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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competitive pokemon curse ban

Pokemon Company bans moves in competitive play until Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon version 1.2 patch is released

Last week we looked at the various glitches in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon that have been causing trouble for 2018 competitive play. The Pokemon Company has responded, but not in the way we originally expected. A patch is coming, but not right away. Instead we were given a rule change that eliminates troublesome moves until version 1.2 is released for Ultra Sun and Moon. Let’s take a look at this small, but significant rule change that will affect the coming regionals.

Turns out Curse wasn’t the only move making games freeze, but how do we know if this list is complete? In a sudden rules document update, TPCI has mandated that the moves Curse, String Shot, Forest Curse and Power Trick are prohibited at official Play! Pokemon events.

With this change, all tournaments will switch back to QR codes using the Live Competition option.

While this list may seem insignificant, the banning of the move Curse may change the upcoming regional championships metagame quite a bit. Aside from Curse, I doubt many players will miss not being able to use Shuckle’s Power Trick gimmick for the time being.

No more Snorlax?

competitive pokemon curse ban sad snorlax

Snorlax is a Pokemon that has been picking up popularity in the 2018 metagame, but Curse has been one of the best moves to use on a typical Snorlax’s move set. While yes, Snorlax can use Belly Drum as an effective means of setting up, Curse has been the preferred move as the Defense boost makes Snorlax much better in the long game. Also, with Curse now banned, players using Snorlax are basically giving away that they’re using a Belly Drum set which can compromise information about their team.

While Snorlax is still a great Pokemon in the 2018 metagame, its usage will likely drop dramatically during the time of this rule change. Having to give up the preferred set-up move in Curse as well as the information game about a Snorlax’s move set might just be too big of a blow to Snorlax’s viability for the time being.

Will things really be fixed after this patch?

While it initially seemed like the move Curse was the only issue, the list has grown, and what’s to say this is the entire list? After various experiments with game play interactions, the issues with double game freezes looked to be from IR-based tournaments rather than just the moves themselves. Players competing in upcoming regionals are still scared that game freezes will happen because Live Competition will be the way tournaments are being held, while it clearly remains as the problem. However, perhaps a not-immediate patch is a good sign for things to come.

We clearly have a lot of issues to deal with and TPCI knows it. If this patch is taking time, it must mean that big fixes are coming. Hopefully by taking time on this patch, Game Freak and TPCI will be able to identify what exactly is causing these errors and maybe find out more than we do now about what is causing them. For now, there remains uncertainty about the stability of Live Competition tournaments and we have two big regionals coming up. All we can do now is hope that this temporary ban will be enough of a fix to ensure both Dallas and Leipzig regionals don’t end up being disasters. Also, let’s hope that version 1.2 of Ultra Sun and Moon will be the exterminator to all of these bugs.

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

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chansey pokemon vgc 2018

Chansey’s early reign of terror in the 2018 competitive Pokemon season

It may be early into the 2018 VGC format, but there already exists a team so gimmicky that it’s actually viable. Chansey is a Pokemon notorious for just how hard it can be to get rid of due to its high defenses and access to great recovery. This new strategy that centers around Chansey basically ensures that you will not be able to knock it out, because you will simply not be able to damage it or hit it to begin with. There’s a lot of fear in the community surrounding this strategy especially considering that Dallas Regionals are quickly approaching and this team has proven that it can win. Let’s take a look at how you can easily lose to this terrifying gimmick.

How it works

chansey chansey pokemon vgc 2018

The centerpiece of this strategy is Chansey and the team’s goal is to boost Chansey’s defenses and evasion to the point where it becomes impossible to take down. First, you start with Guard Split, a move that averages the defense stats of the user and the target. The two main users of Guard Split are Carbink and Shuckle who are Pokemon known for their high defense stats. Chansey has amazing Special Defense and HP, but its Defense is pitiful, and this is where Guard Spilt comes in. With a boost to its Defense, plus the Eviolite item, Chansey becomes a defensive monster.

The gimmick team golden boy Smeargle is a typical lead for the team as it can disrupt the opponent enough so that Trick Room can be set up for Carbink. Once Smeargle leaves the field, it becomes Chansey’s time to shine.

After receiving the Guard Split, Chansey will then begin to set up Minimize and continue to use Softboiled to regain all of its lost HP during set up. With Chansey at a comfortable amount of evasiveness, it goes from a Pokemon with just amazing bulk to a Pokemon that can’t be touched. Finally, Chansey proceeds to spam Toxic and Seismic Toss while the opponent is hopeless to stop the residual damage as Chansey remains untouched.

This the main core, but the rest of the team has opened itself to some creative options. Pokemon like Reuniclus can use Skill Swap in order to give Chansey Magic Guard which protects it from opposing status ailments. Mime Jr. can use a similar strategy to give Chansey the Soundproof ability making it immune to moves like Roar and Perish Song.

While this team is excellent at stalling the in-game timer, it doesn’t fair too well against the round timer so players who are prepared to beat it should be able to.

It can be beat 

mega gengar chansey pokemon vgc 2018

Here are a few ways that you can tech to beat this strategy if you happen to face it in round one at your next big tournament.

Stopping support moves and stat buffs

Taunt is a move that can be slapped onto a number of Pokemon and can stop both Chansey and its teammates from executing their shenanigans. A lesser used option that had success last year in stopping Eevee teams is Haze which can eliminate all stat changes on the field. Clear Smog works similarly to Haze, but it’s an attack that relies on accuracy and is much less common than Haze.

Sound-based moves

If you’re able to deal with a potential Mime Jr. moves like Roar and Perish Song are solid win conditions against this team. Roar and Perish Song don’t rely on accuracy and can easily phase Chansey out or take it out in three turns as the Perish Song clock slowly winds down.

Brute Force

Like I said previously, Chansey’s base Defense is terrible, which can be exploited early-on to score a quick KO on it. Being a Normal-type, Chansey annoyingly only has one weakness, Fighting. Pokemon with access to a strong Fighting-type attack like Superpower and Close Combat so having a Fighting-type on your team can make this matchup much more difficult for the Chansey player.

While this strategy is a total gimmick, the reason that it is so scary is because that it can win very easily. Many players were not big fans of the timer being shortened to five minutes in the first place and this strategy takes full advantage of it. This team has been terrorizing the online ladder and already won a MidSeason Showdown, so its power is real.

I think I speak for a majority of the community when I say that I would hate to play against this team in a tournament where my hopes for qualifying for the World Championships were on the line. Hopefully with all this new information that exists about this team, players will be prepared to face it, making this strategy just a forgotten blemish in VGC 2018’s early history.

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, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

Featured Image from @ApplePieVGC on Twitter – Go give him a follow! 

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