With the return of Mega Evolutions into Pokemon VGC, they have once again become central elements of teambuilding. However, a lot has changed since the early days of Mega Evolution such as the altered speed mechanic as well as the nerf to some abilities and moves. Because of these changes, we’ve seen some significant shifts in usage compared to year’s past, and some different Mega Evolutions have risen to the top. In no particular order, here are five of the best Mega Evolutions in Pokemon VGC right now.
1. Mega Metagross
We’ve discussed Mega Metagross before, but now we have a better idea of how this Pokemon performs. And believe me, it performs well. The typical Mega Metagross core featuring either Tapu Lele or Tapu Fini, Tyranitar and Zapdos has been racking up results left and right and its mainly due to what Mega Metagross brings to the table. Metagross was one of the biggest benefactors of the speed mechanic change as now it’s able to take full advantage of its base 110 Speed stat as soon as it Mega Evolves.
Also, Mega Metagross hits a lot of popular Pokemon. Hard. Tough Claws plus Mega Metagross’ base 145 Attack stat makes any attack from this monster hurt a lot. In addition to its hard-hitting STAB moves like Iron Head and Zen Headbutt, moves like Ice Punch and Stomping Tantrum give Mega Metagross ways to KO some of its biggest counters. Mega Metagross pretty much has it all. Great typing, move pool, stats and synergy with many of the metagame’s best. Depending on who you ask, Metagross could be the best Mega Evolution in the format.
2. Mega Charizard Y
Like I said, Mega Metagross depending on who you ask, and some players might say Mega Charizard Y is even better. Mega Charizard Y’s main tool is its ability to set up the Sun with the Drought ability. This doesn’t make every Charizard team a “Sun” team per se, as Charizard itself is usually the only one that relies on the sun. But when the sun is out, Mega Charizard Y does damage with a beastly Special Attack stat and a boost to its Fire-type attacks. Having the sun out also gives Mega Charizard Y an excellent coverage option in Solarbeam which doesn’t have to charge an extra turn thanks to the sun being out.
The sun is great for Charizard, but the rest of the team can benefit as weather control can stop opposing weather, making matchups against the popular “Rain” archetype much easier. Synergy-wise, Mega Charizard Y forms a solid core with Landorus-Therian and Cresselia, mixing offensive pressure with defensive pivoting. Many Charizard teams have their fast, offensive mode with a Trick Room option usually available. A great example of this would be Cedric Bernier’s team that won the recent Dallas Regional Championships.
3. Mega Kangaskhan
Oh what a fall from grace has befallen Mega Kangaskhan. From winning event after event the past three years, the once most popular Mega Evolution had one Top Cut appearance in the first two 2018 regionals. But does that mean Mega Kangaskhan is bad or washed up? Definitely not as good, but certainly not bad. Sure, Mega Kangaskhan lost some power with Parental Bond’s nerf and the ability to boost her Attack stat with Power-up Punch, but Mega Kangaskhan still hits pretty hard. The nerf to Sucker Punch’s power also hurts, but these power adjustments have allowed Mega Kangaskhan to open up its moveset as well as its potential builds a lot more.
Instead of focusing on all-out speed and power, Kangaskhan can afford to be built much more bulky and defensive in order to accommodate more investment into its attack power. Mega Kangaskhan can now afford to run moves like Protect and Ice Punch which give it better offensive matchups and defensive plays. And being a Normal-type means Mega Kangaskhan is still as splash-able as ever, being able to fit on a number of different team compositions. Despite how hard this Pokemon has been nerfed, it’s still one of the best Mega Evolutions out there, and usage stats seem to agree.
4. Mega Salamence
Mega Salamence is also a victim of a slight nerf to its power with its ability Aerilate being weakened, but also the influx of meta-defining Fairy-type Pokemon hasn’t been great for it either. Still, Mega Salamence remains a threat as an offensive powerhouse. Flying is one of the best offensive types in the game and Mega Salamence can take advantage of that both on the physical side and special side thanks to its great mixed-attacking stats. A powerful single-target option in Double Edge and a great spread option in Hyper Voice give Mega Salamence two main means of offense that are effective in snagging KO’s or dealing consistent damage.
With the popularity of Tapu Fini, Dragon-type attacks have fallen out of favor for many Pokemon, but Mega Salamence didn’t seem to mind too much. Not having to run Draco Meteor means Mega Salamence can easily accommodate Tailwind onto its moveset giving it a way to support its teammates. Also, you can’t go wrong with a Mega Pokemon that has access to Intimidate before it Mega Evolves. But speaking of teammates, Mega Salamence can work well with a good amount of solid Pokemon, including the aforementioned Fairy-types. Mega Salamence can even default to a 2018 version of the 2015 archetype dubbed “Japan Sand” where it forms a threatening offensive combo with Tyranitar and Excadrill. Like Mega Kangaskhan, Mega Salamence had huge amounts of success in year’s past, and despite nerfs can still hang near the top today.
5. Mega Gengar
While Mega Gengar does fall behind a couple other Mega Evolutions in terms of Top 5 usage, I still believe it is worth being put in the Top 5 best Mega Evolutions category. The reason being is that Mega Gengar is the perfect counter to the metagame, and teams made with it have done just that. The influx of Fairy-types that has crippled Mega Salamence has done wonders for Mega Gengar. Not only does Sludge Bomb hit many popular Pokemon for neutral or super effective damage, but many teams also find it hard to switch into Mega Gengar’s Shadow Ball as well.
While Mega Gengar does excel on the offensive side, its support options as well as its ability Shadow Tag are where it really shines. Mega Gengar’s third move slot often includes moves that are aggravating to go against such as Disable or Perish Song that are even more annoying while Gengar traps its opponent’s in with Shadow Tag. Shadow Tag allows many different aspects of a Mega Gengar to shine including the infamous Encore+Disable combo with Whimisicott, cycling of Intimidate, Perish Trap and most recently a better set-up for Kommo-o’s Z move. Mega Gengar’s ability to control can steal games very easily, and with an even better metagame matchup now than it has had in previous years, Mega Gengar is proving to be the premier counter to 2018’s established metagame.
Of course “the best” aren’t the end-all be-all, especially in competitive Pokemon. One of the biggest story lines of the early months of the format is just how much variety exists in the 2018 metagame. Mega Evolutions are central to this new wave of diversity, with many more than these five winning tournaments across the world.
I think you know where this is going.
Next time we’ll be covering five underrated Mega Evolutions in VGC 2018 that have the potential to take first at the highest level.
Thanks for reading!
Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International
Featured Image from Pokemon The Series: XY&Z
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