This mini-series will look at Pokemon who have the potential to make a big impact at the 2018 World Championships. The first article will talk about Gastrodon and why this Pokemon has a real shot at making waves at Worlds thanks to its current position in the VGC 2018 format.

Gastrodon's Strengths in VGC

The main appeal to Gastrodon is in its Storm Drain ability, which draws in any single target Water type move to give the user a +1 Sp. Attack boost while rendering the attack useless. Spread Water type moves such as Muddy Water, Water Spout and Surf will still work regardless of the Storm Drain user being on the field, but if Gastrodon is hit, it will gain the Sp. Attack boost and the attack will still happen. This can make Gastrodon a very effective threat versus many Water types since it can use its Storm Drain ability to absorb Water type moves that its teammates won't enjoy dealing with.

It's 2 other abilities in Sticky Hold which just means it doesn't lose its item if hit by Knock Off, and Sand Force which just gives it a 1.3x power boost to Ground, Rock, and Steel in the Sand, aren't strong enough to overtake Storm Drain's usage on Gastrodon.

Gastrodon's Water/Ground typing is also very helpful because it allows it to threaten common Pokemon such as Tapu Koko, Incineroar, and Nihilego with Ground type moves while hitting Pokemon such as Incineroar, Landorus, and Charizard with Water type moves. Gastrodon can run other moves that can hit other Pokemon, but that will be covered later with sets to use on Gastrodon.

Sample Gastrodon Set

West Gastrodon
Gastrodon @ Iapapa Berry  
Ability: Storm Drain  
Level: 50  
EVs: 164 HP / 132 Def / 108 SpA / 100 SpD
Quiet Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  / 0 Spe
- Scald  
- Earth Power  
- Clear Smog  / Ice Beam
- Recover / Protect

This sample set for Gastrodon focus on its damage output while still being able to take hits. The original creator for this Gastrodon set notes that it can survive Never-Ending Nightmare based off of Shadow Ball from Aegislash and also out-speeds base 40 speed Pokemon like Rhydon and Camerupt when they are at -1 Speed.

The moves for Gastrodon are very simple. Scald and Earth Power are your main STAB moves. These are going to be the attack you'll use the most when your Gastrodon is on the field. Scald is great for hitting common Fire types such as Incineroar and Mega Charizard Y if the Sun isn't in the picture, and other Pokemon such as Landorus-Therian and Mega Metagross, although any physical attacker won't enjoy Scald's 30% chance to burn them. Earth Power is great for hitting common Pokemon such as Incineroar and Nihilego, as well as other common Rock types such as Tyranitar and Stakataka.

The third slot is your coverage option. Clear Smog isn't really big on damage, but is great for resetting stat boosts. Pokemon like Belly Drum Snorlax and Calm Mind Tapu Fini hate Clear Smog as it resets their stats as it can help Gastrodon's teammates to deal with troublesome Pokemon. Ice Beam is another option to deal with Pokemon like Mega Salamence and it also gives another option to hit Landorus. The final slot is between either Recover which is great in combination with its Iapapa Berry to make sure Gastrodon can stick around longer, or Protect to get a guarantee to survive turns and take problematic Z-Moves better.

Other Viable Items

psychic-seed.png – Psychic Seed was popularized by Gavin Michaels (@komvgc) and Chuppa Cross (@ChuppaVGC) who used the item to good success in the VGC 2018 season. Chuppa took a Psychic Seed Gastrodon to finish Top 8 at the 2018 Roanoke Regionals, in which he said that Gavin was instrumental in the creation of this idea. Thanks to the +1 Sp. Defense stat boost, the sample Gastrodon set above can survive Energy Ball and Giga Drain from Ludicolo.

groundium-z-held.png– Groundium Z is great for teams that might need a Z-Move. This is generally going to be based on Earth Power and is great for OHKO'ing Pokemon that will survive Earth Power, such as Incineroar and Stakataka who can be trained to survive Earth Power, but won't survive Tectonic Rage.

Supporting Gastrodon

incineroar.png – Incineroar can help Gastrodon in a very important way. Since Gastrodon absolutely hates Grass types, Incineroar's Fire typing can deal with common Grass types Gastrodon struggles with like Ferrothorn, Tapu Bulu and Kartana. Kartana is the only Grass type that really sees any usage that has a stronger chance to beat Incineroar thanks to Sacred Sword and can even OHKO thanks to its increased chance to land critical hits. Ferrothorn only really runs Grass and Steel type moves which Incineroar resists and Tapu Bulu can run Superpower, Incineroar can be easily trained to survive it. Incineroar also gives Gastrodon Intimidate support which is great. In return, Gastrodon can deal with the Pokemon like Landorus, Nihilego, and Tyranitar that Incineroar struggles with to deal with, which makes these 2 a strong core.

salamence-mega.png – Salamence can use its Flying typing and Aerilate ability to hit other Grass types that Incineroar can hit such as Ludicolo that Incineroar can't deal with. In return Gastrodon can handle some Fairy types such as Mawile as its weak to Gastrodon's Ground type moves. Gastrodon can also shield Salamence from Scald burns thanks to its Storm Drain ability.

Beating Gastrodon

tapu-bulu.png kartana.png ludicolo.png
Grass types are the only way to hit Gastrodon for super-effective damage. Tapu Bulu can set Grassy terrain to power up its Grass type moves which already can OHKO Gastrodon without the terrain. Kartana is a very fast Pokemon that can deal with Gastrodon and is common on more teams. Ludicolo only really appears on Rain teams and is the only reason Gastrodon isn't the safest Pokemon to use against Rain teams unless properly played. Being able to use Giga Drain to OHKO Gastrodon and even heal a lot from it thanks to Gastrodon's naturally high HP stat.

celesteela.png
Celesteela can use its bulk to wall out Gastrodon and easily click Leech Seed to heal up from it. even if Celesteela is burned by Scald, it can heal the damage from Gastrodon and eventually win the 1v1.

jellicent.png
Bulky Water types like Jellicent can easily wall out Gastrodon thanks to their natural bulk to make sure they can stall out Gastrodon to allow their partners to easily defeat it.

Special Walls
Since Gastrodon isn't the most offensive Pokemon, being able to stall it out can help defeat it. Pokemon like Cresselia can easily take its attacks and defeat it, thanks to Cresselia's access to pinch berries.

So Why use Gastrodon?

Gastrodon is a Pokemon that can potentially become a massive threats at the 2018 World Championships if supported correctly. Its ability to beat common Pokemon such as Landorus, Mega Metagross and Incineroar and the ability to disrupt set-up thanks to Clear Smog can make Gastrodon. If trainers at the World Championships can make sure Gastrodon isn't basically useless on the field and understand when Gastrodon is taking spots on the field and play it correctly, this sea slug can become a big threat.

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(Link to official page)

Recently, Pokemon has announced the 2019 Nashville Open that will take place during the 2018 World Championships. Like the Boston Open that happened during the World Championships in 2015 and the Anaheim that happened during the World Championships in 2017, this event will be a great chance for players to both have something interesting to do during the event besides watching matches and socializing, but also give players a chance to have an early chance to start their journey for an invite to the 2019 World Championships as this event will give out Regionals level Championship Points to the top finishers.

The page notes that to compete, you will need a spectator pass which can be purchased online in advance for $10 USD, but passes are limited so be sure to buy one as soon as possible. Passes will come with 2 booster packs. Each person is allowed to buy 6 passes at one time which should be more than enough for a party.

This page will be updated in the future once more information about the Nashville Open including the Championship Points structure and information of how the tournament will run, so check back to NimbasaCityPost for updates!
See the source image

With the locations announced for the major events of the VGC 2019 season, use this article to find the closest events to you and plan your trip. More events will be added as they are announced as every event hasn't been announced yet.  (Official Link to this Information.)

Note that for any 3 day event that is listed, Friday is only listed because of side events and vendors. Saturday is officially Day 1 for all Regionals and Special Events.

US and Canadian Regionals Schedule

  • Date: September 14, 2018 - September 16, 2018 
  • Location: Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, Oaks, PA
  • Websitepoke-regionals.com
  • Date: October 6, 2018 - October 7, 2018
  • Location: Memphis Cook Convention Center, Memphis, TN
  • Websitetopcutevents.com/
  • Date: October 26, 2018 - October 28, 2018
  • Location: Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR
  • Websitetopcutevents.com/
  • Date: November 24, 2018 - November 25, 2018
  • Location: Berglund Special Events Center, Roanoke, VA
  • Websitewww.blueridgepokemon.com/
  • Date: January 19, 2019 - January 20, 2019
  • Location: Hyatt Regency DFW, DFW Airport, TX (located near Terminal C of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport)
  • Websitewww.overloadevents.org/
  • Date: February 22, 2019 - February 24, 2019
  • Location: Gateway Center, Collinsville, IL (near St. Louis, MO)
  • Websitepoke-regionals.com
  • Date: March 9, 2019 - March 10, 2019
  • Location: Pearson Convention Center, Brampton, Ontario, Canada (near Toronto)
  • Websitewww.cmprofessionalevents.com/
  • Date: March 16, 2019 - March 17, 2019
  • Location: Greensboro Coliseum Complex—Special Events Center, Greensboro, NC
  • Websitetopcutevents.com/
  • Date: April 19, 2019 - April 21, 2019
  • Location: Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, FL
  • Websitepoke-regionals.com
  • Date: May 4, 2019 - May 5, 2019
  • Location: Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford, CT
  • Websitepoke-regionals.com
  • Date: May 18, 2019 - May 19, 2019
  • Location: Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA
  • Websitepoke-regionals.com
  • Date: June 1, 2019 - June 2, 2019
  • Location: Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, Madison, WI
  • Websitepoke-regionals.com

European Regionals and Special Events Schedule

  • THIS IS A SPECIAL EVENT
  • Date: July 13, 2018 - July 13, 2018
  • Location: DreamHack Valencia, Valencia, Spain
  • Website: To be Announced
  • Date: September 29, 2018 - July 30, 2018
  • Location: Stadthalle Offenbach, Offenbach/Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • Website: To be Announced
  • THIS IS A SPECIAL EVENT
  • Date: November 3, 2018 - November 4, 2018
  • Location: Lille Grand Palais, Lille, France
  • Website: To be Announced
  • THIS IS A SPECIAL EVENT
  • Date: November 3, 2018 - November 4, 2018
  • Location: Lille Grand Palais, Lille, France
  • Website: To be Announced
  • Date: December 15, 2018 - December 16, 2018
  • Location: Harrogate Convention Centre, Harrogate, UK
  • Website: To be Announced
  • THIS IS A SPECIAL EVENT
  • Date: February 23, 2019 - February 24, 2019
  • Location: Festival International des Jeux, Cannes, France
  • Website: To be Announced
  • Date: May 11, 2019 - May 12, 2019
  • Location: Brunel's Old Station, The Passenger Shed, Bristol, UK
  • Website: To be Announced

While Nihilego has started to see some small play, I want to talk about its role in the 2018 format and why it has the potential to become a really strong anti-meta pick that can threaten a lot of common Pokemon. Nihilego has great matchups versus the right Pokemon that can make it a big threat for the same reasons it was really good in the 2017 format.

Why Nihilego was Good in 2017

A big reason Nihilego was great in 2017 was how much it could threaten common Pokemon in that format. With its 2 main moves in Sludge Bomb and Power Gem, it could threaten the Tapu Pokemon and common fire types like Alolan Marowak and Arcanine as well as Pokemon like Gyarados and Salamence and could even potentially chunk Celesteela. It would commonly carry a coverage move in Hidden Power [Ice] which could threaten a KO on Garchomp. It could achieve these things by holding a Life Orb to increase its damage output although some held a Focus Sash to play it safe.

Nihilego also would sometimes carry Trick Room as Andrew Nowak showed on his winning Madison Regionals team and Justin Burns with his winning Seattle Regionals team. These Nihilego were bulkier than the offensive variants, holding either healing berries or the Grassy Seed when paired with Tapu Bulu to make sure it could survive Garchomp's Earthquake, which surprised players.

Another interesting item was Choice Scarf which the idea was to outspeed Pokemon it otherwise wouldn't such as Tapu Koko and Garchomp to try and KO them. Sometime more interesting these Nihilego would do is to use Acid Spray to lower its target's Special Defense stat, as shown by Nils Dunlop at the 2017 World Championships. What his Nihilego would do is move first to weaken the target's Special Defense stat and go for a very powerful attack such as Tapu Koko's Thunderbolt to try and pick up a big KO.

Sample Nihilego Set

Nihilego
Nihilego @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Power Gem
- Sludge Bomb
- Acid Spray
- Hidden Power [Ice]

The sample Nihilego set today is based on the most common item Nihilego uses on Pokemon Showdown and BattleSpot at 22.5%, followed by Rockium Z at 16% usage. As touched on earlier, what this Nihilego succeeds in is being an unexpected threat that can pick up some KOs your opponent may not expect. With the Choice Scarf, Nihilego's speed stat jumps to 232 which outspeeds Pokemon such as neutral nature Choice Scarf Garchomp, positive speed nature Pheromosa, and even some Swift Swim Ludicolo that aren't very fast.

These moves play into allowing Nihilego to do as much work as possible in either tearing through teams or helping out its partner. Power Gem is its primary Rock type attack which is great for hitting Pokemon such as Charizard, Incineroar, and Zapdos that can potentially fall in only one hit. Sludge Bomb is great for hitting common fairy types such as the Tapus as well as Gardevoir, Azumarill, and Clefairy. As touched on above, Acid Spray is great to weaken its opponent's Special Defense stat to allow for its partner to pick up a KO.

For example, Mega Charizard Y's Sun boosted Overheat has been regarded as players for having the strength as a Z-Move due to its already massive damage output. Thanks to Nihilego's Acid Spray, this could turn this already insanely powerful move that only a small pool of Pokemon will enjoy taking and Pokemon like Cresselia and Tapu Fini that might take it otherwise could potentially fall to it. The final move in Hidden Power [Ice] is mainly here to threaten KOs on Landorus-Therian. Do keep in mind that the common Assault Vest variants will live and KO in return with Earthquake but the other ones will be knocked out if it isn't faster.

Other Possible Items

wiki.png - The idea behind a Wiki Berry is to give Nihilego the option to take a hit and have the potential to heal up a large amount of health. These Nihilego typically invest a lot of its EVs into its HP and Defense stats which can make it surprisingly bulky on the physical side.

life-orb.png - Life Orb is a more traditional item which is great for trying to pick up KOs. This was a very common item in 2017 as these Nihilego were very scary all throughout the season.

focus-sash.png - Focus Sash is also a very common item. The difference with how a Focus Sash variant plays rather than a Life Orb variant is the Focus Sash allows you to Protect in front of the more annoying Z-Moves. I've seen these Nihilego Protect in front of Landorus' Tectonic Rage and survive thanks to its Focus Sash which can be very clutch.

rockium-z-bag.png - Rockium Z turns its already powerful main Rock type move in Power Gem into a very powerful Z-move. It's great for going for a very powerful Continental Crush which can pick up some big KOs on Pokemon like Zapdos and Incineroar that can survive a Power Gem but not a Continental Crush which is very big.

grassy-seed.png - The final item in Grassy Seed plays into a bulkier Nihilego like the berry ones, but it means Nihilego loves Tapu Bulu's Grassy Surge ability as it allows it to increase its defense stat and thanks to shuffling Intimidate from Pokemon like Arcanine back in 2017 or Incineroar now in 2018, can allow Nihilego to take Earthquake from Landorus-T if Grassy Terrain is active.

Using its Moves Effectively

This section will show the common Pokemon that won't enjoy taking its attacks. Pokemon shown will take super-effective damage from its moves. Pokemon that are weak to both moves will be put into their proper categories.

Power Gem
incineroar.png zapdos.png charizard-mega-y.png volcarona.png blaziken-mega.png araquanid.png pelipper.png blaziken.png charizard-mega-x.png braviary.png thundurus-therian.png camerupt.png marowak-alola.png blacephalon.png rotom-heat.png torkoal.png thundurus.png

Sludge Bomb
tapu-koko.png tapu-fini.png tapu-bulu.png tapu-lele.png gardevoir-mega.png azumarill.png ludicolo.png whimsicott.png clefairy.png lurantis.png serperior.png

Hidden Power [Ice]
landorus-therian.png salamence-mega.png hydreigon.png garchomp.png zapdos.png braviary.png thundurus-therian.png lurantis.png tapu-bulu.png serperior.png thundurus.png whimsicott.png

Supporting Nihilego

tapu-bulu.png - Tapu Bulu can set Grassy Terrain to help Nihilego take Earthquake better. Tapu Bulu's grass type moves can also hit Ground types such as Landorus-Therian and Excadrill for major damage and can even threaten a KO. Nihilego can also threaten the Fire types that Tapu Bulu doesnt enjoy dealing with by threatening them with Sludge Bomb.

incineroar.png - Incineroar's fire type moves can threaten the Steel types like Celesteela and Ferrothorn with super-effective damage using its main move in Flare Blitz. It also gets Intimidate which can help compensate for Nihilego's weak defenses. In return Nihilego can threaten the most common Water type in Tapu Fini with Sludge Bomb.

Beating Nihilego

landorus-therian.png - Landorus' access to Ground type attacks with Earthquake on the physical side and Earth Power on the special side. Nihilego can threaten a KO with Hidden Power [Ice], but the Assault Vest variants of Landorus will survive this attack and easily KO in return.

celesteela.png ferrothorn.png metagross-mega.png - As the 3 most common steel type Pokemon that use steel type moves, what all 3 do very well is being able to wall out Nihilego by easily being able to take its hits and easily KO using the Steel type move of its choice in Celesteela's Heavy Slam, Ferrothorn's Gyro Ball, and Metagross' Iron Head. Keep in mind Celesteela doesn't resist Power Gem like the other 2, but still doesn't take much damage from it.

tapu-lele.png- Tapu Lele can deal with Nihilego but in this situation, it becomes tricky for both Pokemon. If Nihilego can outspeed or has a Focus Sash, Sludge Bomb can KO Tapu Lele. If Tapu Lele can outspeed, which it will either need a Choice Scarf or Tailwind up to do so, it can go for Psychic to KO. This will rely on Psychic Terrain being up to guarantee the knockout but even without it, the damage rolls favor Tapu Lele.

So Why Use Nihilego?

As explained throughout this article, Nihilego has a lot of positive match-ups versus a lot of common Pokemon in the format. Being able to come on the battlefield and have a pretty good chance of threatening one of your opponent's Pokemon is amazing as it means almost always, Nihilego can threaten your opponent by looking like a huge threat. If you can position your Nihilego correctly and support it by building off of what the areas its lacking, it can become a huge threat.

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