“If you’re not running Porygon2 and Araquanid you’re throwing” – The duo’s newfound success in 2018
Porygon2 has already made a statement in the 2018 metagame, but one of its old partners has joined it in the spotlight once again. Araquanid is a new Pokemon that made an early in the 2017 season winning four North American Regional Championships in a row. All of them paired with Porygon2.
But what makes this duo so special? Porygon2 has had success with a number of Trick Room sweepers in the past, with some notables this season being Tyranitar and Snorlax. Araquanid seems to be the partner Porygon2 has been looking for, and the duo’s recent success is all but proof of that. According to a recent report from VGCStats, this new team the duo finds themselves on (featuring metagame staples like Mega Metagross, Tapu Koko and Incineroar) has nabbed nearly 1,000 Championship Points since the beginning of March. Let’s take a look and see why that is.
We have to start this section off with the monster that is Araquanid. Araquanid appears like a mediocre Pokemon on paper, but it was blessed with one of the strongest abilities we’ve seen in the entire franchise. Water Bubble doubles the power of Araquanid’s Water-type moves, weakens Fire-type damage AND prevents it from being afflicted with a burn. This turns Araquanid’s preferred Water-type attack Liquidation at an insane 160 power. Combine that with the Waterium Z, you’re looking at the strongest Hydro Vortex in the metagame. With not many Water-type resistances in the metagame, Araquanid can tear through teams once Trick Room is up, and that’s just its first means of offense. Araquanid is a Bug-type too, so naturally it looks to make use of its secondary typing. While not as devastating as Liquidation, Araquanid’s Bug Bite has amazing disruptive capabilities. Bug Bite is able to consume the target’s berry, making Pokemon like Snorlax a lot less effective when it can’t get its Belly Drum + Recycle combo going. Araquanid users should beware as some berries like the Mago Berry and Wiki Berry can commonly inflict confusion on Araquanid with the applicable nature. Oh right we still have Porygon2 to talk about.
Porygon2 is mainly here to set up Trick Room, but it can still dish out some damage once that’s been taken care of. Porygon2’s ability Download raises its Attack or Special Attack depending on which corresponding defense stat on the opposing side is weaker. In the 2018 metagame, that usually means a Special Attack boost for Porygon2. Not to mention Porygon2 has access to perfect type coverage with Thunderbolt and Ice Beam.
With this kind of offensive power, these two are hard to switch in on. Once Trick Room goes up, expect a lot of damage to come your way.
A formidable defense
Araquanid has stellar Special Defense, but that kind of gets overshadowed by pitiful Defense and HP. As a Bug-type, many of Araquanid’s weaknesses are on the physical side such as Rock and Flying. However, the Bug-type works well in tandem with Porygon2 as Bug is resistant to Porygon2’s single weakness to Fighting. Also, Araquanid’s lousy HP and Defense are workable with more investment being possible in those two stats since Araquanid can fare well without much Attack investment. That and Intimidate do wonders for its bulk. Another plus for Araquanid is that now that the Totem version you fought during the campaign of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is usable, there is a form of Araquanid that cannot be Sky Dropped due to its greater weight.
Back to Porygon2, Normal is an amazing type right now. The sole weakness of Normal is Fighting, however Fighting-type Pokemon have hit an all-time low in viability since the recent surge in Fairy-types. The primary solution players have for this is non-Fighting-type Pokemon with strong Fighting-type moves, but these aren’t the most effective against Porygon2’s massive bulk. Since Porygon2 isn’t fully evolved, it can make use of the Eviolite item which boosts Porygon2’s defenses greatly. A Pokemon with only one weakness with beastly defenses and access to reliable recovery, no wonder its so good.
These two work so well together that they can be splashed on a number of different team compositions and I think we’re starting to see the beginning of that.
This team composition is by far the most popular, and variants of this team composition have been winning Championship Points all over the world since March. With Incineroar’s Intimidate ability being legal, this team has only gotten stronger as the combination of Intimidate and Fake Out is beneficial to setting up Trick Room. Switching from Landorus to Incineroar has also given the team room for Tapu Bulu, another Pokemon that appreciates a speed advantage while its Grassy Terrain increases the team’s overall defense. This team is a great balance of both heavy hitters and solid defense, making it a strong pick for upcoming tournaments.
Recently, a newer variant featuring Mega Gardevoir has seen success with Porygon2 and Araquanid. This team used by Benjamin Tan won the Malaysia Open last week, and I expect to see some similar variants emerge in the near future. This team marks a neat convergence in three separate strands of rising stars in the 2018 metagame. You have the merging of Mega Gardevoir, Intimidate Incineroar and finally Porygon2 plus Araquanid which all seem to work together quite nicely. The team works great with a potential Trick Room mode with Gardevoir and Araquanid as the slow hitters while Kartana and Tapu Koko form a solid fast mode that can also set up a Tailwind for Gardevoir.
So far, these have been the dominant archetypes that have featured this powerful duo, but something tells me more variants are on the way. As we saw during the 2017 season, Porygon2 and Araquanid were able to achieve success on a few different styles of teams. The famous quote in the title of this piece, “If you’re not running P2 and Araquanid you’re throwing” rang throughout the world last season, and it appears that this year, it has become relevant once again.
Thanks for reading!
*If you want to see a rather informative roasting of a Porygon2/Araquanid team, I encourage you to check out this thread on Twitter from known Araquanid pioneer Eduardo Cunha.
Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, The Pokemon Anime, Bulbapedia, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International
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