Hey everyone! I’m Pan Si Ming, and I have been playing Pokémon since the fourth grade and the age of ten. My first game was the Pokémon Sapphire Version, that’s why I use Sapphire (蓝宝石) as my nickname.
This is the report of the team I used at the Hong Kong National Championships and the 2022 World Championships. I also used this team to get 9th in Season 28 (March) and 7th in Season 33 (August) of Ranked Battles ladders. It’s also my first team report!
Hong Kong Nationals was the first live tournament I took part in and my only chance to go to Worlds. I had been preparing for this since February’s International Challenge. At that time, I didn’t know that Hong Kong would hold an event, so I even thought of going to the United States to participate at Regional Championships to earn CPs in order to qualify for Worlds, and consulted Peng Chongjun for this. It has been my dream for many years to go to Worlds. I train very hard, playing 500 or more games per month. I knew that I only had one chance.
By the way, before I became a competitive VGC player, I focused on collecting Event Pokémon since 2015. Even though I wasn’t living in Japan or the United States, I could still get the codes through my friends who live there. But I had no way to get the local Wi-Fi Event Pokémon, such as Giovanni’s Nidoking. I had go to the Pokémon Center in Japan, which was impossible. Although someone told me that they could get me the Pokémon there and then trade it to me, I was asked to pay a little for this, and I declined. I’m so glad to see there are no Wi-Fi Pokémon Center Event Pokémon in this generation anymore!
Table of Contents
Back in Series 11, I used this team. At the time, I had already been using Assault Vest Kyogre, so I’m super comfortable with this kind of set. With it, there’s only one concern and is not being able to use Protect, so Rillaboom counters Kyogre really hard. Many people asked me what Volcarona could do; the answer is simple: Volcarona is 4 times resistant to Grass, and many players use Rillaboom to counter Kyogre, especially the Zacian teams, so, in the end game, Volcarona can easily beat Zacian + Rillaboom. By the way, some teams use Gastrodon instead of Rillaboom to counter Kyogre, and although Volcarona cannot do much damage to Gastrodon, the Leftovers + Quiver Dance set I used can beat it in the late game.
In Series 12, there were too many Zacian + Kyogre teams, so Volcarona was not that good anymore. Back in Series 11, most Zacian teams didn’t even have a single Pokémon that could deal with Volcarona, but now Kyogre could easily 1HKO Volcarona, so it was a hard pick. My next step was finding another Pokémon that could easily deal with Rillaboom and Gastrodon, and also not be afraid of Zacian and Kyogre. The answer was Celesteela.
This is the team I used in Season 28 (March):
The idea of this team is really simple: Zacian is the most powerful Pokémon in my mind and it only has two weaknesses (Fire and Ground), so I picked Kyogre to deal with Fire and 4 Flying-type Pokémon to avoid Ground. Water Spout is the most powerful move in the whole game, and I wanted to use the Tailwind + Water Spout combo, so I picked Tornadus. Kyogre is weak to Electric-type attacks, so I picked Landorus. And, finally, Celesteela to cover for the Grass weakness.
I’ve finished in 7th place in Season 33 (August) Ranked Battles, with a record of 160 wins and 90 losses!
Kyogre @ Assault Vest
EVs: 92 HP / 4 Def / 156 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Water Spout
– Origin Pulse
– Ice Beam
My Kyogre is very deceptive when most people face this team for the first time. They will expect a Mystic Water Kyogre set, because this team looks like a high-speed Tailwind team. When they understand that my Kyogre is Assult Vest, they would assume it is a low-speed Kyogre as usual.
I’m pretty sure I was the first one to use Tailwind + Assault Vest Kyogre in the ladder, back in Series 11. The reason why my Kyogre has a Speed stat of 142 is because, with that, it outspeeds most other Kyogre in the ladder, and I think this is important. Some people think that Kyogre with lower speed are better, and in some cases I agree; not in this team, though. Back in Series 11, my Kyogre had a Speed stat of 112, which means that under Tailwind it just runs 224 and +1 Speed Thundurus can easily outspeed my Kyogre, so it is hard to use. My Kyogre had a Speed stat of 139 and 190 HP at the beginning of Series 12 but after 500+ games I changed its speed to 142 and its HP to 187, since I’m pretty sure 187 HP Kyogre can withstand a Play Rough from Zacian.
Zacian-Crowned @ Rusted Sword
Ability: Intrepid Sword
EVs: 164 HP / 236 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 100 Spe
– Behemoth Blade
– Play Rough
– Sacred Sword
Zacian was 197 HP at Hong Kong Nationals and its Speed was lower than max Speed Thundurus because my team had so many speed control options that the opponent’s Pokémon’s Speed was not a big issue. But I imagined a situation in which every Thundurus would use Max Airstream to outspeed Zacian in turn 1, so if my opponent already knew my Zacian was slower, their Thundurus would use Max Lightning into my Zacian instead of Max Airstream, and that was too much damage for me. I figured it out before Hong Kong Nationals but I was very comfortable with 197 HP Zacian so I still brought it to the tournament.
I saw Thundurus usage rising, so I changed my Zacian’s speed after that tournament and for Worlds.
Landorus-Therian (M) @ Life Orb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Rock Slide
There’s not much to say about this Landorus, it is pretty standard. I saw many Landorus sacrifice Speed to be more bulky, but allowing Timid Kyogre to move faster than Landorus, which is unacceptable for me. Also, a Landorus with a Speed stat of 157 under Tailwind is faster than most +1 Speed Zacian, which is super important.
My Landorus comes from Pokémon Dream Radar!
Thundurus (M) @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 156 Def / 100 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk
– Thunder Wave
– Eerie Impulse
– Scary Face
My Thundurus is very deceptive, as most people facing this team for the first time would expect it to be Defiant, because this team already has Tornadus… But it’s Prankster!
My Thundurus had Thunder in Season 28. I also tried using Protect, but the fact is that the move I used the least was Thunder, so I nearly never worried about its accuracy. Back in Season 28, I once tried using self-Thunder Wave on my Zacian under Trick Room vs Jiseok Lee (MeLuCa) in ladder, and my Zacian getting full paralyzed made me lose that game which I was supposed to win, so I decided to change Thunder for Scary Face.
The point is, when you have the time to click Thunder instead of Eerie Impulse and Thunder Wave, in most cases, that means you are winning. You won’t normally lose the game because you don’t have Thunder or Thunderbolt.
I’m pretty sure 186 HP Thundurus can withstand Play Rough from Zacian.
Tornadus (M) @ Focus Sash
EVs: 76 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 172 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Scary Face
Most Tornadus have Icy Wind, and I agree Icy Wind was a good move in previous formats, but right now there is a Pokémon called Regieleki. If Regieleki is holding a Focus Sash, you use Tailwind turn 1 and then Regieleki uses Electroweb, and it’s so hard to use Icy Wind to control Regielek’s speed; but Scary Face is better thanks to Prankster priority, and most players will not expect Tornadus to have Scary Face.
As my Tornadus does not have Icy Wind, I don’t need too much speed, but a Speed stat of 168 is important so I can still use Tailwind when facing Regigigas. If the speed is lower than that, Regigigas will use Max Strike first and then the Taunt from Weezing will make the game so hard to play. 164 HP Tornadus can survive most Blastoise’s Max Hailstorm and -1 Attack Groudon’s Max Rockfall.
Back in Hong Kong Nationals, my Zacian had a Speed stat of 169 and 197 HP, 1 point faster than my Tornadus. Most players, when they see my Zacian moving faster than Tornadus, they might think my Zacian’s speed is at least 180, because nearly every Tornadus has a Speed stat of 179. If their Zacian is also a low-Speed Zacian, they might be afraid of the speed tie, which could get me into a favourable position.
Thundurus is better than Tornadus in most cases, but it really depends on the opponent’s team. For example, against an Indeedee team, there’s no way you can pick Thundurus, and Tailwind + Water Spout is really powerful!
Celesteela @ Leftovers
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 244 HP / 172 Def / 92 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk
– Leech Seed
– Wide Guard
For Celesteela‘s Beast Boost, I found boosting Special Defense very satisfying and better than physical Defense because of the high usage of Sacred Sword allowing my opponents to ignore the Defense boosts. I think Wide Guard is super important; Substitute is good but I think Wide Guard is just better.
I was the only player to use Celesteela in the ladder, and then, when I became Hong Kong National Champion, Si Dawei (Sunoru) watched the finals and brought Celesteela to NAIC, and then Yoichiro Kurogi (Akaza) saw Sunoru’s team report, changed Thundurus to Regieleki and reached 3rd place in the ladder in Season 32 (July), which made me worry about my opponents knowing how to deal with Celesteela at Worlds.
Hong Kong Nationals
You can watch a couple of matches from the Hong Kong Nationals!
Tsui On Hang
Ma Chun Yeung
2022 World Championships
Although I didn’t make it to the top cut in the World Championships, I’m glad to see Meaghan Rattle use Sunoru’s version to get to Top 8 at Worlds. The key to use this team is, just don’t rely on Thundurus. Thundurus was strong, but it is not omnipotent and very easily to be targeted.
This team is somewhat flexible and any combination can be tried as a lead, since it has a well-defensive structure.
My Season 33 (August) Ranked Battles rank settled at 7th, the end of my Series 12. I got six top 30 ranks in the seven months of Series 12 ladder (21st in February, 9th in March, 30th in April, 26th in May, 18th in June and 7th in August).
The only moment I didn’t reach top 30 was in July, when I purposefully didn’t do many Ranked Battles to avoid exposing my team ahead of the World Championships. In addition, I won Hong Kong Nationals and went 4-3 in Worlds Day 2, which wasn’t a bad result for my rookie year in VGC, but I really prepared hard for it and I was confident I could go further. The two games I lost were against the teams I expected to be the toughest match-ups before the tournament. I expected to face one if I was unlucky, but I actually faced two, and the third match I lost was to EUIC Champion Eric Rios.
All teams from Day 2 are now posted online. In fact, there aren’t many of these types of teams that I have the hardest time dealing with, lol! I hope I can get stronger when I come back next year.
Thank you all for reading until the end, and wish you all a wonderful day!