VGC 2017 PokéAnalysis #3: Metagross

metagross___meteor_mash_by_ishmam-d8zke9v

Artwork by ishmam.

Alola! It’s Kasoman, and I’m back after almost two months with the third segment of my PokéAnalysis series! This time, I’ll be covering an old school favorite that seems to be underrated in this year’s format, Metagross. If you haven’t read my previous analysis, which covers Incineroar, you can check it out here.

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“Metagross, the Iron Leg Pokémon. A linkage of two Metang, this Pokémon can perform any calculation in a flash by utilizing parallel processing in its four brains. It firmly pins its prey using its four claws and large body. Then, the teeth in the mouth on its stomach chew the prey to bits.”


Typing and Abilities

376_metagross

Type: Psychic/Steel

  • Weaknesses: Fire, Ground, Dark, Ghost
  • Resistances: Psychic (4x), Steel, Normal, Rock, Ice, Flying, Grass, Dragon, Fairy
  • Immunity: Poison

Abilities:

  • Clear Body – Opponents’ moves/abilities which lower this Pokémon’s stats have no effect. However, this Pokémon may lower its own stats with its own moves.
  • Light Metal (Hidden Ability) – Halves the Pokémon’s weight.

Base Stat Distribution

base


Viable Movepool

movepool


Role in the Metagame

Metagross is one of the few viable Steel-type Pokémon in the format, with the other two being Celesteela and Kartana; however, it is easily outclassed by those two for a few reasons. Because of the lack of Iron Head, both of its hard-hitting STAB moves have a 90% accuracy, which makes it unreliable for most players to consider. Metagross also doesn’t have access to Ice Punch and Thunder Punch this year as well, which would have provided excellent coverage against Garchomp, Salamence, Flying-types, and Water-types if it did. Metagross is also meant to be an offensive attacker, so it does not have the great defensive capabilities like Celesteela does, and Celesteela is generally a more popular choice for Assault Vest sets. Nonetheless, Metagross can be a threatening Pokémon to stare down, and it is also cannot be intimidated by the likes of Arcanine and Gyarados, thanks to Clear Body.


Sample Sets

DISCLAIMER: These are only entry level sets, so you can get into VGC right away. I’m planning to keep future sets I create private until I release a team report for a respective tournament I place well into.

“Zed Crystal”
 
Held Item: Psychium Z
Ability: Clear Body
Nature: Adamant
EV: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
– Meteor Mash
– Zen Headbutt
– Bullet Punch
– Protect

Set Details:
The EV spread is completely standard, and the idea behind this set is to deal as much damage as possible. Psychium Z is a strong choice because of Tapu Lele’s ability to summon the Psychic Terrain to help Metagross OHKO a lot of things with the Shattered Psyche.

Assault Vest
 
Held Item: Assault Vest
Ability: Clear Body
Nature: Adamant
EV: 220 HP / 148 Atk / 140 SpD
– Meteor Mash
– Zen Headbutt
– Bullet Punch
– Earthquake / Rock Slide / Hammer Arm

Set Details:
The Assault Vest is currently the most popular item for Metagross on Battle Spot, and it’s a great testament to Metagross’s natural bulk. Despite it being able to take hits, damage output is sacrificed, which isn’t the worst thing. Nonetheless, it can still OHKO most Tapu Lele out there with a Meteor Mash.

  • 148+ Atk Metagross Meteor Mash vs. 148 HP / 92 Def Tapu Lele: 182-216 (110.9 – 131.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 148+ Atk Metagross Meteor Mash vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko: 93-111 (63.6 – 76%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 220 HP / 140 SpD Assault Vest Metagross in Electric Terrain: 78-94 (42.6 – 51.3%) — 3.5% chance to 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Torkoal Eruption (150 BP) vs. 220 HP / 140 SpD Assault Vest Metagross in Sun: 152-180 (83 – 98.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Cybertron’s San Jose Regionals Set
 
Held Item: Choice Band
Ability: Clear Body
Nature: Adamant
EV: 124 HP / 252 Atk / 132 Spe
– Meteor Mash
– Zen Headbutt
– Bullet Punch
– Earthquake

Set Details:
This is the set Aaron Zheng (@CybertronVGC) used to finish 6th at the San Jose Regional Championships. There isn’t much to note about his spread, other than being able to outspeed Marowak since he ran into a jolly one during practice. The HP investment is mainly there for general bulk, and max attack investment is to maximize damage. You can check out Cybertron’s team report on his YouTube channel.

BattleRoom’s Dallas Regionals Set
 
Held Item: Weakness Policy
Ability: Clear Body
Nature: Adamant
EV: 252 HP / 204 Atk / 52 SpD
– Meteor Mash
– Zen Headbutt
– Bullet Punch
– Protect

Set Details:
This is the set Collin Heier (@BattleRoomVGC) used to finish 2nd at the Dallas Regional Championships. Although he piloted this team, it was designed by Conan Thompson (@conanyk), and the main benchmark of this spread is to KO Tapu Koko with Meteor Mash and Bullet Punch most of the time. Conan wanted to have max HP on Metagross, and the special defense investment is there for general bulk. You can check out BattleRoom’s team report on his YouTube channel.

  • 204+ Atk Metagross Meteor Mash vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko: 97-115 (66.4 – 78.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 204+ Atk Metagross Bullet Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko: 43-52 (29.4 – 35.6%) — 26.1% chance to 3HKO
    • Both combined result in being able to KO 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko 12/16 times (or 75% of the time)

Other Items to Explore

Steelium Z is an interesting option, although not as popular as Psychium Z. A Corkscrew Crash does a bit more damage than Shattered Psyche outside of Psychic Terrain, it can hit Dark-types, and it is also not reliant on getting boosted by any terrain.


Groundium Z is surprisingly increasing in popularity due to the abundance of Arcanine, along with the rising popularity of Alolan Muk, making this item the third most popular option for Metagross as of now. Although seemingly strong on paper, I personally don’t think it’s as consistent as Psychium Z when it comes to best of threes. This is mainly because you have to forego using Bullet Punch, which is more useful when you really need to pick up a quick KO on an opposing Pokémon with a sliver of HP left.


Life Orb is a decent option, although it is not the best. The best thing about it is consistent damage boosts every turn without being locked into one move, and that’s especially useful for a move like Bullet Punch. If you’re looking into exploring the Life Orb as an item choice for Metagross, optimal EV investments for HP should be 28, 108, or 188, depending on how much bulk you want Metagross to have. Maximizing attack would be helpful, as well as investing in speed.


Top 10 Partners on Battle Spot

#1 – Tapu Lele

In this year’s format, Tapu Lele is the best partner for Metagross because of the Psychic Terrain. Being able to boost Metagross’s damage output for Zen Headbutt and Shattered Psyche is absolutely helpful, and can also be terrifying for your opponents to stare down. Surprisingly enough, they also have decent defensive synergy, as Metagross is a Steel-type, and Tapu Lele is a Fairy-type.

#2 – Tapu Koko

It’s no surprise to see Tapu Koko as one of the best partners for Metagross. This is most likely because of their defensive synergy, as Metagross can stop Nihilego cold, and Tapu Koko can OHKO Garchomp with ease if it holds the Fairium Z (as long as the opposing Garchomp does not carry a Choice Scarf). In general, both of them paired together can exert a lot of offensive pressure if they are in a favorable position.

#3 – Arcanine

Arcanine makes a great partner for Metagross because of Intimidate, which is especially useful for the Garchomp on many teams. Arcanine also has the ability to use Snarl to lower the opposing Pokémon’s special attack, as well as the ability to cripple physical attackers ever further with Will-O-Wisp. Arcanine can also deal big damage to Celesteela and Kartana with its Fire-type moves, being Flamethrower, Burn Up, or Flare Blitz. Arcanine can also carry the Firium Z for even bigger damage.

#4 – Tapu Fini

Tapu Fini provides excellent defensive synergy to Metagross, being able to wall Arcanine that do not carry Wild Charge, as well as being able to threaten Garchomp with Moonblast, dealing over 50% when it hits. In return, Metagross can deal with Nihilego, as well as Alolan Ninetales.

#5 – Garchomp

Because of Arcanine and Muk, Garchomp is a great friend for Metagross because of its strong Tectonic Rage, which is arguably the strongest Z-Move in the format. Garchomp is also weak to ice, which makes Metagross a good defensive partner for Garchomp as well, being able to stop Alolan Ninetales cold with a quick Bullet Punch after it gets brought down to its Focus Sash. Metagross can also deal with Tapu Lele with a hard-hitting Meteor Mash.

#6 – Pelipper

Pelipper makes a good partner for Metagross because the rain weakens Fire-type moves, and Pelipper can safely switch into Ground-type moves, thanks to its Flying-typing. Pelipper is weak to Gigalith, and Metagross can assist Pelipper by doing big damage to Gigalith with its Steel-type moves.

#7 – Snorlax

Snorlax’s bulk provides a lot of defensive pressure to opposing Pokémon when paired with Metagross, and because Snorlax’s only weakness is fighting, Metagross can stop them with Zen Headbutt, as well as with a Bullet Punch onto Pheromosa, making Snorlax much more difficult to take down.

#8 – Porygon2

Porygon2 can take hits relatively well, and it can also support Metagross by setting up Trick Room to benefit its base 70 speed, in case they both face fast Pokémon in the late game. Like Snorlax, Metagross can cover for Porygon2 against Fighting-types.

#9 – Ninetales
Alola Form
Alolan Ninetales is an interesting partner for Metagross because of its ability to set up an Aurora Veil, which can compliment greatly with Metagross’s natural bulk, especially making it difficult to take down Assault Vest variants. Ninetales can also assist Metagross even further by wiping out Garchomp with its Ice-type moves, and in return, Metagross can stop Nihilego cold.

#10 – Kartana

Kartana seems like a strange choice as a partner at first because of their crippling weakness to fire, but they way their defensive synergy works is oddly satisfying. Metagross is not only able to take hits from Fighting-types, but it’s also able to beat them, assisting Kartana in dealing a lot of damage, and this duo can get even more terrifying to stare down if Metagross gets a boost from the Weakness Policy, as performed well by Sam Schweitzer (@SamVGC) at the Dallas Regional Championships, where he placed in the Top 4. You can read his team report here.


Threats

AFK

AFK, otherwise known as “Arcanine, Fini, Kartana,” is a common core in the format, and it can be problematic for Metagross to deal with. Arcanine can deal a lot of damage to Metagross, as well as burn it with Will-O-Wisp if the opponent is skilled enough to wait for the Misty Terrain to wear out. Metagross usually can’t deal too much damage to Tapu Fini without a Z-Move because of Tapu Fini’s natural bulk, and Kartana can wall Metagross completely as Hammer Arm is not a very common move at all.

Ground-types

Sometimes, best friends can also be your worst enemies, and it really shows in Garchomp, as it can OHKO Arcanine, Muk, and Metagross with a strong Tectonic Rage. If only Metagross could have Ice Punch, it could be able to retaliate against Garchomp with Trick Room support.


Although Krookodile cannot intimidate Metagross, it is still a huge threat because of its ability to OHKO with Tectonic Rage, as well as its Dark-typing, which Krookodile can safely switch into a potential Shattered Psyche from Metagross, making the Z-Move a complete waste, aside from dealing a lot of damage with Crunch.


Naturally, Mudadale is slower than Metagross, so when the Trick Room goes up, Mudsdale poses as a huge threat to Metagross. With the ability to 2HKO with High Horsepower or possibly OHKO with a Tectonic Rage, Mudsdale’s ability Stamina allows it to gain defense boosts as it takes attacks repeatedly with its natural bulk.

Fire-types

Torkoal is one of the slowest Pokémon in the format, which makes it terrifying for Metagross to stare down in Trick Room, as Torkoal can freely spam Eruption without any worries about attacks from Metagross. It’s even worse if Torkoal is paired with Oranguru for Instruct shenanigans, or if Torkoal is paired with Liligant for After You shenanigans.

Alola Form
Marowak is also slower than Metagross, and it is able to easily threaten Metagross with all of its attacks: Flare Blitz, Shadow Bone, and Bonemerang. With that in mind, Metagross is nowhere near safe switching into the presence of Alolan Marowak.


Of all the fire-types, Incineroar can be the most threatening as it stops Metagross cold, if and only if Metagross does not carry Earthquake or Hammer Arm. Without any of those moves, Metagross can only tickle Incineroar with a Meteor Mash, while Incineroar can just pick up the KO with Flare Blitz, Darkest Lariat, or even a strong Z-Move, as both of Incineroar’s STAB Z-Moves easily KO Metagross. Outside of Psychic Terrain, Incineroar also threatens with Fake Out pressure, making it even harder for Metagross to do anything. Incineroar’s Dark-typing allows it to safely switch into a potential Shattered Psyche from Metagross, making the Z-Move a complete waste.

Muk
Alola Form
Muk is one of the biggest threats to Metagross, as it is extremely bulky with Gluttony and Figy Berry, it is the strongest Knock Off user in the format, and it also has access to Shadow Sneak, which can greatly threaten Metagross. Alternatively, Muk can expand its bulk by setting up with Curse, which makes it even more problematic for Metagross to deal with. Muk is also a Dark-type, so it can safely switch into a potential Shattered Psyche from Metagross, making the Z-Move a complete waste.

Celesteela

Because Celesteela is a bulky Steel-type, it can wall Metagross completely, and it is able to able to sap away HP with Leech Seed. Celesteela also has access to Flamethrower for decent damage, as well as a 10% chance to burn Metagross, or it can even set up a Substitute to ensure that Metagross cannot touch it. With Groundium Z being the third most popular item choice for Metagross on Battle Spot, Celesteela can safely switch into a Tectonic Rage and make it a complete waste.


Closing Thoughts

Although Metagross is outclassed by Celesteela and Kartana, it’s still a strong Steel-type to consider if you want to exert offensive pressure to opposing Pokémon with a respectable amount of bulk. Think of Metagross as the middle-ground between Kartana and defensive Celesteela. If you need a Steel-type that’s not frail, and can deal a lot of damage, Metagross just might be the one for you.

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VGC 2017 PokéAnalysis #2: Incineroar

incineroar

Artwork by All0412.

Alola! It’s Kasoman, and I’m back with the second segment of my PokéAnalysis series! This time, we have an analysis on Incineroar, the fire starter of Alola, and a Pokémon that is overlooked and underappreciated in the VGC 2017 format.

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“Incineroar, the Heel Pokémon. This Pokémon has a violent, selfish disposition. If it’s not in the mood to listen, it will ignore its Trainer’s orders with complete nonchalance. After hurling ferocious punches and flinging furious kicks, it finishes opponents off by spewing fire from around its navel.”


Typing and Abilities

727incineroar_dream

Type: Fire/Dark

  • Weaknesses: Water, Fighting, Ground, Rock
  • Resistances: Fire, Grass, Ice, Ghost, Dark, Steel
  • Immunity: Psychic

Abilities:

  • Blaze – When HP is below 1/3rd its maximum, power of Fire-type moves is increased by 50%.
  • Intimidate (Hidden Ability)* – Upon entering battle, the opponent’s Attack lowers one stage. In a Double Battle, both opponents’ Attack are lowered. Pokémon with the Clear Body, Hyper Cutter, or White Smoke ability are unaffected.

* = Not available


Base Stat Distribution

incineroarstats


Viable Movepool

incineroarmoves


Role in the Metagame

Incineroar is often used as a utility Pokémon, thanks to the moves Fake Out, and sometimes Snarl. However, it is outclassed by Arcanine currently because Incineroar’s Hidden Ability, Intimidate, has yet to be released. With Intimidate, Incineroar can easily compete with Arcanine as a more offensive version due to its base 115 attack. Nonetheless, Incineroar is still viable in the format because of its typing, bulk, and movepool. It is one of the few Pokémon that can OHKO Marowak after being intimidated. Incineroar is also one of two Fire-type Pokémon in the format that has access to Fake Out, with the other being Salazzle.

Fun fact: Four players made it to Day 2 of the European International Championships with Incineroar, one of them being 2013 World Champion Arash Ommati (@Mean_vgc), and another being 2016 Worlds Runner-Up Jonathan Evans (@EzraelVGC).


Sample Sets

DISCLAIMER: These are only entry level sets, so you can get into VGC right away. I’m planning to keep future sets I create private until I release a team report for a respective tournament I place well into.

IT’S JOHN CENA!!!

Held Item: Incinium Z
Ability: Blaze
Nature: Adamant
EV: 148 HP / 132 Atk / 28 Def / 68 SpD / 132 Spe
– Flare Blitz
– Darkest Lariat
– Fake Out
– Protect

Set Details:
This set utilizes Incineroar’s signature Z-Move, Malicious Moonsault. Intimidate support is nice for this set, but not mandatory, although Incineroar can take more hits with that kind of support. The reason why I chose the Incinium Z as opposed to the Firium Z is because Incineroar can OHKO 252 HP / 4 Def Alolan Marowak after an intimidate, and Malicious Moonsault’s damage output will not be reduced by rain. Have I also mentioned that Malicious Moonsault has the best animation of all the Z-Moves?

Here are some calculations for this set:

  • 132+ Atk Incineroar Malicious Moonsault vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Tapu Lele: 177-208 (100 – 117.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • -1 132+ Atk Incineroar Malicious Moonsault vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Marowak-Alola: 174-206 (104.1 – 123.3%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 252+ Atk Tapu Bulu Superpower vs. 148 HP / 28 Def Incineroar: 158-188 (83.5 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
  • 252 SpA Tapu Lele Moonblast vs. 148 HP / 68 SpD Incineroar: 82-97 (43.3 – 51.3%) — 6.3% chance to 2HKO
  • 252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Dazzling Gleam vs. 148 HP / 68 SpD Incineroar: 55-66 (29.1 – 34.9%) — 4.6% chance to 3HKO [Spread Damage]
    • 252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Dazzling Gleam vs. 148 HP / 68 SpD Incineroar: 74-87 (39.1 – 46%) — guaranteed 3HKO [Single Target]
  • Speed creeps uninvested Tapu Bulu by 2

Trick Room Assault Vest

Held Item: Assault Vest
Ability: Blaze
Nature: Brave
EV: 244 HP / 156 Atk / 108 SpD (0 Spe IV)
– Flare Blitz
– Darkest Lariat
– Snarl
– Fake Out

Set Details:
With a base 60 speed, Incineroar can take advantage of its bulk with a Trick Room set. Incineroar’s bulk can be impressive while holding an Assault Vest, allowing it to take a Devastating Drake from a Salamence with ease, as well as even being able to survive a Hydro Pump from a Golduck in the rain. Snarl is the fourth move to further increase Incineroar’s longevity on the special spectrum, as Incineroar is already difficult to take down in one hit. This can also function with an adamant nature if you don’t feel the need to use Incineroar in Trick Room, although a brave nature slightly increases the damage output of Snarl. Credits to fellow Hawaiʻi player Jeremy Whipple (@KOA_Monte) for the concept! Here are some calculations for this set:

  • 252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 244 HP / 108 SpD Assault Vest Incineroar in Electric Terrain: 79-95 (39.3 – 47.2%) — guaranteed 3HKO
  • 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Moonblast vs. 244 HP / 108 SpD Assault Vest Incineroar: 58-69 (28.8 – 34.3%) — 2% chance to 3HKO
  • 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Dazzling Gleam vs. 244 HP / 108 SpD Assault Vest Incineroar: 36-43 (17.9 – 21.3%) — possible 5HKO
  • 252 SpA Nihilego Power Gem vs. 244 HP / 108 SpD Assault Vest Incineroar: 86-104 (42.7 – 51.7%) — 5.9% chance to 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Golduck Hydro Pump vs. 244 HP / 108 SpD Assault Vest Incineroar in Rain: 162-192 (80.5 – 95.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 SpA Salamence Devastating Drake vs. 244 HP / 108 SpD Assault Vest Incineroar: 96-114 (47.7 – 56.7%) — 85.5% chance to 2HKO

Examples of Partners

Tapu Koko

Tapu Koko can make a good partner because it’s fast, and it covers Incineroar’s weakness to Water-type Pokémon, while Incineroar can deal with Marowak. The main concern for this pair is their weakness to Ground-type moves.

Tapu Lele

Tapu Lele covers Incineroar’s weakness to Fighting-type Pokémon like Hariyama and Phreromosa, while Incineroar covers Tapu Lele’s weakness to Steel-type Pokémon like Celesteela, Kartana, and Metagross. Both also have high offensive stats, as well as the ability to use strong Z-Moves, which provides opponents a lot of offensive pressure.

Tapu Bulu

Tapu Bulu easily deals with Water-types, especially Gastrodon. Thanks to its ability, Grassy Surge, the Grassy Terrain weakens the damage output of Earthquake, which is a move Incineroar is weak to, and is also prevalent on Garchomp. In return, Incineroar covers against Steel-types such as Celesteela, Kartana, and Metagross.

Porygon2

Porygon2 makes an excellent partner for Incineroar because it takes hits well, and it can also set up Trick Room to benefit Incineroar’s slow speed. In addition to that, Incineroar also provides Fake Out pressure for Porygon2 to safely set up Trick Room. Porygon2 also has one of the biggest movepools in the format, sometimes making it unpredictable on what moves it would use.

Gastrodon
East Sea
Gastrodon makes an excellent partner for Incineroar because it can redirect Water-type attacks away from Incineroar with its Storm Drain ability, while Incineroar deals with Grass-types like Tapu Bulu and Kartana.

Milotic

Because Incineroar is a physical attacker, Milotic makes a great partner with its Competitive ability, which boosts its special attack sharply each time a stat gets lowered. This makes it safe for Incineroar to be chosen as a lead when there’s Pokémon with the Intimidate ability on the opposing team.

Araquanid

Araquanid makes a good partner because of the offensive pressure it provides to Rock-types and Ground-types with added Wide Guard support, while Incineroar can deal with Tapu Bulu easily. Araquanid also usually carries the Waterium Z, which provides a lot of offensive pressure to the opposing side.

Gyarados

Gyarados is an excellent partner for Incineroar because it provides support with its Intimidate ability, and it can also deal with Rock-types and Ground-types. Gyarados usually carries the Waterium Z, providing immense offensive pressure towards opposing Pokémon, especially after it sets up with Dragon Dance.

Mudsdale

Mudsdale makes an interesting partner for Incineroar because it can deal a lot of damage , and it can easily switch into Rock-type moves, thanks to its bulk as well as its ability, Stamina, which boosts its defense by one stage each time it gets hit. In return, Incineroar covers for Mudsdale’s weakness to grass. Mudsdale also makes an excellent check to Trick Room.

Garchomp

Garchomp can synergize with Incineroar because it can deal with Rock-types by using Earthquake, while Incineroar can deal with Ice-types such as Alolan Ninetales. Both can provide a lot of offensive pressure with their high base attack stats.

Salamence

Salamence provides support with its Intimidate ability, and also has access to a very powerful Z-Move, which helps provide a lot of offensive pressure to the opponent’s side. Incineroar can deal with Ice-types such as Alolan Ninetales in return.

Ninetales
Alola Form
Alolan Ninetales is a fast Pokémon that can deal with Ground-types, as well as Water-types with Freeze-Dry. It can also set up a quick Aurora Veil to increase Incineroar’s longevity in battle. In return, Incineroar can deal with Marowak, as well as Celesteela, Kartana, and Metagross.

Kartana

Kartana deals with Water-types, Rock-types, and Ground-types, which makes it an excellent partner for Incineroar. Incineroar also helps deal with Marowak, as well as opposing Kartana, which are both huge threats to Kartana.

Celesteela

Celesteela can deal with Rock-types such as Aerodactyl, Gigalith, and Nihilego with Heavy Slam, while Incineroar can deal with Marowak and Kartana. Incineroar also provides Fake Out pressure for Celesteela to safely set up a Substitute, and Celesteela also has access to Wide Guard, which can block spread moves such as Rock Slide and Earthquake.


Threats

Water-types
East Sea
Because Incineroar is weak to water, these Pokémon are able to deal a lot of damage to Incineroar, possibly being able to OHKO it easily. Rain teams are especially threatening because their damage output is increased, allowing them to OHKO Incineroar, and it also becomes nearly impossible to outspeed Golduck outside of Trick Room. Incineroar’s damage output for Flare Blitz is also lowered by the rain. Gastrodon and Milotic are able to sponge Darkest Lariats from Incineroar while being able to heal themselves with Recover. Gyarados has Intimidate as its ability, and can provide offensive pressure with Waterfall, which has an additional 30% flinch rate. Tapu Fini is probably the worst matchup for Incineroar, as it walls Incineroar completely with its Water/Fairy typing, along with its high defenses.

Ground-types

An Earthquake from any of these Pokémon can 2HKO Incineroar, and Mudsdale can easily OHKO it with High Horsepower. Mudsdale also raises its defense with its Stamina ability, while Krookodile can lower Incineroar’s damage output with its Intimidate ability. Furthermore, Garchomp can deal extra chip damage with its Rough Skin ability since Incineroar is a physical attacker. These Pokémon also typically learn Rock Slide, which provides them a 30% chance to flinch Incineroar.

Fighting-types

Hariyama is a very bulky Fighting-type Pokémon with access to Thick Fat as one ability to lower the damage output of Flare Blitz, allowing it to wall Incineroar completely, while having the ability to pick up the OHKO with Close Combat. Haryiama also has access to Guts as an ability, which allows it to deal a lot more damage when afflicted by a status condition, making Intimidate support useless against it. Pheromosa can also pick up a OHKO on Incineroar with High Jump Kick, aside from its shaky 90% accuracy, which can allow Incineroar to pick up a KO in retaliation. Even when intimidated, Pheromosa nearly KO’s Incineroar.

Rock-types

Aerodactyl isn’t guaranteed to 2HKO Incineroar, but the 30% chance to flinch from Rock Slide, as well as the ability to disrupt with Sky Drop make up for its lower attack stat. Gigalith is terrifying to stare down in Trick Room, as it is slower than Incineroar, it 2HKO’s with Rock Slide, and it is also guaranteed to pick up a OHKO with Continental Crush if holding a Rockium Z. Nihilego may have low physical defense, but they normally carry a Focus Sash, making it safe to 2HKO Incineroar with Power Gem.


Closing Thoughts

Incineroar is an underrated Pokémon in the format, and should be considered as an option for both a Fire-type and a Dark-type. It may not have Intimidate, but it can still deal a respectable amount of damage, and it can also provide some useful support for its teammates. If you want a Fire-type with a cool Z-Move, try an Incineroar today!

VGC 2017 PokéAnalysis #1: Araquanid

Artwork created by Alexalan.

Alola! For the first time, I’ll be providing something a little different, and that’s an analysis of a Pokémon that has been recently on the rise in the VGC 2017 format, the water spider known as Araquanid.


“Araquanid, the Water Bubble Pokémon. It delivers headbutts with the water bubble on its head. Small Pokémon get sucked into the bubble where they drown. Despite what its appearance suggests, it cares for others. If it finds vulnerable, weak Pokémon, it protectively brings them into its water bubble.”


Typing and Abilities

Type: Water/Bug

  • Weaknesses: Rock, Flying, Electric
  • Resistances: Water, Ice, Fighting, Ground

Abilities:

  • Water Bubble – Takes 50% damage from Fire-type moves, doubles the power of Water-type moves before adding STAB, and cannot be burned
  • Water Absorb (Hidden Ability) – Heals up to 25% HP when hit by a Water-type move

Base Stat Distribution


Viable Movepool

movepool


Role in the Metagame

Araquanid is a very interesting Pokémon, being able to deal a lot of damage with its Water Bubble ability, as well as take hits with its respectable bulk. Araquanid can easily shut down sun teams, and it can also OHKO many things in the format such as Marowak, Arcanine, Tapu Koko, etc. It also has a great movepool for this format as well, with moves such as Liquidation, Lunge, Leech Life, and even something like Wide Guard. It can also function as a special attacker, although not seen very often due to the lack of special Bug-type moves. In general, Araquanid is used as an offensive attacker, and it can fit nicely on a lot of teams.


Sample Sets

DISCLAIMER: These are only entry level EV spreads, so you can get into VGC right away. I’m planning to keep EV spreads I create private until I release a team report for a respective tournament I place well into.

Standard Physical Attacker

Held Item: Waterium Z / Life Orb
Ability: Water Bubble
Nature: Brave / Adamant
EV: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def (0 Spe IV for Brave)
– Liquidation
– Leech Life / Lunge / Poison Jab
– Lunge / Wide Guard / Poison Jab
– Protect

Set Details:
This set has a wide movepool with many options to choose from. Obviously, Liquidation and Protect are mandatory to have, but two Bug-type moves, Wide Guard, and even Poison Jab can be difficult to decide on. The natures can be a bit of a toss up as well with Brave helping it function in Trick Room, or Adamant to outspeed something like neutral uninvested Gastrodon and minimum speed Porygon2. As far as the moveset, many people would opt to choose one Bug-type move and go with Wide Guard as the third option as Leech Life and Lunge have the same base power, although you could also go with both for a fully offensive set. Between those two moves, it comes down to personal preference of whether you want to keep Araquanid around for longer, or lower the attack of the opposing Pokémon. Poison Jab is only recommended if your team has a bad matchup against Tapu Lele and/or Mimikyu. As far as the items, Waterium Z is the more popular choice as a Hydro Vortex paired with Araquanid’s ability is very powerful. Life Orb is also a strong choice if you want to use a Z-Crystal on a different Pokémon, or simply increase the damage output of all moves as Araquanid has a mediocre base attack of 70.

Special Attacker

Held Item: Life Orb / Waterium Z
Ability: Water Bubble
Nature: Quiet / Modest
EV: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA (0 Spe IV for Quiet)
– Scald
– Ice Beam / Blizzard
– Wide Guard / Surf
– Protect

Set Details:
Not very common, but not a terrible set either. This idea was picked up from 2013 World Champion Arash Ommati (@Mean_vgc), who made it to Day 2 of the European International Championships with a special attacking Araquanid. Scald and Surf are the only STAB moves that are special, so Araquanid will not be able to have a Bug-type move in this set. Life Orb is the preferred choice to boost the damage output of Ice Beam as its base special attack is only 50; however, Waterium Z is a strong option to consider when paired with Ninetales, as Araquanid can be threatening with two powerful spread moves, Blizzard and Surf. A Hydro Vortex based off Surf can deal a significant amount of damage, which can make up for Araquanid’s low special attack stat. It doesn’t fit well on many standard teams due to its low damage output, but the Waterium Z set is a strong choice for a team with Ninetales.

Wolfey (@WolfeyGlick)’s Assault Vest

Held Item: Assault Vest
Ability: Water Bubble
Nature: Careful / Sassy
EV: 252 HP / 188 Atk / 68 SpD (0 Spe IV for Sassy)
– Liquidation
– Leech Life
– Lunge
– Poison Jab

Set Details:
This set was taken from 2016 World Champion Wolfe Glick’s Competitive Araquanid Guide on YouTube, and the idea behind this set is for Araquanid to have a wide option of attacks while taking advantage of its massive base special defense of 132. With the Assault Vest, Araquanid makes a hard counter for Torkoal as Wolfey stated how much he hates Torkoal. Check out the video for more of his crazy sets involving a Wacan Berry and even a Choice Band! Here are some defensive calculations below:

  • 252 SpA Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 252 HP / 68+ SpD Assault Vest Araquanid: 56-68 (32 – 38.8%) — 97.2% chance to 3HKO
  • 252 SpA Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 252 HP / 68+ SpD Assault Vest Araquanid: 56-68 (32 – 38.8%) — 6.1% chance to 3HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
  • 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 252 HP / 68+ SpD Assault Vest Araquanid in Psychic Terrain: 58-69 (33.1 – 39.4%) — 99.8% chance to 3HKO
  • 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 252 HP / 68+ SpD Assault Vest Araquanid: 39-46 (22.2 – 26.2%) — possible 5HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
  • 252+ SpA Torkoal Eruption (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 68+ SpD Assault Vest Water Bubble Araquanid in Sun: 27-33 (15.4 – 18.8%) — possible 6HKO
  • 252+ SpA Torkoal Eruption (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 68+ SpD Assault Vest Water Bubble Araquanid: 18-22 (10.2 – 12.5%) — possible 8HKO

Examples of Partners

Tapu Koko

Tapu Koko can make a good partner for Araquanid as it can deal with Pelipper, one of the few Pokémon that can deal super-effective damage with a high-powered special attack. Tapu Koko can also help deal with opposing Araquanid, being able to 2HKO those that don’t carry an Assault Vest. Tapu Koko can also help deal with Garchomp by using Dazzling Gleam, as that can also 2HKO those that don’t carry an Assault Vest.

Tapu Lele

Tapu Lele paired with Araquanid can provide a lot of offensive pressure. You can give yourself a bit more flexibility on choosing which Z-Move to use, one being physical and one being special, or you can give one of them a Z-Crystal if you would prefer that. Many players tend to pair Tapu Lele with Araquanid because of their flexibility in item choices along with their offensive prowess.

Tapu Bulu

Tapu Bulu pairs well with Araquanid as they cover each other’s weaknesses, being fire and steel for Tapu Bulu, and electric and rock for Araquanid. The Grassy Terrain recovery is also very beneficial for Araquanid, and Tapu Bulu can also OHKO Gastrodon with ease, as it can redirect Araquanid’s Water-type attacks away.

Porygon2

Porygon2 makes an excellent partner for Araquanid because of its bulk, as well as its ability to set up Trick Room, which compliments Araquanid’s slow speed. Porygon2 also has one of the biggest movepools in the format, sometimes making it unpredictable on what moves it would use.

Arcanine

Arcanine can cripple many physical attackers with its ability, Intimidate, as well as use Will-O-Wisp, which is extremely helpful for Araquanid’s lower base defense. Arcanine also has the ability to use Snarl, which makes Araquanid even harder to take down thanks to its massive base special defense. Araquanid can also help Arcanine by dealing with Rock-type and Ground-type Pokémon.

Marowak
Alola Form
Alolan Marowak is an interesting partner for Araquanid because it has the ability, Lightningrod, which redirects any Electric-type moves away from its partner. Because Araquanid is a Water-type, Lightningrod would be extremely beneficial by its side. Marowak is also a Pokémon that can hit hard thanks to its typing and its item, the Thick Club. Araquanid can also help Marowak by dealing with Rock-type and Ground-type Pokémon, as well as opposing Marowak.

Ground-types

Garchomp and Mudsdale are helpful for Araquanid as they are Ground-types that can deal with Tapu Koko, as well as Gigalith and Aerodactyl. Garchomp and Krookodile are fast, offensive attackers with different capabilities. Garchomp has a better movepool than Krookodile and has better bulk; however, Krookodile has Intimidate as its ability, which can be useful for many teams. Mudsdale, on the other hand, is slow and bulky, and also has the ability, Stamina, which raises its defense by one stage each time it gets hit by a physical attack, making it a very safe switch-in for any Rock-type move.

Muk
Alola Form
Muk is an interesting partner because it is one of the few Pokémon that can deal with Tapu Bulu with ease. Tapu Bulu can be a huge threat to Araquanid by dealing over 70% to it with a Wood Hammer. Muk is easily able to OHKO a Tapu Bulu with a Poison Jab, and it also has solid bulk paired up with its ability, Gluttony, along with the Figy Berry. Muk also has access to Knock Off, which can make it significantly easier for Araquanid to deal with the likes of Porygon2 and Celesteela.

Kartana

Like Tapu Bulu, Kartana is a Grass-type that can OHKO a Gastrodon with ease. Kartana is also four times weak to fire, which makes Araquanid a great partner for Kartana. Kartana also has an easier time dealing with Aerodactyl and Tapu Bulu as it is also a Steel-type.

Celesteela

Celesteela makes a defensive partner for Araquanid as it can wall most of the Pokémon in the format, and Araquanid can help Celesteela deal with the Fire-types out there with its Water-type moves. Celesteela can also help deal with Aerodactyl and Tapu Bulu, as it is a Steel-type. If you plan to use Celesteela with Araquanid, Marowak is a mandatory partner to redirect Electric-type moves away from both Celesteela and Araquanid.


Threats

Gastrodon
East Sea
Gastrodon is easily one of the biggest threats to Araquanid as it can redirect Water-type moves away thanks to its ability, Storm Drain, also giving Gastrodon a special attack boost each time it gets hit. This is especially dangerous for Araquanid, as Gastrodon can potentially waste the Hydro Vortex coming towards its side. Tapu Bulu and Kartana are the easiest answers to Gastrodon, although you can also get creative and include Grass-type moves on other Pokémon like how Gavin Michaels (@komvgc) did to win the 2017 San Jose Regional Championships with his Drampa by including Energy Ball as one of its moves.

Electric-types

They can easily 2HKO Araquanid with their super-effective attacks. Tapu Koko is especially dangerous as it summons the Electric Terrain when it enters battle with its ability, Electric Surge. Togedemaru is especially obnoxious for Araquanid to deal with as Zing Zap is a physical move, and it also has a chance to flinch its target. Togedemaru can also Encore Araquanid into Protect or Wide Guard, which can bring forth a dire situation. Marowak is the greatest answer for these threats thanks to its ability, high attack power, as well as its access to Bonemerang. Ground-types like Garchomp, Krookodile, and Mudsdale are viable answers to these Pokémon as well.

Tapu Bulu

Tapu Bulu can be a great partner for Araquanid, but it can be a great threat to Araquanid as well. Tapu Bulu is one of the few Pokémon in the format that can easily deal over 70% damage to Araquanid without a super-effective hit. With that in mind, there’s no way Araquanid can be guaranteed to survive a Choice Band boosted Wood Hammer from this Pokémon.

  • 252+ Atk Tapu Bulu Wood Hammer vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Araquanid in Grassy Terrain: 129-153 (73.7 – 87.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
  • 252+ Atk Miracle Seed Tapu Bulu Wood Hammer vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Araquanid in Grassy Terrain: 156-184 (89.1 – 105.1%) — 31.3% chance to OHKO
  • 108+ Atk Choice Band Tapu Bulu Wood Hammer vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Araquanid in Grassy Terrain: 175-207 (100 – 118.2%) — guaranteed OHKO

Gigalith

Although it doesn’t seem so, Gigalith can be terrifying for Araquanid to stare down in Trick Room, as Gigalith is much slower than Araquanid. Gigalith may not be able to OHKO with Rock Slide, but the 30% chance to flinch can be heartbreaking for Araquanid, which can result in missing the KO on Gigalith. Players also opt to use Rockium Z for a powerful Rock-type attack that doesn’t miss, and the Continental Crush can easily OHKO Araquanid.

  • 0 Atk Gigalith Continental Crush vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Araquanid: 218-258 (124.5 – 147.4%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • -1 124+ Atk Gigalith Continental Crush vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Araquanid: 176-210 (100.5 – 120%) — guaranteed OHKO

Aerodactyl

Aerodactyl is obnoxious for Araquanid as it carries the Focus Sash, and it can also 2HKO Araquanid with both of its STAB moves, Rock Slide and Sky Drop. Sky Drop is especially threatening for Araquanid, as Aerodactyl can prevent it from moving for a turn, and Aerodactyl can easily take advantage of this move if a Wide Guard were to be predicted. The 30% flinch rate from Rock Slide is also not a great thing for Araquanid to deal with either.

Pelipper

Although Araquanid benefits from the rain, Pelipper is one of two Pokémon that can deal super-effective damage to Araquanid with a special attack that cannot be redirected away, which would be one of its moves, Hurricane. Hurricane will never miss in the rain, it can 2HKO Araquanid that do not carry an Assault Vest, and it also has a 30% chance to confuse its target, which is terrifying for Araquanid to stare down. Trick Room and Electric-types can deal with Pelipper easily.

Braviary

Although rarely seen, Braviary is one of Araquanid’s worst nightmares. Recently, a Japanese player who goes by Cantona (@AuGUROSU), placed Top 4 at the Kanto Regional Championships in Japan with a Braviary, and he used it to check Pokémon with Intimidate thanks to its own ability, Defiant. This is especially bad news for Araquanid because its main means of damage to Braviary has a 20% chance to lower defense, which means a 20% chance for an attack boost on Braviary. Lunge is not a wise choice either, as Braviary will also get a free attack boost from that move while taking nearly no damage. Here are some calculations I made with the EV spread I read from his team report (Note: He did not have Facade in his set; I’m only showing how threatening Braviary can be):

  • 204+ Atk Braviary Brave Bird vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Araquanid: 222-264 (126.8 – 150.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • +1 204+ Atk Braviary Facade (140 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Araquanid: 195-229 (111.4 – 130.8%) — guaranteed OHKO

Nihilego

Nihilego has very low defense, and can be easily OHKO’d by a Liquidation; however, many Nihilego carry a Focus Sash to make up for its low defense. Nihilego can easily 2HKO Araquanid that do not carry an Assault Vest with Power Gem, which is bad for 1V1 situations. This makes Nihilego one of two Pokémon that can deal super-effective damage to Araquanid with a special attack that cannot be redirected away.


Closing Thoughts

Araquanid is a strong Pokémon in the format, and should be considered when teambuilding when it comes to deciding what you want to use, or preparing how to beat Araquanid. With is respectable bulk and ability, Water Bubble, it is no surprise how threatening Araquanid can be. If you want something that can deal with Arcanine, try an Araquanid today!

Just a Kid from Hawai‘i: I Got Sponsored by TiltOut Gaming!

Aloha! For those who don’t know who I am, my name is Keola Nakamoto, also known as Kasoman online, and I am a competitive Pokémon VGC player. I am pleased to announce that I have been acquired by TiltOut Gaming as Hawai‘i’s first sponsored Pokémon VGC player!

The Story Behind This

One day, I was at the Teapresso Bar near Ala Moana Shopping Center with my roommates, and I decided to record my Battle Spot practice runs live on Facebook like I have done in the past for other practice runs as well as best of three sets with friends. The internet at the tea shop was not very friendly for a 3DS, and it took a while for me to get a game started. In the middle of that game, the connection dissipated, and I had to take a loss. As a result, I decided to stop recording. The one thing I learned from this is to never do something like this under public WiFi.

I then got a message from a friend, Thomas Goedecke (@togglesings), whom I’ve met years ago, because the “Top 10 in the US” in the title of the deleted video caught his eye. Thomas asked me if I really made Top 10 in the US on the Championship Ladder, so I showed him a couple screenshots of my rating from the Pokémon Global Link to verify that. It turns out he’s a team manager of TiltOut Gaming, and decided to offer me a sponsorship on the spot. I was a bit skeptical at first, but I eventually accepted the offer, and that’s how I became a part of TiltOut Gaming.

This was after 30 battles, and I went 25-5 on the ladder to reach that far! I enjoyed it while it lasted.

What It Means for Hawai‘i and the VGC Community

First and foremost, there are a very small amount of people in Hawai‘i who play VGC. The only VGC players I know are my teammates of the Mānoa Marowaks, a collegiate team for the International Collegiate Pokémon Association (@ICPA_Pokemon), as well as another player named Jeremy Whipple (@KOA_Monte), who happened to beat me in the finals of my first Premier Challenge in a very close set. Many other Pokémon players I know play singles because they’re either intimidated by playing doubles, or they just prefer to play singles in general. The main faults behind this would be lack of exposure to the official format, and ill prize support for these official tournaments.

Being acquired by an eSports team as the first sponsored Pokémon VGC player in Hawai‘i is a huge step for many things. I have the opportunity to represent Hawai‘i and TiltOut at bigger scale tournaments in the mainland, and others who play Pokémon may want to get into VGC themselves and practice hard enough to surpass me along with players of a much higher caliber than I am.

My VGC War Story

Here are all the teams I’ve had success with, along with a little background story behind each of them. This war story will tell how I improved as a player over time.

VGC 2015

Digital Carnival, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (4/9/2015) – 1st Place

The Digital Carnival was my first tournament ever, and it was an unofficial grassroots tournament hosted by the Pokémon Club President at the time. I originally intended to use Metagross as my mega evolution, but I didn’t have time to breed one for the tournament, so I decided to slap Kangaskhan on the team instead. I played for five rounds, and won four of them because I couldn’t get past a Sableye in the last one. I don’t remember much from the tournament because it was so long ago. All I remember was I never used Latios or Aegislash a single time, and my MVP was Suicune, which was carrying an Assault Vest at the tournament.

Fall 2015 International Collegiate Pokémon Association – Won four consecutive rounds out of five as an ace player
Therian Forme

This team has a special place in my heart because it was the first time when I took the team building process seriously. After watching Naohito Mizobuchi (@penguin2142) place Top 4 at the 2015 World Championships with Entei, I thought I wanted to try it out myself. Originally, I had Kangaskhan as my mega evolution, and it worked for quite some time.

I first heard about the International Collegiate Pokémon Association, and I thought it’d be cool to be a part of a college team that plays competitive Pokémon. I first met Morgan Wynne (@SnoBolVGC) because he was interested in helping me form the team, and we started to settle things with a friendly best of three set. I faced the team he used to finish 3rd at the Premier Challenge that was sanctioned at the 2015 Kawaii Kon. It was a close set, but I ended up winning the third game. I knew he is a good player, and he definitely proved his skill in our set, which got me to decide that the two of us would be the ace players of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. We gathered a few other people including Jordan Saba (@GelatinVGC), and thus, the Mānoa Marowaks was born (originally as the Mānoa Milotics)!

Eventually, I thought I needed proper speed control for the awkward speed tiers of Entei and Milotic, and that’s when I decided to use Daichi Kumabe (@Scar3020)’s Trick Room Gardevoir he used to place 6th at Worlds. The synergy between Entei and Gardevoir was amazing, and I was able to do so well that semester after forming the collegiate team with my friends at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa for the first time. For this team, Entei was definitely the MVP! The videos show my Round 3 match vs. Patrick Klowsowski (TrickOfAces) of Simon Fraser University, and they also feature commentary from Mark Hanson (@Crawdauntz) and Max Douglas (@MaxMDouglas) of VGC With Hats (@VGCWithHats).

Check out the Pastebin of the team!

VGC 2016

January 2016 Da Planet Premier Challenge (1/30/2016) – 2nd Place
groudon-primalsalamence-mega663smeargle

This team was infamously known as the “Big 6” in the metagame, and I decided to pilot it at my first official tournament because I actually had no idea what to use and this was the only strong team I had in game. Because I knew how it works, and because I had a bit of experience in the format, I was able to make the finals with Jeremy Whipple (@KOA_Monte). The set was so close, it came down to whether or not his Kyogre would connect with the Origin Pulse as my Groudon would be able to KO his Kyogre with two Earth Powers. I had a great time at the tournament, and I felt good doing this well. I walked away from the tournament with 20 Championship Points along with a cool deck box, and I also made a new friend who I talk to regularly about VGC! The videos below show the final round of the Premier Challenge.

Read the team report here!

2016 Hawaiʻi Midseason Showdown, Da Planet (4/23/2016) – 1st Place
kyogre-primalgroudon-primalsalamence-megabronzong

After watching Alex Gomez (@PokeAlex_) finish 2nd at Northern England Regionals, and Aaron Zheng (@CybertronVGC) win Anaheim Regionals with this archetype, I knew I wanted to use dual primal for the Midseason Showdown, and I spent about a week preparing for the tournament on Pokémon Showdown. At this point in the metagame, people were putting more speed investment into their bulky primals, which annoyed me for a bit. I decided to build a very physically defensive Kyogre with minimal speed investment, so it could still benefit from Trick Room against those other faster primals. In practice, the team has worked pretty well, but I started seeing more teams with Yveltal, which is terrible for dual primal teams to stare down. As a result, I added in Mawile as a second mega evolution, and it ended up being the MVP of the tournament! At that point, I racked up 110 CP, but it was also the last tournament sanctioned in Hawaiʻi for the season.

Read the team report here!

Preparation for Fall 2016 International Collegiate Pokémon Association – Peaked Top 64 on Pokémon Showdown
kyogre-primalgroudon-primalsalamence-megabronzong(smeargle/)

After actively watching Wolfe Glick (@WolfeyGlick)’s YouTube channel, as well as him winning the 2016 World Championships with his crazy RayOgre team, I decided I wanted to stick with dual primal and find a way to beat RayOgre teams. Adding in Gengar for its ability to trap opposing Pokémon became very helpful for the matchup. I used the same Kyogre EV spread from the Midseason Showdown because it still worked like a charm, and there wasn’t anything I needed to change on it. I made Groudon a bit bulkier, and I decided to go with Safeguard/Lum Berry over Gravity/Mental Herb on Bronzong as a more effective answer to Smeargle. I first added in Smeargle with Crafty Shield and King’s Shield as an answer to the Kangaskhan/Smeargle leads, but I eventually switched it out for Weavile as an effective answer to Yveltal as it can deal a lot of damage with Icicle Crash as well as benefit from its Dark Aura.

Peaking Top 64 on Showdown may not seem like it’s much of an accomplishment for most people, but it is for me because this is the team that really helped me understand my own play style. As I watched my replays, I tend to do switches more often than before after actively watching Wolfey play, and I also started to understand the game at a higher level by thinking turns further ahead, setting win conditions, and taking the least amount of risk as possible. With this team, I really felt like I was getting the hang of VGC. Although I haven’t done so well in the Fall 2016 semester of ICPA, I still feel proud of what I was able to accomplish for myself with this team.

Check out the Pastebin of the team!

VGC 2017

1st VGC 2017 Team – Peaked Top 10 in the US on the Battle Spot Championship Ladder
Alola Form

With Sun and Moon having a format that’s fresh and new, I decided I wanted to pay homage to my use of dual primal in 2016, and that’s when I thought of using dual tapu. The idea behind dual tapu is to choose one based on the matchup and go from there. This team fits my play style so well as I have been able to switch around my Pokémon like I have with my dual primal team to gain better board positioning. As a result, I managed to break the 1700’s on the Battle Spot Championship Ladder, and I even reached the #3 spot in the US at one point. For now, I will keep information about this team private as a tournament will be sanctioned pretty soon. However, I will show a video of one of my practice battles with the team, featuring Eduardo Cunha (@MeninoJardim), who placed 4th at the 2016 World Championships. This time, I have a nice layout provided by TiltOut, and Daryll David (@FourSwordsLink), one of our Smash 4 players, was kind enough to record this as I don’t have my hands on a capture card yet.

Personal Thoughts

A sponsorship is nice and all, but it doesn’t mean I’m well known to the VGC community. I don’t feel like it was very well deserved for me because I know lots of players out there who are way more deserving of one than I am, and they haven’t even gotten offered a sponsorship from a single eSports team. However, with Sun and Moon being based off of Hawai‘i, along with the Pokémon Company International pushing VGC more out there to the general public, I also felt it was a necessary notion for me to accept this sponsorship, as 2017 seems to be a big year for VGC.

I have always wanted the VGC scene to grow in Hawai‘i, and I feel a sponsorship is a way to help make it easier. It would mean more VGC tournaments will be hosted, and it would possibly mean influence to newer players whenever I attend a tournament in the mainland. An opportunity like this only comes once in a while, and I felt like it was the perfect time to go for it. The whole purpose of this sponsorship is a way to represent Hawai‘i in the VGC community, and I will continue working hard to strive for the best! After all, I’m just a kid from Hawai‘i. Now that I am a part of the TiltOut family, I sure hope I won’t completely “TiltOut” on my plays.

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For updates on my blog, tournament runs, and more, follow me on Twitter @KasomanVGC!

Saying Aloha to Alola #3: Native Species of Alola

Aloha kākou! We are back to another segment of Saying Aloha to Alola, a blog series containing my perspective of references made to Hawaiʻi for the upcoming Sun and Moon games as a player who grew up on Maui and attending college on Oʻahu. If you haven’t read my previous segment, “Tapu Koko and Friends”, you can find it here.

In today’s segment, I will be discussing about newly revealed Pokémon such as Bounsweet, Comfey, Jangmo-o, Pyukumuku, and Crabrawler.

The Queen of Fruit

berry.png

Bounsweet has a pretty interesting design. A friend of mine once claimed this Pokémon looks like a lychee, but I didn’t think so at first. I took a look at Bounsweet’s information on Bulbapedia, and it states that this Pokémon’s design is based off a mangosteen.

Now, you’re wondering what on Earth a mangosteen is. Does it look like a mango? Does it taste like a mango? Is it even related to a mango?

Image result for mangosteen

The answer to all these questions is no. The mangosteen is best known for its luxurious taste, and it’s said to have a refreshing sweet and sour taste. I haven’t had the chance to try one for myself for a couple legitimate reasons. They are rare in Hawaiʻi, and because of that, only a few farmers on the Big Island are able to harvest this fruit. In addition to the mangosteen’s rarity, they can get expensive, and they also cannot be exported outside of Hawaiʻi. In Chinatown, mangosteens can sell for roughly $20 per pound. I honestly haven’t seen fruit so expensive, but with how delicious it tastes, it should be well worth its price. If you’d like to learn a little more about the mangosteen, you can read The Queen of Fruit, an article published in Honolulu Magazine. Speaking of queens, its final evolved form, Tsareena, is depicted as a Pokémon with the nature of a high-class nobility, and one of its abilities is known as Queenly Majesty, which both are references to this nickname of the mangosteen.

tsareena.png

A Symbol of the Alola Spirit

flower.png

It’s obvious that Comfey’s design is based off a lei, which is a major symbol of Hawaiʻi; however, a lei isn’t only constructed by flowers. It’s typically constructed by things such as leaves, seeds, shells, nuts, feathers, and even the teeth and bones of certain animals. When a lei is given to someone, it symbolizes the aloha spirit in several ways. This would include things like love, honor, and even as a way to greet someone, especially if that someone is new to the islands. In fact, it’s very common to give leis to students at graduation ceremonies in Hawaiʻi. I remember when I graduated high school, we’d walk over to a special area where you receive leis from your friends and family, and I got so much that I almost suffocated in them. It was such a fun time, and it’s exciting to know that I’ll be experiencing this for a second time after I finish college. If you’d like to know more about the tradition of the lei, you can read it here.

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Me suffocating in a bunch of leis at my high school graduation. I can’t believe it’s been over three years…

Deez Dragons Like Scrap

English translation: These dragons want to fight.

jangmo-o.png

What really stood out to me when looking at Jangmo-o’s evolution line is the suffix of their names, “mo-o”. I thought the way it’s spelled is so weird because many Hawaiian words incorporate the ʻokina, otherwise known as the reverse apostrophe-like character that produces a glottal stop in words. I soon realized that maybe Game Freak’s programs may not have been able to recognize the ʻokina as a character. Another reason could be that the ʻokina is so unusual that it’d be difficult for someone to find this character if the Hawaiian keyboard isn’t available. If they were able to use this character, Jangmo-o’s name would have originally been spelled as “Jangmoʻo”, but nonetheless, their pronunciations should be the same.

“Moʻo” means gecko in Hawaiian, in reference to the common house geckos in the homes of Hawaiʻi and many other places around the world. However, Jangmo-o and its evolution line are dragon types because moʻo can also mean dragon. There isn’t a true Hawaiian word for dragon, and as a result, moʻo is the closest in terms of meanings, which makes this definition quite ambiguous.

hakamo-o.png

Then, Jangmo-o evolves into Hakamo-o, which gains the fighting type. Before we get into more information about this Pokémon, let’s take a look at a part of its description from the official website:

“Hakamo-o dances before battle to show its strength, clanging its scales together to make them ring out. When this dance reaches climax, Hakamo-o bellows a fierce war cry to challenge its opponent.”

The prefix of its name, “haka”, is a traditional Māori dance typically performed by warriors in the olden times. During those times, the haka would be performed before battle to show intimidation to their opponents, ergo the fighting typing for Hakamo-o and Kommo-o. Nowadays, the haka is performed to welcome guests or to celebrate special occasions such as graduations, weddings, funerals, etc.

hakamo_o.png
“Wat brah, like scrap?”

There are different types of haka, so if you’d like to learn more about them, as well as other information about the haka in general, you can find it all here. Below, there are videos of the All Blacks, a famous rugby team from Aotearoa (New Zealand), performing two different types of haka. The first is the most commonly known haka, “Ka Mate”, and the other is known as “Kapa o Pango”.

Ka Mate:

Kapa o Pango:

Nobody Wants This Thing…

pyukumuku.png

“Due to their appearance and their lifestyle, Pyukumuku are considered unappealing to tourists. Part-time work chucking Pyukumuku back into the sea is available at tourist beaches. But no matter how far they’re thrown, Pyukumuku will always return to the same spot.

Once a Pyukumuku finds a place it likes, it won’t budge from it. If someone moves it away, back it comes to the same spot. If it runs out of food to eat in that spot, it’ll stay there—and starve. The people of Alola found this so pitiful that they developed a tradition of chucking Pyukumuku back into the food-rich sea whenever they come across any thin-bellied Pyukumuku.”

First off, I’m surprised Game Freak actually made a design based off a sea cucumber. It’s an oddly satisfying design because I know it looks like a sea cucumber; yet, it’s much rounder and shorter than the typical ones I usually see.

Image result for sea cucumber hawaii

Pyukumuku’s ability is Innards Out, which will be able to deal one last bit of damage to its opponent, equal to the amount of HP it had left before it received the final blow after this Pokémon faints.

Pyukumuku-innards-fist.png

This hand shaped gut coming out of its body is a reference to the defense system of sea cucumbers within the order of Aspidochirotida. This defense mechanism of theirs is usually activated when the sea cucumber is stressed, and they expel enlargements of their respiratory tree, known as cuverian tubes (named after the French zoologist Georges Cuveris), out of their anus. With this defense mechanism, they have the ability to tangle potential predators, like how Pyukumuku can damage opposing Pokémon with its ability.

Image result for sea cucumber defense mechanism

Now, you’re wondering why Pyukumuku’s insides come out of its mouth. First of all, its very likely that parents would not appreciate their children seeing things come out from the back end. Second, its name, “Pyukumuku”, is just a combination of “puke” and “mucus”. The funniest thing about its name is although it sounds Japanese and can easily be written in katakana as ピュクムク, its Japanese name is actually “Namakobushi” (ナマコブシ), a combination of “namako” (sea cucumber), and “kobushi” (fist).

As for the feature of throwing back Pyukumuku in the sea to make money, it relates to the harvesting of sea cucumbers in Hawaiʻi. In fact, in the summer of 2015, there was an emergency ban on the harvesting sea cucumbers, which are mainly prized for medicinal purposes, as sea cucumbers can be used to cure diseases like arthritis, joint pain, and even cancer. In the video below is a clip of throwing Pyukumuku back into the sea.

Dis Crab Goin’ Give You Lickins’

English translation: This crab will beat you up if you make it mad.

crabrawler.png

“Crabrawler’s favorite food is Berries. It punches the trunks of trees to give the branches a good shake and knock any ripe Berries to the ground so it can feast! Many Crabrawler may gather around a tree, but only the one that emerges victorious in battle against all the others receives the privilege of eating the ripe Berries.”

According to Bulbapedia, Crabrawler seems to be based off the coconut crab. My first thought was why Crabrawler doesn’t have water typing, even though it’s a crab. I did a bit of research, and found out that the coconut crab is a land crab that cannot swim, except when they are larvae.

Coconut crabs mainly feed on fruits, nuts, seeds, and the pith of fallen trees; however, they are actually omnivores. These crabs can also eat just about anything they can find. They prey on tortoise hatchlings, smaller crabs, and even go as far as eating the carcasses of dead animals, including people and other coconut crabs. Because of their wide options in their diet, they are actually illegal in Hawaiʻi because according to to Dr. Rob Toonen, Ph.D. professor of the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, “they’ll raid people’s trash cans, eat native birds, eat juvenile plants, and tear up the landscape if they’re here. They grab a hold of things, can rip them open, can bust open a coconut, and the idea of that crawling around in their backyard is not going to be very pleasant to most people in Hawaiʻi.” The last time a coconut crab was seen in Hawaiʻi was in December 2014, and it went all over the media in Hawaiʻi because it’s such a big deal something so dangerous would even show up here. You can read more about it here.

“Crabrawler uses its claws to protect its face and belly while getting in close to an opponent to throw punches. Its punches are powerful enough to split tree trunks!”

In addition to how threatening coconut crabs are, they have very powerful pincers. If you ever get pinched by one of these things, they might be capable of breaking your finger. In the video below, you can see a coconut crab easily crushing a pen:

Even though Crabrawler is supposedly based off a coconut crab, the most interesting thing about it is that they punch things rather than pinch things. The only crustacean I know that punches things is the smasher mantis shrimp. The mantis shrimp’s punch is as fast as a 22-caliber bullet, which is impossible for us to see. The punch is activated with a saddle-shaped part of the exoskeleton, which acts like a spring to store and release energy. These punches can easily break a crab’s shell, and they can also probably break your hand if you’re not careful. There are mantis shrimp in Hawaiʻi, but they aren’t smashers. In fact, they are zebra mantis shrimp, a variation of the spearers. The zebra mantis shrimp roam free in the water of the Ala Wai Canal, which has the dirtiest water in Honolulu. Surprisingly enough, all that muck in the water actually benefits the zebra mantis shrimp. I even think people are crazy for canoe paddling over there, and I heard from a friend that someone swam in the water and ended up getting sick.

In the video below, you can learn more about both spearers and smashers (WARNING: NSFW):

Bonus: Spooky Owls

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To commemorate Halloween, I decided to circle back to Rowlet and its evolution line. First off, I did first think of the pueo in my first segment; however, the more I look at Rowlet and Dartrix, the more I’m convinced their designs are actually based off the invasive barn owls. Like the mongoose, the barn owl was mainly introduced to hunt for rats, but they preyed on native birds instead, which include seabirds, waterbirds, and forest birds.

Image result for barn owl hawaii

Recently, a friend gave me information that very fascinating. The final evolution of Rowlet is Decidueye, which is Grass/Ghost, rather than Grass/Flying, and this is because Decidueye is based off the genus of true owls known as Grallistrix, or stilt-owls, and looking at Decidueye’s design, it has long stilt-like legs. These owls all lived on the Hawaiian Islands, but are now extinct, which is one thing that explains the ghost typing of Decidueye. Another explanation of the ghost typing is although stilt-owls can very well fly, they stalked sleeping birds on foot and raided seabird colonies at night. Currently, there is no photographic evidence of any of these owls whether it’d be a picture of a fossil or a drawing, as they have never been seen alive by scientists.

decidueye.png

Another thing I noticed is Dartrix’s name. According to Bulbapedia, its suffix is derived from Strix, another genus of owls, which is referred to a type of owl believed to suck on the blood of infants. It could also have been derived from Grallistrix because by looking at Dartix’s design, it also has slightly long stilt-like legs. With this name derivation, it probably hinted the ghost typing of Decidueye, and it looks like Game Freak did a good job at making it hard to notice at first.

dartrix.png

Closing

First and foremost, I sincerely apologize for such a long delay. So much has been going on in my life, and I’m really trying my best to keep it together. I really appreciate your patience for this third segment, and I really hope you enjoy this one like you enjoyed the other two. Sometime this week, I’ll get another segment up for you all, and to be fair, I’ll give a preview of what’s up next. In the next segment, I’ll discuss about Oricorio, the guardian deities, and their respective islands. I’ll also write about a few of the Alolan forms that stood out to me. Much mahalos for reading! Shoots, buggahs!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post contains only my personal perspective on the Sun and Moon news, so some of the information cannot yet be confirmed as fact, although I did research on these topics. I’ve tried my best to make it sound as accurate as I possibly can, and I continue to do research on such topics and update whenever I spot mistakes. Mahalo for understanding.

© 2016 Kasoman’s Sea of Thoughts
Published on 10/31/2016 at 12:15 PM HST

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Saying Aloha to Alola #2: Tapu Koko and Friends

Aloha kākou! We are back to another segment of Saying Aloha to Alola, a blog series containing my perspective of references made to Hawaiʻi for the upcoming Sun and Moon games as a player who grew up on Maui and attending college on Oʻahu. If you haven’t read my first segment, Aloha from Hawaiʻi, you can find it here!

In today’s segment of Saying Aloha to Alola, I will be discussing Tapu Koko for quite a lot, Pikipek’s similarity to an invasive bird in the islands, as well as my reaction to Bruxish, one of Pokémon introduced in the trailer released on July 1, 2016.

Tapu Koko

Classified as the Land Spirit Pokémon with the typing of Electric and Fairy, Tapu Koko is clearly an interesting one to talk about because there are so many things I think of after seeing this Pokémon.

First off, let’s try to dissect the meaning of its name. Here, we have both the English name and the Japanese name:

  • ENG: Tapu Koko
  • JPN: カプ・コケコ (Kapu Kokeko)

The first part of the Japanese name says “Kapu”, and I thought of the kapu system that ruled over the Hawaiian Islands before the 1800’s. Although it usually translates to “forbidden”, it can also mean “sacred” or “holy”, and I think all of these meanings might have been used for the naming. You might be thinking “Tapu” means nothing because the Japanese name has the reference to a Hawaiian word for that part. That would be false because the Hawaiian language is actually derived from several other languages of the Pacific Ocean. “Tapu” means the same thing as “kapu”, and “tapu” is part of the Tongan and Māori languages. As a result, “kapu” has been derived from “tapu”. With that being said, I’m actually not exactly sure where “tapu” first originated from between Tonga and New Zealand. “Tapu” is a widely used word in the Pacific Islands, and the word “taboo” has in fact, been derived from “tapu” after Captain Cook’s visit to Tonga. This piece I found online has expanded information on “tapu” if you’re interested in learning more about it.

Now, things get interesting with the second part of both names. I’ll start off with the English name, which the second part says “Koko”. According to Bulbapedia, “Koko” is likely to have been derived from “kokō”, which means the sound of chickens cackling in Hawaiian, or it could also have been derived from “koko”, which means blood in Hawaiian. I think both Hawaiian words are accurate for the naming. As for the Japanese name, which says “Kokeko”, the same source says it’s derived from コケコッコー (kokekokkō), the Japanese onomatopoeia for “cock-a-doodle-do”. All this sounds pretty weird right now, but look at its description from the official Sun and Moon website, then look at its design.

 “Tapu Koko can store up electricity by enclosing itself in the shells on its arms. And it also appears to enter this form during other, special times…”

It’s very interesting how Tapu Koko looks when it closes its shell because it looks like the head of a rooster.

Notice how its hands mimic the beak of a rooster, and with this angle, you can definitely see its resemblance to a rooster.

TapuKoko.jpg

A rooster has feathers, and there is actually a god in Hawaiian mythology who wears feathers. His name is Kū, the god of war, and I mentioned that both “kokō” and “koko” are accurate for the naming of Tapu Koko because one of Kū’s main kinolau (or forms) is in fact, a rooster.

Tapu Koko is known to be the guardian deity of Melemele Island, which is shown on the map below:

alola region yellow.jpg

Melemele Island appears to be the island based off Oʻahu, and it’s a funny thing to note because “melemele” means yellow in Hawaiian, and the color that represents Oʻahu is yellow. Tapu Koko’s shell is yellow, and its electric typing also makes sense because Oʻahu is the only urban island of Hawaiʻi. Its ability, Electric Surge, just adds on to that reference of the urban setting of the island.

Theorizing About the Other Guardian Deities

So, we know that Tapu Koko is Electic/Fairy, it looks like a rooster, it’s the guardian deity of Melemele Island, and its ability is Electric Surge, which automatically sets up an Electric Terrain as it enters the battle, but would we know anything about the other deities?

There are a total of three terrain moves in existence as of now, with Electric Terrain being one of them, and the other two being Misty Terrain and Grassy Terrain. With that being said, itʻs very likely that all four of the guardian deities will have the fairy typing, and there will also be a new terrain coming up in Sun and Moon. On an additional note, two of the remaining deities will very likely have abilities that set up Misty Terrain and Grassy Terrain.

There also four major islands in the Alola Region. In fact, there are also four major akua (tiki gods) in Hawaiian mythology: Kū, Lono, Kāne, and Kanaloa.

As for their naming, since we know that “tapu” means sacred, all of the other remaining deities would theoretically have “Tapu” as part of their name. It’s also very likely there will be representation of different animal kinolau (or forms) from the shells of the remaining deities.

Here is an outline of my theory, along with a few reasons as to why I came up with these:

Tapu Koko
Type: Electric Fairy
Ability: Electric Surge – Sets up Electric Terrain as it enters battle
Island: Melemele Island (Oʻahu)
Akua:
Kinolau: Moa (Rooster)

  • Oʻahu’s official color is yellow, and melemele means yellow.
  • Oʻahu is the only urban island of Hawaiʻi.
  • Kū is known to wear feathers, and the rooster is one of his main kinolau.

Tapu ???
Type: Grass Fairy
Ability: (Unnamed) – Sets up Grassy Terrain as it enters battle
Island: Kauaʻi
Akua: Lono
Kinolau: Puaʻa (Pig)

  • The guardian deity of this island would be the one with Grassy Terrain because Kauaʻi is known as the Garden Isle.
  • This Pokémon would be based off Lono because he is the god of agriculture.
  • The pig is the only animal kinolau Lono would turn into.

Tapu ???
Type: Fairy
Ability: (Unnamed) – Sets up Misty Terrain as it enters battle
Island: Maui
Akua: Kāne
Kinolau: Pueo (Owl)

  • Kāne is the god of life, which is why I associated him with the pure fairy guardian.
  • Maui’s official color is pink.
  • The pueo is the only animal kinolau Kāne would turn into.

Tapu ???
Type: Dark Fairy
Ability: (Unnamed) – Sets up newly introduced terrain as it enters battle
Island: Big Island
Akua: Kanaloa
Kinolau: Mūheʻe (Squid) or Heʻe (Octopus)

  • Kanaloa is the god of the sea, but he’s also depicted as the god of the underworld.
  • I’m against having a water terrain because it would essentially make rain teams too powerful, so I used the depiction of Kanaloa representing evil to determine this guardian’s typing.
    • It is also said that Kanaloa is a companion of Kāne, so with this scenario, think of yin and yang.
  • I’m fine with either the squid or the octopus, although I would prefer the squid since it smells worse. Both have tentacles, which are found on those creepy creatures from science fiction movies.
  • With the new Dark/Fairy typing means there would theoretically be a dark terrain. I’m predicting the effects of the new terrain based on the effects of the other three:
    • Effects:
      • Reduces all Pokémon’s HP by 1/16 every turn (only those that touch the ground)
      • Halves the power of Psychic-type moves
    • Reasons:
      • There should be something to balance out Grassy Terrain’s effect of restoring HP.
      • Dragon doesn’t affect Fairy, and Psychic doesn’t affect Dark. In Misty Terrain, the power of Dragon-type moves are reduced by 50%, and it would make sense for this dark terrain to reduce the power of Psychic-type moves by 50%.
      • It shouldn’t boost Dark-type moves because Yveltal already does that with Dark Aura, like how Xerneas boosts Fairy-type moves with Fairy Aura, and Misty Terrain doesn’t boost Fairy-type moves.

Would these terrains have an effect in competitive play? Yes! They would basically define the metagame of the VGC 2017 season with a likely ruleset of Alola Dex only. Pairing up terrains with weather can be viable for the first time, and these terrains would help improve creativity in team building.

Is Pikipek Really That Bird?

I’ve seen many claims from other local people in Hawaiʻi saying Pikipek is based off this bird:

This bird right here is commonly seen in Hawaiʻi, and it’s known as the Red-Crested Cardinal. Although there is a slight bit of resemblance, I can confirm this claim as false.

Pikipek is classified as a woodpecker Pokémon, and there is a woodpecker that Pikipek happens to actually be based off of, called the Pileated Woodpecker.

The Region Fish?

Bruxish, a Pokémon that looks very much like a triggerfish. In fact, Hawaiʻi’s state fish happens to be a type of triggerfish, known as the humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa, or simply the reef triggerfish.

There was this show called Calabash Kids, and here’s a clip of them teaching how to pronounce humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa:

 

Then, we see its ability, Dazzling, which prevents priority moves from happening. Basically, it’s like an automatic Quick Guard, and it can potentially stop Pokémon with the ability of Prankster (i.e. Thundurus, Whimsicott, Liepard, etc.). For competitive play, this seems huge, but it really depends on how good Bruxish’s base stats are because Thundurus can still deal a lot of damage to it with a super-effective Thunderbolt.

Side Notes:

  • I usually don’t refer to myself as a Hawaiian as well as others, unless they are of Hawaiian ancestry. There are native Hawaiians in Hawaiʻi, and I say “Hawaiʻi resident” or “local” so I don’t offend the Hawaiians in any way.
  • There are unique symbols I’ve used, and I could only type them out by installing the Hawaiian keyboard.
    • The apostrophe looking symbol between the two I’s in Hawaiʻi is called an ʻokina, which is a letter that makes a glottal stop in between two vowels.
    • The slanted line above any vowel is called a kahakō, which makes vowels sound a bit longer than normal.

Closing

I hope you enjoyed reading about the Sun and Moon hype in the perspective of someone who grew up in Hawaiʻi. This is honestly something I haven’t seen from my friends, and I think this what we need to see in the community because of some inside jokes you might not know. I had a lot of fun researching information to come up with theories about the guardian deities, and if they appear incorrect in the end, that’s okay with me. Mahalo for reading, and we’ll find out what’s in the next segment of Saying Aloha to Alola! Shoots, buggahs!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post contains only my personal perspective on the Sun and Moon news, so some of the information cannot yet be confirmed as fact, although I did research on these topics. I’ve tried my best to make it sound as accurate as I possibly can, and I continue to do research on such topics and update whenever I spot mistakes. Mahalo for understanding.

© 2016 Kasoman’s Sea of Thoughts
Published on 7/7/2016 at 7:38 AM HST

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Saying Aloha to Alola #1: Aloha from Hawaiʻi

Aloha, everyone! This is the first segment of Saying Aloha to Alola, a blog series containing my perspective of references made to Hawaiʻi for the upcoming Sun and Moon games as a player who grew up on Maui and attending college on Oʻahu.

In today’s segment of Saying Aloha to Alola, I will be discussing about the naming of the region, the geography of the region, as well as the newfound diversity of people, including Professor Kukui and Hau. I will also be discussing about the meaning of the starter Pokémon.

Why is This Region’s Name “Alola”?

The first thing that would come to mind with the name Alola would be the most famous Hawaiian word, “aloha”. First things first, let’s dig into the meaning of aloha. Aloha is a common way to say hello or goodbye in Hawaiian, and it also means love, but there’s much more than just those meanings.

Aloha is by far the most complex word in the Hawaiian language when it comes to meanings. The literal meaning of aloha is the “presence of breath” or the “breath of life”. Growing up in Hawaiʻi, I learned aloha as a way of life since elementary school, and it could be that the literal meaning behind it may have a very deep connection to this lifestyle I grew up with.

Aloha is not just a greeting, and it doesn’t just mean love. Aloha is feeling of positivity and living in harmony. To me, aloha is a way to bring people together by showing we genuinely care for one another without ever expecting something in return. There is no right meaning of aloha, and the only wrong meaning of aloha would be when it’s interpreted in a negative connotation…or simply if it’s because that “meaning” somehow goes way off. There’s even a law in Hawaiʻi about the Aloha Spirit, and although you won’t get in trouble for breaking it, it’s a way to remind both residents and visitors to treat others the way they want to be treated. It’s more of a lesson actually, and you can read more about it, as well as other aspects of the word aloha here. It’s a very interesting thing to learn about, and I actually never knew about this law until after I graduated high school.

In regards to the new region in the upcoming games, the name of Alola was derived from the word aloha because Game Freak knows how much their fans love this franchise, and they also know how much positivity this game brings to many communities. Think of all the friends you have who love Pokémon, or even the ones you made simply because of Pokémon. Haven’t you ever thought of how cool that is? The name of Alola, in my opinion, is a very inviting name to think of, and it’s also a name that will become memorable as well like the other regions.

Geography of the Alola Region

Pok%C3%A9mon-Sun-and-Moon-Aloha-Region-M

The first island revealed easily made me think of Oʻahu, the most populated island of the state. I thought that was the whole region until the whole map was released. Then, things started to make sense after seeing this map.

All_Islands_map.710x509.gif

As you can see here, this is a map of the Hawaiian Islands, and if you compare this map to the map of the Alola Region, you can see the islands are arranged in a similar fashion from right to left. In the Alola Region, the four major islands, along with Niʻhau are being represented in the game. There aren’t islands based on Molokaʻi, Lanaʻi, and Kahoʻolawe, and as someone who grew up on Maui, the reason why the three islands were not included would be because they are all a part of Maui County. In my opinion, it’d be redundant to include those three islands when all you need to do is make one island based on each respective county. Having all four islands would make the game much longer, and it would also be more difficult for the designers to come up with ideas since these three islands have low populations compared to Maui.

l0ySdhY.png

This picture I found online is a comparison between Hawaiʻi and the Alola Region (credits to whoever made it), and I think it’s funny and accurate. It’s okay if you don’t get it now. I will write about them in the future, and although I would love to go into more detail about each island, it would take too long to write about them here. I would like a bit more information on each individual island before writing about them, although I can already spot some interesting references to certain places in Hawaiʻi. I would honestly expect to write about each island individually in the future because there are many different references Game Freak makes in terms of locations alone.

Ethnic Diversity

I’m actually very glad there are more dark-skinned characters like Professor Kukui and Hau being included in Sun and Moon. At least Game Freak did their research, unlike a certain movie (*cough* Aloha), and this is what local residents like me appreciate. Hawaiʻi is very well-known to be a melting pot of ethnic diversity with not only native Hawaiians, Caucasians, Latinos, and African-Americans, but also Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Tongans, Samoans, Native Americans, and so much more! In fact, it’s actually rare for someone to be full Hawaiian, so people of Hawaiian ancestry usually have a mix of several different races. I’m also glad trainer customization is making a comeback because it just adds into the diversity Sun and Moon would have, and that’s what we need for a game based on Hawaiʻi. In future games, I hope this kind of ethnic diversity continues.

Professor Kukui

Professor Kukui is the Alola region’s dependable Pokémon professor. He lives near your home and looks out for you. He’s passionate about his research into Pokémon moves and has sometimes taken direct hits from Pokémon when there was something to be learned from it. Sporting a white lab coat slung casually over his bare torso, he shows off his own unique style.

Professor Kukui is the first professor who is dark-skinned and shirtless, and like other professors, he’s named after some form of plant life. For his case, he’s been named after the kukui nut, otherwise known as the candlenut, for his dependability. How is the kukui nut dependable? Well, the kukui nut got its name because it has a high oil content, which allows it to be used as a candle. Its shells, leaves, and flowers can be used to make beautiful leis for other people to wear, its trunk can be used to make canoes, and there are several other uses from this tree. Another thing to note is as the Hawaiians often had many levels to their speech and language, the kukui was often used as a symbol of knowledge and enlightenment. Because of all of these uses, the kukui nut has been declared as Hawaiʻi’s state tree, and it also represents Molokaʻi, which is known as the “Friendly Isle”.

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His appearance is also what caught my eye. Along with his white lab coat, he seems to have a color scheme of green and black paired with it, and he’s also wearing a white cap with a rainbow on it. I immediately thought of the school I attend, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, which is a research institution, its school colors are green, black, and white, and their athletics teams are known as the “Rainbow Warriors” (or “Bows” for short). As a student of UH Mānoa, I think this reference is a very obvious one, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a place similar to UH Mānoa on the island that represents Oʻahu. I would also not be surprised if there are Yungoos and/or its evolved form(s) all over that place because I actually see mongooses everywhere on the UH Mānoa campus.

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Referring to someone as “cousin” is actually a normal thing in the islands, although some of us would use “cuz” for short. It’s because Hawaiʻi has this vibe of treating someone as if they were family, and it’s very common for children to refer to their elders as “Aunty” or “Uncle”, even if they are not related. Even I still do that for family friends, and I’m 21 years old.

Hau

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Hau is a Pokémon-loving young boy with a big appetite! He’s the same age as your character. When you move to the Alola region, he makes friends with you right away. He has a real weakness for malasada, a famous treat in the Alola region, and he is always in search of malasada shops. He is a big-hearted boy who really loves Pokémon.

Let me just say I love Hau as a character, even though the games haven’t been released yet. He dresses in a similar fashion of how a local boy in Hawaiʻi would dress, and he has such a cheerful attitude.

I’ve been doing a bit of research on the meaning of his name, and I was able to find answers. If you directly translate “hau” from Hawaiian to English, the result would be “ice”, and I thought it was odd since Hau isn’t close to being a cold person at all. I then found the Hawaiian word, “hauʻoli”, which translates to “happiness”. Because of this definition, I would figure Hau’s name has been derived from the word hauʻoli, which makes a lot of sense for his cheerful personality and big heart.

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My favorite part about Hau is his dialect, which is actually a language I grew up with. I seriously got hyped up about it when I saw it on the E3 stream.

“Ho! Howzit, Sun?” = “Hey! How’s it going, Sun?”

This is Hawaiian Creole English, otherwise known as “Pidgin”, and this is one of three official languages of Hawaiʻi, with the other two being English and Hawaiian.

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Chicken skin is another commonly used term in Hawaiʻi, which means goosebumps. What’s even more interesting is Hau’s catchphrase “Hoo-ee!” The term I think of is “chee hoo”, and people usually yell this out when they get excited for something. The way I see this catchphrase is a modified backwards version of “chee hoo”. In this link, there is a video containing a humorous way of incorporating “chee hoo” with Pokémon, and it actually went viral among many local people in Hawaiʻi.

Let’s not forget that Hau loves malasadas! If you don’t know what a malasada is, it is a Portuguese treat that is an egg-sized ball of yeast dough, deep fried in oil and coated in sugar. It’s sweet, soft, and fluffy, and I love the simplicity of malasadas. Hau’s always on the lookout for malasada shops, and there is actually a famous one in Hawaiʻi called Leonard’s Bakery.

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Leonard’s is a small local bakery located in Honolulu, and it’s actually close to UH Mānoa. Leonard’s is my favorite place to go for malasadas, and it’s only about a 10 minute bus ride away from the campus. The funny thing is that I’m actually planning to pick up some maladadas there when Sun and Moon comes out.

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Other than plain sugar, there are other flavors like chocolate, custard, and even unique Hawaiian tastes like haupia (coconut), lilikoi (passion fruit), and my favorite, li hing mui, which is the reddish colored one on the bottom left corner. Li hing mui is a red plum powder that is sweet, sour, and salty, which is very unique for the most part, so some people may like it, and some people may not like it. Li hing mui also comes in the form of actual plums, which are typically dried then topped off with the powder. Many local kids would put the powder on candy, shave ice, popcorn, and mochi crunch. Definitely try it whenever you have a trip to Hawaiʻi!

The Starter Pokémon

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Like always, we get hyped up about the starter Pokémon, and this generation shows no slouch. The grass starter, Rowlet, which looks like an owl, the fire starter, Litten, looking like a cat, and Popplio, the one that looks like a seal. I like the designs of all three of them, and as for referencing Hawaiʻi, it somehow gets better.

Let’s start with Rowlet, the grass starter. The first thing that pops up in my mind upon seeing it would be the Pueo, a sub-species of the short eared owl that is endemic to Hawaiʻi.

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The Pueo, in the Hawaiian culture, is considered to be sacred, being known as the Aumakua of Divine Guidance (Aumakua means “ancestral spirit”). According to a blog post I found, “an Aumakua was a deified ancestral guardian spirit, embodying the form of an animal to watch over their descendants. An Aumakua could manifest itself as a pueo (owl), shark, a sea turtle, an ʻio (hawk), or other animal. Aumakuas empower, guide, protect and inspire their descendants. Pueo is among the oldest of the Aumakua. She is often asked for advice in times of need. The Pueo is considered as the ‘Bringer of Good Luck’, protector and messenger.”

Sadly, because of pollution, disease, and competition among invasive species, the pueo’s population is decreasing, and it is considered an endangered species. In my opinion, the pueo is one of the most beautiful birds I’ve seen, and it would be very sad news if it ever goes extinct. There are other native birds facing similar problems as the pueo does, and believe me, these birds are beautiful, and they also make beautiful sounds.

Now, we move on to Litten, the fire starter. Before we go on to the reference to Hawaiʻi, I would just like to applaud Game Freak for their word play in naming this Pokémon. Lit and kitten does make an interesting play of words to form “Litten”. Anyway, the first thing that comes to mind for me would be the common feral cats, which are actually everywhere in the islands. The fact that Litten is also a fire type makes sense since the feral cats are contributors in the declining population of the native birds, and Rowlet is indeed, a grass type. The big irony of this is feral cats are very, very common; yet, starters are considered to be rare, so Litten really portrays the image of both endangered and invasive species in Hawaiʻi. Other than that, I really don’t have anything else to say about this starter.

Finally, there’s Popplio, the water starter. Research on this Pokémon has been the most fun for me, and I have nothing but good things to say about Popplio!

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It’s no doubt that Popplio’s name is based on the Hawaiian monk seal, or ʻIlio-holo-i-ka-uaua (dog that runs in rough water). Part of Popplio’s name, “lio”, has been derived from the Hawaiian name of this adorable creature, which is pretty awesome to find!

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Then, I got more information from this picture, which is Popplio “snorting out a balloon made out of water from its nose.” Baby seals are known as pups, and balloons can pop in the end, which means “Popp” is derived from both the words “pop” and “pup”. Thus, this is how Popplio got its name!

As far as the Hawaiian monk seal’s rarity goes, yes, it is also an endangered species, and it is also protected by law. It is illegal to capture, kill, harass, or even touch the seal. This would be classified as a Class C felony, and the penalty is up to five years in prison along with even a $50,000 fine, so don’t go near a Hawaiian monk seal if it ever lies down on a beach!

Bonus: Yungoos

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I figured since Yungoos is what made me want to write this, I figured why not include Yungoos in the segment?

“Yungoos is not a Pokémon that is native to the Alola region. It was brought to the region to help deal with the explosive population of a certain other Pokémon, and now Yungoos are commonly seen around the Alola region.”

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Well, there is a similar animal that is not native to Hawaiʻi. It was brought to help deal with the explosive population of certain animals, and now they are commonly seen around in Hawaiʻi. That’s right. I immediately thought of the infamous Small Asian Mongooses that roam around Hawaiʻi. I mean, don’t you see the resemblance?

In the 1800’s, there were sugar cane plantations in the islands, and the reason why the mongooses were introduced was because there were rats that were destroying the crops. However, there was one big problem: the mongooses are crepuscular, while the rats are nocturnal. As a result, the mongooses turned to preying on the native birds and their eggs, and crops continually got damaged, which became a catastrophic mistake for Hawaiʻi.

As far as its name, “goos” is obviously derived from “mongoose”, and “Yung” took a bit of searching on Google. It turns out that “Yung” is simply a variation of “Young” in Korean, and also an unusual baby name in other Asian cultures. Because of this, it’s very likely it will have at least one evolved form.

As for its design, I like how Yungoos is so grumpy looking, yet, it still looks kinda cute like how a mongoose does. It’s quite amusing to see.

Side Notes:

  • I usually don’t refer to myself as a Hawaiian as well as others, unless they are of Hawaiian ancestry. There are native Hawaiians in Hawaiʻi, and I say “Hawaiʻi resident” or “local” so I don’t offend the Hawaiians in any way.
  • There are unique symbols I’ve used, and I could only type them out by installing the Hawaiian keyboard.
    • The apostrophe looking symbol between the two I’s in Hawaiʻi is called an ʻokina, which is a letter that makes a glottal stop in between two vowels.
    • The slanted line above the first A in Mānoa is called a kahakō, which makes vowels sound a bit longer than normal.

Closing

I hope you enjoyed reading about the Sun and Moon hype in the perspective of someone who grew up in Hawaiʻi. This is honestly something I haven’t seen from my friends, and I think this what we need to see in the community because of some inside jokes you might not know. Like the meaning of aloha, Pokémon is about bringing us together, and having newer ideas for content makes it easier for us. Mahalo for reading, and we’ll find out what’s in the next segment of Saying Aloha to Alola! Shoots, buggahs!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post contains only my personal perspective on the Sun and Moon news, so some of the information cannot yet be confirmed as fact, although I did research on these topics. I’ve tried my best to make it sound as accurate as I possibly can, and I continue to do research on such topics and update whenever I spot mistakes. Mahalo for understanding.

© 2016 Kasoman’s Sea of Thoughts
Published on 6/17/2016 at 7:37 AM HST
Last updated on 6/18/2016 at 3:33 PM HST

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.