Hello everyone! I am Isabel Lee, also known as Izzy22x. I am a part-time content creator on YouTube and Twitch who started getting into VGC in late 2020. Fun fact, I started learning Singles first before doing the swap and… boy, was it an adventure!
At first I taught myself by watching YouTube videos and Twitch streams. This was difficult and I felt like I was going nowhere. But my friends kept encouraging me to continue. It was around Hatterene Series II where I felt confident in my abilities to try making a name of myself. I was coming off a pretty hot winning streak in some online matches. Everything felt like it was going my way. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. I ended up dropping the tournament after starting X-3.
Fast forward a few weeks later, I learned my losses were not in vain. I was lucky enough to have been drafted in a very competitive team tour. In the online era, “team tours” besides NPA had started popping up. The tours consisted of players getting drafted into teams, think of NFL draft. It was 10 weeks long, 7 players got fielded to play a match each. Unfortunately, much like Hatterene Series, I didn’t do as well as I had hoped. However, I made new friends and met my future teambuilding partner: Sohaib Mufti.
Over the next few months I secured small tournament wins, top cut the SoCal grassroots tour, and continued to grow as a player. By the time Regionals were announced I felt I was ready.
My first Regional was Indianapolis where I went 4-4. I ran Cameron Smith‘s Lunala + Groudon team, but it might have been too early of a meta call. So, a month later, coming into Vancouver, my goal was top 32. Boy, was I surprised as I kept winning and winning each round! If someone told me I was going to go undefeated in Swiss after beating players like Gavin Michaels, Justin Burns, Zackary Thornberg and Aditya Subramanian, I wouldn’t have believed them. But it happened and here is the team that got me there!
Table of Contents
After my failed attempt at Lunala + Groudon in Indianapolis, I wanted something more consistent and less dependent on RNG. Sohaib and I worked on his Secaucus team and agreed that Zacian + Kyogre were the most consistent Restricted duo. Every tournament there were Zacian + Kyogre teams in top 32 and at least 2 in top cut. Also, Stefan Mott (Pengy) had just won the Indianapolis Regionals with it. The first version of the team was Sohaib’s which was based on Taran Birdee‘s EUIC team:
Zacian is by far one of the strongest Restricted. We decided to go three attacks with Play Rough instead of Substitute to hit Dragon-type Restricteds for super effective damage. The North American meta tends to favor Palkia, Reshiram and Dialga more than the other regions do. Our Zacian was built to 1-hit KO most of them out of Dynamax. If they Dynamaxed, it worked in our favor as Trick Room wasn’t selected, or we forced them to use up their Dynamax early.
Kyogre was a good partner because Rain weakens the power of Fire-type moves, which are super effective against Zacian. A powerful Water Spout or Origin Pulse deals with Groudon and Incineroar, two Pokémon that threaten Zacian. The original version held Mystic Water. However, after much thought, we decided to go the Life Orb route. It was not very common despite its strong second place finish by Oliver Eskolin in this year’s European International Championships. We banked on this. Our Kyogre was calced to pretty much one-shot a number of Pokémon, including Dynamax Life Orb Thundurus, Ice Rider Calyrex, opposing Zacian, and Indeedee with Psychic Seed. As long as there was no Gastrodon, Max Geyser in and out of Rain was extremely powerful.
Rillaboom was our next Pokémon because a strong Grass-type was needed to cover for Gastrodon and Kyogre mirrors. We also wanted to have a Fake Out user as the initial version did not have Incineroar. Around this time a lot of teams started running Rillaboom with Miracle Seed instead of Assault Vest. However, we stuck with Assault Vest because we wanted to take Astral Barrages and Water Spouts from Calyrex and Kyogre better. Additionally, U-turn was a great tool to reposition our board. We also wanted another way to hit Zacian, so we chose High Horsepower. That way when we chip opposing Zacian earlier in the game, we KO it the next turn with High Horsepower, as our Rillaboom is EV’d to survive a +1 Behemoth Blade.
After Secaucus, we decided that Whimscott had to go. While the speed control and Fake Tears was useful, it made the team too linear sometimes. A Prankster Pokémon is always strong for teams, and because we had gone for Life Orb Kyogre, we felt that Grimmsnarl was the perfect choice to compliment it. Kyogre behind screens was almost indestructible. This was better than the Assault Vest version because we were able to get the right KOs and Zacian was usually in the back to clean up. The biggest struggle about our standard Grimmsnarl set was its fourth move. We wanted Spirit Break for the Dragon-type Restricteds and opposing Kyogre. Light Screen and Reflect were a no-brainer. But the last one was between Scary Face and Thunder Wave. As mentioned in my interview on stream during Vancouver Regionals, we decided that Thunder Wave would be the stronger choice because it is a permanent status and Pokémon is a game where RNG happens. We also weren’t worried about slowing down Gastrodon, Regieleki, Groudon or Landorus. Thunder Wave was very clutch in my sets.
Our next Pokémon was Incineroar. It was not in the original six, but I convinced Sohaib that Incineroar was very important to the synergy of the team. Incineroar was one of the major threats for Amoonguss and Venusaur because we had given it Safety Goggles. We felt that those two Pokémon were going to see a rise in usage, and having a way to stop Sleep Powder, Spore and Rage Powder to position our team was more important than a guaranteed survival of Max Quake or other Ground-type moves from Groudon or Landorus, plus we were Intimidating them most of the time. The rest of the moves were standard but we did decide on Darkest Lariat over Throat Chop because of our Incineroar speed. We are not the fastest, so being able to use Darkest Lariat expecting a Throat Chop from the opposing Incineroar was huge. Also, another move that ignored boosts on the target Pokémon was a nice bonus.
We struggled on the sixth spot for the longest time. We tried a variety of things from Thundurus, Porygon2, Regieleki, Zapdos, Landorus… and finally we went back to Amoonguss. Our Trick Room match up still felt shaky and Sohaib suggested it. It was the missing piece. Amoonguss was the perfect counter for all the Palkia Trick Room teams I faced. The initial version had Coba Berry but we swapped off to Focus Sash. This was mostly because we had that item free to use and this helped the Amoonguss to take two hits when people expected it to be Coba Berry. Additionally, Foul Play was our attacking move for Ice Rider Calyrex because we didn’t feel the need to have a Grass-type move, since we had Rillaboom.
Zacian-Crowned @ Rusted Sword
Ability: Intrepid Sword
EVs: 28 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 220 Spe
– Play Rough
– Sacred Sword
– Behemoth Blade
Our very unconventional Zacian spread. When I asked Sohaib what this spread did, he told me: “It hits hard”. I facepalmed but I was so used to this spread from practice that I told myself: “YOLO”. One thing to add too: most Zacian had 164 Attack EVs, so 252 was not something a lot of my opponents expected. This honestly came very clutch as we were one of the fastest Zacian and got to hit back hard. Plus, look at these calcs!
+1 252+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Play Rough vs. 252 HP / 20 Def Palkia: 302-356 (153.2 – 180.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
+1 252+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 244 HP / 28 Def Rillaboom: 181-214 (87.8 – 103.8%) — 25% chance to OHKO
+1 252+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Play Rough vs. 180 HP / 252 Def Gastrodon: 154-183 (73.6 – 87.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Kyogre @ Life Orb
EVs: 108 HP / 68 Def / 236 SpA / 4 SpD / 92 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Water Spout
– Ice Beam
Much like our Zacian, we wanted Kyogre to hit hard. Behind screens, I was not worried. We sacrificed Speed because we wanted the extra bulk and power. Let the calcs once again speak for themselves!
236+ SpA Life Orb Kyogre Max Hailstorm (130 BP) vs. 180 HP / 12 SpD Gastrodon: 135-160 (64.5 – 76.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
236+ SpA Life Orb Kyogre Max Hailstorm (130 BP) vs. 172 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Rillaboom: 205-244 (104 – 123.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
236+ SpA Life Orb Kyogre Max Hailstorm (130 BP) vs. 196 HP / 0 SpD Rillaboom: 309-367 (154.5 – 183.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
236+ SpA Life Orb Kyogre Max Hailstorm (130 BP) vs. 244 HP / 108 SpD Rillaboom: 270-320 (131 – 155.3%) — guaranteed OHKO
236+ SpA Life Orb Kyogre Max Geyser (150 BP) vs. 28 HP / 4 SpD Zapdos in Rain: 328-386 (194 – 228.4%) — guaranteed OHKO
236+ SpA Life Orb Kyogre Max Geyser (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Thundurus in Rain: 364-429 (234.8 – 276.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
236+ SpA Life Orb Kyogre Max Hailstorm (130 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Thundurus: 278-330 (179.3 – 212.9%) — guaranteed OHKO
236+ SpA Life Orb Kyogre Max Geyser (150 BP) vs. 212 HP / 12 SpD Zacian-Crowned in Rain: 265-312 (136.5 – 160.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
+1 164+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Play Rough vs. 108 HP / 68 Def Kyogre: 148-175 (78.3 – 92.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ Atk Miracle Seed Rillaboom Grassy Glide vs. 108 HP / 68 Def Dynamax Kyogre in Grassy Terrain: 204-240 (53.9 – 63.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
196+ Atk Rillaboom Grassy Glide vs. 108 HP / 68 Def Dynamax Kyogre in Grassy Terrain: 162-192 (42.8 – 50.7%) — guaranteed 3HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
196+ Atk Rillaboom Grassy Glide vs. 108 HP / 68 Def Kyogre in Grassy Terrain through Reflect: 108-128 (57.1 – 67.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
252 Atk Life Orb Thundurus Max Lightning (130 BP) vs. 108 HP / 68 Def Dynamax Kyogre through Reflect: 179-213 (47.3 – 56.3%) — 81.6% chance to 2HKO
252 Atk Life Orb Thundurus Max Lightning (130 BP) vs. 108 HP / 68 Def Dynamax Kyogre: 268-320 (70.8 – 84.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Grimmsnarl (M) @ Light Clay
EVs: 220 HP / 4 Atk / 116 Def / 156 SpD / 12 Spe
– Spirit Break
– Light Screen
– Thunder Wave
Nothing fancy about this Grimmsnarl but it was the glue of the team. Screens + speed control had our opponents always quite cautious. They would either prioritize it, ignoring the Max Kyogre on the side or let it set up screens. Grimmsnarl was almost always paired with Kyogre, Zacian and Incineroar.
Rillaboom-Gmax (M) @ Assault Vest
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 196 Atk / 60 SpD
– Grassy Glide
– High Horsepower
– Fake Out
Rillaboom came clutch in my sets, our main goal was to make sure it survived a +1 Behemoth Blade and High Horsepower back the Zacian. The extra Special Defense was to take less damage from Water Spout and Astral Barrage, making switch-ins more comfortable.
196+ Atk Rillaboom High Horsepower vs. 212 HP / 4 Def Zacian-Crowned: 100-118 (51.5 – 60.8%) — 92.2% chance to 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
196+ Atk Rillaboom Grassy Glide vs. 204 HP / 60 Def Kyogre in Grassy Terrain: 164-194 (81.5 – 96.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
+1 76+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Rillaboom: 169-201 (81.6 – 97.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
+1 164+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Rillaboom: 178-211 (85.9 – 101.9%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO
236+ SpA Life Orb Kyogre Max Hailstorm (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 60 SpD Assault Vest Rillaboom: 159-187 (76.8 – 90.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
156+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 60 SpD Assault Vest Rillaboom in Rain: 67-79 (32.3 – 38.1%) — 2.5% chance to 3HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
252 SpA Calyrex-Shadow Rider Astral Barrage vs. 252 HP / 60 SpD Assault Vest Rillaboom: 75-88 (36.2 – 42.5%) — 95.5% chance to 3HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
Incineroar (M) @ Safety Goggles
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Atk / 124 Def / 108 SpD / 28 Spe
– Flare Blitz
– Darkest Lariat
– Parting Shot
– Fake Out
A pretty standard Incineroar set, our main goal with this Safety Goggles set was able to have a safe switch-in for Venusaur. This set came clutch vs Gavin Michaels because between Sun + screens, Incineroar would always 2-hit KO Venusaur if needed, while surviving at least one or two Ground-type moves depending on the opponent’s Attack investment.
Another thing we deviated from the standard sets was using Darkest Lariat. Incineroar are running a variety of speeds and Brady Smith persuaded me that having a move that doesn’t care for Defense boosts would come in clutch more than figuring out who was the faster Incineroar and trying to Throat Chop. That was all I needed to be convinced.
Amoonguss @ Focus Sash
EVs: 236 HP / 20 Def / 252 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Rage Powder
– Foul Play
Our Trick Room MVP, Amoonguss with Focus Sash was very important because we kept it slow and bulky. It wasn’t until Round 6 that people learned I was Focus Sash. In a battle where information is key, hiding this particular set came very clutch. Foul Play was needed for hitting Solgaleo and Ice Rider Calyrex for super effective damage.
The Undefeated Run
Yveltal, my old enemy. Round 1 couldn’t be a better test to my team. There a few things I had to find out right away:
1) Are you Snarl Yveltal?
2) Are you Coba Berry Venusaur?
3) Are you Burning Jealousy or Yawn Torkoal?
In G1, I went with a safe four: Kyogre + Grimmsnarl with Incineroar and Zacian in back. My opponent lead Yveltal + Torkoal. They had Venusaur and Zacian in the back. I was able to find out that all three above statements were correct and get the win by repositioning my Pokémon.
For G2, my opponent led Venusaur + Zacian, with Landorus and Torkoal in the back. I had decided to lead Incineroar + Zacian for this game to cover for the Yveltal lead. Seeing that G2 lead made me really happy as I was able to get a Fake Out + Behemoth Blade right away. Once I found out Yveltal was not brought, Kyogre was able to Dynamax safely and go wild.
My Round 2 opponent was another Zacian + Yveltal team, however, the scary thing about this team was Gastrodon. Luckily, there was no Venusaur. Much like my R1 opponent, I wanted to find out the Yveltal set and cover for their Gastrodon. I brought the same four as I did R1 except that Rillaboom was in the back instead of Incineroar.
For G1, my opponent led Yveltal + Grimmsnarl with Zacian and Landorus in the back. I played it a bit safe to find out that Yveltal did have Snarl. The mind games were up right away too as I didn’t risk using Max Geyser until I found out there was no Gastrodon. A critical hit on my Zacian almost turned things dicey, but Kyogre came in clutch.
For G2, I decided to lead the same thing. I regret not going bolder for Max Geysers as my opponent didn’t bring Gastrodon again. They led Grimmsnarl + Zacian and had Yveltal and Landorus in the back. It was once again a bit of mind games, my opponent positioning and Dynamaxing late was really good for them. Had I not got a critical hit in this game, we would have gone to a G3.
Last Regional, Round 3 was the moment that changed my momentum. I was looking forward to breaking that. I was terrified when I saw I was up against Justin Burns. His team was one of my toughest match-ups and the one reason we added Amonguss to mine. Our game plan was simple, Zacian + Amoonguss lead all three games. We forced Spores and clicked Play Rough. Late Kyogre Dynamax and then we either had Rillaboom or Incineroar in back.
G1 was very unfortunate. Burns brought the team we expected but had Tapu Fini over Alcremie. He led the traditional Gothitelle + Palkia, but because of my lead, he Dynamaxed Palkia right away. This was our game plan, force an early Dynamax… But I missed Play Rough. Then, later on, Palkia survived on 1 HP. GGs.
In G2, Burns swapped things. Incineroar + Palkia, but Tapu Fini and Calyrex in the back. This time, I was able to get Play Rough to hit. Palkia was at half, I read the Tapu Fini swap too. Things were looking pretty well for me, I did lose Zacian earlier than I wanted but Kyogre was able to KO Calyrex and Incineroar to change the tides as Burns overread me.
In G3, we both brought the same four. We led the same way. It was back and forth and I had unfortunately made a minor misplay which led Burns to end up setting up Trick Room. I remember this part because it was the reason I won this tough game. Burns had read my early Protect play two turns ago. We were on the last turn of Trick Room. The board was Palkia + Incineroar vs. Zacian + Rillaboom. I made the riskiest play based on how he had hard-read me enough times that I would be safe to do this: I doubled Incineroar expecting a double on Rillaboom. Burns chose to use Parting Shot + Earth Power. I KO’d Incineroar with High Horsepower and Sacred Sword. Trick Room was over and all I had to do was not miss Play Rough.
There is nothing more terrifying than when, after you play Justin Burns, you get Gavin Michaels next. It was 10 times more terrifying because our match was going to be streamed. I sat down, got ready and one of the judges came over and said: “You will be streamed, go eat. Be back in 30 min”. My first game on stream and it’s against the eventual Regional champion!
The game speaks for itself. In G1 I was able to recover despite a Thunder Wave miss. Kyogre showed its power in the back. G2 was the most scary and conflicting battle. I recommend you watch it.
My heart was beating so fast, my hands were trembling. Big shoutouts to Sohaib. I was panicking, all my friends were playing their sets and he was my rock when I needed someone. I also want to give an extra shout out to Bekah Snyder (CuriousCleffa) and Amy who I felt were my personal cheerleaders during my match. They stuck around instead of eating lunch!
You can watch my match starting at 3:23:01!
Okay, I got two super scary players. I was ready, my confidence was high. I get Zacian + Palkia next. This game was probably a lot stressful because of Demitri’s six, as Palkia and Kyogre don’t get along. I led Kyogre + Grimmsnarl with Zacian and Incineroar in the back for both games. He brought the same four: Palkia + Indeedee with Zacian and Whimsicott in the back.
Kyogre was the MVP, we one-shot the Psychic Seed Indeedee. I was smiling when that happened. This was extremely important because, at this point, I played the game of ignoring the Palkia and KO’ing its friends. For G2, we followed a similar mode but I got a crucial read on the Indeedee swapping off for Whimscott, so I didn’t let Demitri get speed control. I had a feeling that’s what was going to happen because they Protected Indeedee on turn 1.
Hi, Ice Rider Calyrex + Palkia! How I did not miss you. Technoz brought the Secaucus version. I can say Alcremie was easier to deal with than Tapu Fini. I followed the same game plan as with Burns. We went to G3 because in G2 I missed Play Rough and Technoz got two important reads on me. G3 was a battle of sleeps and missing Hypnosis. My heart was relieved when no Hypnosis were hit.
We made it, table number 1. But oh boy, it’s ANOTHER Ice Rider Calyrex + Palkia. Adi and I have known each other for a while thanks to Sohaib. There were bragging rights on the line. I didn’t really want to reveal anything new because Burns and him were guaranteed in top cut, so I stuck to the same game plan.
This set was probably one of my favorites because of the lack of stakes involved and the fact that we ended in a board game where we had three sleeping Pokémon for G3. He got lucky in the waking turns too! But Kyogre, my MVP, was able to clean things up in the end.
Fun fact, Adi hit 4 out of 5 of his Hypnosis, I don’t know what was given to that Gothitelle but I am happy to have had fun that set and not face him again.
So, the day before top cut, I had found out that I would start with a game loss. I was heartbroken because I found out I had not updated my Kyogre with the right stats. The original Kyogre I was given was Adamant as it was an event Pokémon. My friend Kenny Ongkojoyo (Pocoyo) had found out that I was about to enter a tour with Adamant Kyogre, so we fixed it in game. I fixed it in Rk9 too… but I did not resubmit my team, because I didn’t think that was needed.
My top cut opponent was my good friend Jean-Marc Hébert. He was the reason Sohaib and I met. The battle was bittersweet. He was using Pengy’s six and, with my Kyogre being Adamant now, my original gameplan had to change. I actually had joked with him that we would face in Swiss so I always had a soft gameplan.
I was caught off guard with how passive he played and got over my head. The Paralysis on my Zacian hit me hard. I was already at a game loss and after that happened, I was like: “GGs”. Gigantamaxing Rillaboom was my hail Mary, but I had forgotten that Reflect was up. Ideally, I should have clicked G-Max Drum Solo into Zapdos, hoping for the crit KO and ignored the Zacian. But it was tricky since Max Strike was not even a good choice, as Zapdos was always going to use Max Airstream and I would have lost speed control. The mirror was always tough and it was one of those where I wish I had an extra game to adapt. Lesson learned though, I now triple check my team before tours!
My original plans for this match-up were:
Our Kyogre can KO either Grimmsnarl or Zapdos with Max Geyser. Jean-Marc’s Safety Goggles Zapdos was never KO’ing our Assault Vest Rillaboom. So I could always save Rillaboom after the Fake Out. Eliminating Zapdos or Grimmsnarl on turn 1 was always the play.
Following the same gameplan as the stream, but I prioritize Kyogre better. A late Dynamax Incineroar would have KO’d Zacian and Zapdos wouldn’t be able to touch my Pokémon given the set.
And that’s wrap! Hope it was entertaining to read, I know it was a lot! The team was perfect for the run I had. I won’t deny that I was lucky sometimes, but I played to my outs and that’s Pokémon (it bit me back in top cut!).
Thank you to all my friends who supported me in the venue and prepped with me. I can’t thank Sohaib Mufti enough for being my rock during the whole time; Kenny Ongkojoyo (Pocoyo) for getting all the important calcs; Tang Shiliang for giving me the match-up summaries that came clutch for my first two rounds; and Ricardo Guerra, Jessica Rosenberg (Hana), Joey and Ervin Tan (Helios) for being my practice partners.
To my parents who might not be able to understand Pokémon but are trying to learn, thank you and I hope I keep making you proud!
To all the new people who recently found out about me, do not give up! This was my second Regionals. I only started roughly 1.5 years ago. We can do it if we put the work and learn from each set!
The Sun match-up might be tricky, but otherwise, please enjoy the team!