vgc 2018 malmo regional championships

Checking off the To-Do List – VGC 2018 Malmö Regional Championship recap

Jamie Boyt had three goals for the 2018 season:

  1. Win his third regional
  2. Receive a paid trip to the 2018 World Championships
  3. Win Worlds

With his regional win in Malmö, Boyt has probably crossed out two out of those three goals. I mentioned in our Collinsville recap that we had a lot of fun metagame stuff to talk about for Malmö, and I wasn’t lying. The British trio of Jamie Boyt, Ben Markham and Barry Anderson that comprised three out of the Top 4 all had interesting, yet effective strategies. Before we get to that however, let’s take a look at the full results from Malmö.

Results & Teams (Top 8)

1. Jamie Boyt [GBR]

Image result for mega charizard x shuffleImage result for celesteela pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for suicune shuffleImage result for serperior shuffleImage result for persian shuffle

2. Ben Markham [GBR]

Image result for metagross pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for tapu bulu shuffleImage result for araquanid shufflePorygon2Image result for incineroar pokemon shuffle

3. Barry Anderson [GBR]

Image result for tyranitar pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu bulu shuffleImage result for azumarill shuffleImage result for lucario shuffleImage result for volcarona shuffleImage result for jynx shuffle

4. Davide Cauteruccio [ITA]

Image result for mega manectric shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for celesteela pokemon shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for gothitelle pokemon shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffle

5. Nicole Saeed [SWE]

Shuffle006MY.pngImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for celesteela pokemon shuffleImage result for gothitelle pokemon shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffle

6. Stefan Somo [SWE]

Image result for mega charizard x shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for cresselia pokemon shuffle iconImage result for ferrothorn shuffleImage result for nidoking shuffleImage result for scraftyshuffle

7. Eric Rios [ESP]

Image result for gyarados shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for tapu bulu shuffleImage result for cresselia pokemon shuffle iconImage result for heatran shuffleImage result for ferrothorn shuffle

8. Teemu Mankinen [FIN]

Image result for metagross pokemon shuffleImage result for venusaur shuffleImage result for tapu fini shufflePorygon2Image result for marowak shuffleImage result for gyarados shuffle

UK Squad Delivers

Results-wise and team-wise, the UK squad in Top 4 delivered. Jamie Boyt and Baz Anderson began a bit of a Pokemon journey which spanned four tournaments including two MidSeason Showdowns, the Oceania International Championships and finally the regional in Malmö. After making it to the Top Cut at both MSS’s (with Boyt winning one of them and Anderson coming second at the same one) the two had a pretty disappointing performance in Sydney. After adjusting their teams, Malmö was a great success for both of them.

Boyt’s Mega Charizard X (and Friends)mega charizard x shuffle vgc 2018 malmo regional championships

Let’s start with Boyt. We’ve talked a bit about Boyt already and we’ve definitely paid extra attention to his crazy teams that end up being excellent meta calls. Mega Charizard X is a Pokemon that Boyt has been playing with since the start of the 2018 season, and has revised iterations of his Malmö team a couple times. Charizard remained as one of the team’s star members, being able to steal games with its boosting ability with the move Dragon Dance and its powerful coverage of Flare Blitz and Thunderpunch. The two other consistent members have been Serperior and Suicune, both are Pokemon that Boyt has been fond of since the 2015 season.

You don’t see many Grass-types in VGC unless their names are Kartana and/or Ferrothorn, but Serperior has a unique edge over the two Steel-types. With its Hidden Ability Contrary, the -2 Special Attack from Leaf Storm becomes a +2 boost for Serperior, allowing it to max out its Special Attack by simply spamming one of the most powerful Grass-type moves in the game. Serperior’s speed and bulk also allow it to be a solid support Pokemon too, as we saw Boyt’s Serperior whip out Taunt as a means of shutting down the opponent’s support Pokemon.

Suicune is a Pokemon that many UK players have enjoyed using in 2018 as it fits the role of a bulky Water-type with access to Tailwind as an added bonus. With this increased speed, Suicune can start firing off Snarls in order to lower the opponent’s Special Attack or Scalds in order to start racking up burns. The newest additions to the team are Tapu Koko, Celesteela and Alolan Persian. Tapu Koko runs pretty similarly on Boyt’s team, using the Electrium Z in order to get massive damage on most of the metagame while in the Electric Terrain. Celesteela benefits from the Terrain as well, holding the Electric Seed which boosts Celesteela’s Defense after it is consumed. Alolan Persian is a great Pokemon to pair with sweepers like Mega Charizard X and Serperior, using moves like Fake Out and Parting Shot to weaken the opponent’s Pokemon allowing for easy set-up.

This is just the beginning of Boyt’s creativity in the format, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

Anderson’s Jynxjynx vgc 2018 malmo regional championships

Barry Anderson started off the season rather slow, but the 30 year-old veteran made a statement with Jynx on his team. Jynx is a curious choice, but Anderson saw a ton of potential in Jynx’s many useful tricks. Ice-type damage coming from an Ice-type Pokemon is hard to come by sometimes, but an Ice Beam from Jynx makes even the bulkiest of Dragons and Landorus fear for their lives. Anderson’s Jynx used the Adrenaline Orb item to counter the plethora of Intimidate with the Adrenaline Orb giving Jynx a speed boost when its Attack is lowered. Jynx even makes use of a great ability in Dry Skin which makes it immune to Water-type attacks with a bit of healing to go along with it.

With Skill Swap, Anderson was able to Skill Swap Dry Skin onto his Volcarona making it a hard counter to any Water-type that threatened it before. If you want to know a bit more about Anderson’s Jynx, I highly recommend checking out his recent video explaining his thought process behind why he decided to use it. One more interesting bit about Anderson’s team is his use of Lucario. Anderson’s team is very set-up focused with Belly Drum Azumarill, Quiver Dance Volcarona and Dragon Dance Mega Tyranitar. Lucario has access to Follow Me which bypasses the Grass-type immunity that Rage Powder has, making Follow Me a much more reliable form of re-direction. This team just has so many cool forms of synergy, and like Boyt, I’m eagerly anticipating the next team that Anderson has success with.

Markham’s Araquanidaraquanid vgc 2018 malmo regional championships

Finally we come to Ben Markham, who may not have had the craziest of tricks, but his team featured a bit of a throwback to last year that might pick up some steam. Markham used the popular Porygon2 and Araquanid combo that won four straight regional championships in North America last year, and nearly came close to winning one this year. This time, Araquanid is back and bigger than ever. Literally. The now obtainable Totem Araquanid is the preferred option for players not only because of its monstrous size, but the extra pounds it has over a normal Araquanid. The simple in-game benefit Totem Araquanid has is that it is unaffected by Sky Drop allowing it to more freely spam its Water Bubble-boosted Liquidations much more freely. Could this combo come back in 2018 with four straight tournament victories? Some players seem to think so.

An Updated List 

After pretty easily cleaning up his first two goals on his initial list, Boyt has since updated his 2018 list of goals. All of them looking like they’re in reasonable reach.

At 840 Championship Points, Boyt cements his spot in the Top 8 of Europe’s Championship Point rankings and is in a strong position for a Day 2 invitation to the 2018 World Championships. Unfortunately he was a bit late for travel stipends to the Latin America International Championships, so he’ll be absent from Sao Paulo. However, he will have one more shot for the International crown this summer in Columbus, Ohio for the North American International Championships. To quote Boyt on Twitter he said, “I’m coming for you Ohio” but that will likely change very soon to, “I’m coming for you Nashville” as we’ll likely see him in Day 2 battling to complete his final goal.

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

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

vgc 2018 collinsville regional championships

Soaking and Slashing to Victory – VGC 2018 Collinsville Regional Championships recap

Alvin Hidayat is your 2018 Collinsville Regional champion, winning it all with an unusual Mega Evolution and a familiar strategy. Hidayat has had a history of consistent Top Cut placings, including a 13th place finish in Dallas a couple weeks ago, but has never quite made it all the way until now. Hidayat’s unique team made a return appearance in Collinsville, and was able to complete the regional title run with a second go. Here’s all what went down at the 2018 Collinsville Regional Championships.

Results & Teams (Top 8)

1. Alvin Hidayat

Image result for mega manectric shuffleImage result for kartana shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for scraftyshuffleImage result for porygon2 shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffle

2. Ashton Cox

Image result for mega salamence shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for aegislash shuffleImage result for amoonguss shuffleImage result for tyranitar pokemon shuffle

3. Dylan Salvanera

Image result for metagross pokemon shuffleImage result for tyranitar pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu lele pokemon shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for zapdos pokemon shuffleImage result for amoonguss shuffle

4. Leonard Craft III

Shuffle006MY.pngImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for cresselia pokemon shuffle iconImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffleImage result for togedemaru pokemon shuffle

5. Alex Arand

Image result for metagross pokemon shuffleImage result for tyranitar pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu lele pokemon shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for zapdos pokemon shuffleImage result for amoonguss shuffle

6. Nick Navarre

Image result for metagross pokemon shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for scraftyshuffleImage result for gothitelle pokemon shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffle

7. Terry Lye

Shuffle006MY.pngImage result for tapu lele pokemon shuffleImage result for landorus pokemon shuffleImage result for zapdos pokemon shuffleImage result for amoonguss shuffleImage result for tyranitar pokemon shuffle

8. Louis Milich

Image result for mega manectric shuffleImage result for celesteela pokemon shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffleImage result for incineroar pokemon shuffleImage result for gothitelle pokemon shuffleImage result for snorlax shuffle

A different kind of teammega manectric vgc 2018 collinsville regional championships

Alvin Hidayat’s team is non-standard for a number of reasons. Mega Manectric is a notable off-meta choice and you’d expect to see many Manectric players running a team similar to Louis Milich’s Manectric squad. Mega Manectric’s game in VGC 2018 is an offensive pivot that relies on it’s Intimidate ability plus the attack Snarl in order to lower the opponent’s stats while it switches in and out of battle with Volt Switch. Many Manectric teams like to use this strategy to make it much easier for Pokemon like Celesteela and Snorlax to win on their own. Mega Manectric made this possible for Hidayat, but also allowed for a more fun strategy to work.

Meet Choice Scarf Tapu Fini. This was a strategy Hidayat was known for using last year with Tapu Bulu and Kartana alongside Tapu Fini turning all of the opponent’s Pokemon into Water-types. Tapu Fini gets access to the move Soak that changes the target into a Water-type, making easier for Hidayat’s Kartana to pick up KO’s on pretty much anything with a super effective Leaf Blade. With Kartana’s naturally high speed and Tapu Fini’s Choice Scarf, this duo is surprisingly effective in overwhelming under-prepared opponents.

Hidayat’s finals opponent, Ashton Cox, wasn’t unprepared but the matchup sure was tough. Hidayat’s performance throughout Top Cut was dominant despite the finals set coming to three games. Hidayat claims that the victory came down to his reads, and after a misstep in game two, he was able to ascend back to his dominant form.

Now, I wouldn’t start expecting every Tapu Fini you see to be holding Choice Scarf, but if you see it paired with Kartana, I’d be cautious. I knew Mega Manectric had potential, and you just might start seeing it much more often.

What’s the metagame looking like?Snorlax vgc 2018 collinsville regional championships

Well, not surprisingly Mega Metagross remained the most popular Mega form in Collinsville, with two players in Top 8 using nearly identical teams. When I say “if you want to win, use Metagross” I wasn’t kidding. Still, players are slowly figuring out ways to beat this ever present archetype. Scrafty might have a terrible matchup against Alola’s Island Guardians, but it can wall physical attackers after enough Intimidates. Hidayat and Nick Navarre, two that are known to collaborate, had the same idea for countering Metagross as both players though Scrafty was the play. With the Assault Vest item, Scrafty can improve its bulk on the Special side while also making use of its fantastic move pool, with Hidayat running Stone Edge on his Scrafty which came in clutch during his Top 4 set against Leonard Craft’s Mega Charizard Y.

The next big thing (literally) is the return of Snorlax. Snorlax had a bit of a rough patch with the banning of Curse to prevent game freezes, but this Trick Room staple from the 2017 format is back. Many players thought that Curse variants of Snorlax were going to be a better choice for the 2018 format, but then they began to realize that Belly Drum is still amazing on Snorlax. Combined with stat reduction from Intimidate and/or Snarl, Snorlax can become unstoppable especially under a potential Shadow Tag trap from a partner Gothitelle. Snorlax has thrived in a metagame lacking in Fighting-type Pokemon, and will likely maintain its level of success in the 2018 season. Hidayat seems to think so.

A good weekend for countering the metagame 

That’s all from Collinsville, but we still have one more tournament to discuss over in Malmo. This one should be fun. Mega Charizard X stole the tournament, but a Jynx in Top 4 stole the show. With the craziness in Malmo combined with what won over in Collinsville, we should have an interesting metagame developing throughout the 2018 season. We’ll have a full recap from Malmo ready for you in just a couple days!

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

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

vgc 2018 oceania international championships

Italy takes another International – VGC 2018 Oceania International Championships recap

The nation of Italy adds yet another International Championship title thanks to an impressive run from Alessio Yuri Boschetto. With this win under his belt, Boschetto is now the global leader in Championship Points at 1377. There was a lot of great action from Syndey including some great sets, Rock Slide flinches and off-meta Pokemon making it to Top 8 and beyond. But first, here are your results and teams from the land down under.

Results & teams (Top 8)

1. Alessio Yuri Boschetto [ITA]

Mega MetagrossMega TyranitarTapu LeleLandorus (Therian)ZapdosAmoonguss

2. Jans Arne Mækinen [NOR]

Mega MetagrossLandorus (Therian)TyranitarRotom (Wash Rotom)TogekissNidoking

3. Isaac Lam [NZ]

Mega GyaradosLandorus (Therian)Tapu KokoCresseliaIncineroarTsareena

4. Ashton Cox [USA]

Mega SalamenceTapu KokoTapu FiniAegislashAmoongussTyranitar

5. Alberto Lara [USA]

File:Mega Charizard Y.pngCresseliaLandorus (Therian)CelesteelaGothitelleSnorlax

6. Nico Davide Cognetta [ITA]

Mega GengarCresseliaHeatranTapu BuluHitmontopKommo-o

7. Javier Valdes [CHI]

Mega MetagrossNihilegoScraftyGastrodon (West Sea)VolcaronaWeavile

8. Luke Curtale [AUS]

Mega MetagrossMega TyranitarTapu FiniLandorus (Therian)AmoongussZapdos

Metagame highlights

Nidoking: We’ll start off with the Pokemon that made it the farthest. Nidoking is an off-meta choice I’ve had my eyes on ever since it was allowed back into the VGC metagame. While it suffers from a painfully awkward Speed-tier, it excels in how much damage it can deal. Sheer Force is an amazing ability which boosts the power of moves that have secondary effects, in exchange for those effects not ever activating. This allows Nidoking to deal tons of damage with attacks like Sludge Bomb, Earth Power and Ice Beam which Jens Arne Mækinen used on his Nidoking’s move set. These three moves provide excellent coverage against the metagame, making Nidoking a terrifying opponent for the Island Guardians, Heatran and even Landorus.

Tsareena: This is a Pokemon no one expected to come back. After winning the Japanese National Championships back in 2017, Tsareena once again faded into obscurity. Isaac Lam, despite his public dislike for Tsareena, took this Pokemon back to the top.

Despite being rather weak, Tsareena has some great tricks to take advantage of. Tsareena’s signature move, Trop Kick, guarantees an Attack drop on the target which makes it a pretty spam-able move against the plethora of physical attackers. Feint is a move that Isaac Lam made very good use of, being able to break opposing Protect. This allowed his Mega Gyarados and Tapu Koko to score big KO’s if Lam’s opponent decided to go on the defense. Oh, and Tsareena’s ability Queenly Majesty blocking priority moves is nice, although priority hasn’t been as popular since Tapu Lele came around.

Weavile/Nihilego: Javier Valdes often led this duo which is why I’m putting them together. Valdes’ Weavile was carrying Life Orb rather than a Focus Sash which made Weavile much more prone to being KO’ed, but gave it a big damage boost. Even Weavile’s Fake Out was doing a lot more damage, but the combination of Ice Punch and Knock Off is probably what Valdes valued in his selection of Weavile.

Nihilego stuck to its main role as a Special sweeper, but it was finally revealed in Valdes’ Top 8 set versus Ashton Cox that Nihilego was holding an Adrenaline Orb. When Cox led with his Salamence, the Intimidate gave Nihilego a boost in speed which explains why Valdes’ Nihilego was slower than a Tapu Lele we saw in an earlier stream match. Adrenaline Orb makes sense considering how Nihilego’s Speed has become more average with many more faster Pokemon being introduced into the metagame. Without having to worry about investing into its Speed stat while holding an Adrenaline Orb, more can be invested into Nihilego’s bulk which suffers heavily on the physical side.

A good tournament for Rock Slide

vgc 2018 oceania international championships

The clutch double flinch from Boschetto visibly upsets Cox.

No move generates more hype and simultaneous disgust than Rock Slide. That 30% chance to flinch the opponent’s Pokemon can be game-deciding, and no one knows that better than this tournament’s champion. Alessio Yuri Boschetto experienced both the good and bad side of Rock Slide with both instances deciding sets. Our first instance came in Swiss Round 4 where Boschetto was matched up against fellow countrymen and defending European International Champion, Simone Sanvito. Boschetto and Sanvito were running nearly identical teams making the set an intense back and forth between two of the world’s finest players.

Game 2 came down to a Landorus/Zapdos mirror match where luck with Rock Slide would decide the game. Sanvito had only Landorus left against Boschetto’s Choice Scarf Landorus and healthy Zapdos. Sanvito’s Landorus dodges a Rock Slide while Boschetto’s Zapdos uses Roost, allowing Snavito’s Landorus to score the KO on Boschetto’s. With Boschetto’s Tailwind gone, it came down to Sanvito’s Landorus at 20 HP versus a Zapdos at nearly half of its HP. With the speed advantage, Sanvito connects his first Rock Slide but doesn’t flinch. Instead, Boschetto’s Zapdos misses a Heat Wave which all but sealed the game up for Sanvito. This would be Boschetto’s first and only loss throughout the tournament.

As you know by now, things eventually went well for Boschetto, as the RNG gods smiled in his favor in his Top 4 set against Ashton Cox. In game three, Cox had the advantage with his Amoonguss and Aegislash (with a Mega Salamence in the back) against Boschetto’s Landorus and Zapdos. Boschetto needed a double flinch in order to prevent either Amoonguss putting his Zapdos to sleep or Aegislash KO’ing his Zapdos. Boschetto got the double flinch. There was still a speck of hope for Cox, but another Rock Slide flinch on his Aegislash allowed Boschetto to set up Tailwind, sealing up the game from there.

Later, Boschetto admitted on Twitter that Cox had outplayed him and that the flinches were necessary for his victory. Look, you can hate on the fact that Boschetto got that lucky in such a crucial moment, but hey, it’s Pokemon. My only question is: why wasn’t anyone using Wide Guard?

The two biggest things that we learned from Sydney were 1) Italy is yet again the force to be reckoned with and 2) Rock Slide is busted. We also learned a lot more about the potential diversity of the VGC 2018 metagame, and why you should be using Mega Metagross if you want to win tournaments. In all seriousness though, congratulations to Alessio Yuri Boschetto for his big win in what was such an exciting tournament to watch. Rock Slide flinches and all. Tournament season continues next weekend where we’ll have coverage from two major regionals in Collinsville, IL and Malmo, Sweden.

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

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

underrated mega evolutions vgc 2018

The Five Most Underrated Mega Evolutions in VGC 2018

Last time we covered the five best Mega Evolutions in the 2018 competitive Pokemon season, but the list of viable Megas doesn’t end there. What VGC 2018 has shown us is that the list of viable Mega Evolutions extends far beyond five. This time, we’ll tell you about five Mega Evolutions that have flown under the radar, but definitely have the potential to win a big tournament later down the line.

Mega Mawilemega mawile underrated mega evolutions vgc 2018

Let’s begin with one of my personal favorites. If I could’ve extended our previous top five by just one slot, Mega Mawile would’ve been the sixth. Think of Mega Mawile like a slower Mega Metagross, with Huge Power contributing to its monstrous Attack stat rather than Tough Claws. Of course, Speed is not an issue for Mega Mawile when Trick Room is a thing. Speaking of Trick Room, Mega Mawile forms the second half of the infamous “GothMaw” combo with its partner Gothitelle. This pair aims to set up Trick Room while simultaneously trapping the opponent’s Pokemon in while Mega Mawile picks up KO’s left and right. While Mega Mawile is capable of taking games by itself, it does have some considerable weaknesses. A low speed and less than stellar defense stats make Mega Mawile sort of reliant on having the speed advantage so that it can do damage before the opponent. However, Mawile more than makes up for its defensive shortcomings with its literal huge Attack stat and great typing.

Mega Tyranitarmega tyranitar underrated mega evolutions vgc 2018

Mega Tyranitar could’ve also been a sixth slot for our previous list, as it does technically beat out both Mega Mawile and Mega Gengar in usage. The reason I didn’t put it on the list is that Mega Tyranitar is usually a secondary Mega Evolution rather than a main one. Still, Mega Tyranitar is nothing short of a powerhouse. Mega Tyranitar is basically normal Tyranitar, one of the best Pokemon in the format right now, but with better stats. With the increase in Speed and Attack upon Mega Evolving, Mega Tyranitar usually like to run Dragon Dance in order to further boost their speed and power. Like Mega Charizard Y, Mega Tyranitar also sets up its preferred weather upon Mega Evolving, but also has the benefit of the Sand Stream ability in normal form, making Mega Tyranitar a decent means weather disruption. After a Dragon Dance or two, Mega Tyranitar can spam powerful Rock Slides and use Crunch to take out those popular Psychic-types like Cresselia and Gothitelle. While Mega Tyranitar is a great choice for a secondary Mega Evolution, it has the potential to carry a team on its own.

Mega Manectricmega manectric underrated mega evolutions vgc 2018

Now we’re getting to the interesting stuff. Mega Manectric is rather unique as it serves a bunch of different roles as a single Pokemon. The best way to describe this unique role would be an offensive pivot. Mega Manectric can take advantage of its impressive base 135 Speed with a rather impressive pool of attacks to choose from like Volt Switch, Flamethrower/Overheat, Hidden Power Ice making an ideal moveset. Snarl is another great option to lower the opponent’s Special Attack and this move combo’s great with Mega Manectric’s ability. Mega Manectric was blessed with one of the best abilities in the game in Intimidate, and with Volt Switch and its high speed it can easily pivot in and out of play allowing it to cycle Intimidates. Speaking of abilities, base form Manectric has a pretty useful ability as well. Manectric has access to the ability Lightningrod, which allows it to redirect Electric attacks. Manectric has already found a home on a popular team archetype which benefits from both its Lightningrod and Intimidate abilities, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mega Manectric’s usefulness extend to other types of teams.

Mega Latiasmega latias underrated mega evolutions vgc 2018

I would’ve loved to talk about Mega Latias in better detail in our Dallas Regional Championship recap, but it unfortunately didn’t get very far in the tournament. We still got to see it action a bunch on stream, and I think there’s something here with Mega Latias. What Latias has over its eon brother Latios is more bulk, allowing Mega Latias to stick around much longer. The stat boosts from Mega Evolution give Mega Latias great defenses, Special Attack and even Speed to work with. In order to capitalize on Mega Latias’ amazing bulk, players during the Dallas Regionals opted for a Calm Mind set with Roost in order to restore Latias’ health. In regards to attacks, Latias’ move pool is deep but it seems like the most popular choices were Ice Beam and Psyshock. Like I said, our exposure to Mega Latias was brief, but this is one Mega Evolution that is ready for a redemption run.

Mega Charizard X


mega charizard x underrated mega evolutions vgc 2018

Finally, we take a look at the other half of Charizard’s two Mega Evolutions. Mega Charizard X fell behind its Y counterpart due to a bit weaker of a defensive typing and the fact that its a physical attacker, making it struggle with the ever present Intimidate. Not only that, but Dragon-type offensively took a big hit with the mainstream introduction of Misty Terrain thanks to Tapu Fini.

So why is this Pokemon good again?

Well, there’s actually a lot to like about Mega Charizard X. First of all, Mega Charizard X has an excellent Attack-boosting ability in Tough Claws that it shares with Mega Metagross. Like Tyranitar, Mega Charizard also relies on a Dragon Dance boosting strategy which allows Mega Charizard X to clean up games with a boost or two. Since Dragon Claw has sort of fallen out of favor, Mega Charizard X mainly uses an absurdly powerful Flare Blitz that can one-hit-KO many Pokemon that don’t resist the Attack. Who needs Dragon Claw when Mega Charizard X has access to a Tough Claws-boosted Thunderpunch that can easily deal with the bulky Water-types that it give it a lot of trouble. I mentioned Mega Charizard X’s lackluster defensive typing, and its this very typing that makes it weak to the most popular Pokemon in the game: Landorus-Therian. Tapu Bulu’s ability to weaken Landorus’ Earthquakes makes it a perfect teammate for Mega Charizard X, and its this new support that also has made Mega Charizard X so much more viable this season. A Charizard in Team Preview may not be as predictable as in year’s past.


We’ve now listed ten Mega Evolutions that are great choices to build a team around this season, but something tells me the list goes on. I’m positive that I’ve missed at least a few more awesome Mega Evolutions, but here are ten great ones to get you started. We’ll just have to see which of these “underrated”choices breaks its way into the metagame, as we’ve still got a whole season left to find out. Right now, go and enjoy the Oceania International Championships this weekend, which we’ll be recapping next week! Also, patch 1.2 for Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon is out, so make sure to update your games before competing at your next event!

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 Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

Featured Image from Pokemon The Series: XY&Z

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

best mega evolutions pokemon vgc 2018

The five best Mega Evolutions in VGC 2018 right now

With the return of Mega Evolutions into Pokemon VGC, they have once again become central elements of teambuilding. However, a lot has changed since the early days of Mega Evolution such as the altered speed mechanic as well as the nerf to some abilities and moves. Because of these changes, we’ve seen some significant shifts in usage compared to year’s past, and some different Mega Evolutions have risen to the top. In no particular order, here are five of the best Mega Evolutions in Pokemon VGC right now.

1. Mega Metagrossmega metagross best mega evolutions pokemon vgc 2018

We’ve discussed Mega Metagross before, but now we have a better idea of how this Pokemon performs. And believe me, it performs well. The typical Mega Metagross core featuring either Tapu Lele or Tapu Fini, Tyranitar and Zapdos has been racking up results left and right and its mainly due to what Mega Metagross brings to the table. Metagross was one of the biggest benefactors of the speed mechanic change as now it’s able to take full advantage of its base 110 Speed stat as soon as it Mega Evolves.

Also, Mega Metagross hits a lot of popular Pokemon. Hard. Tough Claws plus Mega Metagross’ base 145 Attack stat makes any attack from this monster hurt a lot. In addition to its hard-hitting STAB moves like Iron Head and Zen Headbutt, moves like Ice Punch and Stomping Tantrum give Mega Metagross ways to KO some of its biggest counters. Mega Metagross pretty much has it all. Great typing, move pool, stats and synergy with many of the metagame’s best. Depending on who you ask, Metagross could be the best Mega Evolution in the format.

2. Mega Charizard Ymega charizard y best mega evolutions pokemon vgc 2018

Like I said, Mega Metagross depending on who you ask, and some players might say Mega Charizard Y is even better. Mega Charizard Y’s main tool is its ability to set up the Sun with the Drought ability. This doesn’t make every Charizard team a “Sun” team per se, as Charizard itself is usually the only one that relies on the sun. But when the sun is out, Mega Charizard Y does damage with a beastly Special Attack stat and a boost to its Fire-type attacks. Having the sun out also gives Mega Charizard Y an excellent coverage option in Solarbeam which doesn’t have to charge an extra turn thanks to the sun being out.

The sun is great for Charizard, but the rest of the team can benefit as weather control can stop opposing weather, making matchups against the popular “Rain” archetype much easier. Synergy-wise, Mega Charizard Y forms a solid core with Landorus-Therian and Cresselia, mixing offensive pressure with defensive pivoting. Many Charizard teams have their fast, offensive mode with a Trick Room option usually available. A great example of this would be Cedric Bernier’s team that won the recent Dallas Regional Championships.

3. Mega Kangaskhanmega kangaskhan best mega evolutions pokemon vgc 2018

Oh what  a fall from grace has befallen Mega Kangaskhan. From winning event after event the past three years, the once most popular Mega Evolution had one Top Cut appearance in the first two 2018 regionals. But does that mean Mega Kangaskhan is bad or washed up? Definitely not as good, but certainly not bad. Sure, Mega Kangaskhan lost some power with Parental Bond’s nerf and the ability to boost her Attack stat with Power-up Punch, but Mega Kangaskhan still hits pretty hard. The nerf to Sucker Punch’s power also hurts, but these power adjustments have allowed Mega Kangaskhan to open up its moveset as well as its potential builds a lot more.

Instead of focusing on all-out speed and power, Kangaskhan can afford to be built much more bulky and defensive in order to accommodate more investment into its attack power. Mega Kangaskhan can now afford to run moves like Protect and Ice Punch which give it better offensive matchups and defensive plays. And being a Normal-type means Mega Kangaskhan is still as splash-able as ever, being able to fit on a number of different team compositions. Despite how hard this Pokemon has been nerfed, it’s still one of the best Mega Evolutions out there, and usage stats seem to agree.

4. Mega Salamencemega salamence best mega evolutions pokemon vgc 2018

Mega Salamence is also a victim of a slight nerf to its power with its ability Aerilate being weakened, but also the influx of meta-defining Fairy-type Pokemon hasn’t been great for it either. Still, Mega Salamence remains a threat as an offensive powerhouse. Flying is one of the best offensive types in the game and Mega Salamence can take advantage of that both on the physical side and special side thanks to its great mixed-attacking stats. A powerful single-target option in Double Edge and a great spread option in Hyper Voice give Mega Salamence two main means of offense that are effective in snagging KO’s or dealing consistent damage.

With the popularity of Tapu Fini, Dragon-type attacks have fallen out of favor for many Pokemon, but Mega Salamence didn’t seem to mind too much. Not having to run Draco Meteor means Mega Salamence can easily accommodate Tailwind onto its moveset giving it a way to support its teammates. Also, you can’t go wrong with a Mega Pokemon that has access to Intimidate before it Mega Evolves. But speaking of teammates, Mega Salamence can work well with a good amount of solid Pokemon, including the aforementioned Fairy-types. Mega Salamence can even default to a 2018 version of the 2015 archetype dubbed “Japan Sand” where it forms a threatening offensive combo with Tyranitar and Excadrill. Like Mega Kangaskhan, Mega Salamence had huge amounts of success in year’s past, and despite nerfs can still hang near the top today.

5. Mega Gengarmega gengar best mega evolutions pokemon vgc 2018

While Mega Gengar does fall behind a couple other Mega Evolutions in terms of Top 5 usage, I still believe it is worth being put in the Top 5 best Mega Evolutions category. The reason being is that Mega Gengar is the perfect counter to the metagame, and teams made with it have done just that. The influx of Fairy-types that has crippled Mega Salamence has done wonders for Mega Gengar. Not only does Sludge Bomb hit many popular Pokemon for neutral or super effective damage, but many teams also find it hard to switch into Mega Gengar’s Shadow Ball as well.

While Mega Gengar does excel on the offensive side, its support options as well as its ability Shadow Tag are where it really shines. Mega Gengar’s third move slot often includes moves that are aggravating to go against such as Disable or Perish Song that are even more annoying while Gengar traps its opponent’s in with Shadow Tag. Shadow Tag allows many different aspects of a Mega Gengar to shine including the infamous Encore+Disable combo with Whimisicott, cycling of Intimidate, Perish Trap and most recently a better set-up for Kommo-o’s Z move. Mega Gengar’s ability to control can steal games very easily, and with an even better metagame matchup now than it has had in previous years, Mega Gengar is proving to be the premier counter to 2018’s established metagame.

Of course “the best” aren’t the end-all be-all, especially in competitive Pokemon. One of the biggest story lines of the early months of the format is just how much variety exists in the 2018 metagame. Mega Evolutions are central to this new wave of diversity, with many more than these five winning tournaments across the world.

I think you know where this is going.

Next time we’ll be covering five underrated Mega Evolutions in VGC 2018 that have the potential to take first at the highest level.

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 Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

Featured Image from Pokemon The Series: XY&Z

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vgc 2018 leipzing regionals dreamhack

From Mega Metagross to… FLORGES?: VGC 2018 Leipzig Regional Championships recap

Pokemon returned to Dreamhack this year with yet another regional championship being held within this prestigious gaming event. Again, there wasn’t any streamed coverage which still puzzles me along with many other members of the community. Still, this event is significant as it was the first 2018 regional over in Europe, giving us valuable insight into what the metagame is looking like across the pond. Let’s see what strategies players in Europe are finding success with in the early 2018 metagame.

Results and Teams (Top 8)

1. Flavio Del Pidio [ITA]


2. Markus Stadter [GER]

3.Maxime Muller [FRA]


4. Alex Gomez [ESP][​IMG][​IMG]

5. Nemanja Sandic [GER]


6. Luca Lussignoli [ITA]


7. Ben Kyriakou [GBR]


8. Serkan Tas [GER]


Metagame Highlights As expected, Tyranitar was just as big in Leipzig as it was over in Dallas, with four out of the eight teams here looking nearly identical. While Serkan Tas caught on to the Porygon2 plus Tyranitar hype, many stuck with the more standard Tyranitar plus Amoonguss combination with some players choosing to use the Mega Stone on their Tyranitar. While many of these teams using Tyranitar look alike, there is still something to be said about Tyranitar’s versatility in this new metagame. There’s a Dragon Dance set using Mega Tyranitar, a Trick Room sweeper variant with Porygon2 and even just using normal Tyranitar can still be effective. This Pokemon is good (I mean we’ve known that for almost 18 years now), but Tyranitar is cementing itself as a metagame staple early-on.

[​IMG]Mega Kangaskhan: Boy, have the times changed. If this were two, three, even four years ago Mega Kangaskhan would’ve likely had most of these Top Cut placings. In 2018, there was just ONE Kangaskhan player in the combined Top 24 between Leipzig and Dallas. Does this mean Kangaskhan is bad? No. But she’s definitely fallen down a couple pegs since her massive nerf in Pokemon Sun and Moon. I still think Kangaskhan is a Top 5 Mega Evolution in this format, but it might take a couple more tournaments to see her truly shine. Kartana is all the rage now considering its plethora of options thanks to the Move Tutor. As the metagame’s most popular Ultra Beast right now, Kartana is looking like a Pokemon that can be slapped on a number of different archetypes. There are reasons for this being that Kartana a) has excellent coverage combined with its insanely high Attack stat b) has access to a fast Tailwind and c) has Sacred Sword in order to counter the Chansey evasion boost strategy. Anti-gimmick with both offensive and support capabilities? Kartana looks like the complete package.

[​IMG]Mega Metagross: I would say that Mega Metagross and Mega Charizard Y are the most popular Mega Evolutions right now, with Metagross having the better showing in Leipzig as opposed to Dallas’ Charizard-dominated Top Cut. Interestingly, it seems that European players favor partnering Tapu Lele (and apparently Tapu Koko) with Metagross as opposed to the more standard option of Tapu Fini. When you see Metagross and Tapu Lele you immediately think offense as Metagross variants will often forgo coverage options like Stomping Tantrum or Ice Punch in favor of the more powerful, yet risky Zen Headbutt. Aside from that, the rest of the team is basically the same with the only real difference being Psychic Seed over Misty Seed on Zapdos if they’re not running Electrium Z. This is an archetype you should be prepared for, as both Leipzig and Dallas have clearly shown its dominance.

Mega Gengar & Friends: I want to talk about Markus Stadter’s team mainly because I feel like we haven’t touched on the anti-meta tilt machine that is Mega Gengar. This standard team composition has a ton of different modes that all capitalize on Mega Gengar’s Shadow Tag ability which traps both of the opponent’s Pokemon. Mega Gengar and Whimsicott is especially notorious for threatening the infamous Encore+Disable combo or being able to threaten a KO on pretty much anything with a combination of Fake Tears from Whimsicott into a Sludge Bomb or Shadow Ball from Mega Gengar. Tapu Bulu is usually seen on these teams as it is the best Tapu for control-esque teams and it does well to support Stadter’s Heatran. Kommo-o is a Pokemon we didn’t see at all in Dallas, but it seems to be finding itself a home on teams with Mega Gengar. Kommo-o often relies on its signature Z Move, Clangorous Soulblaze, as a means of turning Kommo-o into a threat and Mega Gengar’s trapping ability make it so the opponent cannot switch defensively into this powerful Z move. This is a team composition I would watch out for because I think it’s only a matter of time before this team starts appearing more often. Gyarados: Hey its the only other Mega Evolution besides Kangaskhan and Rayquaza to win a World Championship in the Masters division. Mega Gyarados is another example of an off-meta Mega Evolution that has some serious potential. What’s interesting here is that Alex Gomez decided to use Mega Gyarados without any sort of redirection support (insert Pachirisu joke here). But seriously, Mega Gyarados is known for its potency as a Dragon Dance sweeper, so it often relies on that redirection to send attacks away from it as it sets up. Well if Tyranitar has shown us anything is that powerful Dark-type attackers are great right now, and Mega Gyarados is a similarly threatening sweeper.

Greninja: While this frog has dominated the single battle metagame it hasn’t had the biggest impact in VGC. While we don’t know Nemanja Sandic’s exact strategy when it comes to Greninja, I can say for certain that there are a lot of options for this Pokemon. With its Protean ability, Greninja can change into pretty much any type which has benefits on both the offensive and defensive side. On the offensive, this gives Greninja the same type attack bonus (STAB) for every single attack which makes its coverage options like Ice Beam, Gunk Shot, Low Kick and even Rock Slide do much more damage. While mainly known for its offense, Greninja has some great support options like Mat Block that acts as a protective barrier for both Pokemon on your side of the field. Greninja is an interesting choice for sure, and I think it has a lot of potential if your team is looking for a sixth member to cover a plethora of weaknesses.

Florges: This is certainly a new one. Well… Not exactly for Ben Kyriakou. Anyone remember Kyriakou’s 2014 World Championship Top 16 team? Kyriakou definitely has experience with this pseudo Grass-type Pokemon, and it looks like he’s brought his old strategy back with a modern twist. The reason I call Florges a pseudo Grass-type is that despite being a Fairy-type, this Pokemon can do a lot to support Grass-type Pokemon. Florges has a rather unique ability called Flower Veil which prevents a Grass-type partner Pokemon from having it stats lowered or being affected by status conditions. So this means Kyriakou’s Kartana can’t be burned, paralyzed or affected by Intimidate while Florges is on the field. While I don’t this this strategy will become a common thing, I am certainly a fan.

Well that just about wraps up our week one regional championship coverage for VGC 2018. We saw a number of different strategies from teams that will define the metagame to others that were just crazy enough to work. This metagame has a ton of potential, and I, like many others, are beyond excited for the Oceania International Championships where all of these amazing strategies will converge in what’s sure to be an amazing tournament. Now if we could only fix the game freeze problem…

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 Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

Featured image from Dreamhack Leipzig’s official site

Teams data collected/provided by Nicholas Borghi, Michael Bailey and Trainer Tower

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

vgc 2018 dallas regionals

A hot start halted by freezes: VGC 2018 Dallas Regional Championship recap

The first regional championship weekend for the 2018 season was packed with action from both Dallas, Texas and Leipzig, Germany. Today we’ll be focusing on Dallas, a regional with over 300 Masters and a Top 16 Cut, a first for a VGC regional in quite a while. With Dallas being such a big tournament, expectations were high, and there were a bunch of story lines both good and bad. Players and spectators alike got their first look at what the 2018 metagame looks like at the top level, and the amount of variety in teambuilding was vast. Unfortunately, there is bad news, as the infamous “double game freeze glitch” plagued a number of sets throughout the weekend with even some showing up on stream. We’ll cover it all, but first let’s look at the Top 16 players and teams from Dallas.

Results & teams (Top 16)

1. Cedric Bernier


2. Chuppa Cross 


3. Carson Confer


4. Sam O’Dell


5. Blake Hopper


6. Mitchell Davies

7. Jakob Swilley


8. Ryan Tan


9. Brendan Zheng


10. Adrian Singler


11. Israel Ramirez


12. Hugo Cortez


13. Alvin Hidayat


14. Christian Ramirez lira


15. Noah Stern


16. Jake Muller


Metagame highlights Everyone’s favorite sand-setting dinosaur has undergone quite the change in the 2018 format. It appears the days of Choice Scarf are long gone for Tyranitar as players are finding new ways to alter its speed. We saw players like Chuppa Cross and Blake Hopper opt for Tyranitar’s Mega Evolution with a moveset using Dragon Dance to capitalize on Tyranitar’s amazing Mega Evolved stats. Then there was the dynamic duo of Porygon2 and Tyranitar which functioned a lot like Porygon2 and Gigalith from last year, a Trick Room duo that can deal big damage. Both of these variants composed three out of the four Top 4 teams, establishing Tyranitar as a versatile force to be reckoned with.

[​IMG]Porygon2: Move aside Cresselia, there’s a new floating duck ready to take your job. Astonishingly, Porygon2 had greater usage in Dallas than Cresselia which would’ve been unheard of in years past. Porygon2 functions very similarly to Cresselia as it is a Trick Room setter with access to Ice Beam, but something tells me Porygon2 will have the edge this year. Pokemon like Tyranitar, Aegislash and Scrafty are everywhere making the Psychic type a lot less desirable. Porygon2 is a Normal-type and its only weakness in Fighting-types have seen a dramatic drop in usage since the introduction of Fairy-types in the metagame. Porygon2 also has better attacking coverage with access to Thunderbolt as well as Ice Beam and a great ability in Download which can boost its Special Attack. I think it’s time for the resurgence of Fighting-types, or else Porygon2 will reign over this format for a long time.

Mega Latias: I initially thought that Mega Latias was going to be the breakout star for this tournament, but the Top 16 results said otherwise. After scoring two impressive on-stream wins in the hands of Brian Youm and Chris Danzo, many viewers were hyped for the potential of Latias in the later rounds of Dallas. Unfortunately, Latias fizzled out, but potential as a Calm Mind sweeper still remains strong.

Mega Blastoise/Hawlucha/Xurkitree: Basically Sam O’Dell’s team. This team brought back memories of the Tailwind plus Tapu Lele teams from last year, but now Tapu Lele has some new support tools (and apparently sweepers) at its disposal. Hawlucha, much like Drifblim, has the Unburden ability which doubles the users speed stat when its hold item is consumed (in this case it would be the Psychic Seed). Despite being known for its offensive presence, Hawlucha gets access to great support moves like Encore, Taunt and Feather Dance.

With its Mega Launcher ability, moves like Dark Pulse and Water Pulse do a ton of damage from Mega Blastoise. The focus of this team was for Hawlucha to set up Tailwind in order to bring in Blastoise so that it could spam a powerful Water Spout. Pretty much a better version of that Wailord gimmick from last year. Xurkitree resorted to its bread and butter which was come in under Tailwind, maybe set up a Tail Glow and start racking up Beast Boosts after each KO.

Mega Camerupt/Reuniclus/Staraptor: Welcome to Hard Trick Room: VGC 2018 edition. Mega Camerupt, despite being an amazing Trick Room sweeper, has never really had a break out performance, but players like Mitchell Davies and Drew Nowak were looking to change that. Reuniclus was an interesting option for a Trick Room setter as both Davies and Nowak opted for Psychium Z and Z Trick Room. Z Trick Room gives the user an accuracy boost which means a more accurate Hypnosis. Staraptor is a notable user of Final Gambit, a move that sacrifices the user in order to deal its HP in damage to the target. This combined with Intimidate, makes Staraptor a great lead and usually leads to pretty guaranteed Trick Room set up.

Mega Steelix: Probably one of the most disappointing debut’s was Wolfe Glicke’s Mega Steelix. Glicke’s performance was by no means disappointing as he finished with a 7-2 record in the Top 32, but his Steelix did not do well in its streamed match against Chris Danzo. The Mega Steelix team aims to set up Steelix with both Trick Room and Sandstorm, giving Steelix speed and power in order to deal massive damage. Unfortunately, Mega Steelix had a poor matchup against Danzo’s Mega Latias team, and Steelix’s one game in that set reinforced this fact. Props have to be given to Danzo who played amazingly during the set, and it’s one that I recommend watching if you haven’t seen it.

Chansey: Yes Chansey was in Dallas, but unfortunately had a rough go on stream. I’m not going to bash Chansey players as even though I hate this strategy, if it’s something that you enjoy playing and winning games with then go ahead. My problem is putting this team on stream. Chuppa Cross knew how to beat this team, and despite the 50 minutes of nothing that happened he had the crowd hyped to take down Chansey. Stalling out the round timer meant the end for Jeremy Rodrigues and his Chansey squad, and viewers rejoiced at his defeat. Like I said, bring Chansey if you want, but tournament organizers please do not stream Chansey games for the sake of your viewing audience.

The freezes continue

Surprise, surprise the double game freeze glitch devastated Dallas regionals after TPCI’s move ban a few days prior. This only proves that it’s the IR connection or Live Competition mode that is responsible, which means all future tournaments are at risk for disaster. Seeing this happen on stream was utterly embarrassing as viewers were essentially watching a tournament being played on a broken game. Imagine paying money for travel and admission cost just to have your tournament run ruined by a glitch that you are powerless to stop. The 2018 format’s first International in Sydney, Australia is two weeks away, which should bring a flooring of the gas pedal for this 1.2 patch.

That’s it from Dallas, but our recap from Leipzig is on its way. VGC 2018 is off to a strong start, but it hasn’t quite reached its full potential. The metagame and tournament play was exciting to watch, but these freezes are going to kill interest in the game if they’re not fixed.

I’m speaking for the entire community when I say get it together TPCI. We need this patch. Now.

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 Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

Teams data collected/provided by Nicholas Borghi, Michael Bailey and Trainer Tower

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

entei vgc 2018

Entei spits Sacred Fire! – VGC 2018 – The underrated list

One of the biggest improvements in 2018 over the 2017 format is the plethora of new Fire-type Pokemon at players’ disposal. VGC 2017 was a metagame starved of viable Fire-types, and with an entire Pokedex to work with, Arcanine is nearly drowned out. Many players have been going with the typical choices like Heatran or Volcarona, but like I said we have an entire Pokedex to work with. This Fire-type comes from a trio you wouldn’t expect to see more than one member used successfully.

Suicune is usually the sole representative of the legendary beast trio, but we’re here to talk about its volcanic brother: Entei. Entei had some viable placings in the 2015 format, but it’s usually not a player’s first choice when picking a Fire-type. I’m here to make a case for Entei, and how its role on a team can be valuable for many matchups in the 2018 metagame.

Stats & Typing

Fire entei vgc 2018

entei vgc 2018

Being basically a legendary Pokemon, it’s no surprise that Entei’s stats are solid all-around. Entei’s stats place it in the role of a physical attacker that can choose to focus on speed or bulk. It can speed-tie with Charizard and it out-speeds Pokemon like Landorus-Therian making Entei a great pick against Sun-based teams. While Entei’s Special Attack isn’t too shabby, you’ll likely want to focus on the physical side for reasons we’ll get to later.

As a pure Fire-type, Entei is weak to many common attacking types, especially attacking types with strong spread attacks like Earthquake and Rock Slide. Without access to its Hidden Ability Flash Fire or any ability that’s better than Pressure, Entei is sort of stuck with its unfortunate weaknesses. However, Fire-types are actually pretty valuable in the early VGC 2018 metagame with the abundance of Grass and Steel-types. Entei’s type coverage also gives it ways to deal with opposing Fire-types making it a solid check to other popular Fire Pokemon like Heatran.


Entei’s movepool is infamous for being shallow, but it has recently gotten access to moves that have helped its type coverage immensely.

Learned by level-up

  • Sacred Fire: By far the most useful move in Entei’s arsenal is Sacred Fire, which was a move previously exclusive to Ho-oh. Sacred Fire has a 50% chance to burn the target and is a base 100 power physical Fire-type attack. This move does have low PP and doesn’t have 100% accuracy, but this attack will be Entei’s main means of damage output.
  • Eruption/Lava Plume: Some cool Special Fire-type attacks Entei gets, but you’re better off using Sacred Fire.

Learned by TM

  • Roar: The move infamous for allowing Entei to flee as a roaming legendary actually has some competitive viability as well. Roar can be used to phase out Trick Room setters or set-up reliant Pokemon like Snorlax.
  • Flame Charge: Another Physical Fire attack that can make Entei just a bit quicker.
  • Will-O-Wisp: If you’re looking for a more supportive move for Entei that has a better chance of burning a foe, Will-O-Wisp is a good choice. Personally, I’m not really a fan of Will-O-Wisp on Entei mainly because Sacred Fire is right there.
  • Stone Edge: Remember how I said Entei was good against Volcarona and Charizard? Well here’s your way of one-hit-KO’ing both of them.
  • Bulldoze: One of two Ground-type options Entei has that aren’t Earthquake. You can lower your opponent’s speed, but you’ll lose out on a lot of damage. If you’re looking for support, go with Bulldoze, but if you want damage stay tuned.
  • Substitute: As a Pokemon with many great matchups, Entei forces a lot of Protects, switches and double targets onto it. Substitute is a great way to capitalize on your opponent’s defensive plays and protect Entei from those attempted double targets.
  • Snarl: I’d consider Snarl the perfect fourth move for Entei if you decide to give it an Assault Vest or just don’t run Protect. Snarl can cripple powerful Special attackers which Entei can struggle with at times, and disrupting your opponent’s damage output can help the rest of your team as well.

Learned by Move Tutor

  • Iron Head/Tail: Entei doesn’t really need Steel-type coverage, but the option is there.
  • Stomping Tantrum: Finally a decent Ground-type attack for Entei. This is your way of KO’ing Heatran and dealing with other grounded Fire, Poison and Rock-types.

Potential held items

Firium ZFirium Z: Entei has a high attack stat and a powerful Inferno Overdrive off of Sacred Fire. If your Entei build is all about damage, consider this Z Crystal.

TagMago.png“Pinch” Berry: Mago, Figy and Aguav Berries are all great items to get Entei’s health back in a pinch. Entei’s bulk is good enough to make use of an item like this, almost making it like a 2017 Arcanine.

Assault VestAssault Vest: Entei’s Special Defense is its worst stat and the Assault Vest not only helps it, but also promotes Entei’s strong attack stat. I know I said Entei’s movepool isn’t that great, but there’s definitely enough in its arsenal for a solid four move set.

Checks & counters

Landorus-TherianImage result for landorus there entei vgc 2018

Entei doesn’t like Intimidate, Earthquake or Rock Slide making Landorus a hard matchup for it. Luckily Landorus is unaffected by Terrain effects so Sacred Fire will always be able to burn it. Also Entei (most of the time) will have the speed advantage making it even more likely for Landorus to get burned.

Water-types Image result for suicune entei vgc 2018

Rain, Tapu Fini and Suicune are the notable examples that hard counter Entei. Entei has absolutely nothing to hit Water-types super-effectively and can really only use Snarl to decrease damage onto it.

Strong Special AttackersImage result for tapu lele entei vgc 2018

Unless you’re using an Assault Vest, Entei will struggle taking Special hits. Strong special hits such as Tapu Lele’s Psychic, Tapu Koko’s Gigavolt Havoc and Hydreigon’s Draco Meteor are not good news for Entei despite how bulky you build it.

Good teammates

Bulky Water-typesImage result for tapu fini entei vgc 2018

This is mainly due to the fact that pairing Entei with a Water-type is two thirds of a Fire/Water/Grass core and Entei can deal with Grass and even some Electric types that threaten a Water-type partner.

Mega SalamenceImage result for mega salamence entei vgc 2018

As a Dragon-type, Salamence benefits from Entei’s ability to deal with Ice and Steel-types while also being a switch-in for Ice and Fairy attacks.

Mega MetagrossImage result for mega metagross entei vgc 2018

This pair might hate Landorus, but Entei can help a Metagross team a lot by dealing with opposing Charizard teams. Entei has the coverage to deal with most Fire-types making it a great teammate for any Steel-type.

So why use Entei?

entei gif entei vgc 2018

Entei is the non-conventional Fire-type that you’ve been looking for. This literal beast has great stats, a serviceable move pool and can help a team against many common matchups in the metagame. It may not have access to a great ability or some of its better attacking moves, but Sacred Fire pretty much makes up for all of Entei’s shortcomings in its movepool. Entei has potential, and I assure you that it is more than capable of giving a team the heat it needs to make an excellent tournament run.

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/Movies, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

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Pokemon VGC 2018 Common Cores

Common cores to get you started for Pokemon VGC 2018 teambuilding

It’s January which means the 2018 competitive Pokemon season is officially underway. As players prepare for the first big tournaments of the season, some may struggle to learn this vast new format. Fear not, because there already have been a number of high-profile Midseason Showdown tournaments across the world meaning we have a pretty solid idea of what the early 2018 metagame will look like. For those of you still struggling, here are some of the most common cores that have achieved early-season success.


Pokemon VGC 2018 Common Cores

Basically, using the best Pokemon out there.

For anyone who’s played a national-pokedex format in the past (the 2015 season for example), all of these Pokemon should be very familiar. Mega Kangaskhan may have been beyond nerfed since its glory days, but this Mega Evolution is still a force to be reckoned with. Parental Bond still makes moves like Double Edge and the also nerfed Sucker Punch do massive amounts of damage and can still pick up KO’s left and right. While Kangaskhan has changed from faster builds to much slower and defensive ones, it’s still one of the most versatile Mega Evolutions out there.

Landorus-Therian needs no introduction. Speaking of versatility, Landorus now has an ocean-deep pool of strategies at its disposal. It’s no longer just mindless Rock Slide spam with the Choice Scarf as Landorus players have taken advantage of items like the Assault Vest, Life Orb (for Special-attacking sets) and even various Z Crystals. Landorus is a Pokemon that can be put on a number of teams so it makes sense that it would be on a team with the best.

Cresselia and Heatran have been the bread and butter Trick Room for pretty much every year they’ve been allowed together and for good reason. Cresselia can do a number of things to support Heatran like Skill Swapping Levitate onto it, giving it Helping Hand boosts, and most importantly, setting up Trick Room. Heatran is another Pokemon that has taken advantage of Z moves as it boasts a very powerful Inferno Overdrive. Still, the typical set using Substitute and Leftovers can work quite well too.

The supporting cast

For the first time in a while the goodstuffs archetype has seen many significant new additions to its repertoire. Tapu Fini has remained relevant in 2018 especially after being given access to the Move Tutor-exclusive move Icy Wind. This allows Tapu Fini to play a much better support role, but an offensive build using Choice Specs can also work effectively with this team.

With the fall of Thundurus, Zapdos has swooped into the spotlight as the format’s premier Electric-type. Zapdos actually has really good synergy with Tapu Fini with the introduction of the Misty Seed, raising its Special Defense after it enters Misty Terrain. Oh yeah, Tailwind is pretty good too.

Volcarona is a Pokemon that has picked up a lot of popularity recently as a Fire-type substitute for Heatran. Volcarona also really likes Firium Z and can sweep through an opponent’s team after a couple Quiver Dances.

Example team

Pokemon VGC 2018 Common Cores


Pokemon VGC 2018 Common Cores

If you thought Rain was scary in 2017, it’s gotten a whole lot scarier.

Rain players rejoice as you now have Politoed and a much better selection of Swift Swim Pokemon. Why is Politoed better than Pelipper? Well players seem to prefer it for its bulk and versatility over Pelipper’s frailness and limited usability. Pelipper still finds use on more hyper offense teams while Politoed’s bulk is preferred for balanced and defensive teams.

The main thing that makes Rain so much better in 2018 is the amount of better Swift Swim Pokemon there are available. Ludicolo is pretty much a staple on Rain teams as its Grass-type coverage is invaluable in assuring that the Rain lead won’t get walled by either Gastrodon or other bulky Water-types. Fake Out is also great for disrupting the opponent, allowing Ludicolo’s partner a turn to support or get off big damage.

Mega Swampert is ironically one of the least popular Mega Evolutions for the Rain archetypes despite it having access to the Swift Swim ability. Good Swift Swim Pokemon exist outside of Ludicolo, but Ludicolo’s value to the Rain archetype makes it nearly staple on all Rain teams and many players don’t want to add many other Water-types outside of their Rain duo. However, Mega Swampert and lesser used Swift Swimmers like Kingdra are still viable, and definitely can help form more dedicated Rain teams.

The supporting cast

Steel-types are the typical first-stop for Rain teams as Steel-types appreciate the nerf to Fire-type attacks. Ferrothorn is especially good and weakened Fire-types makes Ferrothorn much harder to deal with. Aegislash is another option, but Aegislash commonly holds a Z Crystal which many players like to reserve for their Rain sweepers.

Tapu Bulu and Tapu Koko are the most popular Island Guardians. Tapu Koko enjoys spamming 100% accurate Thunder’s under Electric Terrain and its natural speed makes it a huge offensive threat. Tapu Bulu favors more control-centered Rain teams which players have been combining with the Gothtielle/Mawile core (which we’ll get to).

Example team 

Pokemon VGC 2018 Common Cores

Mega Charizard Y/Landorus-Therian/Cresselia

Pokemon VGC 2018 Common Cores

While you could call this a “Sun” team, Charizard is really the only one who benefits from the Sun directly.

This core really focuses on the Charizard/Landorus combo as this high-power pair has excellent coverage and a lot of combined damage output. Mega Charizard Y is better on the Special Defense side so Landorus’ Intimidate helps Charizard handle physical attacks much better. Landorus likes being paired with two Pokemon that are off of the ground as this allows relatively free Earthquake spam. Cresselia basically gives this team a Trick Room option, but Cresselia’s bulk is helped by Landorus’ Intimidate. Cresselia’s access to Ice Beam helps against opposing Landorus.

Basically, these three cover each other really well and allow the team to branch in a number of directions. That’s the interesting thing about Mega Charizard Y teams, they don’t have to conform to being Sun teams and can be very diverse as a result.

The supporting cast

Honestly, three out of the four Island Guardians (sorry Fini) work well on Mega Charizard Y teams. Tapu Koko and Tapu Lele favor more offensive team compositions while Tapu Bulu, again, really supports more defensive play. Tapu Bulu and Tapu Koko are preferred since they help deal with Water-types which Charizard can hate going against without the Sun.

Wide Guard is almost a must-have in order to stop Charizard from getting hit by Rock Slide. Aegislash is fairly common as these teams appreciate both the Ghost and Steel-type attack coverage, but Stakataka is also a great option which can add to a team’s Trick Room mode.

Lastly, Fighting-types are common teammates as they help mainly against Tyranitar, which can get rid of the Sun thanks to Sand Stream. This slot has a lot of fun options like Hitmontop who can also use Wide Guard and give your team another Intimidate user. Thanks to its new Z Move, Kommo-o has become much more viable and a lot of players have noticed some great synergy with Mega Charizard Y.

Example team

Pokemon VGC 2018 Common Cores

Mega Metagross/Tapu Lele/Hydreigon

Pokemon VGC 2018 Common Cores

When previewing Mega Metagross for the 2018 format, I mentioned how strong the Mega Metagross and Tapu Lele combo is, and players have noticed. Psychic Terrain, Tough Claws boosted Zen Headbutt coming off of Mega Metagross’ base 145 Attack stat can OHKO a lot of the metagame; but the shaky accuracy of Zen Headbutt always makes it a high-risk/high-reward play.

Tapu Lele is known for damage and it still does a lot. Tapu Lele is mainly here for Psychic Terrain as the terrain not only boosts the power of the team’s Psychic-type attacks but also protects the team from priority moves.

Finally, Hydreigon completes the Fairy/Steel/Dragon core and provides valuable Dark-type coverage for the two Psychic-types. Having Hydreigon allows Metagross and Tapu Lele to have a switch-in for the inevitable Aegislash encounter which Hydregion is able to deal with rather easily.

These three form a fairly offensive core that looks to score KO’s fast. They can be rounded out with either more offensive Pokemon or some more defensive and supportive ones to maintain the consistent damage output.

The supporting cast

Some players have been substituting Hydreigon for Tyranitar, which does break apart the Fairy/Steel/Dragon core, but shows that maybe the Dark-type coverage is more valuable than Dragon-type synergy. As mentioned previously, Metagross and Tapu Lele struggle versus Aegislash and other Ghost-types, so having a powerful Dark-type attacker is important for this team.

Amoonguss has also become common on these teams which may play into the more support-oriented supporting cast. Amoonguss works well with Tapu Lele as Psychic Terrain is able to override the Sleep-preventing Electric and Misty Terrains. Amoonguss can also redirect attacks away from damage-dealing teammates with Rage Powder.

Zapdos also works here with Psychic Seed over Misty Seed to reconstruct the threatening Tapu Lele plus Tailwind combo. Plus, Zapdos gives you a way of hitting Water-types, mainly Tapu Fini which can easily get rid of Psychic Terrain.

Example team

Pokemon VGC 2018 Common Cores

Gothitelle/Mega Mawile (aka GothMaw)

Pokemon VGC 2018 Common Cores

A duo that was hyped up long before the 2018 season began, GothMaw has proven itself as a threat. This duo focuses on trapping your opponent’s Pokemon with Shadow Tag while Mega Mawile feasts under Trick Room. Gothitelle can support Mawile with Helping Hand and Heal Pulse while Mega Mawile pretty much sweeps by itself. Players usually combine Intimidate, Fake Out and even weather in order to disrupt any and all team compositions.

Trap and sweep is the name of the game with these two, and this combo is becoming increasingly popular just because of how consistent it can be.

The supporting cast

When I mention weather, Rain is the one players usually opt for. This is mainly for two reasons. One, Gothitelle can easily trap a Mega Charizard Y and switch in Politoed making Charizard essentially useless. And two, Politoed has access to Perish Song which can give this team a Perish Trap mode as well. Also with Mawile being a Steel-type, weakening Fire-type damage helps it a lot.

Tapu Bulu has been the go-to Guardian for these teams (especially with the Rain modes) because Tapu Bulu fits well with the controlling nature of the team. Grassy Terrain helps heal the team and can disrupt opposing Terrains while Gothitelle traps the poor Tapu. Like Mega Mawile, Tapu Bulu is another Pokemon that can deal massive damage and can easily sweep while Gothitelle traps the opponent’s Pokemon.

Example team

Pokemon VGC 2018 Common Cores

(I know that this is the third team with a Rain mode, but Rain is really popular right now so you’ll be seeing it a lot)

Now that you have some basic cores to start teambuilding, get out there and start practicing for the new season. While these are the most common cores out there, there are still a ton of unexplored Pokemon and strategies that are waiting to break the metagame. With the first big tournaments of the season coming up, we’ll just have to wait and see which core proves to be the best.

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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pokemon vgc 2018 rutgers fireside open

The first ever VGC 2018 tournament: Rutgers Fireside Open recap

Our first tournament for the 2018 season comes to us in grassroots form thanks to Rutgers University Esports. Even though there were no Championship Points on the line, this tournament gave us a very important glimpse into what the first few months of the 2018 format could look like. Being held in the northeast was a plus as the tournament featured many of the best players in the region such as Paul Chua, Chuppa Cross and the winner of the whole thing, Stephen Mea. Mea managed to win this tournament without even owning a copy of the game, having to borrow a copy and a team just for this tournament. Mea pulled off an impressive win versus Chuppa Cross in an intense three-game set in the finals, with a team archetype that you’ll see a lot of in this tournament’s Top 8.

Results & teams (Top 8)

1. Stephen Mea

2. Chuppa Cross

3. Paul Chua

4. Mihrab Samad

5. Bryan Tong

6. Irving Johnson

7. Will Vega

8. Steven Lasso

Rain reigns supremepolitoed pokemon vgc 2018 rutgers fireside open

As many predicted, the Rain team archetype is going to be a very popular choice in the beginning of the format. Rain has a bunch more options now with the return of Ludicolo and better Steel-types to take advantage to the nerf to Fire-type moves. Ludicolo might be a tad weaker than its fellow Swift Swimming duck Golduck, but Ludicolo’s Grass-typing plus its access to Fake Out makes it the far better choice as a rain partner.

One interesting thing to note was the popularity of Politoed over Pelipper. Although Pelipper ended up winning the tournament, the favorite Drizzle user was clearly Politoed. In favor of the fast, aggressive play that Pelipper promotes with Tailwind, it seems that many players took the defensive route by using Politoed. Politoed is able to stay on the field a lot longer than Pelipper, but it also has a bunch of different support moves it can utilize such as Icy Wind, Helping Hand and a favorite for this tournament, Perish Song. I think Politoed’s bulk and versatility will slowly make it the favored rain setter in the upcoming format.

Image result for ludicoloAs for countering Rain, you can definitely see evidence of it here. Chuppa Cross opted for a more standard team, using Zapdos and Tapu Fini in order to utilize Zapdos’ Misty Seed. The Special Defense boost from Misty Seed enables Zapdos to live the onslaught of rain-boosted Water-type attacks including Z moves as we saw Cross’ Zapdos take a Hydro Vortex from Mea’s Ludicolo no problem. Bryan Tong tried to use Gastrodon to redirect Water-type attacks using its Storm Drain ability, but something tells me that Gastrodon didn’t appreciate the abundance of Grass-type Pokemon on these rain teams. Finally, Steven Lasso decided to change the weather altogether with a team featuring Mega Charizard Y.


Overall, Rain came out on top, but as official tournaments get under way, players will continue to find ways to shut this team down.

Every Tapu has a placetapu bulu pokemon vgc 2018 rutgers fireside open

A rare sight in VGC 2017 took just one tournament to show up in 2018. Every Island Guardian was represented in Top Cut. Oddly enough, Tapu Bulu was the most popular, which again, was a rare sight in the previous season. The team compositions here give a pretty clear indication of how each Tapu will be played. For example, Tapu Bulu fit on rain teams with more defensive Pokemon that benefited from the gradual HP recovery from Grassy Terrain, with the Grassy Terrain also boosting the power of Ludicolo’s Giga Drain. Tapu Lele fit on to more hyper offensive teams utilizing the power of Mega Evolutions like Metagross and Mawile to deal big damage fast. Tapu Fini was interestingly only seen on one team, but its role as a bulky attacker and support Pokemon can fit on a wide variety of teams. Tapu Koko seems like it is the same way, mainly being a solid fast, attacking option with players like Mea taking advantage of Electric Terrain boosted Thunders that have 100% accuracy in the rain.

Right now, I think it’s fair to say that all of the Island Guardians have their place in the metagame which is great for promoting diversity in teambuilding. Tapu Bulu seems like it has a great start, with Tapu Fini likely still being the most popular. Considering the popularity of Landorus-Therian, I expect to see these two being the most popular for a while.

The return of Mega Evolutionsmega mawile pokemon vgc 2018 rutgers fireside open

Considering the popularity of Rain at this tournament, the most used Mega Evolutions seem to reflect that. Mega Mawile ended up being the most popular, with players like Mihrab Samad and Paul Chua taking advantage of the Goth/Maw combo which aims to trap your opponents in with Gothitelle’s Shadow Tag as they’re devoured by Mega Mawile under Trick Room. Of course the rain from Politoed helped with Mawile’s weakness to Fire-types, but Politoed also has another role on this team by being able to set up a late game win condition with Perish Song and Gothitelle’s trapping ability.


Speaking of Shadow Tag, a one-off choice for a Mega Evolution came from Stephen Mea’s use of Mega Gengar. Mega Gengar is usually on teams which take full advantage of Perish Song in conjunction with Shadow Tag in order to slowly lock their opponent’s Pokemon into KO’s. Mega Gengar can also provide a solid offensive role as well, as its coverage with Sludge Bomb and Shadow Ball deals with the plethora of Fairy-types and other popular Pokemon like Aegislash and Cresselia.

There was only a single Mega Kangaskhan which would’ve been unheard of a couple years ago. Mega Kangaskhan appeared on the team you probably expected it to, as it was accompanied by the VGC 2018 standard. One interesting thing to consider is how this standard has changed from the worlds-dominating CHALK archetype from 2015. We still have Kangaskhan and Landorus, but instead of Cresselia and Heatran, we now have Tapu Fini and Volcarona that are beginning to define the “goodstuffs” archetype. Mega Kangaskhan’s narrative will be an interesting one. Will the nerfs finally catch up to it or will it still be one of the best choices for a Mega Evolution?

The Rutgers Fireside Open was a great introduction to the potential of what the 2018 metagame has to offer. While there was a dominance from the downpour of rain teams, we saw a diverse representation of the Tapu as well as a good variety of Mega Evolutions which gives me hope that 2018 will be a great year for teambuilding.

Huge shoutouts to the Rutgers Esports organization as well as their Pokemon team which will continue to host great events for the 2018 season. VGC 2018 is just under a month away, but one more 2017 regional is coming up in Memphis, Tennessee which will serve as our final goodbye to the 2017 format. If this tournament showed us anything, it showed us how excited we should be for the 2018 season.

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 Sun and Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

Featured Image from @aProjectCypher on Twitter

Teams data collected/provided by Nicholas Borghi, Michael Bailey and Trainer Tower

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