Sunday, 22 June 2014

National's Report

Hey Fools! Here's my report from SA's VGC Nats. For those of you who aren't yet aware, I managed to claim the no. 1 spot in our country. I had an awesome day at Nats and I was really privileged to meet a lot of the players from around the country. I plan on starting this off with (another) look at the team I used. I'll explain why I made certain choices etc. Then I'll move onto my matches, who I played against and what they used. Finally, I'll leave you with my closing thoughts, the Props and Slops of the day and a word of encouragement. :P 

My favourite (and least used) Pokémon from the team.

The tournament consisted of 4 rounds of swiss followed by a Top Cut of 8. I was kinda disappointed to see such a small turnout for the tournament (there were only 25 masters :/), but nevertheless, I knew it would be a great day. The organisation and judging of the event were masterfully co-ordinated by the judges from the Pretoria Pokémon League.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Top 8 TCG decks and VGC teams from Nats

Hey Fools! This is gonna be a short and sweet one. Steve and I were able to get ahold of the top 8 teams for both spheres of the recent National event. Without further ado, here they are!

TCG Masters

  1. Yveltal EX / Darkrai EX w/ Garbodor (Aaqil Sedien)
  2. Miltank / Greninja / Kyurem EX (Brian Murdoch)
  3. Yveltal EX / Darkrai EX w/ Garbodor (Gershwin Scheepers)
  4. Genesect EX / Virizion EX (Derek Scott)
  5. Genesect EX / Virizion EX w/ Raichu (Mikyle Raju)
  6. Charizard / Charizard EX w/ Raichu (Curtis Fourie)
  7. Genesect EX / Virizion EX w/ Raichu (Cameron Moonsamy)
  8. Deoxys EX / Thundurus EX / Plasma Kyurem w/ Beartic (Pieter Steyn)
There are quite a few interesting decks here! I definitely know that Brian's deck was a real corker, as I've played against it in a grassroots tourney and got totally recked! If anyone knows the names of the guys that finished in the Top 8, please comment them as I'd love to include them.

Genesect EX did rather well with 3 placings in the top 8.

VGC Masters

  1. Gardevoir, Bisharp, Garchomp, Talonflame, Kangaskhan, Meowstic (Gavin Jones)
  2. Chandelure, Gardevoir, Rotom-W, Charizard, Mawile, Mamoswine (Johannes Botma)
  3. Garchomp, Salamence, Ferrothorn, Rotom-W, Tyranitar, Mawile (Treven Govender)
  4. Greninja, Weavile, Tyranitar, Tyrantrum, Charizard, Trevenant (Nikola Radevic)
  5. Kangaskhan, Smeargle, Azumarill, Talonflame, Garchomp, Rotom [W?] (Erika Steyn)
  6. Greninja, Gyarados, Talonflame, Gurdurr [!], Diggersby tho, Klefki (Adnaan Emandien)
  7. Staraptor, Greninja, Espeon, Goodra, Aggron, Aerodactly (Nikeel Gokul)
  8. Rotom-W, Amoonguss, Kangaskhan, Talonflame, Azumarill, Hydreigon (Morné Steinmann)


Glad to see at least one Azumoonguss combo!
There were a couple singles players in top 8










Really glad to see that SA's metagame is somewhat following worldwide trends, it means we're going places in my books!


-Gavin

Thursday, 19 June 2014

June International Challenge team

Hey Fools, I'm in the process of writing my Nationals report. I'm about 30% done with it. In the mean time, I'd like to show you guys the team I'll be using for the June International Challenge this weekend (today is the last day to sign up for it).

Heracross

I wanted a Pokémon that can bluff as a mega and KO Kangaskhan easily enough. The problem is is that it's outsped by quite a lot of Pokémon. So I decided to give it a Choice Scarf to solve that problem. Mega Horn can really handle Psychic types well, but it's low accuracy is something I'll have to watch out for.

Kabuterimon @ Choice Scarf
Adamant nature
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Speed
Moxie ability
- Close Combat
- Feint
- Night Slash
- Mega Horn

 Mega Kangaskhan gets the OHKO with Return.
252+ Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Return vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Heracross: 177-208 (113.4 - 133.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO

But with the Choice Scarf I definitely get the KO before it:
252+ Atk Heracross Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 218-260 (102.8 - 122.6%) -- guaranteed OHKO

Vivillon

I used Vivillon in the beginning of the year with Liepard supporting it, but it wasn't what I wanted to use in the long run. Now that I know it gets Rage Powder as an egg move I definitely think this guy can do some work on the field! My pattern is the Ocean pattern which is quite a pretty one -> 
With access to Sleep Powder, Rage Powder and Powder Vivillon is quite an awesome support Pokémon. It's defences are lacking, but that's about it really.

Vivi-Chan @ Focus Sash
Timid nature
4 HP / 252 Sp.Atk / 252 Speed 
Compound Eyes ability
- Sleep Powder
- Rage Powder
- Hurricane
- Protect

Having a better, more defensive spread would be better, but for the time being this is what I'm using :/ Making use of Powder would be awesome! But Hurricane does a lot of damage and with the boosted accuracy it's worthwhile to use.

Lapras

I played against a trainer called pball in the previous IC and I saw Lapras in his team preview but had no idea what is was meant to do. His Lapras was definitely a hard counter to my rain team. I wanted to give it a shot, as moves like Ice Beam, Scald, Freeze-Dry are all at Lapras's disposal and definitely merit use. Water Absorb prevents Kingdra Muddy Water spam. Freeze Dry takes care of Kingdra and Ludicolo really well as it hits for 4x super effective damage.

Rapurasu @ Sitrus Berry
Modest nature
244 HP / 252 Sp.Atk / 4 Def / 4 Sp.Def / 4 Speed
Water Absorb ability
- Protect
- Freeze-dry
- Ancient Power
- Hydro Pump

I went Hydro Pump although I really dislike using moves that don't have 100% accuracy. Ancient Power is just for simple coverage, although I could have gone for Ice Shard for the priority attack... The EV spread is nothing spectacular. I just made HP an even number so that I get the most health out of Sitrus Berry. If I spend some time messing around with a calculator, I know I can get a much better EV spread.

Kangaskhan

I really wanted to use Mega Aerodactly, but I didn't have one that had Wide Guard, sadly. And seeing that I had to chain breed it on was too much of a schlep.So I decided to go for the tried and trusted Kanga spread I used for Nats. 

KAAAAAAA @ Kangaskhanite
Adamant nature
212 HP / 60 Speed / 212 Atk / 20 Def / 4 Sp.Def
Scrappy -> Parental Bond
- Fake Out
- Return
- Sucker Punch
- Power-Up Punch

Gengar

Gengar is a really great Kangaskhan partner. It's incredible fast, has a good movepool and hits very hard. Since my Focus Sash was already in use, I actually had no idea what to use on this guy. I settled with Rocky Helmet, because it's a safe go-to item.

Gengaa @ Rocky Helmet
Timid nature
252 Sp.Atk / 252 Speed / 4 Def.
Levitate ability
- Protect
- Shadow Ball
- Will-o-Wisp
- Taunt

I'm a Taunt kind of man. I really feel it's a great move and allows for more consistency.

Dragonite

Dragonite has a great ability in Multiscale, and I was interested in using it after I'd seen Rogan use it previously at Regionals. Dragon Dance lets it git good, and Extreme Speed is a great priority attack.

LemmyWinks @ Weakness Policy
Adamant nature
176 HP / 128 Atk / 12 Sp.Def / 192 Speed
Multiscale
- Protect
- Dragon Dance
- Dragon Claw
- Extreme Speed

I hope to see and battle some of you over the weekend! :D

-Gavin

Sunday, 15 June 2014

My Nationals team's analysis

Hey Fools. So we JUST had our first ever VGC Nationals and boy oh boy was it awesome. I managed to come first. I was able to meet a LOT of awesome guys that I knew of from the online scene but had never played or met IRL. I will get the team matchups and battle videos up in a later post :D

In the interim, however, I'd like to show you guys the ins and outs of my team. I've used this team for well over the past 2 months, but it has evolved gradually. I'll show you which 6 Pokémon I started out with and will then eventually progress to my current 6.

Where it all began


For the majority (read: literally 80%) of the season I've used Kangaskhan as my Mega-Pokémon of choice. I've gone on in depth about how great it is, so I shan't anymore, lest we grow tired of it ;). 

So with that information at hand, I knew I needed solid partners for this guy. If I had to recall my original 6 (where I got serious about making my Nats team months in advance to get comfortable with it), I'd say I used Aegislash, Gardevoir, Garchomp, Talonflame and Amoonguss. The spread for my Amoonguss was the most interesting of the lot, as it was a 172 HP / 172 Def / 164 Sp.Def  Calm nature (I got this spread from DaWoblefet's article on Nugget Bridge). I gave it a Rocky Helmet which was the popular choice at the time to punish Mega Kangaskhan who decided to use Fake Out on it. 

I have oscillated between using Azumarill and Gardevoir, because at the best of times it felt like Gardevoir wasn't a necessity, more of a presence to prevent my opponent from bringing his dragon types to the match.  Even then I couldn't decide on which item to use as I changed from Sitrus Berry to Choice Scarf to Choice Specs and then back to Sitrus Berry. I realised that Protect was invaluable on Gardevoir and that a more defensive spread was in order. So I settled with the 252 HP / 116 Def / 76 Sp.Atk / 4 Sp.Def / 60 Speed Modest spread. Then I couldn't decide on an ability, as Trace can be really clutch at times, tracing an Intimidate or a Parental Bond; or having Telepathy. With the latter I was able to allow my Garchomp to freely Earthquake without fear of putting myself in immediate danger. I gave the latter a chance and found that I never had the need to open with Garchomp and Gardevoir together, making it superfluous having Telepathy as my ability (despite it being the more consistent ability).

The rest if my team were really simple: Garchomp was 252 Attack / 252 Speed Jolly @ Lum Berry. The Lum was awesome as Garchomp is such a target for WoWs. The Talonflame was 252 Attack / 252 Speed Adamant @ Life Orb. I spent weeks breeding Fletchling just so I could get a shiny one :D.

The Aegislash was 252 HP / 252 Sp.Atk @ Leftovers. I used to run a Weakness Policy set when a Nugget Bridge user called Zog had success with it. But it didn't fit my play style, so I eventually dropped it for Leftovers+Sub

I feel that I need to state that a lot of changes took place to the team because of an article by a very interesting player called MangoSol. Let's get onto those changes ->

The team now

Amoonguss->Meowstic
The more I used Amoonguss the more I realised I didn't like it. It's an incredibly good Pokémon, with access to awesome moves in Spore and Rage Powder. But I needed something more offensive and faster than Amoonguss. So I turned to a Prankster Pokémon for support. I had previously used Murkrow and Liepard was too frail. So Meowstic-M was the good choice. At the time I made the choice I had just wrote my Prankster Pokémon article featuring Meowstic and decided what the hey, lemme at least make use of the guy. 
Aegislash->Bisharp
 I also saw that there was only so much that that my Aegislash could do as it only had two attacking moves, albeit good ones. So I drew inspiration from the aforementioned article and switched to Bisharp. This was a great choice for the following reasons:
  • it helped deter Intimidate onslaughts from my opponents, as my team was a very physical one. I needed to be able to abuse any Intimidate drops and hit back hard;
  • it completes the steel-fairy-dragon core. It allows for better switch in at times;
  • it is an AMAZING counter to Aegislash, who gave my team a lot of trouble; and
  • Sucker Punch priority can come in handy.
The item choice was a tough one. I asked a player named Randy for some help regarding the spread, item and moves. I couldn't use Life Orb as it worked really well on Talonflame, I didn't want to be locked into a move with Choice Band either. So I went for a more obscure item in Focus Sash (which Randy hadn't recommended, but I thought was the perfect choice). It allowed me to fool my opponent into thinking I was locked into something like Sucker Punch (as I hadn't lost the health from a hypothetical Life Orb recoil), only to use Protect on it the next turn. Kangaskhan's Power-Up Punch was problematic as it resulted in an OHKO regardless of which item I used. So I'd have to play really cleverly with it.
252 Speed / 252 Attack -> More specialised spread
(lol they're both Kangas)
I need to start at the beginning with this guy. At the start of the season I thought that Adamant was the way to go, because Kangaskhan could hit so hard and fast too. However, the more I poked around, the more I found out that Jolly was the way to go, I was just too lazy to ever breed one. As the season progressed, I saw that a bulkier spread could work well too, because all the Charizard Y had moved in that direction. So I went:
252 Attack / 252 Speed / 4 HP -> 252 HP / 252 Attack / 4 Def.
The 252 HP was nice and all, but it didn't quite cut it as it felt like more could be done. Having made a random spread one night just to silence the nagging in my head (the spread was something like 202 HP / 154 Attack / Random Speed) and decided to use it on Showdown!. It didn't perform too poorly.

I then read in an article from Eggy Emporium's Markus (who won German Nationals undefeated) and my curiosity was piqued as I saw that he didn't want to share his Kangaskhan spread. He hinted that the battle video vs Falcor could give something away. I learnt that he used 212 HP to decrease the damage taken from Sandstorm recoil. 

This was a step in the right direction, and I made this change. I also made a few changes to my attack stat and ended up with 212 Attack. This allowed me to put 20 in Defence to guarantee surviving Adamant Mega Kangaskhan's Hammer Arm. Not that I fear coming across it too often, I just needed a good benchmark for my bulkiness. I then put 60 EVs into speed to outspeed non-Scarfed Tyranitar and anything that tried to outspeed it by a couple points. Again, not that I expected to come across a lot of Ttar, it's just so I had a benchmark.

Final Team



Kangaskhan

KAAAAAAAAA
212 HP / 212 Attack / 60 Speed / 20 Def / 4 Sp.Def 
@ Kangaskhanite
Adamant Nature
Ability: Scrappy -> Parental Bond
- Fake Out
- Power-Up Punch
- Sucker Punch
- Return
Garchomp

RELINQUISH*
252 Attack / 252 Speed / 4 HP 
@ Rocky Helmet
Jolly Nature
Ability: Rough Skin
- Protect
- Rock Slide
- Earthquake
- Dragon Claw

Gardevoir

BLAZEM8
252 HP / 116 Def / 76 Sp.Atk / 4 Sp.Def / 60 Speed
@ Sitrus Berry
Modest Nature
Ability: Trace
- Protect
- Moonblast
- Psychic
- Taunt

Talonflame

HAWKWARD
252 Attack / 252 Speed / 4 HP
@ Life Orb
Adamant Nature
Ability: Gale Wings
- Quick Guard
- Taunt
- Flare Blitz
- Brave Bird


Bisharp

Diarmuid
252 Attack / 252 Speed / 4 HP
@ Focus Sash
Adamant Nature
Ability: Defiant
- Protect
- Sucker Punch
- Night Slash
- Iron Head


Meowstic

CremeFraiche
236 HP / 212 Sp.Def / 60 Def 
@ Mental Herb
Bold Nature
Ability: Prankster
- Thunder Wave
- Light Screen 
- Charm
- Safeguard

Who was the MVP of my team? There wasn't. They all worked well together and really carried their weight. 

Opening leads

  • Kangaskhan and Meowstic
  • Bisharp and Talonflame 
  • Gardevoir and Kangaskhan
  • Garchomp and Talonflame 
  • Garchomp and Gardevoir
I'm only going to go in depth with 2 of these. I really feel that Kangaskhan and Meowstic have great synergy for obvious reasons. If I could tell from team preview that my opponent had no Quick Guard Pokémon, then I would lead with this duo. Meowstic can start spamming Thunder Wave from the get-go and allow Kangaskhan to deal with faster threats due to their speed being crippled. I would Charm opposing Garchomp, making them rather underwhelming. And I'd Safeguard and Fake Out if the opponent lead with Amoonguss/Smeargle.

The other lead I really liked was the Bisharp and Talonflame lead. They have great synergy and I like the offensive pressure these two apply from the start. Bisharp's Sucker Punch paired with Talonflame's Brave Bird are able to OHKO most things that don't resist either attack.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Threats to Prep for!


It's Nats Time!

  Howdy, Fools! It's that time of the year and I know you've been counting down the months, weeks and days, but it's finally the National Championships for 2014! This will be South Africa's second official TCG Nationals and it's first official VGC National Tournament. It is really cool to see how the game has been growing and developing in the country over the last few years and the fact that the VGC guys also have something to play for shows how far we've come.


Nationals 2013
  I would like to cover a few of the most powerful, dangerous and useful cards that you should expect at Nationals this weekend. I feel that decks vary from player to player and region to region, so I will just be covering individual cards and some good combinations. I have not had the chance to test each deck out myself, so I don't want to go giving out bad lists and poor card choices due to ignorance and inexperience on my part.


Yveltal EX 

*free hugs*
  Be sure you are prepared for this monster! Just like back in the day when Mewtwo were everywhere and 'X-Ball' was the only attack you heard being declared, Yveltal is one of the strongest Pokemon in the format. Pokemon that have expensive energy requirements (anything from 3 energies or more) such as Keldeo, Mewtwo, Bouffalant, Lugia, Kangaskhan, Kyurem, Snorlax and Charizard can quite easily be OHKO'd by the usual cauldron of cards like Hypnotoxic Laser, Virbank City Gym and Muscle Band that one can expect from an Yveltal deck.

  The Pokemon mainly being paired with Yveltal at the moment are either Garbodor or Raichu:

a. Garbodor needs no introduction as its stench has made a mark on the meta since Boundaries Crossed when it was paired with the likes of Terrakion, Landorus and Mewtwo. When Garbodor has a tool attached, it becomes one of the stinkiest Pokemon by blocking all other abilities. This leaves 'Rain Dance' decks like Emboar and Blastoise without energy acceleration, VirGen without protection from status and other decks like Dusknoir, Plasma and Pyroar making use of their unique strategies.




b. While Pikachu has made its way into our hearts since 1995, Raichu is being played for different reasons. It's first attack 'Circle Circuit' does 20x the number of Pokemon on your bench which allows you to usually hit for around 80-100 with only a DCE. This worries guys like Yveltal, Lugia, Tornadus and Empoleon due to the fact that you'll be hitting them for weakness; OHKOing them quite easily and creating a fair prize exchange for yourself in the process.


Shocked?



VirGen (Virizion + Genesect) 

Robots in disguise
  The first competitive grass deck in a long time has taken a bit of a knock with the introduction of fire types like Pyroar and Charizard EX, but the duo remains a real threat. Energy acceleration via 'Emerald Slash', the option to deal 200 damage with G-Booster and access to two great abilities still makes for quite a mean team! Muscle Band allows Virizion to OHKO Pokemon like Sableye, Litleo, Trubbish, Piplup and so on and also sets up KO's for Genesect without it needing to make use of G-Booster.


  Due to the sheer power and speed of Yveltal variants, some VirGen decks are now also making use of Raichu. The electric mouse's colourless 'Circle Circuit' gives Virizion and Genesect a non-EX attacker that helps handle Yveltal and Pyroar.











Team Plasma

  Team Plasma decks have also suffered a bit, but still maintain a solid strategy and good synergy. Thundurus EX with a Muscle Band can deal a 100 damage to an Yveltal EX (or anything weak to Lightning) before any boost by Deoxys' 'Power Connect' with only one energy while Deoxys with a band can also put quite a dent into any fully loaded Keldeo and Yveltal. Lugia and it's 'Overflow' ability is definitely something to watch out for as an unexpected 'Plasma Gale' can net your opponent their last 2 prizes off a non-EX or last 3 from an EX. The deck obviously does not enjoy having it's abilities shut off by Garbodor and it also has no reliable answer to Pyroar or 'Safeguard' Pokes like Suicune or Sigilyph unless you put in Absol or Snorlax.


Team Player of the Month


a. Some variants have come up with a 2-2 Glaceon/Umbreon line to give the deck a way to beat Pyroar and such, but I believe this tends to clog the deck up a bit and only makes the Garbodor matchup worse due to having even more abilities on your field.

b. Another strategy one can make use of is moving energy around with Aromatisse and it's 'Fairy Transfer' ability. You can then use different attackers such as Thundurus, Lugia, Latias, Mewtwo, Yveltal, Kyurem and so on as the situation dictates, and even heal off damage with Max Potion, but relying on an ability means you'll need Tool Scrapper/ Startling Megaphone to counter Garbodor.


Fairy Decks 


  I would rate this deck/strategy as the best of the more unorthodox decks. Again you use Aromatisse's 'Fairy Transfer' to be able to move Fairy energy around so that you can heal damage off and change your attackers as you see fit. Many Pokemon can be used such as Darkrai, Xerneas, Terrakion, Latias, Cobalion, Mewtwo and Entei. 


Meet Wham and Bam
a. A specific archetype of the deck that has come up lately makes use of Kangaskhan and Mega Kangaskhan. You try to get energy out with baby Xerneas 'Geomancy' and when ready start 'Wham Bam Punching' with M Kangaskhan. It has a massive and tanky 230 HP which usually gives you time to transfer energy and then heal with Max Potion or simply switch out and use other attackers like Xerneas EX or Mewtwo.



Charizard/Pyroar 

Everything changed when the Fire types attacked.

  Decks that have become possible due to the release of Flashfire are those revolving around either Charizard or Pyroar or both. A draw engine based around Fiery Torch, Roller Skates and/or Bicycle and energy acceleration via Blacksmith makes it possible to deal a turn one (if you're going second) 'Combustion Blast' for 150 or turn two at the latest. Pyroar's 'Intimidating Mane' protects it from any Basic Pokemon. Guys such as Yveltal, Mewtwo, Mew, Thundurus, Absol, Snorlax, Miltank, Suicune and Sigilyph cannot deal any damage to Pyroar making it one of the most annoying and powerful abilities to deal with. 

  It is on a stage one Pokemon though, so you'd have to evolve from Litleo to benefit from the ability and also avoid any Garbodor. Because Pyroar is a Fire type, it can also make use of Blacksmith and Fiery Torch to accelerate and draw. 

Note that Pokemon such as baby Rayquaza, Giratina, Cobalion, Latias and Genesect can all hit through 'Intimidating Mane'. 


Blastoise/Emboar



  'Rain Dance' decks have always had a difficult time reaching their full potential in the SA metagame, but that has not stopped some players from playing these decks and reaping the benefits! Last year's top 8 featured a Blastoise deck piloted by Zahir Hamid and both Blastoise and RayBoar have featured at Regionals and Cities throughout this season. The set-up nature of the decks make them a lot more clunky and prone to just getting stuck at times, but make sure you're prepared to face any one of these if they do happen to show up!


ButterMilk/BlueMilk

Got milk?

  That's about all the main threats I can think of, so I just had to make mention of Miltank! This card is just as annoying and difficult to beat as Whitney's Miltank in the video games. Well, not exactly, but the deck is fun to play and can really surprise your opponent if they're not expecting it. If the deck uses Butterfree, then watch out for Caterpie evolving into Butterfree in one turn due to both Caterpie's and Metapod's 'Adaptive Evolution' and allowing Miltank to hit for a base 80 damage. 

  This might not sound like much but 80 for one energy from a non-EX attacker usually results in a favourable prize exchange for the Miltank deck and the damage can be increased via Hypnotoxic Laser and Muscle Band/Silver Bangle. Miltank can also be partnered with Greninja, but this requires a few more turns to set up. The strength of this deck is being able to abuse Greninja's 'Water Shuriken' ability to spread damage around and then get KO's with Miltank.


Who will claim the title?

  That's all I want to blabber on about for now, guys, but as always, thanks for reading and supporting your local Pokemon blog! See you in Johannesburg this weekend on Saturday for TCG and on Sunday for VGC. Be sure to come up and say hi at the event! Also make sure you get enough sleep, eat well, do your best and have fun!

Peace out,
Stephen




Saturday, 7 June 2014

Threats to counter for Nationals

Hey Fools, this article plans to look at what your team needs to be prepared for and what you can expect to see at Nationals later this June. For some (and I hope this is true for most readers) this article will prove helpful. For the more experienced players, you guys won't find this as interesting. I'm not going to go too in depth here, but I hope that I will sufficiently cover all the bases. (I will try to update this article a bit more as I get more time to!)

VGC is new in South Africa, so much so that I hear a lot of people call it VG... With that fact being stated, it is also fairly safe to day that we'll see a LOT of random Pokémon that wouldn't be considered 'meta' at Nats. HOWEVER, a first glance of a team that maybe appear random should not be discarded as rubbish (unless its Garbodor, because he is literally rubbish lol)!
An 'uncommon' Pokémon in the right hands can outperform a 'great' Pokémon if its used correctly. And I feel that I've had the privilege of realising this over the past season.

But that's why Stephen and I are running this blog: to increase the amount of people that are aware of competitive and social Pokémon being an actual thing in our country and hopefully win these people to our cause; to do our share for Pokémon in this country; and to try out zany and 'out there' VGC teams and TCG decks.

I think we'll see a few players who still have their in game teams instead of an actual competitive team, and that's okay too. Perhaps they're more in it for the social sphere and we should encourage them to keep getting involved!

Onto what I feel you need to be able to battle against and still be able come out on top->

Garchomp

This sand shark really has dominated a huge chunk of the world wide meta, and I feel it will be a common sight at Nats. Armed with this knowledge, what does it do? It outspeeds a lot of Pokémon and hits 'em hard. Earthquake and Dragon Claw are staples as well as Rock Slide. So Charizard Y needs to be able to handle this guy, with either a really defensive spread or a WoW/Intimidate supporter. 

To take care of this guy, have a faster dragon, like Noivern or Scarfed Salamence Draco Meteor this guy into oblivion, have a Pokémon that knows Ice Beam (seeing as it's 4x weak to ice attacks that kinda should be an obvious one, or have a Pokémon that knows Moonblast, as Dazzling Gleam doesn't always get the KO. Please don't try to counter Garchomp with your own Garchomp, that's not a failsafe plan at all, as speed ties are a scary thing.

What items can you expect to see? (these items are in some sort of a descending order)> LUM BERRY, Expert Belt, Life Orb, Focus Sash, Rocky Helmet, Choice Band

Rotom Formes



 Rotom-Wash: This guy has great typing being only weak to grass, a great ability, awesome defensive stats and has a good enough movepool to merit using. Will-o-Wisp, Thunderbolt, Hydro Pump and Protect/Light Screen are the more common moves to keep an eye out for. Usually very bulky and the items I've seen are usually: Sitrus Berry, Leftovers, Choice Specs. To counter it can be very difficult, but a strong physical attacker like Kangaskhan can take this guy out easily enough if he doesn't get burnt, Venusaur can take care of this guy easily and so can Amoonguss. Aegislash resists well enough against this guy too.

Rotom-Heat: This guy wasn't used much last gen, but has spiked in popularity this gen. It's typing makes it very offensive and it resists a lot of Pokémon very effectively. Overheat, Thunderbolt, Volt Switch, Will-o-Wisp are all offensive moves that are very common on this guy. A lot can be done to make Rotom-H fit your team. I've seen choiced sets that are fast and hit hard, I've also seen bulky spreads that run Sitrus Berry and Leftovers. The smart way to counter this guy is to get a faster Rock Slide user, like Tyranitar or Garchomp and just spam away until Rotom faints. Water users are threatened by the access to Thunderbolt etc, so play it smart when you see this guy.

Mega Kangaskhan

There was no way this guy wasn't going to make the list. Jolly seems to be the way to go, but in SA you never know, you might just see a special attacker Kanga :P (not entirely a bad idea, just highly unorthodox). With access to moves that hit incredibly hard, like Hammer Arm, Double Edge, great bulk and the most RIDICULOUS ability ever it's no surprise at all he's used so much. Fake Out, Return, Hammer Arm, Sucker Punch and Power-Up Punch are staple, but Protect is always a nice surprise to throw out there. There are ways to counter Kangaskhan: any Pokémon called Lucario, Conkeldurr, Mienshao or Machamp. Fighting types really give this mamma a tough time. Ghost types like Gengar, Trevenant and Pumpkinmon (I forget its name) are hard counters to this guy once its mega evolved, *as long as they don't attack while it still has Sucker Punch PP*. Will-o-Wisp puts a dent in this guys usefulness, as does a stream of Intimidate 'mons like Salamence and Scrafty. 

Mega Charizard-Y

This guy is a fan favourite, and I personally feel that it will have its fair share of play at Nats. Therefor its a wise decision to have a counter for it. Whether that be in the form of a weather changer like Tyranitar or Politoed, or a strong rock attack user to abuse the 4x weakness to rock, like Garchomp and, again, TTar. Once Charizard gets the sun going it really blows away everything in its path. Moves to look out for are Flamethrower, Solar Beam, Heat Wave, Dragon Pulse and Air Slash. 

Aegislash


I think this guy will most definitely see a lot of showing, since it's simple to use, has great stats, an awesome ability and King' Shield is really cool too. Obviously this guy tanks pretty much everything in shield forme, barring a few fire type attacks. I've done a rather in depth-ish article here. It can be somewhat tricky to counter but Taunt users that aren't Gardevoir or Aerodactly should get the job done in countering it by preventing the Sub + Shield abuse. Talonflame and Charizard totally wreck it, but you'll have to play wise if you're using Talonflame. Don't wanna get that -2 attack drop now, do we? On the other hand, in my testing THE BEST way to beat this guy is with Bisharp. King's Shield doesn't affect it due to Defiant and it hits for super effective with Assurance/Night Slash/Sucker Punch.

Anyways Fools, thanks for reading and I hope to see you guys at Nats next week Sunday!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Pure Fool's Gold Nats Give-away!

Yo, Fools! You read that right! We at Pure Fool's Gold are hosting a give-away! This is just a way to get more traffic through to our blog as well as a little something to get you pumped up for SA's first VGC Nationals!

There are obviously hundreds of Pokes we could have chosen from, but Gavin and I decided to settle on Seadra! These little guys come with 5 perfect IV's, Modest nature and the egg moves Disable and Muddy Water. But that's not all folks! These horses of the sea have been bred in a special Moon Ball! We think this is pretty sweet and we'll be trying to get hold of enough Dragon Scales so that once traded they'll also be able to evolve into Kingdra as you receive them!


So what do you have to do to get hold of one of these bad boys you ask? Quite simple. We'll be putting up a give-away Facebook post on the South African VGC group and a Twitter post from either my or Gavin's Twitter accounts. You then have to comment on this post on our actual blog and then either retweet our original competition post on Twitter or share it on Facebook.

Obviously we'll be able to see who retweets or shares and then at Nats you simply trade with Gavin or myself to get hold of your very own moon ball Kingdra! I don't think this is too much to ask or too difficult to understand! On this post you can comment your name, favourite Pokemon, best team strategy you've played against or just say hi - really anything you want.

Munnalicious swag (see what I did there?)


I am just going to go over the give-away conditions:
1. You must comment (whatever you want) on THIS post.
2. You must retweet the give-away tweet from my or Gavin's Twitter accounts or share the give-away post on the SA VGC Facebook group.
3. You must be at Nationals so that we can trade it to you throughout the day (Sunday 15 June).

Note: this is not a competition so we won't be choosing from whoever retweets or shares. If you follow all the steps you are immediately eligible to get a damn fine Seadra!

We hope to get some feedback and participation from ya'll and then hope to see you at Nats!
-Stephen