In a recent string of metagame breaking teams having success, Costa Mesa didn’t disappoint. Congratulations to Brandon Meckley who secured his invite to Nashville with his regional win (also congrats to Patrick Smith who also snagged his invite with a Top 4 finish). As you can see by the title, we have some fun Pokemon to talk about, but first, here are your Top 8 players and teams from the Costa Mesa Regional Championships.
Results & Teams (Top 8)
1. Brandon Meckley
2. Michael Groshans
3. Patrick Smith
4. Joseph Selmer
5. William Marks
6. Brandon Huang
7. Jackson Finch
8. Jirawiwat Thitasiri
Alolan Marowak: We’ve seen Alolan Marowak in the Top Cut of a 2018 regional before, but I think Brandon Meckley’s use of it on his team was pretty cool. Some Mega Charizard Y teams have adopted the Lightningrod redirection option with Pokemon like Togedemaru, but Alolan Marowak does that and functions as a powerful Trick Room sweeper. While Meckley was doubling down on his Fire-types, Alolan Marowak does huge damage with the sun in play, and its already huge offensive presence becomes much greater with a boosted Flare Blitz.
Carracosta: Rarely do we ever see Fossil Pokemon in VGC, but Michael Groshans brought one with a name funnily enough fitting the title of the event. This Carracosta was an interesting one, holding the Weakness Policy item and functioning as a Trick Room sweeper rather than a Shell Smash-ing or Rain Sweeper. Weakness Policy actually has some good synergy with Carracosta as its Sturdy ability guarantees it’ll take a super effective hit without being KO’ed. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see Carracosta do much in Groshans’ streamed matches, and I wonder how effective it was in Groshans’ matches througout the tournament.
Vivillon: Keeping with Groshans’ unique team, we have Vivillon. Vivillon has a unique role as a faster user of Rage Powder, even having access to Sleep Powder in conjunction with the Compound Eyes ability which makes Sleep Powder more accurate. It kind of makes it a faster alternative to Amoonguss. Vivillon also has access to a fantastic ability in Friend Guard, which boosts its partner’s defenses by 30%. With Friend Guard, Porygon2 will almost be guaranteed Trick Room setup with its already amazing bulk boosted even further. Compound Eyes also helps Vivillon’s offense by giving it a more accurate Hurricane, but Vivillon’s stats don’t exactly make it an offensive powerhouse. I wouldn’t expect to see Vivillon pop up more often than Amoonguss, even after this impressive showing, but I wouldn’t write it off as a bad option for a team.
Virizion: This is another Pokemon that didn’t have a great stream performance. The one thing that I can say about Virizion is that since it’s a Grass-type it can completely ignore the plethora of Amoonguss out there, but why use it over something like Kartana? As we saw in the Top 4 match between Selmer and Brandon Meckley, Virizion failed to KO Meckley’s Tapu Lele with Leaf Blade after Tapu Lele took a decent amount of damage from Selmer’s Manectric. One of the biggest things that has held players back from using Virizion is its damage output, and I think we got a first-hand look at exactly that. I make the comparison to Kartana since, offensively as physical attackers, they both offer Leaf Blade and Sacred Sword, it’s just Kartana has a better Attack Stat. You could try a special set on Virizion, but then you have to deal with the even lower damage output of Giga Drain and the shaky accuracy of Focus Blast.
Clefairy: Why use an un-evolved Pokemon like Clefairy. Well, Clefairy has access to Friend Guard and a redirection option in Follow Me just like Vivillon we talked about earlier. The difference here is Follow Me, which might be an even better method of redirection than Rage Powder since Follow Me isn’t ignored by Grass-types and Pokemon with Overcoat. This makes Jackson Finch’s Mega Tyranitar a lot less scared of Pokemon like Kartana, Ferrothorn and opposing Amoonguss. And to address the opening question, Clefairy being an un-evolved Pokemon means it can use the Eviolite item, making it pretty bulky despite being not fully evolved.
Countering Mega Metagross
There was only one Mega Metagross team in Costa Mesa’s Top Cut, and a big reason for that might be the presence of so many Pokemon that counter it in the rest of Top 8. I think players are shifting to Fire-types primarily in their choice of Mega Evolutions like Charizard and Camerupt. Trick Room modes with Camerupt and even Mackley’s choice of Alolan Marowak are great answers to Mega Metagross, and the success of these players can be likely attributed to their great matchup against the format’s most popular Mega Evolution.
Another great answer to Mega Metagross is Foul Play which we saw on two Pokemon in Costa Mesa’s Top 8. Alolan Persian being the obvious example, but Joseph Selmer opted for Foul Play on his Porygon2. Along with being a great answer to Mega Metagross, Foul Play can also help against the ever popular Belly Drum-boosting Snorlax.
Aside from countering Metagross specifically, the inclusion of Pokemon like Tapu Lele and Kartana are indications of players preparing for the other aspects of common Mega Metagross teams like Amoonguss, Tyranitar and Tapu Fini. I think we’re beginning to see a shift in the metagame, and I think it will start at the Mega Evolution as well as the Island Guardian slot for many teams.
That’s a wrap from Costa Mesa, as yet another exciting weekend of Pokemon action comes to a close. The action will continue in the month of March as we still have three regional championships left this month. It’s sure to be a crazy next few weeks in the world of Pokemon VGC, and we’ll be here to cover it all.
Thanks for reading!
Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Pokemon Shuffle, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International
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