The Chinese Beat Up Annihilape! — A VR Welcome to Paldea Top 4 Team Report

Hello! My name is Xie Yantong, a VGC player living in Beijing, China.

I met Pokémon through watching the anime Pokémon The Series: XY in 2013 and started to play VGC in 2018. Since there are no official VGC tournaments in Mainland China, I only take part in the non-official tournaments held here, such as the Jolly Breloom tournaments and the monthly tournaments (MTs) held in big cities in China. MTs provide opportunities to make friends with Pokémon trainers from everywhere in China and I met my friend Peng Chongjun in the Beijing MT in May 2019.

However, Chinese VGC players also wish they can play an official tournament one day in China. To experience the same competition system as the official tournaments, I took part in the Victory Road to Columbus in June 2022 for the first time and finished 8-1 in the Swiss rounds. Last month I took part in the VR Welcome to Paldea last week and was honored to reach Top 4 in the competition.

Before starting my team report, let me thank all of the opponents and the exciting games against them. Also lot of thanks to the Victory Road organizers for holding this great event.

Table of Contents

Teambuilding process

I started to build my team when I saw lots of Annihilape teams with Light Clay Grimmsnarl and Amoonguss. With Reflect and Light Screen, Annihilape earns a lot of bulk and may power up its damage through Bulk Up. Annihilape’s signature move Rage Fist also has an extremely strong set-up, as it earns 50 extra base power (BP) every time Annihilape is hit. How can you understand the power of Rage Fist? Let us take an example: for an Annihilape with only 4 Attack EVs, 250 BP Rage Fist can beat Sylveon; 300 BP Rage Fist can beat Garchomp; 350 BP Rage Fist can beat Amoonguss. In other words, Annihilape’s opponent must choose between two situations: either not attacking Annihilape and Annihilape easily raising its Attack and Defense through Bulk Up, or attacking Annihilape and Annihilape becoming One-Punch Man with a Rage Fist of great base power. Therefore, I believe Annihilape is one of the best Pokémon in Series 1.

annihilapegrimmsnarlamoonguss

I also played the Annihilape + Grimmsnarl + Amoonguss team on Pokémon Showdown, but I found that the team had the following weakenesses:

  1. If Annihilape has no boosts, Annihilape’s Attack is not so good and Rage Fist BP is only 50, which is too low.
  2. A smart opponent may not touch Annihilape until they can make it faint in one turn, so it is usually unrealistic to expect your opponent to make you accumulate Rage Fist BP.
  3. Murkrow’s Haze makes it impossible to boost Annihilape with Bulk Up until Murkrow faints. However, Murkrow was everywhere in Series 1.

Therefore, I believed I needed to find a more active way to release the potential of Rage Fist, instead of waiting for our opponent to help us accumulate its power. I found that Maushold can learn Beat Up, which can hit Annihilape four times and make Rage Fist BP be 250 in just one turn. Moreover, the BP increase of Rage Fist cannot be removed with Haze or Clear Smog, and is kept even when Annihilape is switched out.

annihilapemaushold

I chose Annihilape with Fire Tera Type to prevent it from burns and receive less damage from Gholdengo’s Make It Rain and Meowscarada’s Flower Trick. Fire is also a good defensive type. Since I needed Annihilape to stay in battle for enough turns, I used Friend Guard Maushold and low-Speed Careful Nature Annihilape to ensure a good bulk on Annihilape. The other four Pokémon should support Annihilape from being killed after Maushold faints:

  1. I took Murkrow to support Annihilape with Tailwind and Quash.
  2. Female Indeedee and Armarouge have the move Trick Room, which is necessary for my low-Speed Annihilape.
  3. Annihilape with Fire Tera Type is afraid of Garchomp’s Earthquake, but Armarouge has Wide Guard to protect Annihilape.
  4. I believe Meowscarada is the best Pokémon in Series 1 (since Flutter Mane is not allowed), so I took a Choice Band Meowscarada to share the offensive pressure with Annihilape.

annihilapemaushold-fourmurkrowindeedee-femalearmarougemeowscarada

It must be noted that Annihilape is the core of my team, which means the other five Pokémon should support or cover Annihilape in the right conditions, just like the Xerneas + Groudon teams in past generations, where Xerneas is supported by all other Pokémon.

The Team

▶️ Get the team’s paste here!

Annihilape (M) @ Leftovers
Ability: Vital Spirit
Level: 50
Tera Type: Fire
EVs: 252 HP / 12 Atk / 164 Def / 76 SpD / 4 Spe
Careful Nature
– Protect
– Drain Punch
– Rage Fist
– Bulk Up

This Annihilape may be strange at first glance due to its Careful nature and Vital Spirit ability. As I said, 12 Attack EVs are enough for Annihilape since a 12 Atk 250 BP Rage Fist is able to beat Sylveon. Therefore I put all the other EVs on HP, Defense and Special Defense. As a result, Annihilape’s bulk is approximately the same as the one of bulky Incineroar used in Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield Series 12.

Most Annihilape prefer the Defiant, but I believe that Vital Spirit helps Annihilape deal with Amoonguss, a formidable counter. In fact, Annihilape’s three available abilities (Vital Spirit, Defiant and Inner Focus) are all good ones, which turns Annihilape into tough opponents (Inner Focus helps by preventing hax from Hydreigon’s Dark Pulse).

Note that since my Annihilape only has 12 Attack EVs, the power of Drain Punch is very low: it cannot ensure one-hit KOs on Tyranitar or Kingambit!


Maushold-Four @ Focus Sash
Ability: Friend Guard
Level: 50
Tera Type: Ghost
EVs: 252 HP / 36 Def / 220 Spe
Timid Nature
– Beat Up
– Follow Me
– Feint
– Protect

Most Maushold use Technician and Wide Lens to guarantee a powerful Population Bomb. However, my Maushold serves as a full support, using Friend Guard to increase Annihilape’s bulk and using Beat Up to increase Rage Fist BP. Protect and Follow Me are necessary moves for Friend Guard Pokémon. I chose Feint as the last move since I wished to use Feint + Annihilape’s Drain Punch to one-hit KO Meowscarada. Taunt, Encore, After You or Super Fang are all good choices for the last move.

Ghost Tera Type is valuable when encountering opponents with Population Bomb Maushold.

To sum up, Maushold really is a very flexible Pokémon.


Meowscarada @ Choice Band
Ability: Protean
Level: 50
Tera Type: Grass
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– U-turn
– Knock Off
– Flower Trick
– Brick Break

I always believed Meowscarada is the king of Series 1. I used Adamant nature Meowscarada holding Choice Band to one-hit KO Sylveon with Flower Trick and one-hit KO Garchomp with Grass Tera Type Terastallization-boosted Flower Trick. I chose Brick Break to deal with Steel Tera Type Terastallized Gholdengo and Play Rough is also a good choice.

Meowscarada is very offensive and supports Annihilape through defeating its counters.


Armarouge (M) @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Flash Fire
Level: 50
Tera Type: Grass
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Def / 36 SpA / 164 SpD / 12 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Expanding Force
– Trick Room
– Armor Cannon
– Wide Guard

This is a standard Armarouge. Armarouge is strong against Trick Room teams with Torkoal, thanks to its Flash Fire ability and Trick Room. Wide Guard is strong against Garchomp when Annihilape Terastallizes to Fire. I chose Armor Cannon rather than Heat Wave in order to one-hit KO Gholdengo.

My Armarouge is bulky and Sitrus Berry ensures it takes two Earth Powers from Torkoal. I think Covert Cloak is also a good item for Armarouge and prevents it from Arcanine’s Snarl’s effects.

Indeedee-F @ Colbur Berry
Ability: Psychic Surge
Level: 50
Tera Type: Steel
EVs: 252 HP / 196 Def / 4 SpA / 52 SpD / 4 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Dazzling Gleam
– Heal Pulse
– Trick Room
– Follow Me

Female Indeedee is also a good support for Annihilape after Maushold faints. When Indeedee and Annihilape are on the field, you may choose either Indeedee’s Follow Me + Annihilape’s Rage Fist or Indeedee’s Trick Room + Annihilape’s Protect.

I chose Colbur Berry as Indeedee’s held item to ensure it can set up Trick Room against Hydreigon or Meowscarada. Once Indeedee sets up Trick Room, it can use Heal Pulse to ensure Annihilape stays healthy.

Dazzling Gleam is a good move against Murkrow and Hydreigon.


Murkrow (F) @ Eviolite
Ability: Prankster
Level: 50
Tera Type: Steel
EVs: 244 HP / 116 Def / 140 SpD / 4 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Tailwind
– Quash
– Foul Play
– Haze

Murkrow not only provides Tailwind, but also serves as an important counterplan against Dondozo + Tatsugiri. It also comes after Maushold faints and provides Tailwind that helps Annihilape KO its opponents. If your opponent also has Murkrow or Talonflame, you may use Quash to ensure Annihilape can beat its opponent first. I chose Murkrow with Steel Tera Type since it resists Tatsugiri’s Draco Meteor.

How to use the team

Leading with Maushold + Annihilape and follow with other two Pokémon is always a good idea. The two support Pokémon in the back should be carefully chosen according to the opponent’s team. The term “Tera Priority” means the Pokemon I recommend to Tera in priority. Here are some advice:

Opponent’s teamPreferred TeraBest leadsIn the back
December standard meta
hydreigongholdengogarchompmurkrow
annihilape
maushold  +  annihilape
indeedee-femalearmarouge
or
murkrow, meowscarada
  1. Lead with Maushold + Annihilape and follow with Indeedee and Armarouge. After Maushold Beats Up Annihilape and faints, use Indeedee to set up Trick room and Armarouge’s Wide Guard to avoid Garchomp’s Earthquakes. Annihilape may Terastallize to Fire when facing Gholdengo.
  2. Lead with Maushold + Annihilape and follow with Murkrow and Meowscarada. If the opponent’s Murkrow does not have Quash, our Murkrow’s Quash is an important move. Use Quash to win the game.
Opponent’s teamPreferred TeraBest leadsIn the back
Annihilape + Grimmsnarl + Amoonguss teams
annihilapegrimmsnarlamoonguss
annihilape  or  meowscarada
maushold  +  annihilape
indeedee-femalemeowscarada

Lead with Maushold + Annihilape and follow with Indeedee and Meowscarada. Maushold should be careful with Grimmsnarl’s Fake Out. If Amoonguss is on the field, Maushold may use Feint against ally Annihilape to increase Rage Fist BP. Since Beat Up Annihilape is a much quicker way to boost Annihilape than using Bulk Up, Annihilape + Grimmsnarl + Amoonguss teams are often an easy match-up.

Opponent’s teamPreferred TeraBest leadsIn the back
Rain teams
pelipperpalafin
meowscarada
maushold  +  meowscarada
indeedee-female,   annihilape  or  armarouge

Lead with Maushold + Meowscarada and follow with Indeedee and either Annihilape or Armarouge. Rain teams do not have much ways to deal spread damage and Choice Band Meowscarada can one-hit KO almost every Pokémon in a Rain team. Take Meowscarada with two Follow Me support Pokémon to one-hit KO Pelipper with Grass Tera Type Terastallized Flower Trick, while Feint is a valuable move if Pelipper holds Focus Sash.

Pelipper pressures Annihilape a lot, so please do not just Beat Up Annihilape!

Opponent’s teamPreferred TeraBest leadsIn the back
Dondozo + Tatsugiri teams
dondozotatsugiri
annihilape  or  murkrow
maushold  +  annihilape
murkrow,   meowscarada

Lead with Maushold + Annihilape and follow with Murkrow and Meowscarada. Just Beat Up Annihilape and switch in Murkrow whenever Dondozo eats Tatsugiri. You should be careful since the opponent sometimes may not use Dondozo, and Tatsugiri is a big threat on its own!

Opponent’s teamPreferred TeraBest leadsIn the back
Trick Room teams with Torkoal
indeedee-femalearmarougetorkoal
annihilape  or  armarouge
armarouge  +  meowscarada
annihilape,   indeedee-female  or  maushold

Lead with Armarouge + Meowscarada and follow with Annihilape and either Indeedee or Maushold. Beat Up is not a good idea since you are facing Expanding Force Armarouge. Use Meowscarada’s U-turn to defeat Indeedee and your own Armarouge’s Wide Guard to prevent the foe’s Expanding Force.

Opponent’s teamPreferred TeraBest leadsIn the back
Other good combos
maushold  +  meowscarada
annihilape,  other

Lead with Maushold + Meowscarada and follow with Annihilape and other Pokémon. Meowscarada uses U-turn and switches out for Annihilape, and Maushold Beats Up Annihilape.

Tournament run

This was my run at VR Welcome to Paldea! Remember that this tournament featured closed team lists except for Tera Types, which were open.

Swiss rounds

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamList
R1LWWTWN
Chang Wei-lun
(維倫)
hydreigongholdengogarchompmurkrowmausholdannihilape
R2WWCHN
Xiao Haotian
(デイデイ)
hydreigongothitelledragapultgrimmsnarlsylveontorkoal
R3WLWSWI
Nils Schlatter
(Darthnius)
hydreigongholdengogarchompmurkrowrotom-frostabomasnow
R4WLLUSA
Adrien Hurley
(ColdingLight)
gothitellepawmottorkoaltatsugiridondozomeowscarada
R5WWAUS
Matthew Robinson
(tsumi88)
garganaclfarigirafarmarougeindeedee-femaletorkoalannihilape
R6WLLAUS
Sam Pandelis
(Zelda)
sylveongholdengoarcaninetatsugiridondozomeowscarada
R7WWUSA
Marco Martinez
(mars)
annihilapeskeledirgegarchompgrimmsnarlrotom-washmeowscarada
R8WWUSA
Damian Tweedy
(Damian)
sylveonscizorarcaninemurkrowrotom-washgastrodon
R9WWITA
William Bassolino
(wjbax)
hydreigongholdengohariyamamurkrowskeledirgemeowscarada

Top cut

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamList
Top 64WLWCUB
Kevin Salvetto
(Lil Bo Peep)
hydreigonskeledirgegarchompgrimmsnarltalonflamemeowscarada
Top 32WWJPN
Mao Harada
(シズ)
sylveongholdengoarcaninetatsugiridondozomeowscarada
Top 16WWCHN
Wang Bingjie
(小肥仔圆圆)
grimmsnarlgholdengoarmarougemurkrowmausholdannihilape
Top 8WWFIN
Aapo Niemiranta
(Aapo)
volcaronacorviknightgarchompgrimmsnarlrotom-washamoonguss
Top 4WLLUSA
Nick Navarre
(Nails)
garganaclkingambitarcaninegothitellegyaradosamoonguss

Conclusion

Thanks to everyone who read this team report! In fact, my team has big weaknesses in that the strategies of this team are too simple and lack variation. Nevertheless, I believe Annihilape teams with Beat Up constitute a combo of great potential and I hope there may be better teams based on this strategy.

Since I don’t have Twitter, you can find me on Discord at Yantong Xie#6655.

At last, I want to thank all my friends for the support, especially Peng Chongjun who shared my team on Twitter! Also thanks to Victory Road as organisers, and all my opponents in the VR tournament!

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Victory Road