The Law of Gravity- VGC 2016 UK Nationals

Hi there everyone, my name is Ashley Graves and I thought I would create a report on the team that I brought to the UK National Championships earlier this month. With this team, I came 79th place out of over 300 players all across Europe and giving me a total of 84 Championship points (not the most impressive, but better than nothing, right?).

Before the creation of my team, I was really struggling in terms of getting into grips with the format. I wasn’t 100% sure of how to go about the format and it resulted in poor results from the Regionals and mid-season showdowns I attended. It was until I came across a report on Nugget Bridge created by James Eakkes and Patrick Smith, with a pretty interesting team, with James making top 16 and Patrick finishing as the runner up for the SoCal Regionals. This is what it was:

  

I liked the look of this team, it was pretty easy to pilot and it matched my hyper offensive play style. I felt that Gravity was also a great response to skill swap Cresselia and Bronzong, as even if they skill swap levitate onto their partner to doge a PB from Groudon, they still will take the hefty amount of damage this move can do. I decided to test this team on Showdown and amazingly enough, it was working well for me. It had a pretty strong matchup against many types of teams (notably big six) and I felt that this should be a team I really would want to consider for future usage. However, there was some issues with the team that I felt I could improve to make the team more effective. The first issue was Machamp. Throughout all of the testing I did, I had not once used Machamp. Whilst the wide guard was sometimes useful, it really wasn’t helpful to me and I felt this would be the first thing to go. I then drew my attention to Groudon, and notably the move substitute. I really did like this move, but I felt I wanted a way to apply additional pressure onto my opponent to really swing the matchup into my favour. I replaced Substitute for Swords Dance, and I did not regret it once. At +2, Precipice Blades knocked out just about anything in the format, and anything that does survive will still take a lot of damage from it. When then paired with gravity, not even levitators and flying types are safe from this behemoth once he is ready to go.

I took the team to the Sutton Regionals, replacing Machamp for Clefable (since I was worried about the Yveltal matchup) and ended up with a 3-4 finish. Though this was not in any way a great record at all, I felt that the team was still working effectively and a combination of bad luck and me choking one game was the reason for my losses. I took my notes from the regionals along with the PC I attended the week after and studied what went well and what needed to be improved. Clefable was the first (and pretty much the only thing) to go. It didn’t help my matchups and, like Machamp, I rarely brought it. I looked into previous teams I had used this year and realised the Tailroom strategy really was working for me as I was great and interchanging speed accordingly to ensure I can keep on apply offensive pressure onto my opponent. Taking this on board, I created the final version of my team and this was the team I came up with and brought to the UK National Championship.

      

When using this team I had one clear objective in mind, set trick room and gravity up, and then sweep my opponent’s entire team with Groudon. This was easy in theory and worked fairly well in practice when things went my way. It required careful thinking of when to set Gravity up as if I set it up too early, then it can be troublesome in a fairly longer game where Meowstic faints and Gravity returns to normal when Groudon is faced with opponents like Mega Salamence and Mega Rayquaza. The strategy was simple, but it required precise calls in terms of when to set Gravity and Trick Room up.

And yes, I made one change…. anyhow, on with the team analysis!

 

Meowstic @ Mental Herb
Ability: Prankster
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 156 Def / 100 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Trick Room
– Gravity
– Swagger
– Safeguard

This was the one pokemon that was responsible for making this team work so well. Prankster Gravity was great, as it meant that I could follow-up with a quick Blizzard from Kyurem or a Precipice Blades from Groudon afterwards. Trick Room was for the benefit of Groudon and Smeargle as under Gravity, Smeargle can launch a slow dark void along with a very strong precipice blades. Safeguard’s main usage was to get around Dark Void Smeargle and Spore from Amoongus that wanted to take advantage of my Trick Room. Swagger was great when I had safeguard up, as I could swagger my own Groudon to allow me to start sweeping one turn earlier rather than wasting a turn going for a Swords Dance. I could also swagger my own Kangaskhan to allow a +2 Double-Edge to rip through my opponent. 
 
I used the same EV spread that James and Patrick had used, as I felt that there was nothing that needed to be improved on it. The spread allowed me to take a Jolly Mega Kangaskhan’s Double-Edge a lot of the time as well as a Jolly Mega Rayquaza’s Life Orb Dragon Ascent. It could had a chance to take a Water Spout from a Modest Primal Kyogre with 84 EVs in Sp.Atk as well as an Eruption from a Timid 252 Primal Groudon (though I was not too worried about Special Primal Groudon as I believed that the physical variations were becoming a lot more popular). Surprisingly, this spread could also take a +2 Dazzling Gleam from Xerneas, which I was really happy to see.  The Mental Herb was self-explanatory, preventing Meowstic from being taunted or encored by pokemon such as Thundurus, Liepard or Sableye (list goes on really). 
 
Overall, I was really happy with Meowstic and I didn’t have a single problem with it whatsoever. I brought it to every game as the lead to help to prepare Groudon to set up for the big sweep. 
 
 
Kangaskhan-Mega @ Kangaskhanite
Ability: Inner Focus
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Fake Out
– Double-Edge
– Sucker Punch
– Low Kick
 
Out of all the mega evolutions I have used this season, this is the main one I have been using. The main purpose of Kangaskhan is to threaten a fake out onto anything that I felt that could be a threat to Meowstic getting a Trick Room or Gravity going, such as Yveltal and opposing Kang. With its massive damage output, it was also useful in weaking pokemon that Primal Groudon may not pick up the KO with with precipice blades, notably bulky Xerneas and Primal Kyogre. For that reason, I chose Double-Edge over Return. Low Kick was used to threaten other Kangaskhan in case they were not ev’d to gurantee Low Kick to be a 2hko (otherwise, it is a roll to KO opposing Kangaskhan).  Sucker Punch gave me a priority move to use against weakened opponents or just to get some chip damage off in case I expect my Kangaskhan to go down that turn. 
 
Nothing needs to really said on the EV spread of Kang. It was simple, and did what I needed it to. Max speed with Jolly meant that I would speed tie with other Kangaskhan, allowing me to get a low kick and a potential KO on them (depending on whether they are ev’d to take a low kick or not). It also gave me a fast option in case I was unable to get my Trick Room going, which sometimes was the case. When I looked at the final team, I did consider going for the power-up punch variation with Kang, since I had Amoongus to redirect attacks away, but Low Kick was more important against other Kangaskhan as well as steel types like Dialga and Ferrothorn.
 
 
Groudon-Primal @ Red Orb
Ability: Desolate Land
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 22 Spe
– Protect
– Swords Dance
– Fire Punch
– Precipice Blades
 
In all tournaments I have entered, Primal Groudon has been in each one of them. I have become incredibly comfortable with using this behemoth, so I saw no reason as to why I shouldn’t bring him to Nationals. Groudon was the main offence this team had, so I had to make sure he was well supported. The idea of this team is simple, sweep with Groudon. Swords Dance gave me that ability to do that, as at +2, he will KO just about anything barring bulky Kyogre and Xerneas with Precipice Blades. Fire Punch was used to get around wide guard users like Smeargle to allow me to continue to spam Precipice Blades. I did consider Rock Tomb for this team to give me more speed control, but I like the damage output of Fire Punch more, so I stuck with that. 
 
Max attack was crucial to ensuring Groudon could pick up as many knockouts as I can get with it. Max HP wasn’t too bad, though maybe I could have optimised it a little better but I was still happy with it. The 22 IVs are important here, as with a brave nature Groudon hits the 95 speed benchmark. This allowed Groudon to still be slower than neutral speed primals since I believed there would be a lack of min speed primals, but it also meant that under tailwind Groudon would hit 190. This allowed Groudon to outspeed Mega Salamence and KO with Precipice Blades under Gravity at +2. This made Groudon much more deadly, and could constantly overwhelm opponents with heaps of offence. 
 
Smeargle @ Focus Sash
Ability: Own Tempo
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 16 Spe
– Tailwind
– Dark Void
– Spiky Shield
– Wide Guard
 
I remember a time where I used to really hate this guy, but when I use him… well that’s different. Anyhow, Smeargle was here to firstly do what it did best…. Dark Void. In Gravity, Dark Void was 100% accurate on both opponents, meaning I could easily put them to sleep to allow Groudon to Swords Dance and sweep. The most notable move on Smeargle was the Tailwind. This caught a lot of people off guard and I normally used this on the last turn of Trick Room to allow Groudon to get three extra turns to cause as much mayhem as possible. Finally, I used wide guard as response to Physical Groudons and Kyogres that love to spam Water Spout.
 
Max HP and Defence was used to allow Smeargle to take a Power-Up Punch from Mega Kangaskhan and that was pretty much it. There was no reason to invest in speed as it is intended to be a slow Smeargle. However, 16 ivs were put into speed to allow Smeargle to underspeed min speed Cresselia whilst also being able to outspeed max speed Primals. Smeargle was a great asset to the team, and I really felt it helped Groudon significantly to get the sweep it needs.
 
 
Kyurem-White @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Turboblaze
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Blizzard
– Ice Beam
– Fusion Flare
– Draco Meteor
 
My second restricted mon of choice was not a difficult one really. Kyurem’s 170 base special attack was an immediate incentive to put it on the team. The main reason as to why was not to spam Blizzard in gravity, but it gave me a great response to flying types like Rayquaza and Salamence, which Groudon faces. Kyurem also puts on intense pressure against opponents, and can sometimes force them into a lead where they try to get rid of Kyurem as quickly as possible. Ice beam was used as an alternative move in case I wanted single target damage or if I didn’t have gravity and I didn’t want to take the risk of missing. Fusion Flare was used for steel types like Mawile and Ferrothorn but I never used it. When considering the last move, I looked at Barry Anderson’s Kyurem and saw it was running Dragon Pulse. I went for Draco Meteor instead, as it was a lot stronger and did more damage to Kyogre so Groudon can pick it off later on. 
 
No extraordinary spread here really. A modest nature ensured that Blizzard would pick up a guaranteed knock out on Mega Rayquaza, even in delta stream (unless they had Assault Vest…. *cough* Lee Provost *cough cough*… man my cough is getting worse). I didn’t see a reason to run timid on Kyurem anyways, I wanted to take advantage of the sheer power Kyurem possessed and with a choice scarf, I was outspeeding most of the unboosted format anyways.
 
 
Amoonguss @ Coba Berry
Ability: Regenerator
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Protect
– Rage Powder
– Spore
– Grass Knot
 
I’m still not sure on this guy. I didn’t bring it to a single one of my games at nationals so if I ever make any changes to this team, this guy will probably be the first to go. But Amoongus was here for a reason. Rage Powder was the main reason, allowing me to lure away any attacks that threatened Meowstic, such as a knock off from Yveltal or a Double-Edge from Kangaskhan. Its other purpose was to help with the Kyogre matchup with Grass Knot, but I just never felt comfortable bringing it. Spore was there because…. well people would be tired from playing all of these nine rounds and sometimes a nap is what’s best….. Yeah. Grass Knot was the final choice to allow me to do heft damage to Primal Kyogre and Primal Groudon to an extent. Though I did think about putting Sludge Bomb on Amoongus over Grass Knot to improve the Xerneas matchup, but oh well.
 
Threats
 
 
This was the biggest issue for this team when I tested it. Yveltal could easily KO my Meowstic and could dent my other pokemon as well. I was fortunate enough to never play against one during Nationals, but I would struggle if I ended up facing one.
 
 
This isn’t as big of a worry as Yveltal since Kangaskhan can just Low Kick it for the KO. But the threat of Weavile honestly depended on what item it had. If it was the focus sash variant, I was ok as Meowstic can take one, but if it is the life orb variant, then Meowstic will go down. 
 
Games
 
Before I get into the games, I want to apologise if I cannot remember every game off by heart, but I will do my best to remember them.
 
Round 1: Thomas Plater
 
His team: Kangaskhan/Xerneas/Groudon/Talonflame/Thundurus/Amoongus
 
Game 1: 
He Brought: Kangaskhan/Xerneas/Groudon/Talonflame
I brought: Kangaskhan/Meowstic/Smeargle/Groudon
 
I was really happy to get this matchup, as I felt very confident against big six-style teams. Game 1 he led Kangaskhan/Xerneas against my Kangaskhan/Meowstic. When we both mega evolved our Kangaskhan’s and traded fake outs, I learnt he was max speed which was good to note. I then won the speed tie and Low Kicked his Kang and got a crit to get the KO as he went for the Geomancy with Xerneas. I went for Trick Room that turn, expecting that. From there, I proceeded to Gravity and sweep through his team with Smeargle and Groudon
 
Game 2:
He Brought: Kangaskhan/Xerneas/Amoongus/???
I brought: Kangaskhan/Meowstic/Smeargle/Groudon
 
In Game 2, I faked out his Xerneas but he then Low Kicked my Kang for the KO as I went for trick room. I brought Groudon in and went for Gravity PB before he went for the double-edge on my Meowstic to KO and Moonblast. He brought in Amoongus, which was bad news as I could not prevent the spore, and I lost momentum from there.
 
Game 3:
He Brought: Kangaskhan/Groudon/Xerneas/Amoongus
I brought: Kangaskhan/Meowstic/Smeargle/Groudon
 
In Game 3, I won a speed tie with Kangaskhan and got a fake out onto it this time as his Precipice Blades missed my Meowstic, giving me a free Trick Room. I went for Gravity as He Ko’d my kang whilst Meowstic survived a precipice blades. As he brought Amoongus in when I brought Groudon in, I went straight for the safeguard on his spore as Precipice Blades knocked out my Meowstic. Smeargle came in and the result was a clean Groudon sweep, giving me my first win of the day.
 
Record: 1-0
 
Round 2: Alex Soto
 
His team: Groudon/Kangaskhan/Smeargle/Xerneas/Salamence/Thundurus
 
I don’t quite remember how this set went, but I’m pretty sure I won 2-0 with being able to get two consecutive sweeps with Groudon. I also remember his Groudon was purely physical, so I could just wide guard with Smergle to stop the Precipice Blades and Groudon could finish it off.
 
Record 2-0
 
Round 3: Jan Michelberger
 
His team: Scrafty/Ho-Oh/Gothitelle/Groudon/Mawile/Salamence
 
Game 1: 
He brought/Salamence/Ho-Oh/Scrafty/Groudon
I brought: Kangaskhan/Meowstic/Smeargle/Groudon
 
I had mixed feelings about this matchup. On one hand he had a lack of switch ins to a PB after a swords dance. However, he had two intimidators and a slower mode than mine, making this matchup a little more difficult. Game 1 I faked out his Salamence as he switched Ho-Oh for Scrafty as I then went for Trick Room. I can’t quite remember what happened then but I was just unable to get through his slower mode and he was then able to stall out my gravity turns, preventing me from hitting his mence or ho-oh.
 
Game 2: 
He Brought: Scrafty/Ho-Oh/Groudon/Salamence
I brought: Kangaskhan/Meowstic/Smeargle/Groudon
 
This game I don’t remember too well either, but I remember the Ho-Oh revealing tailwind which was not a great start as it meant I was pressured right at the start. At the end, it came down to my +2 Groudon and Smeargle against Groudon and Salamence with 1 turn of gravity left. I saw the precipice blades from my opponent’s Groudon and assumed this was a physical variant. However, he revealed earth power and knocked out my Groudon, giving me my first loss of the day.
 
Record: 2-1
 
 Round 4: Michael Cullingan
 
His team: Gengar/Kangaskhan/Crobat/Kyogre/Groudon/Talonflame
 
This set I don’t remember too well either, but I remember I was a bit worried about the Kyogre in case it was a really bulky variation. Other than that, a Groudon sweep was pretty easy to achieve. Game 1 I was able to get that sweep and get the game. I learnt from that game that this was a bulky Kyogre as it was able to take a +2 Precipice Blades from my Groudon. In game 2, I lost my Meowstic very quickly as he led Kangaskhan and Crobat which sealed that game for me. In game 3 my opponent made a huge error and taunted my Meowstic and Faking out my Kang. I got the trick room up due to the mental herb and I managed to get another sweep with Groudon. 
 
Record: 3-1
 
Round 5: Anis Haque
 
His team: Salamence/Thundurus/Kyogre/Groudon/Amoongus/Cresselia
 
This time I faced a more standard outlook of dual primal. In Game 1 I was able to get the clean sweep with Groudon and take Game 1. In Game 2 I’m not quite sure what happened, but I was left with Smeargle and Groudon against Groudon and Salamence whilst I had tailwind up. My gravity had expired and I needed to hit the dark void on Salamence to give me a good chance of winning. I miss on the Salamence, meaning I cannot do anything to really stop the Salamence. The same situation occured in Game 3, where I needed to hit Salamence to win the game but unfortunately, I missed on it again, costing me the game as a result. And people wonder why I love gravity so much!
 
Record: 3-2
 
Round 6: Mikel Perez
 
His team: Salamence/Groudon/Talonflame/Kangaskhan/Togekiss/Xerneas
 
In game 1, he led with Salamence and Togekiss… the one lead I wish I led with my Kyurem. I can’t remember how, but I ended up losing that match, but I managed to acquire a lot of information about my opponent’s team, such as his Talonflame carrying protect as well as this Groudon being purely physical. In game 2, he led the same as I brought Kyurem and Meowstic. The game was pretty much over as he let me Gravity Blizzard and KO his mence and leave his togekiss at very low HP. In game 3 I made a stupid mistake of leading Kyurem/Meowstic thinking he would do the same. He lead Kangaskhan and Xerneas and a Fake out onto Meowstic and a Geomancy pretty much sealed the game there, meaning my chance to top cut was pretty much over then.
 
Record: 3-3
 
Round 7: Joesp Maria Larrosa
 
His Team: Groudon/Xerneas/Landorus/Kangaskhan/Amoongus/Talonflame
 
I was looking forward to another big 6-style matchup, especially after seeing no Salamence this time. However, this is not a set I can remember well but I believe this was another set where I got two clean sweeps with Groudon, which I was happy with. Me and Josep continued talking afterwards and he was a really nice guy, so I was very happy to make a friend there, which I felt was more important to me than top cut (insert violins here).
 
Record: 4-3
 
Round 8: Oscar Sanchez
 
His Team: Xerneas/Groudon/Smeargle/Kangaskhan/Crobat/Cresselia
 
Another big six matchup with no Salamence, which was really good for me. I ended up getting another 2 sweeps with Groudon in pretty good style. However, I barely was able to win game 2 as he revealed Grass Knot on his Xerneas, and barely missed the knock out on my Groudon. I breathed a sigh of relief and felt amazing, knowing that no matter what happens in the next game, I will have earned some CP and finished positive for the first time this season.
 
Round 9: ??? (I forgot to write his name down!!)
 
His Team: Kyogre/Groudon/Bronzong/Kangaskhan/Landorus/Thundurus
 
I was quite confident with this matchup, and felt this can be another team Groudon can sweep with. I won Game 1 but I got incredibly worried when I found out his Groudon was slower than mine. Not to mention, his Kyogre was not that bulky as Precipice Blades didover 50%, which suggested he was a faster and a more offensive variation, which also worried me. In Game 2, I learnt that his Kyogre was faster than Groudon, as he was able to take advantage of my Gravity by revealing Hypnosis on Bronzong. As I was unable to get Safeguard up successfully, I fell victim to my own gravity and lost as a result. In Game 3, he led Bronzong and Landorus as I led Kangaskhan and Meowstic. I misplayed by faking out his Bronzong instead of Landorus. I however made up for it by using Gravity with Meowstic as he went for the Earthquake and knocked out his own Bronzong as I set up Trick Room. He brought in Thundurus as I lost both Kang and Meowstic. I brought in Smearlge and Groudon as I went for the Spiky Shield with Smeargle and Precipice Blades He protected Thundurus, expecting the Precipice Blades as Landorus survived and got an Earthquake off on Groudon. I had to rely on a double spiky shield with Smeargle, which I didn’t get as he taunted my Smeargle before PB picked up a double knockout. It was down to Kyogre against Groudon and a Struggling Smeargle, and I had somehow got damage against his Kyogre (I don’t remember how though?). For some reason I protected my Groudon and let Smeargle go down to an origin pulse as gravity expired. I got so happy when he missed origin pulse on Groudon, but I missed my Precipice Blades which would have picked up the KO as his Origin Pulse connected the second time, securing a loss for me. I was disappointed but happy I still earned CP.
 
Closing Thoughts
 
I really enjoyed using this team, I knew it inside out and the losses I acquired were mainly due to human error (in other words, me messing up) which I reflected and learnt from. I’m also happy I got the matchups I wanted, which I think contributed to the overall result. Definately improvements can be made to the team but I’m happy with it after using it for over 4 months now. 
 
Major thanks to:
– James Eakkes/Patrick Smith for posting the original team onto an article for guys like me to have fun using.
– Ben Rollason for helping me playtest and stopping me from having last minute panics. Also for his Amoongus nickname, “Rushroom”.
– James T for just being…. James
– Matt S for putting up with me for the weekend
-Ben P/Aaron for driving me to and back from the venue 
-Josep Maria Larrosa for being a genuinely nice guy.
– Everyone at the venue for bringing a great atmosphere to the event.
 
 
 
 
 
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The Law of Gravity- VGC 2016 UK Nationals