mega aerodactyl

Mega Aerodactyl went from 0 Championship Points to over 700 in one day

One Mega Evolution emerged from nothing and is now the talk of the Pokemon VGC community. The Taiwan Open that happened this past weekend saw its Top Cut dominated by none other than Mega Aerodactyl. A Mega Evolution that previously had zero 2018 results to its name earned a grand total of 720 Championship Points in just one tournament. What’s even more crazy is that the four Mega Aerodactyl teams that made it to the Top 8 and the two that made it to Top 16 were identical in terms of Pokemon. Let’s try and figure out what drew players to such an obscure strategy.

Mega Aerodactyl itselfImage result for mega aerodactyl

Thanks to a team report from a player known as “Sayha” who placed in the Top 8 at the Taiwan Open, we know pretty much how the entire team is meant to work. But let’s start with the star of the show. The Mega Aerodactyl moveset is one based on support with moves like Tailwind and Sky Drop. Rock Slide is in there of course because as Sayha mentions in his report “Rock Slide is the best move.”

According to Sayha, Aerodactyl even has utility before it Mega Evolves with its ability Unnerve. Unnerve prevents Pokemon from consuming their berries which comes in handy against a Belly Drum Snorlax. Sky Drop is a move that can disrupt the opponent by carrying one of their Pokemon into the sky for a turn. This can allow Pokemon like Xurkitree to set up a… Substitute? I was expecting Tail Glow, but I guess Sayha thought having Beast Boost would be enough to buff Xurkitree’s attack power. Also Sky Drop’s damage is boosted by Mega Aerodactyl’s Tough Claws ability, but its main means of offense in Rock Slide is not since it doesn’t make contact.

The idea of a support Mega Evolution isn’t crazy, but I don’t think Mega Aerodactyl seems like the best pick. Sure, you’ve got great support moves like Sky Drop and Tailwind, but what you get from Mega Evolving leans more towards offense with Tough Claws. Perhaps the insane amount of speed Mega Aerodactyl gets when it Mega Evolves is the key. At Mega Aerodactyl’s ridiculous 150 base speed, you’re pretty much guaranteed fast Sky Drops and (more importantly) fast Rock Slides. Maybe there is some potential here.

The teamImage result for xurkitree

The Sky Drop strategy with Mega Aerodactyl is mainly to support the team’s other interesting member: Xurkitree. Despite not having Tail Glow, this Xurkitree is easily able to start boosting since it’s holding the Electrium Z. With the immense amount of pressure that both Xurkitree and Mega Aerodactyl put on, Xurkitree’s set up is pretty hard to stop.

The two sources of Intimidate on the team make sense as Xurkitree and Mega Aerodactyl are rather weak on the defensive side. Interestingly, the Landorus on this team has a Jolly Nature plus a Choice Scarf which suggests that this Landorus was valued more for speed than attack power. Incineroar isn’t packing Protect yet its holding a pinch berry, but like Landorus, it carries U-Turn. This duo is likely meant to pivot in and out of battle to not only cycle Intimidates but also disrupt the opponent with Incineroar’s Fake Out and a potential flinch from Landorus’ fast Rock Slide.

The last two members are fairly standard with Ferrothorn and Tapu Fini. The Tapu Fini is a tad different as it carries Haze as a support move and Hydro Pump as its main Water attack over Muddy Water. This is likely due to the Tapu Fini holding the Waterium Z which is something that has been picking up some popularity over in the West as well.

Overall, the team is very focused on setting up Xurkitree, without much offense existing outside of that. Still, Pokemon like Incineroar, Tapu Fini and Ferrothorn are able to score KO’s in the right situation and hey, there’s always Rock Slide flinches.

What a team we have here.

The impact on the West

If it wasn’t obvious already, the results from the Taiwan Open have definitely already caught the western VGC scene’s eye. Usually, us westerners are focused on tournaments from Japan or Korea, but rarely do teams from regions like Taiwan pick up popularity over here. The scenes may be smaller, but regions like Taiwan and even Malaysia have been having quite an impact on the western VGC metagame. And we haven’t even gotten to the main events in Japan and Korea yet.

While some western players will try to directly emulate this team, I predict some will try to adapt it to their own style. Will we be seeing Mega Aerodactyl start to dominate tournaments in the West? Smart Money is on “no”, but there’s no doubt that it’s viable. The Taiwan Open results have shown us that there are still undiscovered strategies and Pokemon that have yet to be explored in metagame that appears to be in its later stages. I’m sure it won’t be long before Mega Aerodactyl drops into another Top 8. Only this time, it’ll be on the other side of the world.

Thanks for reading!

Check out Sayha’s team report here. (It’s written in Chinese, but the moves/abilities are in English)

Also, check out the stream of the Taiwan Open here.

Here are the rest of the teams from the Taiwan Open courtesy of @ChienX2_VGC on Twitter!



You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, The Pokemon Anime, Bulbapedia, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

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mega scizor

Mega Scizor is real steel – VGC 2018 underrated list

Recently there’s been a new Mega Evolution that’s been creeping its way into relevance. From Top 32 at North American Regionals to Top 8 at the Malaysia Open, Mega Scizor has been slowly making its way higher and higher in tournament results. Scizor has, admittedly, dropped off since its glory days in 2012 and 2013, and its Mega Evolution hasn’t done much in VGC since its release. In the 2018 format however, some players think there’s hidden potential for this once amazing threat.

Stats & Typing

BugSteel

The main thing that makes Mega Scizor stand out immediately is its beastly Attack stat. This Pokemon is meant to do damage, but it can also take a few hits. The low HP kind of sucks, but the rest of Mega Scizor’s relevant stats (basically every stat besides Special Attack) are very solid. Mega Scizor’s Speed is also fairly mediocre, but Scizor’s claim to fame makes its Speed stat nearly irrelevant. We’ll get to that soon enough.

Mega Scizor’s typing is a huge double-edged sword, but not in the worst way. With a typing of Bug and Steel, this gives Scizor only one weakness to Fire… a x4 weakness to Fire. To be honest I’ll take that trade-off considering how easy that can be to work around. A fairly easy game plan for Scizor is to eliminate opposing Fire-types so that Scizor can win the game.

Offensively, a Steel-typing is great for the plethora of Fairy-types in the metagame. The Bug-typing… not so much. The positive thing for Mega Scizor is that it relies more on its Steel-typing, and its option for a Bug-type move is one of the best ones in the given VGC metagame.

Ability

I preface the move section because Scizor’s ability is what makes its move selection so great. Technician is one of the best offensive abilities in the game for Pokemon like Scizor. Technician boosts the power of all attacking moves with base 60 or less base power by 50%. This turns priority attacks like Bullet Punch into basically a Steel-type Extremespeed (in terms of damage) and Bug Bite into more than just a utility attacking option for Scizor. This wonderful ability basically turns weaker moves that often have utility into moves that can also deal devastating damage.

Let’s talk about a few of them.

Moves

bullet punch

Bullet Punch in action in the anime.

I normally list off every viable move for a Pokemon in this section, but for now we’ll keep it simple. Here are the three moves 99% of Mega Scizor will carry on a typical set (minus Protect of course).

Bullet Punch: The bread to Mega Scizor’s bread and butter attacking combo. This move single-handedly makes up for Mega Scizor’s middling Speed stat since it has priority. While being able to one-hit-KO Tapu Lele, this move unfortunately becomes ineffective if Psychic Terrain is present in the field. If your team has a way of getting rid of Psychic Terrain then Mega Scizor is really able to show off its power. After just one Swords Dance boost, Bullet Punch comes pretty close to KO’ing many common Pokemon. Unless you’re a Fairy-type which in that case you just drop.

Bug Bite: And now the butter. Bug Bite is an amazing utility move for Bug-type Pokemon, but Technician turns this attack into a very reliable means of damage output. In a metagame riddled with berries, Bug Bite allows Mega Scizor to heavily cripple Pokemon like Snorlax by eating its berry. This also works well against popular bulky Psychic-types like Cresselia and Gothitelle which will often just be KO’ed by a boosted Bug Bite from Scizor. With the ability to steal berries, Scizor kind of has access to recovery without having to run Roost, but using Bug Bite comes at the risk of snacking on a berry that might confuse Mega Scizor based on its Nature.

Swords Dance: As if Mega Scizor didn’t have enough Attack power, Swords Dance allows you to double it in one turn. With Scizor’s solid typing, defenses and ability to force defensive play, getting up a Swords Dance is fairly easy to do. Bug Bite and Bullet Punch are still kind of weak even with the Technician boost, but Swords Dance turns many two-hit-KO’s into one-hit-KO’s.

Other options

Even though I said those previous three moves would be on a majority of Mega Scizor movesets, there are a few options that remain viable.

Roost: A recovery option so that Mega Scizor can stick around longer. Replacing Swords Dance or one of your attacking moves doesn’t seem worth it unless you decide to give up Protect.

U-Turn: A solid attack in general that allows you to pivot, but U-Turn is much better in singles than in doubles. Plus why would you want to switch out after getting a boost off anyway?

Superpower: Fighting-type moves are nice in the 2018 metagame, but Bullet Punch can easily handle Tyranitar and Superpower doesn’t do nearly enough to Porygon2 or Snorlax to make it worth running. Again, probably a better option for singles when you have more move slots to work with.

Checks and counters

Fire-typesImage result for mega charizard y icon

I’m sure you saw this coming. Pretty much any Fire-type attack in the game will one-shot Mega Scizor outside of Rain so keeping this thing out of the way of Pokemon like Charizard and Heatran is essential. Like I said, eliminating opposing Fire-types usually means a much easier time for Mega Scizor winning you the game.

Bulky Water-typesImage result for milotic shuffle

We have kind of an Incineroar situation here where you can cripple these bulky Water-types by taking away their berries, but you can’t really do much else. Especially if these Water-types like Tapu Fini, Milotic or Suicune have Scald (which they often do) they can land a burn on Mega Scizor which pretty much makes it dead weight.

Zapdos Image result for zapdos shuffle

Unless Zapdos is holding a berry, Mega Scizor does absolutely nothing to this Pokemon. Combine that with the fact that most Zapdos run Heat Wave making this an almost unwinnable matchup for Mega Scizor.

Viable teammates 

RainImage result for politoed shuffle

Having rain on the field allows you to weaken Mega Scizor’s sole weakness to Fire. Not only that but having Rain reliant Pokemon means Water-types that make it even easier to dispatch of opposing Fire-types. Ludicolo is also great because disruption from Fake Out can allow for a much more free Swords Dance.

Landorus-TherianLandorus (Therian)

While this Pokemon seems like a good teammate for everything, it works well for Scizor as an offensive partner. Intimidate can weaken physical attacks to the point where they’ll be doing negligible damage to Mega Scizor, and Earthquakes from Landorus also help you deal with Fire-types.

Tapu Koko/Tapu FiniImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffle

These two are here so that you can turn the Terrain into your favor. Both work for different archetypes as Tapu Koko works well on rain-based teams while Tapu Fini works on more balanced/standard compositions. Tapu Bulu also technically works for a Terrain other than Psychic, but the shared Fire weakness makes these two largely incompatible.

So why use Mega Scizor?

Image result for mega scizor gif

While great Steel-type options for teams already exist, Mega Scizor is another one to add to that list. Its typing gives it longevity as long as you keep it away from Fire-types and it has great utility as well as attack power. The way you play Scizor in general is by far one of the most vanilla strategies as far as sweepers go, but it’s nothing short of consistent. With Mega Scizor on your side, you’re usually just one Swords Dance away from Bullet Punching your way to victory.

Thanks for reading!



You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

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Making a name amongst Europe’s best – VGC 2018 Stuttgart Regional Championship recap

Amidst a tough field in Stuttgart’s Top 8, two lesser known names in the European VGC scene battled it out for the title. Guiseppe Musicco is your 2018 Stuttgart Regional Champion, claiming his invite to the 2018 World Championships with an impressive win. Italy has yet again shown its dominance in Europe with half of the players in Top Cut representing the nation, including the tournament’s champion. Before we dive further in, let’s take a look at the results from Stuttgart.

Results & Teams (Top 8)

1. Guiseppe Musicco

Image result for mega gengar shuffleImage result for kartana shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for latias shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffle

2. Ernest Azanza

Image result for metagross pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for mimikyu shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffle

3. Arash Ommati

Image result for mega gengar shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for kommo o shuffleImage result for xurkitree shuffleImage result for clefairy shuffleImage result for tapu bulu shuffle

4. Ben Kyriakou

Image result for mega gardevoir shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for breloom shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffle

5. Michele Gavelli

Image result for mega gardevoir shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for amoonguss shuffle

6. Matthias Sucholdulski

Image result for latias shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for aegislash shuffleImage result for tyranitar pokemon shuffle

7. Robin Langer

Image result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for aegislash shuffleImage result for cresselia pokemon shuffle iconImage result for bisharp shuffle

8. Andrea di Tivoli

Image result for tyranitar shuffleImage result for kartana shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for togekiss shuffle

Arash Ommati’s 5 ‘Mon runvgc 2018 stuttgart regionals

Rarely do players recover from a team sheet error that costs them one of their Pokemon, but former World Champion Arash Ommati defied the odds after losing his Tapu Bulu. For those unfamiliar with tournament rules, filling out your team sheet correctly is one of the most crucial things to make sure you do. The slightest mistake, even if it was accidental, could cause you to lose one of your Pokemon for the entire tournament.

Ommati carried his squad all the way to the Top 4 before losing to the tournament champion. Although Musicco’s team was well equipped to handle Tapu Bulu, the Grassy Terrain on Ommati’s side would have been crucial in stopping Musicco’s Landorus-Therian from freely spamming Earthquake. Grassy Terrain was a key defensive tool for Ommati, as half of his team could be taken out by Earthquake. This limited the effectiveness of Ommati’s Gengar and Xurkitree which are some of the main damage dealers of his team.

Despite this setback, Ommati’s Top 4 run is nothing short of impressive. Perhaps this is a testament to just how strong the Mega Gengar team archetype really is. Well that and the fact that this team was being piloted by one of the best players in the world.

A finals with new faces

vgc 2018 stuttgart regionals

As previously mentioned, the finals of this tournament featured two players that were relatively new to the spotlight. Guiseppe Musicco had previously had some success at the local level as he earned over 100 Championship Points from MidSeason Showdowns. His regional win earned him his first points from a regional-level event, and those 200 points were enough to push him over 300, earning him an invite to Nashville.

Ernest Azanza on the other hand owes all of his points this season to this second place finish. This puts him in striking distance for a Worlds invite since the cap for Europe is 300, but he’ll likely need a couple more solid finishes to claim it.

Despite their lack of notoriety coming into this tournament, these two played like Worlds-caliber players. Their top cut runs included Musicco’s win over Arash Ommati in Top 4 and Azanza’s win over on of Great Britain’s best in Ben Kyriakou.

The finals set was intense as neither player had a clear advantage over the other. Musicco’s Kartana and Gengar were great answers to Azanza’s Metagross and Snorlax which did wonders in his set versus Kyriakou. After a game one defeat, Azanza used his special attacking Landorus with Hidden Power Ice to turn the tide in his favor to force a game three. After claiming a knockout early on Azanza’s Landorus, Musicco found himself backed into a corner at a 3-2 deficit with Azanza’s boosted Snorlax staring down Musicco’s last two Pokemon. Luckily Azanza’s team was already heavily weakened, allowing Musicco’s Incineroar and Gengar to clean up the game thanks to their speed advantage over the rest of Azanza’s team.

Metagame highlights

Naganadel: We’ve seen this new Ultra Beast here and there, but Ben Kyriakou saw potential and used Naganadel on his Top 4 team. This version was slightly different than your typical Naganadel as Kyriakou’s carried Substitute and Firium Z. With Inferno Overdrive Naganadel can threaten the likes of Mega Metagross or even non-defensive variants of Pokemon like Landorus allowing for a surprise KO and a quick Beast Boost. The ability to set up a Substitute after securing a boost to Naganadel’s Special Attack is big in turning this thing into a massive threat. Another interesting note is that the Beast Boosts were going to Naganadel’s Special Attack rather than its Speed which requires some fiddling with investment in Naganadel’s stats. While watching some of Kyriakou’s matches I wondered if the Speed boost would’ve been more helpful, but without a boosting item like Life Orb, raising Naganadel’s power seems reasonable.

380MS.pngLatias: There were two Latias in the Top 8, but we’re going to focus on Guiseppe Musicco’s non-Mega Latias. This Latias was built for support with moves like Helping Hand and Tailwind. Latias is actually not a bad choice for a support Pokemon considering it’s fast and rather bulky so it can remain on the field for a while if left alone. The boost from Helping Hand helped Musicco’s Pokemon break through Arash Ommati’s Clefairy and its Friend Guard Ability, while Latias’ attacks threatened Ommati’s Kommo-o before it could boost.

 

That’s a wrap from Stuttgart! This was a tournament full of variety as new players and new Pokemon broke into the spotlight. As far as official events are concerned our attention turns towards Sao Paulo as the Latin American International Championships take place in just a couple of weeks. A tournament that I’m sure will produce an equal amount of excitement.

Thanks for reading!


You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

Images from PlayTheChampionships_VG, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Pokemon Shuffle, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

Teams data collected/provided by Nicholas Borghi and Trainer Tower

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porygon2 araquanid

“If you’re not running Porygon2 and Araquanid you’re throwing” – The duo’s newfound success in 2018

Porygon2 has already made a statement in the 2018 metagame, but one of its old partners has joined it in the spotlight once again. Araquanid is a new Pokemon that made an early in the 2017 season winning four North American Regional Championships in a row. All of them paired with Porygon2.

But what makes this duo so special? Porygon2 has had success with a number of Trick Room sweepers in the past, with some notables this season being Tyranitar and Snorlax. Araquanid seems to be the partner Porygon2 has been looking for, and the duo’s recent success is all but proof of that. According to a recent report from VGCStats, this new team the duo finds themselves on (featuring metagame staples like Mega Metagross, Tapu Koko and Incineroar) has nabbed nearly 1,000 Championship Points since the beginning of March. Let’s take a look and see why that is.

Offensive presenceImage result for araquanid

We have to start this section off with the monster that is Araquanid. Araquanid appears like a mediocre Pokemon on paper, but it was blessed with one of the strongest abilities we’ve seen in the entire franchise. Water Bubble doubles the power of Araquanid’s Water-type moves, weakens Fire-type damage AND prevents it from being afflicted with a burn. This turns Araquanid’s preferred Water-type attack Liquidation at an insane 160 power. Combine that with the Waterium Z, you’re looking at the strongest Hydro Vortex in the metagame. With not many Water-type resistances in the metagame, Araquanid can tear through teams once Trick Room is up, and that’s just its first means of offense. Araquanid is a Bug-type too, so naturally it looks to make use of its secondary typing. While not as devastating as Liquidation, Araquanid’s Bug Bite has amazing disruptive capabilities. Bug Bite is able to consume the target’s berry, making Pokemon like Snorlax a lot less effective when it can’t get its Belly Drum + Recycle combo going. Araquanid users should beware as some berries like the Mago Berry and Wiki Berry can commonly inflict confusion on Araquanid with the applicable nature. Oh right we still have Porygon2 to talk about.

Porygon2 is mainly here to set up Trick Room, but it can still dish out some damage once that’s been taken care of. Porygon2’s ability Download raises its Attack or Special Attack depending on which corresponding defense stat on the opposing side is weaker. In the 2018 metagame, that usually means a Special Attack boost for Porygon2. Not to mention Porygon2 has access to perfect type coverage with Thunderbolt and Ice Beam.

With this kind of offensive power, these two are hard to switch in on. Once Trick Room goes up, expect a lot of damage to come your way.

A formidable defenseImage result for porygon2

Araquanid has stellar Special Defense, but that kind of gets overshadowed by pitiful Defense and HP. As a Bug-type, many of Araquanid’s weaknesses are on the physical side such as Rock and Flying. However, the Bug-type works well in tandem with Porygon2 as Bug is resistant to Porygon2’s single weakness to Fighting. Also, Araquanid’s lousy HP and Defense are workable with more investment being possible in those two stats since Araquanid can fare well without much Attack investment. That and Intimidate do wonders for its bulk. Another plus for Araquanid is that now that the Totem version you fought during the campaign of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is usable, there is a form of Araquanid that cannot be Sky Dropped due to its greater weight.

Back to Porygon2, Normal is an amazing type right now. The sole weakness of Normal is Fighting, however Fighting-type Pokemon have hit an all-time low in viability since the recent surge in Fairy-types. The primary solution players have for this is non-Fighting-type Pokemon with strong Fighting-type moves, but these aren’t the most effective against Porygon2’s massive bulk. Since Porygon2 isn’t fully evolved, it can make use of the Eviolite item which boosts Porygon2’s defenses greatly. A Pokemon with only one weakness with beastly defenses and access to reliable recovery, no wonder its so good.

These two work so well together that they can be splashed on a number of different team compositions and I think we’re starting to see the beginning of that.

The teams

Mega Metagross

(Image from @VGCStats on Twitter)

This team composition is by far the most popular, and variants of this team composition have been winning Championship Points all over the world since March. With Incineroar’s Intimidate ability being legal, this team has only gotten stronger as the combination of Intimidate and Fake Out is beneficial to setting up Trick Room. Switching from Landorus to Incineroar has also given the team room for Tapu Bulu, another Pokemon that appreciates a speed advantage while its Grassy Terrain increases the team’s overall defense. This team is a great balance of both heavy hitters and solid defense, making it a strong pick for upcoming tournaments.

Mega Gardevoir

(Image from VGCStats)

Recently, a newer variant featuring Mega Gardevoir has seen success with Porygon2 and Araquanid. This team used by Benjamin Tan won the Malaysia Open last week, and I expect to see some similar variants emerge in the near future. This team marks a neat convergence in three separate strands of rising stars in the 2018 metagame. You have the merging of Mega Gardevoir, Intimidate Incineroar and finally Porygon2 plus Araquanid which all seem to work together quite nicely. The team works great with a potential Trick Room mode with Gardevoir and Araquanid as the slow hitters while Kartana and Tapu Koko form a solid fast mode that can also set up a Tailwind for Gardevoir.

So far, these have been the dominant archetypes that have featured this powerful duo, but something tells me more variants are on the way. As we saw during the 2017 season, Porygon2 and Araquanid were able to achieve success on a few different styles of teams. The famous quote in the title of this piece, “If you’re not running P2 and Araquanid you’re throwing” rang throughout the world last season, and it appears that this year, it has become relevant once again.

Thanks for reading!

*If you want to see a rather informative roasting of a Porygon2/Araquanid team, I encourage you to check out this thread on Twitter from known Araquanid pioneer Eduardo Cunha



You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

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kommo-o

Why is there so much hate for Kommo-o?

If you’ve been on Twitter the past couple of days, you might’ve noticed that there’s some hate being directed towards a certain scaly dragon.

 

 

So people hate Kommo-o, and it seems like this is a pretty popular opinion. Kommo-o’s viability has been a debate in the VGC community for a while now, but now there’s some sort of hatred brewing towards it. Personally, I seem to be missing something, as I’m not on the Kommo-o hate bandwagon and I want to try and figure out why this bandwagon exists in the first place. Let’s try to figure out why players hate Kommo-o.

The Clangorous Soulblaze animation

kommo-o z move gif

I’ll start out with this one since it’s a simple complaint, and one that I kind of agree with. Z moves are notorious for their long animations and Kommo-o’s signature Z move is far from an exception. The animation in its entirety clocks in at about 36 seconds, which may seem even longer if you’re on the receiving end of it. While it doesn’t run off any of the in-game timer,  this animation happening potentially three times during a tournament set eats up almost two minutes of the round timer. That doesn’t sound like a lot considering matches have a 50 minute timer, but every minute of a round can be crucial in certain situations. The animation is cool, but having to see it so many times is kind of annoying for players and viewers especially.

Also, the Z move is copyrighted, so YouTubers have had to cut it out of their videos to avoid copyright claims. Can’t imagine that content creators like facing Kommo-o either.

Its ability

The main ability you’ll see most Kommo-o using in the VGC metagame is Soundproof, an ability that prevents Kommo-o from being affected by sound-based moves. This includes moves like Snarl, Perish Song and Hyper Voice. My theory is that since the rise of Mega Gardevoir (known Hyper Voice spammer) and Incineroar (a Pokemon that likes to Snarl), the hate for Soundproof has only grown. The Snarl part can be kind of annoying as it makes it harder for Kommo-o’s Special Attack to be lowered after it boosts up. The timing of this hate for Kommo-o seems to coincide with the rising popularity of Mega Gardevoir teams, which probably explains a lot of its haters.

The Pokemon it’s normally paired with are annoying to play againstmega gengar kommo-o

Kommo-o usually finds itself on teams with Mega Gengar and Tapu Bulu, which are two Pokemon that also kind of have a negative reputation. Mega Gengar’s play style is what makes it annoying as Shadow Tag traps your Pokemon in against Mega Gengar and its partner. So if you lead wrong, or maneuver yourself into a bad position, Kommo-o can easily switch in and fire off its Z move for free. This combination of Gengar+Kommo-o has solid offensive coverage as Gengar can deal with the Fairy-types Kommo-o hates and Kommo-o can hit Dark-types that Gengar hates. Gengar also has access to Ally Switch which deserves a whole other article to explain why people hate that move.

Tapu Bulu gets a bad wrap for being the anti-meta Tapu that a majority of teams hate to go against. Tapu Koko and Tapu Lele are normally faster than Tapu Bulu which means Tapu Bulu will usually have the Terrain advantage while Tapu Fini hates the fact that Tapu Bulu is a strong, physical Grass-type. Also, Grassy Terrain adds so much extra time due to every Pokemon (that’s grounded) getting a healing animation at the end of every turn.

So it’s likely not just Kommo-o that people hate, but how it’s used in the metagame. However, does this limited viability warrant so many complaints about people playing against it? Well, this leads in to my final suspected reason.

Many players think Kommo-o is badImage result for kommo-o

To be fair, Kommo-o’s typing was two generations too late. A Dragon/Fighting-type Pokemon would have been amazing before Generation Six and Fairy-types; but in an era dominated by this new type, Kommo-o’s viability takes a huge hit. Prior to the release of its Z move and it having access to Close Combat, Kommo-o had it even worse being a sub-par Dragon with not much going for it.

Kommo-o’s stats are quite good as being apart of the “pseudo-legendary” class means it has a base stat total of 600. These stats are pretty evenly spread, with the only lacking ones being HP and Speed. The Speed part is big as a majority of the popular Dragons that came before Kommo-o (like Garchomp, Salamence, Latios/Latias and Hydreigon) are faster and therefore much easier to use without needing to boost.

The need to boost is probably Kommo-o’s biggest weakness, as it simply can’t do enough on its own. This is probably why it mainly exists on a single team composition since it needs so much support. Even with the boost, Kommo-o’s Fighting and Dragon attacks don’t hit very much of the metagame hard. Kommo-o does get access to coverage moves like Flamethrower, Flash Cannon and Poison Jab, but it’s attacking stats aren’t devastating enough even after the boost from Clangorous Soulblaze.

Other than these in-game, strategic complaints about Kommo-o, many people just seems to hate on Kommo-o for its looks.Regardless, I don’t think Kommo-o deserves the hate it’s getting. Sure the Z move animation lasts just a bit too long and it can be annoying to play against, but it’s still a cool Pokemon. There’s plenty to dislike, but there’s a lot to like as well. Kommo-o doesn’t mind the haters though. It’s got Soundproof to block out all of the Parting Shots its getting from VGC players.

Thanks for reading!



You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, The Pokemon Anime, Bulbapedia, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

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pokemon tournaments april

Upcoming April tournaments that players should have their eyes on

For some reason, April has brought a bit of a lull in the action for the Pokemon Video Game Championships. There are only two major official events happening in April, and we’ll have to wait at least another week for them. However, just because April is a slow month doesn’t mean it will be without action. Here’s a short preview of some upcoming tournaments that deserve your attention.

International Friendly: Team New York/New Jersey vs. Team Scandinavia

For our first event, we have a community organized tournament pitting some players in one of North America’s strongest regions against some of the best players in Scandinavia. The teams from each side are as follows:

Team NY/NJ:

Tommy Cooleen

Angel Miranda

Justin Carris

Vincent Montalvo

Sohaib Mufti

Maura Hazen

Summer Hunter

Team Scandinavia:

Ola Norby

Benjamin Tan

Daniel van Diepen

David Barker

Pontus Westerlund

Nils Dunlop

These rosters are actually incomplete as interest for the tournament has allowed for expansion of both teams. The tournament will be played and streamed April 21st. Full information will be coming soon, so to keep up to date with the event make sure to follow the tournament’s organizer Patrick Donegan (@Pd0nZ) on Twitter for further updates.

Japan Championships Qualifiers

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While not technically happening this month, the Japan Championships Qualifier is a major tournament happening in just over a month. Japan’s unique (but admitted sub-optimal) road to the Pokemon World Championships continues here. This online tournament will function very similarly to the International Challenge online tournaments, only this time top finishers will earn an invite to compete at the Japanese National Championships happening in June. Players over in the west should keep an eye on this tournament as teams and strategies will likely inspire many players outside of Japan. Our last World Champion came out of this nation, so I expect special attention will be paid to many Japanese tournaments going forward.

Stuttgart Regional Championships

Our closest event time-wise is the Stuttgart Regional Championships over in Europe. While this event is in the rather large shadow of our final tournament for this list, this final opportunity to play/learn the metagame before then makes this regional very important. The tournament will take place April 14-15 and will be streamed here courtesy of PlayTheChampionships and team Limitless.

Latin American International Championships

Image result for pokemon latin america international 2018

And finally the obvious tournament to keep your eye on this month is the third International Championship taking place in Sau Paulo, Brazil. Some things leading up to this tournament have gone awry such as the Travel Award fiasco and the controversy with the Sau Paulo challenge, but as with every International, this event has a lot of hype around it. After a crushing defeat in Sydney’s Top 4 and two regional final appearances, Ashton Cox will be looking to defend his title with or without his trusty pineapple. The other major story line of this tournament will be the region of Latin America itself. This tournament should answer the major question on many players’ minds: “Should we be sleeping on Latin America?”

The list of events coming up this month might be small, but they’ll be building up to one of the biggest tournaments of the season. With big events happening in two of the most intriguing regions metagame-wise (Japan and Latin America), big changes could be coming; which means these tournaments should attract your attention.

Thanks for reading!


You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

Images from PlayTheChampionships, Pd0nZ, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Pokemon Shuffle, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

sau paulo challenge

“Sau Paulo Challenge” online tournament faced with ghosting scandal

The online “challenge” tournaments held unofficially by Sam Pandelis (aka @ZeldaVGC on Twitter) have been a great series of tournaments allowing top finishers to earn enough money to travel to one of the four various International Championships. This tournament had 132 players entered with a $1600+ prize pool. However, recently the “Sau Paulo Challenge” (a tournament held in preparation for the upcoming Latin American International Championships) has stirred up controversy over alleged “ghosting” during the tournament’s final stages.

“Ghosting” in this case refers to other players assisting one of the players playing in the tournament during their games. Basically, other people were in a chat with this player essentially coaching them through their games. This player who was caught ghosting ended up winning the entire tournament, but after this information was presented to Pandelis, their win was quickly revoked.

The controversy

Oddly enough, there were people in the community that were on both sides of this issue. The main argument boils down to the technicality of the rules versus integrity, morals and the fact that this is technically cheating.

The situation

According to a statement from Pandelis, there was evidence presented from a group of Italian players on Facebook who “gloated” about helping ghost the winner of the tournament. More evidence from this group suggested that the player being ghosted was to give out some of their prize money to those were directly involved with the ghosting. Pandelis made the executive decision to disqualify the player and another who allegedly witnessed the ghosting, and the side of the Top 8 of the tournament where this player was seeded would be replayed.

However, the player that was accused of being present for the ghosting will not receive a ban from the future “Challenge” in a later statement from Pandelis. Pandelis has also said that he will reimburse their entry fee for this tournament and grant them free entrance to any future tournaments held.

Pandelis had this to say at the end of his TwitLonger: “Please don’t attack (the player who didn’t report the ghosting) about this, and please understand the decision we made to disqualify him was taking into account the logs we were given, and the likelihood of foul play occurring given the players being aware of the ghosting during the finals. In the future, please consider that it’s important to set this precedent. A strong way we can prevent ghosting going forward is not let players ignore it.”

If you would like to read both posts from Pandelis, you can find the first one here and the second one here.

“It’s not in the rules”

Well actually it kind of is. Whether you cite that the tournament is listed as “1v1” in the Battlefy overview for it, the fact is that this is a VGC tournament and therefore should follow official tournament rules (to an extent). Ghosting isn’t allowed in real-life tournament matches, so logically it wouldn’t be allowed in an online tournament following a similar rule set. We could even use extreme examples like how it’s technically not in the rules to hire a team of well-trained specialists to go to your opponent’s home and destroy their router, but let’s use common sense here. By definition, ghosting is cheating.

“Spirit of the game”

One of the rules that’s outlined the most in the official Play! Pokemon rules guides for both VGC and TCG is the concept of the “spirit of the game”. Anything that compromises the “spirit of the game” should be punishable, and any form of cheating fits under that umbrella.

In a TwitLonger post from 2018 Oceania International Champion Alessio Yuri Boschetto, he says that the ghosting was being discussed in some of the groups he is apart of. According to Boschetto, when this information went public there was a presence of the “snitches get stitches” mentality from many members of these groups.

Boschetto concludes his post with this: “It’s honestly disgusting that so many people thought that hiding or covering a clear cheating incident was the correct course of action and it’s an embarrassment to the community.
There will always be someone that cheats. The community should try to ostracize cheating, not defend it.”

(If you would like to read Boschetto’s post in its entirety, you can find it here).

Many would agree with this sentiment, as defending acts of cheating will not get the competitive scene or community anywhere. With the community already in a huge identity crisis, this is the last thing we need. Integrity should come before competition, especially in a tournament with such a large reward on the line. Like in Pandelis’ second statement, it’s also important to set good precedent for this kind of situation in order for it to not happen again.

*Side note: Also, many players point out just how difficult getting caught ghosting is in a tournament like this, and the fact that this player got caught for it should definitely warrant a punishment. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the moral ambiguity of this argument, but I completely agree with it.

Where do we go from here?

Segments of the Top 8 and onward will be replayed, with only those players/matches affected getting a second go. If you take anything away from this situation, it should be that ghosting (and therefore cheating) is bad and we should all be aware of that. In the midst of this controversy, Pandelis claimed that he was threatened to be sued and that he might just not hold these tournaments anymore if this is the response he’s getting. These tournaments are a shining example of a community effort, and we should be grateful that we have people in the community who are willing to go the extra mile.

The Top 4 and finals matches will be streamed in the near future on Pandelis’ Twitch channel (ZeldaVGC), and I encourage you to check out the stream in order to support this tournament. These “challenge” tournaments are a great thing the grassroots competitive Pokemon scene has going for it, and it would be a shame to see them go away over one controversy gone wrong.



You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, The Pokemon Anime, Bulbapedia, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

intimidate pokemon

A Contrarian Defiance to a Competitive metagame: A guide to the abilities that counter Intimidate

Like every year in VGC, the ability “Intimidate” is everywhere. There have always been Pokemon like Landorus and Salamence that have been the go-to users of this ability, but recently we have a new member of the Intimidate club that is Incineroar. With Incineroar being as dominant as ever in the 2018 metagame, this truly means that Intimidate is on 99% percent of teams, sometimes on more than one Pokemon. There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the abilities and Pokemon that can shake off or sometimes hard counter the onslaught of Intimidators, and I’m looking to weigh in. I’ll be giving you a guide to these abilities, what they do, which Pokemon can use them and maybe give you an idea for a potential member to your next tournament-winning team.

Contrary

What it does: Makes stat changes have the opposite effect.

Contrary isn’t one of these abilities that hard counters Intimidate, but the Pokemon with this ability certainly don’t mind the boost to their Attack. Since Contrary reverses stat changes, being affected by Intimidate gives a boost rather than a drop to the Pokemon’s Attack stat. Aside from that, Pokemon with this ability usually have access to a move that normally decreases the users stats, and it’s some of those Pokemon that we’ll be discussing.

Contrary + Superpower

Superpower is a 120 base power Fighting-type attack that (normally) lowers the users Attack and Defense by one stage. As mentioned earlier, Contrary reverses these drops into boosts making this a deadly combination. I mention Contrary first because it’s this exact combination that had the most recent tournament success. We’ll begin our discussion of Pokemon with Lurantis.

Lurantislurantis shuffle intimidate pokemon

Initially, this was one of Alola’s Pokemon I wasn’t very impressed with. Sure, it had access to Contrary and it could utilize that ability with both Leaf Storm and Superpower, but its low speed and defenses didn’t convince me this thing would be good. Then Charlotte regionals happened.

Lurantis actually has a lot going for it. The typical Lurantis move set carries attacks like Superpower, Leaf Blade and Knock Off which offer great offensive coverage and make Lurantis a huge threat after a couple boosts. Being a Grass-type in the 2018 metagame means you have decently powerful counters like Mega Charizard Y and Mega Salamence, but other than maybe one Fire-type on a team, many common compositions can struggle to deal with Grass-types. Lurantis isn’t even really afraid of Incineroar since Incineroar is weak to Superpower, and may struggle to hit Lurantis very hard after a few defense boosts.

Malamarmalamar shuffle intimidate pokemon

Now here’s a more fun choice for this combo. Malamar is weird in many ways, but it can be quite effective in battle. With a typing like Dark/Psychic this means Malamar only has to two weaknesses. Sure, one of those is a x4 weakness to Bug, but Bug-type moves in the 2018 metagame are pretty uncommon outside of U-Turn. That also means Malamar doesn’t like the plethora of Fairy-types, but a proper team composition can help with that.

What I’m trying to say here is that Malamar can succeed in this format much like how Lurantis can. Outside of a couple threats, many teams can struggle to deal with a set-up Malamar. Like Lurantis, Malamar also has great offensive coverage except replace the Grass-type attack with a potential Psychic-type one and a STAB Knock Off.

What both of these two have in common is that they’re both not Fighting-type Pokemon that have access to strong Fighting-type moves. Fighting-type moves are great in this format for the ever present Porygon2, Tyranitar and Snorlax running around, but Fighting-type Pokemon have had a bit of a rough go ever since Fairy-types were introduced.

The combination of Contrary and Superpower is deadly, and these are two Pokemon that should be considered threats going forward.

Serperiorserperior shuffle intimidate pokemon

Now we have an example of a Pokemon that’s actually won something this season. Jamie Boyt used Serperior in his championship run in Malmo, and this Pokemon came in clutch for him.

Unfortunately Serperior doesn’t have access to Superpower, but Contrary works for Serperior with Leaf Storm. While it doesn’t counter Intimidate quite as hard as the first two, Serperior’s speed makes it a huge threat even after one boost with Leaf Storm. Serperior’s role this season has mainly been for support with the boosting ability being a nice plus, but it’s another example of a Pokemon with Contrary that has shown itself to be viable.

Competitive

What it does: Boosts Special Attack (two stages) when a stat is lowered.

There are a bunch of Pokemon with this ability, but there’s really only one worth mentioning. (Sorry Wigglytuff, your 15 minutes of fame during the 2014 season are long gone)

Miloticmilotic intimidate pokemon

There was a lot of differing opinions about Milotic going into Charlotte regionals which was the first big tournament after Intimidate Incineroar was released. The haters were silenced after that weekend after Milotic won the regional on the team of Wolfe Glick.

Milotic is by far the best Competitive Pokemon simply because of how well a bulky Water-type matches up against the metagame, especially against the premier Intimidators. A boosted Scald melts Incineroar and Landorus while Icy Wind or Ice Beam can make quick work of Salamence.

However, according to Glick, the way to play Milotic is not to rely on its offense. Sure, having a Pokemon that can double its Special Attack just like that is nothing short of an offensive threat, but Glick believes the right way to use Milotic is to have it be more defensive with the Competitive boost just being a bonus. Milotic’s Special Attack is already impressive on its own, so maybe its worth investing into its poorer Defense in order for it to stick around longer.

Take it from a former World Champ. Milotic is good, it’s just everyone has been using it wrong.

Defiant

What it does: Boosts Attack sharply (two stages) when a stat is lowered.

This is pretty much the physical counterpart to Competitive. Defiant is technically a weaker ability than Competitive since the net gain of Attack is only plus one due to the drop from Intimidate, but that’s still significant. Even a single boost can turn two-hit-KO’s in one-hit-KO’s from these Pokemon.

Bisharpbisharp shuffle intimidate pokemon

What was once the dark knight of VGC 2015, has slowly dropped in popularity. Bisharp’s typing, low defenses and Speed finally caught up to it, but Bisharp can still do damage if unchecked. The plethora of Fairy-type Pokemon don’t appreciate Bisharp’s Iron Head, and Knock Off from this Pokemon does a ton of damage to any Cresselia or Gothitelle.

With that being said, one of Bisharp’s biggest tools in Sucker Punch was nerfed in power and is completely stopped thanks to Psychic Terrain. Still, Sucker Punch hurts coming from Bisharp, and Mega Metagross teams without Tapu Lele should beware the power of Bisharp.

Braviarybraviary shuffle intimidate pokemon 

While not nearly as common as Bisharp once was, Braviary is another Pokemon that immediately becomes a threat after a Defiant boost. Like Bisharp, Braviary has a great Attack stat, and the offensive pressure Braviary puts on will usually force defensive play from your opponent, allowing you to set up a free Tailwind. If the support route isn’t available, a Brave Bird, Superpower or even a Z-Move is almost a guaranteed KO on something that doesn’t resist it. That’s what’s cool about Braviary, it can support, but also become a sweeper under the right conditions.

 

What I love about the names for each of these abilities is that they all have something to do with opposition. Whether you’re defying or playing contrary to the metagame, you can still be competitive. If the constant matchup against teams with Landorus and Incineroar has you frustrated, hopefully this list of underrated Pokemon has given you some ideas on how to beat them. Because when you use these Pokemon, you’re intimidating the Intimidators.

Thanks for reading!



You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, The Pokemon Anime, Bulbapedia, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

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vgc 2018 portland regional

A new voice to be reckoned with – VGC 2018 Portland Regional Championship recap

Adrian Sigler is your 2018 Portland Regional Champion, defeating finalist Yunhao Li in a near mirror match in the finals. As the title of this article implies, a certain Pokemon known for its powerful voice was big this past weekend. Portland might have been a small regional, but it was nothing short of action-packed. Let’s take a look at some of the cool strategies that made it to the Top Cut.

Results and teams (Top 8)

1. Adrian Sigler

Image result for mega gardevoir shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for amoonguss shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffle

2. Yunhao Li

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3. Gary Qian

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4. Jeremy Shacket

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5. Quinn Johnston

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6. Samuel Haarsma

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7. Alberto Lara

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8. River Davis

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Where was everybody?

I mentioned before how Portland Regionals was a small tournament, and it was for North America standards. The final number entered for the Masters division ended up less than 100 players which meant seven rounds and Championship Points only awarded to the Top 16.

What could’ve caused this? Honestly, the answer isn’t clear. The northwest has never been known to be a powerhouse region, but the influx of players from California should’ve alleviated that some. Some notable names from the west coast have felt absent this season with players like Gavin Michaels not having a ton of Championship Points to Aaron Zheng’s absence from yet another regional. Plus, this regional happened sort of on the tail-end of the “dropping of player attendance” debate with some controversy being sprinkled on that topic shortly before this event. In the interest of the community, I’ll leave it at that.

Still, maybe this absence of big names could mean an opportunity for up and coming players to claim a place in the spotlight. Of course Alberto Lara has top cut another event this season, but he already has cemented himself at the top of the North American Championship Point standings. I’m talking about players like Gary Qian, 2017 Vancouver regional champion River Davis and 2017 Ultra Beast fanboy Samuel Haarsma. They may not be names that everyone recognizes right now, but 2018 could change that.

The new screaming queen of VGCmega gardevoir vgc 2018 portland regional

Mega Gardevoir was all the rage at Portland, and after this tournament players should definitely have it on their radar. Before the release of Intimidate Incineroar, I would’ve considered Mega Gardevoir not too strong of a pick simply because of the stiff competition when it comes to Fairy-type team members and the nerf to Pixilate. Now with two amazing Intimidate Pokemon that each support Gardevoir well, this Mega Evolution has skyrocketed itself into the mainstream once again.

The common core for most Gardevoir teams boils down to Gardevoir, Incineroar, Tapu Fini/Koko and Landorus (some players are even referring to this team archetype by the name Garde-roar). The remaining two members are surprisingly flexible as this is where we mainly saw difference in the teams of both of our finalists. Amoonguss was a popular partner for Gardevoir in the 2015 season due to its ability to redirect attacks away from Gardevoir while Gardevoir either set up Trick Room or spammed Hyper Voice. The Trick Room mode continues to be standard on Mega Gardevoir teams nowadays, but you might now see some other Trick Room Pokemon like the ever-popular Snorlax.

Mega Gardevoir is here to stay, and with this new team composition, it has definitely made its case for why it’s a great choice for a 2018 Mega Evolution.

Metagame highlights

Pheromosa: One of the things that Gary Qian claims to his name is his ability to make weirdly successful teams. But, this Pheromosa has a purpose albeit a gimmicky one. This strategy involves the move Speed Swap which switches the speed stats of the user and the target. The idea here is to use Speed Swap on Snorlax after it has set up a Belly Drum to make it unspeakably fast. Like I said, it’s very gimmicky, but Snorlax has enough bulk and Pheromosa has enough speed to pull it off.

Audino: It wouldn’t be a Gary Qian team if there weren’t two Pokemon in this section from it. Keeping it in normal form, Audino actually offers some good support if you’re willing to try it out. It gets access to both Trick Room and Heal Pulse making it an incredible partner for Snorlax. It’s ability Regenerator is also great for a Pokemon as tank-y as Audino as switching out gives Audino the ability to heal while it’s not in battle. One final trick Audino has is the move Simple Beam which changes the target’s ability into Simple. This is not a bad ability to have as simple doubles the stat increases from moves like Calm Mind and Dragon Dance. A neat tech, but something tells me that Mega Salamence wouldn’t really want to give up its Aerilate ability for an extra boost to its Attack and Speed.

Seismitoad: A rain team without Politoed, Ludicolo or Mega Swampert? Well, I’d hardly call Haarsma’s team rain-based, but the mode that exists here is quite interesting. Seismitoad is a unique choice as its stats aren’t too impressive outside of its HP. Still, with a Life Orb and some great move coverage with Muddy Water, Earth Power and Ice Beam at its disposal this Pokemon can actually pack a punch.

Breloom: As more and more Fairy-types were introduced, Breloom fell farther and farther off of usage stats. Breloom’s bread and butter is the ability Technician which boosts the power of attacks with less than or equal to 60 base power. This meant a very powerful Mach Punch, which unfortunately gets kind of shut down by Tapu Lele and Psychic Terrain. But, Tapu Fini being a Water-type means that it does not enjoy taking Breloom’s other means of offense in Bullet Seed. Oh, and I almost forgot Spore which pretty much makes Breloom as faster, more offensive Amoonguss.

(I would say something about Haarsma’s Chandelure, but we never really got to see him bring it to games unfortunately)

Raichu: And here I thought Togedemaru had stolen the spotlight from one of the original Lightningrod supporters in Raichu. Raichu actually has some good synergy on a team like Alberto Lara’s as Lightningrod can make Lara’s Tapu Fini not have to fear Zapdos or Tapu Koko at all while it’s on the field. Raichu can also be annoying when paired next to Mega Gengar as, like Whimsicott, it can fulfill the role of Encore to Gengar’s Disable. Finally, Fake Out does well to allow for more free set up from Lara’s Tapu Fini and his interesting use of a Landorus-Therian with Swords Dance.

That’s all from Portland, and it looks like the season has a bit of a break at the regional level for the month of April. However, players will need to remain on their A-game as the Latin America International Championships are now just a month away.

Thanks for reading!


You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Pokemon Shuffle, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

Teams data collected/provided by Nicholas Borghi and Trainer Tower

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pokemon march international challenge

What Pokemon and strategies to expect during the March International Challenge

It’s time yet again for another International Challenge tournament. The International Challenges are online tournaments held on the Pokemon Global Link that pit players across the world in battles using the current competitive format’s rule-set. However, this tournament is a bit different since all battles are best-of-one, kind of like if you’re playing on the Battle Spot ladder. So what should you expect during your 45 battle run? Here’s a pretty good idea.

The current top 30

 

These are the Top 30 most used Pokemon on the Championship Battles ladder on Battle Spot, and you should expect to see all of them. Some notable examples are the Island Guardians, Metagross, Snorlax, Incineroar, Zapdos, Salamence, Landorus-Therian, Tyranitar, Cresselia and many others. Of course it would take forever to go over each individual Pokemon, so we’ll just give you the highlights. 

Mega Evolutions

Image result for metagross pokemon shuffleMega Metagross

This should come as no surprise to anyone that has ever played VGC this year. Mega Metagross is by far the most popular Mega Evolution and for good reason. It has great speed, power and bulk with some great move coverage to help it tear through an opponent’s team. Expect to see the usual partners like Landorus, Zapdos and Tapu Lele, but there could be some variations to the Mega Metagross team formula. Recently, a team that uses Porygon2 and Araquanid has seen success with Mega Metagross, and I expect to see a fair amount of those teams in this tournament. The name of Mega Metagross’ game is consistency, and thus using one of these teams is usually a safe pick for guaranteeing a good number of wins.

Image result for mega manectric shuffleMega Manectric

Another Mega Evolution that has been dominating usage charts is Mega Manectric. This Pokemon isn’t too impressive on its own, but what it does for its team is amazing. Mega Manectric relies on pivoting and lowering the opponent’s stats by cycling Intimidate using Volt Switch and using Snarl to lower the opponent’s Special Attack. Usually this leads to a switch into Gothitelle which can trap the weakened foes while Snorlax sets up an almost free Belly Drum. This team composition is also a pretty safe pick, though its play style might be a bit slow for a 45 game best-of-one gauntlet.

Shuffle006MY.pngMega Charizard Y

Like the above two, Mega Charizard Y is a pick for consistency. What makes Charizard preferable to Manectric in my opinion is its ability to play much faster. Sure Charizard teams usually have some sort of Trick Room mode with Snorlax or Tyranitar, but this Trick Room mode is usually focused on making the most of those Trick Room turns with offense. The fast modes of Mega Charizard Y teams are also potent as Pokemon like Kartana and Tapu Koko can control speed while also firing off high damaging attacks. Combine all of that with Mega Charizard Y’s spamming of Heat Wave in the sun and you could potentially have some quick games.

Image result for mega salamence shuffleMega Salamence

Mega Salamence hasn’t had nearly the level of success it’s had in the past, but players are finding away to keep this Mega Evolution among the best. Mega Salamence fits into a category of Mega Evolutions that like to set-up and sweep. Some other notable examples are Mega Tyranitar, Gyarados and Charizard X respectively. Mega Salamence’s Aerilate ability gives it a boost to its Normal-type attacks while also turning them into same-type boosted Flying-type moves. After just one Dragon Dance Mega Salamence can win games on its own, which makes it a perfect Pokemon for best-of-one play.

Image result for mega gardevoir shuffleMega Gardevoir

The last Mega Evolution I’ll mention is one that has recently emerged into the spotlight thanks to a certain Intimidating cat not named Landorus. Mega Gardevoir has typically had a slow play style in the past, but Mega Gardevoir is another Pokemon that can win games on its own. Most Gardevoir teams have both a fast Tailwind mode and a Trick Room mode that rely on putting Mega Gardevoir in a position where it can spam Pixilate-boosted Hyper Voice to victory. The typical Gardevoir team composition is another known for consistency, and this could be an attractive option for many players looking to play a more simple team.

Other notable Pokemon

Of course I could put Pokemon like the Island Guardians, Landorus and Cresselia in here, but let’s look at some more interesting Pokemon from the aforementioned Top 30.

Image result for incineroar pokemon shuffleIncineroar

We’ve talked a lot about this Pokemon and its new ability already, but the hype train for Intimidate Incineroar has just barely left the station. With access to great offensive coverage, Fake Out, good bulk and a surprisingly flexible fourth moveslot (and Intimidate obviously) Incineroar can almost be slapped on any team right now. Expect it mainly with Mega Evolutions like Gardevoir and Salamence who benefit from Incineroar’s ability to use Fake Out to buy them a free turn of damage or setup. This Pokemon will likely be everywhere, and I encourage you to keep count of how many you face just to see the absurd amount of times you’ll likely go up against it.

Image result for milotic shuffleMilotic

Want to counter Incineroar and Intimidate in general? Milotic is probably the Pokemon for you. There were a lot of haters of Milotic before the Charlotte Regional Championships that it ended up winning. Competitive is an amazing ability that allows Milotic to turn a inconsequential Attack drop into doubling its Special Attack. Granted, this doesn’t turn Milotic into a sweeper and players who do see Milotic that way are playing it wrong according to Charlotte Regional champion Wolfe Glick. Milotic can do damage with that Competitive boost, but keeping it around for the long game is essential to using it effectively.

Image result for kommo-o shuffleKommo-o 

The reason I put this Pokemon here is that it has the ability to boost all of its stats with its powerful Z-move. The common Mega Gengar+Kommo-o team composition has had sort of a drought in tournament play, but a team like that could easily work for an International Challenge. The team likes to play slow outside of Kommo-o with Pokemon like Tapu Bulu and a Trick Room mode that relies on Gengar’s Shadow Tag to usually set up a long, painful game for the opponent, but unprepared teams could fall prey to an easy Kommo-o sweep. Make sure your team has some sort of Fairy-type coverage as you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a sweep thanks to Clangorous Soulblaze.

Image result for snorlax shuffleSnorlax

I know I said I was going to make this section more interesting, but Snorlax is a consistent pick for both best-of-one and best-of-three play. Snorlax in this tournament will likely be Belly Drum variants who will do nothing but rack up KO’s and Recycle their berries when their health gets low. Expect Snorlax to be paired alongside a Trick Room setter like Gothitelle or Cresselia and some sort of Pokemon that can cycle Intimidate like Mega Manectric and/or Landorus. I’m surprised that Snorlax stuck around despite the increase in Incineroar usage, but that should be a testament to just how good this Pokemon is. If there’s one thing I absolutely do not recommend is sleeping on Snorlax.

 

And that’s just a quick preview to this month’s International Challenge tournament. Whether you’re playing for Championship Points or just for fun, these tournaments are great to practice the current competitive format. But that’s not all the action happening this weekend as the Portland Regional Championships will be going on with a stream of the event being graciously provided by the people over at NuggetBridge. There’s a ton of Pokemon happening this weekend and we’ll be here to cover it all!

Thanks for reading!


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