the French Rain, which has been mainly used by players from France and has found victory in Lille piloted by Thomas Gravouille.

Although it is a standard Rain team, it differs from the popular Sun teams in the fact that there is no weather abuser: there is no equivalent to Chlorophyll Venusaur with the option to either Gigantamax or spam Sleep Powders, or to Solar Power Gigantamax Charizard setting up the destroying G-Max Wildfire damage over time.

The main reason is because Kyogre alone is a threat in itself. Kyogre has great bulk, which sometimes can be enhanced with Calm Minds or an Assault Vest; and a specially offensive prowess, boosted sometimes with other held items like Life Orb or Mystic Water. Some hyperoffensive teams may even use Choice Scarf or Choice Specs to outspeed and completely catch the opponent off-guard from the very first turn of the battle.

Regarding movesets, Kyogre has a very powerful spread move in Water Spout, which in many cases outclasses its signature Origin Pulse, given the latter’s imperfect accuracy. Both of these moves are reinforced by Kyogre’s Water-type STAB and Ability Drizzle. The most common coverage is Ice (usually Ice Beam, more rarely Blizzard) and Electric (Thunder, which cannot fail in Rain), but some may even run Normal (Hyper Beam) to better deal with the bothersome Storm Drain Gastrodon. Its most common support move is Protect, but some slower, Trick Room-oriented variants may run Calm Mind too.

As mentioned before, Kyogre’s allies do not take direct advantage of the Drizzle-induced Rain as abusers. The Water type is very good to provide coverage for teammates, as it is only weak to Grass-type and Electric-type moves. In this way, Zapdos and Thundurus keep the Grass-types in check, while providing Speed control through Max Airstream boosts. Rillaboom and Kartana are also common partners to destroy Storm Drain Gastrodon and help with overcoming Sun-setting Groudon. Finally, the Shedinja in French Rain compositions takes advantage of being immune to the two types to which Kyogre is weak, always serving as an unexpected wincon and which forces the opponent to pick a Pokémon that does not like to face Kyogre, just to be able to defeat this little Wonder Guard creature.

As for Restricted Pokémon, Zacian is Kyogre’s preferred pair, as it complements the team with the other category of damage (physical). Other successful partners are Shadow Rider Calyrex, which helped German Jonas Wiegel win in Bilbao; or Dialga, which, although underexplored, assisted Briton Terence Dray in getting his Worlds invite at the Thailand National Championships.

The Restricted trends

As Rinya Sun falls, other partners for Zacian take Groudon’s place. Both Zacian + Shadow Rider Calyrex and Zacian + Yveltal seem to have passed it in the usage stats. The biggest achievement for the first of these cores was the victory of American Emilio Forbes in Secaucus, in a team featuring Gastrodon and Thundurus. The second core reached finals in Perth in the hands of Australian Sam Pandelis, accompanied with the fearful Coalossal.

Other cores that have skyrocketed in usage have been Ice Rider Calyrex cores, both with Palkia and with Reshiram. American Alex Underhill reached finals in Secaucus using a very original Calyrex + Palkia team with Alcremie and Gothitelle; Palkia was also used alongside Zacian in Australian Alister Sandover‘s Perth winning team! The core of Calyrex + Reshiram also reached finals in Indianapolis, piloted in this version by American Jeremy Rodrigues.

Watch out for other Restricted pairs, since the meta is not closed. Just look at those Lunala, White Kyurem, Solgaleo or Eternatus that appeared in the Vancouver top cut, or the Xerneas team that Chaiyawat Traiwichcha used to take home the first-ever Thailand National Championships!

It's wind season!

Tornadus is the featured non-Restricted Pokémon as it commonly accompanies Kyogre. With Kyogre’s upwards usage rise, it is logical that Tornadus has a similar trend.

This Flying-type Pokémon has Prankster, with which it can set Tailwind easily, helping its teammates with not so high Speed stats. Although commonly used with a Focus Sash as support, with other moves like Rain Dance or Icy Wind, Tornadus should not be ignored offensively, as Life Orb variants exist, which can Dynamax for powerful Max Airstreams based on Hurricane or Max Flares based on Heat Wave outside the Rain, and can use the versatile Weather Ball for situational boosted moves.

Useful resources

  • Check out our Rental Teams hub!
  • Find here the results of previous major Series 12 tournaments!
  • Find here some team reports of Series 12 successful teams!

Closing words

Incineroar keeps its crown as the most used Pokémon over Zacian. And it does not seem it will ever leave this spot, as different Restricted cores come and go, develop further or find a one-time success, but Incineroar is a staple in the metagame!

June comes with a lot of National Championships in Asia, where much of the metagame is different due to the influence of their best-of-one styled tournaments. Will this change the usage stats sufficiently to have an influence over the North American International Championships at the end of the month?

Follow the competitive scene with us on our Twitter account to get the answer of these questions and to have the latest information about all the upcoming news and events!

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