Thursday, November 9, 2017

Mega Evolutions in VGC 2018: What to Expect (Part 1)

Image result for mega evolution special

Continuing with the articles who's goal is to do a preview on the VGC 2018 format, I thought it would be a good time to look at the upcoming Mega Evolutions. Since all of them except Mewtwo and Rayquaza will be usable, let's look into all of them and see how they may fare in the format compared to their non-Mega Evolved forms and other Pokemon in the format. Since you're only able to Mega Evolve 1 Pokemon in each game, choosing the right one for your team is crucial so hopefully this article can make the process a little easier. Let's begin!

Disclaimer: Some moves listed may or may not be available based on changes from 6th to the 7th generation because of TMs, HMs, and move tutors.

Venusaur  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Venusaur

Stats: 80 HP / 100 Atk / 123 Def / 122 SpA / 120 SpD / 80 Spe
Typing: Grass / Poison
Ability: Thick Fat
Notable Moves: Leech Seed, Sleep Powder, Protect, Hidden Power, Sludge Bomb, Giga Drain, Grass Pledge, Synthesis, Solar Beam, Energy Ball

Venusaur has always been seen as a bulky Mega Evolution whose appeal is its ability to sit on the field for long amounts of times. Its impressive bulk, great defensive typing and strong ability in Thick Fat as well as access to some great moves to increase its longevity in Leech Seed and Giga Drain. In the past, Venusaur was commonly seen as an effective answer to Rain teams since both Politoed and Ludicolo weren't able to damage Venusaur as much. This time however, with Pelipper being a strong Rain setter and its part flying typing and the ability to learn Hurricane, Venusaur won't be as effective of a Rain check as Pelipper will cause it some trouble. While this is unfortunate, Venusaur's Poison typing will prove to be strong because of the popularity of the Tapu Pokemon as Tapu Koko, Tapu Fini, and Tapu Bulu will be threatened by Sludge Bomb and won't be able to damage it as much. While Tapu Lele is also threatened by the move, its Psychic typing will prove troublesome for Venusaur since it will be threatened by a KO. Most Venusaur are commonly seen with either the Bold or Calm nature to increase its defensive bulk. Expect to see Venusaur on defensive teams that can take multiple hits before each Pokemon goes down.

Charizard  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Charizard X

Stats: 78 HP / 130 Atk / 111 Def / 130 SpA / 85 SpD / 100 Spe
Typing: Fire / Dragon
Ability: Tough Claws
Notable Moves: Flare Blitz, Dragon Claw, Protect, Dragon Dance, Tailwind

The least popular of Charizard's Mega Evolutions, Mega Charizard X is strong because of its ability to be a strong set-up sweeper through the use of Dragon Dance. You can expect to see Charizard mainly using STAB moves in Flare Blitz and Dragon Claw to get off massive amounts of damage. The main surprise of this Charizard is the surprise factor. A Mega Charizard X player can expect their opponent to prep for its Y counterpart and when their plan fails, you could potentially set-up a Dragon Dance and proceed to start getting off massive amounts of damage. The main pitfalls of Mega Charizard X comes in that it still has the same weaknesses to Ground and Rock moves from Pokemon like Terrakion, Tyranitar, and Landorus-Therian that Mega Charizard Y suffers with. This means that once your Charizard mega evolves, your opponent still might have answers to it. You can commonly find this Charizard to either use an Adamant or Jolly nature to aid in its offensive potential. Expect Mega Charizard X to be seen on offensive teams as well as paired with water types, which can be a helpful tip to uncovering Charizard's mega stone.

Charizard  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Charizard Y

Stats: 78 HP / 104 Atk / 78 Def / 159 SpA / 115 SpD / 100 Spe
Typing: Fire / Flying
Ability: Drought
Notable Moves: Heat Wave, Air Slash, Flamethrower, Protect, Hidden Power, Solar Beam, Overheat, Tailwind

The vastly more popular of the two, Mega Charizard Y has been a VGC staple since its release. The reason behind this is its massive Special Attack stat combines with its Drought ability allowed it to use very strong fire moves, most notably its Overheat which was known for doing lots of damage to even the bulkiest of Pokemon, which all of its fire moves in Sun have the power to do. The strength comes in how versatile this Charizard can be trained. Its decent defense stats makes can allow you to train it bulkier while not investing much in offenses, which won't have the biggest impact on its offensive capability. Most Charizard can be seen using primarily fire type moves but its coverage is mainly Solar Beam and a helpful Hidden Power to solve the issues either Charizard has or the team has. Like Charizard X, Charizard Y also struggles with Rock moves, but will also struggles with the multiple popular electric types. Expect Charizard Y to use either a Modest or Timid nature to increase its offensive capabilities. Overall, Mega Charizard Y will still be a staple in the VGC 2018 format and a Pokemon teams need to be prepared for.

Blastoise  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Blastoise

Stats: 79 HP / 103 Atk / 120 Def / 135 SpA / 115 SpD / 78 Spe
Typing: Water
Ability: Mega Launcher
Notable Moves: Water Pulse, Ice Beam, Protect, Scald, Aura Sphere, Fake Out, Water Spout

Blastoise has always been seen as a niche Mega Evolution where it has been seen as a good Pokemon, but has never really received the tournament success to justify its strength. This year, Blastoise will most likely run into the same issue as before due to 2 reasons. Kartana and Tapu Koko still being top picks will discourage Blastoise from even being put on teams in the first place. Blastoise will also face competition from other water types such as Tapu Fini and Suicune for the water type slot. Blastoise will still retain its niche role but most likely advance into a more meta pick. Blastoise's moves should reflect its Mega Launcher ability to boost the power of its pulse moves. Most people choose Aura Sphere to deal with  steel types and Kangaskhan. The water move is pretty interesting as Water Pulse, Scald, and Water Spout are all viable, but it honestly will depend on what you feel more comfortable with. Most Blastoise are commonly seen using the Modest nature to increase the power of its moves, but Timid is a strong pick. Overall, Blastoise will still be seen as a niche pick, but could work if players are able to manage its issues with electric moves.

Beedrill  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Beedrill

Stats: 65 HP / 150 Atk / 40 Def / 15 SpA / 80 SpD / 145 Spe
Typing: Bug / Poison
Ability: Adaptability
Notable Moves: Poison Jab, Fellstinger, Protect, X-Scissor, U-turn, Drill Run, Knock Off

Beedrill has never had the chance to succeed. While it does have an amazing attack and speed stat, its bulk has always set it back, which has not helped it out and most likely won't change in the 2018 format. While its safe to not expect to much of Beedrill, what isn't safe to underestimate its damage thanks to its sky high attack stat which means it's going to put out some strong damage. Should you choose to use Beedrill or face it, you can expect these moves for Beedrill as their the best ones. Poison Jab has always been a strong move to deal with the Fairy type Pokemon while bug coverage is dependent on personal preference, but Fell Stinger is interesting as if Beedrill KOs a Pokemon with it, it gains +3 Attack. Drill Run and Knock Off are fantastic coverage moves to deal with annoying Pokemon that might give your team some trouble. Expect Beedrill to run either an Adamant or Jolly nature to increase its offensive capabilities. Overall, Beedrill is a Pokemon whose an offensive powerhouse but will forever be held back by its bulk.

Pidgeot  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Pidgeot

Stats: 83 HP / 80 Atk / 80 Def / 135 SpA / 80 SpD / 121 Spe
Typing: Normal / Flying
Ability: No Guard
Notable Moves: Hurricane, Tailwind, Protect, Hidden Power, Heat Wave

Pidgeot is in an interesting situation. Its defenses aren't the strongest which means you shouldn't expect Pidgeot to stay on the field for long periods of time. What does help Pidgeot is its strong Special Attack stat and its No Guard ability to allow it to use Hurricane and Heat Wave with 100% accuracy, but No Guard also means that all moves used on Pidgeot will hit, which makes the ability a double-edge sword. You can expect should you face or use Pidgeot, to use either a Modest or Timid nature. Despite its good special attack and speed stat as well as good move choices, Pidgeot's defenses, high risk and high reward ability, and stiff competition from other Mega Evolutions and non-Mega Pokemon, I don't expect Pidgeot to receive any tournament success.

Alakazam  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Alakazam

Stats: 55 HP / 50 Atk / 65 Def / 175 SpA / 105 SpD / 150 Spe
Typing: Psychic
Ability: Trace
Notable Moves: Psychic, Hidden Power, Protect, Shadow Ball, Focus Blast, Energy Ball, Dazzling Gleam

Mega Alakazam has seen previous success in niche situations from the VGC 2015 format from Austrian player Alexander Kuhn. Alakazam could see niche success due to its impressive Special Attack and Speed stat as well as access to the moves it needs to constantly stay a threat. Its decent special defense stat is nice but a low HP stat may hurt the Pokemon take hits which is why some players might drop the mega stone on Alakazam in favor of a Focus Sash to allow it to what its Mega Evolved form wants to do, but even better. Even barring that, Mega Alakazam will probably see niche forms of success as someone finds a role for Mega Alakazam that could allow it to succeed. Expect either a Timid or Modest nature on Alakazam.

Slowbro  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Slowbro

Stats: 95 HP / 75 Atk / 180 Def / 130 SpA / 80 SpD / 30 Spe
Typing: Water / Psychic
Ability: Shell Armor
Notable Moves: Heal Pulse, Psychic, Protect, Scald, Flamethrower, Trick Room

Slowbro like Alakazam, will most likely be out-shined by its non-Mega counterpart. Where Alakazam is generally outshined by its non-Mega form because it can offer more as a Pokemon, Slowbro will most likely find itself in the same situation because players can use other slower Mega Evolutions that we'll cover later who can offer more to the team or non-Mega Pokemon that can also offer a lot to the team. What Mega Slowbro brings to the table, its non-Mega form can also do, but Mega Slowbro can be a support Pokemon that thanks to its ability, can't be hit by a critical hit which would allow it to stick around longer. It has good bulk to allow it to take multiple hits and a strong special attack stat to allow it to deal decent damage, as well as a slow speed stat for Trick Room support. Expect Slowbro to use a defensive nature to increase its defenses.

Gengar  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Gengar

Stats: 60 HP / 65 Atk / 80 Def / 170 SpA / 95 SpD / 130 Spe
Typing: Ghost / Poison
Ability: Shadow Tag
Notable Moves: Shadow Ball, Taunt, Protect, Sludge Bomb, Will-O-Wisp, Disable, Perish Song, Icy Wind

Mega Gengar has been a top tier threat every single year it was legal because it always has the tools it needs to do well. As a theme of this format, the way Mega Gengar was played in 2015 will play very similarly to a Mega Gengar played this year. The beauty of Mega Gengar is despite its weaker stats, it can actually be trained to survive some big hits with help from abilities like Intimidate and moves like Snarl. Gengar gets pretty strong STAB offensive moves in Shadow Ball and Sludge Bomb which allows it to threaten a vast majority of Pokemon. It also has access to Icy Wind for speed control and also does a decent amount of damage. Gengar gets some strong support moves. Probably its scariest one in Perish Song to combine with its ability to build the "Perish Trap" strategy that has been knowing for destroying teams for years. Access to Will-O-Wisp, Disable, and Taunt also means Gengar can disrupt Pokemon which its really good at doing. Expect Mega Gengar to still be a threat as its ability to KO the Tapus is gonna be very important to its success.

Kangaskhan  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire Mega Kangaskhan

Stats: 105 HP / 125 Atk / 100 Def / 60 SpA / 100 SpD / 100 Spe
Typing: Normal
Ability: Parental Bond
Notable Moves: Fake Out, Sucker Punch, Protect, Return, Frustration, Power-Up-Punch, Double-Edge, Hammer Arm, Low Kick

No matter what format whether singles or doubles, Mega Kangaskhan has been a threat. It was such a threat throughout the 6th generation that its signature ability Parental Bond, which allows the user to attack twice although the 2nd hit is reduced to only 50% power. The nerf decreased the power of its 2nd hit to 25% which those you know the power of Mega Kangaskhan will quickly notice the decrease in power. The threat of this Pokemon is its bulk allows it to survive a vast majority of hits and despite its pretty weak attack stat for a Mega Evolution, its ability allows Kangaskhan to become a major threat as even if a Pokemon resists the move, it could still do a decent chunk of damage. Its move are pretty straightforward with a pretty nice choice of normal type moves in Return, Frustration, and Double-Edge to threaten a vast majority of Pokemon. Low Kick and Power-Up Punch are strong but be advised as since Power-Up Punch is no longer a TM, it may not become a move tutor which means Kangaskhan might not have access to the move. Hammer Arm although not common, could be helpful for Trick Room to lower its speed. Its best support moves in Fake Out and Sucker Punch are nice as Fake Out can allow its partner to set-up and Sucker Punch can pick up potential KOs on Pokemon before they even get to move. Overall, Kangaskhan will still be a threat to prepare for even though its damage has been reduced.

Pinsir  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Pinsir

Stats: 65 HP / 155 Atk / 120 Def / 65 SpA / 90 SpD / 105 Spe
Typing: Bug / Flying
Ability: Aerilate
Notable Moves: X-Scissor, Swords Dance, Protect, Return, Close Combat, Quick Attack

I don't expect Pinsir to do well for most of the same reasons Beedrill won't see success. Where Beedrill's bulk is its down fall, Pinsir has decent bulk, but there are better bug types that can offer more like Scizor, Pheromosa, and Buzzwole, as well as other Mega Evolutions who offer more to the team. Despite its decent bulk, Mega Pinsir's bug and flying typing gives it weaknesses to types like ice, fire, and rock which will be prevalent in the 2018 format. What Pinsir does well and which will seem appealing is its sky high attack stat and the ability to use Swords Dance to further increase its attack stat, which will allow Pinsir to use its strong normal type moves which thanks to its ability, gain a 20%  increase in power and become flying type moves. Return and Quick Attack are its main normal type moves while Quick Attack is notable due to increased priority. X-Scissor can be seen as its primary move to deal with Psychic types like Cresselia, while Close Combat can be to deal with normal and steel types. Overall, while I don't expect Pinsir to see much of any usage, its still important to know what it does so you're not caught off guard by it.

Gyarados  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Gyarados

Stats: 95 HP / 155 Atk / 109 Def / 70 SpA / 130 SpD / 81 Spe
Typing: Water / Dark
Ability: Mold Breaker
Notable Moves: Ice Fang, Crunch, Dragon Dance, Protect, Waterfall

Gyarados has always been a Pokemon to watch out for and when it got its Mega Evolution, that statement still holds up strong. While the way a non-Mega Gyarados is played doesn't differ from Mega Gyarados from the 6th to the 7th generation, its Dark typing has become more appealing as it means Mega Gyarados is immune to the Prankster ability, which from Pokemon like Whimsicott and Sableye, will be very helpful to allow Gyarados to play passively. Playing Mega Gyarados is very simple in that its main goal is to set-up using Dragon Dance to increase the power of its moves. Ice Fang is strong coverage to threaten problematic grass and ground types, Crunch and Waterfall are its main STAB moves with Waterfall being Gyarados' main move it'll be using while Crunch is a strong option to hit psychic types like Cresselia and Gothitelle.

Aerodactyl  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Aerodactyl

Stats: 80 HP / 135 Atk / 85 Def / 70 SpA / 95 SpD / 150 Spe
Typing: Rock / Flying
Ability: Tough Claws
Notable Moves: Ice Fang, Sky Drop, Rock Slide, Protect, Tailwind, Wide Guard

The main difference between Aerodactyl and its Mega Evolution is its stats being increased. Because of that, the only advantage of using Mega Aerodactyl as opposed to its non-Mega form is your attacks will do more damage which means it's overall more beneficial to drop the Mega Stone on your Aerodactyl and simply give it a better item like a Focus Sash to contemplate for its lack of decent defenses. For its moves, Ice Fang is helpful to handle ground types like Landorus and Garchomp. Sky Drop is a strong support move as it can help with Aerodactyl's massive speed stat which means it could pick up a Pokemon that's threatening its partner to allow them to get off an attack. Tailwind and Wide Guard are strong support moves to help the team. Overall, despite its strong stats, what Mega Aerodactyl provides can be done just as well as a non-Mega Aerodactyl, which means dropping the Z-Crystal on Aerodactyl will be a strong choice.

Ampharos  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Ampharos

Stats: 90 HP / 95 Atk / 105 Def / 165 SpA / 110 SpD / 45 Spe
Typing: Electric / Dragon
Ability: Mold Breaker
Notable Moves: Dragon Pulse, Discharge, Power Gem, Thunder, Protect, Hidden Power, Thunderbolt

The first Johto Mega Evolution, Mega Ampharos has never received in real success in VGC. As an electric type in the past, Thundurus-Incarnate, Zapdos, Manectric, and Raichu where heavily seen as better electric types as they could offer more to the team. As a dragon type, Salamence, Garchomp, and Hydreigon could offer more to the team. Ampharos is a slow Pokemon which could make it appealing to Trick Room teams, but other Megas can perform a better job under Trick Room. Ampharos' moves are pretty simple with strong electric and dragon moves, although Ampharos doesn't learn Draco Meteor due to not naturally being a Dragon type. Hidden Power and Power Gem can help answer what ever ails Ampharos. Overall, the roles Ampharos wants to do our overshadowed by other Pokemon which will explain why Ampharos will most likely never see success in VGC.

Steelix  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Steelix

Stats: 75 HP / 125 Atk / 230 Def / 55 SpA / 95 SpD / 30 Spe
Typing: Steel / Ground
Ability: Sand Force
Notable Moves: Thunder Fang, Ice Fang, Fire Fang, Gyro Ball, Rock Slide, Protect, Earthquake, Heavy Slam, Iron Head

The first thing that many look at Mega Steelix and are impressed with is its very large defense stat which can allow you to survive physical hits. Its Sand Force ability allows it Steelix to work well on Sand teams due to the power increase. The problem comes with its HP stat and Sp. Defense stat holds it back which doesn't work well for Steelix since a majority of its weaknesses will affect its sp. defense stat like water and fire. While its slow speed will help Steelix out, it will only most likely see niche usage overall due to its access to a variety of strong moves in many different types, but won't rise above that due to as a sand sweeper, Pokemon like Excadrill and Lycanroc proving to work in more situations than Steelix will.

Scizor  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Scizor

Stats: 70 HP / 150 Atk / 140 Def / 65 SpA / 100 SpD / 75 Spe
Typing: Bug / Steel
Ability: Technician
Notable Moves: Bullet Punch, X-Scissor, Swords Dance, Feint, Protect, Quick Guard, Bug Bite, Knock Off, Superpower, Tailwind

What sets back Mega Scizor is the question of what Mega Scizor brings to the table that its non-Mega counterpart can do. Without typing or ability changes, Mega Scizor can be seen as a Scizor that got a slight increase in both its offensive and defensive stats. Because of only a small benefit, its more beneficial to simply drop the Mega Stone on your Scizor and give it a different item. Scizor might also find some trouble in the 2018 format because of Tapu Lele whose ability sets the Psychic Terrain which blocks Scizor from using Bullet Punch, which is its strongest move thanks to its Technician ability. Bug Bite also receives the power boost from its ability. Scizor also learns a lot of strong moves and some strong support moves, but overall, Scizor can do the same job as its Mega Evolution and that's what will hurt Mega Scizor's usage.

Heracross  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Heracross

Stats: 80 HP / 185 Atk / 115 Def / 40 SpA / 105 SpD / 75 Spe
Typing: Bug / Fighting
Ability: Skill Link
Notable Moves: Arm Thrust, Bullet Seed, Megahorn, Close Combat, Protect, Rock Blast, Knock Off

Going into the 7th Generation, Mega Heracross seems to act very similarly to Buzzwole. While they both share the same typing, Buzzwole has the option of using items like Z-Crystals and the Assault Vest, as well as better coverage for Buzzwole through access to Ice Punch and Poison Jab for example. Buzzwole also gets better stats and a much more useful ability in Beast Boost. Most of the moves Mega Heracross will be using are because of its Skill Link ability. Arm Thrust, Bullet Seed, and Rock Blast are its moves that because of the ability, will automatically hit 5 times. Overall, Mega Heracross is a Pokemon that in the 7th generation, is overshadowed by Buzzwole which means Buzzwole will most certainly see more usage than Heracross.

Houndoom  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Houndoom

Stats: 75 HP / 90 Atk / 90 Def / 140 SpA / 90 SpD / 115 Spe
Typing: Fire / Dark
Ability: Solar Power
Notable Moves: Flamethrower, Sunny Day, Hidden Power, Protect, Overheat, Snarl, Dark Pulse

Houndoom is a very interesting Mega Evolution. Its offensive stats are fantastic and thanks to its Solar Power ability, Mega Houndoom could work on Sun teams since under the sun, its ability gives it the power increase equal to a Life Orb. For its moves, Houndoom doesn't learn anything interesting apart from fire and dark type moves. The only potential issue for Houndoom is that Pokemon that set the sun are limited to Torkoal and Kanto Ninetales could set the Sun to help Mega Houndoom out, but access to Sunny Day could be a strong option.

Tyranitar  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Tyranitar

Stats: 100 HP / 164 Atk / 150 Def / 95 SpA / 120 SpD / 71 Spe
Typing: Rock / Dark
Ability: Sand Stream
Notable Moves: Rock Slide, Crunch, Stone Edge, Protect, Dragon Dance, Ice Punch, Superpower

Tyranitar, like Scizor and Aerodactyl, suffers the same problem where the question is: What does Mega Tyranitar bring that Mega Tyranitar doesn't which like the other 2, is just bulk and power. Despite this, Mega Tyranitar has seen usage before in VGC 2014 was pretty strong although formats where only a certain pool of Pokemon are legal will bring different results like in 2017 where Golduck sees more usage due to the absence of Ludicolo and Kingdra. What makes Mega Tyranitar different is since it still retains its Sand Stream ability, its presence as a weather setter increases due to how like Mega Charizard Y, it can win the weather wars at any point since once its mega evolves, it's sand could be the only weather in the game. Its moves are pretty simple with Tyranitar mainly using STAB moves, Dragon Dance to increase its power, and Ice Punch and Superpower to deal with the Pokemon either Tyranitar or its teammates struggles with.

Sceptile  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Sceptile

Stats: 70 HP / 110 Atk / 75 Def / 145 SpA / 85 SpD / 145 Spe
Typing: Grass / Dragon
Ability: Lightning Rod
Notable Moves: Leaf Storm, Detect, Quick Guard, Hidden Power, Protect, Dragon Pulse

The first Mega Evolution and a starter Pokemon, Sceptile has a really strong niche in its ability and strong offensive stats. In the past, thanks to its Lightning Rod ability, players have paired with its Pokemon that learn Discharge to power up Sceptile's sp. attack stat to boost the power of its moves which Tapu Koko can help Mega Sceptile. Leaf Storm and Dragon Pulse are Sceptile's strongest moves and since Sceptile isn't naturally a dragon type, it doesn't learn Draco Meteor. Quick Guard is nice for blocking priority moves although Tapu Lele can do it naturally thanks to its Psychic Surge ability. Overall, Sceptile is going to find niche usage in its ability and power which is going to help Mega Sceptile out.

Blaziken  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha SapphireMega Blaziken

Stats: 80 HP / 160 Atk / 80 Def / 130 SpA / 80 SpD / 100 Spe
Typing: Fire / Fighting
Ability: Speed Boost
Notable Moves: Flare Blitz, High Jump Kick, Hidden Power, Protect, Swords Dance, Low Kick, Superpower

While the argument can be said that simply dropping the mega stone on Blaziken, European VGC player Jamie Miller proved how well Mega Blaziken could work in the VGC 2015 format finishing Top 16 at Germany Nationals and Top 8 at U.K. Nationals that year as well as making Day 2 of the World Championships as well using Mega Blaziken, which shows that Mega Blaziken can still work even though more players decided to drop the mega stone on their Blaziken. What Mega Blaziken provides that non-Mega Blaziken doesn't is the extra bulk and power. What this means is going into the 2018 format, non-Mega Blaziken will probably see more usage than Mega Blaziken, what Jamie Miller did in 2015 shows that for mega evolutions where dropping the Mega Stone in favor of a different item is more beneficial, his 2015 performances show that these type of Pokemon can still find success.

Hope you enjoyed this article. Expect the second part of this article covering the remaining Mega Evolutions not covered in this article as soon as possible and check back to the Nimbasa City Post for more articles covering VGC and everything you need to know going into the VGC 2018 format. Bye!
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Monday, October 30, 2017

Owl Show You! - Post Worlds VGC 2017 Team Report

Image result for dartrix

Hey everyone! I'm Samuel Temple, also known as "Temple" online and I'm here to share the team that included Dartrix, which I brought to Ft. Wayne Regionals as well as a few smaller events. I loved playing this team and thought I want to share it since I thought that would be cool. I have a feeling you'll like the team and without further ado, let's begin!

I also did a YouTube video covering the team that goes over the same points which I will link here.
You can also see a pastebin of the team linked here.

Teambuilding Process

Like with all teams I build from scratch, I started out with 2 Pokemon I thought would work well together. Nihilego and Tapu Koko were chosen because I liked the idea of this offensive duo and thought I could support them with some bulk and defense fixing what they lacked.

 tapu-koko.png garchomp.png
I chose Garchomp as the 3rd member because it could switch into ground moves well and support

 tapu-koko.png garchomp.png arcanine.png
Arcanine works well since I liked the Intimidate pressure it provided and as a Fire type, could handle a potential problem of Kartana and Celesteela well.

 tapu-koko.png garchomp.png arcanine.png tapu-fini.png
I needed a Water type to handle Arcanine more and wanted a second terrain so Tapu Fini made sense.

 tapu-koko.png garchomp.png arcanine.png tapu-fini.png dartrix.png
Dartrix was a very interesting call as it's the only Pokemon in the format that fit the 2 goals I needed from it: I wanted a grass type to threaten water types like Gastrodon and Tapu Fini, and I needed a flying type since at the time, I didn't have a Pokemon that could switch in to ground moves and take no damage. Note: It was at this point where I got a lot of help from GyulyVGC, who was awesome enough to help me with improving the Pokemon with their EV Spreads, item, and move choices.

 tapu-koko.png garchomp.png arcanine.png snorlax.png dartrix.png
In practice with those 6, Tapu Fini was not pulling its weight at all, so we decided to dropped it and tried Snorlax since in theory, a strong normal type that could operate as a strong Trick Room counter was nice. The problem was that to effectively use Snorlax in a good way since the try and true method of Curse wasn't going to cut it. We tried Stockpile and Belly Drum, but Snorlax lacked the right support to pull it off.

 tapu-koko.png garchomp.png arcanine.png celesteela.png dartrix.png
Gyuly suggested it a while back, but I wasn't necessarily convinced, but Celesteela naturally fit the final slot perfectly. It gave the team a second flying type so Garchomp became much safer to Earthquake and it could also switch in on Tectonic Rage, it gave me an effective answer to the rise in Mimilax, and was strong enough to take many hits, giving the team an effective defensive juggernaut.

Now let's get into the team I used in Ft. Wayne.

Each Individual Member (Ft. Wayne)

Nihilego @ Focus Sash
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Sludge Bomb
- Power Gem
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Protect

Nihilego was a fantastic choice for the team. The main reason I chose it was because its offensive coverage with Rock, Poison, and Ice was beautiful since it could effectively damage most of the metagame and a lot of the common Pokemon like the Tapus, Arcanine, and Garchomp, which I expected to face most rounds, which made it essential in most games. The EV Spread is quite simple. I went fully offensive since I wanted Nihilego to get off as much damage as possible and be as fast as possible to do so. I tried Life Orb over the Focus Sash, but I want Nihilego to survive at least 2 turns so making sure it can do that was awesome. Focus Sash also gives it a better answer versus random Choice Scarfed Garchomp that might pop up. In practice, I found I was bringing Nihilego in a lot of my games because it was so helpful and most turns its on the field, was pressuring so much damage and even KOs.

Tapu Koko @ Fairium Z
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 156 HP / 124 Def / 104 SpA / 28 SpD / 96 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Dazzling Gleam
- Hidden Power [Fire]
- Protect

Tapu Koko was probably the team's MVP. The reason was is that when I needed to build a Tapu Koko set, I wanted it to KO Garchomp. Since Hidden Power [Ice] can be unreliable, but Twinkle Tackle is the most effective answer to OHKO Garchomp. After settling on it, the problem came that when I was testing the most successful Twinkle Tackle Tapu Koko that Nails used, it would always lose to Choice Scarfed Garchomp. I immediately went with 156 HP / 124 Def, which was an amazing call as it meant Tapu Koko can survive Adamant Choice Scarfed Garchomp's Earthquake and then KO it with Twinkle Tackle. That worked beautifully as it made Tapu Koko an effective answer versus all forms of Garchomp out there. The speed is meant to outspeed Kartana and hit it with Thunderbolt. I used Hidden Power [Fire] in Ft. Wayne to deal with Kartana, although if you use the team, I recommend Discharge because Alolan Marowak won Worlds and I expected to face it, as well as I faced Wolfey's Worlds team that included Togedemaru to many times on the ladder so it made sense so Tapu Koko doesn't become outright useless against teams with these two. I forgot to put Discharge on but if I did, it would've helped in Ft. Wayne.

Garchomp @ Assault Vest
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 140 HP / 84 Atk / 20 Def / 148 SpD / 116 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Poison Jab
- Earthquake
- Rock Slide
- Dragon Claw

Like I said above, Garchomp was added to better improve my Garchomp matchup as it's able to properly switch in to strong Ground type moves like Earthquake and Tectonic Rage. The EV Spread is verbatim the one Enosh used in the ONOG Invitational. The reason being is since I decided that Assault Vest was the best way I wanted to use Garchomp, the one Enosh used looked to be the best way I wanted to use it and I liked the way Enosh built and used it. My move choices are Earthquake and Poison Jab were pretty easy with Poison Jab to hit the Tapus. Rock Slide was chosen so I can hit flying types like Celesteela and even Salamence. Dragon Claw was suggested by my team building partner Gyuly so the team could deal with Salamence and any Flygon that might pop up. We decided to replace it for Fire Fang since the team as a whole could deal with Kartana and Celesteela pretty well. From testing the EV Spread, it survives Kartana's Leaf Blade and non-Life Orb Tapu Koko Dazzling Gleam is a 3HKO, as well as surviving Ninetales' Blizzard. Overall, Garchomp did an amazing job and I'm glad I chose it over Mudsdale since if I decided to use Mudsdale, my Kartana matchup would've been worse.

Arcanine @ Mago Berry
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 76 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 12 SpD / 164 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Flare Blitz
- Extreme Speed
- Roar
- Protect

I generally believe that Arcanine is the best Pokemon in the format, but since its a popular reason due to a strong reason: its strong bulk and offensive power. The EV Spread was used by Lexicon to win the 2017 Collinsville Regionals, but if I was to use the team in the future, I would up the bulk to survive Tapu Koko's Gigavolt Havoc in Electric Terrain. The reason I chose this EV Spread is that I had it in-game and felt comfortable using it. The move choices were pretty simple. Flare Blitz + Extreme Speed is standard, but I choose Roar in my 3rd slot over moves like Bulldoze, Wild Charge, and Helping Hand among others because it could improve my matchup versus set-up strategies versus Eevee and Pokemon that could set-up like Swords Dance Garchomp and Dragon Dance Gyarados. Throughout the day, Arcanine proved why it was on the team and I'm glad it was on the team.

Dartrix @ Eviolite
Ability: Overgrow
EVs: 252 HP / 68 Atk / 76 Def / 108 SpD / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Leaf Blade
- Pluck
- Sunny Day
- Protect

I got a lot of comments about Dartrix so its time to talk about it and address the biggest comment which was "Why Dartrix?" When I was team building, I wanted a grass type because I thought water types like Tapu Fini might be annoying to face. I also wanted a flying type because at this point in the team building process, I didn't have a flying type to soak up Ground moves. Dartrix is the bulkiest and strongest Pokemon in the format that accomplishes this job. So when I was choosing the moves, Leaf Blade was the easiest one to choose because its a strong grass move and plays on Dartrix's attacking power. I also wanted a flying type move so I went with Pluck. The cool thing about Pluck is that if a Pokemon is holding a berry, your able to steal it, which is really cool since it allows Dartrix to mess with Pokemon like Snorlax and Arcanine, both of whom really wanna keep their berries. Sunny Day is mainly to improve my matchup versus Rain teams. The EV Spread allows Dartrix to survive a variety of moves, like Arcanine's Flare Blitz, Nihilego's Sludge Bomb and Power Gem, Pelipper's Hurricane which means if an opposing Rain teams wants to KO Dartrix before it uses Sunny Day, they need to double target it, leaving my other Pokemon to do as it pleases. Some people might say that Dartrix isn't the best option, but I always believe that if you can justify a niche Pokemon with what you need out of that Pokemon, than its best to use it. I needed a Grass/Flying type to fulfill the typing roles only Dartrix could provide and the fact that it learns Sunny Day made it the only Pokemon in the format that does this. Tropius also does Dartrix's job, but its not in the format and its way to frail to do Dartrix's job.

Celesteela @ Figy Berry
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 132 Def / 4 SpA / 116 SpD
Relaxed Nature
- Heavy Slam
- Flamethrower
- Leech Seed
- Protect

The final Pokemon and the defensive pivot of the team, Celesteela was the final Pokemon added, which Gyuly suggested before but I came around to it around 2 weeks after it was pitched, because of how well it performs at simply sitting down and soaking up hits. I had games throughout the day where its defensive capabilities were simply amazing. The set was created by MaxMDouglas and the reason I was drawn to it is that I wanted to give Celesteela a positive matchup versus Belly Drum Snorlax since once Celesteela gets to at least +1 Defense, it can take a +6 Return from Snorlax and Leech Seed it, stalling it out while repeatedly going for Flamethrower until I get a burn, forcing Snorlax to juggle between going for damage and keeping its health up. The EV Spread allows it to survive 252+ Attack Arcanine Flare Blitz and if Celesteela gets a defense boost, it can survive Arcanine's Inferno Overdrive. Overall, Celesteela was a fantastic pick and I'm glad it was brought onto the team.

Ft. Wayne Regionals Rounds

Round 1: vs Jake Hockemeyer -- L (0-1)
mudsdale.png mimikyu.png torkoal.png lucario.png tapu-fini.png lilligant.png

 Round 2: vs Nathan Hudgins -- W (1-1)
  tapu-fini.png arcanine.png togedemaru.png kommo-o.png

Round 3: vs. Colby Mearns -- W (2-1)
tapu-koko.png garchomp.png  arcanine.png nihilego.png kartana.png

Round 4: vs. Stephen Brown -- W (3-1)
tapu-fini.png arcanine.png kartana.png tapu-lele.png xurkitree.png smeargle.png

Round 5: vs. Adam DeMarchi -- W (4-1)
arcanine.png tapu-fini.png tapu-koko.png raichu-alola.png kartana.png mudsdale.png

Round 6: vs. Charlie Pollock -- W (5-1)
salamence.png snorlax.png arcanine.png tapu-koko.png nihilego.png mimikyu.png

Round 7: vs. Adam Warfield -- L (5-2)
gyarados.png tapu-koko.png garchomp.png celesteela.png snorlax.png togedemaru.png

Round 8: vs. Jeremy Rodrigues -- L (5-3)
krookodile.png espeon.png eevee.png smeargle.png whimsicott.png clefairy.png


Changes after Ft. Wayne Regionals

arcanine.png - Changed EV Spread to  244 HP / 60 Atk / 4 Def / 164 SpD / 36 Spe with a Careful nature, as used by Paul Chua to finish 2nd at North American Internationals.

dartrix.png- Switched to Gastrodon to improve my matchup versus the Porygon2 + Gigalith / Mudsdale core that although I didn't play it in Ft. Wayne, would still give me trouble in events, mainly the October 28th Midseason Showdown I attended as well as the October 21st Premier Challenge the week before. I also used my Dartrix team on my YouTube channel linked here if you wanna check it out.


Gastrodon @ Iapapa Berry
Ability: Storm Drain
EVs: 236 HP / 156 Def / 20 SpA / 92 SpD / 4 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Clear Smog
- Recover
- Protect

Gastrodon was a Pokemon I firmly believe is one of the most underrated Pokemon in the format. The reason is most teams don't have a reliable way to KO it. Most teams only really have either Kartana or Tapu Bulu, which isn't a big threat to my team because I can use Arcanine, Nihilego, and Celesteela to threaten it with a quick KO. The moveset was primarily chosen to support the team. Scald and Recover were pretty easy to choose since I could rely on Gastrodon to use those moves on a vast amount of teams. Clear Smog was an idea I got from seeing BlueYossi use Gastrodon to finish Top 4 at the 2017 World Championships. I liked the idea of Clear Smog since I could improve my matchup versus Belly Drum Snorlax since Gastrodon can outspeed Snorlax after it sets up and use Clear Smog to reset it boosts. The EV Spread allows Gastrodon to survive Tapu Lele's Shatter Psyche in Psychic Terrain, but Gastrodon was overall trained to survive a majority of hits that aren't strong Grass moves from Tapu Bulu and Kartana.

How the team has done at events
  • 9/3 Ft. Wayne Regionals - 5-3 Swiss Record || 36/170th Place || Earned 0 CP
  • 9/17 Premier Challenge - 2-1 Swiss Record ||  Earned 10 CP
  • 10/21 Premier Challenge - 3-1 Swiss Record ||  Earned 10 CP
  • 10/28 Midseason Showdown - 2-3 Swiss Record || Earned 0 CP

Ending & Shoutouts

  • Gyuly - My teambuilding partner and was a wonderful person since if it wasn't for him, this team wouldn't be as good as it could've been.
  • Eshi & Treedoodle - I got some really strong practice games against these 2 before Regionals and it helped since I was able to get strong games and I know Treedoodle would be happy to know I played his favorite core of Tapu Koko + Alolan Raichu at Regionals and was pretty annoying.
  • Nerdofnow - One of my closest friends in the game, Alex gave me a lot of support before Regionals. Sorry you couldn't come but I hope we can meet again at a future event to hang out. Eshi is also in the same camp and is just a great friend.
  • GalacticLightcoreGramgusLinkyoshimarioJZGand Sefranek - It was awesome to hang out with you guys at points throughout the day at Regionals.
  • Illinois VGC Crew - There's so many awesome people in this group and I'm happy to know you all.
  • Also thanks to everyone who supported me. People like WavelessQuinnHenryFumito, and THATSAplusONE are great people who I'm glad to call friends.
I hoped you enjoyed my team report and if you read it all, huge thanks. Since the VGC 2017 format ends officially on December 31st 2017, I might use this team in the future at events so if I do, I'll update the results section for that reason, but I want to post it now since I'm done taking the team seriously. If you want to, I'm on twitter @templevgc. Thanks for reading and see you guys next time. Bye!
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