A Preview of Z-Moves in the VGC 2019 Moon Series

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With Z-Moves being added to the VGC 2019 Moon Series, restricted Pokémon gaining access to these powerful items to power up their insanely strong attacks will make the format very interesting. This article will look at the popular Pokémon you can expect to see and some popular Z-Moves you can expect to see on both restricted and non-restricted Pokémon as well.

Since teams can only use one Z-Move per battle, most trainers will be tasked with getting the absolute most out of their Z-Move and many of the already popular restricted Pokémon will most likely gain a useful Z-Move from their already insanely popular attacks.

Restricted Pokémon

While Mewtwo isn't a common Pokémon in Sun Series, it will certainly benefit from the addition of Z-Moves. The most common one you can expect it to hold is the Psychic-type Z Crystal. Paired with Tapu Lele, Mewtwo can use this Z Crystal alongside its signature attack in Psystrike to deal a large amount of damage to a large majority of Pokémon barring Dark-types like Incineroar and Yveltal. As talked about above, Mewtwo will commonly be seen on Psychic spam cores that exist to use high powered Psychic-type moves to blow through opponents. Mewtwo will probably go into Moon Series as a threat that flies under the radar from most opponents.

Without a doubt, Kyogre has been seen by many players as the scariest Restricted Pokémon in Moon series. The big attack from these Kyogre is a rain-boosted Hydro Vortex powered up by Water Spout. This combination is so scary, it's actually the most powerful Z-Move in the entire game at 450 base power without setup which is insane for Kyogre.

Since Kyogre will be the premier Z-Move Pokémon to beat, abilities that can handle Water-type attacks like Dry Skin from Toxicroak, Jynx, and Heliolisk, as well as Storm Drain from Gastrodon and Cradily, will be very useful. Groudon may also be helpful since its Drought ability sets the Sun to half the power of Kyogre's hits, but Groudon will have to invest a lot in special defense to still deal with Kyogre. These damage calcs should show the true strength of this Kyogre build.

The premier Ground-type in the VGC 2019 format by far, Z-Moves will give most Groudon something they really want, a very powerful single target Ground-type move. While gaining access to Stomping Tantrum is very helpful, this attack is something you'll only really see on Choice Band variants as it's the easiest set to fit it on since other items like berries and Life Orb will run other moves like Swords Dance or Substitute. A new tool in Groundium Z will be great because it means more Groudon sets get a single target Ground move that can deal way more damage than Stomping Tantrum and can even KO most Pokémon that Precipice Blades or Stomping Tantrum won't KO after Intimidate.

Intimidate will be very important to help deal with weakening the power of Groudon's Z-Move to allow your Pokémon to take the hit better or either survive it when they otherwise wouldn't or take it as well as they wouldn't. Luckily for VGC 2019, Incineroar will more than likely be the most common Pokémon and thanks to its Intimidate ability, it won't be hard to fit it on its team.

Palkia is a very niche restricted Pokémon thanks to its ability to reliably wall Kyogre thanks to its Water and Dragon typing which means Water-type moves are only 25% as effective on Palkia. Its Water-typing also means it can hit Groudon for super-effective as well which is very helpful for Palkia. To get the most out of Palkia's Z-Move, pairing it with Kyogre thanks to its rain from the Drizzle ability can turn Palkia into a bigger threat.

A strong niche of Palkia is at base 100 speed stat, it's just faster than Xerneas at base 99 speed stat which means it can use its Z-Move to threaten Xerneas before it gets the chance to uses Geomancy. If Palkia can accomplish this, it gets rid of the restricted Pokémon that threatens it the most.

Another niche restricted Pokémon, Zekrom is notable due to how it can hit Kyogre for super-effective damage. Thanks to its base 150 Attack stat, Zekrom can use its strongest Electric-type move, Bolt Strike, alongside Electrium Z to threaten Kyogre. While Bolt Strike is strong enough on its own, the 85% accuracy makes it a very risky move to use which means buffing it with a Z-Move will be helpful to try and guarantee the knockout. Another interesting partner for Zekrom might be Tapu Koko thanks to its Electric Surge ability which sets an electric terrain that can power up Zekrom's hits.

Like before, Zekrom will struggle with both Xerneas and Groudon as Xerneas is naturally faster than Zekrom and Groudon can perfectly switch into Zekrom's Electric-type moves thanks to Groudon's Ground typing. All damage calcs will be based on Bolt Strike as compared to the weaker but more accurate Fusion Bolt.

Xerneas is one of the few restricted Pokémon that can use its Z-Move in 2 very different ways. The first one is to use the Z-Move for Geomancy which is a 2-turn Geomancy that on the first turn, gives Xerneas +1 in all 5 stats (Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed) and on the 2nd turn, would give Xerneas +2 in the normal stats from Geomancy (Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed). While giving Xerneas 2 turns to accomplish this isn't very easy, if you can pull it off, Xerneas will have +1 in Attack and Defense, and +3 in Special, Special Defense, and Speed which means it will become a major threat.

The other Z-Move option for Xerneas is simply using it as an attack based on Moonblast. With a base power of 175 before Fairy Aura, Xerneas can use this as an attack to try and pick up a big KO. This option is great because it makes Xerneas a bigger offensive threat before the standard Power Herb set after the Geomancy boost gets a chance to really be threatening.

Yveltal has set itself up as a restricted Pokémon that can use its Dark-type moves to threaten a large majority of Pokémon barring Fairy-types like Xerneas and the Tapus. Because of its access to some of the game's best Dark-type moves like Sucker Punch, Foul Play, and Knock Off on the physical side and Snarl and Dark Pulse on the special side, Yveltal can be an annoying Pokémon to predict what it's going to do. The same can be said if it holds the Darknium Z.

On the physical side, using the Darknium Z with Foul Play will be your strongest Z-Move thanks to its base power of 175 before Dark Aura compared to Sucker Punch's base power of 140 and Knock Off's base power of 120 for their Z-Move equivalents before the Dark Aura boost. On the special side, Dark Pulse is the best option for your Z-Move thanks to its 160 base power compared to Snarl's base power of 100 before the Dark Aura boost. The most important thing about Yveltal is whether or not a Z-Move is worth using over the traditional Black Glasses, but the popularity of Lunala will make Yvletal a Pokémon to watch out for.

Zygarde has always been a niche restricted Pokémon, but as the 2nd best-restricted Ground-type behind Groudon, Zygarde does have the niche where it can set its Z-Move up all by itself where it an make sure even Flying-types and Levitate users can get hit by Tectonic Rage. The idea is to use Thousand Arrows first which has the secondary effect of being able to hit both Flying-types and Levitate users, then use its Ground-type Z-Move to hit said Pokémon. While this is a cool idea, the problem is your opponent simply switching out.

For Zygarde, the choice to give it the already common Misty Seed or go for the Groundium Z. Misty Seed has the benefit of the Special Defense boost which means Zygarde can use Coil as well to raise its Defense stat as well to make Zygarde harder to take down. Expect Misty Seed to still be a very common item, but a Groundium Z could still be a cool option if Zygarde gets in the right positions to fully utilize it.

Thanks to its Solganium Z, its signature Z-Move, Solgaleo can use it over Life Orb, it's most common item to threaten Xerneas without taking recoil damage. This means it can guarantee to pick up KOs on Pokémon it may struggle otherwise such as Yveltal and Lunala if it breaks its Shadow Shield ability. Solgaleo also gets access to a variety of other support moves such as Flare Blitz, Wild Charge, and Superpower to threaten a variety of other Pokémon which means it can possibly use a lot of very interesting Z-Moves to become much more of a threat.

lunala.png lunalium-z--bag.png
Lunala has been seen as one of Moon Series' best Z-Move users. Because Normal-types are virtually non-existent because of the powerful ones such as Kangaskhan which lacks its mega stone and Snorlax which doesn't find safe chances to set-up aren't seen, it means Lunala can use its signature Z-Move, Menacing Moonraze Maelstrom to threaten big damage on a lot of Pokémon, dealing 70% or more very easy to the top restricted Pokémon such as Xerneas, Kyogre, and Groudon. Lunala will struggle with Dark-types like Incineroar and Yveltal which are the most common of their type. It's signature Z-Crystal, Lunalium z is an evolution of the already popular Spooky Plate which means Lunala is already boosting its Ghost-type moves, but now gets a base 200 signature Z-Move.

Non-Restricted Pokémon

Ludicolo is already commonly paired with Kyogre under the rain to activate its Swift Swim ability, but the return of Ludicolo's cherished Waterium Z based off of Hydro Pump to deal more damage. Paired with Kyogre, Ludicolo can hold the Z-Move which means Kyogre can use something else like Choice Scarf or a pinch berry as in Sun Series to still be a threat without needing to make the most out of your Z-Move. With the Waterium Z, Ludicolo can best threaten Pokémon like Groudon and Ho-Oh whose weak to it as well as Xerneas and Yveltal who aren't weak to it, but won't enjoy a Hydro Vortex in the rain.

bronzong.png psychium-z--bag.png
The first supportive Z-Move, Bronzong is going to use Psychium Z to power up Trick Room, which gives the user +1 Accuracy. This means under Trick Room, Bronzong can use Hypnosis which has a 79.8% chance to put your opponent to sleep. As long as Electric Terrain, Misty Terrain, or Safeguard isn't up, most Pokémon will be susceptible to getting put to sleep which can mess with your opponent's game plan. If you can pull this off, Bronzong can become a very annoying support Pokémon for your opponent to deal with.

tornadus.png flyinium-z--bag.png
Tornadus' big role in Sun Series was as a Flying-type with access to Tailwind and a powerful Hurricane to deal with the big Grass-types like Amoonguss and Tsareena that gives Kyogre some trouble. Thanks to Z-Moves in Moon Series, many players have started to make Tornadus there team's designated Z-Move user. With Flynium Z, Tornadus can turn the 110 base power Hurricane into a powerful 185 Supersonic Skystrike. This means Tornadus can better support Kyogre with the only downside to holding a Z-Move means it can be KO'd in 1 hit without a Focus Sash, but Tornadus gaining a powerful Z-Move to better deal with Grass-types is a big plus.

Tapu Koko has always been a very popular Z-Move user since its debut in 2017, and this is the first format where Tapu Koko can be seen as both a physical attacker with Wild Charge and as a special attacker with Thunderbolt and Thunder. This means as a Z-Move user, Tapu Koko can be a very versatile Pokémon to deal with as until you see its Electric-type move, you don't know exactly how to deal with it. On the special side, the Electric Z-Move is very crucial because it allows Tapu Koko to have a better chance of KO'ing Kyogre which the physcial variants have a better chance due to Kyogre's weaker defense stat.

tapu-lele.png psychium-z--bag.png
Another powerhouse Z-Move user since 2017, Tapu Lele can still reliably run Psychium Z, but the highly offensive nature of the format has forced Tapu Lele to run either Focus Sash for the staying power or a Choice Scarf to still deal damage even with the popularity of Choice Scarf Kyogre. Psychium Z can be a very interesting option for Tapu Lele as it allows to deal a lot of damage ideally in Psychic Terrain. Tapu Lele's low bulk is even more emphasized in this format due to how it's not going to survive many turns from powerful restricted Pokémon so while Focus Sash is a safer option, a Z-Crystal could be very helpful if your team really needs a powerful restricted Pokémon.

kartana.png grassium-z--bag.png
Kartana's success as a Z-Move user heavily depends on how its team can do against Choice Scarf Kyogre. The reason is that Kartana's Bloom Doom is amazing at KO'ing Kyogre even as Incineroar switches in and Intimidates Kartana due to the sheer power of it. If Scarf Kyogre is the most popular set even as the Waterium Z set is legal, then most Kartana may revert back to Focus Sash and Assault Vest to take a hit and fire back with a Leaf Blade because even it doesn't KO Kyogre, you still do a lot of damage even after Intimidate.

stakataka.png rockium-z--bag.png
The final possible notable non-Restricted Z-Move user is Stakataka for one specific reason. While Stakataka has a very strong match-up versus Incineroar thanks to its Rock typing and great defense stat which means it can take Flare Blitz very well, but the problem is if Intimidated, Rock Slide won't OHKO Incineroar. With Rockium Z, Stakataka can boost the power of Stone Edge, its most powerful Rock-type move to KO Incineroar, even after Intimidate. This great for Stakataka as it gives it a better chance at deal with the popular duo of Incineroar and Xerneas since the only obstacle is to deal with Xerneas, then you can easily handle Incineroar since they don't generally run Protect due to the importance of other moves.


While at the time of this article, Moon Series has not begun yet, these Pokémon are the Z-Move users you can probably expect to fight in this format. This is only an early look at Z-Move users in Moon Series and because formats evolve as certain things succeed, new Z-Move users will pop up to answer these new threats, but this should at least be helpful to understand the beginning of the format.

Thanks for reading! Follow us on twitter @NimbasaCityPost for updates about VGC content on the website!

1 comment:

  1. I am not understanding this 847 damage with Kyogre. I even watched the video you linked and it still makes no sense to me. At most it would be 450 power with STAB and Rain boost. Also I think Fairium Z is worth noting on Lele, especially considering you can boost it with Fairy Aura (Xerneas). I think it is important to also list the fact that Knock Off reduced damage is another reason to use the Z item with Lunala. Lastly, an overall great guide hate to be a critic all the time even though I think these should be suggested as ideas and not as the most optimal item to run on these Pokemon. For example, Staka most likely has plenty on its plate to worry about defensively and that seems to be more important than assuming TR is likely already up and getting off a Z move in TR.