Trainers at the 2017 Pokémon Video Game World Championships were prohibited from using Mega Stones, Mythical Pokémon, some Legendary Pokémon, and any Pokémon not found in the Alola Region Pokédex. Two groupings of six Pokémon set the tone in the Senior Division with a pair of top cut appearances—Arcanine, Tapu Fini, Kartana, Tapu Koko, Gigalith, and Porygon2 as well as Araquanid, Arcanine, Porygon2, Mudsdale, Tapu Bulu, and Tapu Koko. Check out more teams and tournament analysis at Pokemon.com/Strategy.
Like those of many Trainers, Hong’s team features a clear differentiation between a slower group of Pokémon and a quicker group. His team stands out for its clearer preference toward getting Trick Room up to enhance the effectiveness of his slower attackers, Araquanid and Mudsdale. The two form an interesting pairing—Araquanid’s greater damage output devastates teams unprepared for Trick Room, while Mudsdale matches up better against Gigalith and Snorlax, the format’s marquee Trick Room attackers.
The combination of Arcanine, Tapu Fini, Kartana, Gigalith, Porygon2, and Tapu Koko feels like a bit of a throwback at first blush, but Yuki elevated this team of familiar faces. Kartana’s Choice Scarf and Tapu Koko’s Electrium Z gives Yuki some great options to outpace most foes and immediately deal heavy damage. When Speed isn’t enough, Tapu Fini’s Calm Mind and Gigalith’s Curse can help Yuki win longer games, while Porygon2 and Arcanine help create advantageous situations for their teammates.
Like Hong, William also used the pairing of Araquanid and Mudsdale, and the Draft Horse Pokٞémon had some interesting synergy with his Tapu Bulu. Grassy Terrain reduces the damage of Earthquake and Bulldoze, but unlike most other Ground-type Pokémon, Mudsdale suffers no drawbacks because High Horsepower’s damage isn’t reduced. Tapu Bulu’s Hidden Power stands out as particularly unexpected, but with both Mudsdale and Araquanid on the team, it’s easy to see why defeating Kartana was prioritized.
If Beau’s team seems a little familiar, don’t adjust that dial—it really is the same as William’s. It’s impressive to see two Trainers make it all the way to the semifinals using identical teams. But perhaps they should have coordinated more about the order in which they placed their Pokémon in their Battle Teams?
Taiki was one of several Japanese Trainers who brought the trio of Tapu Koko, Tapu Fini, and a Whimsicott that knew Nature Power and held Normalium Z, allowing it to take advantage of the effects of different terrains. Unlike the other Trainers who used this strategy, however, his Tapu Koko held Choice Specs and knew Electro Ball, allowing it to deal outrageous damage when it had a large advantage in Speed.
Parth's team featured the Tapu Fini, Arcanine, Kartana, Tapu Koko, Porygon2, and Gigalith combination that was so popular around this season’s midpoint. Unlike most classic variants of this team, though, Parth's has an way to control the Speed of Pokémon on the battlefield beyond Trick Room—Arcanine’s Bulldoze attack. His other major deviation was to use a more defensive Tapu Koko instead of one holding a damage-boosting item.
Most of the Metagross in the competition held Weakness Policy, but Izumi’s could put out some more consistent damage with its Psychium Z. Metagross’s Psychic-type attacks got an additional boost from the Psychic Terrain created by Izumi’s Tapu Lele. Surprisingly, Izumi couldn’t find room to teach Tapu Lele the popular Moonblast, even using a Choice Specs strategy; instead, he opted for both Psychic and Psyshock.
Chang's team stands out most for the rarely-seen Gastrodon—especially because he chose to use a Z-Crystal to boost the damage dealt by a traditionally defense-oriented Pokémon. Chang went with the same strategy for Arcanine by giving it a Life Orb to hold and teaching it Wild Charge instead of training it to use the expected defensive strategies. Plus, he made sure he’d have a big advantage against other teams featuring Snorlax by teaching his own Sleeping Pokémon Facade and by including Leech Seed and Toxic on his team.
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