VGC 2018 Metagame Predictions: Latin America Internationals

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With the Latin American International Championships coming up next week, the best of the best from all around Latin America as well as players from each rating zone who earned the stipends will most certainly all want to bring their best teams. This in mind, it seems like a good time to look at the Pokemon and strategies that might pop up during competition next weekend. The 2018 metagame has certainly been evolving and what does well next weekend will carry into the month of May as for the next 2 months, multiple players will have earned their Day 1 invites to the World Championships.

Incineroar
Incineroar was covered before in depth in this article, but once it got its Intimidate ability, this Pokemon saw an insane increase in usage, which hasn't necessarily died down yet as it's become a staple on many teams and archetypes. This being in mind, it's safe to say that Incineroar is probably going to be at the top tables and has a safe chance to win the entire event. There's no better Pokemon that can do its job other than Landorus-Therian, but some teams even run both Incineroar and Landorus on the same teams. Looking at possible items, you can expect Incineroar to either have the Assault Vest or a berry as the Assault Vest allows Incineroar to more reliably run coverage moves like U-turn and Low Kick which isn't as safe to do when your holding a berry, though some Incineroar with berries still do.

Mega Gardevoir
Mega Gardevoir has always been a pretty popular Mega Evolution as Conan Wild (@RazerVGC) was the first player to see success using this Pokemon. Since then, Mega Gardevoir was always known to be a decent Mega Evolution but it saw a big uptick in usage when Adrian Sigler (@SaagAlooVGC) Yuanhao Li (@HaoVGC) used it to finish 1st and 2nd respectively at Portland Regionals. What Mega Gardevoir does well is it can threaten Pokemon like Amoonguss and Salamence very well and even Kommo-o to some extent although thanks to Soundproof, Hyper Voice fails to hit it. Gardevoir's main partners include Amoonguss which can use Rage Powder to redirect the big hits from Gardevoir, and Incineroar which is great for Fake Out pressure as well as threatening steel types like Celesteela and Mega Gengar.

Mega Gengar
Mega Gengar has always seen a decent amount of usage but in recent weeks, this Pokemon's usage has seen a sharp increase. Part of the reason Mega Gengar saw an increase in usage is its Shadow Tag usage which allows it to trap in 2 Pokemon that may be weak to either Gengar or its partner. It's Ghost / Poison typing is very strong as many teams will run at least 2-3 Pokemon that are weak to Gengar, including the Tapus, certain Megas like Metagross and Gardevoir, as well as Trick Room setters like Cresselia and Gothitelle. Recently, Gengar has been has been using Perish Song which is great for taking down Pokemon and then playing the next few turns through defensive play until their Pokemon go down, which means if successful, you can get rid of the Pokemon that threaten your team.

Araquanid
Araquanid got really popular in part because of how it can very easily deal with Incineroar. It's Water Bubble ability allows Araquanid to take even less damage from fire moves and then deal major damage through its main move in Liquidation which can even threaten KOs very easily and with its Z-move equivalent, it can even KO after Intimidate. Bug Bite is also a very important move as it allows the user to steal berries which is very helpful as many teams hold 2-3 berries so being able to steal them is great. By far, the most common item for Araquanid is Waterium Z which as stated above, can threaten most Pokemon, even at -1 after Intimidate.

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Potential Strategies that Might Succeed

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This 5 Pokemon core has seen a large amount of usage very recently. Kommo-o has seen some success at the Regional and International level with Markus Stadter finish 2nd at Leipzig Regionals, Nico Davide Cognetta finishing Top 8 at Oceanic Internationals, Mitch Kendrick finishing 2nd at Perth Regionals Arash Ommati finish Top 4 at Stuttgart Regionals but Kommo-o has not yet won a major event. This in part due to how Japanese players have starting using Kommo-o and these 3 Pokemon in Mega Gengar, Tapu Bulu, and Incineroar have consistently been partnered with it.  

Mega Gengar has been a popular partner due to its poison typing being able to threaten the fairies that can beat Kommo-o and its Shadow Tag ability being able to trap Pokemon that Kommo-o can set-up on. Tapu Bulu appears due to being able to get rid of the Misty Terrain that limits the damage of Kommo-o's dragon moves. Incineroar's Intimidate ability can help out as it allows its partners to take less damage, but may also have U-turn for switch potential or simply Intimidate its opponent.

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This was already covered in this analysis article, but what these teams do well is as Mega Gengar gets popular, being able to use Volt Switch to break out of Shadow Tag. Incineroar has also proven to be a very strong Pokemon against Gengar as it resist both of its main moves and can threaten KOs with its main dark type move in Knock Off. Tapu Fini can safely use Calm Mind next to Manectric's Lightning Rod ability before Mega Evolution. Snorlax can also set-up through either Belly Drum or Curse and threaten KOs with its 2 most popular moves in Return and High Horsepower.

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Rain teams were covered in this analysis article, but as PinkSylvie and LightCore have noted on twitter, Latin America seems to love using Rain teams due to their hyper offensive nature which is also very popular in this region. More offensive rain teams may use two or more Swift Swim users and multiple ways to keep the Rain up while more defensive rain teams might play the game slower through using Gothitelle and Mawile as Killerqueen showed at Charlotte Regionals how this type of Rain team is played as it can use the rain more passively but can play it offensively just as easily.

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Conclusion

The Latin American Internationals is going to be a very interesting event to watch. Be sure to tune in and watch on Twitch on Friday starting at 12:30 pm PDT and 12:45 pm PDT on both Saturday and Sunday to see the best of this rating zone compete to see who comes out on top and how many of our metagame predictions turns out to be true! 

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