All posts by blametheblax

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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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]

Decided on Decidueye

by BlameTheBlax

One of the biggest causes of debate when it comes to Pokémon is which starter to choose from. Usually, people will simply choose the one that they like the most, however, there are those who aim only for the most competitively viable. So when Pokémon Sun and Moon came out with Rowlet, Litten, and Popplio, there was bound to be controversy over which one was the best. Sometime later, we received the leaks of the starter final evolutions. While the masses shrugged this off as yet another fan concept, I personally found the art to be far too detailed to be entirely fake. Lo and behold, a month before the game’s official release, the demos were subject to datamining and we found that the leaks were actually valid. While I’m unsure how GameFreak let these be leaked so early on and failed to contain the leak before it spread like wildfire, they did still manage to keep some cards close to their chests, only recently being revealed through a trailer. Let’s see what our starters can offer us.

Starting us off with probably the biggest surprise yet, we have the final evolution of Rowlet, Decidueye. Immediately, I noticed that the name is based off of the words deciduous and eye, which is some clever wordplay on how Decidueye is a Grass type archer. However, the secondary typing is what threw us all for a loop. A myriad of fans assumed that it would stay a Grass/Flying type like Rowlet and Dartrix, a handful or so believed it would become a Grass/Ground type to represent a burrowing owl, but instead it’s a Grass/Ghost type. While this isn’t exactly original anymore, what with the Trevanant and Gourgeist lines being introduced last generation, it’s still a unique and interesting typing with plenty going for it offensively. While I probably would’ve preferred a secondary Flying type, I’m certainly not complaining.

Grass/Ghost is an interesting offensive typing, but we’ve only seen it on weaker and bulky Pokémon. The Ghost typing is great offensively, with only Dark resisting and Normal is immune to it. Meanwhile, the Grass typing is less great offensively, being resisted by Fire, Grass, Poison, Flying, Bug, Dragon, and Steel. However, they work together to hit Water, Rock, Ground, Ghost, and Psychic for super effective damage. It does have the most weaknesses out of all the starters, being weak to Fire, Ice, Dark, Ghost, and Flying, however, it can also hit all of these counters with some Fighting and Rock coverage added on to its STAB attacks.

Like all the other starters, Decidueye has a signature move, Spirit Shackle. According to the official Pokémon website, Spirit Shackle is a Ghost-type physical move. An opponent hit with this move will become unable to flee from battle or switch out for an ally. This is absolutely insane from a competitive standpoint. Switching is such a necessity in our metagame, a restriction placed on switching is essentially a death sentence. However, I’m unsure if this would be a permanent effect or if it would wear off upon Decidueye switching. If it does wear off upon switch, the move probably isn’t worth running unless it has a decent base power. Judging by this signature move and the choice of design, I imagine Decidueye will be a fast mixed attacker, although probably more physically oriented. I can assume it will be getting moves such as Shadow Sneak, Shadow Ball, Giga Drain, Wood Hammer, and possibly even some Flying type moves like Hurricane and Brave Bird due to it being an owl. There’s also a high possibility of it getting Swords Dance like the majority of Grass types do. It may even be a decent support, since Grass types learn Leech Seed and Ghost types usually can learn a plethora of status moves, Will-O-Wisp being the most prominent.

Since Sceptile, a fellow offensive Grass starter, and Chesnaught, the previous starter, both have a BST of 530, it’s safe to assume it’ll be the same for Decidueye. This gives it plenty of wiggle room for balancing out stats, but if I were to decide them, it would look something like 75/100/70/95/70/120. This gives it enough defense to take one or two weaker hits, the speed to outpace the majority of Pokémon it ought to in order to prosper in competitive, and the attack to actually do some damage with every hit. As for hidden abilities, there are countless possibilities with this. My list of ideas is based off of abilities that are somewhat likely, so with that said, here they are: Sniper, Levitate, Technician, Infiltrator. Sniper is an obvious choice, personally I wouldn’t like it, but I could imagine the benefits if it gets Focus Energy. Levitate is also fairly obvious, why would we have a bird that can’t fly? Empoleon makes this idea redundant, not to mention Grass resists Ground anyway, but never complain about immunities. There’s also how Ghosts can levitate, but this holds much less weight due to Pokémon like Golurk and Aegislash. Technician would actually be very intriguing, since Hidden Powers would be boosted and it could run Shadow Sneak with the boost, assuming it gets it. Lastly, Infiltrator would be interesting. While it may not be the best competitively, the ability to ignore Screens and Substitutes is awfully rare and would make Decidueye become even more unique.

With all of this in mind, where do I envision Decidueye in the meta? While I certainly can’t use Future Sight, I can use my imagination and place it as a strong UU for the Smogon tier. Grass types are incredibly valuable in UU due to their ability to beat bulky waters, however, the amount of weaknesses and checks that the type does have usually holds it back. However, the added Ghost typing and the potential of Fighting and Rock coverage allows it to be an extremely strong attacker with little to no counters on paper, not including dual typings. Of course, the amount of Dark types in UU and the threat of Weavile, Tyranitar, and Bisharp would keep it from going into OU. As for its place in the GBA draft format, I honestly can’t say anything definitive. Trevenant is in Tier 4 and Gourgeist is actually at Tier 5, which is a rant for an entirely different article, but they are meant to be walls, not attackers. At this point in time, I’d place it in Tier 3. However, if it gets coverage and acceptable stats, in addition to a decent competitive HA, it’s highly possible to hit Tier 2. In the end, this is mostly speculation. We surprisingly know little about Decidueye, despite learning about it months beforehand. The majority of my conclusions are based off of what I know from the other Pokémon with this typing and the Grass starters with similar, offensive looking designs. Anything is possible for the Green Arrow. Until then, all we can do is stay high-spirited.
[Oct 31, 2016]

Mucking About in Alola

by BlameTheBlax

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon have already ushered in a new era of competitive play. With the introduction of Alolan forms, totem guardians, and the brand spanking new abilities on their recently revealed Pokémon, the tier lists of both Smogon and this League will undoubtedly go through a paradigm shift. The real question isn’t how the game will change, but rather how it won’t. More news was recently released and countless things stand out, but I was a little slow on the draw, so now I’m analyzing another familiar face that changed under the Hawaiian sun. Alolan Muk.

Let’s stick with the basics of what we know. Alolan Muk has a Poison/Dark typing, something only seen previously by the Stunky line. While this was a gigantic disappointment when compared to the “leaks” stating it would be a Fire type, this does mean that Muk only has one weakness in Ground. It also carries an immunity to Psychic and four resistances. It may lose out on the benefits from a Fairy resist, but it still hits them like a truck. As for movepool changes, it seems pretty clear to just about everyone that this version of Muk will be able to run Crunch, based on the information from the official Pokémon website (Note: After watching the footage from the trailer, I can confirm it does use Crunch). I could also anticipate it getting Sucker Punch, Pursuit, Assurance, and possibly even Foul Play. While Skuntank may suffer in the metagame, this is more due to a poor BST of 479. Meanwhile, Muk carries a more respectable BST of 500, which isn’t necessarily superb, but certainly gives it an advantage over a myriad of lower tiered Pokémon.

Speaking of the stats, let’s talk about Muk’s and what might change with them. Currently, the regular form of Muk has the stat distribution of 105/105/75/65/100/50. To be entirely honest, this is a wonderful stat distribution that makes me personally wonder why Muk isn’t used more, but I digress. If GameFreak were to change anything, I’d think they’d drop the speed. This conclusion was reached by merely looking at the design of Alolan Muk, which is covered in various crystals. I’d imagine that having crystals all over one’s body would cause you to be slower than not having crystals, but what do I know? If I’m right, I could imagine them dropping the Speed to 30 and placing it into Defense and Attack. Once again, this conclusion was reached due to the entry on the official website, which states that it eats a great deal and runs amuck without food. Basically, it eats up hits and deals heavy damage back to the target. This is backed up with the Special Defense already at a respectable base 100 and the Special Attack never being utilized, so I doubt seeing either stat change anytime soon. This new spread, assuming they do change the stats and it is similar to my vision would look something like 105/110/90/65/100/30, making Alolan Muk a real force to be reckoned with.

Finally, we have the abilities. Poison Touch is something Muk already had beforehand, so I don’t think I need to go into depth about it. Gluttony means we could definitely be seeing Muk holding items such as Sitrus Berry for health in dire circumstance, or a Liechi Berry for stronger attacks before death, but it seems like something more gimmicky or matchup based. I’m personally holding out hope for a hidden ability, although I’m not entirely sure what I’d give it. As of right now, I’m biased towards Infiltrator or Aftermath. Infiltrator would allow Alolan Muk to completely ignore opposing screens or Substitutes, effectively shutting them down before they even seize the chance to start up. Aftermath, on the other hand, is what makes Skuntank such a viable threat in the lower tier. This would allow Alolan Muk to be fodder for any physical setup sweeper, Sucker Punching them for damage and letting Aftermath do even more.

With all of this information and speculation out of the way, where will Alolan Muk appear in the metagame? While I doubt it makes an appearance in the upper tiers, it would be a monster in the lower ones. I could definitely see Smogon putting it in UU. In terms of League format, it’s an easy fit into Tier 3 with the potential to shift to higher tiers depending on who drafts it and how they use it. In the end, this is all merely speculation. We know next to nothing about Alolan Muk, the majority of my conclusions are based off of the design and the limited information we have received from our Rotom-Dex. Anything is possible for the Pokémon more toxic than League of Legends. Until then, all we can do is muck around until the demo finally comes out on Tuesday.

 

[October 16th, 2016]

The Fate of Ash-Greninja

by BlameTheBlax

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon have already ushered in a new era of competitive play. With the introduction of Alolan forms, totem guardians, and the brand spanking new abilities on their recently revealed Pokémon, the tier lists of both Smogon and this League will undoubtedly go through a paradigm shift. The real question isn’t how the game will change, but rather how it won’t. We received a plethora of new information yesterday, but one piece truly stood out. Ash-Greninja.

Ash-Greninja is an odd Pokémon. It’s not like this is the first time we’ve seen new forms of old Pokémon, especially in this region, but the changes on this frog shinobi aren’t as drastic as our new Alolan exclusives. As a matter of fact, it seems much more bland than these exotic changes to the beloved first generation. So what makes this Greninja so special compared to the already banned frog?

At first glance, it would seem that it is merely a new League of Legends skin. However, it would appear that this Greninja isn’t an Ash-Greninja outside of the field of battle. Enter the new ability, Battle Bond. According to various sources, Battle Bond is similar to Moxie in a sense, where fainting an opposing Pokémon activates the ability. But instead of something simple like +1 Attack, Greninja enters an entirely new form. After the battle, Ash-Greninja will revert back to its origins. However, questions still linger in the minds of many, and for entirely valid reasons. What makes Ash-Greninja differ than the original?

While I can’t give any real answers, I can certainly speculate and give my own reasoning from what we currently know. According to various sources, Ash-Greninja’s leg strength is vastly improved when compared to an ordinary Greninja, making it difficult to see because of the speed at which it can move. Obviously, this implies a boost in Speed, as if Greninja wasn’t fast enough! It could also hint at an Attack boost, because stronger legs lead to stronger kicks. In all honesty, with how hyped the anime makes Ash-Greninja, I’d just suspect it gets a boost in every stat. That seems perfectly reasonable with a Pokémon so closely bonded to a trainer.

Where will Ash-Greninja land in the metagame though? With Greninja already banned, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that this one will also be banned, but I personally hope that isn’t the case. It’s not entirely out of the question that Greninja ends up being unbanned (it happened to Manaphy in the transition to Kalos). If this bonded Pokémon functions the same as a Mega Evolution, except maybe cut in half to be an extra 50 points to the BST, then Ash-Greninja would have a BST of 580. If this were the case, which is quite a possibility, but still only speculation, then I could easily see Greninja getting 28 of these allotted into Speed, allowing it to hit a whopping 150 base. The remaining 22 would probably be split between Attack and Special Attack, with the Attack stat probably gaining more of a boost due to the reasoning explained above. As such, I could easily see this new spread to look something like the following:

72/110/67/110/71/150

As for sets? Well, this idea entails that Ash-Greninja would still function like the physical, special, or mixed attacker that the banned Greninja was while still in OU. Therefore, the likely standard set would probably be similar to those times. If you don’t remember when the metagame revolved around the amphibian assassin, or simply weren’t into competitive during that time frame, here’s the general idea of what that spread entailed:

Greninja @ Life Orb

Ability: Battle Bond

EVs: 20 Atk / 236 SpA / 252 Spe

Naive Nature

– Ice Beam

– Dark Pulse

– Gunk Shot

– Hydro Pump

In the end, this is all merely speculation. The fact that this new form was even brought into the games from the anime leaves everyone with hundreds of unanswered questions. It could function exactly like a Mega, it could function how I envision it would, it might even just be an aesthetic change for all we know. Anything is possible for this croaking behemoth. Until then, all we can do is hope that the broken limits of Greninja aren’t treated like a nail for the banhammer.

[Oct 5th, 2016]

Are Z-Moves Worth Using?

by BlameTheBlax

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon have already ushered in a new era of competitive play. With the introduction of Alolan forms, totem guardians, and the brand spanking new abilities on their recently revealed Pokémon, the tier lists of both Smogon and this League will undoubtedly go through a paradigm shift. The real question isn’t how the game will change, but rather how it won’t. Today I’d like to discuss a topic that many have yet to approach. The Z-Move.

The Z-Moves were first revealed in the same trailer as Alolan forms and a bunch of new Pokémon, so it’s not at all difficult to understand why they’ve been somewhat brushed off to the side. However, as additional information came out, a great deal of people gained interest. It wasn’t until the Snorlax exclusive Z-Move, aptly named Pulverizing Pancake, that we finally received real information on how they work. According to various sources, the Munchlax gift event will arrive with the Snorlium Z item that allows Snorlax to use the Z-Move Pulverizing Pancake. With this new tidbit, it can be gleamed that Z-Moves will be similar to Mega Evolution, in which one would need to hold an item and be able to use a Z-Move once at any point. This was confirmed once we learned that you need to posses a move of the same typing in order to use the Z-crystal to work. And this is where the conundrum comes into play. Is it worth sacrificing an item to use a Z-Move?

While I can’t say anything for certain without further knowledge, I do already know that Z-Moves are considered incredibly powerful. While this can mean just about anything, let’s go ahead assume it would place the base power for said Z-Move at 180, equal to V-Create. That said, Z-Moves are now a free V-create with no drawbacks but only one usage. Is the devastatingly powerful single use attack good or not?

While this is a question that can vary with any person, I personally say it isn’t. Even if you have an insanely strong attack, you can only use it once before the item becomes useless. It’s similar the Focus Sash or Air Balloon in that sense, except the Focus Sash gives weaker Pokémon the ability to take any one hit and the Air Balloon gives you a free immunity until it pops. And that’s without even considering all the other factors, such as how other items might negate a Z-move, the skill to predict Z-moves and switch accordingly, how strong a Z-move truly is without assumptions, speed tiers that determine whether or not you even have the chance to use a Z-move in the first place, the list of negatives goes on and on. Is it truly worth it to kill one Pokémon? Well, perhaps in higher level and League play. I could definitely see the viability in having Rock Smash and the Fighting type Z-move on something inconspicuous to kill off a Chansey. But you must keep in mind that if there is only one use for it, it becomes a gimmick.

In the end, this is all merely speculation. GameFreak could have entirely different plans than what I envision for this new way to attack. For all we know, the metagame could become centralized around Z-moves, much like it currently is with Mega Evolution. Anything is possible for the deadly dancing of a trainer and the full might of their Pokémon. Until then, all we can do is patiently anticipate the full force of unparalleled fists of fury.

[Oct 2nd, 2016]

[Sun and Moon Speculation] – Alolan Raichu

by BlameTheBlax

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon have already ushered in a new era of competitive play. With the introduction of Alolan forms, totem guardians, and the brand spanking new abilities on their recently revealed Pokémon, the tier lists of both Smogon and this League will undoubtedly go through a paradigm shift. The real question isn’t how the game will change, but rather how it won’t. Today I’d like to discuss one of the more interesting new forms to be introduced. The Alolan Raichu, which I will simply refer to as Psychu, is a lovable Pokémon that fits the stereotypical Hawaiian image. But what chance might it stand in competitive play?

Let’s take a look at the typing first. With the added Psychic typing, Psychu has traded some weaknesses for some resistances and a new STAB. While I can’t quite make a judgement on whether or not that is worthwhile quite yet, I can list the pros and cons of such a change. Due to this new typing, Psychu now has four weaknesses, being Ground, Bug, Ghost, and Dark. In exchange, it can now hit Fighting and Poison types for super effective damage along with Flying and Water types. It would also imply either Psychu gets to learn Psychic, Psyshock, Zen Headbutt, or perhaps a new signature move with the Psychic type. Maybe even all of the above, for all we know.

Speaking of moves, the original Raichu already has a plethora of moves to utilize on a multitude of sets, varying from physically and specifically offensive to support. It can only be assumed that Psychu will inherit this same movepool with perhaps an added Psychic STAB. While there is a possibility of an entirely new movepool, unlike some of the other new forms, this Alolan exclusive has had a very small change. I doubt they’d edit the entire Pokémon for one small thing. Also, the Z-move that Psychu does (which is named Stoked SparkSurfer) is extremely fascinating and undoubtedly powerful.

Continuing on the track of editing, let’s go on to the most interesting feature, the base stats. While I doubt the BST will receive any change, since this is a form change and not an official evolution, I could definitely see some forms of change to the current stats. This new surfing idea behind our mascot’s elder and the animation from Psychu using Stoked SparkSurfer, I could definitely see this thing gaining a slight boost in speed in exchange for some defenses. Due to the animation on Stoked SparkSurfer, which seems to be a physical attack, I could also easily imagine that Psychu is slightly more physically oriented than his Kanto counterpart. With all of this in mind, I believe that the spread will look like 60/100/55/95/55/120. This stat distribution makes Raichu a much more offensive threat while still retaining that same BST.

Last but most certainly not least, let’s talk about its ability. Surge Surfer is exclusive to the shocking Alolan mouse, allowing for twice the speed inside of Electric Terrain. That is highly situational since neither Raichu nor Psychu can’t really take a hit, but I could see the benefits if paired with a Tapu Koko. I’m thinking it will keep Lightningrod as a hidden ability, thus maintaining its viability in Doubles and giving it a niche for Singles. That said, where will Psychu land in Smogon or League play? Assuming it does get a boost to stats similar to the spread I provided above, I could easily see it landing in UU or BL, potentially even OU due to just how fast it is. In League play, I’d see it landing a comfy spot in Tier 2, due to its potential as a glass cannon. It might even be able to hit Tier 1 if we see it getting used well enough. In the end, this is all merely speculation. Nobody truly knows where GameFreak will take us and how much the metagame will vary in the coming months. But given the information that we already know and some degree of creative thinking, anything is possible for this pancake loving surfer. Until then, we’ll just have to ride through the shock waves.

October 1st, 2016