Hello, I am Korean VGC player Donguk Jung, also known as SpringsVGC. Maybe some of you guys remember me from some online grassroots tour such as NPA, TT Open, or Zelda’s challenge. I’m gonna introduce my Moon series team that I used at Oceania International Championship and placed 23rd. I used quite uncommon core in this metagame but I think this team is reasonable to use. Please enjoy
I started VGC from late 2016, so this is my second restricted format. when I played some games in the ladder, I figured out that there are two kinds of team concept in moon series, which are preserving Xerneas or counterteaming Xerneas. I strongly agree that Xerneas is very overpowered in this format, but I thought I’m not a proper player to draw out Xerneas’ 100%. I need to rotate Fake Outs or redirect supporter for making just a single chance to set up Geomancy. It’s strong when it succeeds, but it was so boring to me. So I chose to counterteam the Xerneas.
There are few ways to check Xerneas, but I don’t feel well with Stakataka or Ferrothron due to their x4 weaknesses since it can easily be OHKOed from Xerneas partners. I wanted some Pokémon that hard counter Xerneas but generally deal well against other normal teams as well, and Solgaleo was it! It has perfect bulk and could deal offensively with a Z-crystal.
I tried many teams with Solgaleo during the early Moon series, and below teams are some successful versions of them.
The first team I built in Moon series. Tapu Fini is a great supporter for physical attackers: Swagger can double the power and Light Screen protects squads from Scarf Kyogre. But Yveltal/Lunala was hard to check and core move’s accuracy was not consistent: I just hate Groudon whenever it misses any Pblades…
This team was quite solid. Both Solgaleo and AV Yveltal has tremendous bulk, so I can switch again and again until I get good board position and Snarl again. AV Yveltal can survive from +1 Moonblast so theoretically Yvel could Snarl 2 times in front of Xerneas and nullify its boosts. This team’s main problem was Tapu Koko. I put Scarf Landrous to bind Koko from faster speed, but If I revealed Scarf Lando in Game 1 opponent will put Koko back and send it out after Lando is knocked out. Also my Xerneas check in this team was Solga/Toxicroak/Incin but they are all weak against Groudon.
At this time, I needed to rebuild my team more offensively since a defensive team can easily be destroyed from hax, such as unintended crit or paralysis. I found that Tsareena/Kyogre core is a really nice lead for such teams who don’t have Groudon or Kyogre, so I decided to recruit Kyogre as a new partner. My early teams looked like this:
I inspired Solganium Z Solgaleo and AV Toxicroak from Terry Hong’s team. Toxicroak marked Kyogre perfectly, and Solga-Z can take half HP of protected Xerneas. The team was not bad overall but I didn’t think it was solid against Groudon matchups. Tsareena/Ogre lead was easily negated by switching Groudon, and my team didn’t really have Groudon resistance.
At this time I read Snow-pokepoke’s Xern-Kyogre team report, and I figured out Kartana can mark Kyogre and Xerneas really well. Although Toxicroak has the same role, I needed second counter-mon since Xerneas/Kyogre are top 2 restricted mons in that time’s metagame. So I put Kartana over Tsareena, and changed Toxicroak’s AV to Sash. Since my team is an offensive team, Sash is better because it could stand from Hurricane or Psyshock and give unexpected damage to my opponent in many times. Also, Edu advised me that my team looked quite unstable because there was only one protect on Solgaleo, and he recommended to change Koko to Life Orb to give Protect. And it was a great change also.
This is my revised team. I reached 1650 with this team and I was pretty much confident with my squads. I used this team at my first week NPA match against @Pyreon, and he brought Groudon/Xerneas. I won by lots of luck, but I figured out that my team had almost no speed control so it was very hard to fight against Tailwind Groudon. After my match, I discussed about this a little bit with my teammate @shadow, and I inspired Hydreigon from his team. Usually Groudon can’t touch Hydreigon so it can safely set Tailwind in front of Groudon. Also max speed Hydreigon is faster than Lunala, and OHKOes Lunala with Darkinium Z. So it helped Lunala matchup a lot, which was the original role of Incineroar. Finally, my team’s final form was completed!
- 2019 Oceania International Championships 23rd Place (5-2)
- Oceania MSS Top 8
- 21st Rating on the Battle Spot ladder on Season 14 (Rating: 1817)
- Korean League Season 2 Top 16 (Thanks to enq)
Solgaleo @ Solganium Z
Ability: Full Metal Body
EVs: 244 HP / 52 Atk / 76 Def / 84 SpD / 52 Spe
– Sunsteel Strike
– Trick Room
- 52+ Atk Solgaleo Sunsteel Strike vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Xerneas: 176-210 (87.1 – 103.9%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO
- 52+ Atk Solgaleo Superpower vs. 236 HP / 0 Def Incineroar: 148-176 (74 – 88%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 0 Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 244 HP / 76 Def Solgaleo in Sun: 204-242 (83.9 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 244 HP / 84 SpD Solgaleo: 108-128 (44.4 – 52.6%) — 22.3% chance to 2HKO
- Outspeeds Max Speed Modest Ludicolo and most Groudon variants.
Figurehead of the team, and a Xerneas check. It was involved in every Xerneas match, and knocked out Xerneas when it is off guard with Geomancy. If it was hard, my main plan was to knock out other supporters early and to make Xerneas face Solgaleo alone. The key is to keep enough health to endure Moonblast and hit back by protecting and switching before Xerneas goes down. Since it has quite offensive typing and can endure almost every hit except Lunala’s Z-move, it can deal big damage by its Z-move most of the times. Trick Room counters Rage Powder + Geomancy etc., and secures its partner’s opportunity to move. Since Trick Room is unexpectable in this lineup, it was nice to take opponents who use Tailwind off guard.
Lunala, Yveltal, and Kyogre were burdensome enemies, but Solgaleo did its job and hit its Z-move except when there were two of them.
Kyogre @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Water Spout
– Ice Beam
– Origin Pulse
Common Scarf Kyogre. It’s an obvious and well-known set, but it’s still strong. I considered Timid nature because of frequent Kyogre mirrors, but I put it off because I couldn’t find the reason to sacrifice its damage output against one speed stat and because the mirrors weren’t hard after I used Kartana and Toxicroak. I frequently led Kyogre to scratch my opponent with Spout and then preserved it until lategame to sweep.
Ice Beam was crucial because Zygarde matchup was tough, and I concerned between Scald and Origin Pulse. I chose OPulse despite some risks because I frequently needed Kyogre in low HP to sweep the lategame with a spread move, and I gained a lot from it during the tournament.
Kartana @ Assault Vest
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 244 SpD / 252 Spe
– Leaf Blade
– Sacred Sword
– Knock Off
– Psycho Cut
- 4 Atk Kartana Leaf Blade vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Kyogre: 186-222 (105.6 – 126.1%) — guaranteed OHKO
- -1 4 Atk Kartana Sacred Sword vs. 236 HP / 4 Def Incineroar: 82-98 (41 – 49%) — guaranteed 3HKO
- +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 4 HP / 244 SpD Assault Vest Kartana: 105-124 (77.7 – 91.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
I brought this Kartana from SNOW’s report. I underestimated its value since I hadn’t used AV Kartana yet, but it was the second line of defense against Xerneas since it endures +2 Moonblast. Smart Strike was tempting but most Xerneas were afraid of it, so I chose Psycho Cut to hit Toxicroak since it was important for my team to take care of Pokémon that hinders Kyogre. Although I didn’t invest on Attack, it did its job thanks to its sky-high base stat and great coverage. During the few turns that are secured by its nice bulk, it takes care of Pokémon that hinders Kyogre or deals damage to the range of Kyogre.
Tapu Koko @ Life Orb
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 108 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 12 SpD / 132 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Dazzling Gleam
– Grass Knot
- 252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Thunder vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Yveltal in Electric Terrain: 299-354 (148.7 – 176.1%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Grass Knot (120 BP) vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Groudon: 156-185 (89.1 – 105.7%) — 31.3% chance to OHKO
- 108+ Atk Toxicroak Poison Jab vs. 108 HP / 4 Def Tapu Koko: 134-158 (84.2 – 99.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ Atk Kartana Leaf Blade vs. 108 HP / 4 Def Tapu Koko: 123-145 (77.3 – 91.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 108 HP / 12 SpD Tapu Koko: 135-159 (84.9 – 100%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
- Outspeeds Max Speed Modest Tapu Koko.
- HP stat is 159, which takes least damage from Life Orb.
I used Modest, but changed to Timid because important KO ranges weren’t that different and because sometimes it lost Koko mirrors when its HP was low. It looked like Modest Koko was increasing because it isn’t bad in the format, so using a faster Koko was neat. Thanks to its consistency, It could hit Thunder few times except against Groudon teams. It could also knock out Groudon which isn’t bulky, and Spout in Sun + Grass Knot could even knock out the Specially defensive ones. Dazzling Gleam was a cheap damage source that could take Pokémon next to Amoonguss to the range of Spout, or break Sash. Solgaleo’s Z-move + Gleam can KO Amoonguss, and Superpower + Gleam can KO Incineroar. It also counters sleep-inducing moves, so that Solgaleo can easily Trick Room in front of Amoonguss.
Toxicroak @ Focus Sash
Ability: Dry Skin
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Fake Out
– Low Kick
– Poison Jab
– Sucker Punch
- 252+ Atk Toxicroak Low Kick (120 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Kyogre: 108-127 (61.3 – 72.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ Atk Toxicroak Poison Jab vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Xerneas: 134-162 (66.3 – 80.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ Atk Toxicroak Sucker Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Lunala: 168-200 (78.8 – 93.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Reliable Fake Out supporter of my Kyogre, and almighty friend that destroys the consistency of foe’s Kyogre. It was Terry’s advice from Dallas Regionals. Initially I used AV, but many Kyogre teams carried Psychic moves and surprise-KOed my Toxicroak, so I went to Sash. Sash was useful because of Dry Skin’s recovery when I led Croak with Ogre and took Fake Out. Also, Max Attack and Max Speed investment gave me superiority in Fake Out race and damage output. Sucker Punch fits in the last moveslot since it can finish up Pokémon in low HP and Lunala without Shadow Shield.
Hydreigon @ Darkinium Z
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Dark Pulse
– Draco Meteor
- 252 SpA Hydreigon Black Hole Eclipse (160 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Shadow Shield Lunala: 254-300 (119.2 – 140.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 252 SpA Hydreigon Black Hole Eclipse (160 BP) vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Groudon: 102-121 (49.2 – 58.4%) — 98.4% chance to 2HKO
- 252 SpA Hydreigon Draco Meteor vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Incineroar: 84-100 (42 – 50%) — 0.4% chance to 2HKO
A counter of Lunala teams and Groudon + Tailwind teams. It didn’t receive attention in the format because its Speed stat is 1 lower than Xerneas, but on the other hand, it was a finishing touch of my team since it can OHKO Lunala with a Speed stat 1 faster than Lunala. Also, it was nice to keep up Tailwind versus Groudon matchups. There was no problem using two Z-move users, since I only took Hydreigon to Yveltal/Lunala/Groudon+Tailwind matchups that were hard for Solgaleo to face.
Initially I used Earth Power instead of Draco Meteor, but since it deals similar damage to Incineroar when hit twice and it was hard to even OHKO Koko, I changed to a consistent STAB move and used it a few times when I needed some damage. Also Draco Meteor can give my team an outside chance against Zekrom or Palkia teams, which is very hard to face.
The opponent’s lead is most likely Kyogre+Tornadus since they want to control speed against a Scarf Kyogre mirror, so I can greatly benefit by leading Kyogre+Toxicroak. If Kyogre+Tornadus comes out, Fake Out the opposing Kyogre and Spout. I might see opponent’s Kyogre retreat because of Toxicroak’s pressure, so I might Fake Out Tornadus. Even if Grass-type comes out, it is 2HKOed by Spout(even if it’s Amoonguss, it faints from 2 Spouts + Poison Jab), and Tornadus is OHKOed if it carries Flyinium Z; even if it endures the hit and attacks, there is another chance to Spout next turn. If it endures and uses Tailwind, Sucker Punch can finish Tornadus and Toxicroak can continue giving pressure to opponent’s Kyogre. If the opposing Kyogre remains and uses Thunder, I can take good board position by switching to Kartana. Even if Xerneas uses Geomancy in Tailwind, Solgaleo can Trick Room. It is a good matchup overall, despite some need for mindreading.
XL is a team that heavily relies on Geomancy, so the opponent will take Xerneas+Lunala and two supporters such as Smeargle, Amoonguss, Incineroar. So, the opponent’s lead is likely 1) Xern + Supporter, 2) Lunala + Supporter, 3) X + L, and Kartana+Kyogre lead can handle most of them.
For 1) and 2), doubling up Spout + Knock off to the legendary slot can give significant damage to the opponent’s legendary. For 3), it is a slight mindgame on where to Knock Off, but I usually choose Lunala since most Xerneas in XL isn’t bulky and Lunala can threaten my Solgaleo in the back.
Opponent’s supporter Toxicroak can be a problem, but Kartana can OHKO non-Sash Toxicroak so it isn’t that hard. In this case, I could lead Kyogre+Toxicroak to Sucker Punch opposing Lunala.
Toxicroak gains great advantage from the opponent’s Scarf Kyogre lead, and Hydreigon can OHKO Lunala lead. Lunala in this matchup usually carries Tailwind or Trick Room: if Tailwind, my Hydreigon can use Tailwind, and if Trick Room, withstand the opponent’s attack by Fake Out, Protect, and Kartana’s bulk, and sweep with Kyogre right after Trick Room ends.
If Amoonguss is in the team, take Koko instead of Kartana.
Since my team is fast, the opponent will attempt to use Trick Room. Kyogre+Toxicroak can cut more than half of Necrozma’s HP in turn 1, and the key is to switch in Solgaleo and reset Trick Room before Lurantis sets up enough. Lele versions of the team often lead Lele + Necrozma, so hitting Sunsteel Strike on the Lele slot can give advantage since Necrozma has no moves to hit Solgaleo and Kartana.
5-1. vs teams without Tailwind
The key to Groudon matchups is knocking out opponent’s two Pokémon and preserving Kyogre for consistent Spout or OPulse. A Koko lead is to block Venusaur’s Sleep Powder. Because Solgaleo is faster than most Groudon and endures one Precipice Blades, it can KO something with turn 1 Z-move. If I know Groudon is slower than Solgaleo, I can surprise-KO Groudon with Z-move + Grass Knot, and this wins the weather war and the game with consistent Spouting. Most times I press Z-move to Venusaur, and if it is Sash, Kyogre can KO it, and if Incineroar switches in, Solgaleo may KO it with Superpower, so not a bad situation.
If the opponent leads Yveltal, switch Solgaleo into Kyogre and press Thunder to Yveltal. If it is AV, Kyogre can KO it with OPulse.
5-2. vs teams with Tailwind
The key is the same, but cycling for more number of Pokémon and controlling speed at the same time in order to make Kyogre sweep might be harder. I must use Tailwind and give as much damage as I can during Tailwind turns. Since it’s a cycle team, I should read the opponent’s moves and switch properly, and deal much damage at the same time in order to win.
Hard matchup. Leading Hydreigon to setup Tailwind is hard because of Xerneas, so I have to lead Solgaleo, but it’s weak at Groudon, so it’s quite a dilemma. Moreover, this archetype frequently carries Max Speed Life Orb Substitute Groudon, so it’s hard when Solgaleo gets KOed by Precipice Blades. Hopefully, Koko can KO Groudon with Grass Knot, but it can’t if Volcarona sets Tailwind. So, press Spout in Sun + Gleam to KO Volcarona before it sets Tailwind. If it fails, I should avoid Precipice Blades to win.
7. Teams without Groudon or Kyogre (e.g. XY, Solgaleo + Zygarde)
Lead Kyogre+Toxicroak and Fake Out + Spout since I have the weather. If the opponent has Yveltal, Kyogre+Tapu Koko is a nice lead to deal much damage. Teams with water-resistant mons such as Zekrom, Palkia are hard matchups, and I should rely on Koko’s Gleam or Hydreigon’s Draco Meteor.
Rundown of Tournament
Round 1 – Meghan Rattle [AU] YvelOgre + Lele LL
I thought Yveltal should be AV, but I was surprised by Protect and Tailwind at the first two turns. I lost Koko from Leaf Blade crit at the timing I should have preserved it. After I saw Yveltal’s Knock Off, I attacked with Ogre hoping it didn’t have Sucker Punch, but it had so I lost Game 1. At Game 2 I suffered from unexpected Ally Switch and lost.
Round 2 – Gwenn Cox [US] XernOgre + Tornadus WW
I handled the opponent’s Ogre by cycling Kartana and Toxicroak, and won easily.
Round 3 – Whitney Johnson [US] XernOgre + Tornadus WW
I continued to send out Toxicroak in front of Kyogre and blocked it from Spouting, and finished the game by doubling its partner.
Round 4 – Joey Schooth [AU] Solgaleo + Zygarde + Fini WW
Game 1: Kyogre + Solgaleo vs Zygarde + Fini. I KOed Fini by Spout + Sunsteel Strike at Turn 1, then Kyogre swept with Spout.
Game 2: I used Trick Room with Croak + Solgaleo, and my Kyogre endured the opponent’s Searing Sunraze Smash + Thousand Arrows. I KOed Zygarde with Ice Beam, making a checkmate.
Round 5 – Morgan Priestall [AU] XY WW
Game 1: Kyogre + Solgaleo vs Yveltal + Landorus-T. I doubled Yveltal and Yveltal hit Sucker Punch to Ogre, so I double-KOed at Turn 1 and seized the chance to victory.
Game 2: I led Kyogre + Koko and fired Thunder so that Yveltal could do nothing, and I won.
Round 6 – Sam Pandelis (Zelda) [AU] XY LWL
Game 1: Kyogre + Solgaleo vs Yveltal + Incin. I doubled Yveltal but since it had Black Glasses, it KOed Solgaleo and I couldn’t stop Xerneas which made me lose the set.
Game 2: I led Koko + Solgaleo and then switched to Kyogre, KOing Yveltal with a surprise Life Orb Thunder.
Game 3: Kyogre + Koko vs Xern + Volcarona. It was a favorable lead, but Xerneas double protected Spout while Amoonguss hit my Kyogre with Grass Knot. Thus I couldn’t stop Geomancy and the following XY lineup blocked my Solgaleo to stop Xerneas.
Round 7 – Nicholas Bingham (LightCore) [AU] XernDon + Volcarona WLW
Game 1: I led Kyogre + Kartana and cut half HP of Groudon that switched in, then I made Spout consistency before Xerneas sets up.
Game 2: I pressed Sunsteel Strike while damaged Xerneas used Geomancy, but Fini used Reflect faster and Xerneas swept the game.
Game 3: I boldly doubled Spout in Sun + Searing Sunraze Smash to Groudon and it succeeded, leading me to victory.
Although my team wasn’t good at every matchup, it had plans against most of the team in the meta. Solgaleo’s nice bulk and Scarf Kyogre’s consistency made my team do something against any team, and it was nice. Thanks to KrelCROC, Nash, Min Woo Lim who shared many ideas and helped practice against every matchups, and shoutouts to Edu, Shadow, SNOW, and Terry who gave me inspiration for Life Orb Koko, Hydreigon, AV Kartana, and Toxicroak!
Edited by Junebum Ryoo (Ryuna)
Credit to neo-cscdgnpry for the featured image