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[VGC 2018] PokéAnalysis #6: Suicune

suicune___hydro_pump_by_ishmam-d8agdwu

Artwork by ishmam.

Alola! It’s Kasoman, and I’m back with my sixth segment of my PokéAnalysis series for the VGC 2018 format! Today, I’ll be featuring one of the Legendary Beasts of Johto, the embodiment of the north winds, Suicune!

122116_2244_VGC2017PokA2.png

“Suicune, the Aurora Pokémon. Suicune embodies the compassion of a pure spring of water. Said to be the embodiment of north winds, it can instantly purify filthy, murky water.”


Pokémon Details

245Suicune_Dream

Ability:

  • Pressure: When this Pokémon is hit by a move, the opponent’s PP lowers by 2 rather than 1.

Base Stats:

Stat

Base Value Real Values
HP 100

160-207

Attack 75

72-139

Defense

115

108-183

Special Attack

90

85-142

Special Defense

115

108-183

Speed 85

81-150


Viable Movepool

  • Scald – The user shoots boiling hot water at its target. This may also leave the target with a burn.
    • 30% chance to burn
  • Hydro Pump – The target is blasted by a huge volume of water launched under great pressure.
  • Ice Beam – The target is struck with an icy-cold beam of energy. This may also leave the target frozen.
    • 10% chance to freeze
  • Icy Wind – The user attacks with a gust of chilled air. This also lowers the opposing Pokémon’s Speed stats.
    • Lowers the opposing Pokémon’s Speed by one stage
  • Snarl – The user yells as if it’s ranting about something, which lowers the Sp. Atk stat of opposing Pokémon.
    • Lowers the opposing Pokémon’s Sp. Atk by one stage
  • Mirror Coat – A retaliation move that counters any special attack, inflicting double the damage taken.
  • Tailwind – The user whips up a turbulent whirlwind that ups the Speed stat of the user and its allies for four turns.
    • Doubles the Speed stat of your side of the field
  • Roar – The target is scared off, and a different Pokémon is dragged out.
  • Reflect A wondrous wall of light is put up to reduce damage from physical attacks for five turns.
  • Protect – Enables the user to evade all attacks. Its chance of failing rises if it is used in succession.
    • Chances of failing multiplies by 1/3 after each successful protect

Viable Items


Assault Vest – When held by a Pokémon, it increases the special defense stat by 50%, but requires the Pokémon to only use damaging attacks.


Pinch Berries – If held by a Pokémon, it restores the user’s HP by 50% in a pinch, but it will cause confusion if the user hates the taste.

  • In this case, Suicune will get confused when it consumes a Figy Berry.


Wacan Berry If held by a Pokémon, this Berry will lessen the damage taken from one supereffective Electric-type attack.


Role in the Metagame

Image result for suicune gif

Suicune is notably known as a bulky Water-type in the format, with a relatively high base HP of 90 alongside its high base defenses of 115. Because of its immense bulk, it has the ability to set up a Tailwind for speed control almost easily, as not many Pokémon in the format can easily knock it out in one hit. Suicune can also be obnoxious to face due to its ability to repeatedly lower the opposing side’s Special Attack or Speed stats with either Snarl or Icy Wind, respectively. However, with a lackluster base Special Attack of 90, as well as a limited offensive movepool, Suicune cannot pick up many easy knock outs in return. In addition, Suicune’s staple attack is Scald, which has a 30% chance to burn the target, which can make it even harder to take down. For the most part, Suicune can be a great asset for a handful of teams because of its supportive abilities, making it an underrated Pokémon in the format.


Sample Sets

Standard Support
  /  /  / 
Suicune
Ability: Pressure
Nature: Calm
EVs: H228 B36 C20 D196 S28
Stats: 204-X-140-113-176-109
Held Item: Any Pinch Berry (except Figy)
Moves: Scald / (Ice Beam / Icy Wind) / Tailwind / (See Below)

Other Moves:

  • Snarl
  • Roar
  • Reflect
  • Protect

H:

  • HP stat is 4n, which is optimized for the berry

B:

  • Guaranteed to withstand a Leaf Blade from a Kartana
  • Survives a Dragon Dance boosted Double-Edge from a jolly Mega Salamence

D:

  • Survives a Life Orb and Electric Terrain boosted Thunderbolt from a timid Tapu Koko
  • Survives a Psychic Terrain boosted Shattered Psyche from a modest Tapu Lele
  • Highest EV bump

S:

  • Under Tailwind, Suicune outspeeds a Mega Sceptile

This is an example of an EV spread that would be utilized for a standard bulky support set. Whenever I build EV spread that involves a pinch berry, I always make sure the HP stat is divisible by four to account for an incoming Guardian of Alola, which the berry will proc immediately afterward. 28 EVs in Speed allows Suicune to outspeed Mega Sceptile after it sets up a tailwind. My two defensive main benchmarks started with a Leaf Blade from a Kartana, as well as a Life Orb boosted Thunderbolt from a Tapu Koko. I then proceeded to benchmark for a Shattered Psyche from a Tapu Lele. 188 EVs are actually enough for Suicune to withstand this Z-Move, but I thought 196 EVs would be a worthwhile investment to reach the highest EV bump for this stat. I then dumped the rest of the EVs into Special Attack, as Suicune would need to deal as much damage as it can, especially having so much bulk to stick around on the field.

Suicune also has many great options for its last move. Snarl is a way to cripple the opposing Pokémon by lowering their Special Attack stats, and because Suicune is already naturally bulky, this move makes Suicune so obnoxious to face. Roar is a way to stop any potential set ups on the opposing side of the field, whether they would be a stat boosting move, or even a Trick Room. Reflect allows Suicune to decrease damage from incoming physical attacks for a few turns, which can provide useful for allies with a lackluster Defense stat. Lastly, Protect is a safe option for Suicune to stick around on the field for at least a few more turns, as well as scouting for the moves of the opposing Pokémon.

Offensive Tailwind
  /  /  / 
Suicune
Ability: Pressure
Nature: Modest
EVs: H196 B4 C252 D12 S44
Stats: 200-X-136-156-137-111
Held Item: Any Pinch Berry (except Figy)
Moves: Scald / Ice Beam / Tailwind / Protect

H:

  • HP stat is 4n, which is optimized for the berry

D:

  • One point higher than Defense

S:

  • Under Tailwind, Suicune outspeeds a modest Tapu Lele carrying a Choice Scarf

The concept behind this set is for Suicune to support its teammates with a Tailwind while being able to dish out as much damage as possible. The inspiration behind this is actually the standard offensive Cresselia set, which is basically max HP and max Special Attack. Because Suicune’s base Defense and Special Defense stats are identical, I had to make a slightly awkward defensive investment to make its Special Defense higher in case there’s a Porygon2 on the opposing side, as they sometimes carry Thunderbolt. 44 EVs in speed allows Suicune to outspeed a modest Tapu Lele carrying a Choice Scarf after it sets up a Tailwind. Suicune is already naturally bulky, and because this particular set is offensive, it can afford to have a lower investment in HP. Suicune can still take a lot of hits relatively well, but Suicune would need more support if it wants to stick around longer.

Wacan Berry
 
Suicune
Ability: Pressure
Nature: Bold
EVs: H252 B196 C12 D20 S28
Stats: 207-X-176-12-138-109
Held Item: Wacan Berry
Moves: Scald / (Ice Beam / Icy Wind) / Tailwind / Protect

B:

  • Survives a Bloom Doom from an intimidated Kartana

D:

  • Guaranteed to withstand an Electric Terrain boosted Gigavolt Havoc from a modest Tapu Koko

S:

  • Under Tailwind, Suicune outspeeds a Mega Sceptile

The idea behind this set is for Suicune to guarantee speed control when it faces a Tapu Koko by surviving an incoming Gigavolt Havoc. This particular set is team specific, and I would only recommend this set if the team struggles against Tapu Koko. Because Suicune cannot heal itself with a pinch berry, Protect makes the most sense when it comes to preserving it as long as possible.

Assault Vest
 
Suicune
Ability: Pressure
Nature: Modest
EVs: H236 B4 C76 D12 S180
Stats: 205-X-136-132-137-128
Held Item: Assault Vest
Moves: Scald / Icy Wind / Ice Beam / (Snarl / Mirror Coat)

C:

  • Hits the lowest EV bump

D:

  • One point higher than Defense
  • Mega Salamence’s Hyper Voice is a possible 5HKO
  • A Psychic Terrain boosted Psychic from a modest Tapu Lele is a 3HKO
  • A Hurricane from a modest Pelipper is practically a 4HKO
  • A Choice Specs boosted Moonblast from a modest Tapu Fini has a 10/16 chance to 3HKO, leaving the remaining 6/16 rolls for a 4HKO

S:

  • Outspeeds a Naganadel after it gets hit with an Icy Wind

With the Assault Vest, Suicune takes as many special hits as it can while sitting on the field. Because this set is relatively fast, Icy Wind is crucial in order for Suicune to outspeed Pokémon like Naganadel, and most notably Mega Salamence. Ice Beam is another Ice-type coverage move Suicune can have in case using Icy Wind is not feasible in a certain scenario. As for the last move, there are two options being Snarl or Mirror Coat. Snarl lowers the opposing Pokémon’s Special Attack stats to stack with Suicune’s boosted Special Defense, allowing it to stick around on the field longer, whereas Mirror Coat retaliates with two times the amount of damage Suicune has taken from a special attack, picking up revenge knock outs on Pokémon like Tapu Koko and Tapu Lele.


Sample Partners

Landorus-Therian
Therian Forme
It’s no surprise that the best Pokémon in the format makes a great partner for Suicune. This is because Landorus’s Intimidate complements Suicune’s natural bulk so well, making Suicune even more of a pain to take down. Furthermore, Suicune also threatens an opposing Landorus-T with any attack it will throw out, being a Scald, an Ice Beam, or even an Icy Wind, should the opposing Landorus attack Suicune. Landorus also threatens Tapu Koko in return, which is considerably the biggest threat to Suicune. However, this pair typically struggles against Tapu Bulu, so it’s to your best interest to plan accordingly.

Tapu Koko

Tapu Koko makes a great partner for Suicune because it can deal a lot of damage with a potential Gigavolt Havoc, namely to a Zapdos attempting to set up its own Tailwind. It can also use Taunt to shut down any potential set ups of stat boosts or even a Trick Room, thanks to its lightning fast base speed of 130. Suicune, in return, can easily cover against the likes of Landorus to protect Tapu Koko from an Earthquake.

Tapu Lele

Tapu Lele makes a great partner for Suicune because of its Psychic Terrain, which blocks priority moves against Suicune, which would mainly be a Fake Out or even a Prankster boosted Taunt. In addition to the terrain support, Tapu Lele has a high base special attack of 130, making a Psychic boosted from the terrain a terrifying attack to dish out. Furthermore, a Psychic Terrain booster Shattered Psyche from Tapu Lele is one of the strongest Z-Moves in the format. Tailwind support can be crucial for Tapu Lele’s base speed of 95, allowing it to outspeed even some opposing Pokémon potentially carrying a Choice Scarf .

Tapu Bulu

An interesting partner for Suicune because it can threaten Tapu Koko and provide recovery for Suicune, while Suicune can cover against Fire-types and Mega Salamence, as well as provide speed control with a Tailwind. Tapu Bulu is an offensive powerhouse with its base attack of 130, its ability to learn Wood Hammer, both complemented by a boost from the Grassy Terrain. In addition to Tapu Bulu’s raw power, it provides an eccentric defensive synergy for its partners with the Grassy Terrain, which bolsters Suicune’s natural bulk even further.

Heatran

Heatran provides excellent defensive synergy for Suicune because it’s four times resistant to Grass-type attacks, and Suicune can cover against Landorus-T and Tyranitar. Furthermore, Heatran provides a favorable matchup against Mega Charizard Y because of the boost from the sunlight, as well as its resistance to Solar Beam, along with its immunity to opposing Fire-type moves, thanks to its ability Flash Fire. Furthermore, Heatran’s Steel-typing can block an incoming Toxic.

Fake Out
Regular FormAlola Form
These are the most common Pokémon in the format with access to the move Fake Out. With Fake Out, Suicune can safely set up a Tailwind when the Psychic Terrain is not activated; however, all of these Pokémon do different things. Alolan Persian is a disruptor with access to moves such as Taunt, Snarl, and most notably, Parting Shot. Its main means of dealing damage is with Foul Play, which can heavily threaten opposing physical attackers such as Mega Metagross and Landorus-T. Raichu and Togedemaru are also disruptors with access to Encore, as well as Lightningroad as their abilities, which redirects Electric-type attacks away from Suicune. Mega Kangaskhan is the one Mega Pokémon that was infamously known for hitting so hard with its base 125 attack combined with its ability Parental Bond. Even though Kangaskhan got nerfed pretty significantly, it remains still remains no slouch in the format. Hitmontop has Intimidate as its ability, can block incoming Rock Slides to prevent flinches before setting up the Tailwind, and it can also deny a Protect/Detect with Feint. Mega Lopunny, on the other hand, has a very fast base speed of 135, even outspeeding Tapu Koko and Mega Gengar, and also has Scrapy as its ability, allowing Lopunny to hit a Ghost-type Pokémon with both of its STAB types, Normal and Fighting.


Threats

Electric-types
Regular FormWash Rotom
Electric is one of Suicune’s weaknesses, and these Pokémon can threaten a lot of damage on Suicune from a single Thunderbolt, or even a one hit knockout with a Gigavolt Havoc. Raichu and Togedemaru have access to Fake Out and Encore, two moves Suicune do not like facing either, and the fact they’re both Electric-types only makes things worse for Suicune. Zapdos is bulky, and sometimes, they would carry a Misty or Psychic Seed to boost its Special Defense stats, which allows Zapdos to easily match Suicune’s Tailwind no problem. Furthermore, Electrium Z is a common item on Zapdos as well, which poses as a huge threat for Suicune. Mega Manectric normally carry Volt Switch as its main attacking move, but it can cripple Suicune’s physical attacking partners with Intimidate, as well as repeatedly use Snarl to cripple Suicune and its special attacking partners. Rotom-Wash is especially problematic for Suicune because not only it can threaten huge damage with an Electric-type move, but it also walls Suicune completely since Rotom is also a bulky Water-type. Thundurus-Therian and Tapu Koko are offensive attackers that can easily launch a fast Gigavolt Havoc to wipe Suicune off the field, or even a fast Taunt to deny the Tailwind set up. Xurkitree can set itself up with a Tail Glow, which drastically raises its Special Attack stat, and when it’s been preserved correctly, Xurkitree can easily pick off Suicune and possibly just steamroll the rest of your team if you’re not prepared for it.

Grass-types
Mow Rotom
Grass is Suicune’s other weakness, and these are the most common threats in the format, with the exception of Rotom-Mow. Ludicolo easily outspeeds many Pokémon in the format with Swift Swim, and can easily threaten Suicune with either a Giga Drain or an Energy Ball, as well as a Fake Out to deny a Tailwind set up. Cradily has Storm Drain as its ability, which redirects Suicune’s Water-type attacks away and gets a Special Attack boost for its Grass-type moves, which is something Suicune does not want to see on the field. Amoonguss is especially irritating for Suicune, as it can redirect Suicune’s attacks away and take them fairly well with its bulk, and because it’s so slow, it can easily abuse Trick Room by repeatedly using Spore to slow the game down. Ferrothorn, Tapu Bulu, and Kartana are all physical attackers, and can easily threaten a clean knock out with their respective Grass-type moves: Power Whip, Wood Hammer, or Leaf Blade. Ferrothorn can also abuse Trick Room very easily, which makes it very problematic for Suicune to deal with. Against these three, Suicune’s only saving grace is to burn them with a Scald, which is a 30% chance to happen. Rotom-Mow, although not very common, is a huge threat to Suicune because its typing is both Grass and Electric, a combination of both of Suicune’s weaknesses. Because Leaf Storm has such a high base power, a Mow Rotom with an offensive build can easily pick up a knock out onto Suicune with a Bloom Doom or even a Gigavolt Havoc.

Opposing Bulky Water-types
West SeaEast SeaWash Rotom
Because Suicune’s coverage moves are typically only Water-type or Ice-type, it doesn’t provide much offensive presence to them. A Suicune mirror will make the game so slow to the point where it comes down to which one gets the burn off a Scald first. Milotic can heal itself with Recover, and will also benefit from an Icy Wind or a Snarl, thanks to its ability, Competitive. Azumarill and Tapu Fini are both Water and Fairy-type, which means Suicune absolutely cannot touch them with any of its attacks. Furthermore, both of them can set up with a Belly Drum or a Calm Mind, respectively, which they can threaten a lot of damage onto Suicune, denying future set ups for speed control. Tapu Fini also tend to carry a Choice Specs, which not only deals a huge dent onto Suicune with a Moonblast, but also has a slight chance to hamper Suicune’s Special Attack stat. Gastrodon has the ability, Storm Drain, which not only redirects Water-type attacks away, but also gets a Special Attack boost. In addition, some Gastrodon tend to carry Toxic, whittling down Suicune at a much quicker rate while healing itself with Recover as turns pass. As I mentioned earlier, Rotom-W is the biggest offensive threat to Suicune with its Electric-typing paired with its good special bulk, threatening super effective damage with an Electric-type attack.


Closing Thoughts

Suicune is among some of the bulkiest Pokémon in the format, and can prove itself to be a great asset for a handful of teams with its supportive capabilities. With the ability to cripple opposing Pokémon with its attacking moves, Suicune is worth considering if you’re looking for something that can take hits well and provide speed control. Though Suicune has not been at the top of the metagame for long, it has proven itself to be an underrated Pokémon almost every year in VGC history.

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[VGC 2018] PokéAnalysis #5: Tapu Koko

Tapu Koko | Electric Terrain by ishmam

Artwork by ishmam.

Alola! It’s Kasoman, and I’m back with my fifth segment of my PokéAnalysis series for the VGC 2018 format! Today, I’ll be featuring the electrifying Guardian Deity of the Alola Region, Tapu Koko!

122116_2244_VGC2017PokA2.png

“Tapu Koko, the Land Spirit Pokémon. The lightning-wielding guardian deity of Melemele, Tapu Koko is brimming with curiosity and appears before people from time to time. It confuses its enemies by flying too quickly for the eye to follow. It has a hair-trigger temper but forgets what made it angry an instant later.”


Pokémon Details

785_Tapu_Koko

Ability:

  • Electric Surge – Activates Electric Terrain when it enters battle. This lasts for five turns.

Base Stats:

KokoStats

Viable Movepool:

  • Thunderbolt – A strong electric blast crashes down on the target. This may also leave the target with paralysis.
    • 10% chance to paralyze the target
  • Thunder – A wicked thunderbolt is dropped on the target to inflict damage. This may also leave the target with paralysis.
    • Does not miss in rain, 10% chance to paralyze the target
  • Discharge – The user strikes everything around it by letting loose a flare of electricity. This may also cause paralysis.
    • 30% chance to paralyze each target
  • Volt SwitchAfter making its attack, the user rushes back to switch places with a party Pokémon in waiting.
  • Electro Ball – The user hurls an electric orb at the target. The faster the user is than the target, the greater the move’s power.
  • Wild Charge – The user shrouds itself in electricity and smashes into its target. This also damages the user a little.
    • Recoil is 1/4 of the damage dealt
  • Dazzling Gleam – The user damages opposing Pokémon by emitting a powerful flash.
  • Nature’s Madness – The user hits the target with the force of nature. It halves the target’s HP.
  • Hidden Power [Ice] – A unique attack that varies in type depending on the Pokémon using it.
    • IVs determine Hidden Power type. The most common type for Tapu Koko is Ice.
  • Brave Bird – The user tucks in its wings and charges from a low altitude. This also damages the user quite a lot.
    • Recoil is 1/3 of the damage dealt
  • Sky Drop – The user takes the target into the sky, then drops it during the next turn. The target cannot attack while in the sky.
    • Cannot pick up Pokémon 200 kg or above (mainly Snorlax), Flying-types don’t take damage from this move
  • U-TurnAfter making its attack, the user rushes back to switch places with a party Pokémon in waiting.
  • Iron Head – The user slams the target with its steel-hard head. This may also make the target flinch.
    • 30% chance to flinch the target
  • Nature Power – This attack makes use of nature’s power. Its effects vary depending on the user’s environment.
  • Taunt – The target is taunted into a rage that allows it to use only attack moves for three turns.
  • Substitute – The user makes a copy of itself using some of its HP. The copy serves as the user’s decoy.
  • Light Screen – A wondrous wall of light is put up to reduce damage from special attacks for five turns.
  • Reflect – A wondrous wall of light is put up to reduce damage from physical attacks for five turns.
  • Mirror Move – The user counters the target by mimicking the target’s last move.

Role in the Metagame

Image result for tapu koko gif

Despite a lackluster base special attack of 95, Tapu Koko has been a monster in this format with a damage boost from the Electric Terrain, thanks to its ability, Electric Surge, along with its lightning fast base speed of 130. Because Tapu Koko is so fast, it is able to apply a lot of offensive pressure right off the bat, especially since most carry the Electrium Z. As a fast offensive attacker, Tapu Koko can fit on a lot of teams to cover against the likes of Tapu Fini, Zapdos, Milotic, and much more. Tapu Koko can also carry disruptive support moves such as Sky Drop and Nature’s Madness, which can sometimes mess with your game plans due to its fast speed. Ever since its debut last year, Tapu Koko has consistently stayed at the top as one of the best Pokémon in VGC.


Viable Items


Choice Specs – When this item is being held, the user’s Special Attack is increased by 50%, but the Pokémon is limited to using the first attack it uses until it is withdrawn from battle.


Life Orb – When this item is held by a Pokémon, the damage from the moves used by the holder is increased by 30%. The holder loses 10% of their maximum HP each turn.


Electrium Z – When held by a Pokémon, it allows them to either use the move Gigavolt Havoc when they have a Physical/Special Electric-type move, or it boosts their Electric-type Status Move.


Fairium Z – When held by a Pokémon, it allows them to either use the move Twinkle Tackle when they have a Physical/Special Fairy-type move, or it boosts their Fairy-type Status Move.


Flyinium Z – When held by a Pokémon, it allows them to either use the move Twinkle Tackle when they have a Physical/Special Flying-type move, or it boosts their Flying-type Status Move.


Normalium Z – When held by a Pokémon, it allows them to either use the move Breakneck Blitz when they have a Physical/Special Normal-type move, or it boosts their Normal-type Status Move.


Sample Sets

Special Attacker
 /  / 
Tapu Koko
Ability: Electric Surge
Nature: Timid
EVs: H4 C252 S252
Stats: 146-X-105-147-95-200
Held Item: Electrium Z / Life Orb / Fairium Z
Moves: (Thunderbolt / Thunder) / Dazzling Gleam / (See Below) / Protect

C:

  • Gigavolt Havoc: Over 50% chance to OHKO most bulky offensive Zapdos in Electric Terrain
  • Twinkle Tackle: Twinkle Tackle can’t OHKO most opposing Pokémon in the format, but it still can leave a huge dent on opposing Pokémon.
  • Hidden Power [Ice]: Has a good chance to 2HKO Landorus-T that carry an Assault Vest; this move boosted by Life Orb is guaranteed to 2HKO those variants, as well as being able to OHKO those that are max speed.

Other Moves:

  • Volt Switch
  • Discharge
  • Hidden Power [Ice]
  • Taunt
  • Substitute

This is your everyday standard, the special attacking set. Electrium Z is the most common item held by Tapu Koko because of the Electric Terrain boost, which means this Z-Move hits hard, especially based off of Thunder if you decide to run a rain team. Life Orb helps Tapu Koko deal a little more damage from its moves of different types, namely Dazzling Gleam and Hidden Power [Ice] since its base special attack is a bit lackluster. Fairium Z is the least common of the three. Although this Z-Move won’t OHKO many opposing Pokémon in the format, it still provides good coverage, and it definitely helps you at least deal a lot of damage to the intended target.

For this set, Tapu Koko has a wide variety of moves it can utilize. The most common set is typically, Thunderbolt, Dazzling Gleam, Volt Switch, and Protect. Thunderbolt is the standard Electric-type move Tapu Koko should carry, but if you decide to use it with a rain team, Thunder would be the better option since it doesn’t miss in rain, and it can hit very hard, especially with a Gigavolt Havoc based off this move. Volt Switch helps you get your Pokémon in a board position since this move allows Tapu Koko to leave the field after dealing damage. Discharge allows Tapu Koko to freely use this move next to Ground-types or those with the abilities Volt Absorb or Lightningrod to deal spread damage, as well as bank on a 30% paralysis rate for each target. Hidden Power [Ice] is way for Tapu Koko to answer the likes of Landorus-T, as well as Mega Salamence. Taunt denies potential set-ups such as stat-boosting moves and speed control moves, which can force your opponent to switch out the taunted Pokémon during the following turn. Finally, we have Substitute as the last featured move. Although it seems obscure, you can predict defensive play from your opponent and easily capitalize off of this by setting up a substitute, which can allow Tapu Koko to stick around on the field a bit longer. From there, you can apply a lot of offensive pressure with essentially a free Gigavolt Havoc if your Z-Move is still intact.

Nature Power

Tapu Koko
Ability: Electric Surge
Nature: Timid
EVs: H4 C252 S252
Stats: 146-X-105-147-95-200
Held Item: Normalium Z
Moves: Nature Power / Dazzling Gleam / Volt Switch / Protect

This set focuses around a team with more than one guardian deity, which can allow Tapu Koko to have flexibility on which Z-Move to unleash. Typically, Tapu Koko would be paired with Tapu Fini to deal big damage with a Z-Move of both STAB types, but it would also possible to use this set with Tapu Lele or Tapu Bulu. Dazzling Gleam and Volt Switch are ways Tapu Koko can deal damage with both STAB types outside of any terrain, and Volt Switch also allows Tapu Koko to switch around to reset the terrain for it to use Thunderbolt when it enters back into the field. Another thing to note is in case Tapu Koko ever gets a stat lowered, namely special attack or speed, it can utilize Z-Protect to reset its stats in case you’re in a bad spot.

Choice Specs

Tapu Koko
Ability: Electric Surge
Nature: Timid
EVs: H4 C252 S252
Stats: 146-X-105-147-95-200
Held Item: Choice Specs
Moves: Thunderbolt / Dazzling Gleam / Hidden Power [Ice] / Volt Switch

This set allows Tapu Koko to hit its hardest with special attacks, along with the flexibility to utilize Dazzling Gleam, Hidden Power, and Volt Switch in the same set. With the Choice Specs, Tapu Koko can easily knock out many Landorus-T that do not carry an Assault Vest, and it can easily knock out any Tapu Fini in Electric Terrain as well. Dazzling Gleam gets a significant boost from the Choice Specs, and is able to dish out more damage for a spread move. Lastly, Volt Switch allows Tapu Koko to switch out of the field if it does not feel safe locking itself into one move just yet.

Physical Attacker

Tapu Koko
Ability: Electric Surge
Nature: Jolly
EVs: H4 A252 S252
Stats: 146-167-105-X-95-200
Held Item: Electrium Z
Moves: Wild Charge / Brave Bird / (See Below) / Protect

Other Moves:

  • U-Turn
  • Sky Drop
  • Taunt
  • Iron Head

This set is a physical attacking set. Due to the lack of Play Rough, it seems obscure, but this set allows us to take advantage of Tapu Koko’s higher physical attack stat of 115. With the Electrium Z, a Gigavolt Havoc is sure to hit hard without an intimidate, and in fact, harder than one based off Thunderbolt. Brave Bird is another strong coverage move Tapu Koko can learn, and this is a great move for this set because not many Pokémon in the format resist Flying-type moves. Tapu Koko generally has an unfavorable matchup against Tapu Bulu and Amoonguss, and Brave Bird is a way to answer them if Tapu Koko is on the field. The third move should be a supporting move such as U-Turn for board positioning, Sky Drop for disruption, or Taunt to deny a potential set-up, namely on Snorlax since it is too heavy to be lifted from a Sky Drop. Iron Head is another possibility for coverage against opposing Fairy-types and Rock-types, as well as fishing for the 30% chance to flinch the target. Generally, physical Tapu Koko is a way to work around Zapdos that carry a Misty Seed.

A:

  • Guaranteed to 2HKO H236 B116 Zapdos with an Electric Terrain boosted Wild Charge; guaranteed to OHKO H236 B116 Zapdos with an Electric Terrain Boosted Gigavolt Havoc.
  • Guaranteed to 2HKO H252 B4 Tapu Bulu with Brave Bird (roughly 65-75%)
  • Guaranteed to 2HKO H252 B252+ Amoonguss (50% at minimum!)

Supersonic Mirror Strike

Tapu Koko
Ability: Electric Surge
Nature: Jolly
EVs: H4 A252 S252
Stats: 146-167-105-X-95-200
Held Item: Flyinium Z
Moves: Wild Charge / Brave Bird / Mirror Move / Protect

If you thought a regular physical attacking set is strange, then think again. This is the most obscure set I will be featuring, which was created by none other than Jamie Boyt (@JamieBoytVGC) back in the 2017 format. What he had in mind was having a Z-Crystal for two purposes: a Flying-type attack that deals a lot of damage or a way to set up Tapu Koko. Supersonic Skystrike is a great way for Tapu Koko to answer Tapu Bulu and Amoonguss effectively by being able to OHKO them with super effective damage. On the other hand, we have Z-Mirror Move, which allows Tapu Koko to raise its attack by two stages before copying exactly what the opponent has used, including Z-Moves. Although not so relevant for this year’s format, if you want to know his inspiration behind this set, you can watch his set in action here.


Sample Partners

Landorus-T
Therian Forme
Landorus-T is a great partner for Tapu Koko because of its typing, as well as being able to lower the attack stats of opposing Pokémon with the Intimidate ability, especially against opposing Landorus-T. After an intimidate, Tapu Koko is able to survive an Earthquake from an opposing Landorus-T, which is helpful when facing those that carry a Choice Scarf. Tapu Koko would then be able to pick off the opposing Landorus-T’s partner, or even retaliate with a Hidden Power [Ice]. In return, Tapu Koko can cover against Water-types and Zapdos.

Mega Charizard Y

Mega Charizard Y pairs very well with Tapu Koko because of its offensive power, its Flying-typing, as well as its Fire-typing. It can safely switch into a potential Ground-type move, or even a Tectonic Rage, and it can easily answer Tapu Bulu and Amoonguss with its Fire-type moves. When paired with Tapu Koko, Charizard Y can apply immense offensive pressure because both Tapu Koko and Charizard Y are fast, and they can also deal spread damage. Furthermore, they can adequately cover each other’s weaknesses, making them a terrifying offensive duo.

Mega Salamence

Because of both Intimidate and its Flying-typing, Salamence is a great partner for Tapu Koko, especially as a lead because Salamence can ignore an incoming Ground-type move, and thanks to its Aerilate ability, Mega Salamence can repeatedly fire off a Hyper Voice for spread damage, and it’s usually a safe move because not many Pokémon in the format resist Flying-type moves. Furthermore, it can also deal so much physical damage with a Double-Edge. Salamence can also provide speed control with a Tailwind, in which Tapu Koko can use Volt Switch to get itself out of the field, while Salamence sets up a Tailwind. Salamence can easily threaten Amoonguss and Tapu Bulu, while Tapu Koko can deal with Tapu Fini in return.

Tapu Bulu

Because of the Grassy Terrain, Tapu Bulu can easily hamper the damage output of an Eatrhquake or Bulldoze that would threaten Tapu Koko. With a high physical attack stat, Tapu Bulu can then fire off a Wood Hammer or even a Bloom Doom for massive damage, especially with the Grassy Terrain boost. Tapu Bulu can easily cover Tapu Koko against Ground-types, while Tapu Koko can cover Tapu Bulu against Flying-types.

Tapu Fini

Tapu Fini makes a great partner for Tapu Koko because of its ability to deal super effective to Ground-types, as well as providing the Misty Terrain for Tapu Koko that carry a Normalium Z, allowing it to deal a STAB Z-Move in Twinkle Tackle. Tapu Koko can also cover Tapu Fini by dealing with Zapdos and Mega Charizard Y.

Aegislash

Aegislash is a very unique partner for Tapu Koko, thanks to its typing, along with its defensive support. With Wide Guard, Aegislash can easily stop incoming Earthquakes and Heat Waves that would threaten both of them, and Aegislash can also switch into Poison-type moves very safely due to its Steel-typing. Aegislash can easily threaten the combination of Tapu Lele and Metagross, as well as Cresselia with its Ghost and Steel-typings, and can easily pick up a knock out with a Never Ending Nightmare. Because of King’s Shield, Aegislash can pressure mind games onto your opponent.


Threats

Ground-types
   Therian Forme
Mega Swampert easily threatens Tapu Koko because of its ability, Swift Swim, which doubles its speed in rain. This allows Swampert to fire off a fast Earthquake or Stomping Tantrum to pick up an easy knock out on Tapu Koko. Mega Camerupt threatens Tapu Koko significantly because Tapu Koko is weak to Trick Room, and Camerupt can easily pick off Tapu Koko with either an Eruption or an Earth Power once the Trick Room is set up. Because Landorus-T can carry a Choice Scarf, Tapu Koko is immediately threatened by this Pokémon. Without an intimidate, the opposing Landorus-T can easily OHKO Tapu Koko with an Earthquake. Sometimes, there might be a special variant, which can also pick up an easy knock out with an Earth Power.

Ground-type Moves
  
These are common Pokémon that normally carry a Ground-type move. Snorlax is very bulky, set itself up with either a Curse or a Belly Drum, and can threaten an easy knock out with a High Horsepower or Stomping Tantrum. There are some Mega Salamence that carry Dragon Dance, which can indicate the possibility of an Earthquake. Heatran and Hydreigon are special attackers that normally carry Earth Power to cover against opposing Heatran and Electric-types.

Poison-types
Alola Form
Poison-types deal a lot of damage to Tapu Koko, thanks to its Fairy-typing, and three out of four of these example Pokémon can easily pick up a OHKO with a Sludge Bomb, while one of them is a physical attacker. Amoonguss can just redirect a Thunderbolt away with Rage Powder, as well as deal super effective damage with a Poison-type move.

Poison-type Moves
West SeaEast Sea Therian Forme  Therian Forme
These are Pokémon that can typically carry Sludge Bomb, Clear Smog, or Poison Jab to deal with Tapu Koko for super effective damage.

Bulky Grass-types
Mow Rotom
Because Grass-types resist Electric-type moves, Tapu Koko can’t do very much to them if it’s a special attacker. Rotom-Mow is especially problematic since it’s four times resistant to Electric-type moves. Both Tapu Bulu and Ferrothorn can deal a lot of physical damage to Tapu Koko, while Amoonguss can just redirect a Thunderbolt away with Rage Powder, as well as deal super effective damage with a Poison-type move. Hidden Power Ice can deal a decent amount of damage to these Pokémon, but the output is still nowhere near significant with Tapu Koko’s lackluster base 95 special attack.

Lightningrod & Volt Absorb
Regular FormAlola FormTherian Forme
These are irritating Pokémon for Tapu Koko to face because not only they are immune to Tapu Koko’s Electric-type attacks, they can also either redirect these attacks away from their partners, or even heal regain health after being hit by these attacks. These Pokémon can carry disruptive attacks such as Fake Out, Encore, Follow Me, Snarl, and even Perish Song, which makes the Tapu Koko player have to play very carefully around them.


Closing Thoughts

With its fast electrifying power, Tapu Koko remains a monster in VGC, and it is versatile enough to fit on a lot of teams in the VGC 2018 format. With the ability to OHKO a Zapdos and a Tapu Fini with a Gigavolt Havoc, you certainly can’t ever go wrong with using this deity. Don’t underestimate its base 95 special attack because this Pokémon can sure apply a lot of offensive pressure on the field if your board positioning isn’t ideal.

[VGC 2018] PokéAnalysis #4: Tyranitar

tyranitar___stone_edge_by_ishmam-d6c63b8

Artwork by ishmam.

Alola! It’s Kasoman, and I’m back with the third installment of my PokéAnalysis series for the VGC 2018 format! For this segment, I will be featuring one of the first pseudo-legendary Pokémon in existence, as well as one of the best weather setters in competitive play, the Godzilla-like Tyranitar!

122116_2244_VGC2017PokA2.png

“This Pokémon is a mobile disaster, leaving mountains crumbled and houses destroyed in its wake. It wanders through the mountains seeking opponents to fight. If it finds an opponent that’s not worthy, Tyranitar ignores it and wanders on.”


Pokémon Details

248_Tyranitar

Abillity:

  • Sand Stream – Sandstorm blows when the Pokémon enters battle. This lasts for five turns.
  • Unnerve (Hidden) – Prevents opposing Pokémon from consuming berries.

Role in the Metagame

Image result for tyranitar gif

Tyranitar is a very strong force in the metagame, mainly with the ability to set up a sandstorm once it enters the battlefield. Although Tyranitar has a slow base speed of 61, its other stats are balanced and well-rounded with high base stats, most notably a naturally high base attack of 134. On top of all that, Tyranitar also has the capability of Mega Evolution, which will boost its stats even further. Because all the base stats of its base form add up to 600, Tyranitar is considered a pseudo-legendary Pokémon.

With the sandstorm in place, not only Tyranitar would gain weather control for itself and its allies, it also gains a special defense boost with its Rock-typing, and considering the combination of its base 100 HP and base 100 special defense, Tyranitar is able to take special attacks relatively well. Tyranitar is also a Dark-type, which allows it to put immense pressure on the likes of Pokémon such as Cresselia, Gothitelle, and Aegislash. Between all the weather setters of the metagame, Tyranitar is in the middle ground between Mega Charizard Y and Politoed, being both bulky and powerful.


Viable Items


Choice Scarf – When this item is being held, the user’s speed is increased by 50%, but the Pokémon is limited to using the first attack it uses until it is withdrawn from battle.


Life Orb – When this item is held by a Pokémon, the damage from the moves used by the holder is increased by 30%. The holder loses 10% of their maximum HP each turn.


Weakness Policy – When held by a Pokémon, it raises the Pokémon’s Attack and Sp. Attack stats by two stages whenever it is hit by a move that is Super Effective.


Darkinium Z – This item can be used to create the special Dark Z-Crystal. When held by a Pokémon, it allows them to either use the move Blackhole Eclipse when they have a Physical/Special Dark-type move, or it boosts their Dark-type Status Move.


Tyranitarite – This item, when held, allows for the Pokémon to Mega Evolve in battle.


Sample Sets

Choice Scarf

Tyranitar
Ability: Sand Stream
Nature: Jolly
Held Item: Choice Scarf
EV: H4 A252 S252
Stats: 176-186-130-x-120-124
Moves: Rock Slide / (Crunch / Assurance) / (Low Kick / Superpower) / Ice Punch

S: Outspeeds Thundurus-Therian

This set is fairly standard for sand teams because of its ability to pick up fast Rock Slide flinches with its newfound speed. Crunch is usually the standard choice; however, Assurance is another option to pair with its sand-abusing partner to pick up a quick KO with the move’s raw power, as demonstrated by Aaron Zheng (@CybertronVGC) with his 2015 Nationals Team. Low Kick is the more consistent option for Fighting-type coverage, but because Tyranitar would be jolly as opposed to adamant, Superpower is a great alternative if you’re looking for better damage output. Ice Punch is there to cover against the likes of Landorus and Salamence. Just be mindful that this set doesn’t outspeed everything that doesn’t carry a Choice Scarf.

Rykku and Lectro’s Black Hole Eclipse

Tyranitar
Ability: Sand Stream
Nature: Adamant
Held Item: Darkinium Z
EVs: H52 A204 B4 D4 S244
Stats: 182-198-131-x-121-112
Moves: Rock Slide / Crunch / Low Kick / Protect

A: Highest EV bump

S: Outspeeds Pheromosa under Tailwind

This is another speedy set designed for a sand team, but this time, with a bit of a twist. This particular set was designed by Spanish players Juan Gil (@Rykku2isi) and Juan Mateos del Amo (@thenotoriousvgc) for their variant of the Japanese Sand core. There is enough speed investment to outspeed Pheromosa under Tailwind, with a very high investment in attack, along with general bulk that would allow Tyranitar to stick around for at least a little longer on the field. The reason why this set benefits greatly from Darkinium Z is because many sand teams in 2018 are weak to Trick Room, and Tyranitar can easily stop Cresselia or Gothitelle from setting up their speed control.

Life Orb

Tyranitar
Ability: Sand Stream
Nature: Adamant
Held Item: Life Orb
EVs: H188 A204 B4 D92 S20
Stats: 199-198-131-x-132-84
Moves: Rock Slide / Crunch / Low Kick / Protect

H: 10n-1

A: Highest EV bump

D: Survives a Choice Specs boosted Moonblast from a modest Tapu Lele, always takes two Choice Specs boosted Dazzling Gleams from a modest Tapu Koko, one point higher than defense stat

S: Outspeeds opposing Tyranitar with 4 EVs in speed by 2, outspeeds minimum speed Cresselia by 3

This is a set designed for more standard teams, and I personally think Life Orb is the best item for Tyranitar because it allows for such ridiculous damage output, even from a simple Rock Slide. The way I designed this spread goes back to when I started to use Terry Newton (@UltraTerryy)’s Sun Balance team for Battle Spot Doubles in Sun and Moon. His team composition is great as a whole because not only it features two weathers, it is also a combination two cores of sun and FAT. I did laddering with his team for a while, then I eventually started to do my own adjustments to fit how I wanted to play the team.

Although Terry’s spread is solid, I decided I wanted to optimize the HP stat for the Life Orb recoil, as well as increasing the special defense investment to make up for the lower HP investment. So, my primary benchmarks were optimizing the HP stat while hitting the highest EV bump for attack. It seemed as Terry’s main benchmark was to survive a Choice Specs boosted Moonblast from a modest Tapu Lele 15/16 times, but because I was able to invest more into special defense for the lower HP investment, I decided to make it a guaranteed 2HKO. 84 EVs turned out to be enough for me, but my roadblock ended up being a tie between the two defensive stats, which would be a slight problem when facing Porygon2. I decided to bump it up a bit further by one point to make this stat higher than physical defense, and coincidentally, 92 EVs turned out to be just enough for Tyranitar to take two Choice Specs boosted Dazzling Gleams from a modest Tapu Koko. I had a few leftover EVs after meeting the benchmarks I wanted, so I decided to dump the rest into speed to account for opposing Tyranitar. The EV spread may look complicated at first, but given my thought process behind this spread, it’s a lot simpler than it sounds.

Weakness Policy

Tyranitar
Ability: Sand Stream
Nature: Adamant
Held Item: Weakness Policy
EVs: H236 A124 B52 D28 S68
Stats: 205-187-137-x-124-90
Moves: Rock Slide / Crunch / Low Kick / Protect

A: Mid-range EV bump

B: Survives an Iron Head from a jolly Mega Metagross

D: Survives a Choice Specs boosted Moonblast from a modest Tapu Lele 15/16 times

S: Outspeeds Mega Metagross under Tailwind

This is a modified version of Jack TheBattler’s spread (@JackTheBattler), where his main benchmarks have been preserved, with the exception of physical defense. He originally had a benchmark for a Meteor Mash from a jolly Mega Metagross, but I thought of tweaking it just to allow Tyranitar to survive an Iron Head from said opposing Pokémon because I personally feel Tyranitar could use more attack investment. It turned out that not only I hit the benchmark of Tyranitar surviving an Iron Head with at least 3 HP, the attack investment also hits an EV bump, which is the icing on the cake. Jack TheBattler said himself that Darkinium Z and Life Orb can also work with a spread like this, so those are other options to explore if you feel the bulk is something you like.

Mega Tyranitar

Tyranitar
Ability: Sand Stream
Nature: Jolly
Held Item: Tyranitarite
EVs: H4 A252 S252
Stats (Base): 176-186-130-x-120-124
Stats (Mega): 176-216-170-x-140-135
Moves: Rock Slide / Crunch / Dragon Dance / Protect

S: Outspeeds opposing Pokémon with a base speed of 70, outspeeds opposing Pokémon with a base speed of 130 after a Dragon Dance

Mega Tyranitar is another option if you want an offensive Pokémon that can sweep the opposing side after it sets up. This particular set needs to be max speed jolly because after a Dragon Dance, Mega Tyranitar can outspeed base 130 speed Pokémon, which are primarily Tapu Koko and Mega Gengar. It has a base speed of 71, so it is able to outspeed all Pokémon with a base speed of 70. You can even try to set up before Mega Evolution in case you’d like a second chance to set up the sandstorm against an opposing weather.


Sample Partners

Japanese Sand

The main goal of this core is to pick up fast Rock Slide flinches with Excadrill, as well as utilizing Salamence’s Intimidate ability before Mega Evolution. Salamence is an essential partner for both Tyranitar and Excadrill because they are both weak to Ground-type moves, and Salamence’s Flying-typing makes it able to safely switch into those kind of attacks. Mega Salamence also has a spread move of its own like Tyranitar and Excadrill do, being Hyper Voice. Because not many Pokémon have a resistance to Flying, a lot of damage would be dealt with a combination of Rock Slide and Hyper Voice to the opposing side. In return, Tyranitar can provide Dark-type coverage against Cresselia for Salamence, and it can also provide Rock-type coverage against many Fire-types for Excadrill.

FAT

This core, known as “Fini, Aegislash, Tyranitar,” or FAT for short, is a core comprising three bulky and offensive Pokémon that provide a fairy/dark/steel coverage. Because of the coverage they provide, along with their bulk, these three provide excellent defensive synergy for one another. Tapu Fini is both a Water-type and Fairy-type, so it takes Water-type attacks, as well as Fighting-type and Bug-type attacks for Tyranitar, while it can take Fire-type and Dark-type attacks for Aegislash. Tapu Fini can also cover against Ground-type Pokémon for both of its partners. Aegislash, on the other hand, is able to take Steel-type and Fighting-type attacks for Tyranitar, as well as Grass-type and Poison-type for Tapu Fini. It also provides Wide Guard support for Tyranitar against incoming Earthquakes or Muddy Waters. In return, Tyranitar can take Ghost-type and Fire-type attacks for Aegislash, as well as providing weather control against harsh sunlight for both of its partners.

Sun
Therian Forme
The idea behind Tyranitar’s synergy with the sun core is mainly weather control, with two options in sand and sun. Furthermore, both Mega Charizard Y and Tyranitar are not completely dependent on their weathers to function properly, which makes this core a flexible set of teammates for Tyranitar. All three of these Pokémon take Fighting-type attacks with ease, Charizard and Landorus threaten a lot of damage with spread moves like Tyranitar can, and Tyranitar is able to comfortably wreak havoc under a Trick Room with its slow base speed of 61.

Tapu Bulu

Tapu Bulu provides excellent defensive synergy for Tyranitar with its Grass and Fairy-typings, as well as its ability to set up the Grassy Terrain. Being able to take down Ground-types and Water-types, take Fighting-type attacks, as well as weakening the damage output of an Earthquake are what Tapu Bulu provides for Tyranitar. In return, Tyranitar can protect Tapu Bulu against Ice-types, Fire-types, and even Flying-types.


Threats

Rain
 /  +  /  / 
Though Tyranitar has an opportunity to seize weather control, rain is still a difficult matchup for it to pull through because not only Tyranitar is weak to water, it also loses out on its special defense boost from the sand, making it even more vulnerable. What makes this matchup worse is that Swapert is a Ground-type, and Ludicolo is a Grass-type, which makes rain a favorable matchup against Tyranitar. If you become unlucky, there may be a random Fightinium Z on the Politoed to KO things like Kangaskhan and Ferrothorn, and this eccentric attack is something Tyranitar needs to stay away from at all costs if you want to win the weather war.

Landorus-T
Therian Forme
Landorus-T will forever be the bane of Tyranitar’s existence. Landorus is faster, and it can easily threaten with either an Earthquake, a U-Turn, or even a Superpower. Furthermore, Landorus-T has access to Intimidate, which can hamper Tyranitar’s damage output.

Physical Grass-types

These three Grass-types specifically are not what Tyranitar want to see. Tapu Bulu and Kartana both have a very high base attack stat, so they easily threaten a OHKO from their STAB moves, Wood Hammer or Leaf Blade, respectively, or a mighty Z-Move in Bloom Doom. All three of them also have a high base defense stat, which means they don’t take very much damage from Tyranitar. Ferrothorn and Kartana are also Steel-types, which means they’ll be taking negligible damage from Rock Slide.

Fighting-types

These are examples of common Fighting-types in the format. Tyranitar is four times weak to Fighting, so it takes minimal damage from moves of both STAB types. Then, these Fighting-type Pokémon will easily OHKO Tyranitar, even after an intimidate. Kommo-o and Pheromosa are the only ones that are viable with Focus Blast, with Pheromosa being the only one of these that can use a Z-Move based off Focus Blast.

Fighting-type Moves
Therian Forme
These Pokémon are not Fighting-type, but are viable to carry one. Either with a physical move such as Low Kick, Superpower, Drain Punch, Sacred Sword, etc., or with a Fightinium Z that’s based off Focus Blast as a special nuke. Although not common on some Pokémon, it’s better to be aware of it if you want to keep Tyranitar around.


Closing Thoughts

Tyranitar is an offensive threat to the metagame, and its offensive prowess, combined with the defensive synergy it can provide to its teammates are unique on its own. The best part about Tyranitar is it doesn’t fully rely on its weather to function the way it wants to during battle. As of now, Tyranitar is currently one of the best Pokémon in the format, and I highly recommend using this Pokémon on a team sometime.

[VGC 2018] PokéAnalysis #3: Zapdos

zapdos

Artwork by ishmam.

Alola! It’s Kasoman, and I’m back with the third installment of my PokéAnalysis series for the VGC 2018 format! Today, I will be featuring a Pokémon that went from underrated back in 2012-2016 to one of the best in 2018. A Pokémon that has been a classic, and has maintained its consistency in the competitive scene for years. What you’re about to read is an analysis on Zapdos!

122116_2244_VGC2017PokA2.png

“Zapdos is a legendary bird Pokémon that has the ability to control electricity. It usually lives in thunderclouds. The Pokémon gains power if it is stricken by lightning bolts.”


Pokémon Details

Zapdos_Dreamworld

Ability:

  • Pressure – If this Pokémon is hit by a move, the opponent’s PP lowers by two rather than one.

Typing

Stats

Base stats taken from Bulbapedia.

Movepool:

Movepool

Role in the Metagame

Image result for zapdos anime

Zapdos is a versatile Pokémon with great typing, a great movepool, along with great stats, which include a high base special attack stat, as well as a surprisingly good amount of bulk. Upon the release of Sun and Moon, Thundurus-Incarnate has been heavily nerfed, which means Zapdos is now a dominant Electric-type Pokémon in the playing field of VGC. Because Zapdos is such a well-rounded Pokémon, it can fit in many teams so well, most notably being with CHALK and rain as two of its main archetypes. It can play different roles such as an offensive attacker or a bulky supporter, or maybe even a mix of both. Over the past years, Zapdos has been an underrated Pokémon for usage, and now, it’s proving itself to be a major threat in this year’s format.


Viable Items


Assault Vest – When held by a Pokémon, it increases the special defense stat by 50%, but requires the Pokémon to only use damaging attacks.


Life Orb – When this item is held by a Pokémon, the damage from the moves used by the holder is increased by 30%. The holder loses 10% of their maximum HP each turn.


Grassy Seed – This item will boost the user’s Defense by 1 stage when Grassy Terrain is activated.

 
Misty/Psychic Seed – This item will boost the user’s Special Defense by 1 stage when Misty/Psychic Terrain activates.


Pinch Berries – If held by a Pokémon, it restores the user’s HP by 50% in a pinch, but it will cause confusion if the user hates the taste.

  • In this case, Zapdos will get confused when it consumes a Figy Berry.


Electrium Z – When held by a Pokémon, it allows them to either use the move Gigavolt Havoc when they have a Physical/Special Electric-type move, or it boosts their Electric-type Status Move.


Sample Sets

Misty/Psychic Seed
 / 
Zapdos
Ability: Pressure
Nature: Calm
Held Item: Misty Seed or Psychic Seed
EVs: 236 HP / 116 Def / 60 SpA / 4 SpD / 92 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power [Ice] / Heat Wave
– Tailwind
– Roost / Protect / Detect

Defensive Calcs:

  • -1 252 Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge vs. 236 HP / 116 Def Zapdos: 83-100 (42.5 – 51.2%) — 0.7% chance to 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Ludicolo Hydro Vortex (185 BP) vs. +1 236 HP / 4+ SpD Zapdos in Rain: 135-159 (69.2 – 81.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Shattered Psyche (175 BP) vs. +1 236 HP / 4+ SpD Zapdos in Psychic Terrain: 163-193 (83.5 – 98.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO

The first set I will be featuring is a modified version of Sam Temple (@templevgc)’s spread, which is originally found on his blog, The Nimbasa City Post. It allows Zapdos that allows to take advantage of terrains set up by Tapu Fini or Tapu Lele with its bulk. With these seeds, Zapdos has the ability to stick around on the field longer with a boost in Special Defense. The physical investment is a benchmark set by Conan Wild (@RazerVGC), which makes a Double-Edge from a Mega Kangaskhan of a jolly nature almost always a 3HKO after an intimidate, and I was surprisingly able to retain the other original investments made by Temple. According to him, Zapdos does not need much special defense investment since the seed would already boost the stat significantly, allowing Zapdos to survive a Hydro Vortex from Ludicolo in the rain, as well as a Shattered Psyche from Tapu Lele in Psychic Terrain. For this kind of set, Roost is generally preferred, but Protect or Detect are also decent options since they prevent Zapdos from taking any attacks. As for the choice between Hidden Power Ice and Heat Wave, it really depends on the needs of your team. Usually, I’d go with Hidden Power Ice, but if the team struggles against something like Ferrothorn, then Heat Wave would be the superior choice in this case.

Grassy Seed

Zapdos
Ability: Pressure
Nature: Bold
Held Item: Grassy Seed
EVs: 236 HP / 4 Def / 60 SpA / 116 SpD / 92 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power [Ice] / Heat Wave
– Tailwind
– Roost / Protect / Detect

Defensive Calcs:

  • -1 252+ Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge vs. +1 236 HP / 4+ Def Zapdos: 64-77 (32.8 – 39.4%) — 100% chance to 3HKO
  • 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Moonblast vs. 236 HP / 116 SpD Zapdos: 85-102 (43.5 – 52.3%) — 12.9% chance to 2HKO

Surprise! This is a reverse engineering of the other spread above, and surprisingly, there are still important calcs in this one. Like the last spread, since Zapdos has the Grassy Seed, not much defense investment is needed at all. With its special defense investment, it’s able to take two Moonblasts from a modest Tapu Lele 14 out of 16 times. The nice thing about the synergy between Zapdos and Tapu Bulu is they can easily cover each other’s weaknesses, with Zapdos being able to hit Flying-types, while Tapu Bulu can hit Rock-types.

Gigavolt Havoc

Zapdos
Ability: Pressure
Nature: Modest
Held Item: Electrium Z
EVs: 236 HP / 116 Def / 28 SpA / 84 SpD / 44 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power [Ice] / Heat Wave
– Tailwind
– Protect / Detect / Roost

Defensive Calcs:

  • -1 252 Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge vs. 236 HP / 116 Def Zapdos: 83-100 (42.5 – 51.2%) — 0.7% chance to 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Shattered Psyche (175 BP) vs. 236 HP / 84 SpD Zapdos: 163-193 (83.5 – 98.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO

This EV spread was created by Conan Wild (@RazerVGC), which is probably the most standard of Electrium Z spreads at the moment. Like the first spread I featured, a Double-Edge from a jolly Mega Kangaskhan is almost always a 3HKO after an intimidate. Because Zapdos has a naturally high base special attack, it doesn’t need a whole lot of investment into the stat, especially with the Electrium Z being utilized for big damage. Zapdos has a surprising amount of bulk, and this spread allows it to survive a Shattered Psyche from a Tapu Lele outside of Psychic Terrain. Protect or Detect are preferred moves since this set is offensive, but Roost isn’t a shabby idea either since Zapdos is bulky enough to hold on.

Pinch Berry
 /  /  / 
Zapdos
Ability: Pressure
Nature: Modest
Held Item: Any Pinch Berry (except Figy)
EVs: 244 HP / 68 Def / 28 SpA / 92 SpD / 76 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power [Ice] / Heat Wave
– Tailwind
– Roost / Protect / Detect

Defensive Calcs:

  • 252+ Atk Landorus-T Rock Slide vs. 244 HP / 68 Def Zapdos: 80-96 (40.8 – 48.9%) — guaranteed 4HKO after Pinch Berry recovery
  • 116+ SpA Pixilate Mega Gardevoir Hyper Voice vs. 244 HP / 92 SpD Zapdos: 82-97 (41.8 – 49.4%) — guaranteed 4HKO after Pinch Berry recovery
  • -1 252+ Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge vs. 244 HP / 68 Def Zapdos: 95-115 (48.4 – 58.6%) — 99.8% chance to 3HKO after Pinch Berry recovery

Other Benchmarks:

  • Outspeeds a modest Heatran
  • Outspeeds a +1 adamant Mega Salamence when Tailwind is set up
  • HP is 4n

This spread allows Zapdos to stick around on the field as long as possible while maintaining an offensive presence with its modest nature. With a pinch berry, a Rock Slide from an adamant Landorus, as well as a Hyper Voice from up to 116+ SpA Mega Gardevoir will always be a 4HKO. Even a Double-Edge from an adamant Mega Kangaskhan will almost always be a 3HKO after an intimidate. Roost is preferred here for Zapdos to sit on the field for longer, but Protect or Detect are also viable options for Zapdos to avoid getting hit by attacks. It’s also important to note the HP stat is divisible by 4, which makes the stat optimal for a pinch berry.

Life Orb

Zapdos
Ability: Pressure
Naure: Timid
Held Item: Life Orb
EVs: 28 HP / 4 Def / 220 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power [Ice] / Heat Wave
– Tailwind / Heat Wave
– Protect / Detect

Other Benchmarks:

  • HP is 10n-1

This is a very offensive variant of Zapdos, which utilizes the Life Orb as its item choice. The most important benchmark on this spread is its HP stat, which makes it optimized for the recoil damage. For the most part, it is max speed to pick up as many fast KO’s as it can. Like always, Hidden Power Ice or Heat Wave would depend on the needs of your team. It’s recommended for Zapdos to have Tailwind as an option for speed control, but it’s also not a bad idea for Zapdos to be an all-out attacker. Keep in mind that this Zapdos is a lot more frail than the other spreads I’ve featured so far.

Assault Vest

Zapdos
Ability: Pressure
Nature: Modest
Held Item: Assault Vest
EVs: 236 HP / 116 Def / 44 SpA / 92 SpD / 20 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk if set does not have Sky Drop, or 31 Atk if set does have Sky Drop
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power [Ice] / Heat Wave
– Sky Drop / Heat Wave
– Volt Switch

Defensive Calcs:

  • -1 252 Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge vs. 236 HP / 116 Def Zapdos: 83-100 (42.5 – 51.2%) — 0.7% chance to 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Shattered Psyche (175 BP) vs. 236 HP / 92 SpD Assault Vest Zapdos in Psychic Terrain: 163-193 (83.5 – 98.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Other Benchmarks:

  • Outspeeds an adamant Bisharp

Zapdos has access to Volt Switch and Sky Drop, but unfortunately, those moves don’t really have a chance to shine in competitive play. The best way for Zapdos to utilize these two moves is with the Assault Vest, and with its typing, using this item shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Because Zapdos wouldn’t have access to Tailwind for this set, speed investment shouldn’t be much of a concern since all it really needs to outspeed is an adamant Bisharp. Just like almost the other spreads I’ve featured, we’ll be sticking with Razer’s physical defensive investment. As for the special defensive investment, Zapdos is able to withstand a Shattered Psyche from Tapu Lele, even in Psychic Terrain. Alternatively, you don’t have to run Sky Drop if you want to run both Hidden Power Ice and Heat Wave.


Sample Partners

Tapu Lele & Tapu Fini

Because Tapu Lele and Tapu Fini have terrains, Zapdos can utilize them to its advantage by increasing its special bulk with the Psychic Seed or the Misty Seed, respectively. Tapu Lele can cover for Zapdos by dealing a large amount of damage, while Tapu Fini can cover for its weakness to Rock-types. In return, Zapdos can cover for these two against the likes of opposing bulky Water-types, as well as Mega Charizard Y.

Tapu Bulu

Zapdos can utilize the Grassy Terrain to its advantage by increasing its physical bulk with the Grassy Seed. Although the synergy is not as common as it would be with Tapu Lele or Tapu Fini, Zapdos and Tapu Bulu have a more defensive synergy, namely against rain teams. While Zapdos can cover against Flying-types, including Mega Salamence with a Hidden Power Ice, Tapu Bulu can cover Zapdos’s weakness to Rock-types. Furthermore, Zapdos also resists Steel, another type that Tapu Bulu is weak to.

CHALK
 Therian Forme
Because Thundurus-I has been nerfed significantly, Zapdos is now one of the best Electric-types in VGC, and with the introduction of Tapu Fini, Zapdos pairs with this archetype fairly well. Kangaskhan can provide Fake Out support to help Zapdos set up a Tailwind, while Zapdos can take Fighting-type attacks with relative ease. Zapdos can easily switch into potential Ground-type moves that would target Heatran, namely those from Landorus-T, and Zapdos can easily retaliate with a Hidden Power Ice. With Cresselia, the opponent faces two very bulky Pokémon with different forms of speed control. Cresselia can provide support with Helping Hand to help Zapdos deal more damage, or even Icy Wind or Trick Room for speed control, while Zapdos can take Bug-type attacks in return. With Landorus, Zapdos can take care of Water-types, while Landorus-T can safely use Earthquake next to it. With Tapu Fini, Zapdos can gain a significant amount of bulk thanks to the Misty Seed.

Rain
 /  +  /  / 
Zapdos can pair well with rain because Charizard Y can threaten weather control, and Zapdos is a secondary option in stopping Charizard Y should the weather be changed to sun. Politoed is the preferred rain setter for Zapdos because it’s bulky, it has access to Icy Wind, and it also has access to disruptive moves such as Encore and Perish Song. Ludicolo is an excellent partner for Fake Out support in case Zapdos needs to set up a Tailwind. Kingdra can slightly deal more damage than Ludicolo thanks to its base 95 special attack stat, and it also has access to Disable as a disruptive move. Swampert is the only rain abuser that deals physical damage, and it’s a great option for stopping Pokémon like Tapu Koko and Nihilego.

Japanese Sand
 
Zapdos can provide a speed control option with Tailwind, Excadrill can safely use Earthquake next to it, and most importantly, Zapdos covers the Water-type weakness for Tyranitar and Excadrill. Zapdos can also help this core improve matchups against opposing weather.

Mega Gardevoir & Friends
Therian Forme +  / 
This is one of the more interesting archetypes Zapdos would naturally fit into. With this archetype, this team would have speed control options in both Trick Room and Tailwind, both of them being from bulky offensive Pokémon. Incineroar may not have access to Intimidate yet, but it is such a key partner for both Gardevoir and Zapdos.


Threats

Rock-types

Rock-types hit Zapdos for a lot of damage, and they are almost always guaranteed to 2HKO with Rock Slide. Nihilego is the only one that can deal special damage to Zapdos, which means it doesn’t need to worry about Intimidate. Aerodactyl naturally outspeeds Zapdos, so it’s always likely to set up a Tailwind first. Both forms of Tyranitar can deal massive damage, and Zapdos has to be especially wary of Mega Tyranitar, as they typically carry Dragon Dance. Terrakion is not seen as much, but Whimsicott can boost Terrakion’s attack with Beat Up, thanks to its ability, Justified, along with a Tailwind. Once Terrakion is all set up, Zapdos would be most likely not be able to do anything the moment it enters the field. Stakataka is very slow, it can set up Trick Room, and most importantly, it has a very high base attack stat.

Tapu Koko

Tapu Koko is a huge threat to Zapdos because it has access to Taunt to deny a Tailwind setup, and it can also threaten a OHKO with a Gigavolt Havoc on more offensive sets.

Bulky Grass-types
Mow Rotom
Because Grass-types resist Electric-type moves, Zapdos can’t do very much to them without Heat Wave. Rotom-Mow is especially problematic since it’s four times resistant to Electric-type moves. Hidden Power Ice can deal a decent amount of damage, but the output is still nowhere near significant.

Japanese Sand
 
Tyranitar threatens a lot of damage with Rock Slide, and sometimes, it can carry a Choice Scarf, which is especially problematic for Zapdos when it’s paired with Excadrill. Salamence naturally outspeeds Zapdos, which means that the opposing Tailwind will always be set up first, should both Pokémon use this move on the same turn. With that being said, if the Tailwind is set up for the opposing side, it is almost impossible for Excadrill to be outsped.


Closing Thoughts

With its underrated consistency throughout the years, Zapdos has finally gotten the attention it deserves, and the way it performs in the VGC 2018 format proves why it is one of the best Pokémon this year. If you need a reasonable Pokémon that can replace the heavily nerfed Thundurus-Incarnate, Zapdos is well worth considering.

[VGC 2018] PokéAnalysis #2: Mega Charizard Y

mega-charizard-y

Artwork by ishmam.

Alola! It’s Kasoman, and I’m back with the second segment of the VGC 2018 PokéAnalysis series! Today, I will be featuring a classic Pokémon that is still a widely popular choice to both competitive and casual players alike, Charizard! This segment will feature its Y forme of its Mega Evolution. Last time, I did an analysis on Landorus-Therian, and if you didn’t have a chance to read it, you can check it out here.

122116_2244_VGC2017PokA2.png

“Its wings can carry this Pokémon close to an altitude of 4,600 feet. It blows out fire at very high temperatures. When expelling a blast of superhot fire, the red flame at the tip of its tail burns more intensely.”


Pokémon Details

62257_006Charizard_Mega_Y_Dream

Ability:

  • Drought – Weather changes to intense sunshine as the Pokémon enters the battle. This lasts for five turns.

Details

Stats

Base stats taken from Bulbapedia.

Movepool


Role in the Metagame

Trevor_Mega_Charizard_Y

Mega Charizard Y is one of the best megas in the format because it has an option for weather control against archetypes such as Rain and Sand, it has one of the most basic typings in fire, and it has an excellent offensive prowess of a base 159 special attack, combined with a fast base speed of 100. What makes Charizard Y stand out as a Mega Evolution is its flexibility in sets. It is able to run a standard fast offensive set, or it can run a bulkier support set that utilizes the move Tailwind for speed control. All in all, Charizard Y proves itself to be one of the best Mega Pokémon since its debut in 2014.


Sample Sets

Terry Newton’s Offensive
 → 
Charizard
Ability: Blaze → Drought
Nature: Timid
Held Item: Charizardite Y
EVs: 60 HP / 196 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Heat Wave / Flamethrower
– Solar Beam
– Overheat / Flamethrower
– Protect

Defensive Calcs:

  • -1 252 Atk Kangaskhan Double-Edge vs. 60 HP / 0 Def Charizard: 67-81 (41.6 – 50.3%) — 0.4% chance to 2HKO
  • -1 252+ Atk Landorus-T Rock Slide vs. 60 HP / 0 Def Mega Charizard Y: 124-148 (77 – 91.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 4 Atk Aerilate Mega Salamence Double-Edge vs. 60 HP / 0 Def Mega Charizard Y: 138-163 (85.7 – 101.2%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
  • 252 SpA Aerilate Mega Salamence Hyper Voice vs. 60 HP / 0 SpD Mega Charizard Y: 58-69 (36 – 42.8%) — guaranteed 3HKO

Offensive Calcs:

  • Heat Wave:
    • 196 SpA Mega Charizard Y Heat Wave vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Kangaskhan in Sun: 123-145 (67.9 – 80.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
    • 196 SpA Mega Charizard Y Heat Wave vs. 180 HP / 12 SpD Kangaskhan in Sun: 121-144 (59.6 – 70.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
    • 196 SpA Mega Charizard Y Heat Wave vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Landorus-T in Sun: 123-145 (74.5 – 87.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
    • 196 SpA Mega Charizard Y Heat Wave vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T in Sun: 81-96 (49 – 58.1%) — 96.5% chance to 2HKO
  • Solar Beam:
    • 196 SpA Mega Charizard Y Solar Beam vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Kangaskhan: 92-109 (50.8 – 60.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
    • 196 SpA Mega Charizard Y Solar Beam vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Landorus-T: 92-109 (55.7 – 66%) — guaranteed 2HKO
    • 196 SpA Mega Charizard Y Solar Beam vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Tapu Fini: 124-146 (70 – 82.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • Flamethrower:
    • 196 SpA Mega Charizard Y Flamethrower vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Kangaskhan in Sun: 156-184 (86.1 – 101.6%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
    • 196 SpA Mega Charizard Y Flamethrower vs. 180 HP / 12 SpD Kangaskhan in Sun: 153-181 (75.3 – 89.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
    • 196 SpA Mega Charizard Y Flamethrower vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Landorus-T in Sun: 156-184 (94.5 – 111.5%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO
    • 196 SpA Mega Charizard Y Flamethrower vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T in Sun: 103-123 (62.4 – 74.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • Overheat:
    • 196 SpA Mega Charizard Y Overheat vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Kangaskhan in Sun: 225-265 (124.3 – 146.4%) — guaranteed OHKO
    • 196 SpA Mega Charizard Y Overheat vs. 180 HP / 12 SpD Kangaskhan in Sun: 220-261 (108.3 – 128.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
    • 196 SpA Mega Charizard Y Overheat vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Landorus-T in Sun: 225-265 (136.3 – 160.6%) — guaranteed OHKO
    • 196 SpA Mega Charizard Y Overheat vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T in Sun: 150-177 (90.9 – 107.2%) — 43.8% chance to OHKO

Normally, one would start off with max special attack and max speed, which is perfectly fine for its simplicity. However, this offensive spread was created by Terry Newton (@UltraTerryy) for a Sun Balance team he piloted in the Battle Spot Doubles ladder in Sun and Moon (you can use it for VGC 2018). The main defensive benchmark is probably a jolly Kangaskhan’s Double-Edge after an intimidate, which is practically a 3HKO on this spread. Because some players would prefer Flamethrower for accuracy, I decided to include offensive calcs for Heat Wave, Flamethrower, and Overheat to help you decide which Fire-type moves you want in your set. Overall, the spread depends on your playstyle and your team’s needs, but this is a great place to start, and I’m personally a fan of this spread.

Tailwind Support
 → 
Charizard
Ability: Blaze → Drought
Nature: Modest
Held Item: Charizardite Y
EVs: 252 HP / 132 Def / 100 SpA / 4 SpD / 20 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Heat Wave / Flamethrower
– Solar Beam / Overheat / Hidden Power [Ground]
– Tailwind
– Protect

Defensive Calcs:

  • 252+ Atk Landorus-T Rock Slide vs. 252 HP / 132 Def Mega Charizard Y: 156-188 (84.3 – 101.6%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
  • -1 252+ Atk Kangaskhan Double-Edge vs. 252 HP / 132 Def Mega Charizard Y: 64-76 (34.5 – 41%) — guaranteed 3HKO
  • 252+ SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Mega Charizard Y: 156-187 (84.3 – 101%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO

The main goal of this spread is to have enough bulk to safely set up with Tailwind. It allows Charizard to survive a Rock Slide from an adamant Landorus-T 15 out of 16 times without needing an intimidate to weaken the opposing Landorus. The special attack and speed are key investments on their own. 100 EVs into special attack for modest nature allows Charizard to deal the same amount of damage as a max special attack timid Charizard Y, which gives you the luxury of investing more into bulk, as I’ve done in my EV spread. As for speed, the main benchmark is Bisharp of an adamant nature, and the reason why I benchmarked for Bisharp is because there is a possibility it may rise in usage, as a handful of teams out there are not very prepared for it, and Bisharp is good at dealing with Cresselia, Aegislash, Tapu Lele, and Tapu Bulu. It’s especially dangerous that Bisharp’s ability is Defiant, which gives it a +1 attack boost after an intimidate. There are a lot of viable base 100 speed Pokémon in the format, so you may need to adjust your speed investment accordingly. Hidden Power Ground is another option in attacks in case your team struggles against Heatran, and it can also deal decent damage to other Fire-types such as Incineroar and Camerupt.


Sample Partners

Sun Core
Therian Forme
A popular core from 2015, which is built around Mega Charizard Y, Landorus-T, and Cresselia. Charizard pairs well with Landorus-T because both of them have access to spread moves that deal a lot of damage thanks to their combined offensive prowess. Against opposing Landorus, Cresselia can cover Charizard with with Ice Beam or Icy Wind, as Landorus-T is one of the biggest threats to Charizard Y. Cresselia also has access to Trick Room as a method of speed control, and its especially helpful for those who run a Tailwind Support set as a secondary method of speed control.

If you want an in-depth explanation of this core, you can watch this video done by Jack TheBattler (@JackTheBattler), where he provides a very detailed explanation of what this core can do, as well as how you can EV each of those Pokémon to fulfill certain roles.

 

FAT

FAT, currently known as “Fini, Aegislash, Tyranitar,” is a rising core in the 2018 format because of their combined bulk, as well as their defensive typings. Charizard Y pairs exceptionally well with this core because it gives them another option of weather, and it also provides them fire coverage, completing a fire/fairy/dark core, something that became popular in the 2015 Post-Worlds metagame, which featured Charizard Y, Tyranitar, and Sylveon at the time. What this core does for Charizard is Tapu Fini covers against Landorus-T, as well as being able to take Water-type attacks. Tyranitar deals with opposing Charizard Y exceptionally well thanks to its high base attack and ability to use Rock Slide. Lastly, Aegislash provides Wide Guard support to block incoming Rock Slides from the opposing Pokémon. Terry Newton’s Sun Balance team, which is shared under his set is actually two combined cores of Charizard Y/Landorus-T/Cresselia and FAT.

Rotom-W
Wash Rotom
Although Rotom-W’s Hydro Pump will be weakened in the sun, it is an exceptionally great counter to Landorus-T, as it can deal a lot of damage with Hydro Pump, it is immune to Ground-type moves thanks to Levitate, it’s bulky enough to take hits well, and it can also easily burn the opposing Landorus with Will-O-Wisp since Landorus is a Flying-type. On top of that, Rotom-W deals with Water-types with Electric-type moves. In return, Charizard can cover against Grass-types such as Amoonguss, Tapu Bulu, and Kartana with its Fire-type moves.

Tapu Koko

Tapu Koko is great for dealing with Water-types with its Electric-type moves, and Electrium Z is one of the most popular items for this Pokémon. Tapu Koko is also a very fast Pokémon, so it is capable of picking up quick KOs against many opposing Pokémon in the format such as Tapu Fini and opposing Charizard Y. In addition to this, Tapu Koko also has access to Dazzling Gleam as a spread move to deal with Dragon-types such as Salamence, and it is also capable of picking up a KO on Landorus with Hidden Power Ice. Tapu Koko also has access to Taunt to prevent other Pokémon from setting up, and it’s especially helpful for the fact both Charizard and Tapu Koko are fast Pokémon.


Checks and Counters

Landorus-T
Therian Forme
Even though Landorus-T is one of its best partners, if not, the best partner, Landorus-T is also known to be its arch nemesis because of its ability to repeatedly use Rock Slide, especially when holding a Choice Scarf. Many max speed Charizard Y can easily lose to a Landorus-T holding a Choice Scarf, so careful play and speed control is required to play around it. The good news is that Charizard Y can deal a lot of damage to Landorus-T in return, possibly even picking up a OHKO with Overheat.

Mega Kangaskhan

Mega Kangaskhan is a threat to Charizard because it has access to Fake Out, which helps it deny a possible Tailwind set up on its first turn, and it can deal a lot of damage with Double-Edge thanks to its ability, Parental Bond, combined with STAB. Kangaskhan also has access to Sucker Punch, which helps it pick up a quick KO if Charizard Y has been heavily damaged. Because Charizard Y is a Flying-type, there’s no way it will get protected from the Psychic Terrain.

Rock-types

These are fast Rock-type Pokémon Charizard Y needs to very cautious of because they are almost always guaranteed to pick up an easy KO on Charizard Y. Aerodactyl is also capable of setting up Tailwind, as well as supporting its partners with Wide Guard, which is especially problematic. Nihilego is a special attacker, so it does not need to worry about an incoming intimidate to KO Charizard Y with Power Gem. Terrakion is known to be paired with Whimsicott for Beat Up + Justified shenanigans, and if Terrakion is all set up and ready to wreck havoc, chances are Charizard Y won’t be able to do anything when it enters the field.

Electric-types
Wash Rotom
Electric-types threaten a lot of damage to Charizard Y, especially fast ones like Manectric and Tapu Koko. In fact, thanks to the Electric Terrain, Tapu Koko easily picks up a OHKO on Charizard Y, no matter how bulky it is. Zapdos is naturally a bulky Pokémon, it has access to Tailwind as a method of speed control, and it can also take advantage of its own bulk by sitting there and using Roost repeatedly. The most common items on Zapdos are Electrium Z, Misty Seed, or Psychic Seed, so Charizard Y is either threatened to get KO’d quickly, or it cannot take down Zapdos quick enough. Rotom-W is both Water and Electric-type, so the only way for Charizard Y to hit Rotom-W is with a super effective Solar Beam, but don’t count on it picking up an easy KO since Rotom-W is also a naturally bulky Pokémon. Manectric has access to Intimidate as its ability, so it can easily cripple your physical attackers that you would need to take it down. Thundurus-T is fast, and has a ridiculously high base special attack, and a handful of them tend to carry a Choice Scarf. Xurkitree, on the other hand, can set up with a Tail Glow, and its bulk is no slouch either. Once Xurkitree is set up with proper speed control, Charizard Y will have a bad time.

Rain
 /  +  /  / 
Just as an opposing weather can cripple Charizard Y’s damage output, it can’t get any worse if it benefits Water-types, a type Charizard Y wants to avoid. The worst part is that each of the abusers of rain have Swift Swim as their abilities, and they are almost guaranteed to pick up an easy KO on Charizard Y is the opposing Pokémon has both the weather and speed control. Furthermore, Politoed and Pelipper can not only set up the weather, but they also have their speed control methods in Icy Wind and Tailwind, respectively.

Sand
 +  / 
Another opposing weather, and it’s a scary one for Charizard to face. Tyranitar has a high base attack stat, and some players who use this archetype would prefer offensive items such as Choice Scarf or Life Orb, and being paired with Excadrill is especially terrifying because of its ability Sand Rush, which doubles its speed in the sandstorm. This version of sand, known as Japanese Sand, has been known for repeated usage of Rock Slide because of the fast speeds involved, which is something Charizard Y absolutely does not want to deal with. Landorus-I is a somewhat strange Pokémon to mention, but a player named Angel Miranda (@AngelJMiranda) decided to use Landorus-I as the abuser to create the American Sand team, and he finished 3rd Place at Georgia Regionals with it back in 2015. Many renditions of this archetype would carry Sludge Bomb this year; however, Landorus-I also has access to Stone Edge, which the original version had, and it is specifically utilized to KO Mega Charizard Y. Mega Salamence, another known abuser of sand, though it doesn’t actually benefit from sand, can repeatedly use Hyper Voice to whittle down Charizard Y, threaten a lot of damage with Double-Edge, possibly even picking up a OHKO, and most of all, Salamence walls Charizard Y thanks to its Dragon and Flying typings. Another thing to be cautious of is that many Salamence tend to carry Tailwind, so it might be near impossible to outspeed the opposing Pokémon with your own Tailwind.

Heatran

If Charizard Y does not have Hidden Power Ground, it absolutely cannot touch Heatran, and thanks to Flash Fire, Heatran gets a boost for Fire-type moves when hit with Fire-type moves from opposing Pokémon. Furthermore, Heatran has a high special attack stat, so it is no slouch in whittling down Charizard Y with a Fire-type move, especially in the sun.

Tapu Lele

Although their type matchups do not directly correlate, Tapu Lele deals a lot of damage with Psychic in its own terrain, and if it holds the Psychium Z, it is almost always guaranteed to KO Charizard Y. Tapu Lele also has access to Taunt, which can be problematic for bulky Tailwind variants since it has a base speed of 95.


Closing Thoughts

Charizard has always been a classic Pokémon people come to know and love since the franchise first started, and its popularity in the competitive scene made a resurgence since it got a Mega Evolution in X and Y. Since its debut in 2014, Charizard Y has been one of the best Mega Pokémon because of its offensive prowess, its ability to set up weather, as well as an option in speed control. In 2018, Charizard Y will be consistent as one of the most used Pokémon in the format because of these qualities it has, just like 2014 and 2015.

[VGC 2018] PokéAnalysis #1: Landorus-Therian

Alola! It’s Kasoman, and I’m launching my first segment of the VGC 2018 PokéAnalysis series! Today, I will be featuring a widely known Pokémon throughout formats past and present, Landorus-Therian, the King of Intimidation!

122116_2244_VGC2017PokA2.png

“From the forces of lightning and wind, it creates energy to give nutrients to the soil and make the land abundant. Lands visited by Landorus grant such bountiful crops that it has been hailed as ‘The Guardian of the Fields.'”


Pokémon Details

645-therian

Ability:

  • Intimidate – 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.

Details.png

 

Therian

Base stats taken from Bulbapedia.

 

Movepool


Role in the Metagame

Landorus-Therian has been known, both famously and infamously, as one of the best Pokémon in almost every VGC format since its first appearance in 2013. Landorus is a very versatile Pokémon, being able to hold roles in being an offensive powerhouse, picking up fast KO’s, or even simply being utilized for pivoting, which prove why it fits on many teams so well. The versatility of Landorus is contributed by its ridiculously high base attack, decent bulk, above average speed, typing, as well as one of the best abilities in the game. Landorus has been proven to be one of the most used Pokémon for years, and because the majority of popular Mega Evolutions have been nerfed, Landorus is poised to take the throne this year.


Viable Items


Assault Vest – When held by a Pokémon, it increases the special defense stat by 50%, but requires the Pokémon to only use damaging attacks.


Choice Band – When this item is being held, the user’s attack is increased by 50%, but the Pokémon is limited to using the first attack it uses until it is withdrawn from battle.


Choice Scarf – When this item is being held, the user’s speed is increased by 50%, but the Pokémon is limited to using the first attack it uses until it is withdrawn from battle.


Focus Sash – When this item is held, if the Pokémon has full HP but is hit by an attack that would knock it out, this item prevents the holder from fainting and keeps it at 1HP. The Focus Sash disappears after use.


Life Orb – When this item is held by a Pokémon, the damage from the moves used by the holder is increased by 30%. The holder loses 10% of their maximum HP each turn.


Groundium Z – When held by a Pokémon, it allows them to either use the move Tectonic Rage when they have a Physical/Special Ground-type move, or it boosts their Ground-type Status Move.


Flyinium Z – When held by a Pokémon, it allows them to either use the move Supersonic Skystrike when they have a Physical/Special Flying-type move, or it boosts their Flying-type Status Move.


Sample Sets

Choice Scarf
Therian Forme
Landorus-Therian
Ability: Intimidate
Nature: Adamant / Jolly
Held Item: Choice Scarf
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Rock Slide
– Earthquake
– Superpower
– U-turn

The Choice Scarf, at the moment, is one of the most popular items in the format, as well as in Battle Spot Doubles before the 2018 format started. With the Choice Scarf, Landorus outspeeds a lot of opposing Pokémon, which allows it to pick up quick KO’s, adjust board positioning much faster, as well as bank on flinches.

Fast Vest
Therian Forme
Landorus-Therian
Ability: Intimidate
Nature: Jolly
Held Item: Assault Vest
EVs: 84 HP / 164 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Rock Slide
– Earthquake
– Superpower / Knock Off
– U-turn

Defensive Calcs:

  • +1 252+ SpA Tapu Fini Muddy Water vs. 84 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 122-146 (69.7 – 83.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • +1 252+ SpA Tapu Fini Scald vs. 84 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 146-174 (83.4 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • +3 36+ SpA Tapu Fini Moonblast vs. 84 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 118-139 (67.4 – 79.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • +3 36+ SpA Tapu Fini Dazzling Gleam vs. 84 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 73-87 (41.7 – 49.7%) — guaranteed 3HKO
  • 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Moonblast vs. 84 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 72-85 (41.1 – 48.5%) — guaranteed 3HKO
  • 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 84 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T in Psychic Terrain: 102-121 (58.2 – 69.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Choice Specs Tapu Koko Hidden Power Ice vs. 84 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 148-176 (84.5 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
  • 252+ SpA Tapu Koko Twinkle Tackle (160 BP) vs. 84 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 97-115 (55.4 – 65.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Cresselia Ice Beam vs. 84 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 128-152 (73.1 – 86.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Heatran Hidden Power Ice vs. 84 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 120-144 (68.5 – 82.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 SpA Mega Charizard Y Overheat vs. 84 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T in Sun: 153-181 (87.4 – 103.4%) — 25% chance to OHKO

Offensive Calcs:

  • 164 Atk Landorus-T Rock Slide vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Mega Charizard Y: 160-192 (104.5 – 125.4%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 164 Atk Landorus-T Earthquake vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko in Electric Terrain: 150-176 (102.7 – 120.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 164 Atk Landorus-T Superpower vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Heatran: 134-158 (68 – 80.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 164 Atk Landorus-T Earthquake vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Shuca Berry Heatran: 122-146 (61.9 – 74.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
    • Single Target: 164 Atk Landorus-T Earthquake vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Shuca Berry Heatran: 168-198 (85.2 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
  • 164 Atk Landorus-T Superpower vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 140-166 (77.3 – 91.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 164 Atk Landorus-T Superpower vs. 4 HP / 76 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 130-154 (71.8 – 85%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 164 Atk Landorus-T Superpower vs. 180 HP / 4 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 140-166 (68.9 – 81.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO

This is a modified version of Shiramei (@rena_poke)’s EV spread, which is a part of a Mega Gardevoir Trick Room team he’s used in Battle Spot Doubles, which can be found here. The original EV spread seems to have combinational calcs with the rest of the team, specifically with Gardevoir, which is known to repeatedly use Hyper Voice. Generally, this is a good spread to start with if you want a max speed Assault Vest set with a decent amount of defensive investment.

Bulky Vest
Therian Forme
Landorus-Therian
Ability: Intimidate
Nature: Adamant
Held Item: Assault Vest
EVs: 132 HP / 116 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Rock Slide
– Earthquake
– Superpower / Knock Off
– U-turn

Defensive Calcs:

  • +1 252+ SpA Tapu Fini Muddy Water vs. 132 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 122-146 (67.4 – 80.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • +3 36+ SpA Tapu Fini Moonblast vs. 132 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 118-139 (65.1 – 76.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Moonblast vs. 132 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 72-85 (39.7 – 46.9%) — guaranteed 3HKO
  • 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 132 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T in Psychic Terrain: 102-121 (56.3 – 66.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Choice Specs Tapu Koko Hidden Power Ice vs. 132 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 148-176 (81.7 – 97.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Tapu Koko Twinkle Tackle (160 BP) vs. 132 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 97-115 (53.5 – 63.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Cresselia Ice Beam vs. 132 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 128-152 (70.7 – 83.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ SpA Heatran Hidden Power Ice vs. 132 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 120-144 (66.2 – 79.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 SpA Mega Charizard Y Overheat vs. 132 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T in Sun: 153-181 (84.5 – 100%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO

Offensive Calcs:

  • 116+ Atk Landorus-T Rock Slide vs. 252 HP / 76 Def Mega Charizard Y: 208-248 (112.4 – 134%) — guaranteed OHKO
    • This Charizard spread does not get KO’d by a Rock Slide from Landorus-T of jolly nature.
  • 116+ Atk Landorus-T Earthquake vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko in Electric Terrain: 212-252 (145.2 – 172.6%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 116+ Atk Landorus-T Superpower vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Heatran: 142-168 (72 – 85.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 116+ Atk Landorus-T Earthquake vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Shuca Berry Heatran: 132-156 (67 – 79.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
    • Single Target: 116+ Atk Landorus-T Earthquake vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Shuca Berry Heatran: 176-210 (89.3 – 106.5%) — 37.5% chance to OHKO
  • 116+ Atk Landorus-T Superpower vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 150-178 (82.8 – 98.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 116+ Atk Landorus-T Superpower vs. 4 HP / 76 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 138-164 (76.2 – 90.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 116+ Atk Landorus-T Superpower vs. 180 HP / 4 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 148-176 (72.9 – 86.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO

This spread was created by Terry Newton (@UltraTerryy), although it was originally intended for the Choice Scarf. I’ve piloted his team on the Battle Spot Doubles Ladder, and I am honestly a big fan of the team composition. However, the more I played with the team, the more I adjusted the sets to my liking, and Landorus was not an exception. All I’ve really done was switch the items from Choice Scarf to Assault Vest, assuming that I would change the spread later, but it turned out much better than I expected. Landorus has been able to take hits, while still being able to deal good damage, and that was something I was looking for. Between a standard max speed spread and Wolfe Glick (@WolfeyGlick)’s very bulky spread, I would consider this a middle ground. If you want to try out the team for yourself, you can find the sets here.

Razer’s Choice Band
Therian Forme
Landorus-Therian
Ability: Intimidate
Nature: Adamant
Held Item: Choice Band
EVs: 212 HP / 116 Atk / 4 Def / 68 SpD / 108 Spe
– Earthquake
– Rock Slide
– U-turn
– Superpower

Defensive Calcs:

  • 252+ SpA Zapdos Hidden Power Ice vs. 212 HP / 68 SpD Landorus-T: 160-192 (83.7 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chan to OHKO
  • +1 188+ SpA Tapu Fini Muddy Water vs. 212 HP / 68 SpD Landorus-T: 158-188 (82.7 – 98.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 124 SpA Suicune Ice Beam vs. 212 HP / 68 SpD Landorus-T: 156-188 (81.6 – 98.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 SpA Cresselia Ice Beam vs. 212 HP / 68 SpD Landorus-T: 160-192 (83.7 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
    • Modest is a 50% chance to OHKO

Offensive Calcs:

  • 116+ Atk Choice Band Landorus-T Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 103-123 (48.5 – 58%) — 95.3% chance to 2HKO
    • Single Target: 116+ Atk Choice Band Landorus-T Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 139-165 (65.5 – 77.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 116+ Atk Choice Band Landorus-T Superpower vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 222-262 (104.7 – 123.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 116+ Atk Choice Band Landorus-T Superpower vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Heatran: 212-250 (107.6 – 126.9%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 116+ Atk Choice Band Landorus-T Superpower vs. 244 HP / 252+ Def Snorlax: 210-248 (78.9 – 93.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Gluttony Figy Berry recovery
  • 116+ Atk Choice Band Landorus-T Superpower vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Ferrothorn: 136-160 (75.1 – 88.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 116+ Atk Choice Band Landorus-T Superpower vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Stakataka: 188-224 (111.9 – 133.3%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • Outspeeds Bisharp (adamant) by 3

This spread was created by British VGC player Conan Wild (@RazerVGC) for his version of a Mega Gardevoir Trick Room team. He used this spread back in 2015, which the main benchmarks were to survive a Hidden Power Ice from Zapdos and outspeed Bisharp. The beauty of using a Choice Band is the flexibility to sacrifice attack investment for bulk because Landorus already does a ridiculous amount of damage with this item.

Tectonic Rage
Therian Forme
Landorus-Therian
Ability: Intimidate
Nature: Jolly
Held Item: Groundium Z
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Rock Slide
– Earthquake
– U-turn / Superpower / Stone Edge
– Protect

Offensive Calcs:

  • -1 252 Atk Landorus-T Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Stakataka: 184-220 (109.5 – 130.9%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • -1 252 Atk Landorus-T Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Shuca Berry Heatran: 210-248 (106.5 – 125.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 252 Atk Landorus-T Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Tapu Fini: 147-174 (83 – 98.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 Atk Landorus-T Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 252 HP / 212 Def Tapu Lele: 163-193 (92 – 109%) — 56.3% chance to OHKO
  • 252 Atk Landorus-T Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 168-198 (92.8 – 109.3%) — 56.3% chance to OHKO
  • 252 Atk Landorus-T Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 165-195 (77.8 – 91.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 Atk Landorus-T Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 180 HP / 252+ Def Mega Gardevoir: 156-184 (93.9 – 110.8%) — 62.5% chance to OHKO

Because Ground is one of the strongest offensive types in the game, Groundium Z is going to be a popular item in the VGC 2018 format. I would personally recommend jolly nature for maximum speed to mitigate flinches from opposing Landorus as much as posssible; however, if you feel the need to deal more damage, adamant is also another option to consider. Just make sure you don’t fire off the Z-Move at the wrong time because any opposing Landorus switching into the field would not only waste your Z-Move, but also intimidate your own Landorus, which makes the whole situation go from bad to worse.

Supersonic Skystrike
Therian Forme
Landorus-Therian
Ability: Intimidate
Nature: Adamant
Held Item: Flyinium Z
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Earthquake
– Fly
– U-turn / Swords Dance / Substitute
– Protect

Offensive Calcs:

  • -1 252+ Atk Landorus-T Supersonic Skystrike (175 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Lele: 150-177 (102.7 – 121.2%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 252+ Atk Landorus-T Supersonic Skystrike (175 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Tapu Fini: 157-186 (88.7 – 105%) — 31.3% chance to OHKO
  • 252+ Atk Landorus-T Supersonic Skystrike (175 BP) vs. 180 HP / 4 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 177-208 (87.1 – 102.4%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO
  • 252+ Atk Landorus-T Supersonic Skystrike (175 BP) vs. 180 HP / 252+ Def Mega Gardevoir: 166-196 (100 – 118%) — guaranteed OHKO

This is a unique set featured by 2016 World Champion Wolfe Glick (@WolfeyGlick) on his competitive guide for Landorus-T, which is shown below. The reason why Wolfey considers Flyinium Z a viable item is because Landorus finally has access to a strong move that utilizes its Flying-typing, as Landorus doesn’t have much access to a strong Flying-type move. Supersonic Skystrike may not hit as hard as Tectonic Rage, but the main thing that stands out for this Z-Move is that it hits anything on the field, which wouldn’t make it a complete waste against an opposing Landorus that switches into the field. Another great thing about Supersonic Skystrike is there aren’t many Pokémon with a resistance to Flying, which means almost every Pokémon in the format will be taking a lot of damage from this Z-Move. During the VGC 2017 season, the most notable player to capitalize off this fact would be Alberto Lara (@Alberto310), who has been known to use a Salamence carrying a Flyinium Z, and even won a Regional with it.

Not only you’ll find the Flyinium Z set in Wolfey’s video, but you’ll also find a bulky Groundium Z spread, as well as an extremely bulky Assault Vest spread. He’s shared some very cool sets, and I highly recommend watching this for his insight on Landorus.

 

Special Attacker
Therian Forme
Landorus-Therian
Ability: Intimidate
Nature: Timid
Held Item: Life Orb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk (only for Sludge Bomb)
– Earth Power
– Hidden Power [Ice]
– Sludge Bomb / Stone Edge
– Protect

Offensive Calcs:

  • 252 SpA Life Orb Landorus-T Hidden Power Ice vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Landorus-T: 187-224 (113.3 – 135.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 252 SpA Life Orb Landorus-T Hidden Power Ice vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-T: 125-151 (75.7 – 91.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 SpA Life Orb Landorus-T Earth Power vs. 244 HP / 4 SpD Shuca Berry Heatran: 164-195 (83.2 – 98.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
    • Sadly, this is the bare minimum for Heatran to survive that… 😦
  • 252 SpA Life Orb Landorus-T Sludge Bomb vs. 4 HP / 4 SpD Tapu Koko: 146-172 (100 – 117.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • 252 SpA Life Orb Landorus-T Sludge Bomb vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Lele: 104-125 (71.2 – 85.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 SpA Life Orb Landorus-T Sludge Bomb vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Tapu Fini: 94-112 (53.1 – 63.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 0- Atk Life Orb Landorus-T Stone Edge vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Mega Charizard Y: 203-244 (109.7 – 131.8%) — guaranteed OHKO

A special attacking Landorus-Therian sounds particularly odd because the Incarnate forme has a higher base special attack, but the reason why it’s not a bad option on the Therian forme is because of Intimidate. How this set came about was when Angel Miranda (@AngelJMiranda) created an archetype known as American Sand back in 2015, which featured Landorus-Incarnate over Excadrill, a Pokémon usually seen on Japanese Sand teams, and he finished 3rd Place at Georgia Regionals during that year.  He then decided to spice things up for the upcoming National Championships, and thus, the special attacking Landorus-Therian was born, which carried Angel all the way up to Top 8, losing to Aaron Zheng, who moved onto Top 4 with ironically, the American Sand team. The drawback of this set is it doesn’t hit as hard as a physical set, which means the Life Orb is almost always necessary. I’d only recommend this set if you need a special attacking Pokémon with Intimidate as its ability, and Landorus is one of the very few that is capable of doing so.


Sample Partners

CHALK
  +  / / 
CHALK, a popular archetype, known as “Cresselia, Heatran, Amoonguss, Landorus-T, Kangaskhan,” surged back in 2015, and is well on its way of gaining back its glory for 2018. Now with the inclusion of Pokémon from the Alola Region, there are newer ways to pilot this archetype, most notably with Tapu Fini, which is a bulky Water-type that can make mirror matches significantly easier to deal with.

Sun Core

This is also a popular core back in 2015, which is built around Landorus-T, Mega Charizard Y, and Cresselia. Landorus-T pairs very well with these two because it can hit hard with Earthquake, and both of them are immune to it, which makes repeated usage favorable, especially for those that carry a Choice Scarf or a Choice Band.

Other Great Partners
        
These are just some of the examples of other Pokémon Landorus can pair with. Landorus-T is so versatile that it can fit on virtually almost any team in the format.


Threats

Bulky Water-Types
Wash Rotom
Bulky Water-types are painful for Landorus to deal with because not only they can hit Landorus for super effective damage, but they can also take attacks from it with relative ease. Azumarill is known to carry either sets with Belly Drum + Sitrus Berry or Assault Vest + Ice Punch, and both are terrifying for Landorus to stare down, especially for the fact Azumarill usually carry Aqua Jet. Suicune has massive defenses, and it usually carries Tailwind for speed control, as well as an Ice-type move to pick up a quick KO on Landorus. Rotom-Wash is immune to any Ground-type move Landorus carries thanks to Levitate, it can deal a lot of damage with Hydro Pump, and it also has access to Will-O-Wisp, which is guaranteed to burn, even in Misty Terrain, since Landorus is a Flying-type. Furthermore, a few of them a built offensively with Hidden Power Ice, which can manage to pick up a quick KO on Landorus. Tapu Fini normally carry Choice Specs, which can pick up a OHKO with Muddy Water, Scald, or Ice Beam on Landorus, and if the Tapu Fini carries Calm Mind, it is built with more bulk, making it harder for Landorus to take down. All Landorus can really do against these Pokémon is unleash a powerful Z-Move (with the exception of Rotom-W), or pray for flinches.

Rain
 /  +  /  / 
Because the rain abusers always outspeed even a Landorus that carry a Choice Scarf, rain is a very difficult weather for Landorus to function in. It is advised to keep Landorus away from rain teams, unless it is absolutely necessary.

Ice-Types

Abomasnow can carry either a Choice Scarf or even function under Trick Room, whether or not it Mega Evolves. It is known for spamming Blizzard with its hail, which also hard counters any Landorus that carry a Focus Sash. Weavile and Mamoswine can almost always OHKO a Landorus with an Icicle Crash, even after an intimidate.

Ice-Type Moves
        
These Pokémon, neither Ice-type or Water-type, are known to carry an Ice-type move such as Ice Beam, Ice Punch, Icy Wind, or even Hidden Power Ice.

Tapu Bulu

Tapu Bulu has Grassy Terrain, which weakens the damage output of Earthquake from Landorus-T, and it can also deal a lot of damage with a powerful Wood Hammer or even a Bloom Doom if the Tapu Bulu holds a Grassium Z. Furthermore, Tapu Bulu’s Grass typing combined with a base 115 defense stat allows it to safely switch into a Tectonic Rage from Landorus-T.

Bulky Redirection

Because of their bulk and typing, they are able to take attacks from Landorus with ease, particularly Superpower. The only way for Landorus to deal at least a hefty amount of damage to them would be a strong Z-Move.

Wide Guard
    
These Pokémon have access to Wide Guard, which is known to block Rock Slide and Earthquake, and now protect their partners from a Z-Move. This mechanic was discovered by 123e45, and tested by Brandon Wright (@BrightSize_) and Nightfront for confirmation. It was then published by Leonard Craft (@DaWoblefet) on the video below.

Update (12/9/2017): This mechanic was actually a glitch, as Game Freak intended for Wide Guard to block only Kommo-o’s signature Z-Move, and as a result, a software update got it patched. 😐

 

Competitive/Defiant

These are Pokémon that benefit from Landorus-T’s intimidate, thanks to their abilities. Milotic is the most prominent threat because it can take attacks from Landorus with ease, and it can also OHKO Landorus with either a Scald, Ice Beam, or Icy Wind after getting the Competitive boost. Empoleon and Bisharp aren’t as common, but they can still get a +1 attack boost, and they have priority moves that can at least deal a lot of damage to Landorus. Furthermore, if Trick Room is up, Landorus is not going to have a fun time in the field against these Pokémon.

MimiLax

MimiLax is a hard pair for Landorus to deal with because Snorlax can easily set up a Belly Drum or Curse, and Mimikyu can easily redirect Landorus’s Z-Move or Superpower thanks to Z-Destiny Bond. The only real way for Landorus to prevent them from setting up is to flinch them with Rock Slide.

Perish Trap
Alola Form +
Perish Trap is especially hard for Landorus to deal with if it doesn’t hold a Choice Scarf, as Mega Gengar can easily use Disable for Landorus’s one move and make it struggle itself until it faints. Persian has access to both Fake Out and Foul Play, and it also has Fur Coat as its ability, which makes it harder to take down with physical attacks. Politoed and Dewgong can not only deal super effective damage to Landorus, but they can also use Perish Song, which is not fun for Landorus to deal with when it’s trapped in front of Gengar or Gothitelle.

Foul Play/Gyro Ball
Alola Form  
Because Landorus is both fast and strong, it cannot escape from taking a lot of damage from both Foul Play and Gyro Ball. Stakataka is especially capable of picking up an easy 2HKO on max speed Landorus. Foul Play is always a 2HKO on physical sets.

Other
 Therian Forme
These other Pokémon can either hit Landorus hard, or not take so much damage from it at all. Salamence and opposing Landorus have Intimidate as abilities, and can lower Landorus’s damage output. Furthermore, there is a chance that the opposing Landorus can carry Hidden Power Ice. Mega Salamence, Mega Gardevoir, and Tapu Lele can all hit Landorus hard with special attacks, being Hyper Voice from Salamence and Gardevoir, or Psychic, Moonblast, or even a Shattered Psyche from Tapu Lele. Mega Salamence can also deal good damage to Landorus with Double-Edge.


Closing Thoughts

Landorus-Therian has been one of the best Pokémon in VGC history, and it still continues to prove itself to be one of the best to this day. With great typing, as well as a great stat distribution, Landorus is well-suited to fit on almost any team. It wouldn’t be surprising if Landorus-Therian becomes the King of VGC 2018.

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.

122116_2244_VGC2017PokA2.png

“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.