Hello, I’m Alan Chia, a long-time member of The Mirage Island. After taking a hiatus during VGC16, I took a step back from my staff duties to get back to playing this year. This report houses my reflections after using this team for 2 months across 3 major events.
After a Top 16 finish at the first Malaysia Open, I was pretty proud of my accomplishment especially after not playing for well over a year. However, the meta shifted drastically and that team became outclassed by new cores such as Arcanine, Tapu Fini, Kartana (AFK). I picked up Sam Schweitzer’s Dallas Regionals Top 4 team afterwards and attained Top 8 in one of the local PCs. I soon dropped it as physical Arcanine grew very popular which made life difficult for Vikavolt and Kartana. With Melbourne Internationals drawing closer, I approached Matthew for help and he gave me a team that he had tested together with Shang. It took me awhile to get the hang of it as it requires a very offensive playstyle which I wasn’t used to.
Whimsicott @ Normalium Z *** Whimsical~<3
EVs: 100 HP / 252 SpA / 156 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk
– Nature Power
– Fake Tears
- 252+ SpA Whimsicott Twinkle Tackle (175 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Koko: 147-174 (100.6 – 119.1%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 252+ SpA Whimsicott Twinkle Tackle (175 BP) vs. 4 HP / 4 SpD Garchomp: 264-312 (143.4 – 169.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 252+ SpA Whimsicott Gigavolt Havoc (175 BP) vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Golduck in Electric Terrain: 276-326 (178 – 210.3%) — guaranteed OHKO
Whimsicott serves as offensive support for the team with the ability to kill opposing threats, set up Tailwind, and lower the opposing Pokemon’s special defence for an easy kill. Encore allows me to lock opposing Pokemon into support moves such as Trick Room or Tailwind. A lot of people did not know Nature Power’s mechanic in which the move acts differently depending on the terrain in which it battles, and turns into the corresponding Z-Move when used as Z-Nature Power, all while given priority by Prankster. However, Nature Power will fail in Psychic Terrain as it blocks the priority move.
Electric Terrain: Thunderbolt
Psychic Terrain: Psychic
Grassy Terrain: Energy Ball
Misty Terrain: Moonblast
No terrain: Tri Attack
A lot of people were indeed caught off-guard by Twinkle Tackle and Gigavolt Havoc.
Since all of my attacks are boosted by Prankster, there was no pressing need to invest in speed, and Modest max SpA gives the best shot at picking up those surprise KOs. The SpD investment is to ensure that when led next to Tapu Koko, opposing Porygon2 will not get a Download SpA boost.
Tapu Koko @ Life Orb *** Tapu ZhuQiao
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Dazzling Gleam
This is a pretty standard Tapu Koko set. Thunderbolt for STAB damage, Dazzling Gleam for spread damage. I chose Taunt to stop potential set-up moves such as Tail Glow and Belly Drum. Taunt also improved my Trick Room matchup against Trick Room setters without Mental Herb such as Porygon2.
Tapu Fini @ Choice Specs *** Aquarius<3
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 20 Def / 164 SpA / 44 SpD / 28 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Muddy Water
– Hydro Pump
Initially this slot was occupied by Calm Mind Tapu Fini. However, the match-up against Snarl Arcanine was very bad because I could not boost my Special Attack at all. Those Arcanine tend to be on the bulky side too, making it very difficult for me to take out. After seeing both Ryan Chiam and Justin Lok have success with Choice Specs Tapu Fini, I decided to test it out and did not regret that decision as it came into play later on. Whimsicott’s Z-Nature Power in Misty Terrain turns into STAB Twinkle Tackle which takes out non-bulky Tapu Koko and Garchomp.
Arcanine @ Firium Z *** Bakugou
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
– Flare Blitz
– Close Combat
– Extreme Speed
Arcanine serves as Intimidate support to deal with opposing physical attackers, especially Kartana. I chose Close Combat over Wild Charge as I felt that I have enough means to deal with opposing Tapu Fini. Close Combat is often used against Porygon2 and Snorlax. I used it cautiously as the drop in defences allows the opponent to take out Arcanine easily. Extreme Speed is used to pick up KOs or when I need to do chip damage. Inferno Overdrive serves as an alternative nuke when Twinkle Tackle and Gigavolt Havoc are not as effective.
Kartana @ Focus Sash *** Wuju
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Leaf Blade
– Smart Strike
– Sacred Sword
Standard Focus Sash Kartana. Leaf Blade and Smart Strike for STAB damage. Sacred Sword for neutral hits and Normal type Pokemon. I chose Detect over Protect lest I bump into an Imprison Muk.
Muk-Alola @ Figy Berry *** Desolation
EVs: 188 HP / 252 Atk / 44 Def / 20 SpD / 4 Spe
IVs: 0 Spe
– Poison Jab
– Knock Off
– Gunk Shot
- 252+ Atk Muk-Alola Gunk Shot vs. 252 HP / 100 Def Tapu Fini: 158-188 (89.2 – 106.2%) — 31.3% chance to OHKO
- 252+ Atk Muk-Alola Gunk Shot vs. 252 HP / 20 Def Tapu Fini: 168-200 (94.9 – 112.9%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO
- 252+ Atk Muk-Alola Gunk Shot vs. 236 HP / 212 Def Tapu Lele: 192-228 (109.7 – 130.2%) — guaranteed OHKO
- -1 252+ Atk Muk-Alola Gunk Shot vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko: 150-176 (102.7 – 120.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
Originally I had Imprison over Gunk Shot. Since my team was Muk weak, Imprison allowed me to lock down opposing Muk. However, I only used Imprison once after 7 weeks which led me to replace it with Gunk Shot. Gunk Shot allowed me to take out both Tapu Fini and Tapu Lele easily after they are chipped, and could even OHKO Tapu Koko at -1 Attack.
Both are fast Pokemon and immediately pressure the opponent. Fake Tears+Thunderbolt in Electric Terrain can OHKO Pokemon such as Snorlax. Fake Tears+Dazzling Gleam OHKOs non-Assault Vest Garchomp. This lead works exceptionally well against Double Duck. Nature Power Thunderbolt is a 56.3% chance to kill, and Gigavolt Havoc is a guaranteed kill on Golduck. Even if Golduck protects, Gigavolt Havoc still does 44.5% – 52.2%, allowing me to KO it with a Nature Power Thunderbolt next turn. There are various other options such as Encoring or Taunting Pelipper. It throws the Double Duck lead off-balance immediately.
Tapu Fini is chosen when I need terrain control against Tapu Lele. Whimsicott will Tailwind while Tapu Fini mindlessly spams Muddy Water. Afterwards, Whimsicott will provide Fake Tears support.
Opposing Muk are the worst to deal with. With a team packing 3 Fairies, Muk can easily run over all of them. Muk is also a Dark type which is immune to Prankster, making me unable to OHKO it with Fake Tears+Thunderbolt. The only reliable check I have is Arcanine but opposing Intimidators and Garchomp prevent Arcanine from achieving its intended purpose.
Psychic Terrain makes my Whimsicott near useless as 3 of my moves can’t hit the opposing Pokemon due to them having priority. Psychic in Psychic Terrain also deals a lot of damage to my Pokemon (excluding Muk), often making it hard for me to recover.
All of my Z-moves are unable to OHKO it because of its special bulk and typing. Being a item diverse Pokemon, the item it carries also worries me. Life Orb and Choice Specs are fine as they are still slower than Koko which allows Fake Tears+Thunderbolt in terrain to KO. Choice Scarf ones are tricky as they can KO one of my Fairies or Arcanine, get a Beast Boost, and sweep me from there. Focus Sash is the worst kind as it requires 2 hits to be rid of. Double Thunderbolt in Electric Terrain is insufficient for taking it out. Kartana is a reliable check if I can take out opposing Arcanine first before sending it in.
Round 1: Jimmy Chen (AU) WLW
My first opponent of the day was an international player. I was pretty nervous when fighting against him.
Game 1: I led with Tapu Koko and Whimsicott while he led with Arcanine and Tapu Koko. Jimmy surprised me with a Twinkle Tackle from his Tapu Koko. I was shocked but luckily for me, he got a low roll and my Tapu Koko survived with 3 hp, allowing me to take out his Arcanine with Fake Tears+Thunderbolt. I proceeded to set up Tailwind so that my Pokemon at the back could outspeed his for the next 3 turns. His Celesteela was physically bulky, allowing Whimsicott to take care of it with Nature Power Thunderbolt. 1-0
Game 2: Jimmy opted for the Trick Room mode this game and I foolishly set up Tailwind without considering the possibility of him bringing that mode. He proceeded to sweep me with Snorlax. 1-1
Game 3: Knowing Jimmy’s game plan, I took care of his Tapu Koko before it could deal damage to my Tapu Fini. I also managed to break Mimikyu’s Disguise when it switched in, and KOed it the following turn. He brought Celesteela which my Tapu Koko and Arcanine handled with ease. 2-1
Round 2: Dicky Wijaya (MY) WW
Dicky has cut previous tournaments, and I expected to have good games with him. Looking at his team, it consisted of Surge Offense, Double Duck, and Pheromosa-Tapu Lele. It was an all-out offence team, and I was afraid that it might overpower mine. His team also had 3 potential Focus Sash users in Raichu, Pelipper and Pheromosa, in which case I would have to hit one of those Pokemon twice in order to take them out; troublesome as Raichu threatens Tapu Fini and Pheromosa threatens my fairies.
Game 1: I was pretty confident that Dicky would lead Double Duck, so I led with Whimsicott and Tapu Koko. I decided to go for the safe play, Gigavolt Havoc into Golduck just to get rid of his Z-Crystal users and Thunderbolt into Pelipper. Dicky caught on and Protected his Golduck, switching out Pelipper into his Tapu Koko. Dicky then switched Golduck in for Pelipper which got promptly KOed by Nature Power Thunderbolt revealing it not to be Sash, which explained his turn 1 switch.
His Tapu Koko used Dazzling Gleam and took out my Tapu Koko with a crit, revealing that it was Choice Specs. Dicky apologised to me which was a very nice gesture, showing sportsmanship qualities. I sent in Muk while he sent in Pheromosa. I protected Muk and set up Tailwind, preparing to sack Whimsicott. To my surprise, he used High Jump Kick on my Protecting Muk, giving Whimsicott an easy KO on its 50% health the next turn. Muk took care of Tapu Koko. With Tapu Fini at the back, Dicky’s Golduck was a sitting duck. 1-0
Game 2: I led the same as in Game 1 since I found no reason to change it up. He led with Tapu Koko and Tapu Lele. His Tapu Lele was the Choice Scarf variant EVed to underspeed Timid Koko, however my Tapu Koko was Modest thus slower than his Tapu Lele, allowing me to deny him Psychic Terrain. The transition from Electric Terrain to Psychic Terrain and back to Electric Terrain really showed off the game’s aesthetics. I set up Tailwind to allow my Tapu Koko and reserve Pokemon to outspeed his fast Pokemon. I can’t remember much afterwards. At some point during the mid-game, his Raichu used Fling with a King’s Rock onto my Tapu Fini switch in. I thus concluded that the Sash was on Pheromosa, and was surprised when it too proved otherwise with a Life Orb. I proceeded to take the game. 2-0
Round 3: Melvin Keh (SG) LL
“What did you do wrong today?” Melvin asked me before the start of the game. Being Singapore’s top player, I knew my chances of winning against Melvin were close to 0. Melvin’s Pokemon were also bulky, not allowing me to pick up easy OHKOs. Despite being aware of most of his team’s tricks, I knew this would still be a difficult time.
Game 1: I knew Melvin’s plan was to get off a Beast Boost on his Xurkitree which would then be able to plough through my team. I led with Arcanine and Muk while he led with Whimsicott and Xurkitree. My plan was to double target into the Xurkitree with Inferno Overdrive and Poison Jab, but Melvin’s Xurkitree just used Gigavolt Havoc into Arcanine, picking up the KO and a Beast Boost. Then Xurkitree started dancing and took out the rest of my Pokemon. 0-1
Game 2: Similar to game 1, his Xurkitree got a Beast Boost up and proceeded to sweep me. 0-2
Round 4: Syahril (MY) LL
Second Muk I’d encountered today, and this one was near impossible to break thanks to the support it got from Arcanine and Garchomp. I had no reliable way of taking it out.
Game 1: He led with his Arcanine and Muk which immediately threatened my Whimsicott. I switched in Arcanine to get the -1 onto both his physical attackers. With him shuffling Intimidate and pressuring with Garchomp, Arcanine didn’t manage to take out his Muk, and it went on to take out my Fairies while his Arcanine took care of Kartana. 0-1
Game 2: Since getting rid of Muk wasn’t an easy task. I decided to just get up Tailwind with Whimsicott and pressure him with spread attacks from Tapu Koko and Tapu Fini. However, he had Assault Vest Tapu Koko which takes about 35% from my spread attacks and was able to 3HKO Tapu Fini with Thunderbolt. My Tapu Koko was also slowly killing itself with recoil from Life Orb. Realising it was impossible to win, I forfeited. 0-2
Round 5: Rosjaisam (MY) WW
I fought Rosjaisam during Malaysia Open II with the same team barring Choice Specs Tapu Fini. He was caught off guard by my Whimsicott the last time. With him knowing my tricks, I was very nervous as I knew that if I wanted a shot at Top 16, I couldn’t afford to lose anymore.
Game 1: Recognising Torkoal was his powerhouse. I went for Gigavolt Havoc and Dazzling Gleam which managed to take it out, however I traded away Whimsicott as Lilligant managed to After you Torkoal’s Heat Wave. He proceeded to his Trick Room mode but thanks to his Sun, my Arcanine was doing too much damage to his Snorlax which threw his momentum off. 1-0
Game 2: Same leads again. Rosjaisam seemed to be overwhelmed by Tapu Koko’s offensive presence to the point that he Sleep Powdered it in Electric Terrain, which allowed Whimsicott to stay on the field as Torkoal was taken out with Dazzling Gleam. He opted for Tapu Lele and Pheromosa at the back this time, recognising that Psychic terrain could handle my Whimsicott’s shenanigans and Poison Jab threatened my fairies. He revealed Poisonium Z and OHKOed my Tapu Koko. I got lucky as Moonblast from Tapu Fini managed to lower his Tapu Lele’s Special Attack. It was significant as it would have taken out my Tapu Fini otherwise, since it carried Choice Specs. 2-0
Round 6: Gary Ng Yeong Jiang (MY) WW
Thanks to Melvin, I was now afraid of a bunch of wires dancing. I wasn’t particularly afraid of the rest of his team as I had measures for them.
Game 1: Gary led with Ninetales and Xurkitree. Xurkitree was the obvious threat so I Fake Tears+Thunderbolted it, thankfully his Xurkitree wasn’t bulky enough to survive. Even behind the Aurora Veil set up the previous turn, Fake Tears+Thunderbolt OHKOed his Arcanine. I closed out the game with Tapu Fini and Arcanine. 1-0
Game 2: Same leads from Gary, but this time he chose to switch out his Ninetales. I went for Fake Tears+Dazzling Gleam instead, covering the Protect on Xurkitree and the possible switch out from Ninetales since I thought he might want to preserve his Focus Sash. As I didn’t reveal my item and Nature Power on Whimsicott in game 1, he was pressured into making safer plays that I was able to capitalise on. 2-0
Round 7: Joel Lee (MY) WLL
When Joel was revealed to be my final opponent, I could see my Top 16 hopes fading away. War flashbacks from my loss at Malaysia Open II went through my mind, and I was certain that Joel would be able to destroy me again. However, I knew exactly what his Pokemon were capable of, allowing me to make better predictions.
Game 1: Joel led with his Tapu Koko and Arcanine. Knowing that his Tapu Koko can take Twinkle Tackle from Whimsicott and has Twinkle Tackle to OHKO my Tapu Koko, I went for Protect and Tailwind. He finished off Whimsicott, giving me a free switch in into Tapu Fini. My spread moves proved too much for him to handle resulting me taking game 1. 1-0
Game 2 and 3: Not repeating his mistake, Joel brought out his Trick Room mode. I didn’t bring my Tapu Koko in both of these games as I thought Joel would remember that it carried Taunt to stop his Trick Room from going up since Oranguru wasn’t holding Mental Herb. With that being the case, I couldn’t prevent his Trick Room going up in both games, and his Gigalith stoned me to death. 1-2
Upon looking back, I realised that I could’ve OHKOed Oranguru with Fake Tears+Hydro Pump, preventing it from setting up Trick Room and providing Instruct support to Gigalith. Then again, Hydro Pump could have missed. I should’ve tried to Encore his Oranguru too, which would have prevented him from Instructing Gigalith, and be forced to play passively until Encore ran out. He had Wide Guard for my Muddy Water, but I would still have been able to slowly chip him down with Nature Power Moonblast. This could therefore have been a very different game. The lesson to take away from this battle was that I wasn’t willing enough to take risks and should’ve played more aggressively.
4-3, #20 placing.
Even though I didn’t do as well as I hoped for all 3 major events, I believe that I’ve learned a lot and have taken away many memorable experiences. This team allowed me to grow both as a player and person. It brought me out of my comfort zone and usual playstyle. Pokemon is my passion and I will not lose sight of it.
- Matthew Hui for giving this team and providing me guidance throughout my entire journey with it.
- Matthew Hui, Ryan Chiam and Justin Lok for taking care of me throughout all the overseas trips we have been on.
- Soon and Tan Zong Ying allowing me to practice during PCs despite me having judge duties.
- Isaac for brainstorming new teams with me prior to receiving this team.
- Martin Tan for the pep-talk after Malaysia Regionals.
- Low Wai Yin for the article art.