[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.

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“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.

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[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.

VGC 2017 PokéAnalysis #2: Incineroar

incineroar

Artwork by All0412.

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

122116_2244_VGC2017PokA2.png

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


Typing and Abilities

727incineroar_dream

Type: Fire/Dark

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

Abilities:

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

* = Not available


Base Stat Distribution

incineroarstats


Viable Movepool

incineroarmoves


Role in the Metagame

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

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


Sample Sets

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

IT’S JOHN CENA!!!

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

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

Here are some calculations for this set:

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

Trick Room Assault Vest

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

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

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

Examples of Partners

Tapu Koko

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

Tapu Lele

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

Tapu Bulu

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

Porygon2

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

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

Milotic

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

Araquanid

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

Gyarados

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

Mudsdale

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

Garchomp

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

Salamence

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

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

Kartana

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

Celesteela

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


Threats

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

Ground-types

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

Fighting-types

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

Rock-types

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


Closing Thoughts

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

VGC 2017 PokéAnalysis #1: Araquanid

Artwork created by Alexalan.

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


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


Typing and Abilities

Type: Water/Bug

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

Abilities:

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

Base Stat Distribution


Viable Movepool

movepool


Role in the Metagame

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


Sample Sets

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

Standard Physical Attacker

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

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

Special Attacker

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

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

Wolfey (@WolfeyGlick)’s Assault Vest

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

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

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

Examples of Partners

Tapu Koko

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

Tapu Lele

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

Tapu Bulu

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

Porygon2

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

Arcanine

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

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

Ground-types

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

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

Kartana

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

Celesteela

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


Threats

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

Electric-types

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

Tapu Bulu

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

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

Gigalith

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

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

Aerodactyl

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

Pelipper

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

Braviary

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

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

Nihilego

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


Closing Thoughts

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