Wednesday, April 26, 2017

VGC2017 Pokémon Spotlight #10: Tapu Fini


Welcome back to another Pokémon Spotlight, where the goal is to look at a Pokémon that's doing well in the VGC 2017 format and give you the necessary info to both use and beat it. Today, we're going to talk about the Tapu Fini. What's started out as what was decided to be a pretty bad Pokémon before by many players, to now a metagame mainstay, let's dive in and see why Tapu Fini is doing so well. Let's begin.

Base Stats



Looking at its stats, Tapu Fini has the stats of a decent defensive tank. 70/115/130 is great because it allows it to take hits from a lot of prevalent threats, making it harder to KO, which allows you to use your base 95 Sp. Attack stat to to cause a lot of damage. Base 85 Speed means Tapu Fini is the 2nd slowest Tapu Pokemon, only 10 points faster than Tapu Bulu's base 75 speed stat. Overall, Tapu Fini has great stats for a defensive Pokemon and stats just strong enough for a viable offensive attacker,

Notable Moves

(Here's some moves you can expect to see on Tapu Fini)
  1. Moonblast - Strong & consistent single-target Fairy type move
  2. Heal Pulse - Useful to heal up the partner to keep it on the field longer
  3. Haze - Useful for stopping status moves 
  4. Nature's Madness - Cuts a Pokemon's HP by 50% if even HP stat. 51% if odd HP stat
  5. Muddy Water - Alternative water spread move to Scald due to Misty Terrain's status preventing effects
  6. Hydro Pump - High-powered single-target Water move to chunk threats.
  7. Calm Mind - Increases Tapu Fini's Sp. Attack and Sp. Defense stat by 1 stage each.
  8. Taunt - Useful for stopping status moves and potential set-up
  9. Ice Beam - Strong move to hit Pokemon like Garchomp and Salamence harder than Moonblast
  10. Protect - Useful for blocking moves and weakening the power of Z-Moves
  11. Scald - Strong, single target Water move to hit targets harder than with Muddy Water
  12. Grass Knot - Useful for primarily hitting Gastrodon
  13. Dazzling Gleam - Useful, spread Fairy type move 

Now it's time for some sample sets to use on Tapu Fini.

tapu-fini.png
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

The most standard Tapu Fini set, this one focuses on at the right times, using Calm Mind to boost your stats to increase your damage output to pick up KOs on major threats. The defense EVs allows for -1 252+ Attack Poison Jab from Muk to be a 3HKO afters Leftovers recovery,  252+ Attack from Celesteela to 2HKO after Leftovers, and 252+ SpA Choice Specs Thunderbolt from Tapu Koko to 2HKO after Leftovers, but only if its not in the Electric Terrain. The offensive EVs allows for 4 HP / 0 SpD Krookodile to be OHKO'd by Moonblast 87.5% of the time, while Muddy Water is a guaranteed OHKO at +1. Also, +1 Muddy Water is a guaranteed OHKO on 252 HP / 0 SpD Marowak 81.3% of the time. The 12 speed EVs is to speed creep 4 speed invested Tapu Fini. Personally, I found that by taking 8 EVs out of Sp. Attack and putting them in speed, which turns the new EV Spread into: 252 HP / 44 Def / 188 SpA / 4 SpD / 20 Spe and dropping Calm Mind for Taunt, you can outspeed the spread listed above and Taunt it to stop it from using Calm Mind. I've even seen 28 Speed EVs Tapu Fini to make it even faster, but the next set shows that, which is pretty cool.

tapu-fini.png
Tapu Fini @ Choice Specs
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 20 Def / 164 SpA / 44 SpD / 28 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Muddy Water
- Hydro Pump
- Moonblast
- Dazzling Gleam

The goal of this set is to turn a generally defensive Pokemon that wants to sit on the field for a longer time into a much more offensive Pokemon. The moves of both a strong single-target Water and Fairy type move in Hydro Pump and Moonblast, as well strong spread Water and Fairy moves in Muddy Water and Dazzling Gleam. This means if your opponent has Wide Guard to block your spread moves, you have a very powerful single-target move of the same type. Remember that Choice Specs will lock you into the first move you use while on the field until you switch out. The defense investment allows Tapu Fini to survive 252 SpA Choice Specs Thunderbolt from Tapu Koko in Misty Terrain, 4 Atk Kartana Leaf Blade and -1 252+ Atk Muk Poison Jab. The offense investment KOs 4 HP / 0 SpD Krookodile Moonblast, 252 HP / 0 SpD Marowak with Muddy Water, and 0 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Koko with Hydro Pump.


Notable Items


  • Tapunium Z - Turns Nature's Madness into Guardian of Alola
  • Choice Specs - Boost the power of its Sp. Attack moves, but locking it into 1 move
  • Healing Berries - Gives it extra recovery. Works great with more supportive sets 
  • Leftovers - Heals 1/16 of Tapu Fini's HP at the end of each turn.
  • Waterium Z - Turns water moves into their Z-Move equivalent, Hydro Vortex
  • Fairium Z - Turns fairy moves into their Z-Move equivalent, Twinkle Tackle

Notable Partners

  •  - Gives Tapu Fini Intimidate support to help it take physical hits better
  •  - Fast grass/steel type to help threaten a lot of Pokemon that gives Tapu Fini trouble
  •  - Can give Misty Seed so after its used, activates Drifblim's Unburden ability to double its speed
  •  - Same as Drifblim, but much bulkier and can give it some great supportive options
  • Offensive Pokemon - Pokemon like Tapu Koko and Garchomp can help provide much needed to offense to help Tapu Fini do its job.

How to beat Tapu Fini?


  •  - Threatens Leaf Blade, which can easily threaten a KO
  •  - Threatens Thunberbolt, which KOs in Electric Terrain and easily 2HKOs in other terrains
  • Poison types - Muk and Nihilego are the 2 notable poison types and can do an insane amount of damage to it
  •  - Threatens grass moves like Horn Leech and Wood Hammer to do a massive amount of damage to Fini, as well as being slower to overwrite its terrain
  • Opposing terrains - If you can overwrite the Misty Terrain, Tapu Fini may encounter the risk of status moves like sleep and burn

Overall, Tapu Fini is a very strong Pokémon. Through its use of both offensive and supportive moves, as well as its great bulk, it can really mess with the opponent. If you can manage the terrain control, it can really work in your favor. I hope you enjoyed this article. Check out my older content and I'll see you guys next time. Bye!
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Monday, April 10, 2017

VGC 2017 Pokemon Spotlight #9: Kartana


Welcome back to another VGC 2017 Pokemon Spotlight, where the goal is to talk about a Pokemon that's having success in the VGC format and tell you everything you need to know about it. Today, we'll be talking about Kartana. Kartana has had a fantastic season and its time to talk about why this is. Hope you enjoy and let's begin.

Base Stats


Looking at its stats, Kartana is essentially, the textbook definition of a sweeper. This is because of its 181 base attack stat. This allows it to use some amazingly powerful physical moves in its disposal. It's 109 speed stat allows it to outspeed prevalent Pokemon in the format like Garchomp and Tapu Lele and threaten them with damage, meaning the only Pokemon it speed ties with is Alolan Ninetales. A 59 Sp. Attack stat means I wouldn't rely on Kartana as a special attacker, which is perfectly fine with that 181 attack stat. Defense wise, 59/131/31 is pretty awkward as it can take a physical hit well, but 59/31 for special bulk means Kartana will even take a lot of damage from special based hits it resists with its Grass/Steel typing.

Notable Moves

  1. Sacred Sword - Strong fighting move to hit Porygon2 and Snorlax
  2. Razor Leaf - Works with the Scope Lens item for an increase critical hit ratio
  3. Night Slash - Strong dark move to hit Marowak and Oranguru
  4. Swords Dance - Increases Kartana's attack stat by 2 stages
  5. Leaf Blade - Strong and consistent Grass type STAB move
  6. Protect/Detect - Useful to shield against attacks and weaken the power of Z-moves
  7. Guillotine - Gives Kartana a 30% chance each turn to OHKO a Pokemon
  8. Smart Strike - Strong and consistent Steel type STAB move
  9. Substitute - A surprise way to take an attack and play a supportive role.
Now it's time to go into sample sets for Kartana.


Kartana @ Focus Sash
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Smart Strike
- Leaf Blade
- Sacred Sword
- Protect / Detect

A standard Kartana set. This set was popular at the beginning of the season because the lack of bulk at the beginning of the season showed that this may have been the best way to play it. This set is still doing well in the format because its the most consistent set. The dual-STAB combination of Smart Strike and Leaf Blade allows Kartana to do its job. The 3rd slot in Sacred Sword is helpful to hit Pokemon like Porygon2 and Snorlax for good damage. Because Kartana works well with the Focus Sash item, investing in bulk isn't as smart because it allows Kartana to focuses its EVs into attack and speed to be as strong as possible. Protect occupies the last slot as its a great move in VGC, although Detect is a great option so if you face something with the move Imprison and it also knows the move Protect, you can still have a Protect-based move to use.


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

This is the Kartana that was popularized by 3 time World Champion Ray Rizzo. I'll link his video here if you wanna watch it as Ray did an amazing job to explain how the set works. The beauty of this set is that it allows Kartana to be bulkier than it may appear to be and gives its a decent amount of offensive power because it has a range of strong attacking moves.


Kartana @ Scope Lens
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 52 HP / 124 Atk / 4 Def / 76 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Leaf Blade
- Sacred Sword
- Substitute
- Detect

This was the Kartana that was popularized by Enosh Shachar as this was the set he used in the ONOG Invitational. I'll link the article that talks about it here. The beauty of this set as the article goes into say is to that It can improve its chance to land a critical hit and ignore stat boosts to its defense like the Extreme Evoboost teams, as well as the Smeargle + Pallosand combo. The decision to run Substitute over Smart Strike is a pretty cool idea because if the opponent chooses to ignore Kartana for a turn, it can set-up a Substitute and make it harder to KO.


Kartana @ Choice Scarf  
Ability: Beast Boost  
EVs: 20 HP / 220 Atk / 4 Def / 100 SpD / 164 Spe  
Adamant Nature  
- Leaf Blade  
- Smart Strike  
- Sacred Sword  
- Razor Leaf


This was a Choice Scarfed Kartana used by Rob Akershoek (@ApplePieVGC) to finish in the Top 8 of the 2017 Sheffield Regionals. I'll link it here if you want to know more about it. The EV Spread was meant to make 252 Sp. Attack Life Orb Tapu Koko's Dazzling Gleam a 3HKO, while using Leaf Blade to 2HKO it back. The coolest thing that Rob goes into saying about this set is that this Kartana can potentially use Razor Leaf to knock out 2 Pokemon at the same time and if it can, it'll get +2 from its Beast Boost. 


Potential Items

  • Focus Sash - Gives Kartana a potential second turn if hit by a move that would KO it
  • Grassium Z - Turns Leaf Blade into its Z-Move equivalent, Bloom Doom
  • Fightinium Z - Turns Sacred Sword into its Z-Move equivalent, All-Out Pummeling, or turn Detect into Z-Detect for 1 stage of increase accuracy
  • Steelium Z - Turns Smart Strike into its Z-Move equivalent, Corkscrew Crash
  • Assault Vest - Increases Kartana's special bulk to make it overall more bulky
  • Scope Lens - Increases its critical hit ratio. Works great with the move, Razor Leaf
  • Choice Scarf - Increases its speed to deal major damage to big threats

Potential Partners

 - Provides the Intimidate ability, as well as Snarl to help Kartana takes hits better.
 - Provides the Misty Terrain to help Kartana avoid status like Burn and Paralysis
 - Kartana's steel moves can help Garchomp deal better with Fairy type Pokemon and Nihilego
 - Provide Rain to help it take Fire moves

How to beat Kartana?

Fire types - Fire Pokemon like Arcanine and Marowak can use strong fire moves to quickly KO it
Fire moves - If a Pokemon has access to a Fire type move, it can deal a heavy amount of damage
Special Attacks - Because of Kartana's poor special bulk, strong special moves can do a nice chunk to it.
Fighting types - Fighting Pokemon like Hariuyama and Buzzwole can resist its moves and chunk it with Close Combat and Superpower respectively
Trick Room - Because Kartana is very fast, Trick Room works as a way to turn its speed into a weakness.

I hope you enjoyed this analysis. Overall Kartana is a very strong Pokemon. Through its impressive offensive power in Attack and Speed, many ways it can function as a Pokemon, which allows it to function as a very impressive Pokemon. Check out my older content and I'll see you next time Bye!
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