Something Wicked This Way Comes

by BlameTheBlax

With Pokémon Sun and Moon officially out worldwide, countless trainers have rushed to beat the game and finally venture out into the competitive aspect, myself included. Today, I’d like to do something a little different from the standard analysis of single Pokémon. Instead, I’d like to look at the notable Ghost types this generation and share some of my personal thoughts about them.

Marowak-A

When we first got the stats of all our Alolan formes, we were all vastly disappointed in the lack of significant changes. Marowak, at first, was no different in this regard. However, as the meta slowly started to develop, this has definitely changed. As of right now, Marowak-A is, in my opinion, the best anti-meta Pokémon in Smogon. With access to Lightningrod, it now has the potential to counter some of the most threatening attackers in the game, being Xurkitree, Pheromosa, and Tapu Koko. As a matter of fact, the only way these mons can beat Marowak is by running a Hidden Power, which often times still fails to net the OHKO. However, this isn’t all Marowak can do. With access to Will-O-Wisp and Stealth Rocks, it can help support a team, and with access to Flame Charge and Swords Dance, it even has sweeping potential. Rock Head + Flare Blitz is also a massive threat due to the lack of recoil damage.

Mimikyu

While Mimikyu’s Disguise isn’t as good as a Substitute, it still has its niche. The ability to take any one hit, regardless of power, and return fire is amazing in any format. The fact that it has access to Thunder Wave, Will O Wisp, and Destiny Bond only bolsters this thing’s viability. It also has some nice sweeping potential, thanks to a passable Speed and Attack stat and access to both Swords Dance and Shadow Sneak. While it can still be statused behind a Disguise, keep in mind it can run items such as a Lum Berry and even Substitute, which won’t break the Disguise (I’ve tested it personally and can confirm this is the case). I can definitely see this thing pulling off some insane stuff in League format, not to mention standard play, where I’ve gotten multiple matches won thanks to the Pikachu imposter.

Dhelmise

The first thing to note is that Dhelmise has three STAB types to utilize, thanks to the ability Steelworker. The second thing to note would be access to Earthquake, which would otherwise have this thing be walled by most Steel types. This is such a huge boon to this thing’s viability, which means it’ll probably be used a lot more than it’s spooky lawn counterparts like Trevenant and Decidueye. The third would be Ancher Shot, similar to Spirit Shackle in its ability to trap opposing Pokémon. As a matter of fact, I see this thing as a much harder hitting and slightly bulkier Decidueye. It really just makes me sad that Decidueye will probably be outclassed at every angle by this Pokémon. However, the fact of the matter is that this thing is really good, and in important matches, it can be your anchor. Pun totally intended. Also, Phantom Force. ‘Nuff said.

Personally, after around three years of playing with XY and ORAS, I’m really loving having new stuff to utilize and analyze. The freshness of this new meta is really spicing things up and reminding me of my love for Pokémon, so I think this couldn’t have come at a better time. But what do you guys think? Anyways, expect to see some more covered in the following weeks.

[Dec 12th, 2016]

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Minior: A Pebble Full Of Potential

Minior is arguably one of the cutest Pokemon we received this generation, but don’t be fooled by its appearance. Minior is an adorable ball of terror underneath that shell, and I expect it to make a big impact in league format, no pun intended.

The first thing you might notice about Minior is its unique ability, Shields Down. Shields Down means that once Minior’s HP drops into the yellow, its shell breaks away, and some crazy things happens to its stats. Like Aegislash’s ability Stance Change, Minior’s high defenses get delegated to its offenses, and its speed doubles, effectively making it one of the fastest new Pokemon in a generation full of slow, bulky threats. The only difference from Aegislash is that once that shell breaks off, it’s gone for good unless it gets healed above 50%, but it has no recovery moves besides Rest. I couldn’t even begin to describe what it would be like if Minior got a move like King’s Shield to send it back to its shell, but that’s beside the point. The fact of the matter is, with this unique ability and stat distribution. Minior has some great foundations laid to become an interesting defensive and offensive threat.

The first thing you have to understand about Minior, despite how you may have seen it used so far, is that it’s far from being just a one trick pony because of its ability. It’s easy to think of Minior as an excellent Shell Smash sweeper and call it a day, and while it does fill that role excellently, Minior’s potential would be wasted if that’s all it did.

This guy isn’t Crustle or something. (I still love you though, Crustle <3)

Truth is, in a draft league environment, Minior’s potential can be explored to the fullest.

Minior has a myriad of both offensive and defensive moves in its arsenal, and since Minior starts off as a defensive Pokemon, I’m going to talk about the more defensive side of its movepool first. Minior has access to Stealth Rocks, which is always sought after in league format. Reliable Stealth Rock setters tend to go fast; that being said, I wouldn’t rely on Minior to do the majority of your stealth rock setting, simply due to it not being a fully defensive Pokemon. But is it afraid to run Stealth Rocks on its moveset? Absolutely not. Minior makes a great back-up hazard setter if your main one has a bad matchup for a certain week.

Minior also gets access to Light Screen and Reflect, which are great support moves to have, and with 60/100/100 bulk with its shields up, it’s definitely a viable user of these moves. It’s also worth noting that Rest has interesting viability with Minior. It’s not a conventional recovery move by any means, but Rest opens some interesting doors since it’s the only way to get your shields back up. Minior has access to both Calm Mind and Cosmic Power, both of which it can spam until its shields go down. Then, with its shields down, it will be fast enough to go for a Rest and heal all the way back up to full. A set with Cosmic Power, Toxic, Sleep Talk and an attacking move would be the most defensive form of Minior that you could get away with. I’m not saying you should draft Minior just to run this set, but you could catch someone off guard with it if they plan for a more offensive Minior.

Lastly, it’s important to note that Minior cannot be statused while it’s protected by its shell. So not only can Minior serve these more supportive and defensive roles, but it can do that while being a status sponge as well.

But the offensive side of things is even more exciting. Minior, as I already expressed, is an excellent Shell smasher. That’s not only because of its ability, but because of its offensive movepool. Stone Edge and Earthquake are standard options. Acrobatics is a great move if you run White Herb, or even Weakness Policy if you’re incredibly daring. On the special side of things, you have Power Gem or Ancient Power, Dazzling Gleam, Psychic, and even Charge Beam if you are interested in the boosts. Solar Beam is also one more option, which works better on mixed sets (which are very viable) because if you use Power Herb, it allows you to use Acrobatics.

Another more offensive tool Minior has includes U-Turn, which doesn’t work out so well when you Shell Smash up, but it is a viable offensive move and it works well on offensive Stealth Rock sets. Explosion is one last notable option to hit hard on your way out before you die, and can be an effective way of trading Minior for one of your opponent’s more offensive threats in a match.

It’s because of these options that I think Minior has a surprising amount of potential for draft leagues. It has the versatility that makes a lot of good Pokemon great. So even if when tiers settle, and everybody gets used to Minior and realizes it might be “just okay” instead, I think Minior’s unique ability and movepool will keep it off the sidelines in draft league format.

So if you were thinking about drafting this cute little chunk of rock, I say go for it. Who knows? He could just end up being the surprise star of your team. Because just like his design, from a competitive standpoint, there’s a lot more to Minior than what you see on the surface.

Normal, but Not Ordinary

by:Wutpulver

Since the first generation of Pokèmon the normal type has been fairly special. It is the only type that hits nothing for super effective damage and only has 1 weakness in fighting. To make up for the lack of super effective offense, most of its Pokèmon have a wide move-pool and interesting abilities to gain an edge in battle. This generation has also brought us some curious specimen.

Silvally

I don’t want to talk too much about this guy since VirtualSpivey wrote an article on it already, but it is probably the most exciting new pokèmon. It rocks 95 base stats across the board which sort of reminds me of the mythical legends (Mew, Manaphy etc.). So far it has not had a very big impact in the OU format, but the versatility that its ability brings to the table will make it very interesting for any draft format. Its pre-evolution Type:Null is also notable since it shares the same stats except for a lower base speed. Eviolite has been nerfed but is still a very good item and might even let it outshine its big brother.

Oranguru

This ‘mon is already defining big parts of the VGC metagame, as it is currently a prime Trick Room setter. The synergy between its ability and unique move instruct coupled with its special bulk makes it stand out in the early stages of the meta. Trainers are already adapting to it and include hard counters in their teams like Z-Move Krookodile and Dragon Tail Garchomp. Currently, it has no relevance to the singles meta, so you should try your luck in VGC if you want to give it a shot.

Bewear

The cuddly murder machine is a fairly classic bulky physical attacker. The best stats are HP and Atk, while its Fluffy ability allows it to take most physical attacks. Its move-pool is were I see most of its problems since the best fighting attacks it learns are Hammer Arm and Superpower, which have some serious downsides to them. The speed drop of Hammer Arm doesn’t seem like too big of a deal to me since Bewear is fairly slow already, which is why I think it will be superior to Superpower.

Normalium Z

Z-Attacks are the biggest new feature and some normal moves gained new effects due to it. For example, Conversion used to change your typing to be the same as the first attack in your moveset, but its Z-version also boosts each of your stats by 1 stage. Porygon-Z is the best abuser of this right now and can even take quite a few hits with its boosted defenses and Recover. Another interesting move is Z-Bellydrum, which, instead of removing 50% of your total HP, sets your HP to 50% of its max value. This means that you can heal up by using Belly Drum if your Pokèmon is below 50% already and still boost your attack. Snorlax and Azumarill can turn into extremely threatening sweepers by using this move.

Sun and Moon have brought us many unique Pokèmon, and I didn’t even mention all the normal types yet. From Toucannon to Komala, Drampa and Alolan Raticate, it is the most entertaining type right now. I can’t wait to see all of them put into action.

[Dec. 9th 2016]

 

Noticing Necrozma

by BlameTheBlax

With Pokémon Sun and Moon officially out worldwide, countless trainers have rushed to beat the game and finally venture out into the competitive aspect, myself included. Today, I’d like to introduce one of my favorite Pokémon to be introduced in the new region, Necrozma. While Necrozma surprisingly isn’t an Ultra Beast, despite its odd design and placement in the Pokedex, there’s no denying that it can be a beast in the right hands. Let’s look more in depth at the Prism Pokémon.

Typing and Stats

Psychic is a very strong offensive typing with only one type being immune and two resistances, being Dark, Psychic, and Steel, respectively. However, the weaknesses of Psychic types seem to be their biggest problems. Despite not having an overwhelming amount of weaknesses, only being Bug, Dark, and Ghost, the threat of moves such as Knock Off, Sucker Punch, Pursuit, Shadow Sneak, Shadow Ball, and U-turn are a big factor as to why quite a fair share of Psychic types typically aren’t seen as too threatening, especially in League format. However, the ability of the Prism Pokémon is a game changer for these weaknesses. But we’ll come back to that later. For now, let’s take a look at the stat distribution, which is 97/107/101/127/89/79, leaving Necrozma with a respectable BST of 600. While the speed leaves much to be desired, that same statement can be said about almost every single Pokémon introduced in this generation, so that can be forgiven. The Special Defense is a little weaker than expected, but certainly still viable. The rest of the stats are notably above average, certainly worthy of being picked up earlier than most based off of that alone.

Ability

As mentioned previously, Prism Armor is an enormous game changer that elevates the utility of Necrozma. For those Unaware, Prism Armor is just a fancy redesign of the Filter ability, which reduces the damage done with super effective moves by 25%. Just in case you’re trying to grasp this concept fully, take a look at one of the more important calcs regarding this ability.

252 Atk Life Orb Weavile Knock Off (97.5 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Prism Armor Necrozma: 292-345 (73.3 – 86.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO

At first glance, one might scoff at the amount of damage dealt and claim Necrozma is hopeless. However, one must keep in mind the facts. This is a super effective and STAB Knock Off coming off of Weavile’s 120 Attack stat, and somehow Necrozma can take the hit thanks to Prism Armor, not to mention getting an OHKO in revenge with a Brick Break. While I will admit this is more of a gimmick in standard play, it’s a boon to its viability in League matches, being able to almost always tank a single hit and do something in return. Before we move on to the pool, here’s a showcase of all the other noteworthy calcs to keep in mind.

252+ Atk Technician Mega Scizor Bug Bite vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Prism Armor Necrozma: 267-316 (67 – 79.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO

252 SpA Life Orb Gengar Shadow Ball vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Prism Armor Necrozma: 281-333 (70.6 – 83.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO

252 SpA Life Orb Ash-Greninja Dark Pulse vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Prism Armor Necrozma: 318-376 (79.8 – 94.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Movepool

While being able to take a hit is nice, what you do with that bulk is what makes a Pokémon viable. And Necrozma has plenty of options, if I do say so myself. With access to moves like Rock Polish, Swords Dance, and Calm Mind, Necrozma can well function as a late game setup sweeper. With moves such as Earthquake, Night Slash, Psyshock, Brick Break, and Power Gem, a sweep is almost never out of the question for this behemoth. But wait, there’s more. Access to dual Screens and Stealth Rocks give Necrozma the option to also be a suicide lead if one were so inclined. Rock Tomb and Trick Room also give it more options to help out a team, allowing it to slow whatever is currently in or entirely flip the speed tiers on their head. Even Prismatic Laser can be an option, giving it a STAB nuke as a final option before going down. Hell, it even has access to two different recovery moves, being Moonlight and Morning Sun. With a team supporting it, Necrozma is a monster in both supporting and sweeping.

Team Synergy

As stated earlier, Necrozma can fit into virtually any team with its endless possibility of roles to fill. While certain ‘mons can fit some roles better, like Cresselia as a bulky Screen setter and Azelf as a suicide lead, very few can do all of these at once. As such, the best team members for Necrozma can be just about anything. However, if you’re looking for specifics, it would be best to use a Pokémon that can effectively deal with Ghost types. Bisharp and Weavile immediately come to mind, appreciating the Rocks and Screens from a support set, but almost anything that can fit this role will work. Another team member you’d probably like to have would be a reliable Fighting type. While Necrozma certainly has the means to deal with its counters, it’s always nice to have some back up. Fighting types break through Dark and Steel type, which can otherwise check or counter Necrozma. Lastly, it would be recommended to have something that can enable it to come in and set up for a wipe. Wish passing and Volt Switch/U-turn users immediately come to mind, allowing for a healthy switch and set up or a threatening pivot that forces a switch, respectively.

Final Thoughts

Necrozma has quite a bit of versatility, almost a bit too much in my own opinion. With the sheer amount of roles that it can fit into, it’s definitely bound to be one of the more sought after Pokémon in this generation. While the stats are certainly nothing to scoff at, the ability and movepool will be the defining factor in prep. In certain situations, statusing Necrozma is the only way to beat it. Regardless of how it gets placed in Smogon, it’ll be an ultra powerful beast in League format.

[Dec 2nd, 2016]

Golisopod: The New Behemoth Bug Type

Honestly, did anybody expect Wimpod to stay wimpy forever? I knew this little bugger was going to grow up into a monster, but Golisopod was not what I anticipated. Wimpod’s ability Wimp Out seemed awful to me at first, and I was hoping its evolution would flip the script a little bit and get an ability that does the opposite: scare out the opponent when your health drops below 50%.

But alas, Golisopod gets Emergency Exit as its only ability, which is basically Wimp Out but with different flavor text. But is Emergency Exit truly a deal breaker? And what can we expect from it in league format heading into Generation 7?

After all, what exactly makes Emergency Exit so “bad?” There’s a few reasons which I’ll briefly explain here:

  1. Emergency Exit activates after you are hit below 50%, not the end of the turn. With Golisopod’s base 40 Speed, you will often get switched out without getting a hit off.
  2. Golisopod is Stealth Rocks weak, so it wants to avoid switching at all costs. In the context of league format, drafting it is essentially inviting your opponent to bring Stealth Rocks against you.
  3. Being switched out against your will hinders your ability to set-up and sweep.

But taking a closer look at Golisopod, namely its stats, reveals some amazing potential. To get a good understanding of its bulk, it’s essentially got the same HP and defenses as Mega Scizor, albeit with a worse defensive typing. (It has 75/140/90 bulk to be precise.) That bulk is valuable to a Pokémon like Golisopod, which will generally always be in fear of dropping below 50% HP. In fact, no matter what way you look at it, Golisopod will always have that issue.

But along with that bulk, Golisopod packs a punch with 125 base Attack, which is respectable for sure.  So, it appears that looking at stats alone, Golisopod has a lot of things going well for it. But what exactly can it do with these stats? What about its movepool?

Primarily, lets cover its signature move, First Impression. First impression is a +2 priority Bug Type Move with 90 Base power, but it can only be used on the first turn it is sent out. This makes First Impression the strongest priority move currently in the game. It functions extremely well with Golisopod’s “crippling” ability, believe it or not, since it acts as a reset button for this move. This makes Golisopod a potentially great revenge killer.

Other highlights of Golisopod’s movepool are as follows:

  1. The newly buffed Leech Life, which is now an 80 base power healing move, which ties with Oblivion Wing as the strongest HP-draining move, unless you count Dream Eater.
  2. Water STAB moves like Razor Shell and Liquidation, both which have a chance to lower the opponent’s Defense. Nice and spammable.
  3. Priority moves in Aqua Jet and Sucker Punch, and of course, First Impression. Although Sucker Punch is now 70 base power this generation, it’s strong enough to help mitigate Golisopod’s poor speed stat.
  4. Yup. Golisopod can set up some hazards if you need it to. This is especially notable for league play, where hazards play a big role in preparation and counter-team building.
  5. Physical coverage moves including Rock Slide, Poison Jab, Brick Break, and Aerial Ace. (Yeah, I know those last two moves aren’t all that impressive, but they could be useful in a league match where movesets tend to get a little funky sometimes.)

There’s two last moves that deserve their own separate section, and not just a bullet point. Substitute and Swords Dance. Based on its ability, Golisopod seems like the last Pokémon you’d want to set up with, because you’d just get ejected at some inopportune time and lose all your stat boosts. But with the threat of First Impression, you can force the opponent to switch, which can be your opportunity to set up a Substitute. A nice quirk in Emergency Exit’s mechanics is that Golisopod will not switch out if its health is dropped below 50% from Hail, Sandstorm, or Substitute. It also won’t switch out if an item like Sitrus Berry keeps it above 50% once activated.

Behind a substitute, you’re free to go for a Swords Dance or two, and with Aqua Jet as a STAB priority move, sweeping with Golisopod is much more achievable than it would seem on paper.

In that sense, Emergency Exit is truly both a blessing and a curse. Just like with every Pokémon, you must play to its strengths and not its weaknesses, or better yet, turn those weaknesses into strengths. Used correctly, Golisopod has the tools to overcome its ability, and even use it as an advantage on occasion. Whether you set up and sweep or set up hazards, slap on a Choice Band or a strap on an Assault Vest, there’s plenty of things you can do with this beastly bug type.

I see this thing having a bit more success in draft leagues than I do in normal Smogon tiers. Behind the right coach with a well-drafted team and some smart movesets, this Pokémon can really shine. I know you could say that about pretty much every Pokémon, but with an ability like Emergency Exit, I feel like Golisopod needs a little bit of defending, as I can already tell many people will write it off because of its ability alone.

But don’t be afraid to use this monster! We’ve been waiting since Surskit for a usable Water/Bug type, and this generation we were introduced to two. And if you learn how to use it well, it will be your opponent that Wimps Out against you!

Something in the water

by: Wutpulver

Sun and Moon have been out for a bit now, andwhile the singles Meta still has to settle, I would like to share some thoughts on some of our new toys. This time, the focus will be on Water Pokèmon. Golisopod will not appear here  but if you are interested in that particular Pokèmon, TangelaBoots will have an article about that ‘Mon soon.

Araquanid

is my favourite Water type of the new generation and for good reason. Its ability Water Bubble is unique and powerful but also makes it very predictable. It doubles the power of any Water attack and reduces the damage of Fire attacks against Araquanid by 50%. Most Water types would not care about the second part, but Araquanid’s secondary type (Bug) causes Fire to be neutral against it. Still, the offensive part of this ability contains most of its power. Its stats overall aren’t that great; the only exception is its SpDef base of 132. Its offensive capabilities (without Water Bubble) are quite awful. 70 base Atk doesn’t exactly sound like a wallbreaker and its SpAtk of 50 is even worse. Water Bubble is the only reason why anybody should even use it and you are probably choosing a Water move most of the time. Other coverage moves just don’t have the oomph behind them. The most common item seems to use Waterium Z right now, which, combined with Water Bubble and Liquidation, has 320 base power. Yep. 
The best format for it seems to be VGC right now. I, personally, am mainly using it with an Oranguru to set up Trick Rooms and spam Liquidation with Instruct to maul anythig in front of it. It doesn’t seem to do that well in singles because there are too many switches into it right now. One of these switches is:

 Toxapex

Anyone who played the new OU format has seen this thing and either hated facing it or loved using it. Toxapex is one of the few Pokèmon that keep Pheromosa in check and can wall almost anything. Its absurd defenses (152 Def, 142 SpDef) are only acceptable due to its abysmal HP stat of 50. On top of that, it has the outstanding wall ability Regenerator and is immune to Toxic. Since the Burn status condition has been nerfed it is almost impossible to wear it down. The only way to get around it is by using powerful super effective moves. Every team needs to be able to deal with this Pokèmon somehow, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it got banned sometime in the future. The most common moves are Scald, Haze to stop it from becoming set up fodder, Recover and Light Screen. It is easier to deal with in the VGC format because it has no notable offensive pressure and can usually be ignored for most of the game. The only notable support move it has is Wide Guard.

Pelipper

Pelipper is no Generation 7 Pokèmon, but since it can now have Drizzle it is, for the first time ever, a viable Pokèmon. Being a rain setter has great synergy with its moves and is the biggest reason for rain teams to be a notable archetype again. Sadly, Mega Swampert is not available in this generation but Kingdra seems to fill its spot just fine and Mega Scizor is just as strong as ever. 
So why is Drizzle THAT amazing on Pelipper? When comparing it to Politoed, there are a few distinct advantages that Pelipper holds. For example, there is Hurricane, which is 100% accurate in rain and allows it have some sort of offensive presence. U-Turn is also great to get the rain abusers in without risk. Roost only adds to that, since recovery allows you to set the rain more often. That in itself would be enough to make it viable but it also recieved a boost to its SpAtk.

I hope you are enjoying the new generation as much as I do. Sun/Moon has really shaken things up and this wont be the last time we examined some of the newcomers. Next week I will take a look at Normal types.

[November 27th, 2016]

Mega Sableye: Scary Good in Draft League Format

I’m sure I wasn’t one of the only ones that was left wondering if Mega Evolutions would be removed in Generation 7 up until the announcement that they would be making a return just a few weeks ago. Mega Evolutions have played important roles in the GBA and in other draft leagues since the beginning of the format. Since then, though, along with the introduction of new Mega Pokémon, certain Mega Evolutions have risen to the top and established themselves as dominant forces in the draft league format.

(No, we’re not here for the bunny.)

One such Mega, in my opinion, is Mega Sableye. And with the arrival of Halloween, along with Mega Sableye’s recently announced OU suspect test, I figured it was fitting to analyze Mega Sableye and figure out what exactly makes it such a potent threat.

The first part of what makes Mega Sableye frighteningly good is what its non-mega counterpart is known for: Support. While many Megas provide teams some immediate offensive presence, Mega Sableye can be drafted as a strong, dependable wall with only one type weakness, and the team can be built upon from there.

Since Mega Sableye has such excellent defenses and succeeds as one of the best walls in the format, it can sit on the field and fulfill its role of Support by throwing out Toxics and Will-o-wisps, or by hitting the opponent with STAB Knock Offs, removing items that could have been vital to the opponent’s team preparation.

But in addition to its support capabilities, it’s also a great wall in the format, especially due to its typing. It normally has great synergy with the Fire types of Fire/Water/Grass cores and the Steel types of Fairy/Dragon/Steel cores due to them covering the weakness to Fairy Sableye carries. Since these cores have a rather exalted reputation, Mega Sableye can feel right at home when drafted to these common yet effective draft archetypes. It also has three useful immunities in Normal, Fighting, and Psychic, which may not seem like the most threatening attacking types on paper, but in a format where move coverage and team preparation means almost everything, having any immunities at all is always a good thing.

It also cannot go without mentioning that Mega Sableye has a superb ability in Magic Bounce. Two other Megas get this ability, but no Pokémon makes use of it like how Mega Sableye does. If you’re fond of normal Sableye, you might wonder why you’d ever want to get rid of Prankster. But with those high defenses, Sableye won’t be needing priority Recover. Instead, Sableye becomes impervious to the very statuses it inflicts: poison and burn. It cannot be whittled down. It also can’t be phased out by Roar or Whirlwind, only to be dealt with later. It can’t even be Taunted, which makes Oblivious Pokémon just look sad, if you think about it.

But most importantly, Magic Bounce is so impactful because of the hazard and status protection it provides. Before the battle even begins, opponents must plot out how to get their precious Stealth Rocks up while dancing around this gem grasping goblin on the battlefield. You may even find that some of your opponents won’t even bother bringing hazards to begin with, and would rather focusing on striking Mega Sableye down instead. This can be a crucial form of indirect support and shielding that mega Sableye can provide to hazard-weak teammates, and helps more defensive or bulky teams sustain less damage when they switch into hard hitting attacks. Many status spreading moves are bounced away by Sableye as well, which means a well-placed switch into this little gremlin can be excruciatingly punishing to an unwitting opponent, making Mega Sableye a great way to bolster your team’s stallbreaking capabilities.

These things are what make Mega Sableye a great wall, but we’re not finished just yet.

Unlike your typical walls, Sableye isn’t condemned to the sidelines merely as some measly support Pokémon that you drafted just to take hits; this snickering little spirit can sweep!

With 85 base physical and special attack stats, Mega Sableye doesn’t have much immediate offensive pressure, but with boosts, this thing can be unstoppable. Calm Mind varieties are notable because of Mega Sableye’s special movepool. Shadow Ball, Dark Pulse, and Dazzling Gleam round out the more common sets, while Psychic, Power Gem, and Signal Beam are more obscure examples just to name a few. Sableye’s typing also proves to be significantly useful for Calm Mind sets, since typical answers like Psyshock or Secret Sword won’t work. (Nasty Plot can do a lot of the same things, but with less defense).

Less commonly, you can run Hone Claws/Power-Up Punch Sableye, which might seem questionable at first, but against certain teams it can wreak havoc. Sableye has a surprisingly nice physical movepool as well, giving you plenty of options. Knock Off is always great, but there’s also the elemental punches, Shadow Sneak and Sucker Punch for priority, Poison Jab, Zen headbutt, and Rock Tomb. Sets like these become even more enticing once you realize you can’t be crippled by burn thanks to that good ol’ Magic Bounce.

So there you have it. Mega Sableye is a bit of a jack of all trades (or since it’s Halloween, a jack-o-lantern of all trades?) It can be your defensive wall, your stallbreaker, your status and hazard management, or your sweeper, or maybe even a little bit of all of that at once! It’s a solid draft pick that can be used as a cornerstone for the rest of your draft, as it is east to build a team around it. It’s proven itself in the GBA, particularly in Season 4 when it made it all the way to the Finals, and in other leagues as well.

With the end of ORAS in sight, and a new generation on the horizon, will we see Mega Sableye’s grip on the meta and the format loosen? We’ll have to wait and see!

 

[November 1st, 2016]