On 21st January, I attended a Premier Challenge hosted by Lancaster Elites. It had only a small turnout of eight masters but the chance to gain more competitive practice in a meta game which was more than two weeks old (Europe getting the short straw with the earliest International Championship) and a chance at some CP would be invaluable, regardless of the amount of players!
Here, I usually go through the sets my Pokémon utilised during the tournament; however, the team I brought contains the same six Pokémon Gavin Michaels used to win the San José regional. I’ve always been a fan of Trick Room teams and typically perform well in a tournament setting utilising this strategy, it made sense to pilot an already proven team (with a few small tweaks to initially throw opponents off guard) to get to grips with what does and doesn’t work on a VGC17 Trick Room team. I won’t divulge any of the sets here but you can find a pastebin of Gavin’s team by following the link above!
Despite the low turnout, the calibre of players and teams was still very high; the tournament was played at the Apothecary Bar and Lounge and was extremely well run in a very spacious venue – hopefully Lancaster will become a regular host of Premier Challenge events in the future!
With eight masters, we played three rounds of Bo3:
R1 v Phil De Sousa
Phil’s team was a very tricky one for mine to deal with.Whilst we could knock out Tapu Koko, Garchomp and Celesteela fairly easily, the combination of Arcanine, Gigalith and Gastrodon provides a very tricky matchup. Naturally, Phil realised this as well bringing Tapu Koko, Arcanine, Gastrodon and Gigalith to all three matches.
Phil took game 1 fairly comfortably but I garnered some vital information, discovering Koko, Arcanine and Gigalith were holding Life Orb, Sitrus Berry and Rockium Z respectively whilst a combination of Leech Life and Ice Beam from Araquanid and Porygon2 would be enough to 2hko the Gastrodon. Game two was plagued by hax, helping us both in key areas of the match, however I managed to preserve my Drampa well enough, allowing it to close out game 2.
Game 3 was the closest of the two, this time with very little hax for either of us. I managed to get myself into a winning position but over predicted a protect from Tapu Koko rather than attacking it on the final turn of Trick Room, giving Phil game three and the set.
R1 – 1-2 L
Overall – 0-1
R2 v Tom Davies
In testing, a problem I came across with setting Trick Room was an opposing lead of either Pheromosa or Kartana with Taunt Tapu Lele as it would effectively prevent me setting up Trick Room whilst ensuring I’d take a huge amount of damage from either of the ultra beasts. Fortunately, Tapu Lele was absent from this matchup and his Trick Room answer in Marowak was outsped (under TR) and OHKO’d by Drampa, Araquanid and guts boosted Hariyama. Game one went perfectly to plan, managing to set Trick Room then sweep through his team to comfortably secure a 4-1 Forfeit victory.
Game two should have been just as straight forward too, with Trick Room having expired we were both down to our final two Pokémon – Gyarados and Marowak on his side, Porygon2 and a weakened Drampa on mine. Tom went for the double attack into the Porygon as I went for the safe protect with Drampa; the combination of Waterfall and Flare Blitz wasn’t enough to knock out my Porygon but he got the flinch preventing my Trick Room. Araquanid could’ve potentially won the game after knocking out Marowak with a combination of Liquidation and Leech Life against Gyarados, but unfortunately he managed to get another flinch at the vital moment to secure game two.
Despite the game two defeat I felt extremely confident in my match up, with the absence of flinches in this match I was able to comfortably sweep through Tom’s team securing the round two victory.
R2 – 2-1 W
Overall – 1-1
R3 v David Partington
David’s team had only one difference to Phil’s team from round 1, Aerodactyl made an appearance in place of Gigalith. I lead Hariyama, Porygon2 into Arcanine and Aerodactyl. Fearing a combination of taunt and roar to prevent my Trick Room, I double targeted the Aerodactyl and secured the knock out as neither taunt nor roar came out from his leads. This allowed me to set Trick Room the following turn and run out as comfortable victor.
I lead the same again in game 2 as Arcanine, Celesteela were the leads of choice for my opponent. Fake out into Arcanine guaranteed a Trick Room which allowed me to blast through this team comfortably.
R3 – 2-0 W
Overall – 2-1
Overall I finished 2nd out of the eight masters – guaranteeing 14 CP – with Phil taking 1st place. The team performed very well and – with just one correct prediction in game three of round one – could very easily have ended up with the top spot. During testing I was contemplating swapping out Magnezone and, with no appearances in any of the matches, I’m already working on ways to phase it out of the team completely.
I’ve been using Hariyama since the beginning of 2015 but almost exclusively with an Eject Button as its held item. With Flame Orb however, Hariyama picked up the most knock outs for the first time in a competitive tournament whilst the rest of the knock outs were split evenly with the other four used Pokémon.
1st: Hariyama – 7
2nd: Drampa – 6
3rd: Araquanid – 5
=: Porygon2 – 5
5th: Mimikyu – 2
6th: Magnezone – 0