Translate Japanese to English：Ryokon(@ryokonVGC)
In the previous years, it has been very rare for me to play this game with such passion during this time of year, as I would always start playing seriously only right before the Japan Cup in May. However, this year’s format has been simply very fun to play, and I have been playing a lot of games from this time of year.
I put my eyes on the combination of Tapu Koko and Alolan Ninetails to begin my team building as the two have good attacking coverage and adaptability. Katsumi, who I regularly build teams with convinced me how powerful the combination of Celesteela and Gastrodon were so I decided to combine the two idea and start the team from there. With the four pokemon above as the core, I kept testing to find the last two pokemon that would complete this team.
The more I practiced with the team, I realized how vast and deep this year’s format is, which led me to become lost in the team building process at times, but gradually found out what my core needed help with. One of them was the combination of Tapu Koko and Alolan Raichu, so I have Snorlax to counter this.
I personally enjoy using good stuffs teams and the adaptability it has. After playing best of three in the Kanto Regionals tournament, this opinion has only become stronger in me.
Tapu Koko @ Life Orb
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 1 Atk / 30 SpA / 30 SpD
– Dazzling Gleam
– Hidden Power [Ground]
I personally think this pokemon is at the top of the tier rank this format. Tapu Koko will almost always get its job done.
I have it paired with Alolan Ninetails in this team so the nature is Modest. Hidden Power Ground is for hitting Alolan Marowak which is Tapu Koko’s worst match up otherwise.
You want to use Tapu Koko by leading it and deal some early damage and save it for the late game for a sweep.
Ninetales-Alola @ Focus Sash
Ability: Snow Warning
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Icy Wind
I gave a lot of thought for the move set of this pokemon and eventually ended up with the protect-less set.
The main attacking move Blizzard is pretty set in stone and I wanted Icy Wind to out speed pokemon such as Tapu Koko. Toxic is for Porygon2 and Freeze Dry is for hitting Pelliper, Gyarados, Gastrodon which all have high usage right now. There are opinion that Freeze Dry is not necessary because the opponent will assume Ninetails will have it anyway, but I felt it was good to have for situations where I wanted to hit Garchomp next to a Wide Guard user.
Celesteela @ Leftovers
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 228 HP / 28 Atk / 252 Spe
– Heavy Slam
– Leech Seed
Infamous for being the dark side of Alola, this Celesteela is max speed with the attack stat set to the highest to boost it with a beast boost.
The pros of having it at max speed are for out speeding other celesteelas, which might be more self explanatory but also for out speeding pokemon such as Tapu Lele with an Icy Wind drop. I have attack as the highest stat because after a beast boost I wanted Celesteela to hit pokemon it doesn’t like such as Marowak as hard as possible.
Gastrodon @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Storm Drain
EVs: 252 HP / 172 Def / 72 SpA / 12 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk
– Sludge Bomb
Whether its the opposing Politoed or Pelliper, Gastrodon is so dominant against rain teams.
It also has brilliant synergy with Celesteela, being able to take fire type and electric attack type attacks that Celesteela doesn’t like to be hit by and stay on the field for a long time with the move Recover.
Sludge Bomb might be rare to see but the side effect of poison and having a way to hit Tapu Bulu is very powerful.
Arcanine @ Aguav Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 76 SpA / 4 SpD / 172 Spe
– Extreme Speed
I tested pokemon such as Buzzwole in this slot but I needed something with Intimidate to suppress the opponent from bringing a physical oriented selection.
Arcanine is used to weaken pokemon such as Alolan Muk and Kartana and Will-O-Wisp helps both Gastrodon and Celesteela as well.
Snorlax @ Normalium Z
Ability: Thick Fat
EVs: 252 Atk / 60 Def / 196 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
– High Horsepower
– Wild Charge
Snorlax was brought to the team to help with the Raichu+Tapu Koko match up.
I would have loved to run a set with Pulverizing Pancake, but I had no space for the Giga Impact.
Wild Charge is not only effective for dealing with opposing Gyarados but being able to bring Celesteela’s Substitute is also very important.
Z Double Edge had enough power to get the KOs I needed so I have no regrets running this set.
How to play the team
I lead Tapu Koko and Ninetails in most of my matches.
If the opponent has an Alolan Marowak they will most likely have it in their back, but Blizzard + Hidden Power Ground + Hail damage is enough to KO it. If they lead the Marowak, protecting the Tapu Koko turn 1 and using Blizzard with Ninetails will give the same result. By taking down the Marowak early, Celesteela in the back can set up freely.
Taking down what Celesteela has trouble with is the main priority of this team, and something I keep in mind when I play this team.
However this is a good stuffs team meaning there are countless ways to win as well, please keep this in mind too.
In the finals, I lost to Katsumi who used a good stuffs team with a very good plan for the mirror, and I could do nothing about it.
I believe that this year’s format is one where practice will pay off, so I am very excited to see where the meta game goes from here and hope to be one that can lead it.