Hi, everyone! My name is Maheen Thakur, and I grew up in Tokyo. I started playing VGC in 2020 with Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield after being inspired by Aaron Zheng. I only bought my Nintendo Switch during the pandemic, which brought me back to the mainline game after Pokémon Black & Pokémon White. Since this was my first major online tournament, I am thrilled to share the team that got me in 10th place at the Victory Road to Melbourne!
Table of Contents
This was the first iteration of the team, and I was experimenting with the new Regulation Set B. I knew Iron Hands was insane since it could solo 6🟊 Tera Raid Battles with no problem, so I would try to build around this Pokémon.
While my best friend Matthew and I were practicing, we realized that the problem with Garganacl was that games often went down to the timer. It was very frustrating to lose, even though the combination of Salt Cure and Recover would have won the game eventually if there had been more time. This brings me to the next iteration of the team:
Adding Amoonguss allowed me to complete the Grass + Fire + Water core and add another Fairy-type resistance. Since I already had Iron Hands for Fighting-type coverage, I wanted to try Roaring Moon instead of Great Tusk. Replacing Flutter Mane with Curse Mimikyu was my check for stall-oriented Garganacl and is essential to bring against Dondozo matchups. There was a fun interaction where I could use Curse when Terastallized with Fire Tera Type to outspeed in Trick Room, also increasing Defense and Attack. However, Mimikyu was extremely frail after Disguise was busted, and the results were underwhelming. This brings me to the final version of the team, commonly referred to as Roaring Moon balanced.
Find a paste of the team here!
Iron Bundle @ Focus Sash
Ability: Quark Drive
Tera Type: Ghost
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Icy Wind
– Hydro Pump
Iron Bundle is the only source of speed control on the team with Icy Wind. The EV spread is straightforward, additionally the Focus Sash allows me to fully invest in Speed and Special Attack.
Freeze-Dry threatens to one-hit KO Tatsugiri, Pelipper, and Gastrodon.
The Ghost Tera Type is mainly to make opponents think twice about using Fake Out, and Iron Bundle becomes immune to its Fighting-type weakness. However, it is the least frequently Terastallized member of the team.
Iron Hands @ Assault Vest
Ability: Quark Drive
Tera Type: Grass
EVs: 4 HP / 156 Atk / 108 Def / 220 SpD / 20 Spe
– Wild Charge
– Drain Punch
– Stomping Tantrum
– Fake Out
Iron Hands is the main tank for the team, but it also does massive damage. The Special Defense EVs with Assault Vest allows it to survive a Moonblast from Flutter Mane, which can catch your opponent off-guard. There is a slight Speed investment to outrun an opposing Iron Hands, Kingambit, and min-Speed Armarouge outside Trick Room.
The move Stomping Tantrum was added later (replacing Volt Switch) for mirror matchups and against Garganacl with Poison Tera Type, although most Garganacl are running Ghost Tera Type as of recently. Volt Switch is still a viable option. The most notable weakness is Will-O-Wisp, halving its damage output from burns, but switching in Arcanine or Gholdengo can save Iron Hands from the status condition.
The Grass Tera Type helps Iron Hands against Great Tusk, because Headlong Rush is a guaranteed one-hit KO.
252+ SpA Fairy Tera Type Flutter Mane Moonblast vs. 4 HP / 220 SpD Assault Vest Iron Hands: 172-204 (74.7 – 88.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ SpA Life Orb Armarouge Expanding Force vs. 4 HP / 220 SpD Assault Vest Iron Hands in Psychic Terrain: 148-174 (64.3 – 75.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
4 SpA Gothitelle Psychic vs. 4 HP / 220 SpD Assault Vest Iron Hands: 68-84 (29.5 – 36.5%) — 44.1% chance to 3HKO
Roaring Moon @ Booster Energy
Tera Type: Flying
EVs: 156 Atk / 100 Def / 252 Spe
– Throat Chop
Roaring Moon is the main damage dealer for the team. I hesitated to go with Jolly Nature because I wanted to slightly invest in Defense to survive unexpected hits. Furthermore, an Attack-raising Booster Energy can one-hit KO Indeedee and Armarouge. I valued this over the extra boost in Speed since Indeedee paired with Armarouge is such a common archetype in the current metagame.
Throat Chop prevents the use of Hyper Voice from common threats like Sylveon (although the opponent might choose to use Tera Blast). Having Taunt on Roaring Moon can save itself and allies from unwanted status moves. Booster Energy Acrobatics kinda goes hard, not gonna lie!
156+ Atk Flying Tera Type Roaring Moon Acrobatics (110 BP) vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Amoonguss: 316-376 (142.9 – 170.1%) — guaranteed OHKO
156+ Atk Roaring Moon Throat Chop vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Indeedee-F: 182-216 (102.8 – 122%) — guaranteed OHKO
156+ Atk Roaring Moon Throat Chop vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Armarouge: 192-228 (100 – 118.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
156+ Atk Iron Hands Drain Punch vs. 0 HP / 100 Def Roaring Moon: 162-192 (90 – 106.6%) — 43.8% chance to OHKO
Amoonguss @ Covert Cloak
Tera Type: Dark
EVs: 236 HP / 196 Def / 76 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Rage Powder
– Pollen Puff
– Clear Smog
Amoonguss provides redirection and overall disruption for the opponent. The 236 HP EVs is crucial for Amoonguss as it can survive a Final Gambit from Annihilape. The HP stat is divisible by 3, which is optimal for Regenerator recovery. Covert Cloak as a held item is very helpful with Garganacl matchups, it also prevents flinches and the Frozen status after Freeze-Dry.
The Dark Tera Type is mainly for Psychic immunity against Trick Room matchups.
252 SpA Iron Bundle Freeze-Dry vs. 236 HP / 76+ SpD Amoonguss: 116-138 (52.9 – 63%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ SpA Choice Specs Gholdengo Make It Rain vs. 236 HP / 76+ SpD Amoonguss: 127-150 (57.9 – 68.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 Atk Arcanine Flare Blitz vs. 236 HP / 196 Def Amoonguss: 192-228 (87.6 – 104.1%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO
Arcanine @ Safety Goggles
Tera Type: Water
EVs: 204 HP / 4 Atk / 108 Def / 188 SpD / 4 Spe
– Flare Blitz
Arcanine is the primary source of damage reduction for the team. The moveset is standard. However, I wanted extra bulk to survive a Hydro Pump from Iron Bundle and even a Headlong Rush from Great Tusk after Intimidate. CloverBells helped me come up with the EV spread for Arcanine to achieve this goal.
I chose Water Tera Type over Grass because it already has Safety Goggles. My Water-Tera Type Arcanine can still resist Flare Blitz from other Arcanine and Make It Rain from Gholdengo, which a Grass-Tera Type Arcanine cannot otherwise provide.
252 SpA Iron Bundle Hydro Pump vs. 204 HP / 188+ SpD Arcanine: 162-192 (84.8 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
-1 252+ Atk Great Tusk Headlong Rush vs. 204 HP / 108 Def Arcanine: 162-192 (84.8 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
Gholdengo @ Life Orb
Ability: Good as Gold
Tera Type: Water
EVs: 132 HP / 4 Def / 116 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Make It Rain
– Shadow Ball
– Nasty Plot
Gholdengo is the secondary damage dealer that also has excellent synergy with Roaring Moon, covering for each other’s weaknesses. Although I was leaning towards a bulkier spread, I felt the need for Timid max Speed to speed tie with other Gholdengo. As a compromise, I invested more in HP by reaching the second 10n−1 for Life Orb recoil optimization.
Nasty Plot allows it to compensate for the reduced Special Attack, and the defensive Water Tera Type has been great against opposing Fire types.
116 SpA Life Orb Gholdengo Shadow Ball vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Armarouge: 198-234 (103.1 – 121.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
116 SpA Life Orb Gholdengo Make It Rain vs. 4 HP / 4 SpD Flutter Mane: 140-166 (106.8 – 126.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
116 SpA Life Orb Gholdengo Make It Rain vs. 4 HP / 4 SpD Iron Bundle: 136-161 (103 – 121.9%) — guaranteed OHKO
How to use the team
The best thing about this team is the flexibility to lead any 2 Pokémon in all combinations. Playing in this tournament and the Regulation Set B ladder, I have come up with preferable leads against common matchups.
|Trick Room teams||Leading with Roaring Moon + Gholdengo immediately exerts a lot of pressure on the opponent. Roaring Moon can Throat Chop Indeedee for the guaranteed one-hit KO. A Shadow Ball from Gholdengo will also one-hit KO Armarouge without heavy Special Defense investment. This will force out an early Terastallization from the opponent or require them to switch out. Having Arcanine or Amoonguss in the back for support is ideal if the opponent makes some switches or chooses to Terastallize, just in case you cannot deny Trick Room.|
|Acid Spray teams||Usually, you can lead with Iron Bundle + Roaring Moon to scout out the move Flutter Mane with Choice Specs locks into. Since Iron Bundle has a Focus Sash, you can take a hit from the Speed-boosted Iron Moth and use Icy Wind. It is up to Roaring Moon to decide which opponent to target, as both Iron Moth and Flutter Mane have very low Defense stats. Replacing Gholdengo for Roaring Moon is also a valid option. However, Gholdengo may require an early Water-type Terastallization.|
|Garganacl balanced teams||Amoonguss with Covert Cloak is the MVP for this sort of matchup. The key game plan is to preserve Amoonguss from its common threats and redirect Salt Cure from Garganacl. Then, if Amoonguss is low on HP, you can switch out for Regenerator recovery and heal up the team with Pollen Puff. Inevitably, many switches and repositioning are required, but slow and steady wins the race.|
|This really depends on the Tatsugiri form that Dondozo is paired with. Arcanine or Amoonguss is essential to bring in the back for this matchup. Speed-boosting Dondozo (paired with Stretchy Tatsugiri) is easier to manage with Intimidate cycling with Arcanine. Problems arise when an Attack-boosting Dondozo (paired with Curly Tatsugiri) has the Steel Tera Type or knows Substitute, since you cannot simply Clear Smog or Spore it with Amoonguss. The general game plan is for Iron Hands or Roaring Moon to deal consistent damage and break the Substitute while cycling in Intimidate with Arcanine and possibly even burning it. Iron Bundle can manage Tatsugiri (and also damage Dondozo) once it leaves the Commander status. On the other hand, Amoonguss can heal up the team throughout the battle.|
|Wolfe Glick‘s Perish Trap team||This is an unfavorable matchup, and even one misplay can significantly change the tides of the game. When considering Gothitelle’s Ability, Shadow Tag, leading with Iron Bundle + Gholdengo is the safest option. Since Gholdengo is immune to Perish Song, the opponent has to target down Gholdengo for their win condition, which is why Iron Bundle can check common threats such as Arcanine. The Ghost Tera Type on Iron Bundle also allows it to pivot out from Shadow Tag and bypass Fake Out. Water-Tera Type Terastallization on Gholdengo is also an option when needed, but it now loses its ability to switch out. Roaring Moon can outspeed Perish Song users and Throat Chop once their Speed is lowered from Icy Wind. However, the 4× Fairy-type weakness is a considerable risk without Flying Tera Type. Considering this fact, Amoonguss or Arcanine might be a safer option. Iron Hands can deal with Gothitelle late game as Psychic has a chance to 3-hit KO full-HP Iron Hands despite being super effective, barring any critical hits.|
This was my first major tournament, and having 8 Swiss rounds of best-of-3 matches was really challenging, especially since it started from 11 pm in my timezone. I considered dropping out around 3 am, but my friend Matthew insisted that I keep going. I was pleasantly surprised with the results.
With that being said, this was my run for Victory Road to Melbourne:
Click on the tabs to see some notes about my top cut matches!
Thank you to Victory Road for hosting this event and giving me this amazing opportunity. I would also like to give a huge shoutout to Ray Rizzo, who has been helping me throughout this season. Especially practicing with common matchups and devising a thorough gameplan from the team preview phase was essential for my growth as a VGC player.
Anyway, here is the Rental Team code. Enjoy!