Sunday, May 29, 2016

VGC Metagame Changes Episode 4: Nationals and stuff

It's time to talk about things that are going on in the current VGC metagame. Some things are getting more popular while others are starting to fad out. Since I'm not the best with intros, let's start with the first change that's going on in the current VGC season since Episode 3 was published.

Cresselia
cresselia
After Alex Gomez won the 2016 UK Nationals in a close game with Ethan Hall, players started to look at his team and see if there's anything they really liked about his team to try on their team and improve it. Alex's Cresselia was a big one that players really enjoyed. Even though Alex ran a Dual Primals team, his Cresselia had a lot of tricks. The use of Icy Wind and Thunder Wave provided Cresselia with effective ways to use multiple forms of speed controls. Icy Wind helped both of his Primals to use their powerful spread moves like Water Spout, Origin Pulse, Eruption, and Precipice Blades to utterly destroy teams with precision. Also, the use of Thunder Wave on his Cresselia allowed it to essentially act like a Thundurus since it could paralyze a threat after it used it move so it could be crippled the subsequent turns while the rest of the team could be take their team out. This was used by Chuppa Cross IV. to get Top 8 at Madison Regionals, which shocked players when facing it since it was so recent after it bursted into the scene.

Thundurus-I
thundurus
While Thundurus hasn't been through some major changes, it has been through changes which will be discussed. When the season started for Thundurus, Thundurus' EVs were 252 Sp. Attack & 252 Speed since bulky Thundurus was deemed unviable. As time went on, Thundurus started to carry a Sitrus Berry and started to invest move into bulk so it can take hits as the metagame got more defensive. Also, in order to be better equipped to handle Primal Groudon, Thundurus started to carry Hidden Power [Water], which can OHKO Primal Groudon with enough investment in the Heavy Rain. While offensive variants are still viable, it'll be up to players to decide which fits best with their team.

Big 6 Variants
kangaskhan-mega salamence-mega groudon-primal xerneas talonflame smeargle + ( thundurus cresselia)
When the format started, the new common team known as the Big 6 emerged, which was a very common & powerful team that has won countless Regionals & Top Cut many more that it both win and didn't win. As the metagame went on however, players have started to realize that while the early meta variant is still strong, some changes were going to be made to be able to keep up. Some big changes were changing a member to something else, like Thundurus and Cresselia would clear up a sixth slot, which would help out other matchups. If Talonflame wasn't on the team, then Salamence would drop Draco Meteor for Tailwind while Smeargle got slower and started to carry Crafty Shield so opposing Smeargle couldn't put your team to sleep. Xerneas got a little slower and bulkier. Primal Groudon stopped being a primarily special attacker and started to be more of a physical attacker. Kangaskhan and Talonflame are still the same sing the beginning of the metagame.

Bronzong
bronzong
Bronzong is a Pokemon that has been through some changes since Alex Gomez got 2nd at Wakefield Regionals then Aaron Zheng won Anaheim Regionals with it alongside both Primal Pokémon. When Bronzong first got popular, the main goal it was doing then is what it's doing now. Bronzong's role in the format, which probably won't change is that Bronzong can use a STAB Gyro Ball to OHKO Xerneas and act as a support Pokémon with Trick Room and Gravity. After it uses Gravity, it can use Hypnosis to put Pokémon to sleep with ease. It also has access to Skill Swap to help both of the Primal Pokémon control weather and not get hit by Groudon's Precipice Blades. Bronzong is commonly seen on Dual Primal teams as it provides an effective answer to Xerneas which can OHKO Xerneas after it uses Geomancy. Even though it isn't common, Bronzong does have access to Safeguard to shield the team from status moves like Thunder Wave, Dark Void, and Spore, which can cripple a team.

Dual Primal
 kyogre-primal
Dual Primal is a core that emerged and has gain popularity since Alex Gomez got 2nd at the Wakefield Regional and Chuppa Cross IV got Top 4 at the Collinsville Regional. The idea of this core is to use both forms of weather with the Harsh Sun and the Heavy Rain to control the battlefield. These are 2 very diverse Pokémon as they can go fast or slow, and everything in between. The tricky part on your opponent's part is figuring out which is which. You may see this core paired with Intimidate users, Gravity setters for Groudon and Kyogre's signature moves, or some nice speed control, which is all set up in a way for Groudon and Kyogre to be the star of the show, though the other 4 members of that team will get their time to shine. Recently, Alex Gomez used it to win UK Nationals, Diana Bros used it to win Madison Regionals and Tom Nishimura used it to win Seattle Regionals, so this core is currently shining and it'll be up to the players going forward to either try and stop its continued success or join in on that success.

YvelDon (Yveltal + Groudon)
 
With the increasing popularity of Dual Primal, since Alex Gomez won UK Nationals and recently, Diana Bros and Tom Nishimura winning Seattle and Madison Regionals respectively. Yveltal came in the picture as it can use a powerful Sucker Punch to do at least 50% to both Primal Pokémon. Yveltal is a very strong Pokémon against the Dual Primal core generally won't have the firepower to handle it on its own, while it can do more damage to both of them before they can KO you. Since Xerneas is the natural enemy of Yveltal, Groudon comes in as a physical powerhouse to use powerful moves like Precipice Blades and Fire Punch to do more damage to Xerneas to Groudon before they do more damage do you. This core is generally strong as it started as an anti-meta core, which Arash Ommati used to win 2016 German Nationals, and Alessio Yuri Boschetto won the 2016 Innsbruck Regionals with this core.

Some changes that are happening, but aren't common of big enough for their own section.

  1. kyogre-primal - Kyogre start to use the Bold Nature to take physical hits better and also have Icy Wind as a form of speed control.
  2.  - Mewtwo has increased in usage as a fast Gravity setter and an offensive threat.
  3.  - Kyurem-White has increased in usage as a Gravity abuser with Blizzard since it gets a lot of important damage when needed.
I hoped you enjoyed this article. If there's anything that you think should be added, let me know in a comment below. Check out my older content if you haven't already. I'll see you next time in a new article. I have a couple in the works that are coming soon so be ready for them. 

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