Drednaw’s Destruction! — A San Diego Regionals Top 4 Team Report

Hi, everyone! My name is Aaron Brok and I started playing VGC in 2020 with Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. This was my second in-person event, the first being the North American International Championship in 2022. With that out of the way, I’m happy to share the team I used to get top 4 in the San Diego Regional Championship!

Table of Contents

Teambuilding process

As I was trying different things out shortly after Series 1 was announced, I started to think of a way to use Palafin since I thought it could be very strong if utilized correctly (and it has a super cool design). I saw the team that Ren Chengfu used in the VR Welcome to Paldea tournament and decided to try it out.


I didn’t like the double rain sweeper strategy, so I changed Barraskewda to Hariyama which can help set up Trick Room easier with Fake Out.


I brought the team to a local where I finished top 4, and I was completely sold on most of the team, especially Pelipper and Kingambit. However, Palafin felt very difficult to bring and I realized I was not going to be the one to figure out this Pokémon.

This is when my friend Darcy McCarthy suggested I try Drednaw instead. Drednaw gave me speed and coverage that Palafin or other Swift Swim Pokémon didn’t have. Rock Slide hits both of the priority Tailwind users, Talonflame and Murkrow, as well as Donzozo with the Flying Tera Type and Dragonite (before Terastallizing).


After slightly tweaking some sets, I had the final version of the team!

The Team

▶️ Find a paste of the team here!

Po (Hariyama) @ Flame Orb
Ability: Guts
Level: 50
Tera Type: Steel
EVs: 156 HP / 156 Atk / 196 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Close Combat
– Fake Out
– Knock Off
– Bullet Punch

Hariyama was definitely the weakest link, but was still a very scary Trick Room attacker when positioned well. I chose a Steel Tera Type to gain resistances to all of Hariyama’s original weaknesses and to give STAB (same-type attack bonus) to Bullet Punch. Its Attack reaches a jump point, its HP is 16n−1 to minimize burn damage, and the rest was just dumped into Special Defense.

Normal Sprite

Mr Ping (Farigiraf) @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Armor Tail
Level: 50
Tera Type: Fairy
EVs: 212 HP / 180 Def / 76 SpA / 36 SpD
Quiet Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Psychic
– Dazzling Gleam
– Trick Room
– Helping Hand

There is a ton of priority in this format, so Farigiraf was great on paper and in testing. It was slightly worse during the actual tournament, but still solid. I chose the Safety Goggles item because the team had a bit of trouble with opposing Amoonguss. Fairy Tera Type gives STAB to Dazzling Gleam which helps against opposing Dragon and Dark types, while also negating the original Dark-type weakness.

Helping Hand could help secure KOs in theory, but did not come up very often during the tournament. It has enough HP to survive Annihilape’s Final Gambit, and always survives any Make it Rain except those from Modest Choice Specs that have Terastallized to Steel (Timid is not guaranteed but has a roll in my favor to live). It also survives Kowtow Cleave from Kingambit with no kinds of boosts.

Normal Sprite

Kai (Kingambit) @ Assault Vest
Ability: Defiant
Level: 50
Tera Type: Flying
EVs: 252 HP / 196 Atk / 4 Def / 20 SpD / 36 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Kowtow Cleave
– Iron Head
– Sucker Punch
– Brick Break

Kingambit is easily the MVP of the team. With the Assault Vest, this thing becomes a monster to remove while dealing incredible damage with its high base Attack. I chose Flying Tera Type to turn all of Kingambit’s previous weaknesses into resistances (with rain). Brick Break was chosen as more consistent damage compared to Low Kick, while also breaking screens, although I only ended up facing one Grimmsnarl and no Sableye  during the whole tournament. It outspeeds Gholdengo under Tailwind, but still underspeeds base 60s with 31 Speed IVs for Trick Room.

Normal Sprite

Tigress (Meowscarada) @ Focus Sash
Ability: Overgrow
Level: 50
Tera Type: Grass
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Protect
– Flower Trick
– Knock Off
– U-turn

Meowscarada is Rillaboom and Urshifu at home. Guaranteed crit move, removing items, and pivoting, this Pokémon is just super solid overall. Pretty standard set, Focus Sash allowing it to take one hit guaranteed, which pairs well with Overgrow.

Normal Sprite

Lord Shen (Pelipper) @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Drizzle
Level: 50
Tera Type: Grass
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Def / 36 SpA / 124 SpD / 100 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Hurricane
– Tailwind
– Wide Guard
– Hydro Pump

I think Pelipper surprised a lot of people with its overall performance at this Regional. It has a ton of good utility in Tailwind and Wide Guard and does surprisingly good damage with its good types and high base power STAB moves. Grass Tera Type allowed me to gain a resistance to Electric and also avoid powder moves, also helping against Amoonguss. It outspeeds Talonflame under Tailwind.

Defensive calcs

Gholdengo 252+ SpA Choice Specs Gholdengo Shadow Ball vs. 244 HP / 124 SpD Tera-Grass Pelipper: 129-153 (77.7 – 92.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery

Meowscarada 252 Atk Meowscarada Flower Trick vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Pelipper on a critical hit: 81-96 (48.7 – 57.8%) — 14.5% chance to 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery

Dondozo +2 252+ Atk Dondozo Wave Crash vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Pelipper in Rain: 140-165 (84.3 – 99.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery

Maushold 252 Atk Technician Maushold Population Bomb (10 hits) vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Pelipper: 180-220 (108.4 – 132.5%) — approx. 12.5% chance to OHKO

Normal Sprite

Oogway (Drednaw) @ Life Orb
Ability: Swift Swim
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
Tera Type: Grass
EVs: 28 HP / 252 Atk / 228 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Protect
– Liquidation
– Rock Slide
– Tera Blast

Drednaw is the wild card. This thing was so fun to use. I chose an Adamant Nature because I wanted it to do as much damage as possible and didn’t think I needed Jolly to outspeed anything important in rain. Its HP is 10n−1 for Life Orb recoil, but in all honesty it could just as well have been max speed. In rain, it outspeeds anything slower than base 97 at +1 or holding a Choice Scarf. I chose Grass Tera Type to combat its Grass-, Electric-, and Ground-type weaknesses and to avoid Amoonguss, and gave it Tera Blast to hit opposing Water types harder.

How to use the team

This team is very flexible and allows the player to react to opponents’ decisions and play accordingly. Meowscarada is very commonly brought and led, and can be led with essentially any of the other 5 Pokémon. Meowscarada + Farigiraf can mimic Urshifu + Tsareena from Gen 8 with the critical hit move, priority blocking, and Helping Hand support. Pelipper often is brought without Drednaw and can be led or brought in the back.

Opponent’s teamGameplan
The priority is Knocking Off Dondozo’s item and preserving resources, then just constantly damaging it, with Pelipper providing speed control to keep up with the Commander and Order Up boosts. Your main source of damage is dependent on Dondozo’s Tera Type: if the Dondozo has Dragon Tera Type, Farigiraf is basically mandatory to have something to hit it for super effective. Hariyama becomes an option to help set up Trick Room. For Flying Tera Type Dondozo, you want to utilize Drednaw and take advantage of Rock Slide becoming super effective. Be aware that +2 Wave Crash in Rain has a decent chance to one-hit KO Drednaw after the Life Orb recoil, even after Terastallizing to Grass! Grass Tera Type Dondozo opens it up to super effective Hurricanes from Pelipper, and Steel Tera Type opens it up to Hariyama and (to a lesser extent) Kingambit.
Tailwind offense teams
You can lead Drednaw + Pelipper with Kingambit and usually Meowscarada in the back. Meowscarada + Pelipper is also a solid lead against this archetype. This is slightly dependent on the other teammates of Murkrow and Gholdengo, but these four in some order are usually my gameplan.
This one heavily leans into Farigiraf since it is immune to Rage Fist. If the Maushold doesn’t have Population Bomb, Farigiraf can be led to immediately get speed control for Pelipper. If it does have Population Bomb, you need to remove Maushold first.
Hard Trick Room teams
Kingambit deals with almost everything with the help of Rain or Terastallization to Flying. Bring Kingambit, Pelipper, Farigiraf and Meowscarada or Hariyama and keep weather control. If the opposing team’s main way of setting up Trick Room is Fake Out, Farigiraf + an offensive Pokémon is a good lead just to get guaranteed damage on turn 1 or possibly reverse Trick Room.
Rain teams with Palafin
The Trick Room route is usually better because most of the opposing team is bulky enough to withstand the Rain offense mode. Farigiraf is good offensively as well as for blocking priority, but makes you very vulnerable to Kingambit or Gholdengo if you get out of position. Kingambit is very strong, but be wary of possible Fighting coverage on Palafin or Kingambit. Pelipper is also an option to help remove Amoonguss quicker and protect against Gholdengo’s Make It Rain.
Balanced teams
GarganaclBaxcaliburTauros Paldea Aqua
The gameplan generally centers around Kingambit or the Rain mode, utilizing Terastallization at the correct time and out-offensing them. Farigiraf is a nice option because these teams generally have a lot of priority options. However, if there is a Poison Tera Type Garganacl, Farigiraf is mandatory and the Rain mode is less strong because Farigiraf is the only Pokémon that can do strong damage to Garganacl after it Terastallizes. Since Salt Cure removes ¼ of Steel- and Water-type Pokémon’s health each turn, bringing Kingambit and the Rain mode leaves you very vulnerable to Garganacl.

Tournament run

Being the first US regional of Scarlet and Violet, it was expected that there would be technical difficulties. Shoutout to the TOs for doing all they could to try to make it run as smoothly as possible. Playing 10 rounds was incredibly draining, but we were able to finish quicker than I expected.

With that said, this was my run at San Diego Regionals!

Swiss rounds

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamList
Marcus Dion
(Father Dijon)
Lonness Valenna
DragapultGarganaclMimikyuIndeedee FemalePincurchinBellibolt
Justin Carris
SylveonAnnihilapeArmarougeTatsugiri StretchyDondozoMeowscarada
Cedric Bernier
Lou Akcos-Cromie
SylveonGholdengoDragoniteTatsugiri CurlyDondozoMeowscarada
Andrew Nowak
Tauros Paldea BlazeTatsugiri CurlyBaxcaliburKilowattrelDondozoMeowscarada
Sohaib Mufti
KingambitGholdengoMimikyuPelipperTauros Paldea AquaAmoonguss
Juan Sandoval
Joseph Ugarte
Jeudy Azzarelli

Top cut

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamList
Alberto Renero
GarchompGholdengoAzumarillMurkrowRotom HeatAmoonguss

Heat Rotom was very annoying with its ability to spread burns. Grass Tera Type on Pelipper and Drednaw were very important to secure this win.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamList
Brady Smith
GarchompGholdengoTalonflameGrimmsnarlRotom WashAmoonguss

Wash Rotom was once again scary with its ability to spread burns and its Steel Tera Type. However, Meowscarada and Pelipper were able to provide a lot of offensive pressure and win the set for me.

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamList
Giovanni Costa
DragoniteGholdengoTalonflameGothitelleTauros Paldea BlazeMeowscarada

I wanted to bring Farigiraf games 1 and 2 because I was scared of Talonflame, Gothitelle, and Dragonite. I got very lucky game 1 and won, but got a little unlucky game 2 and lost. I decided to switch to Drednaw in game 3 because Farigiraf was not doing enough and was too passive. I was able to get a key read correct late in the game and was able to win game 3 and the set!

You can watch my top 8 set against Giovanni here, starting at 2:56:47!:

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamList
Jiseok Lee
GarganaclGholdengoBaxcaliburMimikyuTauros Paldea AquaMeowscarada

I expected Gholdengo in game 1 to counter my Farigiraf and led Meowscarada + Kingambit. I misplayed my good position and made an incorrect call in the endgame, losing game 1. I kept the same Pokémon for game 2 because I was still worried about Gholdengo and I expected him to keep the same lead because he won game 1 pretty convincingly, but he switched to Garganacl. Salt Cure destroys my team and without Farigiraf, I had no way to damage it after it Terastallized to Poison.

You can watch my top 4 set against Jiseok here, starting at 4:37:01!:


This team was a blast to pilot. I had so much fun this weekend. I am super happy and feel very lucky that I was able to place top 4 at San Diego Regionals, especially considering it was my first-ever Regional. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, this will hopefully not be the last time you hear of me.

Huge shoutout to all my friends who helped me before and during the tournament, you know who you are.

Feel free to contact me through my Twitter. Hope you enjoy the team!

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