Welcome back once more for an exciting instalment of what I think could happen at Nats this year. As the CP standings go, here's what's up:
So, in first place is my friend Dale, and if he does well at Nationals, ie. come top 4, he should have his position locked up for Worlds qualification.
Hot on Dale's heels is Kevin, who I've had the pleasure of playing against in the PFG tourney we hosted last year. He's a really smart player and is able to think a few turns ahead of the average player (in other words players like me hahaha). Watch this space!
In third place is Jonah, who's also a friend of mine. I've played a couple of matches against him, and I know that if he has a good day come Nationals, he'll have a super deep run and will have a convincing finish. However, I also need to mention here that I have noticed that if he has a bad match in a Bo3 round it could affect his play in the subsequent matches in that Bo3 set. So, Jonah, here's my advice: don't let your emotions affect your performance mate! You need a clear mind to make the best predictions and plays.
As for the rest of the field, we notice a few interesting things. Johannes (who came 2nd at Nats last year and went to Worlds to rep our country) is absent from this list. And in all fairness, if there were more events in the Free State I know for a fact he'd be on this list. I'm not sure if he's going to Nats, but seeing how much further Cape Town is from Bloem that Jhb is to Bloem, I imagine the travel logistics will prevent him from attending. Honestly, why the hell host it in CT? It's not close to anything other than itself...
As for Acreland (Morné) and myself, we're not going due to how inconveniently far CT is for us. It's probably better if I don't go either, since I'm spending every waking moment trying to pass this damn degree of mine.
Okay, so if I were to bet money on it (and I do so at the fear of losing friends hahah) I think a total random will win it all. They'll have some team that they saw someone popular, like Ray Rizzo, used and will pilot it to ultimate victory. My good friend Dale will face off against Jonah in Top 4(!!) and we'll all wait with baited breath to see who'll come out on top.
Anyways now that that's out of the way, here are some Pokémon that I think will be popular and some Pokémon that will need to be countered:
Mega Metagross will be popular at Nats. It can use Substitute to nullify Will-o-Wisp burns and Sleep, Ice Punch to better manage Landorus-T, Iron Head to annihilate Fairies, Zen Headbutt to take out Mega Venusaur and Amoonguss and could even use a cheeky Hammer Arm to weaken Mega Kanagskhan.
To beat this guy make sure to pack some heat, like Heatran or Charizard Y. Or you could just use other super effective moves to beat it (did you really think I was going to say something other than this??? lol)
Amoonguss! With great bulk, Spore, redirection and Regenerator this guy will definitely be doing the rounds come Nats. And since Wolfe used it to win a Regionals recently, the sheep here in SA are bound to make use of it.
Substitute and Safety Goggles are a good way to work around this guy.
Sirknight babyyyy! I love this Mega Pokémon and it's a really solid choice too. As we've seen recently, Mega Gardy with Trick Room is a popular choice, so be prepped for that. Sylveon can tear apart your team if you don't take it out soon enough. Fairy is such a solid type to carry in terms of both offence and defence!
Iron Head from any reasonably strong Steel-type can take care of this. Snarl also does some work against these two, lowering their damage output.
Rotom-Wash is a Pokémon I will hate playing against till the day I pass away. That's why it's on this list. Also, I feel like it's a strong and bulky Water-type and is a good option for those players that won't opt for Suicune. So, what I'm basically telling you is: be prepared to see bulky Water-type Pokémon. They're a huge hit this year, and most teams have one since the whole Fire-Water-Grass core is getting quite a bit if hype.
How to counter these guys? Easiest solution is Ludicolo to be honest!
Sticking to the Water theme, Rain was something I was dreading at last year's Nationals. Luckily I didn't face one, because it can honestly be a 40/60 chance (in their favour) if you don't have a reasonable counter to Rain. Please be prepared for it (but not over prepared ;) ).
Easy way to counter it: using a Ludicolo of your own. Or have a bulky Fairy, like Sylveon or Gardevoir, around. Those Hyper Voices do tonnes if left unchecked. Charizard Y is also a good choice here for obvious reasons.
Terrakion and Landorus-Therian are just too strong to not include on this list. Rock Slide is easily one of the better moves (if not the best) in the game. They both have their own ways of managing Mega Kangaskhan too. Landorus-T with Intimidate and Superpower and terrakion with Close Combat. And for that reason alone, people will be using it. But, it's a solid choice for countering Charizard-Y, so Y not run it?
Trick Room is a whole lot better this year that in the 2014 format, that's for sure. And don't think that Taunt will be the ticket to beating out Trick Room either, since there are a lot of ways to work around it. Mental Herb and a handful of abilities like Oblivious really make it tough to solely rely on Taunt to counter TR.
Obviously there's a whole lot of stuff that I've left out, but for the most part, I covered the rough gist of it all.
Now, if I were a rational thinker (and that's a pretty big assumption!) I would use the following team to make sure I get into Top Cut at least: