This month, the Sword and Shield International Challenge was a bit different. It acted as the first stage in a series of online tournaments hosted by Nintendo. This series, called the Pokemon Players Cup, is a welcome opportunity for competitive players.
This is the first official tournament held since the 2020 VGC season was canceled back in March. This was also the first official Sword and Shield tournament I had the opportunity to take part in, and I wanted to make it a good one. I hold fast to my belief that Boltund is one of the most underutilized support Pokemon in the game, so I wanted to build a team that took advantage of its strengths.
With that, I present to you my May International Challenge team. Let’s talk about it.
Meet the team
Boltund is the first Pokemon I want highlight, since this team was structured around it. Boltund is incredibly fast; in fact, the only common threat that outspeeds it is Dragapult. Nuzzle is easily the best way to spread paralysis in the game, and Boltund will almost always get it off before the opponent’s turn. This will usually allow my other Pokemon to hit them hard before they can even move.
Electrify turns any move into an electric type attack. Because of this, I made sure to put several Pokemon on my team that resisted electric moves. And with Howl, Boltund pushes Pokemon like Flapple to incredibly lethal heights. Not even a Dusclops can survive a Howl-boosted Max attack from Flapple.
My favorite redirection support is easily Indeedee-Female. Psychic Terrain protects it and its partner from Fake Out, which is often the bane of other redirectors. Additionally, Indeedee’s naturally high special defense combined with Psychic Seed make it very hard for special attackers to take down. This frees it up to be fully invested in HP and defense for maximum tankiness. Finally, Psychic Terrain allows it to do some decent damage even without offensive investment. I ended up bringing it to almost every game.
Indeedee really helped to bring my May International Challenge team together. I found I almost never got much value out of Healing Pulse, especially since I learned during the tournament that it doesn’t affect a partner Pokemon that used Protect. I replaced it with Protect after the tournament ended.
This brings me to the next member, Gigantamax Flapple. I wasn’t planning this team with Flapple in mind, but as I was looking around it seemed to fit a lot of what I wanted. Its Grass and Dragon typing gave it a double resistance to electric moves. It’s also a physical attacker, so it benefits from Howl. Finally, Flapple has the highest attack stat of any Hustle user in the game. Combine this with Life Orb, and there are very few Pokemon that can survive the flapping apple’s onslaught.
I decided to go with the Gigantamax form over regular Flapple, so it wouldn’t overwrite my Indeedee’s Psychic Terrain. The evasion drop is also helpful after Dynamax ends due to Hustle’s decreased accuracy. Fly is used primarily for the speed boost from Max Airstream. Flapple is slow, but with a single speed boost it can outspeed many threats.
Primarina has been growing in popularity, and for good reason. Water and Fairy is a very good offensive typing. That, combined with Primarina’s good bulk and spread damage, make this a threat not to underestimate. Boltund’s Electrify won’t be doing Primarina any favors, but I included it on my team for the Water and Fairy coverage it provided. Boltund still could be a decent partner though, since it can activate Primarina’s Weakness Policy if the situation calls for it. I opted for Hydro Cannon so that Primarina could use Max Geyser. Liquid Voice does not turn Max Strike into a water move.
Hydreigon was a bit of a late addition to the team, but it turned out to be a very welcome one. Outside of Boltund, my team was pretty slow. With a choice scarf, Hydreigon is able to outspeed the entire metagame. Its powerful Draco Meteors have about a 50% chance to one shot a Dynamax Dragapult if they have no bulk investment. On several occasions I was saved by Hydreigon picking off low health enemies before they could act. This entry also adds another electric resist to the team, allowing Boltund’s Electrify to keep it alive a surprisingly long time.
Naturally, I wanted a ground type to pair with Boltund. I also needed something to use against the fairy types that plague Flapple and Hydreigon. Excadrill seemed to fit the bill perfectly. However, I found myself rarely bringing it. Without a Life Orb to boost its attacks, or a Focus Sash to give it extra longevity, Excadrill was often a disappointment.
After the tournament, I replaced Rock Slide with Swords Dance. I believe it will be a huge improvement, but I haven’t played with it much since the tournament ended. I gave it Wide Lens simply because I didn’t know what else to give it. The increased accuracy on High Horsepower and Rock Slide did helped alleviate my own fears of missing them. A Lum Berry may be a better choice with all those pesky Venusaurs running around.
Try it yourself
That’s it for my May International Challenge team. While I won’t know if I move onto the next stage of the tournament for a while yet, I believe there is a lot of potential in this team.
My biggest mistake was going in unpracticed. It’s a team that really requires an understanding of its match-ups to perform well. This is my main advice if you decide to try this team – get some mileage with it before bringing it to serious competition. I didn’t feel like I had any unwinnable games, just games where my lack of experience with the team let me down. I expect to be using this team for a bit longer, with a few adjustments. Feel free to try out the team yourself with the rental code in the picture above.