Sunday, 13 September 2015

[VG] Landos Verrat: Top 4 Nugget Bridge Invitational Team and Report

(Artist: HaleysRedComet)

Hello friends. I guess here's another blog entry from that guy who is so fucking behind, he can still only play "Cybersand". *cough* As it turns out, I in fact ripped off yet another Cybertron lineup and improved it again. And I did some nice work with it, first destroying Battle Spot with almost a 90% win ratio from 1500 to 1900 (the best I ever had!) and then, as the title says, winning a few pocket nuggets with it. I'd say that's totally all right!

Team Finding Quest and Other Issues

I originally wanted to bring something entirely different for the NBI, played around with various ideas on Showdown. I had at least one that actually seemed like it could work, but well, it needed a lot of work in order to really work as well! Work that I didn't feel like putting in during post-Nats depression, then Worlds came around quickly enough and...things have been shaken up by the very obvious, funnily enough. Then I just quickly force-forgot about all those super-fancy and oh so metagame-breaking ideas and decided I'd go for consistency, period. And consistency, in my case, means quicksand. It would be safest to just run some variant of my final Nats team again, and I would be the least likely to fuck up using it, because it's pretty much the only thing I happen to know pretty much everything about.

Anyhow, it's not an archetype without some ever-looming problems -- none is. As I see it, there are two main cogs to make or break some critical differences. The one that I've been mostly set on for months is the Water/Electric problem: you want a bulky Water type in a sand team, but you also don't want to be weak against other bulky Waters. The very obvious answer is Wash Rotom -- it's the only way you can save yourself from the woes of legitimately wanting a seventh team member. While I am still interested in other Water mons (again, I really liked Azumarill, and Milotic is interesting as well just because it's so nigh-invincible on its own), that missing seventh slot I'm sure would annoy me to no end, so...let's worry about that whenever, haha. Rotom it is, and it most definitely makes a lot of sense against Landorus/Heatran/Thundurus combinations while not being as overly reactive as that slow and vulnerable Gastrodon without any Speed control to help it.

The other problem is the Ground type. Excadrill is awesome, I have no reason to change my opinion here. But then Incarnate Landorus of all things appeared, and he has a bunch of nifty things that Excadrill can't really do. We start with Excadrill not exactly being safe against Kangaskhan without both of Tyranitar and Amoonguss. And then the probably worst thing is Charizard and friends. Excadrill, just like Tyranitar, is doing absolutely nothing to get around Wide Guard, and that means trouble. (Additionally, Excadrill is also pretty bad against Rhydon/Rhyperior, whereas Landorus is really good against them.) Last but not least, if we look at the Excadrill vs. Therian Landorus matchup, then the only Landorus I actually like to bring Excadrill against is the one with Choice Scarf. Assault Vest, Life Orb etc. not so much -- the Sand Rush Speed advantage isn't worth as much because Salamence works just fine for outrunning those, and when I can't even lock them into Rock Slides, yeah, Excadrill suddenly is pretty risky. Following the trend from Worlds, I expected Scarf Landorus to not be too common in the NBI, and then this Hidden Power Ice special Landorus would be pretty strong at beating the others. As that tourney played out, though... I only picked Landorus a single game, and then this plan went right out of the window again thanks to unexpected details about the opposing team. Whatever! At least I now can say that I legitimately tried Landorus.

And now enjoy this team in detail. It's so fun to play and pretty strong at the same time, I love it.

The Team

Landesverrat (Landorus) @ Life Orb
Ability: Sand Force
Level: 50
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 22 HP / 24 Atk / 24 Def
- Earth Power
- Stone Edge
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Protect

Ripped this one straight from the cutest and whitest anime girl ever, just like Cybertron did for his Nats -- only I kept the good Item because I didn't need it somewhere else. Ground and Rock moves as single-target are usually rare and people will always try to cover those weaknesses with Wide Guard, and then it's fairly obvious what a Landorus like this does to them. It's a trick that's actually as old as 2013, just matters somewhat more nowadays because Aegislash and Charizard are so big threats.

Special shoutouts to imperfect IVs, bust over flawless I choose you etc. Indeed, I did soft-reset the thing instead of just asking the next best hacker on Twitter to copy me a perfect one, because I just really prefer to use my own mons as long as I can. I get to change nicknames to my heart's content, and well, they're my own!

L.A.★STAR (Amoonguss) (F) @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Regenerator
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 140 HP / 172 Def / 196 SpD
Sassy Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 4 Spe
- Giga Drain
- Spore
- Rage Powder
- Protect

New Amoonguss this time, now more specially defensive. Without the double Steel, Hyper Voice Fairies clearly become a tougher matchup, and in order to not be totally reliant on Wide Guard when I can't just remove them before they move, it makes sense to be interested in having a good Amoonguss against them as well. Hence, this one is made to survive Mega Gardevoir's Psychic (hoping it doesn't randomly have Psyshock instead because that will still be a roll *cough*) and then hopefully get some Spore off.

I am probably the unluckiest person alive with shiny IV breeding -- the only 5IV shiny mons I got before were ones that needed all 6 stats instead of just 5, simply doesn't get trollier than that. But then, in the one session where I bred my first Sassy shrooms, I randomly got this nice one here in beautiful purple. The 0 Attack is very fucking nice and the low Speed is very good as well -- it's actually flawed because it would tie with Iron Ball Politoed, but well, I can't remember if I ever saw that again after 2013... And finally, the nickname. What a meme. A thing you can do is: collect all the starting letters of this team's mons and arrange them nicely. That being said, screw CHALK and praise STAR. Salamence/Tyranitar/Amoonguss/Rotom is the core, guys.

HymnsOfLoss (Rotom-Wash) @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Levitate
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 28 Def / 60 SpA / 28 SpD / 148 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 3 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Hydro Pump
- Electroweb
- Will-O-Wisp

The Lajo. I ripped this Rotom straight from Lajo's Nats team, only made it faster than Tyranitar. It's as standard and boring as it gets for the most part, except for, well, the Electroweb! During the period of trying to find a new archetype to like, I naturally also played Lajo's team a bit, and the Electroweb Rotom was the one part of it that was really inspiring. It's the perfect fit for a team that mostly spams Hyper Voice and Rock Slide. And it's even more of a fit after Excadrill is gone and basically everything is caught in some stupid middling Speed. It will forever be annoying that it can't hit Ground types like Icy Wind though...but on the other hand, the STAB damage does matter more than you'd think. I'm not joking when I tell you that Electroweb sometimes happens to be surprisingly useful when trying to get around redirection.

CosmosCharge (Salamence) (M) @ Salamencite
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Hyper Voice
- Double-Edge
- Flamethrower
- Protect

Same as before.

Wings?Horns? (Tyranitar) (M) @ Lum Berry
Ability: Sand Stream
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Rock Slide
- Assurance
- Superpower
- Protect

Again same as before. Note how it's slower than Rotom, so even plays like Electroweb + Assurance are most definitely a thing.

I Punish (Aegislash) (M) @ Leftovers
Ability: Stance Change
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 12 Def / 76 SpA / 100 SpD / 68 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 6 Atk
- Shadow Ball
- Wide Guard
- Substitute
- King's Shield

And this one also unchanged. I did reverse-engineer the EV spread that I had sold as somewhat random though. I kinda lied, it's not random at all. It's probably one of the greatest spreads I ever made. It's basically an Aegislash that does Aegislash things: it doesn't go down easily. I have a full page of interesting calcs in my notes, but revealing them here...would be boring, sorry. Go and build your own, it's a rewarding thing to do. ツ (Well, someone please get BIDC to explain his freaking Relaxed Aegislash. I'd be willing to trade my information for exactly that information, haha.)

The Tournament

Top 64: Bye

With my neat amount of 111 NP and as 9th seed, I was honored to skip the first round of the whole thing. I ask you again: what is 70? ツ

Other than that, battle replays. Since my run lasted 10 games flat and that's exactly what the game lets us upload, I just uploaded them all because why not. Top 8 should be up on Nugget Bridge's YouTube eventually and I may or may not edit them in, but you know, if you don't want to wait for that, I'm leaving the codes anyway.

Top 32: vs. Chuppa

Kangaskhan / Landorus-T / Amoonguss / Thundurus-I / Cresselia / Arcanine


He had a similar idea of running Landorus, and that cost me my Salamence right in the first turn of the first game. Fun times... But with this surprise out of the way so early, I didn't lose too much from it. Tyranitar happened to be pretty strong against everyone except the first two listed, and Landorus being unable to threaten an OHKO was helpful as well. Thus, I brought the first game back with it and second game started with a 4-2 lead thanks to it. The free entry of the Kangaskhan/Amoonguss duo afterwards was a potential problem though, and in fact almost made the comeback -- if it weren't for the surprise Electroweb to ignore Rage Powder and deliver the last chip of damage necessary to win!

Top 16: vs. EmbC

Mienshao / Volcarona / Thundurus-T / Metagross / Hydreigon / Gastrodon


Oh, look at that traitor who betrayed Tyranitar all year! ツ Well, I wasn't exactly happy at facing that matchup without my Excadrill, but you know, it is what it is. Worst case, I would lose from some really fun games, because games against him are always a treat no matter what. It definitely looked like I'd lose game 1, it seemed like he brought the perfect four against mine -- only thing that saved me were a few very risky plays that ended up working out. That's also how game 2 started, where I was leading with Rotom/Tyranitar against Metagross/Hydreigon -- what a terrible lead! Well, because my mind was trapped in that "base 70 Speed" concept, I assumed that Metagross would be the slowest mon on the field and tried to nail it with Electroweb + Assurance -- worst case I'd be getting Hydreigon to -1 Speed. I got it right in the sense that he really didn't go for the Protect ME, but...naturally it was Jolly and thus faster! And then he doubled into Rotom with Dark Pulse and Zen Headbutt, got no flinch and ultimately a dead Metagross. That was close as hell and could have gone horribly, horribly wrong. Fortunately enough it didn't, and so it completely broke his neck instead of mine.

I was happy with finally leaving a Nugget Bridge Invitational on a positive record. On to the next round!

Top 8: vs. MajorBowman

Escavalier / Virizion / Swampert / Arcanine / Thundurus-I / Cresselia


Ugh, what a matchup. I knew right from the start that I'd likely have to play like a demigod in order to get past this. And this is essentially how I approached game 1: went for a risky opening in order to get an early lead and hopefully carry it home, so that it maybe fucks him up psychologically in the games after, who knows. Totally didn't work like that though, because he managed to pull back this game on me not clicking Wide Guard in fear of Swampert's Ice Punch, where Wide Guard would have actually locked me up the game. My hopes of getting through this grew slim. However, if anything, game 2 raised them up again, as he for some reason didn't bring the Virizion this time so that Rotom and Tyranitar had no problem controlling the field from start to end, even around missing multiple inaccurate attacks on that pesky Thundurus. It was the most obvious thing in the world that Virizion would come back eventually, and it's well protected by its partners.

And then we had this third game, which was something else entirely. I tried to donk the Cresselia that he now brought for the first time immediately, didn't work out just by a sliver of health, and the got the full 4 turns of Trick Room without a dead slot in any of them as a reward. It got even worse as he nailed my Salamence switch-in with that Ice Punch into the Rotom slot -- excellent play from him and now my endgame was completely dead, too! The fighting chance I then had left was basically to perfectly read his every turn remaining, which I in fact did for the most part -- except for the one when Trick Room expired. I should have seen the switch into Virizion coming and nail that with my second Electroweb usage of the night, and then all could have been fine. But as it was, my Salamence was dead and thus Virizion outsped everyone and threatened most. Aegislash as the most important mon in the matchup just had to go the distance for me, and with some nice little big help from the RNG, it did!

Top 4: vs. Shinon64

Kangaskhan / Azumarill / Landorus-T / Thundurus-I / Amoonguss / Heatran


Remember how it still saddens me to never have faced a Japanese player at Worlds? Turns out that I at least can have a Bo3 with a lot on the line against one of them online. Fair enough. And funnily enough, it actually wasn't my first time playing this specific person -- we already had an encounter during a NB Live, where he kinda completely outplayed me with some fun Trick Room team and I literally stole that away from him, getting the dreaded Rock Slide double flinch in to prevent it from going up a second time. He's one of the best Trainers I ever played, that's for certain. This one would be pretty hard.

Game 1 was a complete trainwreck for me, glad we do have Bo3 to alleviate this. His Kang was clearly the MVP here, catching me off guard twice by having first Ice Punch and then also still Low Kick in the same moveset. From there, it was clear that my Landorus would be completely useless throughout the entire tournament, go figure. And Aegislash would again be really important, since Kang likely was unable to touch it, Landorus was our most beloved Choice Scarf set and Heatran had no single-target Fire move. Thus, I went into the second game with a much better plan, and, adding in a hard read or two, it worked out perfectly. Naturally he tried to get some momentum back with Thundurus Swagger magic, but I can't deny my schadenfreude at seeing that godforsaken move miss not once but twice, hahaha! At the end, the trainwreck was completely returned, at two 4-1 forfeits each.

All right, that was good. Even if I'd lose now, I'd lose with honor and be happy with my run regardless. I still wanted to win though! My idea of doing it was picking exactly the same again, and that...went horribly wrong, and it's quite ironic how it happened. I had told people all the time that one little detail I really liked about sand was the ability to discover Safety Goggles without powdering right into them. Just remembering exactly that might have saved me this match. Instead, I actually noticed Thundurus's Item at no point in the match, only realized it wasn't Life Orb but didn't even think of Sitrus possibly being on Azumarill and stuff. Anyway, I just fucked up big time by simply not noticing Thundurus's lack of interaction with the weather. Then I predicted him not Taunting Amoonguss on that one turn amazingly right in game 3 -- only to, boom, Spore straight into Safety Goggles and also staring down the Heatran behind a Substitute. RIP me, it's been nice! Why do I always fuck things up when it matters, it's a fucking curse... Well all right, after that most dreadful turn of events, I decided to still let him work hard for this victory, because he really should. I drew out this game as long as I feasibly could to maybe tempt him into a big mistake or get incredibly lucky, but it didn't happen, and I finally threw in the towel as Aegislash was left alone but still required a switch on his end in order to actually go down. Many thanks for this match and congratulations on beasting it all, my friend.

As soon as that Amoonguss catastrophe happened, I knew I should have brought Rotom, and I likely would have if I had known about the Safety Goggles. Also, I was somewhat afraid of his own Amoonguss, which tempted me into not using it. Add to that the readily available possibility of his genies completely bullshitting it with Swagger and Rock Slide -- not like we all haven't seen it happen before, haha -- and Kang would be slightly problematic as well without Amoonguss to help me, assuming Return or Double-Edge in the last slot. All hail Thundurus/HALK/Water, I guess. This archetype has worst-case 50-50 matchups against almost everything, just like my own beloved quicksand. I can only praise the consistency.

Another part of the irony is Safety Goggles Thundurus himself. I was legitimately calling that one being possibly huge in the late season as soon as we knew the format of 2015. Look how painfully right I was...

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