VGC 2018 Pokemon Spotlight #3 – Kangaskhan

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In the VGC 2018 Pokemon Spotlight, we take a look at a Pokemon that's doing well in the VGC 2018 format and take a look into that Pokemon. Since we covered Zapdos and Cresselia, what will happen is very 3rd Pokemon covered will be a Mega Evolution that has been a dominant threat ever, always doing well at the World Championships ever since its release. Let's take a look at Mega Kangaskhan and learn everything we can learn about this Pokemon.

Base Stats & Typing

Before Mega Evolution, Kangaskhan's stats are simply average. Its only impressive stat is its HP but its defenses don't do it any favors to allow Kangaskhan to take attacks well. After Mega Evolution, however, it gains 40 points in Attack, 20 points in Defense, losses 20 points in Sp. Attack, 20 points in Sp. Defense, and 10 points in Speed. Kangaskhan also gains the Parental Bond ability. What this means is that these stat changes worked amazingly well for Kangaskhan since the attack increase makes it a threat, being able to chunk a large majority of Pokemon. While its HP stat hasn't changed, its increase in Kangaskhan's defenses allows it to take big hits even without investing in very much bulk. The speed increase puts Kangaskhan in a decent speed tier which doesn't make it a very fast Pokemon, but its just fast enough to still out-speed a decent amount of Pokemon.

The Normal type has historically been a very balanced type. Normal type moves don't hit any Pokemon for super-effective damage and are only resisted by Steel-types, don't hit Ghost-types for anything. Normal types are also weak to Fighting-types. This helps out Kangaskhan because it can make it a very versatile Pokemon because of its Normal typing, allowing it to appear on teams without really disrupting a team's strategies, which partially plays into Kangaskhan being the most popular Mega Evolution.

Notable Moves

  • Fake Out
  • Protect
  • Return
  • Ice Punch
  • Sucker Punch
  • Frustration
  • Double-Edge
  • Low Kick
For its moves, Kangaskhan fully reflects its physical attacking nature. Fake Out is a great support move allowing it to flinch a Pokemon on turn 1 to allow its partner to set-up. What this means is it allows Kangaskhan to always provide this supportive pressure. Sucker Punch's base power was weakened to 60 going into the 7th Generation, but its a good move because you can use this move to potentially KO a Pokemon that's at low health. Protect has always been a great move in VGC due to being able to protect from an attack or reduce the power of Z-Moves, which have become how most people try to quickly KO Mega Kangaskhan. The choice in Frustration or Return depends on what your more comfortable with. Both can cap out at 102 base power but are dependent on a Pokemon's happiness with Frustration doing more the lower your Pokemon's happiness is and Return doing more damage the higher your Pokemon's happiness. Keep in mind that should you face a Ditto or a Transform Smeargle, most Ditto and Smeragle tend to raise their happiness in case they run into the move Return so your choice in these moves should depend on how worried you are about these Pokemon.

If you want the extra power, Double-Edge is a great choice since some Pokemon that can only be trained to survive Return will fall to Double-Edge. In the past Double-Edge was used over Return if Kangaskhan had Power-Up Punch which gave it +2 Attack after being used but since Power-Up Punch is no longer a TM, Kangaskhan can no longer use this move. Instead, Low Kick has become the most popular fighting type attack on Kangaskhan due it being able to do a lot of damage to very heavy Pokemon like Stakataka and Snorlax, 2 Pokemon that don't enjoy dealing with Kangaskhan very much outside of Trick Room. The final option in Ice Punch can be an interesting surprise to deal with Pokemon like Landorus-Therian and Salamence which threatens a lot of damage and even threaten KOs when Kangaskhan isn't Intimidated.

Sample Set #1: Simple and Effective

Mega Kangaskhan
Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite
Ability: Scrappy / Inner Focus
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Double-Edge / Return / Frustration
- Low Kick 
- Fake Out / Protect
- Sucker Punch

Like the title says, this set is very simple and effective. The goal of this set is for Mega Kangaskhan to hit as hard as possible and to be as fast as possible, taking advantage of what Kangaskhan does best, which what this EVs spread and nature are for, allowing Kangaskhan to be as fast as it can be while still trying to do as much damage as possible. Since Kangaskhan has access to multiple abilities, its best to choose which one fits your team. Scrappy can be helpful for being able to use Fake Out on ghost types like Gengar and Aegislash before choosing to Mega Evolve while Inner Focus can also allow you to be able to guarantee Fake Out if your opponent uses it on your Kangaskhan. 

The moves chosen are very standard for Kangaskhan. Double-Edge, Frustration, or Return is your obligatory normal type move that is based on what you're comfortable with. Double-Edge is good for the extra power with the risk of recoil, As said before, Return and Frustration depend on your Pokemon's happiness, but are very safe moves that can do very consistent damage. Low Kick is good for hitting steel types like Heatran and Stakataka, but can also threaten KOs on opposing Mega Kangaskhan. The choice in Fake Out or Protect depends on either you have Tapu Lele on your team or are worried about Tapu Lele. If Tapu Lele plays no issue for you, then Fake Out pressure is nice, but Protect is always a great move to have on a Pokemon. The final choice in Sucker Punch is nice to have for being able to pick-up KOs on Pokemon who are at low health.

Sample Set #2: Bulky Offensive

Mega Kangaskhan
Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite  

Ability: Scrappy   

EVs: 92 HP / 252 Atk / 44 Def / 52 SpD / 68 Spe  

Adamant Nature  

- Return  

- Low Kick  

- Sucker Punch  

- Protect

The next set takes advantage of Kangaskhan's bulk. The first thing to point out is the EVs, which this Kangaskhan can survive Iron Fist Conkeldurr's Drain Punch and Hydriegon's Choice Specs Draco Meteor as well as being 3HKO'd by Aegislash's Flash Cannon. With the speed, Kangaskhan can out-speed Mega Beedrill under Tailwind, which why this doesn't seem to be important as Beedrill isn't the most common Pokemon, this does mean Kangaskhan will out-speed Pokemon like Mega Metagross and Mega Lucario, 2 Pokemon that Kangaskhan doesn't enjoy facing. The Attack EVs with an Adamant nature allows Kangaskhan to hit as hard as possible.

The moveset is very simple as a trend with all Kangaskhan in the VGC 2018 format is that unless it's a rare situation, they all run generally the same moves. Return is your standard normal type move and the reason we're using it over Double-Edge is that the goal of this Kangaskhan is to be on the field as long as possible and the recoil from Double-Edge isn't great for that. Low Kick is a great fighting type move for hit Pokemon like Heatran and opposing Kangaskhan. Sucker Punch is great for KO'ing Pokemon at low health, and Protect was chosen to extend Kangaskhan's longevity. 

Potential Partners

Standard Pokemon

landorus-therian.png heatran.png zapdos.png amoonguss.png cresselia.png tapu-fini.png aegislash.png
Kangaskhan works well with these 6 Pokemon since they each provide certain roles that can greatly help it out. Landorus provides Intimidate and the ability to combo well with Kangaskhan to pick up KOs. Heatran is a general offensive supporter for Kangaskhan to allow it to handle threats for Kangaskhan like steel types. Zapdos provides Tailwind for helpful speed control, Amoonguss has support moves in Rage Powder and Spore to annoy threats, and Cresselia has a numerous amount of support moves to aid Kangaskhan in moves like Helping Hand and Icy Wind. Tapu Fini takes the role of Pokemon like Sylveon in using strong fairy moves which combined with Kangaskhan's normal type moves, can potentially KO most Pokemon. Tapu Fini can also use Swagger in Misty Terrain to boost Kangaskhan's attack stat. Aegislash can deal with the ghost types Kangaskhan can't damage through Shadow Ball.

How to beat Kangaskhan

Ghost Types

marowak-alola.png aegislash.png gengar-mega.png blacephalon.png mimikyu.png
Since Kangaskhan lacks the tools to reliably hit ghost types outside of its Scrappy ability before Mega Evolving and Sucker Punch, these 5 of the most common ghost types can pose an issue for it. Marowak can use Flare Blitz to 2HKO it. Aegislash always provides Kings Shield pressure to potentially lower its attack stat and use Flash Cannon to chunk it. Mega Gengar has the Shadow Tag ability and a potential Will-O-Wisp to trap it in, burn it, and leave it to faint. Blacephalon has its fire type moves but it has to be worried as Kangaskhan's Sucker Punch can KO it pretty easily. Mimikyu has the Disguise ability so it can take whatever Kangaskhan does and threaten it with either Play Rough or something more annoying like Trick Room.

Fighting Types

terrakion.png pheromosa.png conkeldurr.png hawlucha.png scrafty.png
As it's only weakness is to fighting types, these are the fighting types Kangaskhan worries most about. Terrakion can use Close Combat to OHKO Kangaskhan and to survive this, Terrakion needs to be Intimidated or burned. Pheromosa can use High Jump Kick to destroy Kangaskhan but it does have to be careful of Protect so Pheromosa can use Low Kick to still KO Kangaskhan without worrying about Protect. Conkeldurr can use the combination of Drain Punch and Mach Punch to KO Kangaskhan while being able to survive a potential Double-Edge. Hawlucha has gained a lot of popularity due to Unburden ability and terrain seeds to increase its speed and threaten with strong fighting type moves. like High Jump Kick and Superpower. The final one in Scrafty can lower Kangaskhan's attack stat with Intimidate to take Low Kick better and use Drain Punch for an easy 2HKO on Kangaskhan.

Alternative Options

Offensive Normal Types

snorlax.png lopunny-mega.png
Since the roles Mega Kangaskhan provides can't be replicated by most Pokemon, Snorlax and Mega Lopunny are the only other offensive normal types in the game that can closely try to do this. Snorlax can set-up with either Curse or High Horsepower to dish out massive damage and due to its slow speed, can work well in Trick Room. Mega Lopunny is faster but frailer and provides Fake Out pressure as well as providing both normal and fighting type moves to threaten opponents.

Thanks to its amazing stats, strong utility, and being able to stay a threat on the field most if not all the time, Mega Kangaskhan has solidified itself as one of the top tier threats in VGC. I hoped you enjoyed this. Check out previous guides and check back to the Nimbasa City Post for more VGC content like this.


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