The new year is nearly upon us, and for Pokemon VGC that means a new chapter of the 2019 season is almost hear. VGC 2019 is uniquely split into three series (Sun, Moon and Ultra) with the Moon series beginning on January 1st, 2019. With all of the major Sun Series tournaments behind us, players have begun preparing for the introduction of Z Moves into VGC 2019.
Yes, the sole change coming to VGC 2019 courtesy of the Moon Series will be the introduction of Z Crystals, but this addition means major changes to the current metagame. “How?” You may ask. Well, we’re gonna tell you.
Heavy Hits Become Even Heavier
A format full of legendary Pokemon means a lot of powerful attacks are thrown out, and these legendary Pokemon will now have access to absurdly powerful attacks thanks to Z Moves. Many players shudder when they think of Water Spout from Kyogre, but imagine Hydro Vortex coming off of a full power Water Spout in the rain. To give that kind of power some perspective, with a Helping Hand boost, a 200 base power Hydro Vortex from Kyogre in the rain can KO even the most specially defensive Amoonguss and guarantee a two-hit-KO on an Assault Vest Ludicolo (with Ludicolo already having a x4 resistance to Water).
That’s one of the more extreme examples, but there are countless other restricted Pokemon with signature moves that could become even more devastating with a Z Crystal. The list includes, but is not limited to: Lunalium Z Lunala (Moongeist Beam), Solganium Z Solgaleo (Sunsteel Strike), Dusk Mane/Dawn Wings Necrozma (who can use both Solgaleo and Lunala’s signature Z Moves), Groundium Z Groudon (Precipice Blades), and the list goes on. Basically, think of any Pokemon that has a devastating move in its arsenal, and they’ll likely be a viable Z Crystal candidate.
Stronger Support Options
Not all Z Moves are meant for offense, and we could easily see an influx of cool new support strategies as well. First, let’s begin with Z-Tailwind. When powered up with Flynium Z, Tailwind grants the user an increased critical hit rate in addition to the effect of Tailwind. This has been popular for Pokemon like Kartana in the past since Kartana’s Leaf Blade already has an increased critical hit chance which stacks on top of any boost it gets. Players could even apply this strategy to the underrated restricted Pokemon Lugia, who’s signature move, Aeroblast, has an increased critical hit chance as well. Just a thought.
Another method of speed control is Z-Trick Room, which offers the benefit of increased accuracy to the user. A prominent benefactor of this stat increase is Bronzong who can abuse the usually inaccurate Hypnosis without the use of Gravity.
Even if a user of one of these moves doesn’t directly benefit from the stat boost, having access to the Z-powered version of a support move bypasses the effect of Taunt allowing for one free set-up opportunity. This can come in handy for Pokemon like Tornadus who risk being taunted in the mirror match, but Flynium Z can also be used for a Supersonic Skystrike off of Hurricane.
Other possible options could be the return of Z-Destiny Bond with Pokemon like Gengar and Mimikyu, Z-Geomancy Xerneas or even the infamous…Extreme Evoboost.
2019 is coming
The bottom line is Z Moves are going to dramatically change the VGC 2019 metagame in more ways than one. Not only will players have to deal with insanely powerful attacks coming from legendary Pokemon, but also a ton of unique support moves that will have their benefits improved upon with the help of a Z Crystal. Players are both excited, yet apprehensive towards this new format as it’s sure to make best-of-one play a whole lot more fun, yet simultaneously terrifying.
We won’t have to wait much longer to find out though, as the Moon Series is set to begin in just a couple of weeks! It’s nearly time to find out which Z Crystals will shine the brightest in VGC 2019.
Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International