Hi, there! I’m Eden Batchelor, or XenoVGC, a non-binary UK Pokémon player who has played for over ten years now. I had an amazing winning tournament run in one of the first tournaments in the Regulation Set B format versus the best female, non-binary and agender players in the world: Hatterene Series SV #1!
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I have always been a player who leans towards building goodstuffs compositions because I like having the ability to pivot around and create enough space to understand my opponents’ play. I had just come out of Liverpool Regionals, where I went 1-2 and pulled it back to a respectable 6-3 record, and Charlie Donnelly (CharTheMimikyu) top cut with a balanced Garganacl team.
We wanted to carry over a similar teambuilding template, but this was difficult with Iron Hands and Iron Bundle looking to be top-tier picks. Iron Hands especially was advantageous against Meowscarada, Kingambit and potentially Azumarill if built in a particular way. We still wanted to continue using Garganacl into a new metagame against teams that might have defensive gaps in team building, and it helped create a proactive strategy of protecting it. Therefore we looked into new tools to strengthen this strategy further and deal with new threats to it.
The starting point was Arcanine and Iron Hands alongside Garganacl. Arcanine gained many new targets that, if built correctly, it could Snarl, burn and control the field very effectively. It was one of the best options to deal with opposing Iron Hands, and Fire-Tera Type Iron Hands wasn’t established yet, so burning it was a strong option to reduce its effectiveness. It also helped deal with hard Trick Room teams and gave Snarl support to stall and outlast the first wave of Trick Room’s effect, which then allowed a board clear to prevent the second from going up. Iron Hands is likely something I will not stop using for this season unless there is a major metagame shakeup. You can attempt to hard-counter it, but its stat spread in my opinion is absolutely absurd and creates little counterplay to its pivoting unless you go far out of your way to deal with it. I chose to lean towards a bulky Volt Switch Assault Vest set, creating a pivot and a means to spread stat drops with an Arcanine waiting in the back with an Intimidate.
With these three established, we tested previous options within the old core. Meowscarada and Azumarill did not translate well into the new environment. This format in general has a severe lack of strong Water types. As we didn’t want to lean towards a Dondozo archetype, we opted to try out Iron Bundle itself. With Icy Wind support, I envisioned it similar to Regieleki in previous formats, using Booster Energy to reach an uncontested speed tier and have a blanket check to control opposing fast hyper-offensive strategies using combinations of the new Paradox Pokémon. Flutter Mane worked very well as a partner to this strategy, helping our type coverage and creating fast pressure with Iron Bundle to cover Maushold + Annihilape, which we expected to continue being popular from last season.
Lastly we wanted to test out a combination of different Dragon types. Roaring Moon was an option, but I was worried about its matchups into opposing Iron Bundle, Iron Hands and Arcanine. It didn’t seem like an appealing choice at the time for this reason—plus its reliance on Terastallization for Acrobatics clashed with Garganacl wanting to Terastallize for itself. Ultimately we decided to stick with what we were using before for familiarity, using Baxcalibur to create the trademark double-Ice-type core. With Icy Wind we could create setup opportunities for Loaded Dice-boosted Icicle Spear to deal high amounts of damage. It was also a proactive answer to Amoonguss which we knew would be popular going into this season. Defensively, the typing wasn’t as much of an issue as you would expect, because Iron Bundle and Baxcalibur do not share many weaknesses.
The main tech move that surprised a lot of people and probably helped me win the tournament was the use of Perish Song on Focus Sash Flutter Mane. This has since been used to great effect on more dedicated Perish Song-based teams, such as the one piloted by Wolfe Glick in the Orlando Regionals. For this team it was initially planned as a tech option for Garganacl, making sure to bring the situation into the opponents’ last two and click Perish Song. Since I was running a Relaxed Nature on Garganacl, I would often get knocked out last against a Garganacl in the mirror and win the set. However, this came in useful in grand finals in more ways than I would expect—using it to force switch-outs early and put pressure on early setup. I never envisioned it being used outside of the late game, but I was very happy that I could put the move to much more creative use!
Find a paste of the team here!
Iron Bundle @ Booster Energy
Ability: Quark Drive
Tera Type: Ice
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Hydro Pump
– Icy Wind
In hindsight, Ghost Tera Type would have probably been more useful to switch out of perish trap teams (those using the combination of the move Perish Song and trapping, e.g. the Ability Shadow Tag) and be immune to Fake Out and Extreme Speed. However Ice was useful at some points to deal more damage to Roaring Moon and Amoonguss.
Iron Hands @ Assault Vest
Ability: Quark Drive
Tera Type: Grass
EVs: 12 HP / 156 Atk / 92 Def / 236 SpD / 12 Spe
– Drain Punch
– Thunder Punch
– Volt Switch
– Fake Out
The Grass Tera Type is meant for Spore and Rage Powder immunity, alongside creating a resistance to Ground-type moves such as Great Tusk’s Headlong Rush. The Attack investment coincides with an Attack stat jump.
252+ Atk Great Tusk Headlong Rush vs. 12 HP / 92 Def Iron Hands: 194-230 (83.9 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Life Orb Tera Fairy Flutter Mane Moonblast vs. 12 HP / 236 SpD Assault Vest Iron Hands: 203-239 (87.8 – 103.4%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO
Flutter Mane @ Focus Sash
Tera Type: Fairy
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Shadow Ball
– Perish Song
Focus Sash was chosen over offensive items to give survivability to Perish Song against threats such as Dondozo. Since the metagame was unpredictable, I wanted to cover everything as generally as possible.
Baxcalibur @ Loaded Dice
Ability: Thermal Exchange
Tera Type: Water
EVs: 180 HP / 204 Atk / 20 Def / 4 SpD / 100 Spe
– Glaive Rush
– Icicle Spear
– Ice Shard
Ice Shard was chosen over setup moves like Swords Dance and Dragon Dance because I valued the utility of having priority. It feels important to have priority in this format, with a lot of fast Paradox threats, to keep pressure on them and break through Focus Sash.
The Speed value of 120 on Baxcalibur makes it outspeed Maushold after an Icy Wind-induced Speed drop. It also speed-creeps other Baxcalibur.
252 Atk Life Orb Garchomp Dragon Claw vs. 180 HP / 20 Def Baxcalibur: 187-221 (87.7 – 103.7%) — 25% chance to OHKO
I would have tried to make this a higher percentage, but I felt as though my other EVs (such as getting the Attack jump) were more important.
Arcanine @ Sitrus Berry
Tera Type: Dark
EVs: 244 HP / 20 Atk / 4 Def / 44 SpD / 196 Spe
– Flare Blitz
The Dark Tera Type was chosen over Grass and Water for Armarouge strategies. I wasn’t sure if people were going to bring Weakness Policy self-activation to the tournament, so I figured I would bring this as a backup strategy as I am fairly weak to it. It also helps in general versus Expanding Force usage in Trick Room.
The Speed value of 154 makes it outspeed Great Tusk, so you can use Will-O-Wisp on it in an emergency.
20 Atk Arcanine Flare Blitz vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Gholdengo: 158-188 (96.9 – 115.3%) — 81.3% chance to OHKO
Garganacl @ Leftovers
Ability: Purifying Salt
Tera Type: Ghost
EVs: 244 HP / 12 Def / 252 SpD
– Salt Cure
– Wide Guard
I wanted to have as much Special Defense investment as possible on the set. Investing in a Defense-boosting Nature however returns more stats because the base stat is higher.
This was my run at the Hatterene Series SV #1 tournament!
Click on the tabs to see some notes about my top cut matches!
Going forward, one of the first things I would look to change is Garganacl. Whilst it was key in this tournament, the metagame is developing to become more hostile towards it, with the power level increasing when people figure out how to use the new Paradox Pokémon options. Covert Cloak is also becoming an increasingly popular tech option to stop Fake Out flinches and stat drops from moves such as Snarl, and this affects Salt Cure doing damage over time as well. Options like Curse can be used over Wide Guard to set up on the physically offensive metagame, and when you Terastallize, give you an option to play around Covert Cloak strategies.
The removal of Wide Guard however could make dealing with Psychic spam strategies difficult. Therefore, a Dark-Tera Type tech option, or switching Baxcalibur to another Dragon type or method of dealing with those strategies, could prove beneficial as well. Roaring Moon, Dragonite and Brute Bonnet are all options that can be looked into for example.
In tournaments after this, I also had less use for Perish Song due to running Curse on Garganacl. Many people using a Garganacl archetype, myself included, switched to Mimikyu because it has more survivability, a priority option, and Disguise to take a power attack upfront, which Flutter Mane is completely unable to do.
Two teams in the Oceania International Championships showcased what Garganacl archetypes can evolve into going forward. Shoutouts to Sam Pandelis and Xiao Haotian for performing with what I personally think is a better version of this team archetype!
Lastly, my team got featured on Aaron Zheng’s (CybertronVGC) channel if you want some further viewing!
Thank you to the Bulus, i.e. Matt Carter (Mattsby), Charlie Donnelly (CharTheMimikyu) and Andrew Fairbrother (Combustandy), for helping with teambuilding and putting up with my midnight ramblings on team improvements and EV spreads. Extra special thank you to Char as well for the wonderful art piece. Thanks for all the love and support I’ve received from the community! It’s made these twelve years of playing the game completely worth it.
Here is a team code for the online in-game ladder if you want to try the team for yourself!