One of the closing remarks from our interview with the 2018 North American International Champion, Jeremy Rodrigues, was particularly intriguing. Rodrigues believes that Mega Metagross isn’t the call for Worlds, which is odd considering the amount of success it has had this season.
If the 2015 World Championships taught us anything, the best team in the format is more than capable of sweeping the biggest event of the season. However, the 2014 World Championships showed us that the top Pokemon in the format, Mega Kangaskhan, could be shut down completely. Let’s evaluate how the best Mega Evolution in VGC 2018 could perform at this year’s World Championships.
The Top of Its Class
Of course one of the biggest arguments for Mega Metagross is that it’s simply the best. Great speed, amazing offense and respectable bulk makes it the complete package for an offensive Mega Pokemon. While most successful Metagross teams have many of the same Pokemon in common, Jeremy Rodrigues’ recent victory should prove that versatility is yet another one of this Pokemon’s strengths.
Being the best brings along the fact that Mega Metagross, and its most popular team compositions, are some of the most consistent strategies in the current metagame. Look at any of the past results for either regional or national-level events and you will surely see at least one Mega Metagross, Tapu Fini/Lele, Amoonguss, Landorus, Zapdos, Incineroar/Tyranitar team in a majority of Top 8’s. Just look at the current number one player in the world, Alessio Yuri Boschetto.
Boschetto won the Oceania International Championships with Metagross and Tapu Lele, and since then has accumulated over 2,000 Championship Points with a team similar to what Justin Burns used to reach the finals in Columbus. An easy call to make for the World Championships would be to see at least one standard Mega Metagross team in Top Cut.
The One Matchup Players Will Be Prepared For
This was Rodrigues’ main issue with Mega Metagross going into Worlds: players are ready for it. The fact that this team has been so consistent and has been in the Top Cut of tournaments across the world have actually hurt Mega Metagross’ viability. It’s like Rodrigues said in our interview:
“I was very surprised that Justin Burns made finals with the team he had. I thought it was one of those teams by this point in the format people wouldn’t really lose to at a high level. I could be wrong about this, but on the Worlds stage, especially in day two and Top Cut, there will be players with good matchups against that standard team and be like ‘Oh, I just win’ or ‘Oh, I’ve prepped for my matchup against this and have a team that’s slightly more unorthodox which means my opponent won’t know how to play against me.’ “
While I don’t necessarily think a player will see this team in team preview and think that they auto-win, it could be a much easier round for a player that knows their matchup. One of the biggest things players like to capitalize on, especially for the World Championships, is unpredictability. This is why teams like Sejun Park’s 2014 team and Wolfe Glick’s 2016 team won it all. They were different. Even Shoma Honami’s CHALK team from 2015 had surprising tech moves on what are normally super standard Pokemon.
A well-played Mega Metagross team could easily earn a player a spot in Day 2 or in the Top Cut of the World Championships, but it won’t be an easy team to win the whole thing with.
Mega Metagross is the best Mega Evolution in the format, but it has been toppled a number of times this season. There are three other Mega Evolutions that players should have their eyes on as means of countering Mega Metagross.
Mega Gengar will likely be the most popular choice, as this Pokemon’s play style of heavy control is favored among high-level players. Not to mention that Mega Gengar has an objectively good matchup against Mega Metagross as it is both faster and able to KO most Mega Metagross in one shot.
I say almost as Mega Metagross can be built to survive an attack from Mega Gengar, but Metagross surely doesn’t appreciate being trapped with an endless cycle of Intimidate lowering its Attack stat. This Mega matchup will be one of the major storylines of the tournament as many believe that Mega Gengar is the favorite to take Mega Metagross down.
Mega Charizard Y is another Mega Evolution that has grown in popularity alongside Metagross, and it’s another Mega Evolution that usually has a pretty good time against Metagross. Mega Charizard Y is mainly the reason why early variants of the standard Mega Metagross teams ran Tyranitar. The fact that Mega Metagross teams usually require a hard counter to Mega Charizard Y is a testament to the high threat level that Mega Charizard Y poses.
The last Mega Pokemon I’ll mention is one that Jeremy Rodrigues claimed he was quite the fan of. Mega Tyranitar spent most of the early days of VGC 2018 as Mega Metagross’ sidekick, but recently it has started to move out from under the shadow of Metagross. With its recent victory at the Valencia Special Event and its Top 8 placing at the North American International Championships, I’d say Mega Tyranitar has a shot. While Tyranitar absolutely hates the Tough Claws-boosted Iron Heads that Mega Metagross throws around, Mega Tyranitar teams either have the sand-abusing Excadrill or a strong Fire-type Pokemon like Volcarona or Rotom-Heat to threaten Mega Metagross out. Also, after a single Dragon Dance Mega Tyranitar has the speed to outrun Mega Metagross and the power to one-hit-KO it.
The storyline of Mega Metagross’ success at the World Championships as the format’s most popular Mega Evolution will certainly be one of the biggest to come out of Nashville. If that story were to end in Metagross’ defeat, the most interesting thing to find out will be which Pokemon caused its downfall. Many suspect that Mega Gengar is primed for a comeback to take down Mega Metagross, but the format has proven that there are countless other ways to beat this dominant Pokemon.
Of course, many players still believe in Mega Metagross, and some players may try to alter the standard formula into a team that is unique enough for the Worlds stage. One player to watch out for will be Alessio Yuri Boschetto, as it seems unlikely that he will abandon the team that earned him the title of number one in the World.
Whether Mega Metagross succeeds or flops in Nashville remains a mystery for now. In just a month, we’ll have our answer.
Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International.