Coup de Foudre à Yokohama — A Worlds Top Cut Team Report

Hello, everyone! My name is Anthony Liuzzo (better known as Glum in the VGC community), I’m one of the World Cup managers from last year for Team France, and today I’m going to talk about the rough journey that led me to top cut the World Championships, starting all the way from Day 1.

I started VGC tournaments in 2017 at local events. In 2019, after a messed-up 2018 season, I managed to qualify. After that, I took a hiatus until the 2023 London Open. During this time, it was revealed that the World Championships would be held in Yokohama. Determined to participate, I committed myself to the endeavor. After a half-tone season, I successfully secured my qualification. Allow me to share the journey from my preparation leading up to the final outcome!

Table of Contents

Teambuilding process

At the beginning of the summer, I was really not confident in my capabilities to achieve anything in Japan. I went from a solid start of the season to an absolute nightmare to rack up the last points to qualify. To sum up, I was really not considering myself worthy of the event, so I decided that I had to put myself through a hyperbolic time-chamber kind of training, so I played a lot of games, mainly ladder games because I usually try to avoid this exercise.

And after 3 weeks or so, I finally felt that I had improved, the problem now was to find a good team. I had one idea in mind at that moment : “I want to play a hyper offensive team with Flutter Mane and Tornadus”.

Flutter ManeTornadus Incarnate

Starting from that point me and my friends Adam Cherfaoui (Shao) and Nicolas Legoux (NewShiny) started to scratch to find something that could buff the tailwind core.

Flutter ManeTornadus IncarnateIron BundleChi YuLandorus TherianRegidrago

That was the final team of my friends, but I didn’t really liked Iron Bundle in the format so I decided to keep trying to find something that would suit me better.

After some ladder testing I eventually determined the optimal third slot for my team: Single Strike Style Urshifu. The underlying strategy was straightforward: I aimed to eliminate threats after weakening them with chip damage from Dazzling Gleam, leveraging Urshifu’s remarkable offensive capabilities combined with Unseen Fist. The Dark-type Urshifu proved more dependable in practice, especially due to the prevalence of Water-Tera Type slots and the challenge posed by Amoonguss, which either countered Rapid Strike Style Ushifu, or forced them to hold the Safety Goggles.

Flutter ManeTornadus IncarnateUrshifu Single

After that I wasted a fair amount of time giving Gastrodon a chance to shine because in theory it was “good” against Iron Hands, Dondozo, Heatran and Rapid Strike Style Urshifu, but in practice nothing good came from it, so I decided to move on. I saw Eric Rios‘s team and Farigiraf caught my attention, so I tried it.

Flutter ManeTornadus IncarnateUrshifu SingleFarigirafRillaboomRegidrago

I liked the team but I knew something was still off… unfortunately I couldn’t find what by myself.

Two weeks remained before the tournament and I was more confident that I had been in June, but still nowhere I wanted to be, so I decided to ask one of my homies, Florian Henry (Shiyo), for some help (it was way more pathetic but let’s embellish the situation) and then he gave me the slot I was lacking.

Flutter ManeTornadus IncarnateUrshifu SingleFarigirafRillaboomHeatran

Heatran was a big tilt in my head, specifically Florian’s set: max Speed, max Special Attack, Fairy Tera Type, simple task: in addition to Urshifu, it cleans the target that survives from the two main Pokémon (mainly opposing Flutter Manes and many more under Sunny Day).

After some practice with the team, I suggested him to switch Rillaboom for Ursaluna, but with a very specific Speed stat to fix some matchups and adding an additional sweep mode to the team.

Flutter ManeTornadus IncarnateUrshifu SingleFarigirafUrsalunaHeatran

We were all settled. The team was locked and it felt like it was built for me (first time in 6 years) and I was impatient to compete in Japan!

The Team

▶️ Get the team’s paste here!

Normal Sprite

Flutter Mane @ Choice Specs
Ability: Protosynthesis
Level: 50
Tera Type: Fairy
EVs: 116 HP / 76 Def / 164 SpA / 4 SpD / 148 Spe
Modest Nature
– Moonblast
– Shadow Ball
– Dazzling Gleam
– Psyshock

The superstar of the 2023 season, and the main damage dealer of the team. Nothing really fancy about the set: Fairy Tera Type in combination of Protosynthesis boost and Choice Specs dealt INSANE damage.

I tried to make it faster at the beginning, but the more I was practicing the more I saw Speed-boosting Booster Energy Flutter Mane, so I assumed that a more offensive and bulky set would give me the upper hand in most mirror situations.

Defensive calcs

Chien Pao 252 Atk Sword of Ruin Chien-Pao Ice Spinner vs. 116 HP / 76 Def Flutter Mane: 121-144 (83.4 – 99.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Dragonite 252+ Atk Choice Band Dragonite Aerial Ace vs. 116 HP / 76 Def Flutter Mane: 123-145 (84.8 – 100%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO

Urshifu Rapid 252+ Atk Mystic Water Tera-Water Urshifu-Rapid Strike Surging Strikes (3 hits) vs. 116 HP / 76 Def Flutter Mane in Sun on a critical hit: 120-144 (82.7 – 99.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Normal Sprite

Heatran @ Life Orb
Ability: Flash Fire
Level: 50
Tera Type: Fairy
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
– Heat Wave
– Flash Cannon
– Earth Power
– Protect

The glue that fixed a lot of match-ups. Heatran’s typing combined with Fairy Tera Type is amazing, it automatically fixed my Chi-Yu matchup and it help deal with Urshifu in some situations.

Heat Wave under Sun with the Life Orb boost deals ridiculous damage, and most of all Flash Cannon under Tailwind secured me a lot of Flutter Mane KOs in the late game. Earth Power benefits us in the mirror, since the opponent is virtually forced to Terastallize Heatran into Grass or Fairy (betting on being the fastest Heatran with our invest).

Offensive calcs

Flutter Mane 252+ SpA Life Orb Heatran Flash Cannon vs. 116 HP / 4 SpD Flutter Mane: 151-182 (104.1 – 125.5%) — guaranteed OHKO

Normal Sprite

Urshifu @ Focus Sash
Ability: Unseen Fist
Level: 50
Tera Type: Dark
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Wicked Blow
– Close Combat
– Sucker Punch
– Detect

My second favorite Pokémon from the tournament. Almost always brought as the 4th slot in games, it finishes the job of the previous attacker like no one else and really simplifies any game state due to his absurd ability to hit through Protect.

Adamant Nature is preferred since I run Focus Sash and I have quite a few speed control solutions; we really wanted to maximize damage, and it also was often in 1v1 end-game situations which gave an Adamant Nature even more credit. I wanted to maximize damage so Dark Tera Type was obvious, and it comes up for some calcs with Farigiraf’s Helping Hand.

Offensive calcs

Flutter Mane 252+ Atk Urshifu-Single Strike Wicked Blow vs. 116 HP / 76 Def Flutter Mane on a critical hit: 150-177 (103.4 – 122%) — guaranteed OHKO

Amoonguss 252+ Atk Tera-Dark Urshifu-Single Strike Helping Hand Wicked Blow vs. 236 HP / 156+ Def Amoonguss on a critical hit: 210-248 (95.8 – 113.2%) — 75% chance to OHKO

Normal Sprite

Tornadus @ Mental Herb
Ability: Prankster
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
Tera Type: Ghost
EVs: 252 HP / 156 Def / 4 SpA / 92 SpD / 4 Spe
Bold Nature
– Bleakwind Storm
– Sunny Day
– Tailwind
– Protect

The main character of the event and my strongest soldier during the run.

Tornadus does simple things: it uses Tailwind, mitigates damage from Rapid Strike Style Urshifu and Rain teams, boosts the damage of my Heatran and Flutter Mane, and has a nice coverage move to not be useless when it’s done supporting. Ghost Tera Type and Mental Herb are once again here to ease my mind, as if I really want to click on a support move, no matter the disruption, I will be able to do so thanks to that combination.

Defensive calcs

Urshifu Rapid 252 Atk Mystic Water Tera-Water Urshifu-Rapid Strike Surging Strikes (3 hits) vs. 252 HP / 156+ Def Tornadus on a critical hit: 156-186 (83.8 – 100%) — approx. 6.3% chance to OHKO

Dragonite 252+ Atk Choice Band Sword of Ruin Tera-Normal Dragonite Extreme Speed vs. 252 HP / 156+ Def Tornadus: 153-180 (82.2 – 96.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Normal Sprite

Farigiraf @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Armor Tail
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
Tera Type: Fairy
EVs: 164 HP / 164 Def / 180 SpD
Bold Nature
– Imprison
– Dazzling Gleam
– Trick Room
– Helping Hand

The second support of the team, its purpose was to annoy priority users like PaoNite (Chien-Pao + Dragonite), imprisoning hard Trick Room teams, and against heavy Tailwind I could just go for Trick Room myself. Helping Hand was really nice in some setups where it messes with damage calcs.

The Fairy Tera Type was useful because of Single Strike Style Urshifu and Chien-Pao being quite common in the metagame.

Defensive calcs

Flutter Mane 116+ SpA Choice Specs Tera-Fairy Flutter Mane Moonblast vs. 164 HP / 180 SpD Farigiraf: 178-210 (82.4 – 97.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Normal Sprite

Ursaluna @ Flame Orb
Ability: Guts
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
Tera Type: Ghost
EVs: 92 HP / 140 Atk / 164 Def / 4 SpD / 108 Spe
Impish Nature
– Facade
– Earthquake
– Swords Dance
– Protect

The alternative path. I did not pick it very often, but it did what I asked it when needed.

I used that Speed to outspeed Chi-Yu under Tailwind, and to outspeed most of those Pokémon with a 50 base Speed (such as Kingambit or Iron Hands), so I could go for a Tailwind lead and then on the last turn I could set up Trick Room, for example. It was a deciding factor against Iron Hands too during the run, making room for outplay and cleaning after they wasted the Tera Type on Flutter Mane.

We decided to run a really bulky set because we wanted to be able to land a hit no matter the board state turn one (after burn damages) and Swords Dance was more than enough to compensate.

Offensive calcs

Chi Yu 140+ Atk Ursaluna Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Chi-Yu: 164-194 (101.2 – 119.7%) — guaranteed OHKO

Defensive calcs

Urshifu Single 252+ Atk Urshifu-Single Strike Close Combat vs. 92 HP / 164+ Def Ursaluna: 170-204 (78.3 – 94%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO after burn damage

Chien Pao 252+ Atk Sword of Ruin Chien-Pao Icicle Crash vs. 92 HP / 164+ Def Ursaluna: 152-180 (70 – 82.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO after burn damage

How to use the team

To summarize, in most situations, if you can’t spot any trouble leading Flutter Mane + Tornadus with Heatran and Urshifu in the back, do so. You can also lead with Flutter Mane + Farigiraf and with Ursaluna in the back; Heatran + Tornadus… it really should come from the preview, so good luck figuring it out!

Tournament run

Day 1

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamList
Rikuto Takemoto
Flutter ManeHeatranRillaboomDragoniteCresseliaUrsaluna
Riley Factura
GholdengoUrshifu RapidRillaboomTornadus IncarnateRegidragoUrsaluna
Yuma Suzuki
Flutter ManeGastrodon EastRillaboomArcanine HisuiChien PaoRoaring Moon
Luka Trejgut
Flutter ManeUrshifu RapidRillaboomHeatranKingambitTornadus Incarnate
Luca Ceribelli
Flutter ManeUrshifu RapidAmoongussIron HandsChien PaoLandorus Therian
Peng Chongjun
Flutter ManeUrshifu SingleTornadus IncarnateArcanine HisuiGholdengoLandorus Therian
Ezequiel Cordero
Flutter ManeRillaboomTornadus IncarnateHeatranBasculegion MaleLandorus Therian

Day 2 Swiss rounds

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamList
Aaron Brok
GholdengoUrshifu RapidAmoongussIron HandsChien PaoLandorus Therian
Kurt Wonka
GholdengoGrimmsnarlRillaboomVolcaronaGastrodonLandorus Therian
Yusuke Tsuganezawa
ArcaninePalafinAbomasnowIron HandsChien PaoArticuno
Justin Burns
Flutter ManeChi YuAmoongussIron HandsCresseliaUrsaluna
Nick Navarre
Flutter ManeBaxcaliburKlefkiGastrodonChi YuLandorus Therian
Emilio Forbes
Flutter ManeUrshifu RapidBrambleghastGholdengoChi YuTornadus Incarnate
Alister Sandover
Flutter ManeDondozoTornadus IncarnateIron HandsChien PaoLandorus Therian

Top Cut

RoundResultOpponentOpponent’s teamList
Federico Camporesi
Flutter ManeUrshifu SingleDragoniteIron HandsCresseliaUrsaluna

Federico is a good player, a lot of my friends faced him this season and I was the last to not have faced him yet.

The matchup was not good, but it was alright. In game 1 I think I put myself in a decent position early, but I critted his Ursaluna and realized I would get folded by the free switch of Urshifu since in the process I sacrificed Flutter Mane. In game 2 I tried to defeat Cresselia during turn 1 without wasting the Terastallization, pressing Sunny Day, and I barely missed the KO with my Flutter Mane, and now my plan to avoid getting crept by Lunar Dance was over. I ended up losing some turns later to Iron Hands, who survived a Fairy Tera Type-boosted Dazzling Gleam from Farigiraf despite being at very low health. After the match, I read his report and I saw it was heavily invested in Special Deffense, and I had 0 chances to KO it; information that maybe could have helped me.

Congrats to him on the run! He is such a good player!


And this is how I became the second French player in the Masters division ever to cut the World Championships.

For the first time going to an event, I didn’t think about what placement I wanted to achieve. I didn’t have a goal, I just went to the event thinking “I want to play better than everyone in the venue”. That was far from being the case, but it was mentally really better than being obsessed with the placement as I used to be.

I want to take some time to specifically thank some people now because without them I simply couldn’t have played the event: Sailordut, XVR_18, Aurélien Le Fur (MarioReL), Franck Bourachon (Opalko). Thank you guys for gathering the last Pokémon I needed to play in the event. Obviously thanks to my Team PE, my family and my girlfriend who support me every tournament; to Florian Henry (Shiyo), my practice partner for the event, who found the missing piece for me and who also did extremely well. And thanks to the local Yu-Gi-Oh! community (Ultra Jeux) from Paris, who always cheer for me even though they don’t know the game.

Final shoutouts goes to Adam Cherfaoui, the one who always supports me and pushes me to try harder, he really is my little sunshine in the game and he will show you next year that he is HIM.

Thanks for your time, and have fun with the team!

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