Beasts of Burden


Ahoy-hoy I’m Sam. You may know me from the on again off again VGC podcast The Lava Pool, or you may know me as the guy that topcut multiple events in 2016 with a Chandelure and a walrus, or maybe you know me as the manager of the on again off again NPA team the Gamblers. But collective consciousness being what it is you likely know me as the guy that ran 6 Ultra Beasts all season. Well good news everyone! This is going to tell you exactly how that came to happen and how it went.

So I’ve been playing VGC since 2009, but I’ve been spending less and less time on it since 2012. Last season I spent the first few months living without internet and a super long commute, which led to me reusing a team in multiple events for the first time. (Well, second time. I used my 2013 LCQ team in a California regional before we switched to XY) You can read about that team on Nugget Bridge. Oh, maybe not. I forgot Nugget Bridge erased all references to 2016. Anyway, lack of internet and time to build teams and practice led to me using the same team in 2 regionals and they both went well. I made worlds and used it again. That could have gone better but I still ended with a winning record.

AZ Pizza

Anyway, I wasn’t planning on playing much this year. But I made the mistake of looking into Arizona regionals and I could get a round trip flight for $80 so I played that. I had a new team and it went poorly. Then I moved across the country and was done for real. Planed on going to Dallas and Nats but not to actually play the circuit. There are no PCs or MSS within 3 hours of me and flying is 3 times as expensive as it was in Seattle.

But Ft Wayne regionals was driveable and on a holiday weekend. So I went to that for fun, did about 20 games for practice and used the Chandelure walrus team again. I got top 8. So now I had a good head start on an invite.

Ft Wayne 2 Ft Wayne TopFt Wayne

Sun and Moon came out, we got rules, and I started testing with a lot of things in preparation for Dallas and also to know what I was talking about on The Lava Pool. It didn’t take long at all for me to turn on this format, almost immediately declaring that everything is kind of terrible and it was going to be a rough year. It took a few months but eventually most people started to agree with that.

So I was testing a lot of teams and couldn’t settle on anything besides wanting Celesteela, Pheromosa, and Nihilego. Kartana kept popping up on variations and eventually I just gave up and went full Ultra Beast. I didn’t like the format, couldn’t afford to play the circuit, and wasn’t concerned about fighting for CP anyway. So why should I put in the time and effort? Guzzlord and Xurkitree actually filled out the team rather well as far as coverage went. Biggest issue was lack of speed control, but it was still as good as anything else I had tested and it was a lot more fun. At the time Marowak was still everywhere and a huge problem for my team so I needed Hidden Power on Xurkitree to hit it. Of the Xurkitree I had in game only one could do that, it was HP Ghost which was good enough. I ran into Bryce Stewart between rounds at Dallas and he told me he had all the HPs for Xurk already and I should have asked. He’s the best.

The Team

Celesteela @ Leftovers
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 108 Atk / 60 Def / 84 SpD
Adamant Nature
– Heavy Slam
– Substitute
– Leech Seed
– Protect

I got this spread from Shiloh and could never remember what it did besides squash Tapus so I never changed it. I never had any issues with it and not once have I considered changing the moveset.

Nihilego @ Life Orb
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Sludge Bomb
– Power Gem
– Hidden Power [Ice]
– Protect

At the time Life Orb let Nihilego OHKO all Garchomp, which was necessary. It also was big for Arcanine. Eventually both started running much bulkier sets so it wasn’t always safe, but still more reliable than if it had no boost at all.

Pheromosa @ Fightinium Z
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
– Focus Blast
– Bug Buzz
– Ice Beam
– Protect

This was a fast nuke and one of the only ways in the format to OHKO Porygon 2. It also OHKOd most things that didn’t resist it and at +1 it even OHKOs Tapu Koko. I got a lot of hate early in the season for running Focus Blast instead of High Jump Kick, but ignoring intimidate was huge and accuracy doesn’t matter for Z moves. I had Bug Buzz for a second STAB that didn’t miss and hitting through substitutes.

Kartana @ Focus Sash
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Leaf Blade
– Smart Strike
– Sacred Sword
– Detect

Nothing fancy here. It just needs to hit things and not die in one hit.

Xurkitree @ Aguav Berry
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 84 Def / 76 SpA / 92 SpD / 4 Spe
Modest Nature
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power [Ground]
– Thunder Wave
– Protect

This was originally a Sitrus Berry, I just didn’t bother to change the spread when I changed berries. The Hidden Power, as I said before was Ghost as well. Thunder Wave was Tail Glow but I almost never used it and when I did it wasn’t always great. I switched all these things after Dallas and the set above was the final version. The spread let it live all Jolly Earthquake from Garchomp and max attack 75% of the time. The SpA was able to 2HKO +1SpD Celesteela with only 1 turn of leftovers. The rest was put in SpD and was more than enough for Lele Psychic.

Guzzlord @ Assault Vest
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 244 SpD / 4 Spe
Modest Nature
– Snarl
– Dark Pulse
– Draco Meteor
– Fire Blast

I wanted this to deal more damage than it really could. Fire Blast was there because Flamethrower wouldn’t 2HKO Celesteela. Draco was just an underpowered nuke. Most of the time it was there to Snarl and soak up damage from weather teams. Vest let it live pretty much anything besides physical fighting types which were non existent for a few months.


Dallas 6 Dallas C Dallas Mav Dallas Run

R1 I get pulled for the stream match. Stream staff had heard about my team and wanted to show it. If I had to guess they didn’t think it would do well and still be relevant in later rounds so they pulled me first. I was paired against Erick Huang and it was his first event. He was incredibly nice and also pretty nervous, you can see the set here:
His team: Tapu Lele, Persian, Braviary, Marowak, Tapu Koko, Ninetales
1-0 (2-0)

R2 Lauren Loveless
Her team: Celesteela, Porygon2, Gastrodon, Garchomp, Nihilego, Tapu Fini.

Game 1 she lead Gastro and P2, I think I led Phero/Kartana because I got a double KO turn 1, game was over turn 3 and she only got off a Flamethower with her Celest. Game 2 was a bit longer but only because it came down to Celest vs Celest. I got a Sub up before she could seed me, I got seeds off because she had flamethrower and not sub. So she was unable to damage me.
2-0 (4-0)

R3 Oliver Valenti
His team: Kartana, Tapu Lele, Arcanine, Ninetales, Porygon2, Araquanid

Oliver is a friend and someone I’ve never actually played in an event, so this was fun. He brought Lele P2 out first game 1 and I got a double KO again. Something from game 1 left me with the impression something other than ninetales had a sash but I can’t remember what. It came down to his Kartana vs my Celest and it took a while but Celest won. Game 2 he led Ninetales Kartana and I didn’t double into Ninetales because I still though something else had sash, which was extra uncool when he switched Lele in for Kart and Ninetales didn’t get knocked out. Turn 2 both his Ninetales and Lele were KOd before moving and turn 3 I must have hit Focus Blast or doubled P2 because it also didn’t move.
3-0 (6-0)

R4 Logan Castro
His team: Mismagius, Garchomp, Gastrodon, Arcanine, Tapu Koko, Kartana

Logan is another friend I hadn’t played before in an official event. We first met during a gen V IC when we got paired up while I was streaming. Blake recognized him him introduced him to Magma after that. He also was on my NPA team a few years ago, so this was going to be fun.

I got stomped. Game 1 he led Kartana Arcanine and he 4-0d me in 3 turns. Game 2 I made things a little harder but he still took it 2-0.
3-1 (6-2)

R5 Rafael Gonzalez
His team: Salamence, Ninetales, Garchomp, Politoed, Magnezone, Tapu Koko

He leads Koko and Garchomp and then reveals Scarf Earthquake turn 1. I also have a terrible Magnezone matchup outside of Phero and Guzzlord. He had 2 dragons and 2 faries, which meant I needed Pheromosa to do everything. It didn’t.
3-2 (6-4)

R6 Louis Milch
His team: Mismagius, Garchomp, Gastrodon, Arcanine, Tapu Koko, Kartana

Oh goodie, this team again. He and Logan worked on it together and I got to play them both. Things went different this time, he lead Koko Garchomp and I got my first win against this team in 4 turns. Between games he jokingly asked if I didn’t mind telling him what Logan used to beat me. Luckily he didn’t figure it out and led Kartana Koko game 2. This game came down to my full health Celest behind a Sub vs his Garchomp that only took 1 turn of seeds and his full HP Arcanine. I got seeds up against his Arcanine after it broke the sub with flamethrower, Garchomp could only damage me with Dragon Claw. I was able to take a dragonclaw and flamethrower well enough to put up another sub and protect stall for health. After that broke there was no way I was getting a third so I went for the Heavy Slam and that plus the 5th turn of seeds knocked out Arcanine. Garchomp followed 2 turns later.
4-2 (8-4)

R7 Logan Woodul
His team: Muk, Araquanid, Salamence, Tapu Bulu, Tapu Koko, Porygon2

I don’t remember much of this at all. He led Koko Salamence game 1 and went for Devastating Drake immediately. I won in 4 turns. Game 2 he led Araquanid Tapu Bulu and he won in 4 turns. Game 3 he led the same thing but my notes stop after turn 6 with his Bulu still alive. Usually if I haven’t circled the final knock out or them running in my notes it means I lost. I must have won cosidering my final record but I don’t remember at all.
5-2 (10-5)

R8 Huy Ha
His team: Mimikyu, Magnezone, Drampa, Hariyama, Araquanid, Porygon2

Huy has been around as long as I’ve followed VGC and has always been one of my favorite players. I was excited since this was another player I’ve never actually gotten to play before. Then I saw the team and the excitement died. It was Gavin’s team, so not a Huy original. Plus it’s an auto-loss. I have no way of preventing Mimikyu from setting up Trick Room with Fake Out support. Normally Guzzlord plays nice in TR but can’t face either of those 2. No Guzzlord means once again Phero is my only answer to Magnezone and that’s a laughable mon against guaranteed TR. I played it out and didn’t get 8-0’d so I’ll take it as a moral victory.
5-3 (10-7)

R9 Jakob Swilley
His team: Celesteela, Arcanine, Tapu Lele, Gastrodon, Garchomp, Tapu Koko

I don’t remember this round at all but it was the quickest of the day. He had Heatwave Arcanine and both games combined for a total of 7 turns.

6-3 (12-7)

Not a terrible finish for using 6UB, but the embarrassing set against Huy was something I could have done without. 2 of my 3 losses were to Magnezone and I knew the team was never going to fix the Mimi/Hari matchup. So this was basically a 1 time gimmick not worth trying again. However, there are no events back home and there was a PC here the next day and I didn’t have anything else ready to go so…

R1 John Williams
His team: Garchomp, Arcanine, Tapu Lele, Gastrodon, Tapu Bulu, Magnezone

It was best of 1 and he didn’t bring Magnezone.

R2 Enosh Shachar
His team: Smear, Tree, Krook, Marowak (I forgot to take notes during team preview and that’s all I wrote down from memory before turn 1 started. Tree is Trevenant and he also had a Tapu Fini)

Add another to the list of long time, first times for this trip. I’ve known Enosh for a long time and it was great to finally get to play him. His Trevenant set up TR and then used Substitute 5 turns in a row, Harvesting it’s berry every possible time. Smeargle kept sporing but I got a lot of early wake ups. Eventually I brought Guzzlord in to Snarl past the Sub and Smearge using Follow Me. Guzzlord took a Wood Hammer before knocking them both out. Then survived the Specs Fini Dazzling Gleam the following turn and knocked out his Marowak to get to +3. It was a weird game.

R3 My notes just say Havok
Team: Goodra, Muk, Mudsdale, Celesteela, Togedemaru, Porygon2

It was an Air Slash Celesteela and a Payback Mudsdale.

R4 Adam Dejka
His team: Garchomp, Marowak, Aero, Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Celesteela

This is a bad matchup for me. I have no speed control and no way to stop sash Aero from setting up Tailwind. Sky Drop is also a big problem and I need Xurk for Celest but it loses to Garchomp and Marowak and can’t hurt Koko. So this was just a nightmare.

R5 Jonathan Kasmir
His team: Golduck, Pelliper, Porygon2, Tapu Lele, Hariyama, Metagross

Aside from Tapu Lele this team was Guzzlord food.

So I made cut with Beasts and I felt pretty good about it. 4-1 record and a commanding R5 win I felt like I could take anyone. Anyone except for:

Top 8, Adam Dejka
His team: Garchomp, Marowak, Aero, Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Celesteela

Crap. It was my only loss in swiss and I really didn’t see a way around his team. I gave it my best shot and made a sport out of it, but just didn’t have the answers for this matchup.

The Break

Chicago MSS Chicago

So after the PC I didn’t really touch pokémon for about a month. But I had some solid CP now and was entertaining the idea of playing more this season. Then I saw SamVGC talking about going to a midseason in Illinois and I asked if I could bum a ride, since he lives somewhere near me. Turns out Nails was driving and was willing to take me. I hadn’t really looked into building anything and just shuffled pokémon I already had on cart around until I had something I liked. Still working with Pheromosa, Nihilego, and Celesteela, I ended up putting Tapu Lele, Mimikyu and Inciniroar, then I had about 1 night of practice. The morning of the tournament I swapped out Inciniroar for Guzzlord to help against Garchomp (everyone had stopped using Dragon Claw on Garchomp at this point) and Rain.

I went in with no expectations and ended up winning it 10-0 despite losing 8 game 1s. You can see the finals here as well as a few more sets on their channel:

Between this, Dallas, and Ft Wayne I had a good chunk of CP and felt compelled to at least go to events to give myself a shot at worlds. Even if I didn’t like the format I was halfway there with almost no effort.

After that I took another break. NPA started and I was managing and not playing. I wound up getting Justin Crubaugh in the draft after playing him twice including finals at that MSS. I played about half an IC before St Louis regionals but this time the rust didn’t help. I had theorized a way to improve 6UB and gotten a Hidden Power Ground Xurkitree from Bryce. That would at least give me another answer to Magnezone and giving it Thunder Wave would help my speed control issue against the increasingly popular tailwind teams. However, Mimikyu/Hariyama stuck in my mind as something I couldn’t beat, not without changing all the sets and making the team worse all around. So I chickened out and ran the 4UB MSS team again with a couple changes.

St Louis St Louis Dog St Louis Arch

It was awful. Mimikyu hit less than 50% of its Play Roughs the entire tournament. I missed a number of important T-Waves and Snarls. Nothing went right. By the end of the day I was throwing away sets because I didn’t trust “safe plays” to be safe anymore. After that I made an all new team, put in some good practice reps, and went to an MSS double header and PC 2 weeks later.

I’ve played for over 8 years and had played in 77 “premiere events” before March this year. I had only had a losing record in 2 events before. In March I had a losing record at 4 events. The worst stretch of my career by a mile. So I checked out again. I still wanted to go to Seattle but wouldn’t get the time off work. Didn’t even try get time off for any other events. Didn’t unpack my DS for about 2 months. Rebuilt my PC, and started playing other games.

At some point I looked at my CP online and noticed I had gotten 1 CP from the February IC, where I did terrible and shouldn’t have gotten anything. They had already announced they were having another IC in May and the surprise 1CP had me interested in trying again. I also ended up just having the weekend off for Madison and it was drivable so I booked that.

Madison IC

The team I built for Madison got into the 1700s on my alt and then I banked it for safe CP. Then I switched cartridges and decided to run the unused updated beast team. It kept pace with the other alt but was playing harder teams. I ended up doing more battles with it and got into the upper 1700s before time expired. 102nd worldwide, top 64NA. I also watched Seattle regionals from home and noticed Gigalith seemed much more popular than normal. That was bad for my new team but good for beasts. Beasts struggled against Hail though, but I figured Hail was on the way out if Gigalith was the new flavor of the week.


DBcGmWDXkAAMTLQ Madison finish Madison Run Madison Pizza

So I went to Madison emboldened by the IC but still not expecting much considering my last events were nearly 3 months ago where I got thrashed. I sat down for R1 and Nails comes by and tells me my opponent had an issue with his DS and wasn’t going to make it. 5 minutes later a judge comes over and tells me the same thing. 5 minutes after that he shows up.

R1 Evan Thomas
This team: Chansey, Buzzwole, Gyarados, Tapu Koko, Metagross, Arcanine

Turns out he lost his DS and then found out it was in his bag the entire time. Game 1 I rolled over him because he didn’t know what type Xurkitree was. Game 2 he missed a couple Meteor Mashes on my Nihilego. I actually wanted them to hit so I could get my Pheromosa in against his Chansey/Metagross so it could get a boost while Tapu Koko wasn’t on the field. I had to start Power Gemming the Metagross so I wouldn’t accidentally KO Chansey, but he didn’t softboil and Chansey went down to seeds/poison. That set up an endgame where he had a shot, but I was still mostly in control.
1-0 (2-0)

R2 Leonard Craft III
His team: Celesteela, Ninetales, Arcanine, Garchomp, Snorlax, Tapu Koko

Great, I picked the bad Hail matchup and run into a Ninetales R2 already. Game 1 is rough, He leads Ninetales Celesteela then set’s Aurora Viel up and it takes me 5 turns to get my first KO after he double switches turn 2. I eek out a win and he leads the same game 2, this time he stays in after setting up and gets a freeze that I couldn’t recover from. Game 3 he led the same again but played much more aggressive, switching in Garchomp and Blizzarding and then hitting his Z move for the first time in the set. It didn’t pay off for him and I put him away in 6 turns.
2-0 (4-1)

R3 Adam Dejka
His team: Tapu Fini, Vikavolt, Arcanine, Metagross, Garchomp, Porygon2

The name looks familiar but no one else recognizes the name when pairings go up. He sits down and I’m sure I know him. I ask if we’ve played before and he says “Yeah, we played in Dallas.” “Oh so you’ve already played this team before.” I replied before realizing exactly who he is. “Oh god your Aerodactyl guy. You’re not still Aerodactyl guy are you?” Lucky for me he dropped tailwind entirely. His only speed control was Mud Shot Vikavolt and things went much smoother in this rematch.
3-0 (6-1)

R4 Stephen Morioka
His team: Tapu Koko, Gigalith, Celesteela, Porygon2, Gyarados, Garchomp

I was excited for this. I’ve known Stephen for a long time and he used to play on my NPA team. He hosts a VGC podcast after I couldn’t keep up with mine. Plus for years I’ve been watching him knock my other friends out of tournaments like they were nothing. He was having an off day though and this was not the battle I was hoping for.
4-0 (8-1)

R5 Tyler Miller
His team: Arcanine, Tapu Koko, Ninetales, Porygon2, Muk, Mudsdale

By now word got out that 6UB is 4-0 and they tried to pull us for the stream match, but we both had digital cartridges so they sent us back. Game 1 I blew up his P2 turn 1 and won in 3 turns. Game 2 he led Ninetales Arcanine, set up Viel and then went full aggro. He revealed Gigavolt Koko and I began to think he just didn’t run protect on anything. Guzzlord made his first appearance in game 3 and it paid off big time.
5-0 (10-2)

R6 Justin Carris
His team: Tapu Lele, Arcanine, Kartana, Tapu Koko, Porygon2, Gigalith

You can watch this set here:
So, I had heard a few other people were running his team from the IC. I just didn’t know what it was. Assault Vest Tapu Koko was hard to try figure out on the fly for my team. Normally as long as Pheromosa has a Beast Boost it can drop Koko with an Ice Beam or Z move. Not being able to do that meant I needed to keep Nihilego around to deal with that, but his Kartana needs to be gone before that’s even an option, which means I need Phero out at all times to deal with it. I was able to make it work game 2. Game 3 he brought Lele for the first time. Game 1 and 2 I was paranoid about it being scarf, but he didn’t bring it so I was less worried. Then when Psychic Terrain when up after Electric I decided it was safe. So I lost game 3 turn 1.
5-1 (11-4)

R7 Terry Hong
His team: Tapu Koko, Kartana, Tapu Fini, Snorlax, Mandibuzz, Marowak

I was not ready for this, he outplayed me from the jump. Game 1 I lost 0-1 but it really wasn’t close. Game 2 he revealed Z Nature Power and it was all bad. This was the only set I lost 0-2
5-2 (11-6)

R8 Justin Crubaugh
His team: Tapu Fini, Arcanine, Kartana, Tapu Koko, Gigalith, Porygon2

We both just came off of rough losses and were hanging out in the hallway. We both had ridiculously good resistance so either of us could still win and get in at this point. A teamkill was not the way either of us wanted to end this tournament. He had a similar team to Carris, Vest Koko and all and game 1 was a lot of maneuvering on both ends. Much like our game 3 in the MSS it came down to me needing to get Pheromosa and Nihilego on the field at the same time which I eventually did. Then game 2 I made a dumb play turn 1. I had Phero out against Kartana and Koko, at this point I knew his Kartana was Z and there was absolutely no way he would leave it in when he could just switch out and get a move of with Koko. It seemed too safe, too obvious, and I All Out Pummeled the slot knowing full well Koko was going to knock me out. He switched, because unlike me he is not an idiot who would throw the game turn 1. Game 3 I played better but still had to get bailed out by my Kartana critting a Leaf Blade at -1.
6-2 (13-7)

Luckily all my opponents didn’t lose the last round so I remained the highest rated X-2 and the 5th seed overall.

Top 8 Zheyuan Huang
Tapu Fini, Arcanine, Kartana, Tapu Koko, Gigalith, Porygon2

You can watch this set here:

So I felt great about the run in Madison, but vest Koko was a thing I wasn’t able to figure out on the fly. After giving it a lot more thought I couldn’t figure out how to solve it at all with 6UB, not without giving up more matchups. I found out there was a “Special Event” in Ohio I could make it to with my only days off between Madison and Nationals. Considering the how many people were showing up for MSSs I figured we’d get at least 70 players and getting top 16 points would make the trip worth it. So I decided to go.

Back to Ohio

EyesOhio SE Ohio FR

I had watched Jake Rosen test a team we named “Cat Zone” and tried to put that together for the event but didn’t finish in time. So my only option was to use beasts again. I drove down the morning of and didn’t realize they were doing a Pride Parade at the same time. I had to park a few blocks away and eventually cut across the parade to make it on time. That was kind of fun. But then we only had just over 20 players. So only top 4 got CP and the field was a murderers’ row of good players that needed points badly. I hadn’t played a game at all since Madison and everyone knew my team already.

R1 Justin Ramirez
Gastrodon, Mandibuzz, Xurkitree, Tapu Lele, Arcanine, Metagross

Game 1 I was paranoid about Lele scarves and let Mandibuzz get up tailwind free. Got bodied from there. Game 2 was a bit better. By “better” I mean I got 4-0d but it took 12 turns.
0-1 (0-2)

Game 2 Jake Hockmeyer
Garchomp Xurkitree, Tapu Fini, Braviary, Salazzle, Snorlax

Both games my Xurkitree got OHKOd from Earthquake, which I was sure I took. I asked about his spread after to run the calc and he was nice enough to tell me. My spread takes max attack 75% of the time and he wasn’t max. It turned out to be 1 roll, a 6.3% chance to KO. So I was already out of the point race but it wasn’t really in my control.
0-2 (0-4)

Game 3 Tyler Miller
Porygon2, Ninetales, Muk, Tapu Koko, Mudsdale, Arcanine

So a rematch from Madison, where we both cut. Now at the bottom table of a 20 person event with the same teams just a few days later. This meta sure is something. Game 1 I led Guzzlord and picked up a win. He protected with his Mudsdale at the end of game 1. He never protected once in our set in Madison and I was convinced he just didn’t run it on anything, that Mudsdale protect was the only time in this set too. Game 2 he started by Helping Handing a Gigavolt Havok and he took that game clean. Game 3 he went agro again but I got a knock out every turn.
1-2 (2-5)

Game 4 Grant Weldon
Ninetales, Celesteela, Muk, Tapu Lele, Arcanine, Garchomp

Bottom tables in Ohio are no joke. Both games this set came down to Celesteela mirrors and his was faster.
1-3 (2-7)

R5 Adam Chase
Arcanine, Garchomp, Marowak, Porygon2, Araquanid, Ninetales

Game 1 he revealed Z special Marowak but it turned into his Porygon vs the world real fast. The world won. Game 2 he used Z fire with Marowak tun 1 and got swept in 3 turns.
2-3 (4-7)

After this they started a PC for everyone who didn’t cut. I swapped out Guzzlord for Umbreon for funsies since at this point even if I won the PC and another it wouldn’t change what I would need to place at nats. So the points didn’t matter at all. I ended up cutting and was on stream against Eshi in semifinals. I gave the camera Baby-Doll Eyes every time I used it with my Umbreon. I played Tyler again in finals, have I mentioned how consistent this format is yet? Anyway, I didn’t have Guzzlord to save me this time so he won. You can watch both sets here if you skip to 04:55:00 :


Nats prep Nats options Nats metaphor Nats Fidgets

So I spent the next 2 weeks before nats making a pirate themed team. I didn’t have any days off work so I barely had enough time to get the pirate team in game and realize it wasn’t going to work. I still didn’t have Cat Zone in game and was so far removed from it and the original Madison team I had nothing I was prepared to use. If you follow me on twitter you probably saw me lamenting having no idea what I was going to use until the morning of nats. That wasn’t a bit, I had no practice outside of the pirate team and I was convinced 6UB would not work again. Eventually it was time to fill out a team sheet so it was back to beasts.

R1 Justin Carris
Garchomp, Slowking, Arcanine, Tapu Koko, Celesteela, Snorlax

Not who I wanted to start out against, but it’s nationals so I’m used to getting the hard matches first. At team preview I’m relieved he’s not using his regional team and that there is no chance of a scarf Lele. Before the game started he asked what matchups I even bring Guzzlord against. I told him it’s there for Rain, Sun, and TR that doesn’t have Mimikyu. He just happened to have TR without Mimikyu so it was Guzzlord time. Game 1 He led Garchomp Slowking into Pheromosa Nihilego. I doubled Slowking for the KO as Garchomp switched to Arcanine. Turn 2 Arcanine protected and I popped Garchomp with Ice Beam. He ran and we went into a much longer game 2. He led Arcanine and Tapu Koko and switched 4 times in the first 3 turns, revealing Slowking and Snorlax. Guzzloed came in and just started Snarling. I kept focusing my other mons on the snorlax, forcing it to recycle every turn before it eventually switched out. Turn 8 Slowking set up Trick Room and Guzzlord KO’d Arcanine for a Beast Boost. Snorlax came back in and Recycled while getting Heal Pulsed to full, but a +1 Draco crit and put it right back in low red. In 14 turns he only used damaging moves 11 times, but switched or healed 14 times. I should have ended it quicker.
1-0 (2-0)

R2 Jake Piner
Ninetales, Muk, Porygon2, Arcanine, Araquanid, Tapu Bulu

I do not like playing against hail. Game 1 I blew up Arcanine turn 1 and Ninetales got knocked out by Sludge Bomb poison after Blizzarding. Game 2 I did not blow up the Arc and Ninetales set up an Aurora Veil. Bulu made an appearance after the Veil ended and my notes say that it’s “Bulky” and I underlined it twice, so something must have happened there. Game 3 the Arc protected when I tried to blow it up.
1-1 (3-2)

R3 Elizabeth Hamen
Snorlax, Tapu Koko, Pheromosa, Porygon2, Garchomp, Arcanine

Her Pheromosa had Sash and the Tapu Koko had vest. I was convinced I lost after turn 2 both games and I’m still not sure what happened. I think I protected against a High Jump Kick game 1 to save it but I have no idea how I pulled out game 2. My notes only show what my opponent did, but I was confused at the time too. I shouldn’t win this matchup and I remember having terrible openings to both games, that’s about it.
2-1 (5-2)

R4 Dani Kreigh
Araquanid, Kartana, Tapu Koko, Oranguru, Mudsdale, Arcanine

It was another TR team without Mimikyu so I figured Guzzlord was going to run the show. I didn’t want to lead it into Koko/Kartana though so I went with Pheromosa Nihilego to be safe. She led Oranguru Araquanid and I was expecting this to go down just like game 1 against Justin. I doubled into Oranguru and Araquanid did not protect so I figured it’s still a 1 for 1 trade. Except that Bug Buzz activated a Berry for Oranguru so it was able to take the double target and set up Trick Room while Araquanid used Surf. My Phero went down and Nihilego was in bad shape. I needed Guzzlord to bail me out but Surf was doing a lot more damage than I expected and I missed a Snarl so I just got rolled. Game 2 I led Guzzlord so that could guarantee to more TR nonsense. She led Koko and didn’t bring TR. So that wasn’t ideal.
2-2 (5-4)

R5 Charlie Spreda
Braviary, Garchomp, Tapu Koko, Celesteela, Arcanine, Mismagius

It looked like a scarf chomp team, and it was. Game 1 Garchomp EQed and went down to an Ice Beam. I didn’t see what Mismagius did because this guy lost his mind when his Garchomp fainted since I guess it crit. He was scarfed, not vested so I don’t know why he thought he would take that. Two turns later he missed a WoW on my entirely special Pheromosa, then my +1 LO Nihilego crit his Arcanine with Power Gem and he tilted off the planet. Game 2 he led Celesteela and Arcanine, I doubled Celest while Arcanine protected. From there they switched Garchomp in and out while shouting about how bad the hax was to him, until it was time for Rock Slide prayers. He chanted for flinches and got 2 in a row. Then he missed one and I knocked him out. He wanted to keep argueing about it and I got the hell out of there as soon as he signed the slip.
3-2 (7-4)

R6 Javier Señorena
Garchomp, Porygon2, Tapu Lele, Ninetales, Arcanine, Muk

I overprepaired for Ninetales since it seems to always roll over me. He didn’t take it, and the Lele was scarfed. I needed Pheromosa to deal with most of that team and it’s really hard when there’s a scarf Lele. Gave it a shot but just didn’t have enough. This loss meant I couldn’t make day 2, and with that my season was done.
3-3 (7-6)

R7 Grant Weldon
Tapu Koko, Arcanine, Gigalith, Celesteela, Porygon2, Tapu Lele

I have some things in my notes here I don’t understand but this basically went like our set in Columbus. It didn’t really matter, it went on way longer than it needed to because of Celesteela, and his was still faster.
3-4 (7-8)

R8 Aylin Talbot
Garchomp, Tapu Koko, Arcanine, Celesteela, Nihilego, Porygon2

Turn 1 the Nihilego showed scarf and locked itself into Dazzle. I picked up a KO on Arcanine and then the Garchomp that came in after so the Scarf Nihi had no chance of winning the mirror while locked in Dazzle. Game 2 was only 3 turns. I really don’t remember anything else about this.
4-4 (9-8)

R9 Ethan Simpson
Braviary, Celesteela, Garchomp, Marowak, Persian, Tapu Koko

I remember thinking the Garchomp was scarfed, then thinking the team would have no use for Tailwind or Braviary at all if it was scarfed so it wouldn’t be. It was and that gave me some issues. I brought Guzzlord just in case since otherwise Marowak is a huge issue if Nihilego goes down. It didn’t help.
4-5 (9-10)


Not a happy ending for the season, but nothing new. Nationals is almost always the event I practice the most for and also my worst tournament of the year. This year I played 0 practice games before nationals, and only 1 opponent didn’t already know what team I was using. On the other hand the Beasts forced me to go to more events than I was planing and garnered a weird number a followers. It was a fun gimmick and it stuck around longer than it should have out of sheer laziness. I’m not sure how to feel about the season as a whole. I went to more events than I wanted to and did better than I should have for how little effort I put in. 2 regional topcuts is great for no practice, but also terrible without a worlds invite. I’ll be there, and I’ll play in the open. Hopefully I’ll faceplant so I won’t be tempted to play again until the next format. Or maybe I’ll do well and get a Beast Boost that snowballs again. I guess we’ll find out.


About Author

Sam is host, producer, and editor of The Lava Pool. He also writes articles and serves as an Administrator for Team Magma. His favorite pizza toppings are sausage, banana peppers, and tomato.