The Moon Series phase of VGC 2019 has just begun, and players are likely using this time to figure out new strategies for a new metagame. As of now, the metagame has remained somewhat faithful to the appearance of the Sun Series metagame with restricted Pokemon like Xerneas, Kyogre, and Lunala still dominating usage stats.
Yveltal was an underrated pick for a restricted Pokemon during the Sun Series. However, it saw its fair share of success throughout the format. However, Yveltal never really held the spotlight and it remained an above average pick at best.
After Raghav Malaviya’s win at the Anaheim Regional Championships at the end of the Sun Series, it seems as though the scene was reminded just how strong Yveltal is. As we transition into Moon Series, Yveltal’s usage has only gone up, and here’s why this Pokemon will finally have its time to shine.
A Plethora of Positive Matchups
Don’t let Xerneas scare you, Yveltal has plenty of good matchups going for it right now. Lunala is currently one of the most popular restricted Pokemon. In the Sun Series, restricted pairs containing Lunala accounted for nearly 25% of teams that appeared in a Regional or International-level Top Cut. One Pokemon that Lunala absolutely hates facing off against is Yveltal, as Lunala is 4x weak to Yveltal’s onslaught of Dark-type attacks. Lunala is by no means an easy Pokemon to deal with thanks to its ability Shadow Shield, but Yveltal is one matchup that can make Lunala feel utterly powerless.
Of course, Lunala isn’t the only favorable matchup Yveltal has right now, the list goes on. Lunala’s seventh generation mascot partner Solgaleo is likely to start seeing more usage thanks to its signature Z Move, and another Psychic-type means another potential victim for Yveltal. Speaking of Solgaleo, Necrozma-Dusk Mane is slowly creeping back up in usage as well, and that’s yet another Psychic-type restricted Pokemon that hates going up against Yveltal.
Aside from the restricted Pokemon, the list of good matchups goes even further. Kartana and other Grass-types can hardly damage Yveltal while Yveltal drains their HP with its signature move Oblivion Wing. Toxicroak, one of the most popular Kyogre checks in the game, is another Pokemon that can struggle to damage Yveltal that also happens to be weak to Oblivion Wing.
Bottom line: Yveltal has a ton of popular matchups in its favor, and that list will potentially go even further in the next section. Don’t let Xerneas scare you.
A Perfect Blend of Offense and Utility
Even though Yveltal’s pool of popular moves rarely expands outside of the Dark-type, that’s really all it needs most of the time. The thing is, each of Yveltal’s Dark-type moves have a different purpose, and work extremely well together on the same moveset. You have Knock Off to deal a ton of damage and remove items, Sucker Punch for one of the strongest priority attacks in the game (factoring in the boost from Dark Aura), Snarl to lower both opponents’ Special Attack, and Foul Play to destroy physical attackers.
Outside of the common Fairy-types in the VGC 2019 metagame and Incineroar, Dark is not a commonly resisted type meaning very few Pokemon actually like switching into Yveltal. Heck, even Xerneas doesn’t like to deal with the threat of its Power Herb getting knocked off.
Along with its exceptional offense, Yveltal boasts great utility as well. Snarl is a wonderful move that is easily spam-able in a metagame full of strong special attackers. The combination of Snarl and Foul Play gives Yveltal a way of dealing with both physical and special attackers, and having them both can easily win you an endgame against a Swords Dance boosting Groudon or a slower Kyogre. Yveltal also has access to Tailwind giving it a way to control the speed in order to put itself and the rest of your team in a better position. On top of all that, it can even use Roost to recover its lost HP because it certainly has the defensive bulk to survive a long battle.
What you should take away from this article is that Yveltal is not only a great Pokemon in the VGC 2019 metagame right now; it’s a great Pokemon period. It has numerous strengths, such as fantastic matchups, exceptional offense, varied utility, and customizable options in how fast or defensive you want to use it.
The best part is, Yveltal can make a great Z move user too, but it can easily succeed without it. Players have preferred the Assault Vest since it adds to Yveltal’s already impressive bulk, but allows it to take advantage of its amazing offensive kit.
Yveltal is a Pokemon that looks primed to have success in VGC 2019’s Moon Series, and if it’s not on your team already, you better be prepared to face it at your next event.
Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Pokemon Shuffle, The Pokemon Anime, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International