Sunshine on a Rainy Day! — Team Report from the 2022 World Cup MVP

Hey everyone! My name is Navjit Joshi, I go by NJ11 online and I began playing VGC in the middle of the 2020 season. Most people know me for my collaborative work with other players concerning tournament prep and teambuilding but some of my accomplishments include multiple top cuts in grassroots events (VR January S12 Challenge, X9 League, Terurun, etc…), strong finishes and active participation in team tournaments like NPA and the World Cup (NPA 10 Champion with the New Bark Loud Puppies and 2022 World Cup runner-up with Team Canada), and a top 16 finish in the North American Players Cup III Regional Qualifier.

Table of Contents

Teambuilding process

Figuring out the concept

While many people might initially think this double-weather team is just a revamped version of the six I ran back in Series 8, the building process for this team was far more complicated than you’d expect.

kyogrevenusaur-gmaxtorkoalmetagrossgrimmsnarltornadus

At the start of the format back in January, I tried a version of this team and concluded that it wasn’t as strong because how the team functioned and succeeded in Series 8 did not feel replicable in Series 12. Back in Series 8 due to the nature of the single-Restricted format, Venusaur was far more integral to holding the team together and creating room for Kyogre and Life Orb Tornadus to get into optimal positions and win.

Grimmsnarl + Torkoal + Venusaur also just lived longer as a result of the reduced power in a single-Restricted format, so the jump to two Restricted Pokémon meant that for this archetype to find any success it needed to be reworked. Even as Víctor Medina (Torviv) succeeded with his version at EUIC, I wasn’t completely sold on Life Orb Tornadus and how awkward it looked and felt to position, especially because you wanted to be Gigantamaxing Venusaur in most situations anyway. While his run was amazing, in the long term some of those item choices and gameplans felt as though they’d be easy to exploit and wouldn’t keep up with how certain Sun and Swordfish (Zacian + Kyogre) teams were progressing. Moreover, after watching Víctor’s top 4 set, I felt that Venusaur’s inability to break his opponent’s first line of Pokémon meant that the overall impact of Venusaur wasn’t as great as it could be. So again I chalked it up to being a good tournament call and didn’t pick up the team.

As May approached, I was starting my preparation for Vancouver Regionals.

Zacian-CrownedCalyrex-Shadow-RiderLandorus-TherianBlastoise-GmaxTornadusRegieleki

I began testing these 6 after seeing Rob McNeilly pilot the six to some success at Secaucus Regionals. While initial results in practice were promising, the spike in Ice Rider Calyrex + Palkia/Reshiram teams made playing the team harder. This was mainly because, to make the match-up better into Trick Room and Amoonguss, I was relying on subpar sets that sacrificed the overall offensive-minded game plans of the team. As I knew there were going to be many strong players using that style of Trick Room team, I didn’t want to lock this team without having a strong game plan into it.

A week before the event, I reached out to Sejun Park as he was coming off of a strong result using an Ice Rider Calyrex + Reshiram team in Korea’s Trainers Cup. As he helped me work through the sets, one thing he noted was that the team was trying to do too much and certain things just wouldn’t click because the Pokémon on the team weren’t flexible enough. Simply put, the team was too linear, and attempting to combine 3 Pokémon like Blastoise, Regieleki, and Therian Landorus would often result in awkward pairings where it was difficult to choose what should Dynamax to support Calyrex and Zacian effectively. It felt incomplete. Sejun also mentioned that, while the offensive options seemed strong on paper, the team wasn’t able to effectively combine type synergy with role compression, and, in execution, the team fell flat against a couple of key match-ups. Ultimately I ended up locking a haphazard Sun team last minute as the incomplete nature of what I was working on put me off from running it. I went on to have a subpar run at Vancouver going 4-3. However, I carried Sejun’s advice and continued to explore the team in the weeks following the Regional.

Final teambuilding process

As I renewed my focus around building Zacian + Tornadus + damage over time (DOT), I sorted through similar builds or concepts. Ultimately, I ruled out Coalossal and Blastoise, as those two in particular require their specific support to do any meaningful damage and didn’t fit into my vision for the team. Next up was Charizard, and while it is undoubtedly the strongest and most oppressive out of the 4 DOT setters, I did not want to use Groudon as my secondary Restricted Pokémon. As such, the linear nature of Charizard’s moveset and the resources it used up in support also forced me to drop it from consideration. So again I found myself coming back to Venusaur.

Zacian-CrownedVenusaur-gmaxTornadus

I was not too happy at first primarily, since Venusaur wasn’t particularly bulky or strong enough, and using an item like Coba Berry or Focus Sash didn’t seem like it added enough qualities to support the role I needed it to play offensively. So I figured trying Life Orb Venusaur was worth a shot to maximize the damage output required to break teams down more effectively at the cost of a little defensive utility. After that, I turned to the Shadow Rider Calyrex slot and decided that it would probably be ideal to compress the roles of both Calyrex and Blastoise into Kyogre. I would keep the Water typing and bulk I needed without losing the offence and spread move I wanted.

Zacian-CrownedKyogrevenusaur-gmaxTornadus

The next step was settling on the Tornadus. I went with the Focus Sash + double speed control variant as this set was better for switching in on attacks as well as long-term survivability. Series 12 places a heavy emphasis on speed control and having a consistent option that can live long enough and potentially apply Tailwind twice in a battle was extremely strong when flanked by hard hitters. As the core four was already complete at this point, I wanted to find two more slots that could either provide support for Zacian + Kyogre + Venusaur or go the route of adding an alternate Dynamax mode. I wasn’t too keen on adding Torkoal as I felt there could be more consistent options, but as I tested the last two slots, Torkoal kept coming up due to its versatility in weather control, being a Trick Room check with Yawn, and most importantly pressuring Thundurus and Zacian with Burning Jealousy.

Zacian-CrownedKyogretorkoalvenusaur-gmaxTornadus

Even as I tried other options like Incineroar, Regieleki, etc… Torkoal just covered too many roles in addition to completing the Fire + Water + Grass core, so I incorporated it as the 5th slot. I was very happy with these 5 and decided to add Incineroar to the team as a consistent stop gap so I could trial the team in Terurun Challenge #13:

Zacian-CrownedKyogreincineroarVenusaur-gmaxTorkoaltornadus

Overall the tournament was a huge success, all of the changes I incorporated made the team feel like it hit an additional gear. Focus Sash Tornadus and Life Orb Venusaur in particular added a whole new dimension as compared to Life Orb Tornadus and Coba Berry Venusaur. Moreover opting for 164 Attack EVs Adamant Zacian and 236 Special Attack EVs Modest Kyogre meant the Restricted pair was hitting insanely hard. I finished in the Top 16 but I came away feeling that, with the more offensive nature of the build, I wasn’t utilizing Incineroar as much, especially after losing to Pokémon like Life Orb Zekrom and physical Regieleki on opposing hyper-offence teams that also used Kyogre. After Terurun I dropped Incineroar and began to search for a replacement. It didn’t take long for me to settle on Therian Landorus because it covered the roles of being an alternative Dynamax candidate, bulky Ground type, providing damage mitigation, and also keeping the pivoting with U-turn. Finally, after an exhaustive search, the team was complete, the process that took over two months of work.

Zacian-CrownedKyogrelandorus-therianVenusaur-gmaxTorkoaltornadus

The team

▶️ Get the team’s paste here!

コータス (Torkoal) (M) @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Drought
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 12 Def / 252 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Burning Jealousy
– Body Press
– Yawn
– Protect

Torkoal was the primary defensive utility slot of this team. Torkoal provided secondary weather control with Drought and a way for Life Orb Venusaur to acquire more speed and coverage options.

Sitrus Berry equipped Torkoal to survive double-ups as well as providing added health in a pinch. When combined with the EVs on this set, Sitrus Berry maximized the overall bulk and capacity for Torkoal to perform its role. Moreover, the combination of physical and special bulk was great as it made Torkoal a mixed defensive check while ensuring that Body Press could provide some consistent damage into Pokémon like Incineroar, Porygon2, Dialga, and White Kyurem. Lastly, Yawn and Burning Jealousy rounded out the set as they were a unique and highly effective combo of moves that slowed down Trick Room, Zacian + Thundurus, and Dialga offence, matchups that were otherwise difficult to tackle head-on.

Defensive calcs

dialga 252+ SpA Life Orb Dialga Max Quake (130 BP) vs. +1 244 HP / 252 SpD Torkoal: 156-185 (88.6 – 105.1%) — 31.3% chance to OHKO

palkia

252 SpA Life Orb Palkia Max Quake (130 BP) vs. +1 244 HP / 252 SpD Torkoal: 143-169 (81.2 – 96%) — guaranteed 2HKO

252 SpA Life Orb Palkia Max Geyser (140 BP) vs. +1 244 HP / 252 SpD Torkoal in Sun: 109-133 (61.9 – 75.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

kyogre 252+ SpA Mystic Water Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 244 HP / 252 SpD Torkoal in Sun: 134-162 (76.1 – 92%) — guaranteed 2HKO

thundurus 252 Atk Life Orb Thundurus Max Airstream (130 BP) vs. 244 HP / 12+ Def Torkoal: 90-107 (51.1 – 60.7%) — guaranteed 3HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery

zacian-crowned +1 252+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Sacred Sword vs. 244 HP / 12+ Def Torkoal: 70-83 (39.7 – 47.1%) — 92% chance to 3HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery

rillaboom 252+ Atk Rillaboom High Horsepower vs. 244 HP / 12+ Def Torkoal: 78-94 (44.3 – 53.4%) — 98.5% chance to 3HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery and Sitrus Berry recovery

ランドさま (Landorus-Therian) @ Assault Vest
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 212 HP / 116 Atk / 68 Def / 44 SpD / 68 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Rock Slide
– Earthquake
– Fly
– U-turn

Assault Vest Therian Landorus is an amazing blanket check into several common Pokémon. It has the defensive versatility and typing to switch in on important attacks like Max Quake and Max Lightening.

The EVs on this set give Landorus enough bulk to take important special attacks while also being able to withstand Zacian for a turn if needed. The Speed is to outpace Thundurus at +1 and the offensive investment is there to deal damage into threats like Dialga and to pick up a clean KO on Zacian. Moreover, it doubles as another Dynamax threat that allows you to drop the Sun mode of the team when needed and go with a combination of Tornadus, Landorus, Zacian and Kyogre. It adds a layer to the team and also forces opponents to think more at team preview as a switch up with Landorus can punish teams overcompensating for Venusaur.

Offensive calcs

dialga 116+ Atk Landorus-Therian Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Dynamax Dialga: 206-246 (49.7 – 59.4%) — 99.6% chance to 2HKO

zacian-crowned 116+ Atk Landorus-Therian Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Zacian-Crowned: 216-254 (108.5 – 127.6%) — guaranteed OHKO

Defensive calcs

kyogre

252+ SpA Mystic Water Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 212 HP / 44 SpD Assault Vest Dynamax Landorus-T in Rain: 320-378 (83.7 – 98.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO

252+ SpA Kyogre Ice Beam vs. 212 HP / 44 SpD Assault Vest Dynamax Landorus-T: 192-228 (50.2 – 59.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO

252+ SpA Mystic Water Kyogre Max Geyser (150 BP) vs. +1 212 HP / 44 SpD Assault Vest Dynamax Landorus-T in Rain: 284-336 (74.3 – 87.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO

252+ SpA Kyogre Max Hailstorm (130 BP) vs. +1 212 HP / 44 SpD Assault Vest Dynamax Landorus-T: 184-220 (48.1 – 57.5%) — 91% chance to 2HKO

zacian-crowned

+1 252+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 212 HP / 68 Def Dynamax Landorus-T: 348-410 (91 – 107.3%) — 43.8% chance to OHKO

(Neutral Atk) 252+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 212 HP / 68 Def Dynamax Landorus-T: 234-276 (61.2 – 72.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO

calyrex-shadow-rider

252 SpA Choice Specs Calyrex-Shadow Rider Astral Barrage vs. 212 HP / 44 SpD Assault Vest Dynamax Landorus-T: 103-123 (26.9 – 32.1%) — guaranteed 4HKO

252 SpA Life Orb Calyrex-Shadow Rider Max Phantasm (140 BP) vs. 212 HP / 44 SpD Assault Vest Dynamax Landorus-T: 142-168 (37.1 – 43.9%) — guaranteed 3HKO

palkia

252+ SpA Life Orb Palkia Max Geyser (140 BP) vs. 212 HP / 44 SpD Assault Vest Dynamax Landorus-T: 289-343 (75.6 – 89.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO

252+ SpA Life Orb Palkia Max Wyrmwind (130 BP) vs. 212 HP / 44 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 133-157 (69.6 – 82.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO (vs non-Dynamaxed Landorus)

charizard-gmax

252 SpA Life Orb Charizard G-Max Wildfire (150 BP) vs. 212 HP / 44 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 110-133 (57.5 – 69.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO (vs non-Dynamaxed Landorus in clear weather)

252 SpA Life Orb Solar Power Charizard G-Max Wildfire (150 BP) vs. 212 HP / 44 SpD Assault Vest Dynamax Landorus-T in Sun: 253-298 (66.2 – 78%) — guaranteed 2HKO

eternatus 252 SpA Life Orb Eternatus Dynamax Cannon vs. 212 HP / 44 SpD Assault Vest Dynamax Landorus-T: 182-218 (47.6 – 57%) — 87.9% chance to 2HKO

dialga 252+ SpA Life Orb Dialga Max Hailstorm (140 BP) vs. +1 212 HP / 44 SpD Assault Vest Dynamax Landorus-T: 260-307 (68 – 80.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO

thundurus +1 252 Atk Life Orb Thundurus Max Airstream (130 BP) vs. 212 HP / 68 Def Dynamax Landorus-T: 200-238 (52.3 – 62.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO

カイオーガ (Kyogre) @ Wave Incense
Ability: Drizzle
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 28 HP / 12 Def / 236 SpA / 4 SpD / 228 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Protect
– Ice Beam
– Origin Pulse
– Water Spout

Kyogre was one of the team’s Restricted slots and served as a versatile attacking option that could break teams down with strong spread moves or the occasional Dynamax if needed.

Boosted by the Wave Incense item, Kyogre’s Water-type moves hit extremely hard. Even resisted hits provided significant chip damage to non-Dynamaxed targets. I elected to use Modest Kyogre as I wanted the most damage possible. This, in conjunction with the 180 Base Power of Water Spout and Max Geyser based off of Water Spout gave Kyogre the option to pressure both opposing slots or fire off concentrated bursts of damage that overwhelmed opponents that weren’t ready to respond to it on time. Ultimately this ended up being the best possible set for this team as compared to other variants like Assault Vest or Life Orb, that came with limitations that threatened to reduce Kyogre’s adjustability across game plans.

Offensive calcs

zacian-crowned 236+ SpA Wave Incense Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 156 HP / 12 SpD Zacian-Crowned in Rain: 184-217 (98.3 – 116%) — 87.5% chance to OHKO

zapdos 236+ SpA Wave Incense Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Dynamax Zapdos in Rain: 229-270 (68.9 – 81.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO

thundurus 236+ SpA Wave Incense Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Dynamax Thundurus in Rain: 252-297 (81.2 – 95.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO

lunala

236+ SpA Wave Incense Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Shadow Shield Lunala in Rain: 99-117 (46.4 – 54.9%) — 62.1% chance to 2HKO

236+ SpA Wave Incense Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Lunala in Rain: 198-234 (92.9 – 109.8%) — 56.3% chance to OHKO (with no Shadow Shield)

groudon

236+ SpA Wave Incense Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 60 SpD Assault Vest Groudon in Sun: 92-110 (44.4 – 53.1%) — 22.7% chance to 2HKO

236+ SpA Wave Incense Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 60 SpD Assault Vest Groudon: 188-224 (90.8 – 108.2%) — 43.8% chance to OHKO (in clear weather)

yveltal 236+ SpA Wave Incense Kyogre Max Geyser (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Dynamax Yveltal: 189-223 (46.7 – 55.1%) — 69.5% chance to 2HKO

calyrex-ice-rider 236+ SpA Wave Incense Kyogre Max Geyser (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Calyrex-Ice Rider in Rain: 222-262 (107.2 – 126.5%) — guaranteed OHKO

Defensive calcs

rillaboom -1 252+ Atk Rillaboom Grassy Glide vs. 28 HP / 12 Def Kyogre in Grassy Terrain: 120-144 (67 – 80.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery

zacian-crowned 252+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Play Rough vs. 28 HP / 12 Def Kyogre: 111-132 (62 – 73.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO

calyrex-ice-rider -1 252+ Atk Calyrex-Ice Rider Max Overgrowth (130 BP) vs. 28 HP / 12 Def Kyogre: 138-164 (77 – 91.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO

calyrex-shadow-rider 252 SpA Calyrex-Shadow Rider Astral Barrage vs. 28 HP / 4 SpD Kyogre: 69-82 (38.5 – 45.8%) — guaranteed 3HKO

venusaur-gmax 252 SpA Venusaur G-Max Vine Lash (140 BP) vs. 28 HP / 4 SpD Kyogre: 152-180 (84.9 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO

Tornadus @ Focus Sash
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 36 HP / 4 Def / 212 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Protect
– Icy Wind
– Hurricane
– Tailwind

Tornadus was selected as the Prankster Tailwind user for this team in large part thanks to its Flying typing and access to Hurricane.

I opted for some HP EVs on this Tornadus to give it some general bulk to handle chip damage as well as provide some more health in Dynamax. Tornadus can shred through common threats like Rillaboom and Amoongus while having the capacity to swap into attacks like Max Quake and Precipice Blades. This was useful as Landorus wasn’t always a viable bring into every match-up. Another major reason for using Tornadus was its ability to combine Tailwind and Icy Wind to create effective speed control that utilized both its Ability and natural Speed. Furthermore, Icy Wind also equipped Tornadus to break Focus Sashes and Disguise on Mimikyu while also allowing for an additional method of changing weather via Max Hailstorm without wasting a turn switching.

Overall, these features were enough to make it a more proactive and disruptive threat when paired with this team’s offensive core as compared to something like Whimsicott. Protect and Focus Sash rounded out the set to boost Torndus’s survivability throughout the games.

Venusaur-Gmax (M) @ Life Orb
Ability: Chlorophyll
Level: 50
EVs: 28 HP / 4 Def / 212 SpA / 12 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Earth Power
– Weather Ball
– Leaf Storm
– Sleep Powder

With Life Orb, Venusaur becomes a sneakily good breaker in Dynamax. As compared to variants like Coba Berry or Focus Sash, this Venusaur can exert immediate pressure with strong Max Moves while simultaneously applying passive pressure via residual damage.

The EVs used here are to give Venusaur the most Speed and power possible with a bit of HP to get the most out of Gigantamax. Max Quake equips Venusaur with a strong coverage option that doubles as an awesome defensive tool thanks to the secondary effect of gaining Special Defence boosts. Furthermore, with Weather Ball, Venusaur gains pseudo-STAB with Rain and Sun-boosted attacks that alleviate the impact of not having Sludge Bomb. Lastly, I opted for Sleep Powder on this set as it gives Venusaur added disruptive capabilities that make it viable in certain situations where it might otherwise be a liability.

Overall, this Venusaur set was the best suited for this team, as it combined devastating type coverage on offence with decent support options for the team that made it one of the primary focal points of this composition.

Offensive calcs

zacian-crowned 212 SpA Life Orb Venusaur Max Flare (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 12 SpD Zacian-Crowned in Sun: 205-244 (103 – 122.6%) — guaranteed OHKO

kyogre 212 SpA Life Orb Venusaur G-Max Vine Lash (140 BP) vs. 28 HP / 4 SpD Kyogre: 190-226 (106.1 – 126.2%) — guaranteed OHKO

dialga 212 SpA Life Orb Venusaur Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Dynamax Dialga: 159-187 (38.4 – 45.1%) — guaranteed 3HKO

palkia 212 SpA Life Orb Venusaur G-Max Vine Lash (140 BP) vs. 252 HP / 28 SpD Palkia: 105-125 (53.2 – 63.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO

groudon 212 SpA Life Orb Venusaur G-Max Vine Lash (140 BP) vs. 252 HP / 60 SpD Assault Vest Groudon: 174-205 (84 – 99%) — guaranteed 2HKO

landorus-therian 212 SpA Life Orb Venusaur Max Geyser (130 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Dynamax Landorus-Therian in Rain: 283-335 (85.7 – 101.5%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO

rillaboom

212 SpA Life Orb Venusaur Max Flare (130 BP) vs. 244 HP / 124 SpD Assault Vest Rillaboom in Sun: 177-211 (85.9 – 102.4%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO

212 SpA Life Orb Venusaur Max Flare (130 BP) vs. 172 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Rillaboom in Sun: 205-244 (104 – 123.8%) — guaranteed OHKO

212 SpA Life Orb Venusaur Max Flare (130 BP) vs. 244 HP / 108 SpD Rillaboom in Sun: 270-320 (131 – 155.3%) — guaranteed OHKO

incineroar 212 SpA Life Orb Venusaur Max Geyser (130 BP) vs. 244 HP / 156+ SpD Incineroar in Rain: 198-234 (98.5 – 116.4%) — 87.5% chance to OHKO

Zacian-Crowned @ Rusted Sword
Ability: Intrepid Sword
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 108 HP / 164 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 228 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Behemoth Blade
– Sacred Sword
– Protect
– Substitute

Saving the best for last, Zacian is the best Restricted in the Series 12 format. This particular Zacian set aims to do two things:

  1. Put out massive damage
  2. Outpace the most common Zacian sets

In many regards, this is a simple approach but one that works best for a team suited to deal damage quickly and maintain an uptempo pace. The EV spread isn’t anything special, I opted for the second Attack bump with an Adamant nature and then invested enough Speed EVs to hit 197 as that got the jump on Zacian around the 190-195 range and any others trying to run 196 to be ahead of those variants. I put the remaining portion of my EVs into HP as it helped the general bulk of the set.

For the moves, I went with Behemoth Blade and Sacred Sword for my damage-dealing options as those gave the best overall utility to hit common Pokémon and opposing Dynamax targets. I dropped Play Rough here in favour of Substitute because it provides Zacian with added defensive flexibility to stall for time and boost its overall longevity on the field. Moreover, Substitute and Protect on this set have amazing synergy with G-Max Vine Lash residual damage, as well as the free turns you can leverage created by the offensive power you have, or something like Yawn cycles from Torkoal. Overall, I think this set gave me everything I was looking for and provided the oppressive physical attacking presence that complemented Venusaur and Kyogre extremely well.

Offensive calcs

zacian-crowned

+1 164+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Zacian-Crowned: 144-171 (72.3 – 85.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO

+1 164+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Zacian-Crowned: 144-171 (86.2 – 102.3%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO

incineroar +1 164+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Sacred Sword vs. 244 HP / 76 Def Incineroar: 196-232 (97.5 – 115.4%) — 81.3% chance to OHKO

Defensive calcs

kyogre 252+ SpA Mystic Water Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. +1 108 HP / 4 SpD Zacian-Crowned in Rain: 126-148 (69.6 – 81.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO

groudon

156+ Atk Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 108 HP / 4 Def Zacian-Crowned: 156-186 (86.1 – 102.7%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO

-1 156+ Atk Groudon Max Quake (140 BP) vs. 108 HP / 4 Def Zacian-Crowned: 162-192 (89.5 – 106%) — 31.3% chance to OHKO

palkia 252 SpA Life Orb Palkia Max Quake (130 BP) vs. +1 108 HP / 4 SpD Zacian-Crowned: 127-151 (70.1 – 83.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Dialga 252+ SpA Life Orb Dialga Max Quake (130 BP) vs. +1 108 HP / 4 SpD Zacian-Crowned: 140-166 (77.3 – 91.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO

incineroar -1 4 Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 108 HP / 4 Def Zacian-Crowned in Sun: 134-162 (74 – 89.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO

rillaboom-gmax 252+ Atk Rillaboom Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 108 HP / 4 Def Zacian-Crowned: 140-166 (77.3 – 91.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery

Gameplans

Opponent’s teamBest leadsIn the back

Trick Room

calyrex-ice-riderpalkia
venusaur  +  kyogre
or
zacian-crowned  +  venusaur
zacian-crownedtorkoal
or
kyogretorkoal

Rinya Sun

zacian-crownedgroudon
zacian-crowned  +  tornadus
or
venusaur  +  kyogre
venusaurkyogre
or
zacian-crownedlandorus-therian

Calyrex + Groudon

calyrex-shadow-ridergroudon
zacian-crowned  +  tornadus
venusaurkyogre
or
kyogrelandorus-therian

Yveltal + Groudon

yveltalgroudon
zacian-crowned  +  tornadus
venusaurkyogre
or
kyogrelandorus-therian

Lunala + Groudon

lunalagroudon
venusaur  +  kyogre
or
zacian-crowned  +  venusaur
zacian-crownedlandorus-therian
or
kyogrelandorus-therian

Zacian + Kyogre + Tornadus

zacian-crownedkyogretornadus
tornadus  +  kyogre
venusaurtorkoal

Swordfish with screens

zacian-crownedkyogregrimmsnarl
zacian-crowned  +  tornadus
or
tornadus  +  kyogre
or
zacian-crowned  +  venusaur
venusaurtorkoal
or
zacian-crownedvenusaur/landorus-therian
or
tornadustorkoal

Tournament run

Note: Team Canada used this specific build 8 times in the tournament, 6 times from myself and 1 time each between Ryan Loseto and Kylan Van Severen. The final counting stats for this team were: 8-0 in sets and 16-4 in games.

I’ll begin this section of the report by letting Ryan and Kylan tell you about their experience with the team and how they piloted it to some massive wins in the tournament as well.

Ryan’s set:

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
Groups W5LWWARG
Julián Martínez
(Simius Black)
yveltalgroudonincineroarvenusaurbronzongregieleki
Match summary

Ryan: Julián ran an Yveltal + Groudon team against me, a core that I had been familiar with using myself in the format. Looking at the matchup in the team preview, a few things caught my eye; Landorus was my best way to break through his team and Bronzong may get annoying if I lose the weather war.

 

In game 1 I got outpositioned in the first few turns by his Incineroar as I got super greedy trying to target down the Regieleki, putting me on the back foot as he proceeded to make the safe plays that allowed him to pick up decent damage along with Sleep Powder to hinder my pivot ability.

 

In game 2 I adjusted with Tornadus as I wanted to lean on the ability to spam Earthquake so I wouldn’t have to commit to Dynamaxing Landorus too early, while Tornadus was rather ineffective I was able to preserve my Landorus’s Dynamax until the late game and clean up the Regieleki and Groudon.

 

He adapted with Bronzong for game 3 and I knew that I needed to preserve my Kyogre as my win condition more so than Landorus. I was successful in not only preserving Kyogre, but also winning the endgame weather war which enabled me to pick up a clean OHKO on the Bronzong and left my Kyogre to finish off his Groudon to seal the game.

Kylan’s set:

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
FinalsWLWTHA
Jong Dae-Jung
(AmazeMaker)
zacian-crownedkyogrelandorus-theriankartanaamoongusstornadus
Match summary

Kylan: I was very surprised to see that my opponent was using Siddharth Singhal’s Swordfish team from NAIC. I consider that matchup to be heavily in favour of my Calyrex + Groudon team, so either he did not think the same, or he knew I wasn’t going to bring it. I was a little bit worried to see this matchup, considering my inexperience with the team, as this was not something I expected to face.

 

In game 1 I led Tornadus + Kyogre with Torkoal and Venusaur in the back. This gave me speed control early in the game with the added utility of Gigantamax Venusaur and Torkoal in the back forming a late-game board state with active Tailwind and Chlorophyll. On turn 1 of game 1, I managed to win the Icy Wind speed tie to take my opponent’s Tornadus for free and cruised to a relatively simple win.

 

In game 2, I brought the same Pokémon, once again leading Tornadus + Kyogre, just to play it safe. However, my opponent adjusted with a Tornadus + Kartana lead. He was able to easily gain the speed control advantage with Max Airstreams and do massive damage to my Kyogre with Max Overgrowth. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to recover late in the game with my Gigantamax Venusaur and this set went to game 3.

 

The team preview of game 3 was very stressful. At first, I figured I had to switch to a Tornadus + Zacian lead to cover for the Tornadus + Kartana lead again, but in the end, I opted to stick to my game plan from game 1. I did this because I predicted he would adjust back to his game 1 game plan to beat whatever I may have adjusted to for the Kartana. I ended up being correct in this assumption. Despite this, the game didn’t go quite as smoothly for me as game 1. This time, he wasn’t going to let me take his Tornadus for free, so I opted to Tailwind turn 1 to allow myself to go for Icy Winds on the following turns. A combination of Icy Wind and Origin Pulse was able to knock out his Tornadus after it had set Tailwind, and leave his Zacian on low HP, though my own Kyogre’s HP also fell very low from a Play Rough. His Kyogre was able to come in to replace his Tornadus, and score a double knockout with Max Hailstorm, leaving me with a 2 vs 3: my Venusaur and Torkoal against his Dynamaxed Kyogre, low HP Zacian, and the Landorus he later revealed to be in the back. Fortunately, with the help of Torkoal’s Drought, I was able to outspeed and knockout his Zacian with my Gigantamax Venusaur, and prevail in the endgame using Yawn and the chip from G-Max Vine Lash, which came in clutch for removing the Kyogre and Landorus.

My run:

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
Qualifiers W2WWCRI
Luciano Arias
(Lucky-Sama)
xerneasgroudonincineroargastrodon-eastindeedee-femalecharizard
Match summary

Luciano used an interesting Xerneas + Groudon team in this set. Unfortunately, he was at a massive disadvantage due to Kyogre and Venusaur pressuring his whole team with Water Spout + G-Max Vine Lash. He played exceptionally well in game 2 using his Charizard effectively to break my team down but I was still able to escape with the win and set in large part thanks to the overwhelming match-up advantage.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
Qualifiers W3WWIDN
Adryan Sutantoso
(Magnetman)
zacian-crownedkyogreincineroarrillaboomgothitelleregieleki
Match summary

Adryan’s team featured some very scary threats at the team preview. Mainly his Gothitelle and Regieleki could pose a huge threat if he was able to use the pair effectively around his Restricted duo to trap and eliminate key components of my team before I could respond. This set came down to smart positioning, I was able to use Tornadus and Kyogre to soften up his team and Gigantamax Venusaur was able to provide the late-game offence in both games to clean up and win the set 2-0.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
Groups W4LWWCHL
Sebastián Gómez
(Synchr0)
zacian-crownedlunalaincineroargastrodondittoregieleki
Match summary

Sebastián used a very unique Zacian + Lunala Restricted pair. His team was running Timid Lunala with Max Airstream and it caught me off guard.

 

We played back and forth games 1 and 2. In game 3 I started with an atrocious turn 1 as I clicked Tailwind right as he called it and set Trick Room. I was able to miraculously navigate out of that position and just narrowly win with Kyogre at the end, escaping the week with a 2-1 win.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
Groups W5WWARG
Joaquín Salerno
(Joaco)
calyrex-ice-riderpalkiaincineroaramoongussporygon2tapu-fini
Match summary

Joaquín utilized Ice Rider Calyrex + Palkia this week.

 

In game 1 I was able to grab momentum with G-Max Vine Lash early on and wear down his Palkia, but he managed to play himself into an endgame where it was a 1 vs 2 of my Torkoal against his Incineroar and low-health Palkia. Thanks to a massive Hydro Pump dodge from Torkoal, I was able to Yawn and Body Press through his remaining Pokémon and win the game.

 

In game 2 I led Zacian + Venusaur and KO’d his Indeedee and did over 50% to his Palkia. From that position, Torkoal was able to disrupt his team enough with Yawn spam in Trick Room and Kyogre cleaned up the game and the set 2-0.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
Groups W6WLWSWI
Stefan Mott
(Pengy)
zacian-crownedkyogreincineroarrillaboomgrimmsnarlzapdos
Match summary

Stefan utilized the same six he used to win the Indianapolis Regionals this year.

 

In game 1 I was able to use my Tornadus and Kyogre to cycle Icy Wind and Water Spout damage and weaken his Zapdos and Grimmsnarl. This was enough to give me an opening with my Venusaur to clean up the late game against his Zacian and Kyogre.

 

He adjusted in game 2 and played very well. He got into a position where his Incineroar was able to Dynamax and KO my Venusaur and Zacian to even up the set at 1-1.

 

In game 3 I adjusted by dropping Venusaur in favour of Landorus. I used my Tornadus + Kyogre lead to focus down his Kyogre early and weaken it to a point where Landorus could overwhelm his Zapdos and Zacian. Fortunately, this worked and I came away with a 2-1 victory in the set.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
Top 16WWTWN
Yang Da-wei
zacian-crownedkyogreincineroarrillaboomgrimmsnarlthundurus
Match summary

We kicked off the Playoffs vs Taiwan in the Top 16. My opponent used a Swordfish + screens team similar to the one Stefan used but with Thundurus over Zapdos. This set was relatively straightforward. I was able to stall my opponent’s Dynamax and build enough momentum with Torkoal and Venusaur in both games to come away with a 2-0 win.

Even though this match was not featured by Victory Road, Da-wei recorded it, and you can find the footage here!:

Different teams used

Heading into Playoffs I tried to adjust my team with info I gathered from scouting my opponent’s World Cup runs, Worlds performances, and for the finals match-up I looked at Gunn’s Nationals team as well as prominent trends in what other Team Thailand players brought up to that point in the week.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
Top 8WWIND
Raghav Malaviya
(Raghav)
calyrex-ice-riderpalkiaincineroaramoongussporygon2tapu-fini
Match summary

zacian-crownedkyogretorkoalvenusaur-gmaxtornadusregieleki

This week was personally very important to me. With my history with Team India as well as the week’s score being 3-1, I had a great chance to knock them out of the competition. This week I made some significant changes to my team. I ran:

    • Assault Vest Regieleki over Landorus
    • Helping Hand Zacian
    • Modest, max Special Attack Venusaur with Frenzy Plant over Leaf Storm

These changes were made to account for Raghav’s Trick Room teams and the off chance he ran the hyper offence with Shadow Rider Calyrex + Kyogre.

 

We kicked off game 1 and, as turn 1 played out, there was a server error and both of us disconnected. This was after the turn had played out and his Palkia had barely managed to survive a Helping Hand-boosted G-Max Vine Lash and set Trick Room. Upon the restart and locking in the same turns, this time my G-Max Vine Lash managed to KO his Palkia and without his Trick Room pressure the rest of the game was very difficult for him to navigate.

 

In game 2 I went with the Kyogre + Venusaur lead and managed to once again deny the Trick Room set up. From the turn 1 position, I was able to win convincingly enough and take the set 2-0. It was unfortunate to come across the disconnect against a player I respect a lot, especially when Raghav had worked insanely hard to get to this point 6-0 as well. Overall while I was happy with the win but this set should by all accounts have probably gone to game 3.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
SemifinalsLWWAUS
Henry Rich
(Hobbit)
calyrex-shadow-riderkyogrelandorus-therianindeedee-femalewhimsicottregieleki
Match summary

zacian-crownedkyogretorkoalvenusaur-gmaxtornadusregieleki

This week I tweaked the team once again and brought:

    • A more defensive Coba Berry Venusaur
    • An extremely bulky Zacian that ran 252 HP / 164 Atk / 12 Def / 76 SpD / 4 Spe

I was expecting Henry to bring an Ice Rider Calyrex + Groudon team or a hyper offence with Shadow Rider Calyrex + Kyogre. I managed to guess correctly and the preparation was on point.

 

In game 1 Henry made a tremendous read and sniped my Tornadus turn 1. With no speed control, my game plan fell apart and I lost pretty quickly afterwards as I did not have a response to his heavy hitters.

 

In game 2 he once again made an amazing play on turn 1 and managed to KO my Regieleki turn 1 and mitigate the impact of my Dynamax. However thanks to my speed control and bulky Zacian, I was able to play myself back into the game and take the win to even up the set 1-1.

I saw many people question Henry’s play of clicking Max Hailstorm and changing the weather late in the game. I think the reason Henry made the play he did is because he didn’t have an Electric-type move on his Kyogre and he wanted to create a board state where his Calyrex could live a Water Spout in Hail while his Life Orb-boosted Max Geyser would KO my Zacian even in hail. This was probably based on the fact that my public paste had 108 HP / 4 SpD which would just drop to that attack. However this week the Zacian was that aforementioned 252 HP / 76 SpD set and was barely able to hang on with the attack and secure the end game.

 

In game 3 I felt I needed to make a play Henry wouldn’t cover and settled on using Regieleki as a sack to get big damage off into his Kyogre and then outpace his speed control with Tailwind into Max Airstreams with Tornadus. I also went this route as a way to potentially get around Cotton Spore which Henry thankfully didn’t have. In the end, this gamble paid off and I was able to use Tornadus and Zacian to clean up the game and win the set 2-1.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s team
FinalsLLTHA
Gunn K. Sathorn
(Maletix)
kyurem-whitecalyrex-shadow-riderindeedee-femaledittowhimsicottregieleki
Match summary

calyrex-shadow-riderkyogretorkoalvenusaur-gmaxwhimsicottthundurus

In the finals, I tried to make the call that my opponent would bring either Trick Room or the Zacian + Lunala team one of their teammates had brought the week before. For this reason, I used a completely different build incorporating Shadow Rider Calyrex this week. Unfortunately for me, my opponent brought a White Kyurem team that was definitely out of the left field and caught me off guard. My match-up was pretty bad as Kyurem essentially stomped and trampled through my whole team.

 

In game 1 he was able to use his Kyurem late to secure the end game in a straightforward sequence of plays.

 

In game 2 I felt like my game plan was very good given the matchup and circumstances. I tried to leverage the Kyogre and trade Dynamax with his Kyurem. I clicked Max Geyser into his Whimsicott turn 1 knowing that he’d want to click Max Hailstorm and remove my own Whimsicott. I wanted to preserve my Whimsicott at 1 HP while focusing down the slots around Kyurem to end the game with Choice Specs Shadow Rider Calyrex. Gunn was able to do enough to protect his Calyrex with smart switches till the end of the match and, unfortunately, I lost the critical speed tie to lose the set and fall 0-2. Had that speed tie gone my way I was confident that I could have pushed Gunn to the limit win-or-lose in game 3, but it wasn’t meant to be. He did a phenomenal job in prep and, at this point of the competition, you cannot by any means have the game 1 I did and expect to win.

 

Congratulations to Gunn and Thailand on their win, it was a very tense set!

Conclusion

To conclude, I wanted to start by shouting out Sejun Park. He helped me change my approach in the building process and I was heavily influenced by his advice on combining strong offensive-type coverage with compressed role synergy so that the final product was very versatile and difficult for opponents to approach at team preview.

I also want to thank Juanma Santizo and Isabel Lee for permitting me to use their notes and practice materials in my preparation throughout the weeks.

Additionally, the ongoing support of my friends Joe, Mattie, Brady, Siddharth, Sohaib, James, Marco, Carlos, Varun, Sam, Will and Evan was also invaluable, they hyped me up after wins and made my run feel special, I am beyond lucky to share moments like this with them!

Lastly, a massive thank you to Team Canada for taking a chance on me and allowing me to compete at a high level. From the managers, players, and helpers, everyone was extremely committed to the team’s goal and while we fell just short, this was by far the best and most focused environment I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of. Both building the team and the World Cup itself was an unbelievable adventure and I’m truly grateful for the experience!

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