Sableye Sneakily Steals the Spotlight – A Milwaukee Regionals Top 8 Team Report

Hi, everyone! My name is Chirayu Gupta, better known as Whatshamidt. I started competitive back in 2012 but took a large hiatus until Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield came out. My interest in competitive was rekindled when one of my favorite Pokemon, Lapras, got a form that made it actually decent to use. I used it to get to top 200 on ladder in Series 5 and having that success in a semi-serious style got me massively invested. On top of that, following a bunch of competitive content creators and some excellent new friends (looking at you, Indy gang) pushed me to actually follow a huge passion of mine.

My first in-person event ever was just over a month ago at the Indianapolis Regionals. I go to college in Indiana and was extremely excited to have a Regional next to me. I had gone for this Ice Rider Calyrex + Palkia core that honestly worked very well, but a fatal flaw ruined me. The same weekend, an Online Competition, Global Challenge 2022 Spring, was active. I decided to enter my team into that OC for some practice, but soon after I realized that neither my Thundurus nor Ice Rider Calyrex, two of my main ‘Max ‘Mons (heh, nice alliteration), were missing Dynamax Candies. This massive problem was undercut even more by the fact that you cannot have multiple fused Calyrex on one file, and thus I couldn’t mend that error. I ended up not being able to get a new Thundurus ready in time, either. This was the direct cause of me losing 3 sets, giving me an incredibly disappointing 2-7 finish.

I brushed myself off, signed up for Milwaukee, and started preparations immediately after I got home from Indianapolis. Massive amounts of testing, unlucky streaks, and ranting ensued.

This team report will be about my top 8 Milwaukee Regionals team!

Table of Contents

Teambuilding Process

This team’s origins begin right where my previous team bit the dust. For a few weeks, I had been considering using Reshiram in the format considering its positive matchups against a lot of other Restricteds, and seeing it get second place inspired me to finally get to work on it.

reshiram

This is most of the different iterations I worked with throughout the 6 weeks between competitions:

Team iterations
zacian-crownedreshiramincineroarvenusaur-gmaxwhimsicottgastrodon
zacian-crownedreshiramincineroarvenusaur-gmaxwhimsicotttapu-fini
zacian-crownedreshiramincineroarvenusaur-gmaxgrimmsnarlwhimsicott
zacian-crownedreshiramincineroarrillaboom-gmaxgrimmsnarlwhimsicott
zacian-crownedreshiramincineroarlandorus-theriangrimmsnarlregieleki
zacian-crownedreshiramincineroarrillaboom-gmaxgrimmsnarlregieleki
zacian-crownedreshiramincineroarvenusaur-gmaxgrimmsnarlthundurus
zacian-crownedreshiramgastrodonrillaboom-gmaxgrimmsnarlthundurus
zacian-crownedreshiramincineroarvenusaur-gmaxporygon2sableye
zacian-crownedreshiramincineroarvenusaur-gmaxgrimmsnarlsableye
zacian-crownedreshiramlandorus-therianvenusaur-gmaxgrimmsnarlsableye
zacian-crownedreshiramlandorus-therianvenusaur-gmaxsableyethundurus

I knew I wanted to use Zacian since I had just used a Trick Room team and decided to stray away from it for now. I’m not keen on using Groudon or Kyogre, so it felt like these two Restricteds were perfect for me. Gastrodon was there just to be annoying and as a good switch-in to Kyogre. Whimsicott had manual Sun to override Rain, boost Reshiram’s Blue Flare, and give Venusaur the massive speed boost. Gastrodon was immediately removed, as the remainder of my team had plenty of counters for opposing Kyogre, and I temporarily opted for a Tapu Fini for heal + speed support. It was just too passive though, so Grimmsnarl quickly became one of my favorites on this team.

zacian-crownedreshiramincineroarvenusaur-gmaxgrimmsnarlwhimsicott

Unfortunately, with two Prankster Pokémon that struggled as leads into Fake Out, the team was too difficult to manage. Alongside this, the speed tier of Reshiram with my spread was too funky to be reliable, even under Tailwind. Scary Face Grimmsnarl was able to hold this issue off for a while, but I knew that I had to make some changes.

In comes a person that made a massive difference in my teambuilding process. Stefan Mott, the winner of my first in-person event, was extremely helpful in helping me figure out all of these questions. He mentioned a Life Orb Reshiram set that he ran a while back with Sableye and I decided to go with it. I had also used a Sableye during the single Restricted meta, so I was easily able to test it in-game. This ended up being the massive assistance that I needed. I still got manual Sun support, but also access to Quash, Will-o-Wisp, and Shadow Sneak, along with an immunity to Fake Out. Shadow Sneak was massively useful to finish off Focus Sash Calyrex or Regieleki, but I ended up changing it out for Foul Play when I realized that it would nearly OHKO a Lunala with its Shadow Shield broken.

After this, I determined that Grimmsnarl just wasn’t that beneficial to me. I do have a lot of versatility, but I felt that opposing Whimsicott were able to set up too easily against it. This is where Prankster Thundurus comes in.

Prankster Thundurus absolutely was the hidden gem of this team. Priority Eerie Impulse and Taunt, speed control, and massive STAB damage against Kyogre even when not Dynamaxed was very helpful. Being able to neuter Follow Me Pokémon after one turn was massive (watch G2 of my top 8 round, here) so I was feeling good about it.

zacian-crownedreshiramincineroarvenusaur-gmaxsableyethundurus

The last adjustment I made from ladder play was between Incineroar and Therian Landorus. I was bouncing between these two for the better part of a month, and I eventually decided on Landorus. Being able to switch into a Precipice Blades and take no damage but also decrease the Attack stat was more important than Parting Shot support to this team’s issues with Ground types. I was also initially running Leer on Thundurus to lead both genies and sweep, but that became too inconsistent to bring to a Regional.

zacian-crownedreshiramlandorus-therianvenusaur-gmaxsableyethundurus

The Team

▶️ Get the team’s paste here!

Sableye @ Focus Sash
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 252 HP / 124 Def / 132 SpD
Careful Nature
IVs: 6 Atk / 1 Spe
– Quash
– Sunny Day
– Will-O-Wisp
– Foul Play

This Sableye was the MVP inside of Trick Room. It underspeeds every Lunala and Brave Ice Rider Calyrex that has 16+ IVs. 15 IVs is a tie.

Neutering opposing Groudon, Ice Rider Calyrex and Zacian with Will-o-Wisp was massive, as well as heavily hindering a Kyogre’s damage output with Sunny Day. This, paired with the insane utility of Quash and Foul Play, was exactly what this team needed.

Offensive calcs

lunala 0- Atk Sableye Foul Play vs. 212 HP / 116 Def Lunala: 208-252 (87 – 105.4%) — 31.3% chance to OHKO with Shadow Shield broken

calyrex-shadow-rider 0- Atk Sableye Foul Play vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Calyrex-Shadow: 204-244 (115.9 – 138.6%) — guaranteed OHKO

Defensive calcs

kyogre 252 SpA Mystic Water Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 132+ SpD Sableye in Sun: 67-81 (42.6 – 51.5%) — 6.3% chance to 2HKO

Zacian-Crowned @ Rusted Sword
Ability: Intrepid Sword
EVs: 132 HP / 252 Atk / 124 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Protect
– Brick Break
– Behemoth Blade
– Play Rough

So, fun fact, they gave the Pokémon with the best typing in the game and busted stats the move that removes screens. Why? Good question. But, I’ll take it. That move decision, Brick Break over Sacred Sword, saved me during Swiss a few times, as I was going to miss out on critical KOs if screens remained. Getting a Pokémon into KO range after Grimmsnarl dies (or Grimmsnarl itself) and using it is a promising surprise factor and can guarantee you at least one game.

It was my first time really playing with this EV spread, but I found it to be useful. It outsped much more than with 252 HP / 252 Atk and was able to still live a fair amount of hits. Considering the Rain was hardly up, a 50/50 on an OHKO from a Mystic Water Kyogre in the Rain was quite nice to take a risk on or pivot around.

Offensive calcs

Kyogre +1 252+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Play Rough vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Kyogre: 169-199 (96 – 113%) — 75% chance to OHKO

Defensive calcs

kyogre 252 SpA Mystic Water Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 132 HP / 4 SpD Zacian-Crowned in Rain: 169-199 (91.8 – 108.1%) — 50% chance to OHKO

groudon -1 252+ Atk Life Orb Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 132 HP / 0 Def Zacian-Crowned: 143-172 (77.7 – 93.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Speed calcs
  • Speed-ties with neutral Whimsicott.
  • Outspeeds all neutral 252+ Restricteds except Shadow Rider Calyrex, and also offensive Thundurus.

Reshiram @ Assault Vest
Ability: Turboblaze
EVs: 196 HP / 252 SpA / 60 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Blue Flare
– Draco Meteor
– Earth Power
– Ancient Power

Reshiram is incredible, especially with Assault Vest or Life Orb. I decided that the coverage is more important, alongside more bulk without Grimmsnarl’s consistent screens. Solar Beam was used earlier and considered, but eventually ditched. It was only better than STAB Max Flare against Kyogre, while the other moves were more valuable to more matchups.

Defensively, this thing is a tank. You can live a Max Geyser from a Life Orb Kyogre IN THE RAIN without even Dynamaxing. It’s great to just stall out turns of Dynamax if it gets desperate, not even including any potential Special Defense boosts from Max Quake or Eerie Impulse-induced Special Attack drops. Offensively, Reshiram is able to easily OHKO Gigantamax Charizard without Charti Berry with Ancient Power and 2HKO Incineroar with Max Quake regardless of if it has Shuca Berry or not.

Offensive calcs

groudon 252+ SpA Turboblaze Reshiram Max Flare vs. 252 HP / 128 SpD Groudon in Sun: 210-247 (101.4 – 119.3%) — guaranteed OHKO

charizard-gmax 252+ SpA Turboblaze Reshiram Max Rockfall vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Gigantamaxed Charizard-Gmax: 348-412 (113.7 – 134.6%) — guaranteed OHKO

incineroar 252+ SpA Turboblaze Reshiram Max Quake vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Incineroar: 142-168 (71 – 84%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Defensive calcs

kyogre

252+ SpA Life Orb Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 196 HP / 0 SpD Assault Vest Reshiram in Rain: 130-153 (65 – 76.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

252+ SpA Life Orb Kyogre Max Geyser vs. 196 HP / 0 SpD Assault Vest Reshiram in Rain: 175-207 (87.5 – 103.5%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO

252+ SpA Life Orb Kyogre Max Geyser vs. 196 HP / 0 SpD Assault Vest Dynamax Reshiram in Rain: 175-207 (43.7 – 51.7%) — 6.6% chance to 2HKO

Venusaur-Gmax @ Life Orb
Ability: Chlorophyll
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Earth Power
– Weather Ball
– Energy Ball
– Protect

I know, a Venusaur without Sleep Powder? Well, coming from the guy that missed 16 Meteor Beams with Dawn Wings Necrozma on ladder, I didn’t want to risk it. Having both Weather Ball and Earth Power was massively useful in and out of Gigantamax.

If you can read the switch against Kyogre, you can get a free OHKO on it with G-Max Vine Lash unless it is Assault Vest. Two Max Quakes will KO an Incineroar even after a Shuca Berry proc.

Offensive calcs

groudon 252 SpA Life Orb Venusaur-Gmax G-Max Vine Lash vs. 236 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Groudon: 174-211 (84.8 – 102.9%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO

kyogre 252 SpA Life Orb Venusaur-Gmax G-Max Vine Lash vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Assault Vest Kyogre: 125-148 (71 – 84%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Vine Lash damage

incineroar 252 SpA Life Orb Venusaur-Gmax Max Quake vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Incineroar: 127-151 (63.5 – 75.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Defensive calcs

groudon 252+ Atk Life Orb Groudon Max Quake vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Gigantamaxed Venusaur-Gmax: 220-261 (70.5 – 83.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO

kyogre 252 SpA Life Orb Kyogre Max Hailstorm vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Gigantamaxed Venusaur-Gmax: 216-255 (69.2 – 81.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Landorus-Therian (M) @ White Herb
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Earthquake
– Rock Slide
– Protect
– Fly

I didn’t expect White Herb to be as useful as it was. Having so much power in a Pokémon with an excellent typing, good Ability and solid coverage is very useful. I would still call it a toss-up between Therian Landorus and Incineroar on other teams, but for this team it did exactly what I wanted it to!

Against Reshiram, Landorus does massive damage, but it takes 80% back as well. In Dynamax however, you do get the Special Defense boost to assist with that. With the weaknesses against Groudon on my team as well, it was much appreciated to know that even a Life Orb Groudon at neutral cannot OHKO Landorus back.

Offensive calcs

incineroar

252 Atk Landorus-Therian Max Quake vs. 236 HP / 28 Def Incineroar: 254-300 (127 – 150%) — guaranteed OHKO

252 Atk Landorus-Therian Earthquake vs. 236 HP / 28 Def Incineroar: 146-174 (73 – 87%) — guaranteed 2HKO

reshiram 252 Atk Landorus-Therian Max Quake vs. 68 HP / 4 Def Dynamax Reshiram: 240-284 (65.2 – 77.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Defensive calcs

groudon 252+ Atk Life Orb Groudon Stone Edge vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Landorus-Therian: 99-117 (60 – 70.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Thundurus (M) @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Taunt
– Eerie Impulse
– Electroweb
– Thunderbolt

Time to talk about the legend itself, support Thundurus. This thing is a menace with this set. Investing in Speed allows for Thundurus to outspeed Shadow Rider Calyrex after one Electroweb and let my Zacian spread speed tie opposing Regieleki. In hindsight, I should have run Volt Switch instead of Thunderbolt to allow for better pivoting and taking advantage of the high speed, so I would recommend that in the future. The only unfortunate part is that Thundurus is just slightly slower than Whimsicott and thus can’t get a Taunt before its first turn, but it’s still normally straightforward to deal with.

Another unfortunate part is how present Dark-type support is in this meta, so it may honestly be better to run Taunt on a non-Prankster Pokémon (see: Incineroar) and opt for a triple Electric-type moveset with Electroweb, Thunderbolt and Volt Switch, Thunder Wave for speed control, or Foul Play to hit Groudon and Therian Landorus. Thundurus is the one Pokémon on this team that was hard to determine a consistent moveset for just because of the “4-move syndrome”.

Offensive calcs

kyogre 0 SpA Thundurus Thunderbolt vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Kyogre: 92-110 (52.2 – 62.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Yveltal 0 SpA Thundurus Thunderbolt vs. 236 HP / 12 SpD Assault Vest Yveltal: 84-98 (36.3 – 42.4%) — guaranteed 3HKO

Defensive calcs

kyogre -2 252 SpA Mystic Water Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Thundurus in Rain: 115-136 (61.8 – 73.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO

calyrex-shadow-rider

252 SpA Life Orb Calyrex-Shadow Astral Barrage vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Thundurus: 142-169 (76.3 – 90.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO

252 SpA Choice Specs Calyrex-Shadow Astral Barrage vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Thundurus: 165-195 (88.7 – 104.8%) — 31.3% chance to OHKO

Gameplans

PokémonComments
zacian-crownedgroudon
Leading Sableye is massively useful. Groudon or Zacian leads get immediately Will-o-Wisp or Quash pressured and Charizard leads get hit with a massive Max Rockfall. Thundurus doesn’t do too much here, and Zacian likely gets left behind just to have Landorus and Venusaur to Intimidate cycle and abuse the Sun.
lunalagroudon
I saw this core in four separate Swiss matches, so I got very comfortable with this matchup. Sableye + Reshiram for game 1, Thundurus + Reshiram or Thundurus + Venusaur for game 2. Leading Sableye + Reshiram allows you to essentially OHKO Lunala without the ability for it to set up Trick Room via either Earth Power + Foul Play or targeting its partner with a Protect read and KOing it next turn. Thundurus does a similar thing in which it just Taunts it down and makes it much more manageable from there. Many of these teams do have Venusaur or Charizard, and playing anti-sleep is easier with a Safety Goggles support Pokémon and a Grass type immune to those powder moves.
zacian-crownedkyogre
This one is a pretty common matchup that may look difficult on paper. However, running Sableye and Thundurus in the back is very useful. A fairly simple Sableye + Reshiram or Thundurus + Reshiram lead will do the trick as you can normally Quash one and target the other with a Max Flare to play anti-Rain. Then, it’s a matter of having the right support Pokémon out against the right opposing mon.
zacian-crownedcalyrex-shadow-rider
The hyperoffense pair of my dreams. Shadow Rider Calyrex was a bit of a difficult Restricted for this team to handle because of the lack of a resisted switch-in, but bringing Thundurus with Eerie Impulse spam or just overpowering it with Foul Play + Dynamax Reshiram or Gigantamax Venusaur was a good play for most Pokemon.
zacian-crownedyveltal
This pair is also quite nice for me to handle. I essentially went into these matchups thinking that, if I can handle all the support Pokémon and stop Yveltal from getting more than one Speed boost, I can win. Combining Max Quake boosts with residual G-Max Vine Lash chip was always appreciated as long as I can read the Yveltal switches.
calyrex-shadow-riderkyogre
I had a fair answer for this core actually. Similar to above, as long as I can work the support Pokémon down (as long as they’re not a Clefairy) I can target the Calyrex freely with Sableye and Eerie Impulse spam both Restricteds. Leading Sableye + Reshiram covers any opposing Fake Out and allows you to target Calyrex early, however Thundurus + Reshiram or Sableye + Venusaur would both be good to play anti-redirection (with exception to Indeedee) and get residual G-Max Vine Lash damage regardless of redirection. Unfortunately, being threatened by Expanding Force Shadow Rider Calyrex made it so I was less willing to lead Venusaur, even in the Sun, because Venusaur does not OHKO Calyrex back. Even with a Max Quake boost, it normally isn’t ideal to Dynamax in front of a Calyrex because of its sheer damage output and negating a lot of the impact of your Dynamax unless positioned properly.
calyrex-shadow-ridergroudon
Interestingly enough, this core was drastically easier for me to deal with. Because of the versatility I have against Groudon, I can fairly simply pivot around to shut down both Restricteds with support Pokémon while my Dynamax candidate is able to take down the opponent’s support. This is another matchup where I would lead Sableye or Thundurus + Reshiram or Venusaur and have Zacian and Thundurus or Landorus in the back. Cycle Landorus or burn Groudon until it’s doing minimal damage and you can effectively ignore it and focus its partner.
calyrex-ice-riderpalkia

or

calyrex-ice-riderreshiram
As you could expect, my team has a very positive matchup against teams with these cores. Both of my Prankster Pokémon do well here, mainly Sableye because Quash is extremely useful in Trick Room. Because of this, I felt it is better to save Sableye’s pressure for late-game and lead Thundurus + Reshiram. This also allows me to Taunt the Trick Room setter before they can even get it off and Reshiram can just decimate both of these pairs. Because Reshiram and Palkia are special attackers and Ice Rider Calyrex doesn’t have super effective STAB moves, you can normally out-muscle and out-tank the opponents and win with that.

Tournament run

Considering this was my second ever event, and my first one was abysmal, I didn’t know what to expect. However, I ended up using all of my 6 Pokémon a fair amount! Prior to the start, I was nervous that Venusaur or Landorus would become dead weight since Reshiram and Sableye tended to take over their roles, however I found that I was given a lot more flexibility, surprise leads, and overall effectiveness because of this apparent overlap.

Something that made me very proud was that, in every single loss that I had, I pushed a game 3. I was never in a position where I got absolutely outplayed and was not able to recover; I just made minor mistakes in every set that my opponents did a good job of taking advantage of to get the win!

This was my run at Milwaukee Regionals!

Swiss rounds

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
R1WIND
Raghav Malaviya
(love)
zacian-crownedkyogreincineroarvenusaurwhimsicottthundurus
R2WHKG
Hayden Sheung

(Hayden)
lunalagroudonincineroarvenusaurcharizardregieleki
R3LUSA
Calvin Nisson
(Gazoney)
lunalagroudonincineroarvenusaurgrimmsnarlthundurus
R4WUSA
Brian Jens

(Brian)
zacian-crownedkyogreincineroarrillaboomgrimmsnarlzapdos
R5WCAN
Ale Piscitelli
(Alessio)
lunalagroudonincineroaramoongussgrimmsnarlcharizard
R6WUSA
Jacob Tang

(Doopliss)
lunalagroudonincineroarvenusaurgrimmsnarlcharizard
R7LCHN
Peng Chongjun
(Nocturne)
zacian-crownedgroudonincineroargastrodongrimmsnarlcharizard
R8WUSA
Marc Metcalf

(Marc)
zacian-crowneddialgaurshifurillaboomsableyeregieleki

Top cut

I didn’t have an MVP because unfortunately my top cut run was quite short, but I felt that Reshiram was the defining figure of this team. If I opted for a different Restricted like Groudon, Shadow Rider Calyrex, Kyogre, Yveltal or Palkia I wouldn’t have been able to pivot this team because of how well the team was focused on Reshiram and supporting it rather than the weaknesses of the other Restricteds.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
Top 8LWLUSA
Nathaniel Sitler
(Nathan)
calyrex-shadow-riderkyogrecharizardclefairywhimsicottregieleki
Match summary
My top cut match against Nathaniel was incredible. The first time on stage was incredibly nerve-wracking and he just made better moves under pressure. Regardless, I was incredibly satisfied finishing top 8 considering my previous tournament was a 2-7, 223rd-out-of-260 finish.

You can watch the entire match on Twitch using this link!

Conclusion

This team was really fun to use. Double Prankster, especially with an underused Pokémon and a Pokémon used much more aggressively in this meta. After finishing up my top cut match, people had a lot of questions for me. Not just about my team, but about my play style during the match and making poor reads and decisions during the match. I don’t disagree for the most part, but try to think about it from my shoes. It’s my first time EVER being in such a high-stakes position, the static in your eyes is loud, and being on a stage when you already have anxiety is next-level impairing. But you live and you learn.

I have to thank my incredible friends, Stefan Mott, Jay Masters, Oliver Eskolin, and Chris F. for helping me teambuild and specifically to Stefan for the incredible idea of bringing a Sableye. I will be making a video on my YouTube channel soon explaining my thought process behind my top cut moves soon, so if you want to look out for that, you can find it here.

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