Thursday, December 29, 2016

VGC '17 Pokemon Spotlight #2 - Alolan Marowak


Welcome back to another episode of Pokemon Spotlight, where the goal is to shine a light on a Pokemon that's doing well in the VGC 2017 format and tell you everything you need to know about it. Today, we're going to be looking at Alolan Marowak, a new Pokemon introduced in the 7th generation, which is a regional variant of Marowak. Hope you enjoy and let's begin. Also did a video based on the info in this article.

Video based on this article: here

Base Stats

Looking at its stats, Marowak is really focused more on damage and decent bulk. While 60/110/80 is pretty average, Marowak relies on its defensive typing to really take hits. A base 80 attack stat is decent, but with the Thick Club, Marowak's attack stat really goes up to an insane amount. A base 50 Sp. Attack stat is very bad as Marowak generally won't be using in special attacks. Its also very slow at base 45 so it's really going to shine under Trick Room.

Notable Moves - Here's some moves to potentially use on Marowak

  1. Bonemerang - Ground type coverage move that hits twice
  2. Shadow Bone - Marowak's only physical Ghost type move
  3. Flare Blitz - Fire type coverage move that's useful for getting massive amount of damage
  4. Protect - Blocks an attack as well as weakening any Z-Move used on Marowak
  5. Will-O-Wisp - Useful to potentially burn the target to weaken physical moves
  6. Earthquake - Ground type spread move if the damage/accuracy from Bonemerang feels underwhelming
  7. Stone Edge / Rock Slide - Useful Rock type coverage move
  8. Substitute - Useful to block an attack for Marowak at the cost of its HP
  9. Perish Song - Useful for the endgame to lock it up in your favor
  10. Endeavor - Turns your HP stat into a great thing to heavily damage a threat easily
Now I wanna go into 3 sample sets for Marowak. One operates under Trick Room and one operates outside of Trick Room. I got these 2 sets from trainertower.com as I highly reccommend this website. The 3rd set is more gimmicky from a video from 2016 World Champion Wolfe Glick, which is linked here that puts the other moves into perspective.

Alola Form
Marowak-Alola @ Thick Club
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 252 HP / 172 Atk / 4 Def / 68 SpD / 12 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Shadow Bone
- Bonemerang
- Flare Blitz
- Protect

This Marowak primarily functions outside of Trick Room. Its goal is to go for damage with your 3 attacking moves while trying to simply overpower your opponent. The 172 Attack EVs allows Marowak to use Flare Blitz to OHKO 252 HP / 252 Def+ Celesteela 100% of the time. This means that Marowak is a reliable pick against Celesteela. The Attack EVs also allows Marowak to OHKO 252 HP / 252 Def+ Tapu Lele 100% of the time. The 252 HP / 68 SpD allows Marowak to survive both 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic in the Psychic Terrain and 252+ Hidden Power [Ground] from Life Orb Xurkitree. The moves are standard, but effective allowing great neutral coverage for Marowak.

Alola Form
Marowak-Alola @ Thick Club 
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 252 HP / 188 Atk / 68 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
- Shadow Bone
- Bonemerang
- Flare Blitz
- Protect

This Marowak truly shines in Trick Room as the Brave nature and 0 IVs in speed meaning Marowak can get as slow as possible. The 188+ Atk EVs allows Marowak to OHKO 252 HP / 4 Def Tapu Lele with Shadow Bone and 252 HP / 0 Def Celesteela with Flare Blitz. The 252 HP / 68 SpD allows Marowak to survive 252+ Psychic from Tapu Lele in the Psychic Terrain as well as Hidden Power [Ground] from Life Orb Xurkitree. You may have noticed that the defensive benchmarks are the same as these 2 are highly effective, but still good nonetheless.

Alola Form
Marowak-Alola @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Cursed Body
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Bold Nature
- Will-O-Wisp
- Endeavor
- Perish Song
- Protect

This is a set created by our 2016 World Champion Wolfe Glick, which I'll link the video here. The idea is to use this Marowak as a pseudo-Perish Trap team. Ideally, you'll wanna pair this set with any Pokemon that has a trapping ability that can trap Pokemon in. Since their's no Shadow Tag users, the only way to do this is with the ability Arena Trap, which only Trapinch can do, or moves that can trap Pokemon in like Decidueye's Spirit Shackle or Dhelmise's Anchor Shot. If you can do that, then you'll wanna use Perish Song when they only have 2 Pokemon left. You can Will-O-Wisp physical attackers, use your ability to take away their moves. Endeavor is for when your HP is low and you need to weaken a Pokemon to make it easy to get rid of it. Sitrus Berry allows it to gain HP and this Marowak is 3HKO'd by -1 Earthquake from Garchomp and is a 2HKO by Earthquake from Garchomp.

Items to Consider
  1. Thick Club - Doubles Marowak's attack stat
  2. Sitrus Berry - Allows Marowak to gain HP (Recommended on a supportive set like the sample set #3)
(Thick Club is the best item for Marowak as you can double its attack stat, which outclasses many items like Life Orb in terms of damage where you’ll generally use Sitrus Berry on supportive sets)

Partners for Marowak - Here's some Pokemon that can help out Marowak
  1. Tapu Koko - Tapu Koko can use Discharge very safely due to Marowak's Lightning Rod ability
  2. Porygon2 - Porygon2 can set Trick Room to help Marowak
  3. Gastrodon - Its Storm Drain ability protects Marowak from water type moves
  4. Oranguru - It can set Trick Room as well as use the move Instruct to allow Marowak to repeat its move
  5. Tapu Bulu - Its grass moves can handle the water types while providing Grassy Terrain to weaken Earthquake
  6. Celesteela -  Can reliably switch in on the super-effective moves that threaten Marowak while Marowak's Lightning Rod ability to protect Celesteela from Electric type moves.


How to beat Marowak? - Here's some Pokemon that can handle Marowak
  1. Alolan Marowak - Whichever Marowak can use Shadow Bone first can KO the other with ease
  2. Garchomp - It can threaten Marowak with Earthquake or its Z-Move Tectonic Rage
  3. Gastrodon - Gastrodon can threaten Marowak with Scald
  4. Gyarados - It can outspeed & KO Marowak with Waterfall
  5. Alolan Marowak - It can outspeed & use Knock Off Marowak to take away its Thick Club to weaken its damage
  6. Arquanid - It can use Liquidation to KO Marowak with ease & underspeed it in Trick Room 
  7. Kartana - If it carries Night Slash, it can KO Marowak or put it in Flare Blitz recoil range
  8. Pelipper/Golduck - This duo heavily threatens Marowak with strong water moves in the Rain

   In conclusion, Marowak is a very slow Pokemon that can function both in & out of Trick Room. While it has a very limited movepool, it has the right moves it needs to. With the right support, which isn't hard to add, Marowak can be a major threat. Hope you enjoyed this and I'll see you guys next time. Check out my older content if you want to. Bye!
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Saturday, December 24, 2016

VGC '17 Pokemon Spotlight #1: Garchomp


You may remember that for last season, I did a Pokemon Spotlight series where the goal was to cover a Pokemon and tell you everything you need to know about it. Well, today I'm bringing it back. The overall goal is to cover a Pokemon in the VGC 2017 metagame and essentially try to cover all information that you need to know about it. Today, I wanna talk about Garchomp. Hope you enjoy and let's begin and talk about its base stats.

Video recorded based off of this information: here

Base Stats
Inline image 1
Looking at its stats, its stats are really well-rounded. 108/95/85 is pretty bulky and it also allows Garchomp to take the necessary hits it needs to. A base 130 Attack stat is honestly very strong as with its move pool, it allows Garchomp to hit very hard with some very powerful moves. It's 80 Sp. Attack stat is pretty threatening, but without strong special attacking moves, it can't run a fully special set, but a mixed attacking set is an option. Its 102 speed stat makes it fast, as in a slower metagame, it allows Garchomp to outspeed many prominent Pokemon.

Now it's time to go into some moves that Garchomp will be commonly seen with and the logic behind them.
  1. Dragon Claw - Strong STAB Dragon type move
  2. Earthquake - Strong STAB Ground type spread move
  3. Protect - A way to shield Garchomp from attacks
  4. Rock Slide - Strong spread rock type move, which is great for flinching the opponent.
  5. Poison Jab - Useful for hitting the Tapu Pok√©mon for super-effective damage.
  6. Draco Meteor - Great to take advantage of that decent special attack stat
  7. Stone Edge - Useful Rock type move to bypass Wide Guard
  8. Iron Head - Strong Steel type move to hit Fairy type Pokemon
  9. Swords Dance - Useful to get an attack boost to do more damage
  10. Fire Fang / Flamethrower / Fire Blast - Fire type coverage moves
Now it's time to go into some sample sets that I recommend trying out for yourself.

Garchomp @ Focus Sash
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Earthquake
- Dragon Claw
- Rock Slide / Poison Jab
- Protect

This is a very standard Garchomp set, meant to do damage real quickly before fainting. The moves is very standard, but also very effective. Earthquake and Dragon Claw are your STAB moves, and also the most reliable ones for Garchomp. The 3rd slot is flexible with Rock Slide and Poison Jab. Rock Slide is useful to hit things like Celesteela and flying types, while Poison Jab is good for hitting the Tapu Pokemon, but it all depends on your team. If you have enough ways to deal with the Tapus, then Rock Slide is the best option for that 3rd slot, while if you're worried about the Tapus, then Poison Jab is the best option. The EV Spread is a simple hit hard and hit fast set, which is why the Focus Sash is the best option for this set. I recommend trying it if you want to a simple, easy to use Garchomp set as its the most consistent of the 2.

Garchomp @ Assault Vest
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 12 HP / 236 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Dragon Claw
- Earthquake
- Rock Slide
- Poison Jab

This is an Assault Vest Garchomp. This set from a video done by Miguel Marti de La Torre (Sekiam), who used this Garchomp to win the London International. I'll link his video here, although its in Spanish, so I hope you can speak the language, but the sets are in English so that's good.  The EV Spread from my understanding, allows Garchomp to take certain hits better like Tapu Lele's Moonblast and Tapu Koko's Dazzling Gleam. In his video, he neglected to show 8 EVs on his Garchomp, so I put 4 in each defense stat to get an extra stat point. The moveset allows Garchomp to have all 4 attacking moves from the Focus Sash set to be able to hit everything under the Sun.

Items to Consider - Here's some potential items to use on Garchomp

  1. Focus Sash -  Allows Garchomp to take 2 super-effective hits to go down
  2. Groundium Z - Turns Earthquake into Tectonic Rage to knock out threats easily
  3. Assault Vest - Allows Garchomp to take hits it normally wouldn't be able to take
  4. Draconium Z - Turns Dragon Claw into Devastating Drake to knock out threats easily
  5. Yache Berry - Allows Garchomp to take a super-effective Ice type attack with ease
  6. Choice Scarf - Allows Garchomp to outspeed and mainly use Rock Slide to flinch targets
  7. Rocky Helmet - Combos with its Rough Skin ability to severely hurt a Pokemon that makes contact with Garchomp
  8. Lum Berry - Allows Garchomp to shrug off a status condition
Partners for Garchomp - Here's some Pokemon that can help Garchomp or appreciates its help
  1. Tapu Koko - Garchomp's Ground typing allows Tapu Koko to freely use Discharge
  2. Vikavolt - Vikavolt's Levitate ability allows them to perform the DisQuake (Discharge + Earthquake) combination
  3. Celesteela/Gyarados - Their flying typing allows Garchomp to freely use Earthquake while they set-up their own win condition
  4. Pelipper/Aerodactyl - Their flying typing and access to support moves like Wide Guard and Tailwind 
  5. Oranguru - Its Telepathy ability allows Garchomp to Earthquake and has Instruct to have it repeat its last move
  6. Gigalith - Gigalith can provide the Sandstorm to combo with Garchomp's Sand Veil ability 
  7. Kartana - Its Steel typing allows Kartana to help Garchomp deal with the problematic Fairy types
  8. Alolan Ninetales - Has the move Aurora Veil to enhance Garchomp's defensive capabilities

How to beat Garchomp? - Here's some Pokemon that prove troublesome for Garchomp
  1. Tapu Koko -  It can use Fairy and Ice type moves, although Garchomp's Earthquake is something to watch out for
  2. Alolan Ninetales - Since its naturally faster then Garchomp, it can use STAB Ice and Fairy type moves to knock it out
  3. Gyarados - It can Intimidate Garchomp to weaken its damage output and heavily damage Garchomp with Ice Fang
  4. Salamence - It can Intimidate Garchomp to survive Dragon Claw and knock it out with Draco Meteor or Devastating Drake
  5. Tapu Lele/ Tapu Fini - It can knock it out with Moonblast as well as survive Poison Jab
  6. Nihilego - Nihilego commonly carries Hidden Power [Ice] to OHKO Garchomp, although Earthquake is a threat
  7. Porygon2 - Porygon2 can tank what Garchomp has to offer and KO it with Ice Beam
  8. Gastrodon - Gastrodon can take Garchomp moves and KO it with Ice Beam or whittle it down with Scald and Toxic
  9. Arquanid - Arquanid can handle most of Garchomp's moves and KO it with its water type Z-Move
  10. Drampa - Under Trick Room, Drampa threatens Garchomp with its Dragon type moves like Draco Meteor and Dragon Pulse
Hope you enjoyed this. Overall, Garchomp is a very threatening Pokemon and is easy to fit onto most teams. Its decent stat distribution makes it a threat, but different to other formats Garchomp's been viable in, it has more threats to deal with and while it doesn't get a variety of moves, it gets the right ones. Hope you enjoyed this and I'll see you guys next time. Bye! 


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Thursday, December 15, 2016

What We Learned: VGC17 European Internationals



The European Internationals took place from December 9-11, 2016 at the ExCel convention center in London, England. 549 players players from across the globe to compete in this event, Including some very strong Japanese players gather to play in the VGC 2017 season on Pokemon Sun & Moon. This event is going to have an impact on the rest of the metagame as its the first major tournament to happen in the VGC 2017 season so the players, teams, and Pokemon that perform well will impact the meta and the season. We saw 3 days of nonstop action on the stream that ended with Miguel Marti de La Torre walking away with as the champion.

Top 16 players and teams for reference
(Pokemon in parentheses were removed from their team because of a team sheet mistake)

  1. Miguel Marti de La Torre:     East Sea 
  2. Nico Davide Cognetta:     East Sea 
  3. Michele Gavelli:    Alola Form  
  4. Ben Kyriakou:  Alola Form  Alola Form  
  5. William Tansley:     Alola Form  
  6. Tobias Koschitzki:      
  7. Tommy Cooleen:     Alola Form 
  8. Nils Dunlop:   Alola Form Alola Form  Alola Form
  9. Yeray Arrivi:  Alola Form   
  10. Alessio Yuri Boschetto:      Alola Form
  11. Kinugawa Yuma:  Alola Form   ()
  12. Till Bohmer:     East Sea Alola Form 
  13. Wolfe Glick:     Alola Form 
  14. Trista Medine:    Alola Form  
  15. Conan Thompson:      
  16. Alejandro Gomez:   Alola Form   


Diversity in this format is very much alive

While many have criticized VGC2015 and VGC2016 for their lack of diversity in terms of the pool of Pokemon, this season has very much proven that this is simply not true for VGC2017. While the standard Pokemon that defined the format like Alolan Marowak, Garchomp, Tapu Koko, and Celesteela made their appearances throughout the tournament, we saw interesting Pokemon that weren't really making an impact in the format previously like Gastrodon, which was on both teams in the finals. We also saw a rise of Magnezone in Day 2 used by 6th place Tobias Koschitzki and 13th place Wolfe Glick, as well as Gigalith used by 5th place William Tansley and 1st place Miguel Marti de La Torre. We also saw Kartana used by 8th place Nils Dunlop, 5th place William Tansley, and 4th place Ben Kyriakou. Finally, Incineroar started to pick up steam as 25th place Jonathan Evans, 26th place Arash Ommati, 33rd place Oliver Reilly, and 43rd place Matt Carter all included it in their teams. As the season progresses, I wonder if this trend of interesting Pokemon that fulfill roles will continue, or will the standard prevail in the end.
Link to the teams: here

Check your Team Sheet

After Day 1 of Swiss was concluded, the 51 players who had 2 or less losses and had advanced to the second day were hack checked. When this happened, there were some issues that had occurred between the teams. The teams that they used throughout the day did not match up with their team sheets and they were forced to remove the Pokemon from their team play throughout the second day of competition. The players who were affected were 17th place Andrea Di Francesco who had to remove Sableye from her team, 25th place Jonathan Evans, who had to remove Tapu Bulu from his team, 31st place Federico Andino, who had to remove Gyarados from his team, 32nd place Eduardo Cunha, who had to had to remove Pelipper from his team, 41st place Markus Stadter, who had to remove, Gastrodon from his team, and 50th place Nelson Pinero, who had to remove Porygon2 from his team. One can only imagine that if their team sheets were correct and didn't have to remove that Pokemon from their teams how well these 6 players would have done throughout the second day of Swiss. They might have even won the tournament if this mistake didn't happen.

So many Countries have strong players

In Day 2, there were a total of 51 players representing 12 countries. What was interesting is that based on the number of players that represented their country, Spain had the second most number of players in Day 2 with 10 right behind Italy with 11 with the finals being Italy's Nico Davide Cognetta vs. Spain's Miguel Marti de La Torre with Miguel winning their match and the tournament. The U.K. had 8 players in Day 2, which 2 of them made it to the Top 8. The US had 7 players in Day 2 with only 1 making it in the Top 8. Germany had 5 players in Day 2 with only 1 in Top 8. Sweden had 2, Japan had 1, Taiwan had 1, Singapore had 1, Czech Republic had 1, Argentina had 3, and Portugal had 1. This really did feel like a mini-Worlds.

Bulky Teams are just as strong as Ever

Before this event, we saw a lot of offensive teams that have dominated the online ladders both in-game and on the Pokemon Showdown Ladder. Going into London, it was theorized that a offensive team would take this event due to how the metagame was going at the time. During London, this quickly changed. Teams were very defensive Pokemon like Gastrodon, Celesteecla, Arcanine, Porygon2, Oranguru, Tapu Bulu, and Alolan Muk, who were all in the Top 16. This shows that in an early metagame with a big tournament on the horizon, strong players will turn an offensive meta in to a slow, bulky one easily.

Top Players dropping from VGC 2017?

With all the problem this event had like the new timer system and the problems with the team sheet incident, as well as traditionally, European events being poorly run, this has lead to some players commenting on twitter that because of this, they wouldn't compete in the 2017 season. Top players like Alexander Kuhn (@hibikivgc), Arash Ommati (@Mean_vgc), Alex Gomez (@PokeAlex_), and Markus Stadter (@13Yoshi37) have all said that they would not compete this season. While they may or not change their mind, its quite telling when some top players have publicly said they have sworn off of competing this season. I wonder if as the season progresses, will more top players follow suit, or is this it.

That's it. That's everything that was important from the European International that I thought was important to cover so I hope you enjoyed it. Check out my older content if you haven't and I'll see you guys next time. Bye!
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