VGC 2017 PokéAnalysis #3: Metagross


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.


“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


Type: Psychic/Steel

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


  • 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


Viable 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.



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.


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.


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.

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.


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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