From the Ashes – T8 SG Open III


It’s me, the Grandmaster.

This will be a simple team report, without war-stories.

This story began on the plane ride home after a devastating X-3 drop at the Malaysian Regionals. I was sitting with two other mates, and lamenting my crushing defeats. What was I doing wrong?

“You weren’t playing to your strengths. Ever since the start of your season, you’ve been obsessed with finding a perfect new core to work with. You play with hard reads, not defensive switching.”

Those words from Matt rang true. I hadn’t been playing to my strengths.

This wasn’t a long conversation. It was, after all, only a flight from Kuala Lumpur back to Singapore. It did move to an often overlooked Pokemon – Pheromosa.

“Maybe you should check out Pheromosa. Think about it – if you sieve out the Sashes, the Scarves, and the counters, you get to sweep and clean the field,” said Justin.

“And combine that with your masteRy of Smeargle, imagine protecting Pheromosa turn after turn after turn, and then just winning.”

Matt was right.

Team History

I actually started from raikoo’s (Ian McLaughlin) team of 6, as you can see in this image:

Raikoo’s team was a step in the right direction, with Smeargle giving me the same pressure that I was personally accustomed to. The MVP wasn’t Xurkitree, instead it was Pheromosa, with both Arcanine and Lele present to clear the field to set up for a sweep.

What I found out after playing with it, was that I didn’t like how the team meshed. It still wasn’t my flavour.

Then came a PC at Dueller’s Point that became the first stepping stone – Justin gave me the idea to try Speed Swap Pheromosa and Gigalith.

I was intending to pilot Raikoo’s team that PC, but after that suggestion, I feverishly started building while in the taxi there.

And we ended up with this prototype of what my final six would eventually become:

I went pretty far, eventually ending up in the finalist’s seat with this team. [Editor’s Note: His Pheromosa had a 0 Attack IV!] And after more refining and polishing, I ended up with this.

How this Team works

I want you to take a look through the history books.

2013 – Arash Ommati took the prize with Amoonguss

2014 – Sejun Park took 1st with Pachirisu

2015 – Shoma took the world champ with Amoonguss (Chalk)

2016 – Wolfe Glick took the place with Raichu and Hitmontop.

Each Worlds winning team got top spot only with well-played redirection, fake out and overall momentum and board control.

So, let’s begin with the first member of my team,

The Nasty

Smeargle @ Focus Sash
Ability: Moody
EVs: 100 HP / 72 Def / 84 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 SpA
– Fake Out
– Follow Me
– Wide Guard
– Spore

Smeargle returns with my pride, this time with a set similar to its previous iteration, forgoing Tailwind for Fake Out. Fake Out allows me a free first turn on Tapu Koko or Tapu Fini leads, allowing to scout what the opponent’s priorities are with regard to threats. Do they attack my partner? Do they attack the Smeargle?

Follow Me and Wide Guard are very read intensive, but if you catch a Choice-Locked Pokemon, you can steal turns away from the opponent. Spore is an absolute blast, allowing you on average, 1.5 free turns on a sleeping Pokemon, allowing you to recover and nuke its partner.

I considered Clefairy in this slot, but after experimentation, Wide Guard was too important to give up.

The Glitchy

Porygon-Z @ Normalium Z
Ability: Adaptability
Level: 50
EVs: 180 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 68 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Shadow Ball
– Hyper Beam
– Conversion
– Protect

This set was stolen from the Palossand King, Matthew Hui.

Ghost Conversion enables you to dodge Extreme Speed from Arcanine, and Fighting moves from Kart, Phero and Buzzwole. It also enables you to hit for Neutral Damage on almost anything in the format.

Hyper Beam is for Breakneck Blitz, a beautifully elegant catch-all answer for anything not named Celesteela. There are pinch situations in which I would simply press Hyper Beam to nuke something if I expected Porygon-Z to die anyway.

Porygon-Z and Smeargle serve as very effective ‘transition’ leads between Games 1 and 2, to help conserve information and also to gather information. Porygon-Z can also sweep teams with ease.

The Cutie

Tapu Lele @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Psychic Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 44 HP / 44 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 164 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Dazzling Gleam
– Psychic
– Moonblast
– Thunderbolt

Choice Scarf Tapu Lele serves as a fantastic fast lead and synergises with Smeargle to allow for Spore on turns where I need a little breathing room.

Psychic Terrain does result in a feel-bad moment if I end up losing Fake Out on Smeargle. Dazzling Gleam and Psychic are the main go-to moves, with T-Bolt and Moonblast being hard counters or alternative moves to lock myself into.

Tapu Lele also helps Pheromosa by protecting it from Extreme Speed, or opposing Fake Out.

Lele+Pheromosa work together as an effective lead to throw off and break the momentum of hard Trick Room teams without Mimikyu, by effectively dispatching Gigalith, Snorlax and Porygon2. I don’t usually lead Phero+Lele because of opposing Intimidate users.

The Beauty

Pheromosa @ Life Orb
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Naughty Nature
– Ice Beam
– Poison Jab
– High Jump Kick
– Protect

Pheromosa is the other half of my fast lead. However, in practice, she tends to sit on the bench or at the back waiting for a chance to strike.

And she is also the best mon in the entire format.

She secures an OHKO on three of the Tapus with Life Orb Poison Jab, with the exception being Fini who requires some prior damage. Ice Beam is for when I don’t want to risk the HJK on Kartana or Garchomp. My job gets a lot easier after I’ve figured out where the Scarf or Sash is.

High Jump Kick is a button that reads “Destroy target creature”.

Alternatives would be Focus Sash or Fightingium Z, but the problem I had was that Phero can miss out on KOs without a Life Orb.

The Self Portrait

Snorlax @ Figy Berry
Ability: Gluttony
Level: 50
EVs: 68 HP / 196 Atk / 244 Def
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Belly Drum
– Return
– Protect
– Rock Slide

The 1st half of my slow mode, Snorlax has really been used more as a Belly Drum Mule. However, Mimikyu+Snorlax work particularly well in Game 1 if I have no idea how to gauge my opponent’s skill level, or if they don’t have an obvious counter to it in their 6. I don’t tend to lead if I see Fini or Arcanine, but they can do work against most goodstuff-style teams.

Important changes to the formula:

I chose Protect over Recycle. Snorlax doesn’t get to sweep often, but it doesn’t need to. Mimikyu actually needs it around long enough to be a Belly Drum mule. Protect buys me Turn 1 when I’m unsure what to expect from the opponent.

Rock Slide is an odd choice, but a fantastic one in my opinion. It allows me to kill sashes, and have fun fishing for flinches and residual damage, setting up a clean up sweep for Porygon-Z or Tapu Lele. It also allows me to be lazy with my predictions when neither of the opponent’s duo is resistant.

The Woobie

Mimikyu @ Mental Herb
Ability: Disguise
Level: 50
EVs: 220 HP / 60 Atk / 228 Def
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Trick Room
– Play Rough
– Psych Up
– Shadow Claw

The 2nd half of the slow mode, this Mimikyu is SLOW.

I chose Relaxed for additional Defense, and also to ensure it survives any non-crit Physical Z-Move, with the exception of Arcanine’s Z-Inferno, which has a 1/16 chance of OHKOing it.

Shadow Claw was chosen over Shadow Sneak to form a perfect neutral damaging combo with Play Rough, and not be shot in the foot with my own Psychic Terrain.

Oft overlooked, Mimikyu is the true beast behind Snorlax, and I made it so with Psych Up.


This team is not for everybody, but it’s almost fitting I was brought to a Worlds-Qualifying finish with a team similar to my first team of the season.

Until Anaheim,

– The Grandmaster.