I joined in on the festivities for the 2020 Oceania International Championships, and though I was unable to compete in the official tournament — it started on Friday, and apparently people who work full time aren’t worthy of participation — I gamely signed up for the Premier Challenge side event, capped at 32 players using standard VGC rules.
Making my tourney premiere at the Premier Challenge? It was worth it for the wordplay alone, man. Let’s meet the team!
Open the image in a new tab to read their movesets, or use a magnifying glass if you’re a detective from the 1800s.
Match 1 vs “Miria”
To kick things off, I opened with Muppet and Cedella against Duraludon and Togekiss. The latter is running amok through the metagame at the moment, so I figured it would be making an early appearance as soon as I saw it on my opponent’s roster. Hence, Toxapex was the pick to slow it down.
Then, it happened. Straight off the bat, Duraludon grew 50 feet tall, as we had an opening turn Dynamax. The Togekiss, who I assumed would be dealing out the damage, raised its arms in the air in a celebratory declaration of love for its teammate.
Helping Hand? Whatever could it be helping?
The answer was swift and brutal. Max Steelspike, directly into Muppet’s supple flesh, and a one-hit KO. My very first competitive round ended with one Pokemon fainting and the other protecting against literally nothing, as Cedella’s Baneful Bunker was disregarded entirely.
Out came Baltimora, the delightful double entendre of Maryland’s NFL team and the 80s one-hit-wonder who gifted us with the catchy disco hit Tarzan Boy, who received a Max Lightning for his troubles. A second straight OHKO, and just like that, I was down in a 2-0 hole.
Now it was Tum Tum’s turn to fight/die, cultivating the land so that the next generation could have a better future with a lovely Leech Seed atop both opponents’ heads.
Thunderbolt sent Cedella packing, and the only saving grace was that Tum Tum’s gardening adventures actually paid off, eventually sucking Duraludon’s HP supply dry before my plucky Appletun was Air Slashed into oblivion.
Result: 1-4 LOSS
Round 2 vs “Viper”
This time, Arcanine and Whimsicott were the opening foes. Radio Gaga and Cedella stepped up to the plate.
I opted for Baneful Bunker, because I honestly don’t know what else to do with my life, but it paid off. Arcanine’s Wild Charge bounced off harmlessly, poisoning the puppy in the process.
Gaga’s Flash Cannon, which basically nobody expects a Vikavolt to have, was the follow-up attack, and we soon discovered that Whimsicott does not appreciate being flashed at whatsoever, as it was downed in one hit.
Despite this, we still had an angry flaming doggo eying off my very flammable stag beetle, so Volt Switch seemed the next port of call. This was doubly true now that Galarian Darmanitan had joined its side, which was known to transform into an angry steaming snowman monster, when provoked.
Gaga bailed out on her partner like a craven coward, allowing Sarang the Alcremie to make her long-awaited debut (who I may or may not have named after my girlfriend, and that’s very sweet and not at all creepy despite what my sister tells me).
The Dynamaxed cream critter melted Darmanitan with a Max Flare, putting me up 2-0 but costing Sarang a chunk of her health thanks to her Life Orb.
Meanwhile, Arcanine, who had been poisoned for quite some time and clearly should have been taken to the vet, died of its wounds. One last competitor to go, and it was everyone’s favorite rotund chum, Snorlax.
This one had a Max Steelspike planned exclusively for Sarang, who survived with a sliver of health left. She responded with one last Max Starfall, succumbing to the Life Orb and proving that the only one who could kill Sarang was Sarang herself.
Baltimora stepped in, eager to finally pull off his Iron Defence + Body Press combo that he had been telling all his friends about, only for Cedella to steal the glory with a burn courtesy of Scald.
Result: 4-1 WIN
Round 3 vs “Aaron”
Opting for bulk, I opened with Tum Tum and Cedella. Charizard and Scrafty stood across from me, reminding me that flying-types were one of Appletun’s many weaknesses (in addition to poison, bug, ice, dragon, fairy and midnight snacks).
Immediately, Charizard went straight into Dynamax mode, cranking things up to 11. Seeing an opening, Scrafty thought it would be clever and nail Cedella with the Fake Out, but its hands clasped around nothing but a bevy of prickly barbs; Baneful Bunker had claimed another victim.
The newly Dynamaxed Charizard did indeed have a Max Airstream at the ready, but it was directed at Cedella, who was able to partially nullify its impact in her defensive state.
Tum Tum, completely ignored, simply gifted a Leech Seed to Charizard, and went about her day.
The fight continued between Cedella and her foes, as she would suffer another Max Airstream in the next turn. She was reeling by now, but I had Recover at the ready to keep her going, staving off blows from both opponents.
Still nothing for Tum Tum to do, so she planted another seed. She was having a wonderful time.
I had noticed a trend, and opted to Dynamax Cedella here, thinking that she could Max Guard to block Charizard’s last Max attack, but it was an absolutely botched read, with the towering lizard directing Max Flare Tum Tum’s way. Scrafty hit the bewildered Appletun with a follow up attack, and the next turn’s sun-boosted Heat Wave was enough to bake Tum Tum for good.
Time for Muppet to show off her Rock Blast. Before she could pelt her enemy with stones — for she was without sin — Aaron pulled the old switcheroo, pulling Scrafty away and inserting Vileplume in its place.
I was lucky enough to trigger all five possible hits from Rock Blast, but Vileplume hung on with a smidgen of health left. Its retaliatory Giga Drain to Muppet obliterated her in one fell swoop. Not only was I down another Pokemon, but Vileplume was now sitting pretty with a gut full of Rhyperior vitality.
Radio Gaga came out to join Cedella as the last line of defense, and fortunately had enough oomph to down Charizard with a Volt Switch.
Heat Rotom was the next to join the fray, and by now, my soldiers had taken too much punishment to launch a comeback. Thunderbolt from Rotom sealed Cedella’s fate, while a Sludge Bomb brought Gaga to her knees.
We had fought well, but ultimately, Muppet was our undoing. Ugh, she’s so useless.
Result: 2-4 LOSS
Round 4 vs “Krog”
Much like my previous match with Aaron, I was troubled by the presence of one of the Pokemon I had spotted: this time, Toxtricity, whose electric typing was bound to give my Toxapex headaches.
I knew that there was only one solution. I would have to give Muppet another chance, despite her previous misgivings. I nervously lined her up alongside Cedella to open, and my fears were soon realized: Toxtricity was the first on the field with Drednaw at its heels.
Though I was wary of Drednaw’s water-type attacks, I saw my opportunity to exploit the multiple ground-type weaknesses on the opponent’s side of the field.
In a move that can only be described as tragic, Drednaw Gigantamaxed out of the gates, and I was introduced to the glory of G-Max Stonesurge, engulfing Muppet in a deluge while setting Stealth Rock upon my side of the field.
I hate you Muppet, I’m going to Wonder Trade your ass away at the first opportunity I get.
Tum Tum was quickly overwhelmed, and Toxtricity’s following Overdrive was able to dispatch both of my remaining Pokemon at once. Despite being the last match to start, we were one of the first to finish. Ladies and gentlemen, I had hit a new low.
Result: 0-4 LOSS
Round 5 vs “Angel”
It’s worth mentioning that the matchups for each round were determined by win/loss record up to that point, and with each defeat, I was moved further down the table and closer towards the exit. It was like a really existential way of telling me that I should leave.
Angel opened with Grimmsnarl and Goodra, the latter Dynamaxing off the schneid and swamping my Alcremie in Max Ooze for massive damage. Grimmsnarl followed this up by showing off its arts and crafts, putting up a Light Screen that I had absolutely no way of countering with my team as currently constituted.
Sarang already had one foot in the grave, so I yanked her for Baltimora, who no sold the second Max Ooze attempt like a champ. Alas, Grimmsnarl was busy implementing Reflect, and just like that, I had allowed dual screens to be set up like a damned noob.
In fairness, I am a noob. This was my first tournament, remember? If you’re going to be harsh on anyone, let it be Muppet. Stupid Muppet!!
Pleased with the work it had done, Grimmsnarl abruptly left to allow Togekiss to hit the scene, while Goodra reintroduced Baltimora to an old friend in the form of Max Lightning. Another immediate death, and with that, Baltimora had finished his day without ever launching a single attack. I may as well have named the dude Switzerland.
With a sigh, Radio Gaga returned to the familiar sight of inevitability, watching on helplessly as Goodra’s Thunderbolt manhandled poor Cedella.
At this completely irrelevant point, I Dynamaxed the Vikavolt, and I’ll confess that the reason I didn’t do it earlier is that I legitimately forgot I even could. For her efforts, she was rewarded with Togekiss’ Heat Wave (critical) and a Sludge Bomb from Goodra.
My god, what a catastrophe. 31st of 32 players in my first tournament.
Result: 0-4 LOSS
Thank you so much for joining in my Premier Challenge tournament experience! Let us know if you enjoyed this type of coverage, and we’ll be sure to do it more often in future. We’ll just try to send someone less useless than myself next time.