Holding Myself Accountable in GO Battle League: Open Ultra Day 1

So this is something new for me – writing about Pokemon GO Battle League. I’m not going to go into too many details of the mechanics of battle in this piece (for my more Magic focused readers, I’m happy to answer questions and I’ll write something in this space soon), but instead I’m going to go forward with the understanding that if you’re reading this you have a general understanding of GO Battle League mechanics (or you really like me).

I haven’t played Open Ultra league since they started offering Premier Cup. I felt like I could not compete given that I lack many Legendary and Mythical options. However when looking at the Remix Cup meta on PVPoke I had a feeling of dread – as a level 39 battler I was cut off from XL Mons and as such would be at a significant disadvantage. So I looked at my options and Open Ultra and decided to make my push in that field despite lacking some top tier options.

I ran two sets yesterday (July 26) with Lapras (Ice Shard – Ice Beam/Surf) lead, Sirfetch’d (Counter – Leaf Blade/Brave Bird) closer and Gengar (Shadow Claw – Shadow Punch/Sludgebomb) on the switch. I scored a 4-1 my first set and was riding high until my second set where I tanked and went 1-4. I ended the day with an ELO of 2155 (way off my season high of 2406) and took a look at what I faced to try and game plan for the next day.

I saw a ton of Steel-Fairy duos which wrecked the team I had set. I also noticed a fair amount of Giratina and Cresselia. Given what options I had at my disposal I settled on a Typhlosion lead (Shadow Claw – Blast Burn/Solar Beam) with Obstagoon (Counter – Night Slash/Hyper Beam) and Gyarados (Dragon Breath – Aqua Tail/Crunch) in the back.

Today I woke up and used a few minutes before the rest of my family stirred to do some battles with that team. I went 2-3 (ended on 2132) when I realized my backline might have been decent against Giratina but was pretty awkward against other Dragons and Fairy types. I went back into the tank and settled on Alolan Muk (Snarl – Dark Pulse/Gunk Shot) on the switch with the same Lapras as the closer.

My logic was this: Typhlosion with Shadow Claw could handle a lot of leads while storing energy and A-Muk is just a solid safe swap, with both giving me some game against Giratina and Fairy types. Lapras would give me some solid Fire coverage back up Dragon coverage. Surf was not the worst against opposing Steels and Swamperts either.

Here is how my sets broke down:

  1. 4-1 (2181)
    1. Abomasnow-Charizard-Machamp – Loss. I could have won this one except I forgot I had Acid Spray on Muk. If I had a decent Poison move I win.
    2. Blaziken-Alolan Muk-Cresselia – Win. I stayed in for the lead and matched them. I timed a switch to preserve my Muk against theirs and managed to Dark Pulse down their Cresselia.
    3. Gallade-Giratina-Clefable – Win.
    4. Venusaur-Alolan Muk-Empoleon – Win.
    5. Swampert-Alolan Muk-Giratina – Win. I swapped immediately and managed to win without really using Typhlosion.
  2. 4-1 (2223)
    1. Sirfetch’d-Articuno-Kingdra – Loss. I didn’t realize how much damage Leaf Blade would do to Typhlosion and it cost me.
    2. Obstagoon-Venusaur-Cresselia – Win.
    3. Scizor-Giratina-Obstagoon – Win.
    4. Cresselia-Giratina-X – Win. When they swapped into Giratina and I counter swapped, they conceded.
    5. Cresselia-Togekiss-Abomasnow – Win.
  3. 1-4 (2179)
    1. Machamp-Togekiss-Venusaur – Loss. I overtapped a Shadow Claw at the end. If I did not misclick I think I might have been able to win.
    2. Obstagoon-Talonflame-Cresselia – Loss.
    3. Poliwrath-Swampert-Alolan Muk – Loss.
    4. Lapras-Clefable-Giratina – Win.
    5. Escavalier-Swampert-Empoleon – Loss.
  4. 3-2 (2193)
    1. Obstagoon-Umbreon-Talonflame – Win. This was a tough one that I managed to steal by storing energy on Typhlosion and getting off three Blast Burns on Umbreon.
    2. Charizard-Giratina-Togekiss – Win.
    3. Empoleon-Alolan Muk-Gengar – Loss. When Gengar came out I conceded as I was too far behind.
    4. Alolan Muk-Swampert-Venusaur – Loss. The Venusaur came at the worst spot for me as I did not have enough time to get off two Ice Beams from Lapras.
    5. Dragonite-Charizard-Scizor – Win. I swapped immediately into Alolan Muk and overcharged. This let me get off enough Dark Pulses to bring down their Dragonite and line up Lapras with Charizard and Typhlosion with Scizor.

Overall: +38 ELO.

I was happy with the team but seriously considered switching it up after the fourth set. I was not set up to lock down Counter users/Fighters in the lead, as my swap would line up poorly with theirs. After the last set I feel decent about starting tomorrow’s with this line up but have potential Charizard, Blaziken, and Gyarados led teams ready in case things do not line up in my favor. That being said I think one of my losses in set 3 (Escavalier lead) is winnable if I time my moves better and don’t fall for shield baits.

Published by Alex Ullman

Alex Ullman has been playing Magic since 1994 (he thinks). Since 2005, he's spent most of his time playing and exploring Pauper. One of his proudest accomplishments was being on the winnings side of the 2009 Community Cup. He makes his home in Brooklyn, New York, where he was born and raised.

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