by Ben Hyman
With the release of Pokemon Sun and Moon on the horizon, there’s still a lot of things we don’t know too much about. Ultra Beasts, Z-Moves, the possibility of Mega Evolutions disappearance or return, and much more. Will Game Freak shake up the type matchups again like they did when Steel received its nerf, or will the status quo remain the same? There’s so much to speak on regarding this, but for now I’ll focus on what I’m personally most excited for: Alolan Forms!
When Alolan Forms were first revealed, I nearly lost my mind. I mean how couldn’t I? Alolan Exeggutor is the most ridiculous thing! Being a fan of Ice types far more than is probably competitively healthy, I also instantly fell in love with the Alolan Sandslash/Ninetales lines….And I’ll be primarily focusing on the latter today. Alolan Ninetales is an interesting beast, and it’s time for some rampant competitive speculation. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
To start, let’s go over the non-Alolan form. Ninetales has always been an interesting pokemon. With pretty much average or below average stats all around, save for base 100 Sp.Def and Speed, there needed to be a very good reason to use the crafty fox. Then, Generation 5’s Dream World came and blessed it with the amazing ability of Drought. Bringing the Sun for a ride whenever it came into play was a metagame changing event, one that warped Black and White’s meta, for better or for worse. So, what can Alolan Ninetales get to make it better than its brethren?
Let’s start with stat distribution, shall we? Ninetales stat-line is as follows: 73/76/75/81/100/100. Not too impressive, as it stands. Assuming Ninetales receives only buffs to important stats and/or decreases from irrelevant stats to put into relevant stats, we may end up with something along the lines of: 73/51/65/101/105/105. Much more fitting of an Ice/Fairy type, right? Ice types are generally fast and decently strong, whilst Fairy types tend to be weaker on the physical side whilst very strong on the special side, a nice mixture! Speaking of that Ice/Fairy typing, it’s definitely a double-edged sword. Defensively, you are now 4x weak to Steel, gain a Poison weakness, are now neutral to Fighting, and gain a Dragon immunity. Seems pretty good to me, you weren’t staying in on Steel types anyways! Offensively, there’s really not much to say other than holy crap. Two of the best offensive typings in the game on one Pokemon? Sign me up! Watch out for those dastardly steel types as per usual, but Dragons beware, a new Dragon Killer has usurped Azumarill.
As for moveset, this is where things get interesting. Assuming Alolan Ninetales (Now referred to as A. Ninetales for convenience)has its only ability available at the start to be Snow Cloak, it effectively has no ability since it cannot afford to set up Hail on its own. Awkward. Moving on, we can assume it’ll get both Ice Beam AND Moonblast, so that’ll likely be on every set. At least part of Ninetales normal move-set will carry over…which isn’t too useful but will give us some neat options like Dark Pulse and Psyshock. Really, anything to hit Steel types neutrally is what we want. Calm Mind is also an interesting option, boosting that speculated Special Attack stat even higher, threatening many a wall with the possibility of just getting blown away by a +1 Moonblast or Ice Beam. On the other hand, the rest of the support move-pool will likely be…lacking. Unless Game Freak blesses A. Ninetales with Will o Wisp, there’s not much else this icy fox is going to be able to do. It’ll be one dimensional, but it’ll be very very good at its job.
Now, for probably the set it’ll run 90% of the time
Alolan Ninetales @ Life Orb
Ability: Snow Cloak
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Ice Beam
– Calm Mind
– Dark Pulse
Keep in mind, as with all speculation none of this is even REMOTELY confirmed, so keep your ear to the ground and eyes to places like Serebii, you never know what info might pop up.
[September 13th, 2016]