Alfredo was one of the few Trainers who brought Togedemaru to Indianapolis. The popularity of the Roly-Poly Pokémon has oscillated all season, but Alfredo proved it can still support a top-performing team with its tricky combination of the Zing Zap, Fake Out, and Encore moves, as well as the Lightning Rod Ability.
Silvally hadn’t made much of an impact in North America this season, but Nathaniel brought it to the forefront with a bang using the Explosion attack. His Silvally held the Choice Scarf item, so it could either get off a quick hit or use Parting Shot to weaken an opponent’s damage output while switching out of battle. Also notable is that Nathaniel taught his Pheromosa Substitute and his Mimikyu Shadow Sneak.
Mattie was one of several Trainers to try out the combination of Choice Scarf and Acid Spray this weekend. He took things to another level by teaching his Nihilego Tickle as well, allowing it to help teammates pick up knockouts with either physical or special attacks. He also switched things up by giving her Celesteela an Assault Vest and teaching it four special attacks.
The duo of Alolan Raichu and Tapu Koko can light up the battlefield with stunning damage, but it’s also a risky strategy—unlike Kantonian Raichu, the Raichu found in the Alola Region lack the Lightning Rod Ability (and thus take normal damage from Tapu Koko’s Discharge). Both Electric-type Pokémon can be a little frail, so they were matched with an Aerodactyl that can speed up the team with Tailwind or carry an opponent away with Sky Drop.
Most Trainers looking for a slow Trick Room attacker have switched to Gigalith or Snorlax, but Ernesto proved that it’s still tough to squish Araquanid. Without the Gluttony Ability on his slow bruiser, Ernesto selected a gluttonous Muk instead, one of the few Pokémon available that can learn Knock Off. His team included a few other notable tricks—a special attacking Arcanine, a Tapu Koko that could use Twinkle Tackle, and a Kartana holding Choice Scarf.
Few Trainers chose to take Persian into competition at this event, but the handful of Trainers who have mastered the Classy Cat Pokémon always seem to find success. Persian's Parting Shot lets it cause some trouble before exiting battle, and since Ben also brought a Tapu Koko that knew Volt Switch, he could gain advantages by rotating his Pokémon much more easily than his opponents.
Mandibuzz, Metagross, and Whimsicott made Chase’s team one of the most interesting we saw in the competition. The Pluck attack Chase taught his Mandibuzz was particularly intriguing—it’s a tricky Pokémon to defeat even in the best of times, and it’s almost impossible to defeat if it commandeers some of the popular HP-restoring Berries. And with two Tapu on his team, Whimsicott’s Z-Nature Power can have a variety of powerful effects depending on the current terrain.
Parth Patel was one of several Trainers who selected Pokémon that kept to the beaten path while changing up their strategies. Kartana's Fightium Z, Tapu Lele's Choice Scarf, and almost all of Tapu Koko's attacks offered just enough variety to keep opponents cautious.
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