Joseph Ugarte has been one of the most consistent North American players in the post-World Championships era of the 2019 VGC season. A top 4 finish at the Knoxville Regional Championships, a top 8 finish at the Richmond Regional Championships and now finally a win at the Portland Regional Championships. This recent string of results has catapulted Ugarte to the top of the Championship Point standings for North America, and has made him quite the presence on the scene’s radar.
One of Ugarte’s defining attributes has been his use of Yveltal and Primal Groudon, a team archetype that made waves when it placed fourth at the World Championships thanks to Japanese player Kazuki Kobayashi. However, Ugarte has made some changes to his version of the team, the most notable being a Venusaur over Kobayashi’s Mimikyu. The team capitalizes on the offensive powerhouses of Mega Metagross and Primal Groudon, utilizing support from the more defensively oriented Yveltal and Tapu Koko. One of the most neat techs on the team is the Tapu Koko holding the Tapunium Z, allowing it to take 75% of a target’s HP with the Guardian of Alola Z move.
Ugarte has proven his prowess with this team as he’s used it to get results in various regions across the United States. Going into Portland, we saw a different take on the post-worlds metagame, and Ugarte was still able to prevail.
Results and Teams (Top 8)
The West Coast Metagame
There’s been a recent trend of Xerneas and Primal Groudon teams dominating North American regionals, but only one team featuring this restricted pair made it to Portland’s top 16. Tornadus was also scarce in Portland’s top standings, however Stephen Mea decided to pair it with Primal Kyogre in a return to prominence with the team he used to place in the top 8 at the World Championships.
The west coast players seem to favor Mega Rayquaza and Primal Kyogre as seen by top 8 finishers Raghav Malviya and Kimo Nishimura. Their teams appear nearly identical in their construction, using similar move sets as well. A common addition to recent Mega Rayquaza and Primal Kyogre teams has been a secondary Mega Evolution in Mega Metagross, which made several appearances on other types of teams.
Another archetype that performed well in Portland was the World Championships-winning pair of Primal Groudon and Lunala. Gavin Michaels also brought back his successful team from the World Championships which used an unconventional pick in Jumpluff. Myles Kristalovich used a similar build to Michaels’, but instead added a Bisharp in the sixth slot. These teams have kept a steady five Pokemon, however players have continued to experiment with the sixth slot in an effort to possibly perfect the archetype before the season comes to a close.
Finally, coming out of complete left field, is Binjie Wang’s team. Wang is a player known for using some unconventional teams in the past, and his latest result comes with a Palkia. The team is focused on setting up Trick Room, and looks to heavily counter some of the faster, more offensive teams in the metagame. The combination of Mega Rayquaza and Palkia is a nightmare for Primal Groudon (and Kyogre to a degree), so it’s safe to say Wang’s team gave many of his opponent’s trouble. In fact, Wang actually faced Ugarte in round four of Swiss on stream and made the matchup look effortless for him. In finals, Ugarte discovered how valuable Venusaur was in the matchup being able to put everything to sleep. So much for never bringing Venusaur to a Mega Rayquaza matchup.
As the Ultra Series comes to a close, we now set our sights on the final International Championships of the Ultra Series format and the first of the 2020 season. The final major sendoff to VGC 2019 and the Ultra Series goes down next weekend in São Paulo, Brazil.
Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International.
Featured Image: Nimbasa City Post on Twitter