The next new Ultra Beast we’ll be covering is the literal wall known as Stakataka. Stakataka not only has one of the greatest names for a Pokemon, but it’s also a complete 180 from its Ultra Sun counterpart: Blacephalon. So far, it appears that Stakataka has already made an early impact on the 2018 metagame being the most popular Ultra Beast among players right now. Let’s see why.
Stats & typing
Immediately what sticks out about Stakataka’s stats (try saying that five times fast) is its insane 211 base Defense. This pairs nicely with a solid 101 base Special Defense and a superb base 131 Attack Stat. Stakataka is more like a tank rather than a wall. Its defenses are some of the best out there, but when this thing attacks it’ll do some damage.
Stakataka’s speed is one of the lowest base Speed’s in the game, but as we know by now, Speed is hardly a weakness when Trick Room exists. One interesting strategy that some players have been using is a Stakataka with 15 Defense IV’s and a Lonely nature which means that Stakataka will obtain Beast Boosts in Attack rather than Defense. Some players still opt for the Defense boost in order to increase Stakataka’s already amazing bulk, but I wonder which set will be the standard going forward.
Rock and Steel is both a blessing and a curse for Stakataka. The good side is that you have pairing of two really good defensive types, but putting them together gives Stakataka two x4 weaknesses to Fighting and Ground. Considering both of these attacking types are commonly physical, Stakataka is usually able to survive an attack thanks to its Defense, but having the Rock typing means a weakness to Water and taking neutral damage from Fire and Grass (common Special attacking types). Other than that, Stakataka can take hits and dish out great damage making it one of the best Trick Room sweepers in VGC 2018 right now.
Learned by level-up:
- Rock Slide: A Rock-type using Rock Slide is usually a good route to take, especially given Stakataka’s role as a Trick Room sweeper. With the Speed advantage and the elimination of the opponent’s Wide Guard user, Rock Slide can easily clean through your opponent’s team. Plus the chance to flinch is always nice. There’s a reason they call it the best move in the game.
- Protect: Funnily enough, Stakataka actually gets Protect at level 1. Protect is by far the most used move in VGC, but not all Stakataka players have seen it as necessary on their move sets.
- Wide Guard: One of Stakataka’s main means of support is Wide Guard, which can actually help protect itself from moves like Earthquake. With moves like Hyper Voice and Rock Slide also being prevalent, this is definitely a move worth using.
Learned by TM:
- Toxic: While Stakataka certainly has the stats of a wall, Toxic might be too passive for it. Without any real means of recovery, Stakataka’s main goal is using its defenses to stick around while it does damage. It’s an interesting option, but not the most viable one.
- Earthquake: Here’s another example of an attack Stakataka can spam that can actually help it win the mirror match against another Stakataka. I’m sure the Stakataka players who have had theirs knocked out by a Tectonic Rage from an opponent’s Stakataka knows what I’m talking about.
- Stone Edge: While it does more damage, I still see Rock Slide as the superior Rock-type attack. Stakataka doesn’t really need the extra power.
- Gyro Ball: Along with Rock Slide, Gyro Ball has almost become a staple on the typical Stakataka move set. Stakataka’s terrible speed actually becomes its biggest strength with Gyro Ball doing obscene amounts of damage to nearly everything in the metagame. By far Stakataka’s best attack.
- Trick Room: Yes. Stakataka can set up its own Trick Room. This Pokemon really is one of a kind.
Learned via Move Tutor:
- Ally Switch: Stakataka also gets access to one of the most controversial moves in the game right now: Ally Switch. This move can be nice to divert damage away from another Pokemon that can set up Trick Room for Stakataka, basically making the set up free if your opponent doesn’t see it coming.
- Superpower: More offensive Stakataka variants have opted for Superpower as a means of hitting Mega Kangaskhan or opposing Stakataka hard. It’s less popular than Stakataka’s support options, but it’s still a solid choice for a move slot.
Potential held items
While not very common, Ultra Beasts like Z Moves because that quick KO turns into a stat raise thanks to Beast Boost. Players will likely want to preserve Stakataka’s field presence, but make sure to scout for Rockium, Steelium, Groundium or even Fightinium Z.
Life Orb is the best option for Stakataka that are looking to do damage. You could double down on attack power with the set that prioritizes boosts in Attack, but even the more defensive Stakataka will do a ton of damage with just the Life Orb. However, this does limit Stakataka’s time on the field, but the amount of damage Stakataka threatens with a Life Orb may be worth it.
For those looking to extend Stakataka’s time on the field, a pinch berry might be the item for you. Stakataka’s bulk means that it will likely fall under 25% HP after taking one super effective hit or many resisted hits, making the activation of a pinch berry usually consistent. Keeping Stakataka healthy is always good for having it be useful in the long game.
These berries allow Stakataka to take less damage from Ground/Fighting type moves, which might be useful considering Stakataka’s x4 weakness to those attacks.
Checks and counters
Landorus can destroy Stakataka with Earthquake and the Attack drop from Landorus’ Intimidate ability is also something Stakataka doesn’t appreciate. However, Landorus can drop in one hit to a Gyro Ball from Stakataka, so Landorus’ matchup is only favorable when it has the speed advantage.
Being x4 weak to Fighting, Stakataka really doesn’t like taking Close Combats or Low Kicks which are very common moves in the metagame right now. One popular Fighting-type that immediately comes to mind is Hitmontop as, like Landorus, Hitmontop has access to Intimidate and a powerful attack to hit Stakataka.
Stakataka has little means to deal with Rain-boosted Water-type attacks, especially considering its low speed.
Amoonguss’ Rage Powder can redirect those pesky Fighting-type attacks away from Stakataka, while Amoonguss takes little damage from a resisted hit. This is an especially good combination if Stakataka is looking to set up Trick Room itself.
Wide Guard/Trick Room users
I know what you’re probably thinking: “Stakataka can do both of these things by itself.”
You’re right, but it doesn’t hurt to have other members that can help Stakataka free up some of its move slots.
How Stakataka stacks up
Stakataka has a promising future in competitive Pokemon. Its typing may not be the best, but how else are you going to balance the insane defense and attack power that this Pokemon has to offer. Stakataka is in a league of its own as it’s a Trick Room sweeper that can set up Trick Room itself, and then proceed to boost its stats as it sweeps through your opponent’s team. Right now, Stakataka remains the most popular Ultra Beast and is in the Top 15 most used Pokemon on the Championship Ladder of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon’s Battle Spot. Stakataka certainly stacks up with the rest of VGC 2018’s greats.
Thanks for reading!
Images from Bulbapedia, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International
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