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[VGC] Introducing: the MaLaMa Core! – VGC Tips & Strategies
[Image: gMNtJ0h.png]
Hey, everybody! It’s 0kamii, and welcome to my first VGC core analysis of the 2018 season!

I’ve been teasing the introduction of this core for several weeks now, and this was initially going to be posted in late February. However, as some of you probably noticed, I’ve been unusually absent from the site in recent weeks because of poor scheduling with my job. Fear not, though. I’ve stuck it out and I’m as determined as ever to share with you all my creation. Yes, that’s right. My creation. This core, which I’ve dubbed MaLaMa, is an original core that I’ve been testing on Showdown the last few weeks to shocking success! Out of thirty battles, my win to lose ratio stands at 19:11, or roughly 63%. Yes, that’s nothing amazing, but it’s amazing for me. If someone of my skill level (average) can use this core to this effect, I can only imagine what it can accomplish in the hands of masterful VGC players. So, without further ado, I give to you: the MaLaMa core!
Introducing: the MaLaMa Core! – VGC Tips & Strategies

[Image: manectric.png] [Image: landorus-therian.png] [Image: mantyke.png]
The first thing you’re wondering is probably, “Why these three pokémon specifically?” I have a very simple answer to that question. Landorus-T is the undisputed King of VGC 2018. According to Pikalytics, it currently sits on 60% of teams and can run a variety of sets that make it as unpredictable as it is dangerous. You can’t go wrong with a Landorus-T, so it seemed like the natural starting point for teambuilding. Manectric came to my attention after seeing it in the finals of the St. Louis Regional Championship at the hands of Alvin Hidayat where it successfully won against Ashton Cox and claimed 1[sup]st[/sup] place. As an underused Mega, only appearing on 5% of teams, Manectric offers plenty of coverage, as well as utility in Snarl, Volt Switch, and Intimidate (once Mega evolved). Also packing the ability to OHKO Band/Scarf Landorus-T, and 2HKO AV Landorus-T with HP - Ice, M-Manectric was a pokémon that I think surprised a lot of people. And then there’s Mantyke, which unlike the other two, I research as a joke. Mantyke boasts an incredible 120 base Sp. Def stat, which I’d always wanted to capitalize on, but didn’t think much of it until I realized it has one of the best supportive movepools in the game. It also had minor usage in VGC 2016, being battled on Battle Spot by Aaron Zheng and Traylor. Having access to an abundance of annoying moves like Wide Guard, Tailwind, Icy Wind, Helping Hand, Toxic, and Haze, along with the boon of getting an Eviolite, Mantyke is shocking viable, even if it doesn’t seem like it. These three mons originally came together in teambuilder where I noticed how they compliment each other’s weaknesses. As seen below:
[Image: gPM2o0q.jpg]
The only weakness unaccounted for is Ice, but Manectric gets Overheat, and Landorus-T gets Rock Slide, both of which have proven to be consistent options of dealing with this oversight. And yes, I’m aware that team weaknesses usually aren’t the best way to build a team, rather to combat what mons and strategies are prevalent in the meta. So after seeing this, I took to the ladder on Pikalytics and tried to see if there was a mon in the top 30 my friends here couldn’t check. Here’s what we came up with:

01.) Landorus-T: M-Manectric gets HP – Ice, OHKOs every variant except AV which 2HKOs
02.) Fini: M-Manectric does ~60% to Specs Fini with Volt Switch, ~75% with Thunderbolt (for calcs against Calm Mind Fini, see below in ‘Offensive Calcs’ section)
03.) Koko: Landorus-T OHKO with EQ, ~85% at -1
04.) Cresselia: Scarf Knock Off does ~40%, Band Knock Off does ~60%, Band + Helping Hand does ~90%
05.) Zapdos: Scarf Landorus-T 3HKO w/ Rock Slide
06.) Metagross-Mega: M-Manectric OHKOs with Overheat, Scarf Landorus-T does ~%70 with EQ
07.) Snorlax: Scarf Landorus-T does ~75% with Superpower, OHKOs with Helping Hand
08.) Amoonguss: M-Manectric Overheat does ~80%, ~40% at -2
09.) Lele: only 2HKOs, viable hole (88.7% chance to 2HKO Mantyke in Psychic Terrain, 95.2% chance to 3HKO out of Psychic Terrain)
10.) Charizard-Mega Y: OHKO with Rock Slide, ~130%
11.) Bulu: M-Manectric Overheat OHKOs standard Jolly, max Atk/Spd set with Grassium Z
12.) Kartana: M-Manectric OHKOs with Overheat, only stopped by Focus Sash
13.) Heatran: Scarf Landorus-T OHKOs with non-Shuca berry, ~85% with Shuca berry
14.) Tyranitar: Scarf/Band Landorus-T OHKOs with Superpower
15.) Tyranitar-Mega: ^ ^ ^ - even at -1, does ~110% (guaranteed OHKO)
16.) Celesteela: M-Manectric Thunderbolt does ~66% to Careful spread, Volt Switch does ~50%
17.) Aegislash: M-Manectric Overheat does ~70% (Shield forme), Scarf Landorus-T does ~60% (Shield forme), only Z-Shadow Ball can OHKO them back
18.) Kangaskhan-Mega: Scarf Landorus-T has 43.8% chance to OHKO with Superpower, 100% with Helping Hand
19.) Salamence-Mega: Scarf Landorus-T does ~40% with Rock Slide, M-Manectric HP – Ice guaranteed OHKO against standard set, ~80% against 164 HP/ 124 Sp. Def build
20.) Incineroar: Scarf Landorus-T does ~55% with EQ, ~60% with Superpower, ~42% and 45% at -1 respectively (now that Incineroar gets Intimidate)
21.) Porygon2: Scarf Landorus-T does ~55% with Superpower, Band - ~85%, guaranteed OHKO with Band + Helping Hand on 252/132 Porygon2
22.) Gengar-Mega: Scarf Landorus-T guaranteed OHKO with EQ, M-Manectric Thunderbolt 2HKO
23.) Ferrothorn: M-Manectric guaranteed OHKO with Overheat, 2HKO in rain against 252/148 Relaxed Ferrothorn
24.) Gothitelle: Scarf Landorus-T 90% to 2HKO with U-turn, ~75% with Helping Hand + U-turn
25.) Scrafty: Scarf Landorus-T ~60% with Superpower, ~46% with Superpower at -1
26.) Volcarona: Scarf Landorus-T guaranteed OHKO with Rock Slide, 43.8% chance to OHKO at -1
27.) Kommo-o: 3HKO against standard Kommonium Z set with EQ (no boosts), negligible damage at -1, worse after omniboost
28.) Politoed: M-Manectric 2HKOs with Thunderbolt against Calm, 252/52 Politoed, Volt Switch does ~60%
29.) Manectric-Mega: Scarf Landorus-T 2HKO with EQ, ~66% with EQ at -1 (be wary of opposing HP – Ice)
30.) Ludicolo: Scarf Landorus-T 2HKOs standard 4/252/252 Ludicolo with U-turn, ~60% with U-turn at -1, M-Manectric 2HKOs with Thunderbolt

 As you can see, the two primary attackers of this core, Landorus-T and Mega Manectric, on their own have the capabilities of picking up numerous OHKOs and 2HKOs against a great many of the prominent pokémon in use at this point in the meta. The only pokémon against which these two struggle are many of the Trick Room setters such as Cresselia, Porygon2, and Gothitelle, and well as some niche picks like Scrafty, Kommo-o, Intimidate Incineroar, and Ludicolo. Out of thirty pokémon, to only struggle with a few is astonishing in my opinion. And keep in mind, this is reliant on only these three. As with any core, it’s necessary to build around it properly. And with this core, unlike CHALK, there are three available customization spots. Below are some of the successful pairings I’ve tried with this core. 

Team options: 
[Image: snorlax.png] [Image: amoonguss.png]
These two fit well into just about any team, and their combination of redirection and setup makes for a deadly combination on its own. When added to the MaLaMa core, their offensice power becomes a struggle, as there’s little to stop a +6 Snorlax and an angry Scarf Landorus-T from steamrolling the opponents. Watch out for Clear Smog and Defog users, it kills their momentum. 
[Image: 600px-788Tapu_Fini.png]
Tapu Fini fits well into this team because it abuses Manectric’s Lightning Rod ability, baiting those attacks and using its bulk, or Choice Specs to dish out damage. Having an offensive Water-Type, as opposed to Mantyke who plays a supportive role, also gives you Water/Fairy/Ice coverage against the meta from which this team benefits. Fini is one of those mons that was constantly brought on board as a fourth, and gives MaLaMa a bulkier Special Attacker if M-Manectric is thought to be too frail. 

[Image: 20161204124049.png] [Image: 116820_Mega_Metagross-x600.png]
Lele and Mega Metagross have been best friends since the meta began, and it fixes many of the issues that the primary three were lacking. It gives viable options against Kommo-o, Scrafty, and serves as a hard counter to Trick Room setters that don’t have enough damage output on it like Cresselia and Porygon2. While the use of the latter is less common, having the option is never bad, and one could always run Taunt on Lele to prevent Trick Room altogether. 
[Image: snorlax.png]  [Image: mimikyu.png]
Nothing wrong with pairing a team with its own Trick Room setter, and in my opinion, Mimikyu is the best one for this team. Here, you’d want to run a Band Landorus-T over its Scarf variant for that extra damage, and ability to underspeed other Landorus-T in Trick Room. This sub-core about gives MaLaMa the option of Belly Drum + Psych Up. Also, since the majority of Mantyke’s moveset will be comprised of moves that have priority, the presence of Trick Room will not hinder its ability to perform its role. 

Obviously, none of these combinations are superior over another. Try out whichever one works best for you and customize it for what you expect to face. The possibilities are endless, and there’s no shortage of creative trainers to help teambuild should you get stuck. 

Damage calcs will be here: (it’s 1am as I’m writing this and I’m tired, I’ll include the damage calcs when I have the moment to spare) 

Primary Movesets:

[Image: mantyke.png]
Mantyke @ Eviolite
Ability: Water Absorb
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 Sp. Atk
Bold Nature
- Protect/Roost
- Icy Wind/Scald/Tailwind
- Wide Guard
- Helping Hand
[Image: manectric.png]
Manectric @ Manectite
Ability: Lightning Rod/Intimidate
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Sp. Atk / 252 Spd
Timid Nature
- Thunderbolt
- Overheat
- Volt Switch
 - Hidden Power – Ice
[Image: landorus-therian.png]
Landorus-Therian @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Sp. Def / 252 Spd
Adamant Nature
- Earthquake
- Rock Slide
- Superpower/Knock Off/U-turn
- Superpower/Knock Off/U-turn

 Well, that’s the bulk of it. I’ll definitely expand on this guide later and update as I go just like I did last year with my Emolga post. Feel free to offer criticism and possible improvements to the core. Please keep in mind that I’m only bringing to attention something that I noticed had potential, just like last year. I’m not trying to revolutionize the meta, nor ‘encourage people to use bad strategies’ as I’ve been told. Pokémon at its core is meant to be fun, and there’s nothing more exciting than winning with a team you designed yourself that both fun to use and unconventional. You are free to disregard any and everything I say. That’s your choice, but I hope at least you found this read interesting, and I’ll be glad to answer any questions about the core or possible team compositions as the meta progress.

Thanks so much for reading, everyone! Battles onwards, friends!

- 0kamii
Amethyst Ωmega - Guild Leader/Founder 
Very interesting! I know my friend is using Sudowoodo to good effect currently in the season. I like how creative the core is, and I honestly did not know about Mantyke's special defense. I may try toying with similar cores, since I'm getting back into the meta after finals week, with my first competition today since Dallas. Maybe I'll post some of the many teams I've made over the season here to inspire others. Overall, I think this core is really interesting! I hope it continues to do well!
Resident pun-lover and VGC teambuilding enthusiast


You brought up some good points that I think I'll work into the post. I also think I'll include a section about how to counter some of the other popular cores, and well as a more detailed explanation about why I chose the name MaLaMa. I think it's important to emphasize a core's supportive capabilities as well as its offensive prowess, so expect to see an update here soon. I just wanted to get the bulk of it up first.

Thanks for the feedback, Arctero, and good luck on the tournament! Hope you save us some good replays!

- 0kamii
Amethyst Ωmega - Guild Leader/Founder 
@0kamii Put this on Showdown (I don't own a USUM Game  Sad ) and battle me there with my VGC18 team.
VGC|Breeding|Forum Regular|Amethyst 0mega

PM me if you need help with competitive battling!

Okay. What's your Showdown name? Also, I apologize if I disconnect. I DCed several times when I battled FT, so it could happen.

- 0kamii
Amethyst Ωmega - Guild Leader/Founder 
This may be the one exception I have to make a team with Lando

Got to off set it I guess Wink
can anyone direct to i guess forums or links that teach really good team building strategies? Im just getting into competitive battling and still struggle with tema building.

Hey, jreal.

If you're looking for good information on VGC teambuilding, lessons in prediction, or general overview of the VGC 2018 do's and don'ts, I'd recommeond Aaron "Cybertron" Zheng's YouTube channel, former World Champ Wolfey Glicke's channel, or watching official tournament playbacks at the Official Pokémon YouTube channel. If you don't have access to YouTube, we occasionally hold tournaments and teambuilding workshops on this site, and you're free to PM myself and some of our more competitive oriented players like @RetroTyphlosion, @PerchPond, and @"yung lord" depending on which format you're building.

Hope that helps you, jreal! Best of luck!

- 0kamii

P.S. Don't forget to try diving right in! I went into my first VGC season with no help and learned as I went. Sometimes, that's the best way to do it. And don't forget to use Pikalytics to see what other people are commonly using. Makes teambuilding WAY easier!
Amethyst Ωmega - Guild Leader/Founder 

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