Old Ways Are the Better Ways — A VR Welcome to Paldea Top 8 Team Report

Hi! I’m Aapo Niemiranta, and I go by Aapo or AaPokemon793 online. I started playing VGC in 2017, back then I simply casually played in the Battle Spot ladder and didn’t compete in any tournaments and wasn’t a part of the community at all. I skipped VGC 2018 and 2019 almost entirely, and came back in late 2019 when Sword and Shield were released. During the pandemic, I started playing online tournaments and had my first good result back in June 2021.

Recently, I got top 8 in the VR Welcome to Paldea tournament, which had 465 players. For this, I used a team consisting of only returning Pokémon, which is what this team report is about.

Table of Contents

Teambuilding process

I wanted to use a team archetype that I was familiar with, rather than using something completely new that I didn’t know how to play. I decided to take inspiration from Spikemuth Cup, a fanmade format that was played at the very end of Sword and Shield VGC. In early Spikemuth, me and my friend Mohamed Nihal (Mr.GX) used a bulky Tailwind team built around Suicune. I wanted to build something similar for Scarlet and Violet, since I was very comfortable with bulky Tailwind teams.

The first version of the team was centered around Bulk Up Ceruledge + Grimmsnarl. The thought was to set up Ceruledge with Light Screen and Fake Out support from Grimmsnarl. I also put a special Tailwind Salamence and Gholdengo on the team for immediate offense to not be too reliant on setup. The last two Pokémon were Wash Rotom and Amoonguss, as they covered for weaknesses and rounded out the team nicely.

CeruledgeGrimmsnarlSalamenceGholdengoRotom WashAmoonguss

I used this version of the team in a Pokémon Showdown room tournament, in-game ladder and the Limitless tournament, the first major tournament of Series 1. After this testing, I found that both Salamence and Fake Out Grimmsnarl were very underwhelming. Intimidate was significantly worse than in previous generations since Clear Amulet is extremely common. I didn’t like Murkrow or Tailwind Hydreigon as a replacement either, since Hydreigon wanted to have Protect + 3 attacks and Murkrow was too passive on its own. I was also expecting to see a lot of counterplay to Murkrow + Gholdengo, which meant that I would have a hard time using it. Eventually I found an alternative in Corviknight. It was bulky and could setup with Bulk Up, so it was not passive even when the game is slowed down. I also added Volcarona over Ceruledge to have a better matchup vs Armarouge + Indeedee teams, and Life Orb Garchomp with Fire Tera Type to beat Murkrow + Gholdengo leads as well as for beating other Dragon types.

VolcaronaGrimmsnarlGarchompCorviknightRotom WashAmoonguss

The Team

▶️ Find a paste of the team here!

Corviknight @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Mirror Armor
Level: 50
Tera Type: Fire
EVs: 252 HP / 204 Atk / 4 Def / 20 SpD / 28 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Brave Bird
– Bulk Up
– Tailwind
– Roost

I decided to use Adamant Corviknight with a high amount of Attack EVs to be powerful after a single Bulk Up as well as to ensure a +1 Brave Bird one-hit KO on Amoonguss. With Safety Goggles + Fire-type Terastallization you can safely setup vs Amoonguss + Arcanine cores, and the Fire Tera Type also lets Corviknight wall Bulk Up Ceruledge and makes it immune to Will-O-Wisp.

Grimmsnarl @ Light Clay
Ability: Prankster
Level: 50
Tera Type: Ghost
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Atk / 108 Def / 116 SpD / 36 Spe
Careful Nature
– Spirit Break
– Reflect
– Taunt
– Light Screen

Standard Grimmsnarl set, dual screens with Light Clay is the best way to use Grimmsnarl even with all the other options it has. I chose Taunt as the last move to stop my opponents from setting up. Taunt is especially good for stopping Dondozo’s Substitute and Annihilape’s Bulk Up.

The Ghost Tera Type makes Grimmsnarl immune to Fake Out and also allows it to switch out on Shadow Tag Gothitelle if needed.

This Grimmsnarl is designed to survive a Make It Rain from Choice Specs Gholdengo under Light Screen. 36 Speed EVs lets you outspeed Garchomp if you are under Tailwind, as well as outspeeding other Grimmsnarl naturally.

Garchomp @ Life Orb
Ability: Rough Skin
Level: 50
Tera Type: Fire
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Dragon Claw
– Earthquake
– Tera Blast
– Protect

I chose to use Life Orb Garchomp with Fire Tera Type to reliably beat Gholdengo under Tailwind, as Choice Specs-boosted Make It Rain from a Steel Tera Type Terastallized Gholdengo is a guaranteed one-hit KO on Garchomp unless I resist the hit.

Fire-type Tera Blast will always one-hit KO them back unless they are very physically defensive. Life Orb also allows you to one-shot opposing Garchomp and Hydreigon with Dragon Claw.

Rotom-Wash @ Choice Specs
Ability: Levitate
Level: 50
Tera Type: Grass
EVs: 228 HP / 4 Def / 140 SpA / 28 SpD / 108 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Thunderbolt
– Hydro Pump
– Volt Switch
– Trick

At first, I used a more defensive Rotom with Will-o-Wisp and Sitrus Berry, but found its damage output to be lacking. I tried Nasty Plot as well, but wanted immediate damage output as well as positioning options. Choice Specs provided both of these things, as it allowed me to have Volt Switch on Rotom, which I could use to pivot, as well as immediate damage output so I’m not relying on Nasty Plot to be threatening.

As for the Tera Type, I used Electric for a while to boost the damage output of my Thunderbolt and Volt Switch, but decided to go for the defensive Grass in the end to ignore Rage Powder and to resist Grass-type moves, mostly Meowscarada’s Flower Trick.

The HP and Special Defense EVs allow Rotom to always survive a Life Orb Hydreigon’s Draco Meteor. 108 Speed EVs hits a Speed stat value of 120, which lets you outspeed some Gholdengo.

Thunderbolt, Hydro Pump and Volt Switch are obvious move choices for Wash Rotom. For the last move I chose Trick to be able to cripple Garganacl by locking it into a move.

Volcarona @ Leftovers
Ability: Flame Body
Level: 50
Tera Type: Grass
EVs: 124 HP / 156 Def / 68 SpA / 4 SpD / 156 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Heat Wave
– Bug Buzz
– Quiver Dance
– Protect

The team’s other setup sweeper, Volcarona, likes to setup Quiver Dance either behind Grimmsnarl’s screens or Amoonguss’s redirection. It is also my answer for Indeedee + Armarouge teams. Bug Buzz lets you hit Indeedee for super effective and Armarouge for neutral damage. I chose Heat Wave as my Fire-type move over Fiery Dance or Flamethrower for spread damage. Not having Giga Drain might seem weird, but in testing I never felt that I really needed it, since I had other options for beating the things that Giga Drain would hit super effectively, and I needed Bug Buzz to hit Armarouge and Hydreigon.

The Grass Tera Type lets Volcarona resist Dondozo’s Wave Crash, which is important when going up against Steel Tera Type Terastallized Dondozo. It also lets Volcarona set up on Amoonguss for free since Grass types are not affected by Spore.

Amoonguss @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Regenerator
Level: 50
Tera Type: Fire
EVs: 236 HP / 172 Def / 4 SpA / 84 SpD / 12 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Spore
– Rage Powder
– Clear Smog
– Pollen Puff

Amoonguss is the “glue” member of the team. Spore and Rage Powder give the team’s other Pokémon free turns to either set up or deal damage, and Pollen Puff can keep them healthy, allowing the team to last long and outbulk the opponent. Clear Smog helps to keep opposing setup Pokémon in check, and is also needed vs Dondozo.

Rocky Helmet was my choice of item, because I felt that the team was a little bit weak to Maushold’s Population Bomb, so with Rocky Helmet it would knock itself out if it attacked Amoonguss. Rocky Helmet also punishes Bulk Up Annihilape for hitting Amoonguss, which is useful for chipping it down.

12 Speed EVs lets you outspeed other Amoonguss. This can be occasionally useful in situations where the opposing Amoonguss is forced to Terastallize to survive, so, with this spread, you can Spore them before they get to move.

How to use the team

Opponent’s teamComments
General ruleThis team is very flexible and a has a lot of lead options, but Grimmsnarl + Garchomp is a good “neutral” lead if you don’t know what to do.
Leading with Volcarona or Corviknight + either Amoonguss or Grimmsnarl is also good, because it allows you to set up without taking too much damage.
Another option is Grimmsnarl + Rotom, which allows you to get screens up and Volt Switch to safely get either Garchomp or a setup Pokemon in.
Trick Room teams
Indeedee FemaleArmarouge
The idea is to use Grimmsnarl + Volcarona to handle Armarouge under Psychic Terrain and to stall out Trick Room turns. The last 2 Pokémon depend on what the rest of the opponent’s team is, but Garchomp is usually brought, because it is a good late-game option to beat Pokémon that Armarouge likes to be paired with, such as Torkoal.
TatsugiriDondozo
Grimmsnarl + Rotom lead allows to get screens up and pivot with Volt Switch to get either Amoonguss or Volcarona in. It is extremely important to keep Rotom healthy, as it is the best option you have to pressure Dondozo. Most Dondozo at the time had either Grass or Steel Tera Types, but other variants like Dragon are much harder. Against these Dondozo you want to use Grass-type Terastallized Volcarona under screens to beat it. If it is not Steel, you can Clear Smog it with Amoonguss. Taunt Grimmsnarl stops Dondozo from getting a Substitute up, which is important so you can remove its boosts with Amoonguss’s Clear Smog.
MurkrowGholdengo
In this matchup, you always lead with Garchomp, but you have a lot of options for what other Pokémon to bring. Grimmsnarl is always a good lead here, early screens help. You can also lead Amoonguss to either Spore Murkrow or heal up your own Garchomp with Pollen Puff after it has taken a Choice Specs-boosted Make It Rain, or Rotom to potentially get a double KO turn 1, or momentum with Volt Switch. Rotom is almost always brought in these matchups, whether it’s a lead or in the back.
Bulk Up Annihilape
Annihilape
The plan is to use Amoonguss to keep the Annihilape in check while you set up Volcarona with Quiver Dance. If the Annihilape is paired with Beat Up Maushold instead of Grimmsnarl, start attacking Maushold after 1 Quiver Dance. You have to keep spamming Rage Powder with Amoonguss until Maushold is in +1 Volcarona KO range. Usually you want to bring Garchomp and Rotom in the back to hit Annihilape super effectively if it has Terastallized into a Fire type. This is without a doubt the hardest matchup of the team, especially if the Maushold has Safety Goggles.
PelipperPalafin
In Rain matchups, the goal is to use Grass-type Terastallized Rotom to beat Pelipper and Palafin. The rest of the team keeps it healthy and protects it vs Pokémon that threaten it. If they don’t lead with their Rain abusers, you want to switch Rotom out to preserve as much of its health as possible. This is important, because a Terastallized Palafin does insane damage in Rain even with resisted hits. Lead Rotom + Grimmsnarl with Garchomp and Amoonguss in the back.

Tournament run

This was my run at VR Welcome to Paldea!

Swiss rounds

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamList
R1WWUSA
Justin Vargo
(Vargo)
HydreigonFarigirafSkeledirgeMurkrowMaushold FourArboliva
R2LLCHN
Wang Bingjie
(小肥仔圆圆)
GrimmsnarlGholdengoArmarougeMurkrowMausholdAnnihilape
R3WWJPN
Hiroyuki Morita
()
HydreigonGholdengoDragoniteMurkrowAnnihilapeMeowscarada
R4LLGBR
Max Waterman
(Simipour)
HydreigonIndeedee FemaleArmarougeMimikyuAzumarillTorkoal
R5WWUSA
Ian Herzog
(Shore)
TyranitarGholdengoGarchompTalonflameRotom WashAmoonguss
R6LWWJPN
Tomoyuki Yoshimura
(SNOW)
HydreigonGholdengoGarchompMurkrowVolcaronaAmoonguss
R7WWESP
Marc Seguí
(Metarizard)
HydreigonGholdengoDragoniteMurkrowCeruledgeGengar
R8WLWESP
Alfonso González
(Massa)
BaxcaliburTinkatonSkeledirgeGrimmsnarlGyaradosGallade
R9WWITA
Damiano La Barbera
(Asta)
GrimmsnarlGholdengoSylveonMurkrowRotom WashAnnihilape

Top cut

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamList
Top 64Bye

 
Top 32WWITA
Stefano Greppi
(Ste)
HydreigonTalonflameGarchompGrimmsnarlRotom WashAmoonguss
Top 16WWITA
Marco Silva
(marcofiero)
GrimmsnarlGholdengoSylveonMurkrowRotom WashAnnihilape
Top 8LLCHN
Xie Yantong
(Darko)
AnnihilapeIndeedee FemaleArmarougeMurkrowMausholdMeowscarada

Conclusion

Thanks to everyone who supported me during my run in the tournament, and to everyone who helped me build my team! I was happy to do well in such a big online tournament, and will eventually go to a real-life tournament as well. Hope you enjoy the team, I had a lot of fun using it!

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