mega glalie vgc

Mega Glalie: The Only Legal Mega Evolution in VGC 2018 Without Championship Points

Since the creation of VGCStats, competitive players have had access to a database of all of the Pokemon in the current format that have earned Championship Points. On the front page of their site, you can see the copious amount of points that have been earned by format staples like Landorus-Therian. You can also see how much success some unconventional choices have seen at tournaments.

On Twitter, VGCStats likes to share metagame reports regarding usage and CP earnings after different tournaments or parts of the season. One of the most popular reports was of how many Mega Evolutions that yet to earn any CP. While starting with ten, the list gradually decreased after their first report. The majority of the list, from Mega Latios to Mega Audino, was cleared in a matter of weeks… but there is still one left. The last Mega Evolution to earn CP in the 2018 format is none other than Mega Glalie.

Is Mega Glalie really that bad?mega glalie vgc

In doubles…it’s not great.

Glalie is a Pokemon that got the short end of the stick as a concept. You have a giant, angry ball of ice with mediocre stats and the worst defensive typing in the game.

Actually, scratch mediocre. Glalie’s base 80 stats across the board are pretty rough. But Glalie’s Mega Evolution should have fixed that problem with the 100 base stat total increase that comes with it, right? No, not really.

Mega Glalie gets 20 more points in Speed and 40 points in both its Attack and Special Attack stats, making it a much better offensive threat. It also gets a neat ability in Refrigerate, which turns all Normal-type moves into Ice-type moves with a 20% boost.

Unfortunately for Glalie, it remains a pure Ice-type and its mediocre defensive stats, so it likely won’t last long in battle. Have fun with those Rock Slides and Heat Waves.

Even with the boost to its Speed, base 100 is an unforgiving Speed tier with other popular Mega Evolutions like Kangaskhan and Charizard being right there with it. It also doesn’t help against faster threats like Mega Metagross, Kartana and Tapu Koko, just to name a few. Mega Glalie is fast relative to most Pokemon in the metagame, but not fast enough to be anything special.

Let’s talk about that boost to Glalie’s attack power. Base 120 is pretty solid for attacking stats, but Glalie’s coverage leaves something to be desired. Glalie’s coverage includes. Ice-type moves, Normal-type moves that will turn into Ice-type moves, some Dark-type moves and Earthquake. Beyond that, you don’t have much to work with.

The unfortunate thing is that Glalie has no way to boost its stats, meaning that it’s stuck with what it has. 120 might make those Refrigerate-boosted Returns or Double-Edges hurt, but Earthquake struggles to knock out a Heatran with some bulk in it.

Mega Glalie as a Pokemon is quite underwhelming, but we’ve seen some weird stuff earn CP this season. Maybe there are some good matchups for it in VGC 2018.

Does Mega Glalie have a place in the format right now?

Not really.

If there’s one Pokemon Mega Glalie hates going up against (that just happens to be the Pokemon that most recently took over the metagame), it’s Incineroar. Not only is Incineroar a Fire-type, but Intimidate reduces Mega Glalie’s threat status to a minimum. As an Ice-type that uses only Ice-type moves, Mega Glalie isn’t capable of dealing too much damage.

While one of the most popular Pokemon in the game (Landorus) is x4 weak to Ice, most Landorus users have Choice Scarf and Superpower/Rock Slide on standby. That means that Landorus doesn’t have much need to be afraid of Glalie. One of the biggest rising stars in the metagame is Kommo-o, which is weak to Ice, but it’s also a Fighting-type.

It seems like Mega Glalie’s bad matchups outweigh its good ones, which, admittedly, are very hard to come by.

Hypothetically, if you were to use Mega Glalie in VGC 2018, how would you use it? The best thing you could do would be to go for an all-out attacker with either Double-Edge or Return for your main source of damage. You could throw in Earthquake for coverage and Protect to round out the set.

Your third move? Explosion. Mega Glalie is the only Pokemon with an -ate ability (Aerilate, Pixilate, etc.) that has a boosted Explosion thanks to one of these abilities. It’s meant to be a last ditch move, and it does good damage to everything that isn’t a bulky Pokemon (like Snorlax, Cresselia, etc) or an Ice resistance. The idea of letting your Mega Evolution go boom doesn’t sound too great though, especially with the potential for your opponent to Protect right into your Explosion.

Is there any hope for Mega Glalie?

At this point in the season, the answer to that question is yes and no. Anyone using Mega Glalie to any major success isn’t likely. That said, it isn’t impossible for Mega Glalie to earn Championship Points.

There are still many Premier Challenges and Mid-Season Showdowns left for the season, and there are a fair amount of players that have already qualified for the World Championships. If anyone cares enough to get Mega Glalie the tiniest bit of CP, it will likely happen at one of these smaller events. As for players who are most likely to do it, this author’s bets are on either Jamie Boyt or Ashton Cox. Cox is infamously known for using not-so-serious sets at tournaments when he has little on the line. With that in mind, it’s possible to see him create his own Mega Glalie team.

Currently, this author is leaning more towards Boyt, especially after he teased the world with this tweet:

From the sound of this tweet, it looks like the Mega Glalie dream is dead. But there’s a chance it still lives.

Boyt and Cox have not been afraid to bring crazy spectacles to big tournaments. Considering that they are both comfortably high in CP total, players in Columbus should watch out.

With the season almost over, time is running out for Mega Glalie. While all of Glalie’s Mega Evolved brethren have earned Championship Points, Mega Glalie continues to rot in obscurity. Will someone eventually come to it’s rescue? Time will tell.



You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

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mega blaziken

Mega Blaziken Fires Up the Metagame! – VGC 2018 Underrated List

Ever since Incineroar showed up, it has been hard for other Fire-types in the 2018 metagame to find a place on a lot of teams. Mega Charizard Y has dominated the Fire-type Mega Evolution slot for years. Only a couple other mega evolution appearances include the likes of Mega Camerupt and Mega Blaziken.

Mega Blaziken seems like it’s turning into one of the most popular anti-meta Pokemon in the format. The sheer amount of offense Mega Blaziken teams possess can easily overwhelm a team that isn’t prepared. However, with such a focus on offense, using Mega Blaziken means you can rarely play safe or defensive. Let’s see how a Pokemon built on the strategy of “high risk, high reward” fares in VGC 2018.

Stats & Typing 

FireFighting

mega blaziken

Being a Mega Evolution naturally means that Mega Blaziken has solid stats across the board. As mentioned before, Mega Blaziken’s focus is on offense, which is reflected in both its Attack and Special Attack. This gives Mega Blaziken the ability to not adhere to just one side of the attacking spectrum, as it can use both physical and special moves effectively. One of the biggest upgrades it gets is in its Speed stat which is 20 points higher than normal Blaziken. This allows Mega Blaziken to out-speed many common threats even before a Speed Boost. Base 80 in HP and Defense aren’t too bad, considering Blaziken’s defenses receive a slight boost from Mega Evolving. However, you shouldn’t count on this Pokemon soaking up a lot of hits.

Fire and Fighting is an amazing offensive typing, and Mega Blaziken has both the stats and moves to back it up. Other than Incineroar and the occasional bulky Water-type, Fire-type attacks have very few resistances in the metagame, allowing Mega Blaziken to inflict a lot of damage. The other half of Mega Blaziken’s offense comes from his Fighting typing. This allows Mega Blaziken to approach in many different ways. Mega Blaziken is fortunately one of the few Fighting-types that can deal with Fairy-types better, thanks to it being half Fire-type.

Even though Mega Blaziken has a few defensive advantages, it still has to deal with all of the other woes of being both a Fire and Fighting-type in VGC 2018. Being a Fire-type means that Mega Blaziken struggles to break through bulky Water-types like Tapu Fini. Fighting-type attacks may do well against Pokemon like Porygon2 and Snorlax. Though, compared to the rest of the metagame that’s dominated by Fairy-type Pokemon and bulky Psychic-types like Cresselia and Gothitelle, using a Fighting-type becomes a bit more challenging.

Move pool

Mega Blaziken can find use for both moves on the physical and special side, so that’s how we’ll be dividing up this category.

Physical

  • Flare Blitz: The go-to Fire-type attack for most Fire-type physical attackers. While there’s recoil that makes this move risky to use, Mega Blaziken’s focus, again, is to inflict as much damage as possible. With that in mind, this move delivers very high damage, and showcases Mega Blaziken’s offensive capability quite well.
  • High Jump Kick: One of many of Blaziken’s high-damaging Fighting-type attacks. Though, this one is probably one of the least advised to use. The reason being that Protect and the high chance of missing, meaning you could easily whiff this move and lose half of Mega Blaziken’s HP for nothing. If you want to gamble like a Pheromosa in VGC 2017, then feel free to try out High Jump Kick.
  • Rock Slide: A fast Rock Slide is never a bad option in VGC, and Mega Blaziken can deliver. Having this move available usually solves most Mega Blaziken teams’ matchup against Mega Charizard Y, so its worth it for coverage.
  • Superpower: Not as risky as High Jump Kick, but definitely not a means of consistent damage output. Superpower may be 100% accurate, but you do have to deal with the drops in Attack and Defense after a successful use of it. A good option for a Swords Dance set where you can boost your attack to the point of not worrying about the single stage drops to Mega Blaziken’s Attack stat.
  • Low Kick: The physical Fighting-type attack with the most “consistent” damage output. While Low Kick never misses and doesn’t lower stats, this move’s power is entirely dependent on the weight of your target. Great for Pokemon like Tyranitar and Snorlax. Not so great for Porygon2 and Kartana.
  • Thunder Punch: Thankfully, Mega Blaziken has a way of dealing with bulky Water-types, though the damage here isn’t the greatest. Mega Blaziken that run ThunderPunch usually have a Tapu Koko on their team for the Electric Terrain boost.
  • Swords Dance: If your team has the proper means of support, Swords Dance can be devestating for an opponent. After just one use of Swords Dance, Mega Blaziken can start picking up one-hit-KO’s left and right. Many players usually like to opt for coverage over set-up on Mega Blaziken, but Swords Dance is by no means a bad option.

Special

  • Overheat: The go-to Fire-type attack for Special and mixed variants of Mega Blaziken. Like Superpower, this move drops Mega Blaziken’s stats (this time a two stage drop to Special Attack), but the damage output is worth it. This works out fine on mixed sets that have physical moves to work with, so the drop in Special Attack doesn’t matter too much.
  • Focus Blast: If you’re feeling as risky as High Jump Kick, Focus Blast is pretty much the Special equivalent. 70% accuracy often feels like 20% after some extended play with this move, causing many competitive players to advise against using it.
  • Hidden Power: Hidden Power might be a move that every Pokemon has access to, but Mega Blaziken is a solid candidate for Hidden Power Ice. With Mega Blaziken’s Special Attack, it can easily pick up one-hit-KO’s on two of its biggest counters in Landorus and Mega Salamence.

Mega Blaziken’s Physical move pool is a lot better than its Special one, leading many players to opt for mixed sets rather than just strictly Special ones. Physical-based sets are the most popular right now, but mixed sets are effective enough to not be discounted when seen.

Ability: Speed Boost

The ability that got Mega Blaziken (and normal Blaziken) banned from Smogon’s OU singles metagame is what also makes it a huge threat in doubles. Speed Boost raises Blaziken’s Speed by one stage every turn. This is insane, coming from an already fast Pokemon. What’s even better is that Protect is even more usable in doubles, making turn one pretty much a free speed boost for Mega Blaziken. With just one boost, Mega Blaziken can out-speed a lot of common Choice Scarf Pokemon. With two, it can even ignore an opponent’s Tailwind in most cases. This ability is amazing, and it allows Mega Blaziken to become a huge threat after being in the battle for just a single turn.

Checks and Counters

Bulky Water-types

tapu fini mega blaziken

Even though Thunder Punch is an option for Mega Blaziken, it surely won’t pick up KO’s on Pokemon like Tapu Fini, Milotic and Suicune. To handle this weakness, Mega Blaziken appreciates a Grass or Electric-type teammate.

Cresselia

Mega Blaziken cannot touch Cresselia at all, making it a hard counter to it. Not only that, but Cresselia can easily spam Icy Wind to negate Mega Blaziken’s speed boosts or just set up Trick Room to flip the speed order.

Landorus-Therian

Intimidate+Earthquake is a horrible combo for Mega Blaziken to go up against. Luckily, Mega Blaziken can out-speed even the fastest of Landorus after one speed boost and do massive damage with Flare Blitz. If you want to OHKO Landorus-Therian though, then consider having Hidden Power Ice.

Mega Salamence

Intimidate+strong Flying-type damage is another combo Mega Blaziken hates going against. Unfortunately, unlike Landorus, Blaziken can’t touch Mega Salamence with Fire or Fighting-type moves, so Hidden Power Ice or a potentially weakened Rock Slide are the only way to damage it.

Good Teammates 

Bisharp

bisharp mega blaziken

Physical-attacking Mega Evolutions in VGC 2018 like to have a Pokemon that does well against Intimidate, and this is where Bisharp comes in. Bisharp does well against the Psychic and Fairy-types that Blaziken hates. Meanwhile, Blaziken can handle Incineroar pretty well for Bisharp. These two have such great synergy that Bisharp+Mega Blaziken is considered an archetype by many players.

Tapu Koko

An answer to the bulky Water-types and having Electric Terrain to boost Mega Blaziken’s Thunder Punch. Tapu Koko’s high speed combined with Blaziken’s high speed make these two a solid offensive duo.

Tapu Lele

Having Tapu Lele paired with Mega Blaziken reminds me of the days of Tapu Lele and Pheromosa back in VGC 2017. The combination of Psychic/Fairy and Fire/Fighting is a strong offensive combo, and these two have the capability to do massive damage if left unchecked.

So why use Mega Blaziken?

mega blaziken anime

If you’re a player that enjoys playing hyper offense, this is the Pokemon to build your team around. With a great offensive typing and solid offensive moves and stats, Mega Blaziken can dent opposing teams without much help. It does have to watch out for the occasional Landorus or Tapu Fini, but it does well against the increasingly common Mega Gengar team archetype.

Also, Mega Metagross is still around, and Mega Blaziken loves that matchup.

 

Mega Blaziken may not be the most consistent or popular Mega Pokemon out there, but the surprise factor and ability to overwhelm opponents is probably why its been picking up in usage as of late.

The last time we did an “Underrated List” piece on a Mega Evolution was for Mega Scizor. Shortly after, it won an International Championship.

Perhaps some big-time success isn’t too far off for Mega Blaziken too.



You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

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mega aerodactyl

Mega Aerodactyl went from 0 Championship Points to over 700 in one day

One Mega Evolution emerged from nothing and is now the talk of the Pokemon VGC community. The Taiwan Open that happened this past weekend saw its Top Cut dominated by none other than Mega Aerodactyl. A Mega Evolution that previously had zero 2018 results to its name earned a grand total of 720 Championship Points in just one tournament. What’s even more crazy is that the four Mega Aerodactyl teams that made it to the Top 8 and the two that made it to Top 16 were identical in terms of Pokemon. Let’s try and figure out what drew players to such an obscure strategy.

Mega Aerodactyl itselfImage result for mega aerodactyl

Thanks to a team report from a player known as “Sayha” who placed in the Top 8 at the Taiwan Open, we know pretty much how the entire team is meant to work. But let’s start with the star of the show. The Mega Aerodactyl moveset is one based on support with moves like Tailwind and Sky Drop. Rock Slide is in there of course because as Sayha mentions in his report “Rock Slide is the best move.”

According to Sayha, Aerodactyl even has utility before it Mega Evolves with its ability Unnerve. Unnerve prevents Pokemon from consuming their berries which comes in handy against a Belly Drum Snorlax. Sky Drop is a move that can disrupt the opponent by carrying one of their Pokemon into the sky for a turn. This can allow Pokemon like Xurkitree to set up a… Substitute? I was expecting Tail Glow, but I guess Sayha thought having Beast Boost would be enough to buff Xurkitree’s attack power. Also Sky Drop’s damage is boosted by Mega Aerodactyl’s Tough Claws ability, but its main means of offense in Rock Slide is not since it doesn’t make contact.

The idea of a support Mega Evolution isn’t crazy, but I don’t think Mega Aerodactyl seems like the best pick. Sure, you’ve got great support moves like Sky Drop and Tailwind, but what you get from Mega Evolving leans more towards offense with Tough Claws. Perhaps the insane amount of speed Mega Aerodactyl gets when it Mega Evolves is the key. At Mega Aerodactyl’s ridiculous 150 base speed, you’re pretty much guaranteed fast Sky Drops and (more importantly) fast Rock Slides. Maybe there is some potential here.

The teamImage result for xurkitree

The Sky Drop strategy with Mega Aerodactyl is mainly to support the team’s other interesting member: Xurkitree. Despite not having Tail Glow, this Xurkitree is easily able to start boosting since it’s holding the Electrium Z. With the immense amount of pressure that both Xurkitree and Mega Aerodactyl put on, Xurkitree’s set up is pretty hard to stop.

The two sources of Intimidate on the team make sense as Xurkitree and Mega Aerodactyl are rather weak on the defensive side. Interestingly, the Landorus on this team has a Jolly Nature plus a Choice Scarf which suggests that this Landorus was valued more for speed than attack power. Incineroar isn’t packing Protect yet its holding a pinch berry, but like Landorus, it carries U-Turn. This duo is likely meant to pivot in and out of battle to not only cycle Intimidates but also disrupt the opponent with Incineroar’s Fake Out and a potential flinch from Landorus’ fast Rock Slide.

The last two members are fairly standard with Ferrothorn and Tapu Fini. The Tapu Fini is a tad different as it carries Haze as a support move and Hydro Pump as its main Water attack over Muddy Water. This is likely due to the Tapu Fini holding the Waterium Z which is something that has been picking up some popularity over in the West as well.

Overall, the team is very focused on setting up Xurkitree, without much offense existing outside of that. Still, Pokemon like Incineroar, Tapu Fini and Ferrothorn are able to score KO’s in the right situation and hey, there’s always Rock Slide flinches.

What a team we have here.

The impact on the West

If it wasn’t obvious already, the results from the Taiwan Open have definitely already caught the western VGC scene’s eye. Usually, us westerners are focused on tournaments from Japan or Korea, but rarely do teams from regions like Taiwan pick up popularity over here. The scenes may be smaller, but regions like Taiwan and even Malaysia have been having quite an impact on the western VGC metagame. And we haven’t even gotten to the main events in Japan and Korea yet.

While some western players will try to directly emulate this team, I predict some will try to adapt it to their own style. Will we be seeing Mega Aerodactyl start to dominate tournaments in the West? Smart Money is on “no”, but there’s no doubt that it’s viable. The Taiwan Open results have shown us that there are still undiscovered strategies and Pokemon that have yet to be explored in metagame that appears to be in its later stages. I’m sure it won’t be long before Mega Aerodactyl drops into another Top 8. Only this time, it’ll be on the other side of the world.

Thanks for reading!

Check out Sayha’s team report here. (It’s written in Chinese, but the moves/abilities are in English)

Also, check out the stream of the Taiwan Open here.

Here are the rest of the teams from the Taiwan Open courtesy of @ChienX2_VGC on Twitter!



You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, The Pokemon Anime, Bulbapedia, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

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mega scizor

Mega Scizor is real steel – VGC 2018 underrated list

Recently there’s been a new Mega Evolution that’s been creeping its way into relevance. From Top 32 at North American Regionals to Top 8 at the Malaysia Open, Mega Scizor has been slowly making its way higher and higher in tournament results. Scizor has, admittedly, dropped off since its glory days in 2012 and 2013, and its Mega Evolution hasn’t done much in VGC since its release. In the 2018 format however, some players think there’s hidden potential for this once amazing threat.

Stats & Typing

BugSteel

The main thing that makes Mega Scizor stand out immediately is its beastly Attack stat. This Pokemon is meant to do damage, but it can also take a few hits. The low HP kind of sucks, but the rest of Mega Scizor’s relevant stats (basically every stat besides Special Attack) are very solid. Mega Scizor’s Speed is also fairly mediocre, but Scizor’s claim to fame makes its Speed stat nearly irrelevant. We’ll get to that soon enough.

Mega Scizor’s typing is a huge double-edged sword, but not in the worst way. With a typing of Bug and Steel, this gives Scizor only one weakness to Fire… a x4 weakness to Fire. To be honest I’ll take that trade-off considering how easy that can be to work around. A fairly easy game plan for Scizor is to eliminate opposing Fire-types so that Scizor can win the game.

Offensively, a Steel-typing is great for the plethora of Fairy-types in the metagame. The Bug-typing… not so much. The positive thing for Mega Scizor is that it relies more on its Steel-typing, and its option for a Bug-type move is one of the best ones in the given VGC metagame.

Ability

I preface the move section because Scizor’s ability is what makes its move selection so great. Technician is one of the best offensive abilities in the game for Pokemon like Scizor. Technician boosts the power of all attacking moves with base 60 or less base power by 50%. This turns priority attacks like Bullet Punch into basically a Steel-type Extremespeed (in terms of damage) and Bug Bite into more than just a utility attacking option for Scizor. This wonderful ability basically turns weaker moves that often have utility into moves that can also deal devastating damage.

Let’s talk about a few of them.

Moves

bullet punch

Bullet Punch in action in the anime.

I normally list off every viable move for a Pokemon in this section, but for now we’ll keep it simple. Here are the three moves 99% of Mega Scizor will carry on a typical set (minus Protect of course).

Bullet Punch: The bread to Mega Scizor’s bread and butter attacking combo. This move single-handedly makes up for Mega Scizor’s middling Speed stat since it has priority. While being able to one-hit-KO Tapu Lele, this move unfortunately becomes ineffective if Psychic Terrain is present in the field. If your team has a way of getting rid of Psychic Terrain then Mega Scizor is really able to show off its power. After just one Swords Dance boost, Bullet Punch comes pretty close to KO’ing many common Pokemon. Unless you’re a Fairy-type which in that case you just drop.

Bug Bite: And now the butter. Bug Bite is an amazing utility move for Bug-type Pokemon, but Technician turns this attack into a very reliable means of damage output. In a metagame riddled with berries, Bug Bite allows Mega Scizor to heavily cripple Pokemon like Snorlax by eating its berry. This also works well against popular bulky Psychic-types like Cresselia and Gothitelle which will often just be KO’ed by a boosted Bug Bite from Scizor. With the ability to steal berries, Scizor kind of has access to recovery without having to run Roost, but using Bug Bite comes at the risk of snacking on a berry that might confuse Mega Scizor based on its Nature.

Swords Dance: As if Mega Scizor didn’t have enough Attack power, Swords Dance allows you to double it in one turn. With Scizor’s solid typing, defenses and ability to force defensive play, getting up a Swords Dance is fairly easy to do. Bug Bite and Bullet Punch are still kind of weak even with the Technician boost, but Swords Dance turns many two-hit-KO’s into one-hit-KO’s.

Other options

Even though I said those previous three moves would be on a majority of Mega Scizor movesets, there are a few options that remain viable.

Roost: A recovery option so that Mega Scizor can stick around longer. Replacing Swords Dance or one of your attacking moves doesn’t seem worth it unless you decide to give up Protect.

U-Turn: A solid attack in general that allows you to pivot, but U-Turn is much better in singles than in doubles. Plus why would you want to switch out after getting a boost off anyway?

Superpower: Fighting-type moves are nice in the 2018 metagame, but Bullet Punch can easily handle Tyranitar and Superpower doesn’t do nearly enough to Porygon2 or Snorlax to make it worth running. Again, probably a better option for singles when you have more move slots to work with.

Checks and counters

Fire-typesImage result for mega charizard y icon

I’m sure you saw this coming. Pretty much any Fire-type attack in the game will one-shot Mega Scizor outside of Rain so keeping this thing out of the way of Pokemon like Charizard and Heatran is essential. Like I said, eliminating opposing Fire-types usually means a much easier time for Mega Scizor winning you the game.

Bulky Water-typesImage result for milotic shuffle

We have kind of an Incineroar situation here where you can cripple these bulky Water-types by taking away their berries, but you can’t really do much else. Especially if these Water-types like Tapu Fini, Milotic or Suicune have Scald (which they often do) they can land a burn on Mega Scizor which pretty much makes it dead weight.

Zapdos Image result for zapdos shuffle

Unless Zapdos is holding a berry, Mega Scizor does absolutely nothing to this Pokemon. Combine that with the fact that most Zapdos run Heat Wave making this an almost unwinnable matchup for Mega Scizor.

Viable teammates 

RainImage result for politoed shuffle

Having rain on the field allows you to weaken Mega Scizor’s sole weakness to Fire. Not only that but having Rain reliant Pokemon means Water-types that make it even easier to dispatch of opposing Fire-types. Ludicolo is also great because disruption from Fake Out can allow for a much more free Swords Dance.

Landorus-TherianLandorus (Therian)

While this Pokemon seems like a good teammate for everything, it works well for Scizor as an offensive partner. Intimidate can weaken physical attacks to the point where they’ll be doing negligible damage to Mega Scizor, and Earthquakes from Landorus also help you deal with Fire-types.

Tapu Koko/Tapu FiniImage result for tapu koko shuffleImage result for tapu fini shuffle

These two are here so that you can turn the Terrain into your favor. Both work for different archetypes as Tapu Koko works well on rain-based teams while Tapu Fini works on more balanced/standard compositions. Tapu Bulu also technically works for a Terrain other than Psychic, but the shared Fire weakness makes these two largely incompatible.

So why use Mega Scizor?

Image result for mega scizor gif

While great Steel-type options for teams already exist, Mega Scizor is another one to add to that list. Its typing gives it longevity as long as you keep it away from Fire-types and it has great utility as well as attack power. The way you play Scizor in general is by far one of the most vanilla strategies as far as sweepers go, but it’s nothing short of consistent. With Mega Scizor on your side, you’re usually just one Swords Dance away from Bullet Punching your way to victory.

Thanks for reading!



You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

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alolan persian vgc 2018

The Purr-fect Partner! – VGC 2018 – The underrated list

To celebrate Jamie Boyt’s recent victory at the Malmo Regional Championships, let’s cover one of the star members of his team: Alolan Persian. The original Persian never really got a lot of love, but Persian’s new Alolan Form has slowly been creeping its way into the competitive mainstream. With a completely new type and a lot of new mischievous tricks, Alolan Persian could be the missing piece your team is looking for.

Stats & Typing

Dark

Aside from its Speed stat, Alolan Persian’s stats are mediocre to say the least. The only thing that changed from normal Persian was the shifting of 10 stat points in Attack to Special Attack which is pretty insignificant. Luckily, Persian doesn’t have to rely on its offense, and the one attack many players use on their Persian turns their opponent’s high stats against them. We’ll get to that in a bit.

That Speed stat isn’t the best out there, but it’s fast enough to put Persian above some of VGC 2018’s biggest threats. Being able to out-speed the likes of Mega Metagross, Kartana and Mega Kangaskhan (to name a few) is huge for Persian’s ability to disrupt the opponent as it will usually strike first.

Persian’s new Dark-typing made it a bit weaker on the defensive side, but it did wonders for its move pool. Having such low defenses means that it is quite susceptible to faster threats like Mega Salamence and Tapu Koko, and the weakness to Fairy-types makes Tapu Koko quite a pain to deal with. Like I said, we’ll get to why Alolan Persian’s Dark-typing is so great once we talk about its moves.

Move pool

Learned by level-up

  • Quash: Let’s start with a bit of a weird one. Quash is a move that suppresses a target’s move so that it goes last in the turn. Usually you prefer this move on a Pokemon with Prankster in order for it to have priority, but Psychic Terrain and Prankster’s ineffectiveness against Dark-types has nerfed the ability quite hard. Luckily, Persian gets around this with its great speed, and has the ability to use this move on a number of popular Pokemon. This move isn’t as effective in 2018 just because of how many faster threats exist, but pair this with a Belly Drum boosted Snorlax and you have a powerful sweeping duo.
  • Fake Out: Again, Persian’s speed does wonders for its role as a Fake Out user. Persian can start its disrupting shenanigans early with a first turn Fake Out to give its partner a much safer turn.
  • Feint: If Persian could have 5 move slots, Feint would be a great fifth move. The ability to break Protect is another tool that Persian has to make it a great partner for a set-up Pokemon, as Feint is one of the best moves to punish defensive plays. Unfortunately, this move doesn’t make it onto many Persian’s movesets just because of how many better options are out there.

Learned by TM

  • Taunt: A fast Taunt is another plus for Persian. If your opponent decides to lead with a Pokemon with Trick Room or Tailwind, Persian can usually shut them down with Taunt. This move is also a great tool against the ever popular Amoonguss as it shuts down Amoonguss’ ability to re-direct and put things to sleep. It also works against offensive threats by not allowing them to boost with moves like Dragon Dance. If Taunt isn’t somewhere else on your team, Persian is a great Pokemon to have it on.
  • Thief: Like Quash, this is more of a tech or a fun move to use. With the plethora of “pinch” berries in the metagame, Persian can make use of a fast Thief in order to steal and heal using another Pokemon’s berry. As if Persian wasn’t a great answer to Snorlax already.
  • Swagger: I wouldn’t advise using this move, but since Persian has access to Foul Play, it may not be too terrible. The chance to confuse is great, but by boosting your opponent’s Attack, you give Persian an even more powerful Foul Play too. Again, this move is the definition of a gimmick and I would use it at your own risk.
  • Snarl: Persian gets access to a better stat-decreasing move, but if you want a move that can hit both of your opponent’s Pokemon, Snarl isn’t a bad option. This is the first of many great new moves that Persian has access to thanks to its Dark-typing.

Learned by Breeding

  • Foul Play: Easily the go-to offensive option for Alolan Persian. Foul Play is a move that does damage based on the opponent’s Attack stat, and with the plethora of strong physical attackers in VGC 2018, this move can be devastating. If Swagger potentially exists somewhere on your team, this becomes an even better move for Persian.
  • Parting Shot: This is Persian’s claim to fame. Parting Shot is a bit of a lesser known move with the great power to not only switch Persian out of battle but also lower the target’s Attack and Special Attack. With Persian’s excellent Speed, this move becomes one of the best ways to pivot and re-position your team. It doesn’t have the best synergy with Foul Play, but the ability to weaken your opponent’s team and switch out into a potential sweeper is huge.

Learned by Move Tutor

  • Knock Off: After its buff in power back in the sixth generation, Knock Off is easily one of the best moves in the game. Is it great on Persian? Not really. Persian’s speed is another great thing for this move, but trying to fit it on a move set can be a challenge. Plus, Knock Off relies on Persian’s offensive stats which will end up putting out pitiful damage even with the boosted damage.
  • Icy Wind: Did anyone else know that Persian got this move? Well Jamie Boyt was on top of this great tech. Having access to both Icy Wind and Parting Shot on the same Pokemon is what made Alolan Persian the perfect pick for Jamie Boyt’s team, and it is a fantastic combo of moves.

Abilities

Fur Coat: This new ability for Persian gives it some pseudo defensive bulk. The reason I say “pseudo” is that Fur Coat only applies to moves that make contact, so attacks like Rock Slide and Earthquake still might hurt a bit. Still, Persian welcomes this natural boost to its bulk, allowing for more investment on the special side to round out its defenses.

Potential held items

TagMago.png“Pinch” Berry: Persian may not have the best defenses, but you’d be surprised how often it gets knocked into the range for “pinch” berry recovery. Increasing Persian’s staying power just makes it even more annoying to deal with, and that’s exactly what you want.

Black GlassesBlackGlasses: Jamie Boyt used this item on his Alolan Persian simply to boost the power of Foul Play. This tiny extra boost helped a lot of his Swagger+Foul Play damage calculations, but that extra damage can also be crucial for picking up a KO on Mega Metagross. This item will certainly become less useful when players start running more defensive variants of Mega Metagross, but right now this item is pretty good.

Darkinium ZDarkinium Z: A Z move on a Pokemon with no offense? Well our main concern here is Z-Parting Shot. Z-Parting Shot not only gives you the effect of regular Parting Shot, but it also fully heals what ever Pokemon you switch into with Persian. This is a very good late game move that can easily catch your opponent off-guard.

Checks and Counters

Fairy-typestapu koko Alolan Persian VGC 2018

All of the Island Guardians (bar Tapu Bulu) give Alolan Persian a hard time. Any form of strong, Fairy-type damage like Moonblast, Dazzling Gleam and/or Play Rough are attacks Persian doesn’t enjoy taking. Some Persian are built to survive an unboosted Dazzling Gleam from Tapu Koko, but you can forget about taking a Moonblast from Tapu Fini or Tapu Lele.

Special Attackers

Fur Coat only protects Persian on the physical side, making Special Attackers the bane of its existence. Along with the plethora of Fairy-types, Persian doesn’t deal well with Pokemon like Mega Charizard Y or Mega Salamence with Mega Salamence being especially troublesome since it out-speeds Persian. Don’t rely on Persian eating up any Special hits unless the opponent has been Parting Shot-ed a couple times.

Good Teammates 

Set-up Sweepersmega charizard x Alolan Persian VGC 2018

One of the main reasons you would use Alolan Persian is if you have a Pokemon that can set-up and sweep. Parting Shot gives these Pokemon an extra layer of defense, making their set-up all the more free. Good examples include, and are not limited to:

  • Mega Tyranitar (or normal Tyranitar)
  • Mega Charizard X
  • Mega Gyarados
  • Tapu Fini
  • Snorlax

So why use Alolan Persian?

alolan persian anime Alolan Persian VGC 2018

If you intend on using any Pokemon that likes to set-up using Calm Mind or Dragon Dance, Alolan Persian is an amazing partner. The disruption ability that Alolan Persian brings to a team with the combination of Fake Out, Parting Shot, Taunt and Icy Wind makes it one of the best support Pokemon in the game potentially. And probably one of the most annoying. This Pokemon might be underrated, but I expect it to be on many players’ radar after its regional victory thanks to Jamie Boyt.

Thanks for reading!



You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, The Pokemon Anime, Bulbapedia, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

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entei vgc 2018

Entei spits Sacred Fire! – VGC 2018 – The underrated list

One of the biggest improvements in 2018 over the 2017 format is the plethora of new Fire-type Pokemon at players’ disposal. VGC 2017 was a metagame starved of viable Fire-types, and with an entire Pokedex to work with, Arcanine is nearly drowned out. Many players have been going with the typical choices like Heatran or Volcarona, but like I said we have an entire Pokedex to work with. This Fire-type comes from a trio you wouldn’t expect to see more than one member used successfully.

Suicune is usually the sole representative of the legendary beast trio, but we’re here to talk about its volcanic brother: Entei. Entei had some viable placings in the 2015 format, but it’s usually not a player’s first choice when picking a Fire-type. I’m here to make a case for Entei, and how its role on a team can be valuable for many matchups in the 2018 metagame.

Stats & Typing

Fire entei vgc 2018

entei vgc 2018

Being basically a legendary Pokemon, it’s no surprise that Entei’s stats are solid all-around. Entei’s stats place it in the role of a physical attacker that can choose to focus on speed or bulk. It can speed-tie with Charizard and it out-speeds Pokemon like Landorus-Therian making Entei a great pick against Sun-based teams. While Entei’s Special Attack isn’t too shabby, you’ll likely want to focus on the physical side for reasons we’ll get to later.

As a pure Fire-type, Entei is weak to many common attacking types, especially attacking types with strong spread attacks like Earthquake and Rock Slide. Without access to its Hidden Ability Flash Fire or any ability that’s better than Pressure, Entei is sort of stuck with its unfortunate weaknesses. However, Fire-types are actually pretty valuable in the early VGC 2018 metagame with the abundance of Grass and Steel-types. Entei’s type coverage also gives it ways to deal with opposing Fire-types making it a solid check to other popular Fire Pokemon like Heatran.

Movepool

Entei’s movepool is infamous for being shallow, but it has recently gotten access to moves that have helped its type coverage immensely.

Learned by level-up

  • Sacred Fire: By far the most useful move in Entei’s arsenal is Sacred Fire, which was a move previously exclusive to Ho-oh. Sacred Fire has a 50% chance to burn the target and is a base 100 power physical Fire-type attack. This move does have low PP and doesn’t have 100% accuracy, but this attack will be Entei’s main means of damage output.
  • Eruption/Lava Plume: Some cool Special Fire-type attacks Entei gets, but you’re better off using Sacred Fire.

Learned by TM

  • Roar: The move infamous for allowing Entei to flee as a roaming legendary actually has some competitive viability as well. Roar can be used to phase out Trick Room setters or set-up reliant Pokemon like Snorlax.
  • Flame Charge: Another Physical Fire attack that can make Entei just a bit quicker.
  • Will-O-Wisp: If you’re looking for a more supportive move for Entei that has a better chance of burning a foe, Will-O-Wisp is a good choice. Personally, I’m not really a fan of Will-O-Wisp on Entei mainly because Sacred Fire is right there.
  • Stone Edge: Remember how I said Entei was good against Volcarona and Charizard? Well here’s your way of one-hit-KO’ing both of them.
  • Bulldoze: One of two Ground-type options Entei has that aren’t Earthquake. You can lower your opponent’s speed, but you’ll lose out on a lot of damage. If you’re looking for support, go with Bulldoze, but if you want damage stay tuned.
  • Substitute: As a Pokemon with many great matchups, Entei forces a lot of Protects, switches and double targets onto it. Substitute is a great way to capitalize on your opponent’s defensive plays and protect Entei from those attempted double targets.
  • Snarl: I’d consider Snarl the perfect fourth move for Entei if you decide to give it an Assault Vest or just don’t run Protect. Snarl can cripple powerful Special attackers which Entei can struggle with at times, and disrupting your opponent’s damage output can help the rest of your team as well.

Learned by Move Tutor

  • Iron Head/Tail: Entei doesn’t really need Steel-type coverage, but the option is there.
  • Stomping Tantrum: Finally a decent Ground-type attack for Entei. This is your way of KO’ing Heatran and dealing with other grounded Fire, Poison and Rock-types.

Potential held items

Firium ZFirium Z: Entei has a high attack stat and a powerful Inferno Overdrive off of Sacred Fire. If your Entei build is all about damage, consider this Z Crystal.

TagMago.png“Pinch” Berry: Mago, Figy and Aguav Berries are all great items to get Entei’s health back in a pinch. Entei’s bulk is good enough to make use of an item like this, almost making it like a 2017 Arcanine.

Assault VestAssault Vest: Entei’s Special Defense is its worst stat and the Assault Vest not only helps it, but also promotes Entei’s strong attack stat. I know I said Entei’s movepool isn’t that great, but there’s definitely enough in its arsenal for a solid four move set.

Checks & counters

Landorus-TherianImage result for landorus there entei vgc 2018

Entei doesn’t like Intimidate, Earthquake or Rock Slide making Landorus a hard matchup for it. Luckily Landorus is unaffected by Terrain effects so Sacred Fire will always be able to burn it. Also Entei (most of the time) will have the speed advantage making it even more likely for Landorus to get burned.

Water-types Image result for suicune entei vgc 2018

Rain, Tapu Fini and Suicune are the notable examples that hard counter Entei. Entei has absolutely nothing to hit Water-types super-effectively and can really only use Snarl to decrease damage onto it.

Strong Special AttackersImage result for tapu lele entei vgc 2018

Unless you’re using an Assault Vest, Entei will struggle taking Special hits. Strong special hits such as Tapu Lele’s Psychic, Tapu Koko’s Gigavolt Havoc and Hydreigon’s Draco Meteor are not good news for Entei despite how bulky you build it.

Good teammates

Bulky Water-typesImage result for tapu fini entei vgc 2018

This is mainly due to the fact that pairing Entei with a Water-type is two thirds of a Fire/Water/Grass core and Entei can deal with Grass and even some Electric types that threaten a Water-type partner.

Mega SalamenceImage result for mega salamence entei vgc 2018

As a Dragon-type, Salamence benefits from Entei’s ability to deal with Ice and Steel-types while also being a switch-in for Ice and Fairy attacks.

Mega MetagrossImage result for mega metagross entei vgc 2018

This pair might hate Landorus, but Entei can help a Metagross team a lot by dealing with opposing Charizard teams. Entei has the coverage to deal with most Fire-types making it a great teammate for any Steel-type.

So why use Entei?

entei gif entei vgc 2018

Entei is the non-conventional Fire-type that you’ve been looking for. This literal beast has great stats, a serviceable move pool and can help a team against many common matchups in the metagame. It may not have access to a great ability or some of its better attacking moves, but Sacred Fire pretty much makes up for all of Entei’s shortcomings in its movepool. Entei has potential, and I assure you that it is more than capable of giving a team the heat it needs to make an excellent tournament run.

Thanks for reading!



You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, The Pokemon Anime/Movies, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

pokemon 2018 london international championships

Concerns going into the 2018 London International Championships

While the coming London International Championships seems like a last hurrah for the 2017 VGC season, there are a few things to consider going into this tournament. A common issue that plagued the International Championships last season was controversy that popped up during or after each respective event. The International tournament in London this year has its own fair share of issues that are worth noting despite the excitement surrounding the event.

VGC 2017 is old news

pokemon 2018 london international championships

I think it’s fair to say that some players are done with VGC 2017. This season has been an exciting one, but the format itself has gotten rather stale. With such a small regional Pokedex like Alola’s, it’s going to be difficult to break the metagame, especially after an entire year of tournaments. Basically, expect to see a lot of teams that look… familiar. Considering it has been a full month since the last major tournament, there hasn’t been a lot of development in the metagame. With this uncertainty, players might default to teams that have shown consistency in the past.

And to think we still have two regional championships after London before the format officially switches over.

Attendance cap

pokemon 2018 london international championships

What caught many people off guard was the announcement that London hit its attendance cap for video game players. The initial cap announced for the Masters division was 680 players, and many are skeptical that London reached that many registered players. Is it possible that TPCI could’ve lowered the cap? If so, then why?

This news messed up many travel plans, and players are campaigning for TPCI to re-open registration. As it looks now, London has hit its cap, and it might be too late for those who planned to travel.

But at least there’s potential good news in all of this. The fact that London has nearly 700 registered players is promising considering how late into the 2017 format the tournament is. This could imply even bigger numbers coming next season.

Starting the snowball

One of the major criticisms of the London International Championships last season was how it began a snowball effect for players who were able to do well. To quickly explain, players with high Championship Point totals in the early parts of the season were eligible to receive travel stipends to other international events, allowing them even more opportunities to earn large amounts of Championships Points. This resulted in some absurdly high CP totals towards the end of the 2017 season, and the trend is looking to repeat this year.

What’s troubling about this is that we all ready have players who are qualified for the 2018 World Championships based on their results in the 2017 format. If anything, this will only screw over the players who’ve already qualified as their motivation to become skilled in the new format will be at an all-time low. It just doesn’t make sense that many players will have invites to a tournament with a format they haven’t even played yet.

Winter must be coming early, as London is promising nothing but more snowballs.

Pokemon Sun and Moon are about to be old news

pokemon 2018 london international championships

Oh right, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon release this Friday. At least players in London don’t have to worry about building 2018 format teams for a tournament happening the day after the next games come out.

Getting to my main point, the release of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will hurt interest in a tournament that is still being played with Pokemon Sun and Moon. Everyone will be too busy playing the new games instead of tuning into the stream from London. All I’m saying is that, interest in Pokemon Sun and Moon content will drop significantly after this Friday and viewership for even a tournament as big as London will likely take a sizable hit.

All of these concerns are worthy of acknowledgement, but we shouldn’t let these ruin our enjoyment of what is shaping up to be VGC 2017’s last hurrah. The International Championships have been the stage for some of the greatest matches of the entire season, and I would expect nothing less from London this year. Unlike last year, everyone will know what they’re doing, and more importantly, will be on top of their game for our viewing pleasure.

 


You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

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interview with pokeaimmd

From “Road to Top 10” to “Road to Ranked”: An interview with Joey “PokeaimMD” Sciarrone

With the growing popularity of the Pokemon Video Game Championships, many players well versed in the popular Smogon single battle format have been giving the official Pokemon tournament format a try. However, learning a completely new battle type and metagame may seem daunting to some, making the transition one that many are hesitant to make.

Joey “PokeaimMD” Sciarrone is a player and YouTuber that has been one of the number one sources for content regarding the Smogon format since 2010. Sciarrone has dabbled in the VGC format in the past, but recently he’s devoted a new series of videos to Pokemon VGC and has even begun competing seriously in official tournaments. While he’s no expert at VGC, his knowledge of the game and his overall strength as a player has made this transition between formats a lot more seamless. As one of the biggest names in the competitive Pokemon community, we decided to talk to Sciarrone and get his perspective on what the transition to VGC is like from the point-of-view of a singles player, and how players can best approach this transition.

What are some of the main differences you’ve noticed?

Aside from the obvious ones, like there being more than two Pokemon on the field at a time. One of the differences that Sciarrone speaks highly of is the adoption of best-of-three matches in higher level Pokemon VGC events. It’s valuable to Sciarrone that he’s able to adjust his strategies in-between games which is something that players on Pokemon Showdown! don’t usually have the luxury of. Sciarrone borrowed a team from 2016 World Champion Wolfe Glick to use at the Hartford Regional Championships, as he liked how the team functioned in best-of-three play, being able to utilize many different options in order to adjust to his various opponents. Currently, Sciarrone holds a 4-1 lead over VGC veteran Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng, with his first ever VGC set resulting in a win against such an accomplished player.

Another key difference Sciarrone pointed out was the increased importance of positioning in the VGC battle style. He mainly addressed the difficulty of lead matchups, and how your leads are essentially “half of your team” you’re immediately tossing into the fray. Switching and putting yourself in an optimal position becomes a lot trickier when a poor switch or prediction could cost you 25% of your team.

Lastly, despite his immense competitive knowledge about individual Pokemon, Sciarrone has struggled to learn the various double battle specific moves that some Pokemon have access to and commonly use. Some of the examples that Sciarrone pointed out were moves like Feint, Wide Guard and Sky Drop.

“I know the weight that’s too heavy for Sky Drop, but I still haven’t memorized all of the Pokemon that can’t be picked up. I had someone pass me a list of all of the Pokemon that can’t be picked up.”

What skills do you think have transferred over from your experience as a singles player?

Knowledge was one of the biggest things that transfers over according to Sciarrone. For those who don’t know about the Smogon tier system, Pokemon are ranked by tiers depending on their viability and overall usage. If you’ve watched any of Sciarrone’s YouTube content, you know that he’s quite experienced in all of the Smogon tiers, giving him a plethora of knowledge about what even the lowest tier Pokemon are capable of. Even so, there still remains the hurdle of learning the differences in how these Pokemon are used in double battles.

Aside from his wealth of knowledge, obviously his skill and play style have made a relatively easy transition. Sciarrone still is able to make defensive switches and predict his opponents in order to put himself in a better position. Speaking of his play style…

How would you describe your play style, and have you had to alter it for when you play a VGC match?

“Not really.”

Sciarrone is a player that values his positioning, and making the most optimal plays rather than relying on reads. Although, this isn’t how he started out when he first picked up the game competitively.

“I remember when I started out, I used to be a super aggressive player, but you know eventually your plays catch up to you.” 

After playing for this long, Sciarrone has been able to adapt his play style to accommodate the kind of team he’s using. In his videos, he’s used teams ranging from stall strategies to hyper offense. In a serious competitive match, Sciarrone will always be thinking six turns ahead, and rather than going for game off of a single play, he’ll play the slow game making it easier to set up a late-game win condition.

 “If I have the option to hit a Draco Meteor to win the game or get chip damage to make it easier to win later, I’m going for the chip damage.” 

One interesting point that Sciarrone brought up was the idea of knowing how experienced players play just because they’re good players. He mentioned a match that he had at the Hartford Regional Championships against Robbie Moore, one of only two players that managed to defeat Sciarrone in Swiss. “He mopped the floor with me,” Sciarrone said when describing their match. Apparently Moore was able to read Sciarrone so well because “he is a good player”. Sciarrone had another experience that resulted more in his favor when he played the finals match in a Smogon tournament.

“My opponent was someone who I knew, so I decided to switch up my play style and just play super agressive.” 

It seems like being an experienced player can make you, ironically, predictable at times according to players at the highest level. There also seems to be a collective fear for “lower ladder” and/or “unknown” players, as the unpredictability factor makes the match up potentially a lot more difficult than playing against a well-known player. Funny how that works.

Something that I noticed was that Sciarrone seems to share a similar play style to former World Champion Wolfe Glick, and I think that speaks for itself when considering Sciarrone’s potential to be a powerhouse in the VGC scene.

How do you approach teambuilding?

If you’ve watched any number of the live battle sessions on Sciarrone’s channel, you’ve notced that he rarely uses his own teams. This, of course, doesn’t mean Sciarrone hasn’t built a team in his life, but for VGC events, he’s often relied on outside assistance.

Sciarrone says that he hasn’t really built a VGC team all on his own, and has mostly relied on previously successful teams for use at tournaments.

“I like to play what wins.”

This might not seem like a popular sentiment as this seems to 1) feed right into confirmation bias and 2) suggest that Sciarrone doesn’t have the ability to be original. In Sciarrone’s defense, playing “what wins” isn’t a bad way to approach using a team at all. At the end of the day, players are trying to win a tournament, and while some players can pull of weird and creative strategies, some players like Sciarrone prefer consistency and results above all else. What’ll win you games is how well you play a team, rather than what team you’re using.

According to Sciarrone, this is also largely due to lack of familiarity with how certain teams built for VGC work. While Sciarrone can pick up nearly any singles team and be successful, he requires a lot more resources to fully understand how to play a VGC team.

“With singles you can hand me a pastebin and I’ll know how to play a team just like that, but with VGC I feel like I need an entire team report.”

What is some advice you can give to other players looking to get into VGC?

“Watch good players, and play a lot.”

Admittedly, sort of cliche advice, but Sciarrone has adopted a slightly different approach to his advice. Many players relay the advice of getting better by building experience and learning from the pros, but who says that has to be done alone? Sciarrone emphasized throughout our interview how valuable working with other players to learn the game has been for him in learning the VGC format. In addition to building your skills on your own, finding a network of people to improve alongside of will likely lead to much better results.

With 150,000 YouTube subscribers and now some Championship Points under his belt, Sciarrone has a promising future in the VGC scene. With his “Road to Ranked” series he’s already introducing a ton of his primarily-singles playing audience to the realm of Pokemon VGC, while he himself continues to improve as a player. Sciarrone looks to compete in the upcoming 2018 VGC season and it looks like he’s got a lot of support from his fans as well as players in the community who are welcoming him with open arms. He might still be learning, but don’t be surprised to see Joel Scarrione pop up in a regional-level Top Cut before too long.

Thanks for reading!


You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

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pokemon local tournament streams

Does this new rule change mean the end of local tournament streams?

In a wave of newly released information for Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the official Play! Pokemon rules document received some updates that have gotten the community’s attention. According to an update to section 2.2 players cannot enter official tournaments with a modified 3DS system; meaning 3DS systems with capture cards are not allowed for tournament use. Many members of the community are outraged at the implications of this rule, but there is a possibility that this ruling could be totally harmless.

Before that, a quick update regarding our last piece

 landorus pokemon local tournament streams

In our last article, we discussed a potential scenario where staple legendary Pokemon would not be allowed in the upcoming 2018 format. In a hilarious twist of irony, today a trailer was released confirming the return of every single legendary Pokemon in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

The speculation was fun while it lasted, and some of the analysis present in that piece is still relevant to a format where these Pokemon are allowed. While it’s not exactly accurate anymore, it’s still worth a read (in my completely unbiased opinion).

The ruling

capture card 3ds pokemon local tournament streams

A 3DS capture device often used by Pokemon content creators. (Image: 3dscapture.com)

“Section 2.2: Players should ensure that game systems with which they enter Play! Pokémon
tournaments are unmodified. Players found to be using modified systems may be subject to
disqualification and subsequent disciplinary action.”

-Taken from Appendix B of the official Play! Pokemon VG Rules document

What this ruling implies is that any 3DS system that has been modified in any way is not eligible for use in any official tournaments. This makes sense considering modified systems could indicate that a player has the means to alter their game state which is also prohibited.

What’s not clear is to what extent does the “modification” criteria go? Does this accommodate players with extended battery packs or are all modifications prohibited? One thing that’s for certain about this criteria is the outlawing of 3DS systems with installed capture cards.

Since there is no official hardware or software able to record game play from a 3DS, many content creators have resorted to third-party capture cards that must be installed into the system in order for both screens to be captured. In the most traditional sense, this would be considered a modification, and thus, prohibited from tournament use. The problem here is that local tournaments, as well as unofficial streamers, rely on this hardware in order to stream and record matches from smaller tournaments and larger tournaments without official coverage. The implication of this ban means that the use of 3DS systems with capture cards will be outlawed from tournament use entirely.

Or will they?

Check the wording

The rule does not specifically say that these modifications would be banned from tournaments entirely. It only says that players may not enter official Play! Pokemon tournaments with modified systems, and technically systems used to stream are not entered into the tournament.

There’s one problem though.

Technically, the systems being used to stream would be used by players during the tournament, so we have yet another area of ambiguity. Does this qualify as an “entered” system or consoles that are used for streaming outside of the tournament jurisdiction? Unless we get some sort of confirmation, we just don’t know.

Another important additiontapu fini pokemon local tournament streams

This rule isn’t exactly relevant to the previously mentioned one, but it is very important for those who are competing in any of the final 2017 format tournaments after Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon’s release.

“Section 1.4: Pokémon may only use moves that have been learned through normal gameplay or
from an official Pokémon event or promotion obtainable through a copy of Pokémon Sun or
Pokémon Moon. Players may not use moves that are exclusively obtained through use of a copy
of Pokémon Ultra Sun or Pokémon Ultra Moon.”

– Taken from Appendix B of the official Play! Pokemon VG Rules document

We already knew that move tutors were coming back, but this rule came as a bit of a surprise. Basically, moves only accessible via the move tutors in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon cannot be used by Pokemon that are currently usable under the 2017 rules. This was a rule not enforced back towards the end of the 2014 season, as move tutor moves accessible in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were allowed in VGC 2014 tournaments after the new games were released.

It’s reasonable why this rule would be in place, to keep the remaining tournaments under the same restrictions as the rest of VGC 2017. Having to learn, and more importantly get access to, the new tutor moves would be a daunting task for some in just under a month. I guess we’ll just have to wait until January for Tapu Fini to get Icy Wind.

In regards to our main point of discussion, does this new ruling mean the end of grassroots streaming content? I would say no, but at this point we have no official statement regarding the issue, so I honestly don’t know. I hope that the Pokemon Company realizes how much damage they would do to the competitive scene if this rule outlawed 3DS systems with capture cards. Stream coverage is already incredibly scarce in the scene, and hitting local streamers would only further inhibit the growth of the game. All we can do now is wait and see if TPCi will make the right choice.

Thanks for reading!


You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

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pokemon vgc 2018 legendary pokemon

What VGC 2018 could look like without the return of staple Legendary Pokemon

With the announcement of the Ultra Wormholes allowing players to catch legendary Pokemon in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, there remains uncertainty over which ones will be available. In preparation for the 2018 format, many players have taken to the Battle Spot Doubles online ladder in Pokemon Sun and Moon in order to practice for the upcoming format. This rule set allows the entire National Pokedex, with the exception of restricted legendary Pokemon as well as Mythical Pokemon, making it very similar to what we expect the 2018 format to be like. Although, the lack of concrete evidence we have on whether or not VGC staples like Landorus and Cresselia will be returning to 2018 leaves many players skeptical.

A National Pokedex format without the staples of the past would shake things up considerably for the 2018 season. Let’s take a look at what a potential 2018 meta game could look like without these legendary Pokemon returning.

Landorus (Therian Forme) landorus pokemon vgc 2018 legendary pokemon

Wreaking havoc on VGC since 2013 is none other than the infamous intimidating cat known as Landorus-Therian. Anyone whose played Pokemon competitively knows how powerful and versatile Landorus can be, and many players are hesitant in welcoming this Pokemon back. Landorus has access to one of the best abilities in the game in Intimidate while also being a great source of damage output. Replacing Landorus will involve looking to other Ground-types as well as other users of Intimidate.

For Ground-types, the easy answer is Garchomp. Garchomp is a Pokemon that has dominated formats in Landorus’ absence as it fills the role of a strong, Ground-type attacker. Garchomp may lack Intimidate, but the amount of offensive pressure it puts on with the ability to spam Earthquake makes it a great choice for a sweeper. Outside of Garchomp, the remaining options are admittedly niche, but other options exist.

  • Mamoswine: Of course I call other Ground-types “niche” but Mamoswine won a world championship in 2013. The typing of Ice and Ground is solid offensively as Ice hits the plethora of Dragons as well as other Ground-types and the Ground-type gives Mamoswine a powerful Earthquake. Mamoswine does lack speed and unfortunately has to deal with the defensive woes of being an Ice-type, but Choice Scarf has been an effective item to alleviate the speed issue. Just ask Arash Ommati.
  • Excadrill: The cover sweeper for the Sand archetype, but unfortunately that’s about as far as Excadrill goes. Like Mamoswine, Excadrill suffers from a low speed but Excadrill’s Sand Rush ability mitigates that entirely when paired with Tyranitar. Excadrill is a good Pokemon with Sandstorm, but lackluster otherwise.
  • Other Options: Mudsdale, Krookodile, (Mega) Swampert, Gastrodon

Intimidate is a much more widely available tool that many teams won’t have much trouble replacing. Salamence (and most likely Mega Salamence) will be players’ number one choice considering that we do have confirmation on the return of Mega Evolutions. Salamence has the ability Intimidate prior to Mega evolving, but the loss of Intimidate upon Mega Evolution turns Mega Salamence into a terrifying sweeper. But unlike Ground-types in VGC, many more viable options for Intimidate exist.

  • Mawile: Mawile is another case of a Pokemon that will primarily be used for its Mega Evolution, but its access to Intimidate makes it even more useful. Like Salamence, Mawile turns into a massive attacking threat upon Mega Evolution allowing it to serve similar roles as Salamence and Landorus, but perhaps a more popular choice for Trick Room teams.
  • Hitmontop: Despite the drastic increase in Fairy-type Pokemon, Hitmontontop has remained as a solid niche Intimidate user despite its less-favorable type matchup. Hitmontop can not only utilize Intimidate but also has access to great support moves like Fake Out and Wide Guard. As a non-Mega Evolution, I could see Hitmontop being high on the usage charts for Intimidate users.
  • Other Options: Gyarados, (Mega Manectric), Arcanine, Staraptor, Scrafty

Heatranheatran pokemon vgc 2018 legendary pokemon

With the increased usage of Fairy-type Pokemon, Heatran’s usefulness has skyrocketed. Heatran mainly plays the role of a slow, Special Attacking sweeper that functions well under Trick Room. When looking to replace Heatran, we’ll have to examine the available Fire and Steel-types at our disposal.

The Pokemon that most fucntions the most similarly to Heatran would be Mega Camerupt. Mega Camerupt isn’t the most popular choice for a team’s Mega Evolution, but its role as a slow, Fire-type Trick Room sweeper makes me think of Heatran. Of course, we should examine non-mega options considering Heatran does not compromise that slot.

Fire-types

  • Arcanine: The 2017 season may be ending soon, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Arcanine is going away. Many teams that didn’t feature Heatran in the 2015 format saw Arcanine as a solid option for a more defensive Fire-type. While Arcanine doesn’t function in the same way as Heatran, Arcanine serves a nice role as a more defensive Fire-type that can also do respectable damage.
  • Volcarona: Many players see potential in Volcarona as a Fire-type that can perform a sweeper role, but with a bit more speed at its disposal. Unlike Heatran, Volcarona has access to a boosting move in Quiver Dance that increases Volcarona’s Special Attack, Speed and Special Defense. Like Heatran, Volcarona also has a high Special Attack that can easily take advantage of a powerful Z-move whether it be Inferno Overdrive or another coverage option. Aside from the sweeper role, Volcarona can also play support as it does have access to Rage Powder, allowing it to redirect attacks away from its teammates. Volcarona’s power and versatility could make it a popular choice whether or not Heatran comes back.
  • Other Options: Alolan Marowak, Infernape, Heat Rotom, Chandelure

Steel-types

  • Celesteela: When I think of defensive Steel-types, Celesteela is the first one to pop up. Celesteela has already shown its dominance in the 2017 metagame, and if Heatran is missing from 2018, Celesteela will certainly thrive.
  • Aegislash: Aegislash has the ability to be defensive as well as offensive as it switches between its two forms. Aegislash mainly functions in the attacker role, but some Aegislash may carry Wide Guard in order to defend its teammates against Rock Slides or Dazzling Gleams. Like Celesteela, I predict that Aegislash will thrive in a metagame without Heatran.
  • Ferrothorn: Up to this point, I’ve only been exploring two options for each category, but I couldn’t talk about Steel-types without mentioning Ferrothorn. In a format without one of the strongest Fire-types in VGC, Ferrothorn will have a great time with its x4 weakness to Fire. Functioning similarly to Celesteela, Ferrothorn is able to win games just by sitting there and sucking the opponent’s health away with Leech Seed. If a team needs a defensive Pokemon, Ferrothorn is often a great choice.
  • Other Options: (Mega) Metagross, Bisharp, Bronzong

Cresseliacresselia pokemon vgc 2018 legendary pokemon

The queen of VGC needs no introduction. Cresselia has been an anchor for teams ever since it made its debut in the fourth generation, and 2018 will be no different if Cresselia is available in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Cresselia’s main role is a defensive Trick Room setter, but we’ve seen Cresselia function in many other roles making it into a Pokemon that can fit on almost any team.

Cresselia is a hard one to replace, as very few Pokemon can do its job as well as it can. Porygon2 is the first that comes to mind when thinking of a Cresselia replacement, as it too functions as the defensive Trick Room setter. However, Porygon2 can really only function in that role, which limits its usefulness, but in the 2017 season it was a staple for a team’s Trick Room mode. If Cresselia isn’t around, we’d likely see Porygon2 return to this role, but Porygon2 isn’t the only option for a team’s designated Trick Room setter.

  • Oranguru: One of the newer faces to the game was unfortunately overshadowed by Porygon2, but Oranguru has some tricks that separate it from the rest. Instruct is a move that will only become better as more Pokemon are available, and this direct support Oranguru can provide to Trick Room sweepers can make a sweep much easier to pull off.
  • Gothitelle: Gothitelle is another Trick Room setter with a unique trick up its sleeve: Shadow Tag. Shadow Tag allows Gothitelle to trap both opponents (as long as they’re not ghosts) which can be very difficult to break free from. This ability has great synergy with Perish Song as well as Intimidate as your becomes powerless in attempting to prevent their trapped Pokemon from being KO’d. If Cresselia isn’t around, expect Gothitelle to be a popular choice to replace her.
  • Other Options: Jellicent, Dusclops, Slowbro, Slowking, (Mega) Gardevoir

What lies beyond the Ultra Wormholes?

At this point we can’t be certain, and it’s likely we won’t find out whether these Pokemon await us in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon until the games are released. Until then, we have no choice but to play a guessing game about the upcoming metagame. Practicing on the Battle Spot Doubles ladder is the best bet we have right now for those looking to prepare for the 2018 season, but players should be cautious in determining their strategies.

In all honesty, we’ll likely have the opportunity to catch all of these legendary Pokemon due to the nature of the Ultra Wormhole mechanic, and how similar it looks to the rings found in the post-game of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. But that, much like the rest of this article, is purely speculation.

Thanks for reading!


You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Eric! (@aricbartleti)

Images from Pokemon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International

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