2017 pokemon world championships

Who Will Win the 2017 Pokemon World Championships?

We’ve talked enough about which Pokemon will have an impact on the 2017 World Championships, but what about the players? To be honest, it’s been a pretty wild season considering how many top performances each respective region has put up at the international level. Predicting the winner of this year’s World Championships is not an easy task, but we’re gonna try. Let’s take a look at each region and which of their player’s has the best shot of winning it all.

pokemon international north america 2017 pokemon world championships

North America

Total # of Invites: 45

Current #1: Nick Navarre

Highest Individual CP Total: 1370 

International Top Cut Appearances: 11

International Championship Titles: 1

North America is always a safe pick with the powerhouse of the United States producing the most invites with all of them belonging to well-deserving players. The US has always had strong showings at the World Championships, having won four of the previous seven thanks to Ray Rizzo and Wolf Glick. The US is an obvious favorite, but Canada and Mexico are also countries capable of producing quality finishes.

Looking at this season, North America falls just behind of Europe in International Top Cut appearances, but like Europe, North America managed to win an International in Latin America thanks to Ashton Cox. One thing the United States has going for itself this season is consistency, with Tommy Cooleen’s three straight International Top 8’s and Nick Navarre’s two Top 8 appearances being prominent examples. Other notable examples include Gavin Michaels and Drew Nowak who excelled in the regional circuit with each scoring two regional victories this season. Also, North America is home to the best Eevee player in the world, Giovanni Costa, who will likely have the team perfected for Worlds.

To be honest, I fully expect the United States to carry North America’s World Championship results, but Cesar Reyes’ recent Top 4 placing at the North American International Championships gives me hope that we’ll see either a Mexican or Canadian player make a run.

Smart Money’s On: Nick Navarre

nick navarre 2017 pokemon world championships

Image from pokemon_vgc_center on Twitch

I know it’s lame to pick the overall number one, but there are good reasons to put you’re money on this player. One of the most consistent players in the format by far with a regional victory and multiple international top cut appearances to his name. Nick Navarre just seems like he knows what he’s doing in this format, and his play as well as his teambuilding skills are a testament to his knowledge of this metagame. In our interview with Navarre, he almost made it sound easy for himself to find ways to win in this format, and a player with that kind of skill and confidence is a threat for sure. However, this is his first time competing at the World Championships, but I don’t expect the first-time jitters will phase him too much.

Other Notables: 

Paul Chua:  Coming off a second place finish in Indianapolis, Chua looks to have the most momentum going into the World Championships.

Drew Nowak: I’m putting Nowak here over Gavin Michaels simply because of Nowak’s later-format success. Despite not performing well at the International level this season, Nowak did manage to make it to the top cut of last year’s World Championships and I think he’s one of the best newer players to the Master’s division.

Wolfe Glick: Our reigning World Champion hasn’t had the best season of his career, but to be fair, most World Champions enter a bit of a slump unless your name was Ray Rizzo from 2010 to 2012. Glick has the ability to perform at the World’s level, and I do think there’s a possibility for a resurgence for our previous World Champion.

pokemon international europe 2017 pokemon world championships

Europe

Total # of Invites: 38

Current #1: Markus Stadter

Highest Individual CP Total: 1384 

International Top Cut Appearances: 15

International Championship Titles: 1

Overall, Europe looks to be the strongest region going into this year’s World Championships. The reason being, their International performance is above all other regions despite only having won a single title. The number of strong players is becoming on par with the United States, but I think the advantage of quality this year goes to Europe. In addition to the superior International results, European top players have much higher CP totals, with the Top 8 all having over 1000. European players have been consistent too. Markus Stadter, Nils Dunlop and William Tansley top cut multiple International Championships this season.

2017’s World Championships looks to be Europe’s for the taking.

Smart Money’s On: Markus Stadter

I’m picking a number one again, but Markus Stadter is a number one above the rest. Finishing his “World Tour” with 1384 Championship Points puts Markus Stadter at number two in the world. Sure he did his fair share of travelling, but his results remain impressive. Stadter has a pretty good grasp on this format when looking at his results and how he was able to shift between very different teams. Tapu Fini looked to be his go-to, but then he ended up using Tapu Bulu and Porygon-Z to reach another international Top 8 in Indianapolis. After placing third at the World Championships last year, Stadter is hungry for another chance at the title, and boy does he have a good one.

Other Notables:

William Tansley: Like previously mentioned, Tansley has had success at the International level and has a pretty high CP total to boot. A player who is sure to make Great Britain proud.

Nils Dunlop: Dunlop has also reached the top cut twice at the International level, but the fact that he’s done it at such a young age and from Sweden is quite impressive. Dunlop mentioned in one of his interviews during the North American Internationals that he’s looking to grow the competitive Pokemon scene in his home country, and a great World’s performance could be a great start.

Baris Ackos: Top 8 at World’s last year, Top 8 at the Oceania International Championships and he’s close friends with Markus Stadter. Ackos is a strong contender that is looking to keep Germany on top of the European circuit.

pokemon international oceania 2017 pokemon world championships

Oceania (Australia, Asia Pacific)

Total # of Invites: 30

Current #1: Christopher Kan

Highest Individual CP Total: 1157

International Top Cut Appearances: 3

International Championship Titles: 2

Beyond North America and Europe, predicting favorites from the next two regions becomes a bit more difficult. Expect some safe predictions.

Despite being considered one of the “weaker” regions, Oceania has made quite a name for itself this season thanks to Australia. Their attendance overseas was limited, but Australia snagged two International Championship wins thanks to Zoe Lou in Melbourne and Christopher Kan in North America. Outside of their International, Australia kind of got the shaft until they received two regionals near the end of the season. Still, Australia has developed quite a few story lines this season that are looking to continue in Anaheim.

As for Southeast Asia, there are a number of players at the top of Oceania’s CP rankings from countries like Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia etc. While mostly flying under the radar, players from these countries are more than capable of putting up solid World Championship results.

Oceania is the underdog story of the 2017 season, and it will be a fun region to watch during the World Championships.

Smart Money’s On: Christopher Kan

christopher kan 2017 pokemon world championships

Image from @Pokemon on Twitter

I said picks for this reason would be relatively safe, so I’m picking yet another number one. Christopher Kan is riding arguably the biggest wave of momentum after winning Sydney Regionals and the North American International Championships back to back. I’m not sure if this wave will carry him to Anaheim’s Top Cut, but I at least anticipate a solid performance. Then again, this region has been known to surprise us. Plus, Kan has his incredibly skilled younger brother Nicholas if he ever needs help teambuilding or testing before the main event.

Other Notables

Sam Pandelis [AUS]: Current 4th in CP standings for Oceania

Melvin Keh [SG]: Current 2nd in CP standings for Oceania

Jirawiwat Thitasiri [TH]: Current 9th in CP standings for Oceania that has top cut some North American regionals.

pokemon international latin america 2017 pokemon world championships

Latin America

Total # of Invites: 57

Current #1: Sebastian Escalante

Highest Individual CP Total: 1525

International Top Cut Appearances: 5

International Championship Titles: 0

An underrated region for sure, but I’m placing them near the bottom in terms of overall strength. That’s not to say that Latin America is a weak region, they surely proved their strength with appearances in all but one International Top Cut. Unfortunately, most of those placings were because of one player who we’ll get to shortly. Latin America may be home to the highest CP total in the World, but the drop off between number one and two is a pretty steep 500. Latin America has proven themselves at the International level, and I’m not saying they don’t have a shot to win it all. What I’m saying is that Latin America’s hope for a World Championship likely rests in the hands of one player who I’m putting the Smart Money on.

Smart Money’s On: Sebastian Escalante

sebastian escalante 2017 pokemon world championships

Image from @SebasVGC on Twitter

Say hello to the number one player in the world by Championship Points with a staggering total of 1525. Escalante is no doubt Latin America’s strongest player, and the results perfectly reflect his skill level. He wasn’t able to make it to the Top 8 at his home International, but he’s managed to hold his own overseas with two Top Cut appearances in Melbourne and Indianapolis.

One issue I notice with Escalante however, is his choice of team. His team for both Internationals he cut were nearly identical and there’s no doubt players know how the team works and how he plays it. Knowing this, Escalante will likely change things up for World’s, but who knows how well he’ll do if he decides to go with a different team. Still, the team he has is powerful enough with the combo of Alolan Persian and Snorlax, and maybe sticking to what he knows might be his best option.

Other Notables:

 Diego Ferreria [CH]: Placed 10th at the North American International Championships

Japan & Korea

Total # of Invites: 

Japan: 50

Korea: 8

National Champions:

Japan – Ryota Ootsubo

Korea – Jeonghun Shin

Japan and Korea have much more punishing qualification requirements to get in to the World Championships, which leads to a ton of new faces every year. Big names like 2015 World Champion Shoma Honami from Japan and 2014 World Champion Sejun Park will not be in attendance…for the video game at least. Sejun is going for the TCG title which leaves us with a bunch of players looking to make a name for themselves on the World’s stage.

For anyone who’s followed VGC for a while, there’s little doubt that Japan is an insanely strong region despite their terrible tournament structure. Sejun Park put Korea on the map in 2014, but since then we haven’t heard much. I’d give the edge to Japan since they’ve shown consistent success over the years and their unconventional take on the metagame might be key for a successful World’s run.

Smart Money’s On: Honestly any player from the Top 8 of Japan or Korea’s Nationals (favoring Japan here)

The rest of the field

South Africa

Total # of Invites: 2

Current #1: Marc Kramer

Highest Individual CP Total: 352

Russia

Total # of Invites: 2

Current #1: Kelly-Kato

Highest Individual CP Total: 413

There’s not really a whole lot to say here, but I’m hoping that we see someone from one of these two countries come out of nowhere and do well.

Final Thoughts

That’s our take on who will come out on top in Anaheim. I realize I picked all of the number one players for each region as the “Smart Money” pick, but I hope the reasoning I gave for each justifies why I feel they’re the strongest from each region. Regardless of which region seems the strongest, there are sure to be a ton of surprises to come out of this year’s World Championships. Will we see a single country dominate Top Cut like previous years or will 2017 bring new nations to the top stages of the World Championships? All of these questions and more will be answered this weekend in Anaheim!

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!

Other previously non-credited images from Pokemon and The Pokemon Company International

alolan marowak

Alolan Marowak has a bone to pick! – VGC 2017 – The Underrated List

VGC 2017 is a format with basically one Fire-type. At least, that’s someone would think considering how often we see Arcanine on the tournament result pages. Believe it or not, there are other Fire-types that exist in the metagame, and the one we’re looking at today can be a fine team member for someone competing at the World Championships.

Meet Marowak’s Alolan Form. A Pokemon that drastically deviates in typing from its Kantonian counterpart, existing as a Fire/Ghost type. Like Arcanine, Marowak has a very useful supportive ability along with a powerful Flare Blitz to threaten its opponents with. Marowak is no stranger to the Top Cut stage this season, but in the face of Arcanine, this Fire Pokemon is quite underrated. Marowak might be the mix up a Worlds team needs to go all the way, and I’ll tell you why.

Stats & Typing

FireGhost

alolan marowak stats

Images courtesy of Bulbapedia

Stats

At face value, Marowak’s stats aren’t impressive by any means. A mediocre attack stat, terrible speed and alright defenses that are slightly undermined by Marowak’s low HP. Luckily, Marowak has a way to skyrocket its attack stat thanks to something we’ll get into later, which leaves a lot of room for investment into Marowak’s bulk. In a format filled with Trick Room, the low speed isn’t a big deal either, but Marowak does have to worry about slower sweepers that can deal with it.

Type(s)

Fire/Ghost is a very unique type combination that only three other Pokemon have. It’s especially unique to this format considering the relative obscurity of Ghost-types as well as Fire-types (outside of Arcanine of course). Defensively, it’s not great, being weak to Rock, Ground, Water, Dark as well as other Ghost-type attacks. However, offensively, there is little that wants to switch in on a Shadow Bone from Marowak, while Flare Blitz also being a great way to fry a Celesteela. Plus, Marowak’s most common ability does give it an immunity, helping it pretty much hard counter every Electric-type in the format. Speaking of abilities…

Abilities

Lightningrod

By far, Alolan Marowak’s most popular ability, Lightningrod, makes Marowak a hard counter to, arguably, the format’s best Pokemon: Tapu Koko. Thanks to updated mechanics courtesy of the fifth generation, Marowak gains an immunity to Electric-type attacks while receiving a pretty useless Special Attack boost. This ability gives Marowak synergy with most Flying and Water-type Pokemon in the format, while also making an opposing Tapu Koko’s life on the field much more difficult. This is the best ability for Marowak in VGC and likely the one that you’ll want on your team.

Rock Head

Since Marowak has access to Lightningrod, it’s doubtful Rock Head will see use in doubles. Though, I’d be lying if I said I’ve never seen a Rock Head Marowak successfully bluff Lightningrod while taking absolutely no recoil damage from Flare Blitz. It’s solid as a bluff, but for VGC I’d stick with the former.

Cursed Body

A very disruptive ability on a Pokemon like Gengar or Jellicent, but probably not the best choice for Marowak. Disabling moves can be nice, but Cursed Body would likely only come in handy once thanks to Marowak’s sub par bulk.

Movepool

Marowak’s arsenal is admittedly limited, with Flare Blitz, Shadow Bone and Protect being relatively standard. Although, that third move slot has seen some variation, and is capable of carrying some fun tricks.

Learned by Level-up

  • Flare Blitz: Marowak’s main Fire-type attack of choice. Despite the recoil, even a resisted hit from Marowak’s Flare Blitz is sure to do a lot of damage. Usually recommended only for super effective damage, as this next move also can do damage, without Flare Blitz’s recoil.
  • Shadow Bone: A new physical Ghost-type type introduced in Generation 7 that is exclusive to Alolan Marowak. At 80 base power coming off of Marowak’s impressive attack stat, is sure to pack a punch. Not many popular Pokemon resist Ghost-type attacks in VGC 2017, so Shadow Bone is very reliable damage output from Marowak.
  • Bonemerang: A move previously unique to Marowak’s Kantonian lineage has made its way to Alola. Ground-type moves that aren’t Earthquake are always useful, as they are not nerfed by Grassy-Terrain. Another neat aspect of Bonemerang is that while it’s only 50 base power, it hits twice, effectively turning it into a single-target Earthquake that can also bypass a Focus Sash. Despite how good this move sounds, Alolan Marowak doesn’t receive the same type attack boost since its not a Ground-type, so the damage output can be lacking. Also, 90% accuracy isn’t fun to play around with at times.
  • Will-o-Wisp: A lot of physical attackers in this format already don’t like going up against Alolan Marowak, and Will-o-Wisp can further put that matchup in your team’s favor. There are a lot of strong, physical attackers in the format right now, making Will-o-Wisp a nice move to pack on a team.

Learned by TM or HM

  • Substitute: Being a heavy hitter, Marowak often causes defensive plays, and what better way to punish defensive plays than with Substitute. This move will likely work better with a Trick Room mode, as Marowak with a speed advantage is way more dangerous.
  • Toxic: I’ve said before how good I think Toxic is right now, and Marowak is yet another example of a Pokemon who can use it.
  • Rock Slide/Stone Edge/Rock Tomb: A Rock-type move could be nice, but the coverage it provides isn’t really necessary for Alolan Marowak.
  • Rain Dance/Sunny Day: If your weather matchup is this bad, you should probably re-think your team. I would really only advise this in best-of-one play.

Learned from Breeding

  • Detect: Probably better than using Protect so you aren’t affected by Imprison.
  • Perish Song: A late-game win condition and an excellent answer to Eevee teams that actually has seen success on Marowak thanks to Hayden McTavish. Along with Substitute, I’d consider this the best third move option for Marowak.

Potential Held Items

There’s really only one.

Thick Club Alolan MarowakThick Club: Not to be confused with the Rare Bone, the Thick Club is an item that doubles Marowak’s attack stat. This is the only item you should ever run on Marowak, as this item is essential to Marowak’s offensive presence. It’s important to make sure Marowak holds on to this item, as you’ll quickly see how less scary Marowak becomes when it’s boneless.

Checks & Counters

Dark-type Pokemon (Foul Play+Knock Off)

alolan persianalolan muk

Alolan Persian, Alolan Muk and Mandibuzz are likely the biggest threats. Foul Play does a ton of damage to Marowak after its attack boost and Knock Off can remove Marowak’s essential item. Marowak also can’t really do much to Dark-types and will likely not live long enough to try.

Garchomp

Image result for Garchomp

Having both a speed and type disadvantage makes Garchomp a hard stop to any sweep an Alolan Marowak attempts. Marowak will be melted by a Tectonic Rage, and will not appreciate an Earthquake in addition to potential Rough Skin Damage.

Rock-type Pokemon (Nihilego/Gigalith)

nihilegogigalith

Nihilego can easily pick up a free Beast Boost from KOing a Marowak as Marowak’s Special Defense is not well equipped for Nihilego’s Power Gem. Gigalith outspeeds Marowak under Trick Room while Marowak can’t do much back, even with a super effective Bonemerang.

Water-types

Tapu Fini

Marowak hates the rain and will have a hard time dealing with bulky Water-types like Milotic and Tapu Fini. Definitely a better partner than an opponent for Marowak.

Intimidate

arcanine

The bane of most physical sweepers is VGC’s most popular ability: Intimidate. Marowak can out-damage Arcanine but struggles against the likes of Gyarados and Salamence.

Good Teammates 

Gyarados

gyarados

Probably Marowak’s most common (arguably best) partner is Gyarados. Gyarados can be difficult to take down without Electric attacks, which is where Alolan Marowak’s Lightningrod ability comes in. This allows Gyarados to set up Dragon Dances and deal with Marowak’s threats while Marowak can deal with a majority of Gyarados’ threats. This pair does have to watch out for Nihilego and other strong Rock-type attackers.

Celesteela

celesteela

Another Pokemon that appreciates not having to eat a Thunderbolt is VGC’s greatest defensive Pokemon: Celesteela. Celesteela loves the Lightningrod support, but Marowak doesn’t help much when these two are staring down an Arcanine.

Other Water/Flying-types

And basically every other Pokemon in the format that hates dealing with Electric-type attacks.

Trick Room

porygon2

Since Marowak is relatively slow, Trick Room seems like a natural choice. However, Marowak isn’t as slow as other popular Trick Room sweepers, so it has to be careful around opposing Snorlax, Araquanid and Gigalith.

So why use Alolan Marowak?

Why not use Arcanine?

Well, honestly, Marowak seems like an excellent metagame call for Worlds. We’re all aware how popular Tapu Koko is, and the popularity of Electrium Z makes Lightningrod a terrifying ability for most Tapu Koko to go up against. If you’re missing Arcanine’s Intimidate, Gyarados is a great team mate for Marowak, that provides both Intimidate and insane offensive pressure when those two are on the field.

Hopefully this showed off another great Fire-type in a metagame seemingly dominated by Arcanine. Marowak has a ton of fire power and can be a great supportive Pokemon with its Lightningrod ability.

Just be careful. If you have your own Electric-type on your team, try not to accidentally switch Marowak in when you click Thunderbolt. Trust me, it happens way more often than you think.

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!

Images from Pokémon and Ken Sugimori

How Good is Your Eevee Matchup in VGC 2017?

Eevee is a Pokemon beloved by fans mainly for its colorful array of evolved forms. These evolved forms of Eevee have had success in a number of competitive formats, but with Pokemon Sun and Moon’s introduction of Z-Moves, Eevee has now solidified itself as a force to be reckoned with.

Extreme Evoboost

Image result for extreme evoboost gif

Image from Pokemon Sun and Moon

Eevee’s signature Z-move is Extreme Evoboost, a move that makes Xerneas’ Geomancy look pitiful by comparison. This Z-Move doubles all of Eevee’s stats, which Eevee can then Baton Pass to something that can use these boosts to sweep your team. This strategy was regarded as nothing but a gimmick earlier in the format but has risen in popularity recently due to how difficult it can be to stop.

The Evoboost strategy has a number of auto-loss scenarios involving the removal of the stat boosts or the team’s chosen sweeper. The team itself has evolved significantly to help mitigate its weaknesses, but sometimes a random Haze can ruin the team’s win potential.

In this article, we’ll go over all of the ways a team can shut down Eevee’s shenanigans by level of effectiveness. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll be able to answer the question: “How good is my Eevee matchup?”

The Typical Eevee Team Members

Image result for eevee

Eevee

Eevee’s move set is standard across most teams with Last Resort (needed to use Extreme Evoboost), Baton Pass and Protect being essential. Some players choose to run attacking moves like Quick Attack to help break Focus Sashes or Double-Edge to give Eevee some means of damage output.

Image result for smeargle

Smeargle

Smeargle is not nearly as devastating with it losing access to Dark Void, but it’s by no means useless. Moody can still swing games into one’s favor with one Speed or Evasion boost and Smeargle’s support move pool remains virtually endless.  You can expect the typical Fake Out, Spore and Follow Me for almost all Smeargle accompanying Eevee, but the fourth move slot has room for variance. Spiky Shield, Wide Guard, Parting Shot and Transform are all viable fourth move options.

Image result for clefairy

Clefairy

Friend Guard plus Follow Me support is Clefairy’s game for most teams. Heal Pulse is also standard to help heal the Evoboosted sweepers to increase their longevity.

Some skilled players may Protect Clefairy on a predicted double attack into it, which usually leaves Eevee free to set up or Baton Pass. To prevent this game-costing mistake it’s usually just safe to attack the Eevee slot even with an obvious coming Follow Me.

Image result for whimsicott

Whimsicott

A rather new member to the Eevee team, Whimsicott has support options unique from Clefairy and Smeargle. Whimsicott can use Tailwind to ensure Eevee and its teammates are faster than the opponent’s team. Prankster Taunt can be used to shut down an opponent’s moves like Taunt or Haze due to Prankster’s increased priority. Other potential options could be Encore, Memento, Reflect, Light Screen, Safeguard and much more.

Image result for krookodile

Krookodile

The primary physical sweeper of the team, Krookodile is valued for its access to the move Power Trip. Acting like Stored Power (which we’ll get to soon) the base power of Power Trip increases for each stat boost on the user (Power Trip becomes a base 220 power move with the Extreme Evoboost stat raises). Krookodile’s ability could either be Intimidate to weaken its opponents or Moxie which can further increase its Attack power with each KO it picks up.

Image result for espeon

Espeon

Espeon is another commonly used sweeper with it having access to the aforementioned Stored Power. This incredibly powerful 220 base power move is devastating with it even having the potential to be increased in strength from an opponent’s Psychic Terrain.

Espeon’s ability Magic Bounce makes it even more useful for this combo. Magic Bounce allows Espeon to negate status moves that target it like Roar, Whirlwind, Thunder Wave, Taunt, etc.

While already having very high Special Attack and Speed, Espeon can easily be invested more on the defensive side with little detriment to its sweeping power.

Image result for tapu fini

Tapu Fini

While Tapu Fini doesn’t get access to a move like Stored Power and Power Trip, it’s high base defenses and ability to set up Misty Terrain make it a valuable teammate. Misty Terrain can block status conditions while Tapu Fini itself can use Psych Up and perform the role of a sweeper. With access to Psych Up, Eevee players have options in how to use or set up Tapu Fini.

How To Beat Eevee

1) Taunt

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/198.png

I decided to put Taunt at the top since its the most widely learned move in the format. Taunt does a number of things by stopping Follow Me from Clefairy and Smeargle to stopping Eevee from using Baton Pass.

There are a number of viable Pokemon that have access to Taunt that can also out-speed Smeargle such as Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Aerodactyl, Whimsicott, Murkrow, etc.

2) Haze

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/426.pnghttps://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/198.png

A lesser seen move in competitive play, but quite a useful move in this format. Haze eliminates all stat changes (even negative ones) on the field. With the stat boosts gone, there’s nothing for the Eevee strategy to work with so it usually falls apart.

Support Pokemon like Murkrow and Drifblim can take advantage of their speed. Murkrow is particularly effective since it is immune to Prankster Taunt due to its Dark-typing. We’ve even seen haze tech’d onto Choice Specs Tapu Fini sets which is a great way to catch an Eevee team off-guard.

3) Perish Song

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With the absence of Shadow Tag, Perish Song has not seen much use in VGC 2017. Luckily, the Perish Song counter transfers through Baton Pass ensuring that either the sweeper and/or the boosted stats are gone in three turns.

The downside of Perish Song is that it requires either an uncommon teammate like Politoed, Murkrow, or Gengar or the sacrifice of a more common move on a Pokemon like Marowak.

4) Roar/Whirlwind

These moves are quite common with potential use on popular Pokemon like Arcanine, Gyarados, Tapu Koko and Tapu Bulu. If Eevee can be targeted on turn one, then Roar can force Eevee out and remove all of its boosts.

The reason why Roar is harder to use as an answer these days is because of the increased usage of Espeon. Still, Roar can be a surprise to win a first game if the opponent is not expecting it.

5) Trick Room

I initially made this section just “Speed Control” but with the growing popularity of Whimsicott, Tailwind is significantly less effective. Pokemon like Smeargle and Clefairy can prove troublesome for Trick Room as Smeargle can Spore the Trick Room setter and Clefairy’s low speed makes it easier to spam Heal Pulse under Trick Room. The reason I believe Trick Room is the most effective method of speed control for dealing with Eevee teams is that Trick Room sweepers like Snorlax, Gigalith, and Torkoal can all either boost themselves or fire off strong attacks from the get-go.

6) Offense

Of course, if you don’t have a special tech move you can always try to overwhelm Eevee and its teammate to make turn one a bit more difficult. It’s a difficult situation for both players as there is a bunch of mind games with potential Protects and Smeargle shenanigans.

Tapu Koko in combination with another fast Pokemon like Garchomp, Kartana and Nihilego threaten huge damage to Eevee and its partner with the Electric Terrain blocking Spore. Tapu Lele plus another heavy hitter can prevent Smeargle from using Fake Out with Tapu Lele potentially threatening a KO or a Taunt.

There are a good amount of combinations that threaten Eevee solely based on damage output, but there is still a large prediction game to deal with.

7) Snarl + Intimidate

This “strategy” is at the bottom since Snarl isn’t too common and Intimidate is useless in the face of Espeon or Tapu Fini. Still, lowering your opponent’s stats is a good way to check the Eevee player’s damage output, but there’s going to have to be a lot of switching and predicting involved with this strategy as well.

8) Good Individual Pokemon Against Eevee

Image result for mimikyu png

  • Mimikyu

    An already established Trick Room setter that also has access to Taunt. Or if you want to be like Gary Qian, you can use Curse to inflict a Perish Song-like effect onto Eevee and its potential Baton Pass targets.

    Image result for kartana png

  • Kartana

    Kartana’s fantastic typing plus its ability Beast Boost make it a huge threat to Eevee on its own. It can hit a lot of the Eevee team for super-effective damage and even rival in stat boosts if it’s able to pick up KO’s.

    Image result for arcanine png

  • Arcanine

    Arcanine is pretty much on every team plus it gets access to moves like Roar and Snarl to accomplish two of the aforementioned strategies. Just a good Pokemon to have in general.

Rating Your Eevee Match Up

  • Any of the Top 3 listed = Great! 

  • 4/5 = OK

  • Anything below 5 = Consider the first 5

  • Any combination of the above strategies is an “OK” or better.

I hope this article was able to help any players out there who struggle with the Eevee matchup. If you’re looking to potentially try the Extreme Evoboost strategy for yourself, check out Giovanni Costa’s 2017 teams so far or check out Sejun Park’s team he used to get Top 4 at the Korean National Championships. Good luck with Eevee!

Thanks for reading!


Art/Images of Pokémon from Pokémon and Ken Sugimori

Featured Image from Pokémon Sun and Moon

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The Third (or Fourth) Move Slot: Uncommon Move Choices For Common Pokemon

The beauty of a format like VGC 2017 is that even though there are common Pokemon, there are a ton of different viable moves. As the metagame develops, we’re likely to see move sets evolve beyond what we could’ve originally thought for some Pokemon. For this piece, we’re breaking down some unorthodox move options for the top ten Pokemon in the format right now (in terms of current Battle Spot and Pokemon Showdown usage).

ArcanineImage result for arcanine

Close Combat: If I were you, I wouldn’t consider your Fighting-weak Pokemon safe in the face of an Arcanine. Mainly since Close Combat is a move more common on Arcanine who carry the Choice Band. Close Combat gives Arcanine some valuable coverage against Pokemon like Gigalith and Snorlax who can hit Arcanine for super-effective damage. Probably not preferable over Wild Charge or Extremespeed on an offensive set foregoing a Choice Band.

Helping Hand: I expect Helping Hand to be on the rise in popularity for Arcanine’s divisive third move slot. It’s a flexible move that can work on both offensive physical attackers as well as bulkier special attacking variants. Helping Hand works best when Arcanine is on the field with a faster teammate who’s able to take out a threat with Arcanine with the extra boost.

Roar: Roar works better as a fourth move slot. What I mean by that is, since Roar is more common on bulky, support Arcanine that values moves like Snarl, Will-o-Wisp, and Flamethrower, you’ll likely choose Roar over a move like Protect. If your team struggles to handle Trick Room, an Arcanine with Roar could be a valuable surprise.

Tapu KokoFile:Tapu Koko.png

Sky Drop: A move that can work on almost all variants of Tapu Koko, Sky Drop can be useful for disrupting your opponent’s strategy. We’ve seen Sky Drop on Tapu Koko commonly paired next to a Trick Room setter, a strategy that effectively removes the Sky Drop target for two turns due to the reverse in speed order. Out of all of Tapu Koko’s lesser seen moves, this one has the most potential to appear in higher-level tournament play.

Nature’s Madness: The Island Guardian form of Super Fang is likely only going to be used on Assault Vest variants. A bulkier build of Tapu Koko can make better use of this move due to its longevity on the field. Nature’s Madness can be useful for dealing good damage to more defensive Pokemon, which can set up potential KO’s for Tapu Koko’s partner. A solid move, but a bit of an exclusive one.

Z-Move (Gigavolt Havoc/Twinkle Tackle): Paul Chua won a Regional with a Tapu Koko holding Fairium-Z, but I wouldn’t discount the Electrium-Z. Twinkle Tackle mainly serves to KO Tapu Koko’s tricky type-advantageous match-ups (Garchomp and bulkier Fighting-types). Gigavolt Havoc is boosted by the Electric Terrain which makes it a solid option for threatening huge damage on opponents who don’t resist it. I’d say Twinkle Tackle has more utility overall, but both are viable.

GarchompImage result for garchomp png

Dragon Claw: It seems like Garchomp’s typical move set has shifted to include everything but a Dragon-type move. Dragon Claw is really only useful in the mirror match. Since Garchomp is so common, it could be a useful move to have if Garchomp is a problem for your team though.

Flamethrower: I know Garchomp has access to Fire Fang, but I’m including this since I once fell victim to a Flamethrower Garchomp in tournament play. Fire Fang is probably the better call, but Flamethrower is not a bad option if you’re only using it for Kartana. Or if you’re really afraid of Intimidate.

Substitute: With the rise of Swords Dance’s popularity, I think it’s inevitable for Substitute to become an option for Garchomp. I would expect Substitute from a Garchomp on a team without Tapu Fini, as Misty Terrain would eliminate the worry of Garchomp being burned.

Tapu Lele Image result for tapu lele png

Thunderbolt: I think we all know how much Tapu Lele hates going up against Celesteela. Thunderbolt gives Tapu Lele a means of dealing with Celesteela. However, it would only be worth running on an offensive based set running likely a Choice Specs. Tapu Lele’s Thunderbolt doesn’t come close to KO’ing Celesteela otherwise, but Heavy Slam will easily squash Tapu Lele.

Psyshock: It’s surprising how Psyshock hasn’t become a more common option since a majority of the format favors Special-bulk. Psyshock is weaker than Psychic, but Psyshock calculates damage based on the target’s Defense, which most Pokemon don’t tend to invest much in. Makes Nihilego a lot more afraid of Tapu Lele.

Hidden Power (Fire): Tapu Lele would likely only be able to make use of this move if it had a way to out-speed Kartana. The favored item would be Choice Scarf, as a surprise Hidden Power could mean a quick, surprise KO on an opposing Kartana.

KartanaImage result for kartana png

Night Slash: You will likely only see Night Slash on the increasingly more rare Assault Vest versions of Kartana. Although, with the increased usage of Marowak and Drifblim, Night Slash could make its way onto other sets.

Guillotine: An absolute troll of a move, but can be critical if executed. A One-Hit-KO move can easily win a game for Kartana, as it means the removal of a likely threat and an Attack boost. Only consider using this move if you really want to use it.

Bloom Doom: The Ultra Beast loves the instant KO power of Z-moves, and Kartana is no different. Grass is a not a common resist on most Pokemon in the format, but Kartana’s frail defenses make this a risky option. If used correctly, a Z-move from Kartana could be game-changing.

Celesteela

Wide Guard: If Leech Seed, Flamethrower, or even Protect suit your fancy, Wide Guard is a good choice as well. Wide Guard would mainly be for the benefit of Celesteela’s partner, since a majority of spread-moves in the format don’t hit Celesteela very hard (or if it’s Earthquake, not at all).

Flash Cannon/Air Slash/Giga Drain: I put these in the same spot since they are only meant to work with a Special-attacking Celesteela. These variants mainly opt for Assault Vest, but can work with other offensive-oriented items. Flash Cannon can also be used as a substitute for Heavy Slam on standard Celesteela.

Tapu FiniImage result for tapu fini png

Haze: Tapu Fini does get support moves, but they serve a very niche purpose. If Calm Mind doesn’t appeal to you, or if you’re really afraid of CurseLax or Eevee, Haze might be for you.

Swagger: Using Swagger on a physical sweeper in Misty Terrain will double their Attack without confusing them. An interesting strategy popularized by Wolfe Glick’s Top 8 run in Georgia, this gives Tapu Fini a much different role than the boosting, Muddy Water spammer that we’re all used to.

Heal Pulse: I think I’m starting to notice a trend, in that Tapu Fini’s less common move choices are support moves. This worked well with the Swagger strategy I mentioned.

Porygon2Image result for porygon2 png

Toxic: Toxic was common on Porygon2 towards the beginning of the format, but has dropped off a bit since Tapu Fini’s popularity rose. A move like Toxic can instantly win a stall war if the opponent doesn’t have Toxic as well. Porygon2’s ability to take hits and recover its health make it an effective user of Toxic, but using it will make Porygon2 weaker to Taunt.

Shadow Ball: Another early-format choice for Porygon2 that dropped off in favor of other attacking options. With the rising popularity of Ghost-types like Marowak and Drifblim, Shadow Ball could be an anti-meta tech worth considering.

Protect: They never expect Protect on Porygon2. In a lot of weird scenarios, Protect can come in handy. Most players like to double-target Porygon2, only to have a wrench thrown into their plans when you reveal Protect. I don’t recommend this move for Best-of-Three play, but for Best-of-One Swiss it could win you some games.

SnorlaxImage result for snorlax png

Wild Charge: If you hate missing High Horsepower or facing Drifblim and Celesteela, Wild Charge is a valid choice. Works great if you have a Tapu Koko on your team as well, though this does leave you much weaker to the Lightningrod infused Marowak.

Crunch: Speaking of Marowak, If you’d like a way to deal with it, here you go. However, much like Wild Charge, using this over High Horsepower does leave you weaker to things like Arcanine, Kartana, and Muk, to name a few.

Facade: A Snorlax without Tapu Fini would have a case for Facade. Since Drifblim’s Will-o-Wisp is a common answer for Drifblim+Lele teams to deal with physical sweepers, Facade does have a case for a move set in this stage of the meta game. In all other cases, Return/Frustration are the better attacks.

 

*Note* The difference between Showdown and Battle Spot’s Top Ten is between Ninetales and Gigalith. I’m giving the last entry to Gigalith due to higher recent tournament usage and diversity in its move set. 

 

GigalithImage result for gigalith png

Heavy Slam: A less common choice for Gigalith that’s effective in dealing with Tapu Lele without the use of a Z-move. It also could be useful in a Gigalith mirror, but Earthquake is better for that, while also having more utility.

Wide Guard: Wide Guard can save Gigalith from being Garchomp food, while also making said Garchomp easy pickings for Gigalith’s partner. It can be a game-saving move, but can be played around if your opponent is experienced.

Explosion: If Gigalith is able to get a last-ditch attack off before it goes down, Explosion has a utility. On a standard Gigalith, I probably wouldn’t use this move due to its underwhelming damage potential. Could be useful on a Choice Band Gigalith if you decide to go that route.

Art of Pokémon courtesy of Pokémon and Ken Sugimori

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pokemon murkrow using shadow ball

Niche Picks – The Darkness Pokémon, Murkrow

Meet Murkrow

Portrait of Pokémon Murkrow

One of the first dark type Pokémon to be introduced by Game Freak, Murkrow originally hailed from the Johto region of the Gold & Silver games. It is considered an omen of bad luck, and has a propensity to play pranks on people and Pokémon.

In appearance, Murkrow bears a strong resemblance to a crow. The feathers on its head jut forward and up, creating a witch’s hat appearance, while its tail feathers mirror the head of a broom.

Along with its unique appearance, Murkrow possesses a unique ability, Prankster. Prankster allows Murkrow to use its status moves with increased priority. However, if evolved into Honchkrow, it loses access to the Prankster ability. Due to this, Murkrow finds itself fulfilling a niche role on certain teams.

Not only does forfeiting evolution grant Murkrow access to Prankster, but also allows it to use the item Eviolite. Holding this item boosts an un-evolved Pokémon’s defense and special defense.

Pranking the Competition

Pokémon Murkrow uses swift

Murkrow’s main goal is supporting its party by using Prankster to get Tailwind up on turn one. Once Tailwind is up, the Trainer can take advantage of the speed boost to gain the upper hand in the match.

There is another surprise move that Murkrow can use against unsuspecting foes though, and it has the potential to really mess up a Trainer’s synergy. The move is Quash, and it forces the target to move last for the round. The key is for Quash to work, it needs to go before the target.

With Prankster, this is not an issue, however. Murkrow is free to Quash any threat that is faster than it, unless it is a dark type (dark types are immune to Prankster-enhanced moves). The result is a speedy sweeper, such as Kartana, being forced to go last and getting KO’d before it can even use its first Leaf Strike.

Using these two moves, Murkrow can dictate the flow of battle. Beware though, even with the boost to bulk provided by the Eviolite, Murkrow is still fairly delicate.

Example in the Wild

Spectators were able to observe the Darkness Pokémon in action during the Anaheim Regional Championship in February. Used by Trainer Gary Qian, the team managed to place in the Top 16.

Gary Qian’s Anaheim Regional Murkrow:

murkrow
Murkrow @ Eviolite
Ability: Prankster
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Calm Nature (Gary’s was Impish due to shiny)
IVs: 0 Atk
– Quash
– Taunt
– Foul Play
– Tailwind

Gary’s Murkrow is par for the course as far as these birds go.

Moves are self explanatory with Tailwind and Quash providing immense tempo control as described in the previous section. Along with that, Taunt gives Murkrow a way to shut down opponents from setting up. Finally, Foul Play gives it a way to do some damage and not become worthless if taunted.

The EV spread, along with Calm Nature, gives enough special defense to survive a Moonblast from Tapu Lele. This bulk provides Murkrow enough staying power to hang around a couple rounds and be a real nuisance.

As for teammates, Pokémon that benefit from Tailwind and can immediately pressure the opponent are best. This includes, but is not limited to, Gyarados, Garchomp, Kartana, and Pheromosa.

pokemon Murkrow showing its swag

All images courtesy Game Freak

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Bold Predictions: Who Will Take ONOG’s Pokémon Invitational?

One Nation of Gamers Pokémon Invitational tournament is happening this weekend, and the hype has reached its peak. Picking a potential winner from such a small pool of top-level players in a game like Pokémon, is insanely difficult. So, I’ve narrowed down my Top three players that I think will take the tournament, based on overall skill and performance in the 2017 format. In no particular order, here they are:

Sejun Park

While Sejun has remained rather quiet in the last two years, outside of the Trading Card Game, he looks poised to come back strong in this tournament. Since winning Worlds back in 2014, Sejun hasn’t made headlines in VGC until this year. His 2017 accomplishments include a win at a large Korean grassroots tournament and his top placing on the Battle Spot Ladder with Tapu Fini. Sejun was one of the early pioneers of Tapu Fini, which is one of the most popular Pokémon in the format right now. This is why I think Sejun will shine when his opportunity comes.

When Sejun enjoys a format, he is a threat. Not to mention, this format hugely rewards innovation, and innovation might as well be Sejun’s middle name. In his interview with Trainer Tower, Sejun explained he,”like(s) the regulations and there [are] many people who support me. And it is fun! It is fun to play this meta!”

Regardless of what kind of team Sejun brings, standard or weird, I would expect nothing less but a plethora of new tricks from our former World Champion.

Aaron Zheng

Aaron has been in the scene for as long as it has been a thing, and he consistently shows promise to put up a big performance. After starting the season a bit sluggish after missing Day 2 at the London International Championships, Aaron came back in full force with two Top Cut appearances in San Jose and Anaheim. Although he still has yet to win an official tournament this season, he’s coming off of a huge win in the stacked Melbourne Invitational, which also guarantees him an appearance at the Melbourne International Championships in March.

Aaron has high hopes for Pokémon’s growth as a result of this tournament, and I think that will motivate a big performance from Zheng. In his own interview with Trainer Tower, Zheng had this to say about the tournament:

“For this [One Nation of Gamers] tournament, I’m actually really excited because it’s a huge opportunity. I don’t think people realize how huge this really is… Having an organization that does full-time esports come in and help us… is something that is really great… I’ve never seen a grassroots event or tournament organized as well as this, so I have high expectations for this weekend’s competition. And I think it’s really good, because VGC is something where no one really has the time to dedicate to content creation full-time, or writing articles full-time or streaming full time. So being able to get the help of a professional company that has experience in this is really, really big. I think this is honestly a huge step forward.”

Markus Stadter

In traditional fashion, I’m placing my top choice at the end. Markus is one of the top players in Europe, hailing from Germany where he recently claimed his first regional title of the season. Markus’ knowledge of the game (this format especially) is high, and it shows in his play as well as his team building. He was one of the first players to give Mandibuzz a name in VGC 2017, while also helping to popularize Snorlax. On the same team.

After Leipzig Regionals, Markus became very interested in the growth of Pokémon VGC into an esport. In his interview with Trainer Tower, Stadter said, “There’s always been change, and a lot of people still have the goal of ‘getting Pokémon to the next level,’ ‘growing the game’ or ‘becoming esports,’”

“But I want to give it a final try now. I had resigned before and thought Pokémon was ultimately only going to be a fun thing on the side. However, I’m motivated now and want the scene to prosper. There’s still some boundaries we need to cross, but I think it might be possible. I don’t think we’ve ever been this close before.”

Markus’ drive to push Pokémon to the next level serves as powerful motivation for him to do well. Not to mention, he has the capability to make exceptional meta game calls, and capitalize with exceptional skill in best-of-three. The current third best player in the world is my pick to win it all.

 

Images courtesy of Trainer Tower

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VGC 2017 – Meta Overview and the Rise of AFK

The Shaping of a Meta

The competitive Pokémon meta in the VGC format changes from season to season. The VGC 17 season has seen its meta develop at a breakneck pace. After last year’s rules allowing restricted Pokémon to compete, this year’s lower power-curve has resulted in many changes to the variety in the metagame and strategies teams are employing.

Many components come together to form the VGC meta. With the most important being how the Pokémon on trainer’s teams work together to beat their opponents. Things like covering each others weaknesses or setting up a gimmick are examples of this. Trainers build their teams with these factors in mind in order to overcome many of the challenges they will face.

Empowerment Through Terrain and Weather

Since its rise in popularity in gen five, weather has had the propensity to be a dominate force. Rain especially has been strong in the Pokémon VGC meta. This season, however, terrains have been introduced as somewhat of a compliment to weather. When a Tapu comes onto the field, their ability creates a terrain effect, much like weather. These terrains create different benefits. From rendering status effects ineffective, to increasing the damage grass type moves do, terrains along with weather can truly shape a match.

Terrains are extremely popular at the moment due to the strength of Tapus, and appears on almost every team. Where as weather is seeing popular use with a few popular teams.

Pokémon Torkoal placing ni VGCPokemon Liligant places in Pokémon VGC

Torkoal + Liligant

Torkoal provides Sun weather when he comes onto the field. Sun both boosts Torkoal’s fire attacks, but also provides Liligant with a speed boost. This allows Liligant to set up sleep and provide Torkoal with an opportunity to sleep.

Tokoal + Liligant saw a quick rise in popularity in the beginning of the season, but since has become more of a sleeper. However, it is extremely dangerous if you are unprepared for it.

Pokemon Pelipper places in pokemon VGCPokemon Golduck places in Pokemon VGC

Pelipper + Golduck

Pelipper sets Rain when he enters the field, and provides a sharp boost in speed to Golduck. Golduck will then attempt to use the boost in power from rain to sweep the opposing team. Much like the Torkoal team, this strategy can be strong, but easily dismantled.

Speed Control is So 2016

Speed control has always been an extremely important part of any VGC season. In the early days of VGC 17, however, tools such as Tailwind and Thunder Wave become less popular. Trick Room is the de facto form of speed control for VGC 17. While Tailwind still makes an appearance, Thunder Wave’s popularity has plummeted with a nerf to its accuracy.

There are a few popular Trick Room users, but one is solely responsible for its shear popularity this season.

Pokemon Porygon2 places in VGC

Porygon2 @ Eviolite
Ability: Download
EVs: 252 HP / 92 Def / 164 SpD
Careful Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Trick Room
– Tri Attack
– Ice Beam
– Recover

On top of having Trick Room, Porygon2 has an extremely diverse move-pool. It also benefits from holding an Eviolite, granting it tremendous bulk. Combined with the fact gen seven introduced many slow and bulky Pokémon, and Cresselia is not allowed in VGC 17, Porygon2 has found itself right at home.

Pokemon Pelipper places in pokemon VGC

Pelipper @ Focus Sash
Ability: Drizzle
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest/Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Scald
– Hurricane
– Tailwind
– Protect

Pelipper finds itself as the most popular Tailwind user this year, receiving buffs to both its stats and ability. Now with the ability Drizzle, Pelipper can summon Rain as it enters the field. Rain will serve to both boost Pelipper’s own STAB Scald, as well as grant Hurricane 100% accuracy. This gives Pelipper a lot of offensive potential, on top of Tailwind and Rain utility.

How About Some Goodstuff?

Goodstuff is a term coined in Pokémon VGC for Pokémon and teams of Pokémon who are individually strong and well rounded. VGC 17 is no different.

Pokemon Tapu Koko places in VGC

Tapu Koko @ Life Orb/Focus Sash/Fairium Z/Electrium Z
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Thunderbolt
– Dazzling Gleam
– Discharge/Taunt
– Protect

Tapu Koko creates Electric Terrain when it enters the field. This prevents sleep, along with boosting the power of electric type attacks. Combining this boost of electric damage with Tapu Koko’s already impressive offensive stats results in quite the monster.

Pokemon Celesteela places in VGC

Celesteela @ Leftovers
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 180 HP / 180 Atk / 148 SpD
Careful Nature
– Heavy Slam
– Substitute/Flamethrower
– Leech Seed
– Wide Guard/Protect

A master of stall, and a great defensive pivot, Celesteela has a fantastic steel/flying typing. When Celeteela enters the field, prepare for a long drawn out conflict, unless you have an answer prepared immediately.

pokemon Muk-Alola places in VGC

Muk-Alola @ Figy Berry
Ability: Gluttony
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Atk / 108 Def / 100 SpD / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Poison Jab
– Knock Off
– Curse/Shadow Sneak/Imprison
– Protect

Muk-Alola not only provides impressive stats and good move-pool, but its typing leaves it with only a single weakness to ground. Muk also acts as a fantastic counter to all of the Tapu Pokémon.

Pokemon Snorlax places in VGC

Snorlax @ Figy Berry
Ability: Gluttony
EVs: 68 HP / 196 Atk / 244 Def
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Return
– High Horsepower
– Curse
– Protect/Recycle

Snorlax provides a neutral powerhouse that can be a force to be reckoned with. Generally running the Curse set and lots of bulk, Snorlax will mow down teams and counter Trick Room in a pinch.

All of these Pokémon have one thing in common. They are all extremely deadly in almost any setting without any work needed. When building for VGC 17, it is important to supplement your core to counter as many Goodstuff Pokémon as possible. While no true Goodstuffs team has solidified for VGC 17, there are many Pokémon who fit the mold.

Gimmicks Can Be Silly, But They Are Dangerous

VGC 17 has brought with it a host of gimmicks. Two, however, are seeing use at some of the highest levels of play.

Pokemon Eevee places in VGC

Eevee @ Eevium Z
Ability: Adaptability
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Last Resort
– Baton Pass
– Helping Hand
– Protect

You will normally find Eevee alongside Pokémon like Clefairy or Smeargle for Follow Me support. While holding an Eevium Z item, Eevee is able to use an exclusive move called Extreme Evoboost which doubles all of its stats. Eevee then attempts to use Baton Pass to pass the stat increases to a sweeper such as Tapu Lele or Espeon.

Pokemon Porygon-Z places in VGC

Porygon-Z @ Normalium Z
Ability: Adaptability
Level: 50
EVs: 20 HP / 28 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 204 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Shadow Ball/Thunderbolt/Ice Beam
– Tri Attack/Shadow Ball/Thunderbolt/Ice Beam
– Conversion
– Protect

Porygon-Z now gains access to Z-Conversion while holding the item Normalium Z. Z-Conversion both boosts all of Porygon-Z’s stats by one stage, as well as change its type to match that of the move in its first slot. This turns Porygon-Z into quite a formidable enemy, and must be accounted for.

In VGC 17 AFK Will Put You Away

One core has risen to the top so far during the course of VGC 17. AFK, standing for Arcanine, Fini, and Kartana. These three Pokémon comprise a fairly traditional fire/water/grass core. However, these three bring some seriously deadly synergy.

Pokemon Arcanine places in VGC

Arcanine @ Iapapa Berry/Sitrus Berry
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 84 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 164 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Extreme Speed
– Flare Blitz
– Snarl/Wild Charge/Will-O-Wisp
– Protect

Arcanine is a proverbial swiss army knife of a Pokémon. It can be run fast or bulky, with a focus on offense or support. Bringing Intimidate to the field to weaken the opposing Pokémon’s physical attack also allows Arcanine to immediately apply pressure.

Pokemon Tapu Fini places in VGC

Tapu Fini @ Leftovers
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Def / 196 SpA / 4 SpD / 12 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Muddy Water
– Moonblast
– Calm Mind
– Substitute/Protect

Tapu Fini’s ability to support its teammates is without question. Its Misty Terrain prevents status effects from taking place. While Tapu Fini’s bulk and boosting ability make it a powerful force on the field if it is able to set up.

Pokemon Kartana places in VGC

Kartana @ Focus Sash
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Smart Strike
– Leaf Blade
– Sacred Sword
– Protect

Then there is Kartana. Kartana brings a grass/steel typing and high offenses and speed. When Kartana is on the field it has one objective: apply as much offensive pressure as possible and rack up the KOs.

This is Only Just the Beginning

VGC 17 is only just getting started. What we see now could quite possibly be totally different from the most popular teams in two months. This is one of the things that makes Pokémon VGC so exciting. Who will be the key player in the World Championship is anyone’s guess, let’s find out together.

All images courtesy of Game Freak

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Player Skill Be Damned! RNG is a Critical Part of the Pokémon Formula

RNG Is All Around Us… But What Is It?

Pokémon Pokéball shakes using RNG to capture

Image courtesy of Game Freak

RNG, or Random Number Generator, is a term used to describe a background process for decision making. Much the same as luck, it is used in games such a Pokémon to determine things like critical hits and status effects. In other types of games, such as MMOs, RNG is used to determine what monsters drop from their loot pool. Think of it like the result from the flip of a coin, or roll of the dice.

RNG is a controversial topic when it comes to eSports, and in particular competitive Pokémon. One of the main critiques of competitive Pokémon is its reliance on RNG. There are many that feel that due to the fact that these elements are not affected by players skill, they have little to no place in competitive sports/eSports. However, others feel the inclusion of RNG tests a competitors risk management.

So which side is right? While reliance on player skill is an important factor in all competitive sports and eSports, so is unpredictability. It is when both skill and luck come together that a truly great competition is born.

 

Milotic Goes for the Scald on Celesteela, HE GETS THE BURN!

Pokémon Milotic uses Scald and RNG grants a burn

Image courtesy of Make A Gif

There is no doubt that RNG plays a large roll in all Pokémon matches. Critical hits and Status effect are the two biggest examples of RNG altering matches. It is also true that in some cases, no matter the skill of a trainer, RNG will lead to their defeat. This does not mean that each match is won by the flip of a coin though. The fact you see many of the same great trainers winning tournaments over and over again is proof that skill is the ultimate deciding factor in win-rate.

Sure, a Trainer can’t force a critical hit to kill that Celesteela, but they certainly can predict a Leech Seed and swap a Sap Sipper Goodra into it. This type of play only comes with lots of training and practice. Understanding the meta, observing your opponents play style, and getting into their head are huge parts of competitive Pokémon. The best players are reacting to what their opponent will do before they even do it. This is the level of play that separate the good from the great.

At the end of the day, even the best Trainers will inevitably lose matches that they have no business losing due to RNG. Normally though, this is not enough to prevent great Trainers from winning consecutively. Official matches are even structured in a way to prevent the influence of RNG. Rather than each match ending with a winner and loser, all matches are played in a best of three series. This not only helps to prevent RNG from determining winners and losers, but also allows Trainers to get a feel for each other as the series progresses.

 

Do You Feel Lucky? Well Do Ya Punk?

Let’s be honest, RNG or luck influences many of the sports and eSports that we know and love also. Actually if you step back and look at all of these activities, you will see they all fall on a continuum. On the left is pure luck, like playing the lottery, and on the right is pure skill. Chess would be the best example of purely skill based gameplay. Every other sport or eSport falls somewhere on this continuum.

Think about things like weather and coin flips. These are excellent examples of RNG at play in popular sports. Baseball has variable field sizes, Basketballl has game winning shots from half court; the list goes on and on. Then look at eSports. League has crit chance, DOTA has crit chance, accuracy penalties, and much more. Even CS:GO has shot variance, creating some situations where a long range shot is missed simply due to luck. Yet all of these games are leading the charge in the eSport market.

Going even further, even the Super Bowl’s outcome can be determined by luck. Think back to Super Bowl 46 when Wes Welker dropped an easily catchable ball that would have won the game and the Super Bowl for the Patriots. There is not even a best-of series for the Super Bowl, so if luck is the deciding factor, that is it. This has not stopped the popularity however, and very few games have come down to pure luck.

Patriots Tight End Wes Welker drops game winning pass in Super Bowl 46. Demonstrating lucks influence in traditional sports.

Image courtesy of NBC

At the end of the day, the best way to think about it is great competitors create their own luck. This is, in essence, the risk management of competition.

 

Luck vs Skill: The Ratings

Looking at ratings alone, luck is actually the more important factor for spectators. Consider the continuum, while very luck-based games such as Texas Hold’em have aired all over ESPN and cable television, you would be hard pressed to see a Chess Tournament in primetime. The fact is, unexpected results create drama, and drama is good for viewership. Some of the most memorable sporting moments have been upsets that were part skill and part luck, but amazing television.

This is why the focus on the influence of RNG on not just Pokémon, but eSports in general is misguided. Rather than making RNG the end all be all, it should be another element that adds to the fun. Great competitors will understand RNG, and even bend it to their advantage. This will lead to those “Oh My God” moments, and who doesn’t want more of those in their sport?

For Pokémon this means learning to blend the elements of range subtly into the playing experience. If something like burns or critical hits seems to be too powerful, tweak it until you get the right mix. However, you can never forget the three dimensional game that Pokémon is. Between subtle things like team building and dynamic actions (like masterful switches), Trainers have a multitude of methods to tip a match in their favor.

Pokémon VGC world championship 2015 Wolf Glick shows expert prediction during finals match

Image courtesy of Game Freak

Full Stop. Pure Skill Based Gameplay is Boring

RNG or luck makes for excitement, and observers like excitement. It keeps competitors on their toes and keeps games from getting stale. While taking all reliance on skill out of a game is a terrible idea, so too is removing all aspects of luck. Finding the perfect formula of gameplay, skill, and luck should be the ultimate objective of aspiring sports. While Pokémon by no means has the mix perfect, TPCI should not let the critics convince them RNG has no place in an eSport.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @aeroashwind

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The Battle Spot Top 30! – A Guide to the Most Popular Pokémon in VGC 2017

Want to know what the top Pokémon are right now? Want to know how to use them effectively? Well then this is the article for you!

In the most recent Global Link update (1/23/2017), the Top 30 Pokémon (usage-wise) were revealed for each format on the Battle Spot Ladder. Other information, such as most popular teammates, items, natures and more are shown when viewing each Pokémon, showing how most players like to use that Pokémon.

But we’re going to take it a step further.

Not only will we show you all of that, but we’ll also provide sample move sets and spreads for each Pokémon! This article will be updated to reflect current meta game trends and new Pokémon that break the Top 30 each week!

Note: This won’t be updated to resemble a traditional “Top X” List, so here’s how this will work:

-If a new Pokémon enters the Top 30, it will simply be added to this list along with all of the data associated with it.

-If there is a shift in placement for some Pokémon, that won’t be reflected here.

The Top 30 (1/24/2017)

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Tapu Koko

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Tapu Koko @ Life Orb/Focus Sash/Fairium Z/Electrium Z
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Thunderbolt/Nature Power
– Dazzling Gleam
– Discharge/Hidden Power (Ice/Fire)/Taunt
– Protect

The most common set for Tapu Koko which mainly focuses on speed and attack power. There are many variations on this move set to fit certain teams or roles for Tapu Koko on a team. EV’s can also be changed depending on personal preference.

Tapu Koko @ Assault Vest
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 236 HP / 12 Def / 28 SpA / 132 SpD / 100 Spe
Timid Nature
– Volt Switch
– Dazzling Gleam
– Discharge
– Nature’s Madness

Assault Vest mainly takes advantage of Tapu Koko’s very diverse attacking move pool, while also giving it some added bulk.

Tapu Koko @ Choice Specs
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 236 HP / 12 Def / 84 SpA / 76 SpD / 100 Spe
Timid Nature
– Volt Switch
– Dazzling Gleam
– Discharge
– Thunderbolt

This is the Choice Specs variant of Tapu Koko that Ray Rizzo featured in his video showcasing his set. You can check out his video here if you’re interested in seeing damage calcs or just want to hear his take on it.

 

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Tapu Lele

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Tapu Lele @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Psychic Surge
EVs: 84 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 164 Spe
Modest Nature
– Psychic
– Moonblast
– Dazzling Gleam
– Thunderbolt/Shadow Ball/Hidden Power [Fire]

Standard Choice Scarf Tapu Lele designed to out-speed Pheromosa and deal tons of damage.

Tapu Lele @ Psychium Z/Life Orb/Sitrus Berry/Psychic Seed
Ability: Psychic Surge
EVs: 28 HP / 44 Def / 228 SpA / 4 SpDef / 204 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Psychic
– Moonblast
– Taunt/Dazzling Gleam/Substitute
– Protect

A slower, more bulky Tapu Lele which allows for some support options in addition to standard attacking moves.

 

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Tapu Fini

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Tapu Fini @ Leftovers
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Def / 196 SpA / 4 SpD / 12 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Muddy Water
– Moonblast
– Calm Mind
– Substitute/Protect

 

Tapu Fini @ Choice Specs
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 20 Def / 164 SpA / 44 SpD / 28 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Muddy Water
– Hydro Pump
– Moonblast
– Dazzling Gleam/Ice Beam/Grass Knot/Shadow Ball

A Choice Specs set focused on just dealing damage. Tapu Fini has other cool attacking options, but most just stick to Water and Fairy-type attacks.

 

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Tapu Bulu

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Tapu Bulu @ Miracle Seed
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs: 244 HP / 116 Atk / 140 Def / 4 SpD / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Wood Hammer
– Horn Leech
– Substitute/Rock Slide/Superpower
– Protect

Tapu Bulu might not be so popular nowadays, but it still can deal a ton of damage with strong, Grassy-Terrain boosted attacks.

Tapu Bulu @ Lum Berry
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 36 Atk / 60 Def / 140 SpD / 20 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Horn Leech
– Leech Seed
– Substitute
– Protect

Here’s a set that was piloted by our current World Champion at the London International Championships. You can watch his team report here where he discusses the set more in depth.

 

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Kartana

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Kartana @ Focus Sash
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Smart Strike
– Leaf Blade
– Sacred Sword
– Protect

Simple Focus Sash Kartana. Sacred Sword can be traded out for moves like Night Slash or X-Scissor depending on what kind of coverage you need.

Kartana @ Assault Vest
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 84 HP / 116 Atk / 4 Def / 52 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Leaf Blade
– Smart Strike
– Sacred Sword
– Night Slash

The EV’s for an Assault Vest vary largely among players, but this one is meant to get you started.

 

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Celesteela

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Celesteela @ Leftovers
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 HP / 116 Atk / 4 Def / 60 SpD / 76 Spe
– Heavy Slam
– Leech Seed
– Flamethrower/Substitute
– Protect/Wide Guard

The EV’s and Nature make it so Beast Boost raises your Attack stat.

 

Celesteela @ Leftovers
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 180 HP / 180 Atk / 148 SpD
Careful Nature
– Heavy Slam
– Substitute/Flamethrower
– Leech Seed
– Wide Guard/Protect

The EV’s and Nature make it so Beast Boost raises your Special Defense.

 

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Nihilego

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Nihilego @ Focus Sash
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Power Gem
– Sludge Bomb
– Hidden Power [Ice] – Protect

 

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Pheromosa

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Pheromosa @ Focus Sash/Fightinium Z
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature/Naughty Nature
– Lunge/U-Turn
– High Jump Kick/Low Kick/Brick Break
– Poison Jab/Ice Beam/Feint/Taunt
– Protect

Pheromosa can have a TON of moves on it, though the item choice and EV’s are pretty simple.

 

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Garchomp

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Garchomp @ Groundium Z
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Earthquake
– Dragon Claw/Fire Fang
– Poison Jab/Rock Slide
– Protect

 

Garchomp @ Assault Vest
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 28 HP / 172 Atk / 4 Def / 52 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Earthquake
– Dragon Claw
– Poison Jab
– Fire Fang/Rock Slide

Assault Vest allows Garchomp to survive crucial Special hits like Golduck’s Hydro Vortex in Rain and a Moonblast from Tapu Lele.

Garchomp @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 36 HP / 252 Atk / 220 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Earthquake
– Dragon Claw
– Poison Jab
– Rock Slide

Probably the least common of all main Garchomp sets, but this set can be useful to snag surprise KO’s on some of Garchomp’s faster threats.

 

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Alolan Muk

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Muk-Alola @ Figy Berry
Ability: Gluttony
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Atk / 108 Def / 100 SpD / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Poison Jab
– Knock Off
– Curse/Shadow Sneak/Imprison
– Protect

Another set from our current World Champion. Mukl EV’s can be all over the place, Figy Berry (or whatever variant) will more than likely be your item of choice. The third move slot has changed a lot, and which one you go with is entirely dependent on what works for you.

 

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Alolan Ninetales

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Ninetales-Alola @ Light Clay/Focus Sash
Ability: Snow Warning
EVs: 4 HP /252 SpA/ 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Blizzard/Freeze Dry
– Icy Wind
– Aurora Veil
– Protect/Encore

Ninetales has a pretty standard set. You can mess around with the EV’s a bit if you want to add a bit of bulk.

 

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Alolan Marowak

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Marowak-Alola @ Thick Club
Ability: Lightning Rod
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 172 Atk / 4 Def / 68 SpD / 12 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Shadow Bone
– Bonemerang/Substitute/Perish Song
– Protect

Marowak EV’s are pretty diverse, so here’s a starter set. You could ditch the speed for a Trick Room attacking variant.

 

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Alolan Raichu

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Raichu-Alola @ Psychium Z/Alolaraichium Z/Focus Sash
Ability: Surge Surfer
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Fake Out
– Psychic
– Thunderbolt
– Protect/Encore/Feint

Even though Raichu will double its Speed in Electric Terrain, it’s still worth running max Speed since Raichu is naturally fast.

 

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Porygon2

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Porygon2 @ Eviolite
Ability: Download
EVs: 252 HP / 92 Def / 164 SpD
Careful Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Trick Room
– Return
– Ice Beam
– Recover

Porygon2 can be run a ton of different ways, but the set above is probably the most basic way to use it.

 

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Snorlax

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Snorlax @ Figy Berry
Ability: Gluttony
EVs: 68 HP / 196 Atk / 244 Def
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Return
– High Horsepower
– Curse
– Protect/Recycle

Standard Curse Snorlax. You have the choice of Recycle (much like Markus Leipzig’s Snorlax) to keep using your Figy Berry.

 

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Arcanine

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Arcanine @ Iapapa Berry/Sitrus Berry
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 84 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 164 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Extreme Speed
– Flare Blitz
– Snarl/Wild Charge/Will-O-Wisp
– Protect

The new standard Arcanine that leans more on the offensive side. Wild Charge can be added in place of a support move for more coverage.

 

Arcanine @ Firium Z/Sitrus Berry/Aguav Berry/Safety Goggles
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 148 HP / 164 SpA / 4 Def / 28 SpD / 164 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Will-O-Wisp
– Flare Blitz
– Snarl
– Protect

The more supportive Arcanine runs a Special-Attacking set with Snarl and Flamethrower. The EV’s can be changed pretty freely on this set depending on personal preference.

 

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Pelipper

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Pelipper @ Focus Sash
Ability: Drizzle
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest/Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Scald
– Hurricane
– Tailwind
– Protect

The most standard Pelipper set. Primarily functions to set up Tailwind and the Rain for a likely Golduck partner.

 

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Metagross

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Metagross @ Weakness Policy
Ability: Clear Body
EVs: 252 HP / 204 Atk / 52 SpD
Adamant Nature
– Meteor Mash
– Zen Headbutt
– Bullet Punch
– Protect

This is the Metagross that Collin Heir used to get 2nd place at Dallas Regionals. Metagross has a ton of other viable items if Weakness Policy doesn’t suit your needs.

 

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Gigalith

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Gigalith @ Assault Vest
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 228 HP / 228 Atk / 52 Def
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Rock Slide
– Stone Edge
– Heavy Slam
– Earthquake

Standard attacking set with added bulk from the Assault Vest.

Gigalith @ Rockium Z
Ability: Sand Stream
Level: 50
EVs: 196 HP / 124 Atk / 188 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Stone Edge
– Heavy Slam
– Wide Guard/Rock Slide/Earthquake
– Protect

If Assault Vest is already taken, this is an ideal set with a possible support option.

 

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Torkoal

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Torkoal @ Charcoal/Life Orb
Ability: Drought
EVs: 116 HP / 252 SpA / 140 SpD
Quiet Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Eruption
– Heat Wave/Flamethrower/Solar Beam
– Overheat/Flamethrower/Solar Beam
– Protect

The EV’s are pretty flexible as long as you max your Special Attack and make sure you’re as slow as possible.

 

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Gastrodon

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Gastrodon-East @ Sitrus Berry/Aguav Berry
Ability: Storm Drain
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 156 Def / 12 SpA / 100 SpD / 4 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Scald
– Ice Beam
– Recover/Protect
– Toxic

Purpose just to suck up Water attacks and Toxic stall. Just watch out for Kartana.

 

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Araquanid

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Araquanid @ Sitrus Berry/Waterium Z/Life Orb
Ability: Water Bubble
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Liquidation
– Leech Life/Lunge
– Wide Guard/Poison Jab
– Protect

Simple spread mainly to maximize bulk and Attack. Can switch up some of the moves to make Araquanid more offensive.

 

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Mimikyu

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Mimikyu @ Ghostium Z
Ability: Disguise
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Play Rough
– Shadow Claw
– Taunt
– Trick Room

If you want a good Mimikyu spread, look no further than Gavin Michael’s one he used to win San Jose Regionals. Max Speed on a Trick Room setter might not make sense at first, but Gavin wanted to be able to out-speed and KO Tapu Lele with Never Ending Nightmare. Mimikyu basically gets Trick Room up for free as long as it doesn’t get double targeted.

 

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Gyarados

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Gyarados @ Waterium Z
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 52 HP / 196 Atk / 76 Def / 4 SpD / 180 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Waterfall
– Dragon Dance
– Ice Fang/Earthquake
– Protect

Standard Dragon Dance set meant to spread Intimidate and get off boosted attacks.

 

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Porygon-Z

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Porygon-Z @ Normalium Z
Ability: Adaptability
Level: 50
EVs: 20 HP / 28 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 204 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Shadow Ball/Thunderbolt/Ice Beam
– Tri Attack/Shadow Ball/Thunderbolt/Ice Beam
– Conversion
– Protect

You can run a ton of different attacks on Porygon-Z, any of these types (Ghost, Electric, Ice, etc.) are viable.

Porygon-Z @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Adaptability
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Tri Attack
– Dark Pulse
– Hyper Beam
– Ice Beam

This is the Porygon-Z that Sejun Park used on his Tapu Fini team that had a bit of time in the meta spotlight. If you want to know more on how Sejun used this Porygon-Z, you can read a translated team report here.

 

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Vanilluxe

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Coldstone (Vanilluxe) @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Snow Warning
EVs: 52 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 196 Spe
Timid Nature
– Blizzard
– Freeze-Dry
– Icy Wind
– Sheer Cold

I would consider Vanilluxe a more offensive Nintetales. Scarf is to account for Vanilluxe’s lack of speed so it may be free to spam Blizzard.

 

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Talonflame

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Talonflame @ Life Orb/Flynium Z/Choice Band
Ability: Gale Wings
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Brave Bird
– Flare Blitz
– Tailwind/U-Turn
– Taunt/Will-O-Wisp/Protect

Talonflame functions pretty much the same way it did in past formats. Now just without full-power Gale Wings.

 

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Oranguru

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Oranguru @ Sitrus Berry/Mental Herb
Ability:Telepathy
EVs: 252 HP / 140 Def / 20 SpA / 92 SpD
Sassy Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Psychic/Foul Play
– Instruct
– Trick Room
– Protect

 

 

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Hariyama

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Hariyama @ Flame Orb
Ability: Guts
EVs: 92 HP / 252 Atk / 164 Def
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Fake Out
– Close Combat
– Feint
– Knock Off

 

 

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Salamence

Top 5 Moves

Top 5 Items

Top 3 Natures

Top 6 Teammates

Popular Sets

Salamence @ Dragonium Z
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Draco Meteor
– Flamethrower
– Substitute
– Protect

Dragonium Z basically gives Salamence two Draco Meteors before it take a hit to its Special Attack. If the damage output disappoints you, Life Orb or Choice Specs are also great items for Salamence.

Art of Pokemon courtesy of Pokémon Global Link and Ken Sugimori

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Pokémon Hits DreamHack! – VGC 2017 Leipzig, Germany Regional Championships Recap

Our first European tournament coverage comes to us from DreamHack Germany, which happened last weekend, along with the Georgia Regional Championships in the US. Despite being held at such a huge event, the tournament itself was not given any stream coverage (more on this later). It was a bit of a smaller tournament compared to Georgia, but there were still some cool teams and Pokémon to break into the Top Cut. Check them out below!

Results & Teams (Top 8 Cut)

1.Markus Stadter

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/143.pnghttps://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/630.png

2.Davide Carrer

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/630.png

3.Baris Ackos

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/89-1.png

4.Alexander Fijalkowski

East Sea

5.Joshua Schmidt

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/89-1.png

6.Nico Davide Cognetta

7.Andrea Di Francesco

East Sea

8.Andrea Sala

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/778.png

 

No Stream?

You’d think at an event like DreamHack, who advertised the Regional a ton on their website and their promo video, would stream the tournament knowing that it would draw a lot of viewership. That wasn’t the case, however. To be fair, Leipzig was a relatively small tournament for Masters (only 129 competitors), so that most likely would explain the lack of a stream from the local scene. I hope that Pokémon VGC events in the future will be held at events like DreamHack due to the amount of exposure Pokémon could gain as an esport from that large of an event. Hopefully if there is another event like this, DreamHack (or whoever is hosting) will recognize that there are people that would love to see Pokémon streamed with the quality they can provide.

Also, a quick note:

Since there wasn’t any significant coverage (like a stream) analyzing specific Pokémon and strategies that were used, spectators may be left in the dark. Plus, many of the “niche” Pokémon that appeared in Leipzig I’ve already covered in other pieces. In addition to some new thoughts, I’ll provide links to the pieces where certain Pokémon were covered.

The Niche Picks

Mandibuzz Image result for mandibuzz

We haven’t seen a Mandibuzz since Dallas, and this time there were two! Both in the finals! Mandibuzz could be something that jumps up in popularity since it has cut a Regional twice. It now also has a Regional win under its belt, thanks to the current third best player in the world. Markus mentioned in one of his streams that he usually brings Mandibuzz when he faces a team that is fast and without speed control. Tailwind, and speed control outside of Trick Room, haven’t seen much use in this format, and I’m not sure why. It’s most likely that most teams don’t have room for a Flying-type Pokémon, but Mandibuzz has a lot more utility than just setting up Tailwind. You can read my other thoughts on Mandibuzz here.

Snorlax  Image result for snorlax

Speaking of Pokémon who are going to jump in popularity thanks to a Regional win; here’s Snorlax again. Another Eastern trend is making its way to the Western meta game, and now I think we all know how good Snorlax can be. Here are my thoughts on Snorlax as a Pokémon.

Lapras Image result for lapras

All I’m going to say is that Lapras cut two Regionals in one weekend. I have an entire piece dedicated to why this Pokémon is good.

Final Words

In conclusion, this event should’ve been streamed. Congratulations to Markus Stadter for his win, solidifying his spot among the top players in Europe (according to Championship Points, but also you know…current 3rd in the world). The meta game looks pretty concrete for now, but we’re only three months into the season, so anything could happen. The next Regional Championships are coming up in February in Anaheim, California, where the World Championships will be held later this year.

Art of Pokemon courtesy of Pokémon and Ken Sugimori

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