Hello everyone! My name is Paul Chua, or @Blue_Spider_ on Twitter. Today, I am going to talk about the team that I used to win the 2017 Athens Regional Championship. This regional win put me at 386 Championship Points, putting me even closer to an invitation to the World Championships.
How I decided on the team
The weeks before the event, I have been using a team comprised of the same six Pokemon that were used to win the London international. I did make a few changes to it such as Rindo Berry Gastrodon, Electrium Z Tapu Koko and Focus Sash Garchomp. I was able to do really well on Battle Spot with it, but the closer the event came, I kept losing to Tapu Fini/Kartana/Arcanine teams due to the large amount of offense the team could deliver. I spent the next few days trying to figure what to do at this point. The next team I decided to try out ended up being a variation of the team Alex Gomez used at the London International because I thought that the team fit my style more because of the larger amount of offense that this team had. I took the team to a Midseason Showdown that took place a week before Athens in order to see how it would perform. I ended up getting 3rd place. I learned a lot about how to use this team as well as what Pokemon I had a large weakness to such as Muk and Calm Mind Tapu Fini. Salamence was rarely used at the event so I decided to try and find another Intimidate user to replace it, and I settled with a bulky Snarl Arcanine to counter the Special Attack boosts Tapu Fini can get from Calm Mind. I took that variation on Battle Spot and got my rating all the way up to 1990! I felt like this was a team I was comfortable with and all I had to was wait until the event and see how I would do there.
The team in-depth
Kartana @ Focus Sash
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 6 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Leaf Blade
– Smart Strike
– Sacred Sword
This is a standard Kartana EV spread. Nothing special about this. I chose Focus Sash as a way to guarantee that I survive two attacks and also have access to Protect.
Araquanid @ Mystic Water
Ability: Water Bubble
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 6 SpD
– Wide Guard
The next Pokemon is Araquanid. Once again, the EV spread is standard, maxing out in HP and Attack in order to hit as strong as possible and survive as long as I can. I originally had Leftovers to go with Toxic and ensure more durability, but I decided to go with Mystic Water due to its added power to Liquidation. This attack boost allowed me to take out some surprise KOs such as Gigalith. Toxic can be considered a bizarre choice, but I decided to use it because it allowed me to have a way to handle Pokemon that take a while to knock it out such as Porygon2 and Gastrodon. Wide Guard is another unique choice because it allows me to protect myself from moves such as Rock Slide so that the partner Pokemon, such as Porygon2, can get their attacks off safely.
Tapu Koko @ Fairium Z
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 6 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Dazzling Gleam
Tapu Koko is the only Pokemon on this team that has a Z Crystal. Its also a really good form of support with Electric Terrain preventing my Pokemon from falling asleep and boosting the power of Thunderbolt. I decided to not give it a Life Orb because I felt Electric Terrain gave me a good boost in power already and I did not like the recoil that the Life Orb had. This Pokemon has a few things that aren’t seen on a normal Tapu Koko. The first one is Taunt, which I used to stop mainly Porygon2 from using Recover and Trick Room. It was also nice to stop Calm Mind or Leech Seed if necessary. The other special thing about this Tapu Koko is the Fairium Z on it, giving it access to Twinkle Tackle. The team itself was really weak to Garchomp and Tapu Koko in the right position. Using Twinkle Tackle allows me to easily take out Garchomps, which commonly have the Groundium Z as well as take out Tapu Koko around 64% of the time. Even if the Twinkle Tackle gets protected or if I attack into a Pokemon that resists it, it usually does enough so that something else can take it out. I wanted to make sure that I would get my Twinkle Tackle off first in order to surprise my opponent, so I went with a basic EV spread to make it as fast as it can and maximized its damage output. There were some moments where I wished I had a Life Orb, but this was only against Tapu Fini in Misty Surge that had Calm Mind. In the end, I felt completely fine with using the Fairium Z because of the powerful attack that takes out the biggest problems to my team.
Muk-Alola @ Iapapa Berry
EVs: 204 HP / 252 Atk / 44 Def / 4 SpD / 4 Spe
– Poison Jab
– Knock Off
Muk in my opinion, is one of the best Pokemon in the format. This is because access to Knock Off and Poison Jab help against a majority of the metagame and can give you a huge advantage and its ability Gluttony makes it really difficult to take out. The EV spread is the same one that Sejun Park used on his Battle Spot team. It seemed like it did mostly what I wanted Muk to do, so I just used it. I originally used Shadow Sneak on this Muk to take out any Pokemon that had very little HP. However, Muk would sometimes fail to knock out the Pokemon, making Shadow Sneak’s role ineffective. I was struggling to find a fourth move on this Muk. I tested Minimize, Curse, Flamethrower, and even Rock Slide and none of them worked. Eventually, Grant Weldon posted a picture of a team he used to win a local event with an Imprison Muk. I realized Imprison was a pretty good idea because it is able to stop Knock Off, keeping my Porygon2 as bulky as possible, and also stop Protect from something like Celesteela in order to make managing the game easier. During my Midseason Showdown the week before, my losses were to people with Muk because of its difficulty to KO and Knock Off, so Imprison also helped me shut down opposing Muk, leaving them to mainly use only Shadow Sneak.
Arcanine @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 4 SpA / 92 SpD / 156 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
Arcanine was more of a last minute decision. However, I do not regret using this instead of Salamence. Arcanine’s bulk and large options for support gave me another Pokemon to use if Porygon2 would not be able to be used due to my opponent having a lot of ways to handle it. Snarl and Will-O-Wisp help it support the entire team by making the threats weaker and slowly chipping away at the opponent’s help. Flamethrower was my chosen Fire type move because I did not the like the special attack drop that Overheat gave, the loss of the Fire type from Burn Up and Flare Blitz recoil would make it easier for my opponent to take out Arcanine, which is not something I want happening. Roar was my last move as a way to handle Eevee teams and Snorlax with either Belly Drum or Curse. The EV spread was given to me from @RazerVGC. Since he just gave it to me, I do not actually know what it’s made to do due to a lack of explanation. All he explained to me is that it can survive 2 Psychics from Tapu Lele after a Snarl and survive Shattered Psyche out of Psychic Terrain. Sitrus Berry was the chosen item because the recovery allowed it to survive longer. I did not go with any berry such as the Aguav Berry because during practice, Arcanine’s health never got into the range where the berry would activate.
Porygon2 @ Eviolite
EVs: 252 HP / 92 Def / 20 SpA / 140 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Ice Beam
– Trick Room
– Shadow Ball
The last member of the team is Porygon2. Porygon2 is probably the best Trick Room user due to its immense bulk form its natural defenses and Eviolite. Porygon2 allowed me to set up Trick Room or reverse it in order to quickly change the momentum. Recover allowed it to survive longer than it should normally and also a way to ensure that my opponent has to waste more attacks or even double target it in order to take it out. Ice Beam hits a majority of the metagame for neutral or super effective damage. Shadow Ball is mainly meant for Marowak, which can be problematic depending on Speed. However, I would probably have changed Shadow Ball for another attack such as maybe Return or even Thundebolt in order to hit more Pokemon for neutral or super effective damage because Shadow Ball felt underwhelming a majority of the time. The EV spread was once again given to me by @RazerVGC, but this was near the beginning of the metagame, before the games were even released. It can definitely be optimized but I was fine with it because it was able to survive many attacks and since its leaned more towards the Special side, I can survive some attacks that other Porygon2’s might not be able to, surprising my opponents.
As I am not writing this immediately after the event and I have lost some of my notes, I will try my best to recollect my matches from the event. We had 9 rounds and a top cut of 16 and started pretty late in the day, meaning that this was going to be a long and stressful day.
Round 1: James Huang [0-0]
This was James’ first tournament and he was a pretty nice guy. He also had a really cool team. I was not sure what to expect from Tsareena so I knew I had to play carefully. I also had to play carefully around Mimikyu due to its diverse movepool. Game 1 I predicted a Taunt from Mimikyu and used Shadow Ball. After that, I was able to sweep through his team mainly with Porygon2. Game 2 was really close, I decided to go a Trick Room route and sweep with Araquanid. Near the end of Trick Room, he ended up getting a double Protect with Tapu Koko and hit Hydro Pump with his Choice Scarf Politoed. Porygon2 ended up avoiding Hydro Pump next turn, allowing me to set up Trick Room and finish off the remaining two Pokemon.
W (OO) [1-0]
Round 2: Will Wetzel [1-0]
To be honest, I remember nothing about his team. I just remember winning this series in two games and my Araquanid and Tapu Koko doing a majority of the damage.
W (OO) [2-0]
Round 3: James Court [2-0]
I met James at a few events in the past and he was a pretty nice guy. He also has done pretty well at the events so I was pretty scared going into this match. I lost game 1 really badly, so I knew I had to focus really hard in order to win the entire set. Game 2 I felt like I played better by being able to cover his options and preserved Kartana for Tapu Fini in order to take out in one shot. Game 3 was intense, we both played extremely well and it could have gone either way. In the end, my Kartana was able to survive a Sacred Sword from his Kartana and was able to take it out with a Sacred Sword of my own. Definitely a thrilling match! After the set, I knew that this was not going to be easy from this point on.
W (XOO) [3-0]
Round 4: Naeem Denis [3-0]
Naeem’s team seemed relatively standard, so I felt like I had a really good matchup going into it. I brought Tapu Koko, Muk, Porygon2 and Araquanid both games. Game 1, he started off with Garchomp and Tapu Koko and Twinkle Tackle was able to take out his Garchomp, making the match a lot easier for me. After that, Muk and Tapu Koko went through the remainder of his team. Game 2, he led with Marowak and Porygon2. My Muk was able to Knock Off Marowak’s Thick Club and Taunt caught him off guard and prevented him from using Trick Room. After that, it was really straightforward. We ended talking after the match and all throughout the event, once again another great person!
W (OO) [4-0]
Round 5: Colby Mearns [4-0]
This probably is the one match I remembered the least in terms of what Pokemon he brought. All I remember is that I got lucky game 1 and Porygon2 was able to avoid a Zen Headbutt from his Choice Band Metagross allowing me to set up Trick Room. After that, I was able to sweep him under Trick Room. Game 2, he somehow was able to predict my Twinkle Tackle, which put me in a bad position. The big turning point was when he used Explosion with Metagross, taking out everything but Tapu Koko, which used Protect. I was not expecting that all nor did I understand why he did that, but I guess I’ll take it.
W (OO) [5-0]
Round 6: Erich Schrader [4-1]
I don’t remember his last Pokemon because he didn’t bring it. I was really scared going into this match because he had a lower record than me, and I didn’t want to lose. Game 1 he mainly used Rock Slide, which I understand as his team was pretty weak to Trick Room if it got up. Many of the Rock Slides flinched, putting me in really bad positions. In the end, I recovered when his Aerodactyl used Taunt, pretty much putting me in a situation where I win if he misses one of two Rock Slides. He didn’t miss either of them. Game 2 he surprised me with his Tapu Lele which was slower than my Tapu Koko, which surprised me. In the end, I was able to win. Game 3 was really close, I don’t remember the beginning or middle but I do remember the last few turns. Garchomp at +2 Attack and Gigalith were under Tailwind against my Araquanid and Muk with Tapu Koko in the back. On the last turn, he made a slight mistake and used Dragon Claw on Muk, which protected that turn and my Araquanid was able to outspeed his Gigalith even under Tailwind and knocked it out. Tapu Koko was then able to take out his Garchomp with Twinkle Tackle and Dazzling Gleam. He did try a nice mindgame trick when I asked what his Garchomp’s ability was, he said it was Rough Skin when it was actually Sand Veil. Had I missed Dazzling Gleam, I would have lost the match and probably have been pretty flustered.
W (OO) [6-0]
Round 7: Diana Bros
Diana’s team was really similar to mine and I never had experience playing against mirrors, meaning this would be a tough match. Game 1, she pretty much destroyed me because I did not know what to do against Araquanid + Porygon2 lead. Game 2, I was able to take win with the use of Twinkle Tackle and winning speed ties. Game 3, it came down to the last few turns where if Muk was able to take out Araquanid, I would win. Alas, it survived with around 1 HP and did not get poisoned from Poison Jab, giving me my first loss in the event.
L (XOX) [6-1]
Round 8: Josse Calzado [6-1]
I knew I had to win one more set in order to make it into top 16 because my opponents were doing really well, with the worst being someone who had only two losses, so I tried my best to win this. Game 1, he started with Gyarados and Tapu Koko. I predicted a Volt Switch from his Tapu Koko and Protected Muk, taking out his Gyarados that turn. That put me in a huge advantage and I was able to handle the rest of his team easily. Game 2, he led the same thing. This time, I predicted him to just switch into Marowak so I used Knock Off onto Tapu Koko. It worked out and once again I was in a really good position. I ended the game using Imprison to stop his Muk from being able to do any attacks that could potentially lead to him making a comeback.
W (OO) [7-1]
Round 9: Alberto Lara [7-1]
Alberto’s team consisted of Arcanine, Kartana, and Tapu Fini, a core that was getting really popular. I was not sure how to go about it so I just tried my best to conserve Kartana and set up Trick room so Araquanid can take out his other Pokemon. He surprised me with a Breakneck Blitz from Porygon-Z boosted by a Helping Hand from Arcanine. However, I went full offense that turn because I assumed it would be a Choice Scarf. His Garchomp ended up being Choice Scarf. I won Game 1 after attacking my own Araquanid with Kartana to stop Leech Seed recovery. Game 2 went pretty similarly to the previous game and I ended up winning.
I made top cut! I was really tired and I wanted to see who I would play tomorrow. Unfortunately, I was going to play Chris Danzo. Chris was the person who knocked me out of the Midseason Showdown mentioned a while ago, so I was really scared to play him. It also didn’t help that I told him everything about my team throughout the event and that his friends might help him plan his games against me. I just went to bed, not worrying about the match.
Top 16: Chris Danzo [7-2]
I watched the games where Chris was playing on stream, so I learned some stuff about his team. I got destroyed Game 1 and felt really upset, I did not want to lose against him again. Game 2, was able to preserve Kartana better and handled his Tapu Fini leading to a win for me. Game 3 took 20+ turns and came down to the last few turns. My heart dropped when I saw that Snarl missed his Tapu Fini, however the Moonblast was not able to take out Araquanid. The next turn, it was Kartana at 20 HP and Arcanine against his own Arcanine and Porygon2 with no Eviolite. I just had to hope that I could survive an Extreme Speed from Arcanine so that I can take out Porygon2. I wanted to scream with joy when he decided to protect Arcanine, allowing me to freely take out Porygon2. The next turn, I learned that Extreme Speed would have left me with 4 HP. With that win, I was on to the top 8.
W (OO) [9-1]
Top 8: Rajan Bal [8-2]
(Kartana/Krookodile/Tapu Koko/Marowak/Tapu Fini/Porygon2)
You can watch it here except game 1:
Prior to this match, someone told me that Rajan was going to bring Tapu Koko/Porygon2/Marowak and Tapu Fini against me, so I played accordingly. Unfortunately, I played super badly Game 1, and got completely destroyed. I got bailed out game 2 when he decided to use Tectonic Rage on my Araquanid instead of Muk, helping me win. Game 3, Krookodile survived with 1 Hp when I wanted it go down, causing a little problem. Luckily, he made a mistake and used Nature Power the same turn as sending out Tapu Fini, helping me win the set.
W (XOO) [10-1]
Top 4: Ian McLaughlin [10-1]
You can watch it at :
I knew Ian’s team prior to this and I felt Kartana and Tapu Koko handled all of his leads. Game 1, I felt like I read him pretty well leading to a pretty easy win. Game 2, I made a small mistake and didn’t trust my instincts can could have gotten a knock out on a Celesteela switch in. Game 3, I decided to drop Porygon2 in exchange for Muk. I noticed that he pretty much does the same thing each game so I used that to my advantage and took out his Tapu Koko the first turn. Imprison from Muk made the match a lot easier, stopping Protect from Celesteela and potentially Gastrodon, allowing for another easy win.
Finals: Joohwan Kim [10-2]
(Nihilego/Gyarados/Tapu Bulu/Torkoal/Lilligant/Tapu Lele)
You can watch this at:
I had no idea what to do against this team. Araquanid usually is what I bring against sun, but his entire team seemed to handle it, so that was out of the picture. People told me prior to this that Muk was really good against him, so used Tapu Koko and Muk in case he starts with Lilligant and uses Sleep Powder. I got a paralysis on Torkoal game 1, which didn’t matter in the long run because I did a lot of damage to it so that Kartana could take it out, so I was fine if any of them went down. The paralysis on Nihilego also didn’t matter because of my Kartana being faster and it not having a Focus Sash making Smart Strike an easy knockout. Near the end, I avoided a Sleep Powder with Arcanine, which made winning the game go by faster because neither Torkoal or Lilligant could really do much to Arcanine with its berry not activated. Game 2 was a whole different story, Joohwan played differently than the previous game making it more difficult to predict him. I also didn’t think some things through so I made a few silly mistakes such as not Taunting Lilligant when Sun wasn’t up and Taunting it when it was. Muk waking up after one turn and getting a Poison Jab off was definitely the turning point for me, as it took out a huge offensive threat. After a few more turns of careful switching, I was able to take the victory and become Regional Champion!
W (OO) [12-1]
First of all, congrats for making it this far and taking time to read this! I’m really happy that I was able to do well with this team as doing well at events always makes me feel happy. Thanks to everyone who supported me and those who helped breed and supply me with these Pokemon. Finally, thank you masavampharos for giving me the opportunity to write this article for his website. I hope that I can get the opportunity to write an article again in the future!