Monthly Archives: December 2016

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]

Advertisements

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]