Tuesday, February 28, 2017

VGC 2017 Pokémon Spotlight #7: Tapu Lele


Welcome back to another VGC 2017 Spotlight, where the goal is to look at a Pokemon that's doing well in the 2017 metagame and tell you everything you need to know about it. Last time, we looked at Muk so today, we'll be looking at Tapu Lele, a Pokemon that has been doing really well this season, so its time to look at it and see why its doing well and hopefully give some ideas on how to use Tapu Lele. Hope you enjoy and let's begin.

Base Stats


Looking at its base stats, Tapu Lele has some strong stats for an offensive Pokemon. A 130 base Sp. Attack is fantastic as it allows Tapu Lele to use very strong Special attacking moves, which means that it's certainly gonna show up in the damage department. A 95 speed stat means that while it won't be the fastest Pokemon, it will be fast enough to where it can outspeed many Pokemon in a slower format like this one. Defense wise, 70/75/115 is pretty decent overall as its not frail enough to where it must carry a Focus Sash, but it also isn't bulky enough to where it can just sit on the field and take a ton of hits before going down, so it can take a few neutral hits and still have enough HP to survive the turn pretty comfortably.

Notable Moves

 Here's some moves that can prove useful for Tapu Lele
  • Nature's Madness - Useful to cut a target's HP stat in half
  • Moonblast - Strong Fairy type move for Pokemon like Garchomp and Salamence
  • Hidden Power [Fire] - Useful for Pokemon like Kartana
  • Taunt - Useful to stop status moves like Trick Room
  • Protect - Block attacks and weaken the power of Z-Moves
  • Thunderbolt - Useful for water types
  • Psychic - Strong Psychic type move
  • Shadow Ball - Useful for Pokemon like Alolan Marowak
  • Energy Ball - Strong move for water types like Gastrodon
  • Substitute - Useful to block attacks and set up a shield to protect it
  • Dazzling Gleam - Strong spread Fairy move
Now its time to go into a few sample sets that I have for Tapu Lele.


Tapu Lele @ Psychium Z
Ability: Psychic Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 36 Def / 116 SpA / 4 SpD / 100 Spe
Modest Nature
- Psychic
- Moonblast
- Substitute / Dazzling Gleam / Taunt
- Protect

This is a pretty simple and straightforward Tapu Lele set that focuses on mainly using powerful damaging moves to take out threats. Because Tapu Lele isn't as bulky, I felt that increasing its bulk would be a great idea. The EV Spread allows it to survive Poison Jab from both Garchomp and Pheromosa, then KO them back with Psychic and Mooblast respectively. The 100 Speed allows it to outspeed neutral base 75 Pokemon like Smeargle and Tapu Bulu. The moveset is pretty standard. Psychic and Moonblast are your main damage moves with the 3rd slot being team dependent. Substitute can make Tapu Lele bulkier and stay on the field longer, Dazzling Gleam is a great spread move if need be and Taunt is great to stop status moves and Trick Room from being used.


Tapu Lele @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Psychic Surge
EVs: 12 HP / 4 Def / 236 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
- Psychic
- Moonblast
- Dazzling Gleam 
- Thunderbolt / Energy Ball / Shadow Ball / Hidden Power [Fire]

In VGC 2014, Gardevoir, a very popular Pokemon, was commonly holding a Choice Scarf. This season, Tapu Lele is taking that role and is doing it very well. This set takes advantage of the Choice Scarf so that Tapu Lele can be as fast as possible and hit as hard as possible. The moveset is designed to hit as many different Pokemon as possible. The dual-Fairy moves in Moonblast and Dazzling Gleam so that you can get a strong spread move and a strong single target Fairy move for various situations. Psychic is standard and the last slot is completely team dependent. If you want to a strong electric move, Thunderbolt is useful, Energy Ball is good to hit Gastrodon, Shadow Ball is good for Alolan Marowak, and Hidden Power [Fire] is good for Kartana and Celesteela so it depends on personal preference.

Notable Items

Here's some items that Tapu Lele can appreciate
  • Psychium Z - Turns Psychic into the Z-Move Shatter Psyche
  • Life Orb - Powers up its moves at the cost of 10% of its HP
  • Choice Scarf - Gives Tapu Lele a major Speed increase while locking it into 1 move
  • Psychic Seed - Gives Tapu Lele a Sp. Defense increase inside of its terrain
  • Choice Specs - Gives Tapu Lele a major Sp. Attack increase while locking it into 1 move

Partners

Here's some Pokemon that work well with Tapu Lele

 - Metagross can take advantage of the Psychic Terrain and use a more powerful Zen Headbutt
 - While holding the Psychic Seed, Mandibuzz can get a Sp. Defense increase to increase its survivability
 - Garchomp can handle the Poison and Steel types that may prove to be troublesome for Tapu Lele

How to beat Tapu Lele?


  • Steel Types: Celesteela, Kartana, and Metagross can threaten Kartana with strong Steel moves like Smart Strike, Heavy Slam, and Meteor Mash
  • Poison Types: Nihilego, Muk, and Gengar can threaten Tapu Lele with strong Poison moves like Sludge Bomb and Poison Jab and Muk can switch in on its Psychic moves.
  • Trick Room: Since Tapu Lele is a very fast Pokemon, Trick Room can be very useful to turn its speed into a disadvantage
Overall, Tapu Lele is a very strong Pokemon that relies on its high Sp. Attack stat and good Speed to overpower opponents and take them down. I hope you enjoyed this and if you can balance out its strong stats and mediocre bulk, then Tapu Lele can become a major threat. Check out my older content and I'll see you guys next time. Bye!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Pelipper + Golduck: Its place in VGC 2017


Welcome back to the series where the goal is to analyze a core that's doing well in the VGC 2017 format. Last time we looked at the AFK core which consists of Arcanine, Tapu Fini, and Kartana. Today, we'll be looking at the Double Duck core, which consists of Pelipper and Golduck. This a very strong core that has been having success throughout most of the VGC 2017 season so far and let's take a look on why it's doing so well, what you need to know about it, and how to support as well as beat it. Hope you enjoy and let's begin.

The Core's History?

In the VGC 2017 season, we got 5 Pokémon that now have access to the abilities that auto-set weather when they come on the field. Of these 5, one of them was Pelipper, which now has the Drizzle ability. This was a great thing for Pelipper as it was able to breathe new life in this Pokémon and give it a purpose competitively. This also gave the tried and true Drizzle user Politoed, competition. Now, Pelipper needed a Swift Swim user to support it, but the problem was that the 2 most common Swift Swim users in Ludicolo and Kingdra are not useable this season, so many turned to Golduck to fill this role and thus, this new core was born and it has been doing very well in the 2017 format thus far.

Why use this core?

Different from the old Politoed + Ludicolo Rain core, the core of Pelipper + Golduck is much more offensive in nature, similar to how in 2014, Alex Ogloza was able to win the 2014 U.S. National Championships with a Choice Scarfed Politoed to make it more offensive to perform the job Alex needed it to. Pelipper is a frail Pokémon with 60/100/85 defenses so many have found ways around it and because Golduck is a very frail Pokémon as well so like Pelipper, many have found a way around this. The fragility of this core have been hidden and turned into an advantage by using high-powered moves to overpower the opponent and take out there Pokémon that may threaten your team.

Now let's go into some sample sets to show how many have decided to use these 2 Pokémon in battle.



Pelipper @ Focus Sash
Ability: Drizzle
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
- Scald
- Hurricane
- Tailwind
- Protect

This a pretty simple Pelipper set to use. The reason is because this Pelipper is designed to use Tailwind to increase the speed of its team for the next few turns. Because its not bulky at all, the Focus Sash is needed to allow Pelipper to survive the turn and use Tailwind on that turn. Scald and Hurricane are chosen as your 2 attacking moves as they have get the STAB-increase for its attacks and Hurricane especially works well with Pelipper's Drizzle ability so it can use a 100% accurate Flying type move. Scald gets the increase under Rain for being a water type move. Pelipper overall functions as a Tailwind and Rain setter for the team to enjoy.


Golduck @ Waterium Z
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
- Scald
- Ice Beam / Encore
- Hydro Pump
- Protect

Like Pelipper this a pretty simple Golduck set to use, which can make this core easy to understand and use. The goal of Golduck is to take advantage of Golduck's Swift Swim ability to outspeed many Pokemon and then use strong moves to overpower them. The reason Golduck has Hydro Pump is so it can use a strong water move to go with its Waterium Z item to have a strong Hydro Vortex attack. Scald is for when Golduck needs a safe water type move with Ice Beam for Pokemon like Garchomp and Salamence, but Encore works in that slot so it can lock a Pokemon into an attack it doesn't want to be in like Protect. The final slot is for Protect. The EVs is for Golduck to take an offensive role.

Supporting the Core

These are a few Pokemon that can work well with Pelipper and Golduck.

 - Because Gastrodon can threaten this core, Kartana and Tapu Bulu can use strong Grass type moves to deal with it pretty easily.
 - Tapu Koko can take advantage of the Rain by using a very fast Thunder to threaten them.
 - These 2 Steel types enjoy the Rain as it'll reduce the power of Fire type moves that threaten them.


How to beat the Core?

Here's a few Pokemon that can provide answers to Pelipper and Golduck.
  - As Grass types, they threaten Pelipper and Golduck with strong grass moves like Leaf Blade, Wood Hammer, and Horn Leech.
 - Gastrodon's Storm Drain ability can redirect all water moves and renders Golduck's Hydro Vortex null and void.
 - Tapu Koko and Xurkitree can use a powerful Thunderbolt or Thunder to threaten these two.
 - These 3 can provide there own weather with Torkoal and Gigalith being slower so they can set their own weather. Ninetales threatens with a powerful Freeze Dry.
Trick Room - Because this a very hyper offensive and fast team, Trick Room works as a way to turn the fast Pokemon on the team into a weakness.

Success this core has had

  • Antonio Cano got 42nd at the European International
  • Eduardo Cunha got 32nd at the European International
  • Tommy Cooleen got 7th at the European International
  • David Scott got 9th at the San Jose Regionals
  • Aaron Zheng got 6th at the San Jose Regionals
  • Mitchell Davies got 3rd at the San Jose Regionals
  • MrDeusiudex got 3rd in the online Melbourne Challenge

Overall, Pelipper + Golduck is a very strong core. It seems to be an early meta core looking at results where players have learned how to beat it, but it'll be interesting to see if this core can have a 2nd chance at life where many players will bring it to events, but it's definitely something to watch out for in tournament as many do know about it's strength. I hoped you enjoyed this and of course, check out my older content and I'll see you guys next time. Bye!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Arcanine + Tapu Fini + Kartana: Its place in VGC 2017



I'm starting a new series, where the goal is to talk  about a core that's doing well in the VGC 2017 format and tell you everything you need to know about it, while also providing some possible team building ideas if you get stuck. Today, we'll be talking about the AFK core, which consists of Arcanine, Tapu Fini, and Kartana. This Fire/ Water/ Grass core has been performing well in the VGC 2017 format so let's cover it and I hope you enjoy.


Why use this core?

Similar to the Heatran / Rotom-Wash / Mega Venusaur of 2015, this is a bulky Fire/Water/Grass core meant to control the game through a mixture of weakening your opponent's ways of damage and shutting down their options in a variety of ways, including eliminating status ailments from the battle through Tapu Fini's Misty Surge ability that sets Misty Terrain on the field and prevents any grounded Pokémon from being affected by status, Arcanine's Snarl/Intimidate combo to weaken all physical and special attacking moves used by the opponent, and Kartana's strong coverage moves to cause major damage which the support provided by Tapu Fini and Arcanine makes Kartana bulkier than it already is. This allows these 3 Pokémon to form a strong defensive core that can slow the state of the game, which favors the bulkier team most of the time.


Sample Sets

Sample sets for these 3 Pokemon.


Arcanine @ Sitrus Berry  
Ability: Intimidate  
EVs: 148 HP / 4 Def / 164 SpA / 28 SpD / 164 Spe  
Timid Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Flamethrower  
- Snarl
- Roar / Will-O-Wisp
- Protect

This is a supportive Arcanine used by Till Boomer (@Dark_Psiana) to finish 12th at the London International. This Arcanine was meant to use Will-O-Wisp to weaken physical attackers like Garchomp, as well as its Intimidate ability to weaken its further, while also using Snarl to weaken special attackers so none is safe. You also have Flamethrower as a strong STAB move. The EV Spread was mean to allow Flamethrower to have a 93.8% chance to 2HKO 180 HP / 148 SpD Celesteela. It also allows Arcanine to have a 6.3% chance to survive 252 SpA Nihilego Power Gem and is 2HKO'd by -1 Earthquake from Garchomp thanks to the Sitrus Berry. The speed EVs are so Arcanine can outspeed max speed Xurkitree. I'll link the team report here so you can get a better idea of Till's Arcanine from his point of view. Because the team has Tapu Fini, there's an option to use Roar over Will-O-Wisp as you can Roar a Trick Room setter because Roar has -6 priority and Trick Room has -7 priority.


Kartana @ Assault Vest
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 116 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 132 SpD / 252 Spe Spe
Jolly Nature
- Leaf Blade
- Smart Strike
- Sacred Sword
- Night Slash

This was the Assault Vest Kartana set that was created by Ray Rizzo. He made a video, which I'll link here. This set works well with Arcanine and Tapu Fini as Arcanine can use Snarl, Intimidate, and Will-O-Wisp to weaken the power of their attacking moves, which in turns makes Kartana bulkier overall. Some important offensive damage calcs that Ray went into our how at +1 Attack thanks to Beast Boost Leaf Blade can KO 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko and Smart Strike has a 93.8% chance to KO 252 HP / 0 Def Tapu Bulu. Kartana still has a lot of damage output as Ray noted as it still has a base 181 Attack stat and will still be providing damage. Defensively, this Kartana can survive Tectonic Rage from 252 Atk Garchomp, Hydro Vortex from 252+ SpA Golduck in the Rain, and Fire Fang from 252 Atk Garchomp. Coverage wise, this Kartana can hit every Pokemon in the format for at least neutral damage, which always allows it always have a move to on each Pokemon.


Tapu Fini @ Leftovers
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Def / 196 SpA / 4 SpD / 12 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Muddy Water
- Moonblast
- Calm Mind
- Protect

This is a bulky Tapu Fini set meant to allow Tapu Fini to use Calm Mind to increase both its Sp. Attack and Sp. Defense by 1 stage each, allowing it to increase its damage output and take crucial hits, like Tapu Koko's Thunderbolt, which out of the Electric Terrain and at +1, which is a 3HKO. Muk's Poison Jab at -1 is a 3HKO, and Celesteecla's Heavy Slam is a 31.3% chance to be a 2HKO. The HP stat is to optimize Leftovers recovery. The 12 Speed EVs is to speed creep other Tapu Fini.  At +1 Sp. Attack, Tapu Fini's Muddy Water is a OHKO and a 81.3% chance to KO Alolan Marowak. The goal is to maximize how long Tapu Fini stays on the field and use Muddy Water and Moonblast to cause damage, while providing the Misty Terrain so it can prevent status ailments on your Pokemon so they can't use Toxic on your Tapu Fini or Will-O-Wisp on your Kartana.


Further Supporting the Core

 - Because this core is in the middling speed, Pokemon like Snorlax are very helpful as it can deter the opponent from using Trick Room as they'll have to deal with a very strong and slow Pokemon.
 - Garchomp is a very fast Pokemon as it provides a Z-Move slot on the team and can give the team a much needed fast option.
 - Muk can provide a team a great answer versus the 4 Tapu Pokemon as Muk can provide strong Poison type moves.
 - Porygon2 can provide a strong Trick mode and allows the team to open up a Trick Room mode.
 - Gigalith can provide the Sand, while also supporting the Trick Room mode if you add Porygon2 and fast weather setters like Ninetales, Politoed, & Pelipper will have their weather overridden.


How to Beat the Core

(Note: Like many strong cores, there no one Pokemon that can beat this core, but more of a combination of Pokemon that can form a way to beat this core, but there's a few Pokemon that can give it trouble.)

 - Garchomp is a fast Pokemon that can carry Fire Fang to deal with Kartana, oftens carries Tectonic Rage to deal with Arcanine, and can do a lot of damage to handle Tapu Fini.
 - Tapu Koko can do a lot of damage to these Pokemon and the only Pokemon that may give Tapu Koko trouble is Kartana, which can Smart Strike for a lot of damage and Arcanine can use Snarl to weaken it's Thunderbolt.


Success this core has had

  • Sam Schweitzer finished 3rd at the 2017 Dallas Regionals
  • Nick Navarre finished 4th at the 2017 Dallas Regionals
  • Baris Ackos finished 3rd at the 2017 Leipzig Regionals
  • Davide Carter finished 2nd at the 2017 Leipzig Regionals
  • Markus Städter won the 2017 Leipzig Regionals
  • Edward Glover finished 13th at the 2017 Athens Regionals
  • Sogeking8000 finished 25th in the online Melbourne Challenge
  • Tobias Koschitziki finished 22nd in the online Melbourne Challenge
  • Curtis Cousins finished 5th in the online Melbourne Challenge
I hoped you enjoyed this article. Overall, this is a very strong core that has a ton of success and will see this success in the future. Check out my older content and let me know what your opinions on this core. See you guys next time. Bye!

Friday, February 10, 2017

VGC 2017 International Championships Australia Preview


With the next International Championship coming up, I thought it would be a good time to talk about the event, as well as the the players attending that are most likely in contention to win the event. This event will take place in Melbourne, Australia on March 10-12, 2017 at the Melbourne Park Function Centre. As the biggest event for the APAC area, this will be many players best shot at earning an invitation to the World Championships, so they'll be training hard to make sure they can do well and still be in contention to accomplish this. Different to this year, only 500 players in the Masters Division will be allowed to compete, meaning that prize money will only extend into the Top 8. Hope you enjoy and let's start.


PokeBank

Recently, PokeBank was released. While this does allow all 800+ Pokemon to be used in Pokemon Sun and Moon, this does also allow previously unavailable moves & abilities to be used by all Pokemon in the 2017 metagame. Some of the more notable ones include Fake Out on Salazzle, Electroweb on Vikavolt, and Unnerve on Aerodactyl, this will mean that during this event, players will have to watch out for these as they can come as a surprise if answers for them are gone. I'll link an article that goes into all the notable ones here.


Notable Players

Now its time to go into some players that have confirmed their attendance that will be threats throughout the event. It is difficult to predict the winner, but some have asserted themselves as someone to watch out for. (If you want me to remove your

Sam Pandelis -- @zeldavgc
It's hard to talk about threatening players at this event without mentioning Sam.  He has had an impressive 2016 season, coming off 3rd Place at the Australian Nationals and Top 16 at the World Championships and he's a 3 time Regional Champion. His strengths come in his ability to make fantastic reads each turn based on his overall board position at the time. While he does have a risky game-plan at times, he's able to consistently make smart calls to win games. Overall, he's probably one of Australia's best shot to have a native player win the event.


Aaron Zheng -- @CybertronVGC
A 4 time Regional Champion, 2 time National Champion, and 3rd at the 2013 World Championships with qualifying for the World Championships 7 times in a row, Aaron is a player that is consistently able to play at a high level. Recently, Sam Pandelis hosted the Melbourne Win-A-Trip event where the winner would earn enough money to attend this International Championship. Aaron was the one able to win the entire event and will most certainly be attending in Melbourne. In Europe, he finished with a 6-3 record, knocking him out of a Day 2, but with a better understanding on the meta, he might  be able to improve and make Day 2 this time.

Tommy Cooleen -- @TmanVGC
Tommy currently has the most Championship Points in North America and a 2017 Day 1 Worlds invite, which is mostly due to this Top 8 finish at the European International. With multiple Regionals Top Cut appearances, Tommy will be looking to use this event as a chance to stay in contention for a Day 2 Invite to the World Championships, but if he plays like in London, this shouldn't be much of an issue.

Baris Ackos -- @BillaVGC
Baris is a remarkable player with many accomplishments, most notably a Top 8 finish at the 2016 World Championships, as well as 2nd place at the 2016 South African Nationals. He recently finished 3rd a the Leipzig (Dreamhack) Regional so it's already safe to say that Baris understands this format. He already has his Worlds Invite so like Tommy, he'll be looking to upgrade his Day 1 invite into a Day 2 invite to improve on his Top 8 finish at the last World Championships. He's currently 2nd in CP behind Germany's Tobias Koschitzki.

Tobias Koschitzki -- @TobySxE
With a 2nd and 3rd place finish at the 2015 and 2016 German National Championships respectively, and a Top 16 finish at the 2015 World Championships, Tobias has been very close multiple times to achieving success but hasn't. Recently, he's finished 22nd in the Melbourne Challenge hosted by Sam Pandelis and more notably, Top 8 at the London International so he's shown that he can do well in this format and with his Day 1 Worlds Invite, he'll be looking to lock up a Day 2 invite.

Sebastian Escalante -- @SebasVGC
Sebastian is probably one of Latin America's best players as recently, he's done very well. Top 4 at the 2016 Argentina Nationals, 9th at the 2016 World Championships, and 30th at the London International shows that he's on his way to earning a Day 1 Worlds Invite. He's a very strong player very recently so if he gets his Worlds Invite, he should be able to make Day 2.

Wolfe Glick -- @WolfeyGlick
Wolfe is a player that needs no introduction. The current World Champion, a 4 time World Championship qualifier, 5 time Regional Champion and a 2 time National Champion, Wolfe is a player that can rise to the challenge and prove why he's strong player. Wolfe already has his Worlds Invite through becoming the World Champion so he's looking to lock up his Worlds Invite and if his Top 16 finish in London has anything to say about it, this should be a strong event.

Markus Stadter -- @13Yoshi37
Markus is a very accomplished player. A 3 time Regional champion, 2 time National Champion, and finishing 3rd at the 2016 World Championships shows that Markus is one of Europe's best players. Markus has already qualified through finishing Top 4 at the World Championships last season but since it's only a Day 1 Invite, he'll be looking to lock up a Day 2 Invite.

Paul Chua -- @_Blue_Spider_
Paul established himself as a strong player in Seniors with a finals appearance at the 2012 US Nationals, losing to Aaron Zheng in Senior finals, then winning US Nationals the very next year in Seniors, followed by a Top 8 finish at the World Championships the very same season. Going into Masters in 2015, a 10th place finish at US Nationals, followed by making Day 2 at the World Championships showed that no matter what division, Paul can prove his worth. He's won 3 Regionals as Masters and alongside his sister Kylie, who has won multiple Regionals in Seniors and finished Top 4 at the World Championships in 2015, the Chua siblings have shown why there both strong players and definitely someone who you need to keep an eye on.

William Tansley -- @StarKO90
One of Europe's newer superstars, William Tansley has in 1 season, shown why he's a player to watch out for. With a Top 4 finish at UK Nationals and a win at the Dublin Regional last season, he's shown that he's a strong player. He also finished 28th at the World Championships last season and with a Top 8 finish at the London International, Tansley has truly shown he understands this meta and will be a threat in London.

Speed Round

(This article is starting to get long so let's finish it up)

Michele Gaveli -- @LordGioppiVGC
First year Master, but won both a Regional and Nationals last season as a Senior. Got 3rd at the London International. Don't sleep on him or you'll regret it.

Ken Hyuang -- @KenVGC
Won Philadelphia Regionals and finished Top 8 at Ft. Wayne Regionals. Currently 5th in CP in North America and is on track to earn his Worlds Invite and a strong finish in Melbourne will accomplish that.

Chuppa Cross IV. -- @ChuppaVGC
3rd in CP in North America. Less than 20 points from his Worlds Invite. Multiple Regionals Top Cut appearances and 35th at the London International shows that Chuppa can compete at a high level.

Riley Factura -- @GENGARboi_ 
8th in CP in North America. 3 time Regional Champion. Top 32 at the World Championships in 2015 shows that Riley is a strong player and has a strong chance to do well.

Nick Navarre -- @NailsOU
Top 4 at multiple Regionals and is 4th in CP in North America from a newer player to the scene shows that Nick is coming to show he's a strong player and has a strong chance to go far.

Ian McLaughlin -- @raikoovgc
Won Florida Regionals and got 3rd at Georgia Regionals. 2nd in CP in North America and has his Worlds Invite.

Miguel Marti De La Torre -- @SekiamPKM
Won London International and got Top 8 at the World Championships in 2014. 4th in CP in Europe.

Nico Davide Cognetta -- @DesuVGC
Got 2nd at the London International and currently has his Worlds Invite. 3rd in CP in Europe.

Alex Poole -- @Triceratops5X
Strong Australian player who got 2nd at the 2016 Australian National Champion and was a Day 2 player at the 2016 Pokemon World Championships Has the potential to do well at this event, but if you sleep on him, you might just regret it.

Phil Nguyen -- @Boomguy_Pokemon
The 2016 Australian National Champion and will essentially be defending his title as Nationals are converted into Internationals. Also got 21st at the 2015 at the 2015 Worlds Championships. Strong and consistent player.

I hoped you enjoyed this. The Melbourne International has a chance to really change the dynamic of players in contention for their Day 1 or Day 2 Worlds Invite depending on their placement so we'll see who ends up taking the event. Check out my older content and I'll see you guys next time. Bye!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

VGC 2017 Pokémon Spotlight #6 Alolan Muk



Welcome back to another VGC 2017 Pokemon Spotlight. The goal is to look at a Pokemon that's doing well in the format and tell you everything you need to know about it. Today, we'll be looking at Alolan Muk, who has been doing very well in the format and I thought it would be a good time to look at why its doing well in this format and tell you everything you need to know about it. Hope you enjoy and let's begin with its base stats & typing.

Base Stats

Looking at its stats, Muk has some really solid stats that allows it to take hits and dish out very strong hits in return. 105/75/100 is very bulky as it allows it to take very strong hits. A 105 base Attack stat is very great as it can use its attacks to cause a major amount of damage. Its very slow at base 50 so it can work both in and out of Trick Room effectively. Its 65 Sp. Attack stat isn't great, but it can do a decent amount of damage at the right times.

Typing


Muk has a very strong typing in Poison/Dark. Its weak against Ground but unless its a very strong Ground type move, it won't be OHKO'd in many situations. Being able to switch in on Poison, Ghost, Grass, and Dark type moves means it can switch in on 5 types and not take to much.

Now it's time to look at some moves that Muk can use very well.
  • Minimize - Increases evasiveness to allow Muk to evade many attacks that can take it out.
  • Knock Off - Doubled power when the Pokemon has an item.
  • Gunk Shot - Strong Poison type move. Best used when Muk holds the Poisonium Z.
  • Protect - Take attacks and weaken the power of Z-Moves.
  • Flamethrower - Useful to hit Kartana and Celesteela.
  • Poison Jab - Safe Poison type move.
  • Substitute - Potentially take a hit at the cost of its HP.
  • Assurance - Doubled power if used after Muk's partner used its attack first.
  • Imprison - Locks away moves from other Muk, mainly Poison Jab and Knock Off.
  • Shadow Sneak - Strong priority move to break Focus Sashes and knock out opposing Pokemon at a low amount of HP.
Now I wanna go into a sample set that I think can work on Muk. This is the most idea way to play Muk.

Muk-Alola @ Figy Berry
Ability: Gluttony
EVs: 188 HP / 244 Atk / 44 Def / 20 SpD / 12 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Poison Jab
- Knock Off
- Curse
- Protect

This is the Muk used by Alex Gomez (@PokeAlex_) to get Top 16 at the London International. This is a pretty simple set that's designed to take advantage of its Gluttony ability, which means that Muk can use its berry earlier, meaning it can get the 50% healing for its Figy Berry earlier than normal. The EV Spread allows Muk to survive 252+ Choice Specs Eruption from Torkoal in the Sun, as well as 252+ Hydro Vortex from Gyarados, and 252+ Bonemerang from Marowak. The 244 Attack is useful to guarantee Poison Jab to OHKO offensive Tapu Koko and Tapu Lele, bulky Tapu Bulu, and 2HKO defensive Tapu Fini as well as Knock Off can 4HKO 252 HP / 0 Def Celesteela.  Curse is optional if you want the attack and defense boosts, but Shadow Sneak and Assurance are good alternatives.

Possible Items

  • Figy Berry - Heals 50% of Muk's HP. Combos well with its Gluttony ability
  • Life Orb - Increases its overall damage output
  • Poisonium Z - Turns Poison Jab into Acid Downpour
  • Darknium Z - Turns Knock Off into Black Hole Eclipse

Potential Partners
  • Trick Room Users - Trick Room users like Porygon2 and Oranguru can turn Muk's slow speed into an advantage
  • Water types - Water types like Araquanid and Gastrodon can help handle ground types that threaten Muk
  • Tapu Koko - It's high damage output can help weaken Pokemon for Muk to finish off

How to beat Muk
  • Ground types - Ground types like Garchomp and Mudsdale can use powerful Ground moves to make quick work of Muk
  • Celesteela - Celesteela can switch in on Poison Jab and Knock Off is a 4HKO while Heavy Slam does way more damage
  • Knock Off - If Muk is holding the Figy Berry, then you can use Knock Off to easily remove it 
Overall Muk is a very threatening Pokémon. With tools to handle many of the top Pokémon in the format,  it's no wonder Muk is doing well in this format. It's powerful attacks, good defenses,  and access to strong moves, Muk is gonna be doing well in the future. I hope you enjoy. Check out the older VGC 2017 content and I'll see you guys next time. Bye!