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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The Pokemon VGC community’s campaign for change

It all started with a question. A simple question that proved difficult to answer. A question that would open mountains of discussion, outrage and pessimism. This discussion would become about how we, the community, can alter the future of Pokemon VGC for the better.

Regional numbers down

The original question that sparked this whole thing was the question of why tournament attendance has dropped drastically in the last few years. Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng tweeted a poll that attempted to answer this question with the help of his fans.

The two most popular answers were that regionals are “too expensive” (41% of the vote) and that they were “not worth travelling for” (36%). This poll then led to a massive reddit thread on r/Pokemon asking the same question. This is where the answer to this question becomes a lot more complicated.

Either before or after you continue reading I highly recommend you check out the post to get yourself up to speed in the discussion. Huge shout out to Jen Badamo (one of North America’s best judges and TO’s) for putting this together:

https://www.reddit.com/r/pokemon/comments/82knwb/why_dont_you_attend_pok%C3%A9mon_regional_championship/?st=JEHMQG11&sh=e30c83d4

Not worth it?

One of the most popular answers to this question is that regionals simply aren’t worth the time and money that it takes to travel, prepare and compete. In recent years, regionals went from being completely free to enter to now up to $60 for some depending on when you register. Let’s face it, we as a competitive community were a tad spoiled and newer players don’t know how good we had it. The thing is, venue fees for other Esport events is common (at around $40-$60) with most events charging an extra entry fee for entrance into tournaments. But why is this such an issue for Pokemon? Well, it’s because regionals themselves aren’t comparable to other Esport events, they’re mainly just tournaments. Reddit user ShreyasCR remarked on the fact that, “It’s really disappointing to walk into a Regional to only see lines of tables. The only difference between a regional and an MSS is the number of players, but there is nothing extra to spice up the event.” Basically, the regionals experience isn’t marketable at all, with even casual fans of Pokemon being alienated from an environment that only focuses on the competitive side of an entire multimedia franchise.

To be fair, I would argue that these entry fees are justified for events that exceed the regional level. At events like any of the four International Championships and Worlds, you get the full “event” experience even if you’re not a competitor. You have the live audience and stream to watch some of the best players in the world battle it out, but you also have side events plus a tournament that you can compete in. Regionals feel like just tournaments, not “events”.

Also, I think it’s fair to say that Pokemon has one of the highest barriers of entry to any competitive game. It’s not like a fighting game or a MOBA where the core gameplay translates pretty well to what’s being played at the Esports level. Pokemon has a unique divide between its casual and competitive audience where newer players essentially have to figure everything about how the VGC format works on their own.

And not to mention that raising a competitive team takes a lot of time. Imagine that you’re a player that spent weeks breeding, soft resetting, raising and testing a full competitive team only to win two out of eight or nine sets at a tournament. That’s beyond frustrating even for veterans who also dump a lot of time and money to travel to these events. Unfortunate results like these sometimes aren’t even attributed to bad play or teambuilding, bad luck can also create a horrible event experience, and that’s where Pokemon’s unique quality of frustration comes from. With not a lot of helpful, official resources out there to help players get better, new players aren’t going to want to stick around.

If you wanted to go even deeper, you could even complain about the way the tournament circuit itself works. The current system makes it so you have to travel to many events to earn an invite, with earning results early in the season (like at the European International Championships) being crucial to earning said invite. That’s more time, more money and more frustration to get to the biggest event of the year. I’m not a fan of the argument that VGC is “pay to win” since doing well at tournaments still requires a lot of skill and luck that money can’t buy you. Still, it becomes an enormous time and money commitment if you’re not one of the players who is snowballing through Championship Points after earning stipends from your early season success.

Speaking of the tournament structure, the local scene barely exists in some areas. Aside from the fact that many regions and players don’t even have tournaments that are close to them (which doesn’t allow for any real-life tournament practice), local tournaments aren’t really worth much to players trying to earn an invite. Premier Challenges and MidSeason Showdowns have best finish limits (unlike regionals and internationals) with PC’s only awarding 15 points for a win and MSS’s only awarding 50. Attendance matters at these events not only to develop the local scene, but also for players to even earn points from the event.

I know, I’ve been going on a long time, but there’s still more.

Streams and uploading of VOD’s

Image result for pokemon vgc stream

Recently, a well-known YouTube channel known as “jt pkmn” was removed from YouTube after several claims were made against their channel. This channel essentially uploaded matches from grassroots and official tournament streams without any permission from the original streamers. This individual was also monetizing the videos which is absolutely not okay. The takedown of this channel was both a good and bad thing, with the takedown hopefully leading to more good.

Let’s start with the bad. As a journalist and also someone who plays VGC, I relied on these VOD’s being easily accessible so that I was able to catch tournament matches I may not have been able to see live. I liked this channel simply for the idea behind it, but I was not in support of it stealing all of its content. Now, hundreds of uploaded battles are gone from YouTube which is a huge blow to the resources available.

Now for the good. The good thing is that this channel was punished for stealing content, and now that presence doesn’t exist. Imagine being a grassroots streamer who is casting the entire weekend only to return home to all of their content already uploaded with thousands of views on each video. What’s the point of re-uploading them to your own channel then? It’s easy for some to point fingers at these streamers and even Pokemon themselves for not uploading VOD’s immediately, but you have to consider the position these people are in. Along with casting, these people often times have full-time jobs and…well, a life besides Pokemon. Many efforts right now are focused on creating a system for future tournament VOD’s to be uploaded, and all these people ask is that you give them a little bit of time. I recommend checking out this tweet from Duy Ha (official Pokemon caster/commentator) that preaches a simple, yet honest message: “support your streamers”.

Now let’s address tournament streams themselves. One of the biggest turnoffs for viewers of all experience level is the viewing experience of a typical Pokemon VGC tournament stream. Unlike most other competitive games, Pokemon has a significant amount of downtime between the action. This goes for in-game with time between turns and animations to the tournaments themselves having long breaks in-between rounds. A big concern for commentators and streamers is how do you fill that downtime? The official streams do a decent job with videos, graphics and even some analysis segments from the casters. Still, the time between matches can still feel large at times, and I think what people want is more from the casters. More on-camera content from the casters seems preferable to just scrolling graphics and repeated videos to most viewers, and even things like match analysis or even another streamed match could fix this problem.

Let’s go back to the point I made about the divide between the casual and competitive Pokemon fan base. There is a humongous task that rests on the commentators to explain what is happening in a match so that it makes sense to newer players or casual players. When a viewer who isn’t familiar with VGC tunes into a tournament stream they’re going to be filled with questions like, “Why am I watching a double battle right now?” Casual players are familiar with battle mechanics, but are likely unaware of a ton of other battle mechanics that are really never brought up in a casual play through. There brings up another question about how we can make content more appealing to a casual or newer viewer? A question that still raises debate as we go forward.

Where is the Pokemon Company in all of this?

pokemon company international logo pokemon vgc community

Largely absent. What all of this boils down to is the lack of communication players have with The Pokemon Company International (the organization largely responsible for Play! Pokemon tournaments). Most people in the community feel like we’re just screaming into a void as issues like this seem to keep popping up every single year. A recent controversy deals with how players that placed higher than the Top 32 at the Oceania International Championships didn’t have their Championship Point totals recognized in consideration for travel awards to the Latin American International Championships. That’s unacceptable, and many players are outraged that this problem likely will not be resolved. Again, it’s easy to point fingers, this time at TPCI, and say that they don’t care about their competitive scene. I disagree. Think about it, if TPCI didn’t care about VGC, we’d still have best-of-one, single elimination events until Worlds. It’s clear that TPCI is paying attention, but not taking enough action. Instead of spamming them with support tickets, the community wants a reliable mode of communication between TPCI and it’s player base. Instead of relying on them to do things, why can’t we just work together?

The situation, admittedly, looks bleak at the moment. The hashtag #PokeFraud is being seen more and more on Twitter from the community, which is not a good look for us. All we can do now is keep talking. Discussing, not arguing. Campaigning, not complaining. If enough voices speak up, we will be heard. Things can, and will change for the better if we keep up this discussion in a productive way. In the meantime, support your streamers, TO’s and everyone who works above and beyond to make the competitive Pokemon experience worth remaining in. When you’re at tournaments, be polite and social with your opponents and anyone you happen to talk to. In order to survive we need to keep bringing in new players and retaining our veterans.

It has been a long week, but I’m remaining optimistic for the future. Regardless of how you look at it, big change is coming to VGC, and I believe we can and will evolve.



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)

Featured Image from ESL Australia on Twitter 

Images from Pokemon (Twitter/Twitch) and The Pokemon Company International

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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)

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Pokémon Day

Is Nintendo building up to Switch release announcement on Pokémon Day 2018?

Eagle-eyed Pokémon fans will not have missed that people behind Pokémon are making a big deal about Pokémon Day 2018. They’ve posted a countdown on Twitter complete with a cheeky winking Pikachu, original content each day on the official website and plenty of throwbacks to generations past.

One of its most recent Tweets feels designed purely to generate nostalgia. It takes us back on a little journey through every generation so far, from Kanto to Alola.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The last time things felt this nostalgic was in 2016, on Pokémon’s 20th anniversary, when it released the heart-wrenching trailer for Pokémon Sun and Moon.

The eerily similar approach to promoting Pokémon Day 2018 has got a lot of fans speculating about what Nintendo could be up to. Many think that this feels like they’re ramping up 22 years of Pokémon passion for a reason – building to something more than just any old Pokémon Day.

In fact, a lot of people think that Nintendo are planning on releasing big news on February 27th 2018.

But what could it be?

It feels too close to the fairly recent release of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, not to mention the upcoming release of Detective Pikachu, for it to be a full announcement. But a lot of fans think that we might be about to get a glimpse of how the Pokémon world will evolve into its eighth generation on the Nintendo Switch.

A Tweet from Serebii.net has confirmed that the footage from the newest Pokémon movie will premiere on a Japanese Variety Show on Tuesday February 27th. At the moment, there’s almost no information about what this footage will feature, apart from the inclusion of Lugia.

Again, this feels very similar to the build up to Pokémon Sun and Moon, which reintroduced classic Pokémon in an all new way through their Alolan forms. People are theorising that this film could usher in a new age for more much-loved Pokémon. Perhaps the beloved second generation legendary will be revived in Gen VIII.

The film could be the first we see of the anime heroes reconnecting with these old favourites. This could pave the way for the games to revisit them. Pokémon Day is rumoured to provide the first real glimpse we get into what to expect.

Between Pokémon GO and Pokémon Sun and Moon, Nintendo have hit on a goldmine with these revivals. Each new generation will of course bring new wannabe Pokémon Masters into the fold. But by bringing back Pokémon rich with nostalgia, they’re reconnecting to an existing audience, some of whom may have drifted away from the franchise. But now, as adults with their own money, rather than kids begging their parents for games for Christmases and birthdays, this market is ready to buy.

There is no reason for Nintendo not to capitalise on this by continuing with this trend. The promotional patterns based on nostalgia are clearly repeating themselves, albeit with Tweets rather than full trailers this time around.

With Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon still quite recently released, and with Detective Pikachu on the way, it makes sense that there will still be a bit of a wait for another new Pokémon game. But the Switch is now nearly a year old and its popularity is booming. It’s only going to be a matter of time before Pokémon makes its way there.

There is speculation that Pokemon Day 2018 could see the release of a trailer, or a teaser, of a revolutionary Generation VIII. The subtle nature of Tweets rather than a full length trailer suggests that we won’t be getting a lot of information just yet. But could instead be the first look at a Pokémon adventure unlike anything we’ve seen or played so far.

Through island trials and Alolan forms and other new ways to play, Pokémon Sun and Moon paved the way for a new approach to classic Pokémon. It prepared people for a whole new way to explore and interact with the Pokémon world made possible by the Nintendo Switch.

So what does this mean for competitive battlers?

Honestly, at this early point, it could mean anything.

The resurfacing of Lugia as a central character in a movie suggests that there are going to be new ways to battle with classic Pokémon in the games. Similarly to the way the Z-moves and Mega-Evolution gave some Pokémon a new foothold in the competitive scene, the new generation could offer another change to gameplay that restored old favourites to their former glory. Only now, they’ll have a fighting chance aginst more than just the original 151.

There is already a lot of suspicion out there that CoroCoro is due to release new information about Lugia’s role in the next generation. This is reminiscent of the CoroCoro leaks that introduced the world to Mega-Evolution through the first ever glimpse of Mega-Evolved form of Mewtwo.

While this isn’t confirmation, the similarities are generating a lot of excitement about the future for Lugia.

How Pokémon will translate to the new, more complex console is still a something of a mystery. The basic mechanics of the game have remained similar throughout the generations, but there is definitely scope for evolution with the move to the Switch.

Every new generation updates something. Developments have been quickening their pace recently, with Mega-Evolutions and Z-Moves and Island Trials coming in quite rapidly.

It’s not unreasonable to think that by reintroducing a Pokémon as popular as Lugia, they’ll be boosting it with a completely new way to battle and maybe even using it to usher in all new mechanics.

So although the answers aren’t there yet, it’s still a lot of fun to contemplate. The countdown to Pokémon Day 2018 is getting tenser by the minute.

 

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 Kirstie! (@ActuallyKurt)

Images from @SerebiiNet on Twitter.

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)

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2017 Pokemon World Championships Recap

Japan is Back!: 2017 Pokemon World Championships recap

The 2017 Pokemon World Champions have been crowned after an exciting weekend of fierce competition. Japanese National Champion Ryota Otsubo brings Japan another World Championship title while cementing the nation at the top of the Pokemon Video Game Championships. There were a ton of headlines from this weekend and we’re here to cover them all! Let’s take a look at what went down in Anaheim.

Results and Teams

(All players with two or fewer losses advanced to Top Cut. Top 8 is here for now, will be updated later with the rest of the Top Cut)

1. Ryota Otsubo [Japan]

2. Sam Pandelis [Australia] 

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3. Paul Ruiz [Ecuador]

https://i0.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/pokedexminisprites/373.pngAlola Form

4. Tomoyuki Yoshimura [Japan]

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5. Nils Dunlop [Sweden]

Alola Form

6. Sebastian Escalante [Argentina]

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7. Rene Alvarenga [El Salvador]

8. Dorian Andre Quimones Vallejos [Peru]

First, An Update on Our Picks

Nick Navarre (4-3 – Day 2): 

Navarre had a rather rough start to his tournament, falling to 1-3 to end his run. Despite the results, Navarre has proven himself as one of North America’s best and I doubt this will be his last Day Two appearance at the World Championships.

Markus Stadter (4-3 – Day 2):

Stadter had by far one of the coolest teams at the World Championships, showcasing the power of Pokemon like Lucario and Slowking. Stadter started off strong at 2-0 but quickly racked up three losses to eliminate him from Top Cut contention.

Sebastian Escalante (Top 8): 

Escalante led the charge for Latin America into Anaheim’s Top Cut and eventually reached the Top 8 as the token Rain representative. However, Escalante’s rain team was not normal, trading Pelipper out for Politoed and adding Klefki to support his team with Reflect and Light Screen.

Christopher Kan (3-4 – Day 2):

Outside of Sam Pandelis, Australia had a pretty quiet tournament in the Master’s Division. Kan’s incredible momentum came to an end in the early rounds of Day 2 where three losses halted his advancement to the Top Cut. His little brother, however, had a much different result which we’ll get to in a bit.

A Repeat Run Cut Short

2017 Pokemon World Championships Recap

Wolfe Glick (Left) versus Alex Underhill (Right) in Day One

Wolfe Glick had a pretty underwhelming season coming into the World Championships, but if there’s anywhere he knows to play his “A” game, it’s at Worlds. After surviving the gauntlet that was Day One, Glick earned his spot in the Top Cut at the 17th seed, requiring a play-in match in order to advance into Top 16. Glick made it to Top 16, but unfortunately his run ended there.

Glick’s team wasn’t anything crazy, but it was definitely the right call for the tournament. After multiple games on stream over both days while being consistently flinched by falling rocks, Glick was the highest placing American in the tournament. Surely a tournament run to be proud of.

The Unstoppable Junior: Nicholas Kan

2017 Pokemon World Championships Recap

Nicholas Kan – 2017 Junior Pokemon Video Game World Champion

The three-time Junior International Champion ends his season with a World Championship to add to a staggering list of accomplishments. Interestingly enough, the team he used to do it was his older brother Christopher’s team that he used to win the North American International Championships in the Masters Division.

His opponent, Tomas Serrano, gave Kan a difficult match with a hard Trick Room team that focused on the synergy of Oranguru paired with Torkoal and Gigalith. Kan was able to withstand the onslaught of Choice Band-boosted Rock Slides from Serrano’s Gigalith in order to set up his own Snorlax to win the game.

Bottom line: This kid is good. Another fun fact, Kan’s ending Championship total was 2310. Could this kid be some sort of prodigy in the making?

#Don’tSleeponLatinAmerica

2017 Pokemon World Championships Recap

Dorian Vallejos (Left) versus Paul Ruiz (Right) in the Top 8

The surprise region for this year’s World Championships ended up being Latin America, having by far the most representation in the Masters Top Cut with Latin American players comprising half of the Top 8. Sebastian Escalante was an obvious favorite from the region, but break out performances from Paul Ruiz, Rene Alvarenga and Dorian Andre Quimones Vallejos have put Latin America on the map for future International events. The promise for a growing scene is there, and we’re all excited to see more big names emerge from Latin America.

Japan is back on top

2017 Pokemon World Championships Recap

Ryota Otsubo – 2017 Masters Pokemon Video Game World Champion

The last Japanese National Champion to win the World Championships was 2015 World Champion Shoma Honami, and it looks like Ryota Otsubo kept with the trend. His opponent, Sam Pandelis, was no easy opponent for Otsubo, as the set reached a third game without a clear winner in sight.

Despite his team’s outstanding damage output, Otsubo had trouble breaking through Pandelis’ Aurora Veil, allowing Pandelis to set up his Garchomp and Xurkitree to sweep game one. Ostubo brought it back in game two as he took advantage of his Alolan Marowak’s ability to smash through Pandelis’ Aurora Veil with Brick Break.

Game three looked bleak for Otsubo as he blew his Z-move into great Manbdibuzz switch-in from Pandelis, making the Prankster Twinkle Tackle ineffective against the Dark-type Mandibuzz. Despite this seemingly major set back, Otsubo was able to eliminate Ninetales early, and with a crucial double-up into Pandelis’ Xurkitree as his Garchomp protected itself, Pandelis was hopeless against Otsubo’s Choice Specs Tapu Fini under Whimsicott’s Tailwind.

Like Otsuba said in his post-match interview, he proved Japan is the best. With another World Championship under its belt, the nation and it’s players have dismissed 2016’s fluke and reclaimed their place at the top of Pokemon VGC.

Popular Strategies that didn’t quite make the Cut

Alolan Raichu

alolan raichu 2017 Pokemon World Championships recap

The Surge Surfing Alolan Pokemon made a return to the metagame in Anaheim alongside its friend Tapu Koko. Players using Alolan Raichu look to capitalize on the Surge Surfer ability to double Alolan Raichu’s speed in the Electric Terrain, allowing for disruption with Fake Out and Encore or fast, big damage with a surprise Z-move.

On stream, we saw two different ways Alolan Raichu was used on two very similar teams. Alvin Hidayat had an impressive Day One run reaching 5-0 with his Alolan Raichu holding the Aloraichium Z which gives his Raichu access to its powerful signature Z-move that guarantees paralysis on its target. In Day 2, we saw Ryuzaboro Hosano use his Alolan Raichu to raise the Speed of his Snorlax with Speed Swap, giving his Belly-Drum boosted Snorlax the Surge-Surfing speed of Alolan Raichu.

Unfortunately, despite the Day One success, these teams were likely met with their fair share of Togedemaru and Alolan Marowak and their disruptive Lightningrod abilities. This is likely the reason these teams fizzled out and the Lightningrod Pokemon prevailed.

Salamence + Metagross: Bulldozing the Competitionsalamence 2017 Pokemon World Championships recap

Another popular combo that was a buzz in Anaheim was the combination of Salamence and Metagross. This duo was popular many years back due to their great type synergy, but Salamence and Metagross both have had pretty underwhelming seasons in terms of usage.

These two eventually were paired up again as part of a strategy involving Bulldoze and activating Weakness Policy. Basically, Salamence uses Bulldoze next to its partner Metagross both lowering the opponent’s Speed and activating Metagross’ Wekness Policy. Metagross’ Clear Body prevents the lowering of Metagross’ stats while not taking much damage from the weak base power of Bulldoze.

metagross 2017 Pokemon World Championships recap

Despite the immense popularity of the duo, only one variant of this team made it to the Top 8. This could have been due to a lot of factors such as players being unfamiliar with matchups, Metagross’ lacking accuracy or simply the competition being prepared for it. Regardless, I expect this will duo will become popular again during the Fall Regional Championships.

Big Plays From Anaheim

Lightningrod

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With Tapu Koko being the most common Pokemon in the format, the Lightningrod users, Togedemaru and Alolan Marowak, were able to dominate the World Championships. These two were able to support the common Tapu Fini and Celesteela making them much harder to deal with. Tapu Koko still managed to have an excellent tournament, but its effectiveness was severely limited thanks to the abundance of Lightningrod.

Celesteelacelesteela 2017 Pokemon World Championships recap

Celesteela was the defensive backbone for many Worlds teams, and it did its job very well for those who used it. The incredible bulk, great defensive typing, Beast Boost, and most importantly, Leech Seed made Celesteela the ideal Pokemon to get into a good position to win games.

We saw Celesteela’s full power on display during the Top 4 match between Tomoyuki Yoshimura and Ryota Otsubo. Otsubo’s Celesteela managed to out-stall Yoshimura’s entire team in game one, leading to nearly 40 minutes taken off the round timer. After a long, agonizing set, Otsubo’s Celesteela came out as a major MVP, simply due to its amazing defensive power.

Mimikyumimikyu 2017 Pokemon World Championships recap

Due to the popularity of Snorlax, Mimikyu became many players’ go-to Trick Room setter to accompany the large Trick Room sweeper. Mimikyu’s ability to take a hit, deal damage and set up Trick Room made it a valuable asset for setting up a team’s Snorlax, and there were a ton of different moves we saw for every Mimikyu on stream. We saw Shadow Ball, Will-o-Wisp, Swords Dance and Psych Up just to name a few. This versatile little Pokemon will likely remain relevant alongside the abundance of Snorlax in the remaining months of the 2017 format.

See you next year in Nashville!

2017 Pokemon World Championships Recap

The 2017 World Championships was a tournament full of surprises and excitement. We saw some of the best Pokemon played of the entire season, and I’m sure thousands are inspired to compete for a spot in next year’s World Championships, announced to be happening in Nashville, Tennessee.

With such an amazing World Championships behind us, the VGC 2017 season comes to a close. Now begins the road to Nashville, as the VGC 2018 season kicks off in just under a month.

Thanks for reading!


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Pokemon world championships

Five Pokemon that could be “the play” for the 2017 World Championships

The 2017 World Championships are just over a week away, and after a long hiatus, it’s almost time for competitors to start wrapping up their teams. With the metagame pretty much becoming stagnant after the North American International Championships, many players might be wondering how a potential World Championship metagame will develop. Will the “goodstuffs” Pokemon of the format reign supreme? Or will the world be blown away by a brand new strategy designed to bring down the format’s best Pokemon?

Of course, with any big tournament, deviations from the metagame are essential to avoid being an easy, predictable opponent. Much like our list prior to the North American International Championships, here are five Pokemon that could be valuable additions to a World Championship winning team.

Tapu Bulu

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I know, I know.

“Tapu Bulu was on the last list you did!” I hear you angrily screaming at your computer screen.

Just hear me out.

There were only two teams that featured Tapu Bulu in Day 2 of the North American International Championships and zero that appeared in the recent Liverpool Regionals Top 8. While these stats don’t make Tapu Bulu look too great, those two teams in Indianapolis placed in the Top 16 and Top 8 respectively. I think this shows more than anything that a well-played Tapu Bulu team can be very threatening, and it seems that every tournament has shown us a different team that can work well with Tapu Bulu.

The NBA (Nihilego, Bulu, Arcanine) core is still incredibly strong. Now popular with Hariyama, you instantly have four team members that are well equipped to deal with the metagame. Tapu Bulu’s Grassy Terrain is a very useful tool in order to nerf the sweeping potential of the now popular Choice Scarf variant of Garchomp, while also offering valuable HP recovery over time. Plus, being a solid way of disrupting the rest of the Tapu Pokemon is nice too.

In addition to the fantastic “Surge” ability, Tapu Bulu has undergone a ton of variation to its move sets. Horn Leech and Wood Hammer are almost staples in order to deal damage under Grassy Terrain, while also having a recovery option, but the third move slot is quite open. A Tapu Bulu could either opt for a supportive move like Substitute, Disable, Leech Seed or Whirlwind or go right on the offensive with moves like Bulk Up, Superpower, Stone Edge and Nature’s Madness.

Bottom line: Tapu Bulu is a very versatile Pokemon that I seem to gush over in every metagame-related piece I write. I won’t even get into the mind games with Speed and defensive investment that can throw your opponent off from turn 0. I guarantee at least two or three will make it into Anaheim’s Top Cut and I’m sure they’ll all be on different types of teams with very different builds.

Tapu Fini

tapu fini pokemon world championships

Tapu Fini is by no means “underrated”, but its usage has dropped a bit with Tapu Bulu on the rise and Tapu Koko remaining on top. Still, I mentioned in my NA International Championships Recap how big Toxic was and how big it could be in Anaheim. I also mentioned how good Tapu Fini is at stopping Toxic, which is why it’s on this list.

Actually, instead of Toxic, we’ll put Will-o-Wisp on here too. Basically, I believe the status effects of burn and poison will be popular techs players use to stop the beast known as Snorlax. These status effects are still able to hinder many other Pokemon in the format, and what better way to stop the infliction of status conditions than Misty Terrain.

Other than Misty Terrain, Tapu Fini remains prevalent as a core member of the AFK (Arcanine-Fini-Kartana) and FAKEPG team compositions and is still a solid Pokemon. It has amazing defenses while also being able to go on the offensive with either a Choice Specs item or after a couple of Calm Mind boosts. Being a slower Tapu, it’s able to disrupt faster, opposing Terrains while also providing your team protection from unwanted burns or poison.

Tapu Fini is looking like the go-to anti-Toxic tech for the World Championships. If double-Tapu teams are popular in Anaheim, expect Tapu Fini to be on a majority of them.

Hariyama

hariyama pokemon world championships

Second only to Snorlax, I would consider Hariyama one of the best anti-Trick Room Pokemon in the format. Hariyama is incredibly versatile both in and out of Trick Room, being able to disrupt your opponent with Fake Out or deal big damage to popular Trick Room Pokemon like Porygon2, Gigalith and Snorlax.

The main aspect of Hariyama’s versatility is definitely its plethora of viable moves. Fake Out and Feint are great ways to disrupt your opponent, making up for Hariyama’s low speed by having priority. A strong Fighting-type move in Close Combat is sure to scare off most of the metagame’s Trick Room abusers. Hariyama also has access to great coverage moves like Heavy Slam, Poison Jab, Knock Off and Bulldoze which compliment Hariyama’s most popular item: the Assault Vest.

Remember how I said moves like Toxic and Will-o-Wisp would likely be popular in Anaheim? Well, Hariyama’s access to Guts could be another great anti-status tech to add to a team. We’ve seen Flame Orb be used on Hariyama in the past, most notably by Drew Nowak and Gavin Michaels, but now self-inflicted burn may not even be necessary.

For any World Championship competitor looking to combat the onslaught of Snorlax that is sure to dominate the field, Hariyama remains a solid pick. Knock Off + Close Combat shuts down the majority of Trick Room modes while Fake Out and Feint can disrupt any opponent regardless of Hariyama’s speed tier. All while Hariyama soaks up hits with its great HP and defensive stats.

If I could recommend any Fighting-type to add to a Worlds team, it would no doubt be Hariyama.

Metagross

metagross pokemon world championships

Another Pokemon we have making a return appearance is the one and only Metagross. Metagross remains one of the format’s most underrated Pokemon in my opinion, but I think a number of players are catching on to how good it can be.

One of the main reasons I decided to put Metagross on this list is that is just scored a regional victory over in Liverpool as a member of a Rain team. Much like the Japanese National Champion team, Thomas Plater chose Metagross as his Steel-type of choice to take advantage of the Rain’s nerfing of Fire-type attacks. When you eliminate Metagross’ Fire weakness, its defensive typing becomes even better. Dark and Ghost aren’t the most common types in VGC 2017, and Ground-types are easily dealt with thanks to the Rain mode.

Along with being a solid Pokemon defensively, Metagross does a whole lot of damage. Its ability Clear Body makes it so its Attack cannot be lowered, so not even Intimidate can slow it down. Its attacking options remain strong with moves like Zen Headbutt and Meteor Mash, but the shaky accuracy is a big deterrent for most players. Still, with an item like a Choice Band or Weakness Policy combined with a potential Psychic Terrain, very few things in the format want to take a hit from Metagross.

Alolan Marowak

alolan marowak pokemon world championships

I’ve already dedicated an entire article to Marowak’s Alolan form, but here’s a quick rundown on why Marowak is a great choice for a Worlds team:

  • Its Lightningrod ability makes it pretty much a counter to most Electric-type Pokemon in the format, mainly Tapu Koko.
  • A monstrous Attack-stat that can easily make use of Trick Room due to its naturally low speed.
  • Versatile third-move options
  • Great synergy with other good Pokemon in the format (ex. Celesteela, Tapu Fini, etc.)

If you’re tired of using Arcanine, Alolan Marowak is the perfect replacement Fire-type. It beats (arguably) the best Pokemon in the format, while also being able to dent a number of other Pokemon due to its amazing Attack stat. It doesn’t have the speed or defense of Arcanine, but its supportive capability and damage output make it a solid choice for a World Championship team.

Versatility is the key

One aspect of each of these Pokemon that makes them all great is their shared versatility. Each Pokemon on this list functions in a main role but can expand that role through different moves, abilities or builds. Basically, each of these Pokemon has the ability to be unpredictable, and being unpredictable is a quality that is essential to a successful Worlds team.

Shaking up the metagame with a team that works is the key to winning a World Championship, and I believe these five Pokemon can accomplish that goal.

Next time, we’ll take a look at the potential Worlds metagame as a whole, and what World Championship competitors should look out for when putting the final touches on their team.

Thanks for reading!


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