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]