A World Record Performance
16 Jan, 2012 in Play! Pokémon
The Indiana Regional Champion proves once again what it takes to be a superior Pokémon Trainer.
The 2011–2012 Regional Championships allowed Trainers to build teams using almost any Pokémon from the National Pokédex. This included exciting new Unova Pokémon like Tornadus and Terrakion, as well as old favorites from previous generations, such as Tyranitar and Zapdos. With the Team Preview feature enabled, Trainers were allowed a brief view of the six Pokémon in their opponent’s team, after which each player selected four of his or her own Pokémon to use in the Double Battle. This added a whole new level of strategy to the competition, as Trainers were given an opportunity to tailor their teams based on what they thought their opponent’s strategies would be.
Ryan Arnold is not a Trainer to be taken lightly; he and his family are such a Pokémon powerhouse that they can be found in The Guinness World Records 2012 Gamer’s Edition for their successes at previous Pokémon Video Game Championships events. On top of this, Ryan qualified to compete in both the 2010 and 2011 Pokémon Video Game World Championships. With a pedigree like that, it’s no surprise that he was able to sweep through the competition in Indiana to claim the title of Regional Champion.
As we saw with Mychael Bryan’s team, a smart Trainer can build a team whose unifying theme is to simply counter his or her opponent’s strategy, then use strong Pokémon to secure the win. Ryan’s team follows this theme, but it uses a different combination of Pokémon and moves to do so. The choices made during Team Preview are critical to the success of Ryan’s team, as each Pokémon is designed to counter a specific strategy. A strong knowledge of the most commonly used Pokémon and their move combinations is the key to winning each battle.
|Pokémon||Garchomp||Poké Transfer from Pokémon Diamond Version, Pokémon Pearl Version, or Pokémon Platinum Version|
|Held Item||Yache Berry||From Iris in Castelia City or Wild Starly (White Forest, Pokémon White Version only)|
|Moves||Dragon Claw||Raise Gabite to Level 33|
|Rock Slide||TM80—Mistralton Cave|
This Garchomp is identical to the one on Grafton Roll’s Sandstorm team, from training to Nature to move selection. Garchomp does well against an opposing Sandstorm team, as its Ability boosts its evasion during a Sandstorm. Dragon Claw provides excellent coverage against an opposing Garchomp or any of the other dominant Dragon-type Pokémon that are popular in this year’s format. Rockslide provides excellent coverage against a wide variety of Pokémon, with the bonus of a possible flinch thrown in. Earthquake’s strength is boosted by matching one of Garchomp’s types, resulting in a powerful Ground-type attack that hits every other Pokémon on the field. Ryan has to be careful when using this move, however, as there are few Pokémon in his party that are Flying type or have the Levitate Ability. Finally, Protect adds some longevity to Garchomp, allowing it to prevent damage to itself for a turn while its teammate counterattacks.
|Pokémon||Chandelure||Celestial Tower, as Litwick|
|Held Item||Focus Sash||Gear Station—48 Battle Points|
|Moves||Shadow Ball||TM30—Relic Castle|
|Heat Wave||See "More Information" at the end of the article|
|Hidden Power (Ice)||TM17—Nuvema Town|
Chandelure’s immense Special Attack stat makes it a considerable threat to an opposing team. Its Modest Nature and training with Power Lens further amplify this feature. A bit of training with Power Anklet helps to upgrade its middling Speed stat, which is always crucial in competitive play. Chandelure has immunity to Normal- and Fighting-type moves, thanks to its Ghost type, plus immunity to Fire-type moves thanks to Flash Fire, limiting an opponent’s options when attempting to land a hit on this elusive Pokémon. Chandelure has a low HP stat, so Ryan gives it Focus Sash to help it stick around at least a couple of turns (unless his opponent targets Chandelure with both opposing Pokémon). Shadow Ball gives Chandelure a potent Ghost-type attack to deal reliable damage to a majority of Pokémon it will face, including supereffective hits against opposing Ghost- and Psychic-type Pokémon. Heat Wave is an incredibly strong Fire-type attack that hits both opposing Pokémon but spares Chandelure’s teammate. Thanks to the shared type bonus to Chandelure, this attack dishes out some serious heat. Hidden Power provides this Chandelure with an Ice-type attack to help cover its weakness to Ground-type Pokémon, which offers even more protection against the many popular Sandstorm teams he’ll likely face.
|Pokémon||Zapdos||Poké Transfer from Pokémon Diamond Version, Pokémon Pearl Version, or Pokémon Platinum Version|
|Held Item||Sitrus Berry||Route 12, 15, or Moor of Icirrus after battle with a Ranger|
|Moves||Discharge||Raise Zapdos to Level 50|
|Heat Wave||Move Tutor (Pokémon Platinum Version, Pokémon HeartGold Version, or Pokémon SoulSilver Version)|
|Tailwind||Move Tutor (Pokémon HeartGold Version or Pokémon SoulSilver Version)|
|Detect||Mistralon City—Give a Heart Scale to the reminder girl at the Move Family’s House|
With solid base stats topped by high Special Attack and Speed stats, Zapdos makes a great addition to a team designed to counter a wide variety of strategies. Its Pressure Ability combines well with its bulkiness, quickly draining away the PP of Pokémon that target it. Discharge hits every other Pokémon on the field and has a 30% chance to cause Paralysis. This can wreak havoc on a Rain weather condition team but has a limited impact on the rest of Ryan’s team, thanks to Protect on nearly every other Pokémon. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see Zapdos and Garchomp on the field at the same time, with the former using Discharge (which Garchomp is immune to due to its Ground type), and the latter using Earthquake (which Zapdos is immune to due to its Flying type). As mentioned previously, Heat Wave is a great Fire-type attack, helping Zapdos to counter Hail teams and bothersome Steel-type Pokémon that resist Discharge. Tailwind is a purely situational move: Ryan uses it when the opposing team has Tailwind in effect or if the team has Pokémon with the Swift Swim Ability the Rain weather condition is in effect. Detect provides the same protection as Protect, but is a safer choice against the effects of moves such as Imprison.
|Pokémon||Abomasnow||Poké Transfer from Pokémon Diamond Version, Pokémon Pearl Version, or Pokémon Platinum Version|
|Held Item||Choice Scarf||Gear Station—48 Battle Points|
|Moves||Blizzard||Raise Abomasnow to Level 47|
|Giga Drain||TM19—Pokémon Diamond Version, Pokémon Pearl Version, Pokémon Platinum Version, Pokémon HeartGold Version, or Pokémon SoulSilver Version|
|Hidden Power (Ground)||TM17—Nuvema Town|
|Ice Shard||Raise Snover to Level 26|
Abomasnow is a popular choice in many teams to counter other weather-based teams. However, unlike Politoed or Tyranitar, who are put onto the field at the start of the battle, Abomasnow is typically held in reserve until the opposing team sets up its own weather condition. At that point, Abomasnow is switched in almost immediately to replace the current weather condition with Hail, thanks to its Snow Warning Ability. This can be immediately disruptive, as Pokémon like Kingdra and Excadrill lose their speed boosts from Swift Swim and Sand Rush, respectively. It can also be troublesome over the course of the battle by causing a steady stream of damage. Choice Scarf, a Timid Nature, and training to boost Speed make Abomasnow a surprisingly fast Pokémon, though Choice Scarf does restrict Abomasnow to the use of the first move it used when it enters the field. The boosted accuracy that Hail gives Blizzard—and its high base power—make the attack a great counter to Sandstorm teams, typically allowing it to take out most of the opposing Pokémon with a single shot. Giga Drain is a great addition to counter both Rain and Sandstorm teams while helping to keep Abomasnow in the battle. Ryan went with an Abomasnow whose Hidden Power move was Ground type, which helps counter Fire-type Pokémon, whose attacks nearly guarantee to take it out in one shot. Hidden Power also counters Rock-type Pokémon such as Tyranitar. Ice Shard is one of a handful of attacks that will always go first. This provides Abomasnow with a counter to Trick Room teams, which only inverts the attack order based on the Pokémon’s Speed—priority moves such as Quick Attack and Ice Shard will still go first when it is in effect.
|Pokémon||Amoonguss||Route 6, 7, or 10|
|Held Item||Mental Herb||Wild Sewaddle (Pinwheel Forest), Swadloon (Lostlorn Forest), or Leavanny (Lostlorn Forest)|
|Moves||Spore||Raise Amoonguss to Level 62|
|Rage Powder||Raise Amoonguss to Level 54|
|Giga Drain||Raise Foongus to Level 28|
While the moves on Ryan’s Amoonguss are identical to those for the one on Mychael’s team, the Nature, training, and item are quite different. Given that his Amoonguss was trained to maximize HP and Special Defense and with a Nature that further boosts the Special Defense stat, was obviously concerned about coming across Pokémon with strong Fire-type Special Attacks, such as Heat Wave or Flamethrower. Amoonguss is likely to see plenty of the move Taunt, which prevents Amoonguss from using any moves that are not direct attacks for three turns. Given Amoonguss’s supporting role on this team, getting hit by Taunt can mean the difference between disabling a threat and having to use an ineffective attack. Mental Herb helps prevent this scenario once, allowing Amoonguss to follow up with Spore.
As we mentioned, most of Amoonguss’s moves are selected as support for its teammates. Spore is the only move that causes Pokémon to fall asleep with 100% accuracy, quickly turning the battle into a two-on-one scenario. On the turn that Amoonguss uses Rage Powder, any attacks that were targeted at its teammate will automatically target Amoonguss, which is especially helpful in allowing a damaged teammate to avoid taking a hit that would otherwise knock it out. After Amoonguss takes a couple of hits of its own, it can patch itself up using Giga Drain to recover HP equal to half the damage it inflicted on the target. This is especially effective against Rain weather condition teams that usually have a high number of Water-type Pokémon and against Sandstorm teams, thanks to the Ground- and Rock-type Pokémon that these teams are usually comprised of. This move set is rounded out with Protect to help keep Amoonguss in the fray for as long as possible as well as to allow its teammate to use attacks, such as Earthquake and Discharge.
|Pokémon||Cresselia||Poké Transfer from Pokémon Diamond Version, Pokémon Pearl Version, or Pokémon Platinum Version|
|Held Item||Lum Berry||Route 3|
|Trick Room||TM92—Abundant Shrine|
|Thunder Wave||TM73—Nimbasa City|
Cresselia is a tank, pure and simple. With massive HP, Defense, and Special Defense stats, and a training regimen with a Power Weight and Power Belt to further boost these stats, the Lunar Pokémon is a solid selection for this team. Levitate allows Cresselia to ignore Earthquake attacks from Sandstorm teams as well as those from Garchomp on this team. Psychic provides a strong Psychic-type attack for Cresselia, which is effective against popular Fighting-type Pokémon, such as Terrakion. Trick Room is an interesting move that reverses the order that Pokémon act for five turns, making the slowest Pokémon on the field act first and the fastest act last. It’s also fairly exceptional in that a second use of Trick Room negates the effects of the first Trick Room, returning the turn order to normal. As nearly all of the Pokémon on this team are trained for Speed, this move selection is primarily intended to counteract teams that use Trick Room as a central strategy. Trick Room is also useful to counter a team that relies on Tailwind to boost its Speed, as the increased Speed for all of those Pokémon suddenly becomes a hindrance. Thunder Wave is an easy way to disable a team by inflicting Paralysis on the opposing Pokémon, lowering their Speed, and giving a 25% chance that the Pokémon will not be able to act at all on its turn. Rest is an important move for a bulky wall like Cresselia. While the move makes Cresselia sleep for two turns, the Pokémon regains all of its HP. Coupled with the Lum Berry, which cures the first status condition Cresselia receives (including Sleep), it can get right back into the fight with full HP!
As with some of the previous teams, acquiring the necessary moves to re-create Ryan’s team requires a Trainer to have access to previous Pokémon games. At minimum, access to Pokémon Platinum Version and either Pokémon HeartGold Version or Pokémon SoulSilver Version is necessary to build this team. In most cases, this requires a fairly straightforward process of transferring the Pokémon into Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version and training it there. However, there is one specific case on this team where a Trainer has to be a bit more resourceful: Chandelure.
Chandelure can learn Heat Wave as an Egg Move. Unfortunately, none of the Pokémon that can learn Heat Wave in Pokémon Black Version or Pokémon White Version as a level-up move or as an Egg Move are in the same Egg Group as Chandelure. Fortunately, the PokéTransfer provides a solution to this problem. Here’s how Chandelure can learn the move:
- Teach Heat Wave to a male Slugma or Magcargo by taking it to a Move Tutor in Pokémon Platinum Version, Pokémon HeartGold Version, or Pokémon SoulSilver Version.
- Transfer it into Pokémon Black Version or Pokémon White Version.
- Leave it and a female Litwick, Lampent, or Chandelure with the Day Care Couple.
- Hatch the resulting Egg to obtain a Level 1 Litwick that knows Heat Wave.
Ryan’s team is an innovative mix of newer and classic Pokémon, and it doesn’t rely heavily on naturally powerful Legendary Pokémon to roll over its opponents. Instead, every attack and counterattack is calculated to thwart any opponent that Ryan is likely to see. There are no wasted elements on this team. From attacks to items to Natures, this team reflects the mind of a Trainer who truly understands what it takes to win in competitive play.
Be sure to check Pokemon.com for more analysis of Pokémon teams from the Autumn Regional Championships. Plus, note that information about the Spring Regional Championships is now live! Be sure to start planning your trip and your team for these exciting events! Who knows—with an outstanding performance at the Spring Regional Championships, your team may be the next one featured here! Good luck!