Hidden Ability Starters: Their Effect on VGC 2018

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With the surprise release of the Alola starter Pokemon gaining access to their Hidden Abilities in a surprise announcement. With Decidueye gaining Long Reach, Primarina getting Liquid Voice, and Incineroar getting Intimidate, these addition to VGC 2018 are going to change the way these 3 Pokemon impact the format and this article will take a look at these Pokemon and how there hidden ability will change how they battle and how they affect the 2018 metagame going into the future.

Important Information
For players with Pokemon Bank, you have until October 31st, 2018 to retrieve your very own Long Reach Decidueye, Liquid Voice Primarina, and Intimidate Incineroar in your copy of Pokemon Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, and Ultra Moon. These Pokemon will come have your OT and ID. Check out this YouTube video for a tutorial on how to obtain these Pokemon.

Long Reach Decidueye



Long Reach - "This Pokemon's attacks do not make contact with the target." This means items like Rocky Helmet and abilities like Iron Barbs and Static will not affect your Decidueye.

Decidueye has always been a Pokemon that has never seen competitive success. Both its offensive and defensive stats aren't bad, but there not amazing as well as these stats are very average. Its speed can make Decideye rather slow but not slow enough to turn into a Trick Room sweeper. The Grass/Ghost typing gives Decidueye resistances to Ground, Water, Electric, and Grass while an immunity to Normal and Fighting. While this is good as it allows Decidueye to reliably switch into 6 types without taking too much damage, its weakness to common types such as Fire and Ice as well as Flying, Dark, and Ghost can hurt it as you can almost certain at least 2 of these moves on every team. This means that once you put Decidueye on your teams, its almost sure to double-up on types your team might struggle against.

Once you obtain your event Decidueye, it comes with Leaf Blade, Shadow Sneak, Phantom Force, and Brave Bird which plays into its physical nature in which most Decidueye are physical attackers as a special attacking variant will most likely be forced to use Nasty Plot to subsidize its weaker offensive stat. I don't expect Decidueye to become a much better Pokemon thanks to Long Reach as abilities that affects it, mainly Iron Barbs, is only really seen on Ferrothorn, which doesn't really helps it out much as Ferrothorn isn't a drastically common Pokemon to begin with but the benefits Decidueye could gain from Long Reach isn't going to help mainly because it's not going to activate as much as it would need to.

Liquid Voice Primarina


Liquid Voice - This Pokemon's sound-based moves become Water type. This means both the Storm Drain and Water Absorb abilities will be affected by these moves.

The easiest way to explain Primarina is to think of it as a more offensive Tapu Fini. While Tapu Fini is less offensive but bulkier while being able to perform as a better support Pokemon thanks to its Misty Surge ability and access to great support moves like Haze, Heal Pulse and Taunt to help its partners. Primarina has a higher Sp. Attack, Sp. Defense, and HP stat while a weaker Defense and Speed stat which can help thanks to the newly acquired Liquid Voice ability as well as its stronger attacks like Moonblast and Ice Beam. Being able to resist 6 attacks in Fighting, Bug, Fire, Water, Ice, and Dark thanks to its typing allows Primarina to switch into common types. While only being weak to Poison, Grass, and Electric, Tapu Fini has shown how bulky of a Pokemon it can be and with these being primarily special based attacks apart from grass thanks to the strength of both Tapu Bulu and Kartana, Primarina can surely be trained to survive these hits.

The event Primarina comes with Hyper Voice, Moonblast, Icy Wind, and Perish Song which can be very useful as Perish Song can only be obtained as an egg move which can make it easier when trying to breed a competitively ready Primarina. It's main move in Hyper Voice can become a very powerful spread move that becomes a water type attack which if you face a Gastrodon for example which has Storm Drain, it could allow you to still have a strong attack not deterred by abilities or moves like Follow Me and Rage Powder.

Intimidate Incineroar



Intimidate - Upon entering the field, all opposing Pokemon's attack stat are lowered by 1 stage. This does not affect Pokemon with the abilities Clear Body, Hyper Cutter, and White Smoke.

 The final starter is the one that saw competitive use before getting its hidden ability, but thanks to finally getting Intimidate, Incineroar has quickly become one of the most popular Pokemon in the 2018 format. Looking at its typing, while only being weak to 4 types in Fighting, Ground, Rock, and Water, being able to resist a total of 6 types in Ghost, Steel, Fire, Grass, Ice, and Dark allows Incineroar to switch in to common attacks and thanks to some of its common items like Assault Vest and healing berries to help Incineroar stay on the field longer. Thanks to great moves like Fake Out to stop a target in their tracks its first turn on the field and Knock Off to remove items and in a Best of 3 scenario, make it easier to play against Pokemon that can reliably run multiple items

The event Incineroar comes with Fake Out, U-turn, Darkest Lariat, and Flare Blitz with Fake Out being really helpful as since its an egg move, it can be easier to obtain an Incineroar that's ready for battle due to Fake Out being a pivotal move on it. Also coming with U-turn can be helpful to cycle out Intimidate to weaken the stronger Pokemon.

Conclusion

Thanks to finally gaining access to their hidden abilities, you can expect these 3 Pokemon to gain some sort of spike in popularity. Decidueye probably won't see to much play thanks to its Long Reach ability not helping it out to much. Primarina will see a small spike in usage because Liquid Voice allows it to better use its offensive potential thanks to finally getting a consistent spread move but if Liquid Voice did manage to give it a power boost to its sound moves, it could become an even better Pokemon. Incineroar on the other hand is already starting to see more usage thanks to Intimidate which allows it to support even more teams than it already could which means it's usage is going to help it out.

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