All posts by wutpulver

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]

 

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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]

How good are the Island Guardians?

by: Wutpulver

After Generation 6 broke with the tradition of having a legendary trio Sun and Moon are bringing the first true quartet to the pokèmon series. Probably in an attempt to redeem X/Y. Since we know about their typings and abilities it’s about time to speculate their strengths and to prematurely answer the most pressing question of them all: Wich Tapu is the best?

Similarities 

Like most legendary families the Island Deities share some characteristics. All of them have a fairy typing, set terrain on entry and have the same signature move. This signature move is Nature’s Madness which halves the opposing Pokèmon’s HP. It pretty much works like Superfang. I am a little disappointed by it and don’t believe that it will be a commonly used move. Fairy is one of the best typings in the game and part of the infamous fantasy core (Fairy/Dragon/Steel). It favors special attackers more since Play Rough does not have wide distribution and has a chance to miss unlike the superior Moonblast.

Typings

The best typing of the bunch probably belongs to Tapu Koko with the unique combination of Electric and Fairy. Poison and Ground are its only weaknesses and all of its resistances ( Dark, Electric, Fighting, Flying) are incredibly useful in the current metagame. It can stop bird spam, takes Knocks Offs and gladly endures Volt Switches. Its typing will most likely allow it to use Volt Switch as well wich is another big advantage of this combination. A+

Next up is Tapu Bulu the Grass Fairy. The immediate concern is its 4x weakness to Poison. Poison is not exactly a common offensive typing but it is still a problem. Its other weaknesses (Fire/Steel/Flying/Ice) are frequently found on offensive pokèmon and really don’t help the bull fairy. The resistances Fairy brings to the table are still very good but all of these pokèmon benefit from it to the same degree. C

Tapu Lele recycles Gardevoir’s typing with Psychic/Fairy. Psychic seems a bit redundant on a Fairy type, at least offensively. They are both effective against Fighting and both struggle against Steel. Granted Fairy helps against Dark Pokemon and Psychic can deal with Poison types but there are far better combinations out there. Psychic isn’t that great defensively either. It’s most valuable resist is probably itself. Psychic Pokemon usually have a plethora of useful utility moves like Trick or Thunder-Wave (which is still going to be amazing even though it only halves speed now and no longer sports 100% accuracy) so I don’t want to completely dismiss it. C+

Last but not (maybe) least is Tapu Fini and its Water/Fairy typing. Bulky Water is a common and powerful archetype which mainly benefits from only being weak to two kind of attacks. Since Water pokèmon usually also have access to Ice Beam they can even deal with Grass which is supposed to be one of their main counters. Scald is one of the best moves in the game as well. Fairy is a great defensive typing which mainly benefits from only being weak to two kind of attacks….. wait a minute. If we put these two together we get one of the best defensive type combinations. A

Terrain

Electric Terrain boosts Electric attacks of grounded Pokèmon by 50%. That has the potential to be huge and could make Tapu Koko one of the scariest threats to face in any format. Stopping grounded Pokèmon from falling asleep is neat but fairly niche. However this could be the end of Amoonguss` stint in OU and might even cause Breloom to drop as well. B

Grassy Terrain boosts Grass attacks instead but Electric is just a better offensive typing. It also provides recovery for grounded Pokemon but since both teams will receive additional Leftovers this Terrain is largely useless. Secret Power becomes a Grass attack with 70 base power which gets boosted even more by the terrain. The cherry on top is the additional 30% chance to put targets to sleep. C

Psychic Terrain protects grounded Pokemon from priority attacks and boosts Psychic attacks. It is fairly niche but neat nonetheless. C+

Misty Terrain prevents status infliction on grounded Pokemon and reduces the power of dragon attacks. Since the Island Guardians are Fairies anyway this will be useless. D

Roles

I do not know any stats so far so this is the most speculative part of the article. All I have to go on is their typing, revealed moves design and lore. I predict Tapu Koko to be a fast attacker, Tapu Bulu to be a slow bulky physical attacker, Tapu Lele to be a special defensive wall and Tapu Fini to be a mixed wall.

How good are they going to be?

Their Fairy typing and hopefully above average BST should secure all of them a place in the OU/UU tiers. The best one will most likely be Tapu Koko. Tapu Fini should also have a place in the new metagame as long as it gets decent recovery. Unlike Suicune wich is another bulky Water pokèmon without great recovery it can not fall back on Rest since Misty Terrain prevents you from falling asleep. Tapu Bulu and Lele are most likely going to be quite useful but are also easier to exploit than the other two. I do not believe that they will reach OU unless they will be backed by an insane BST. Just remember that all of this is purely speculation and just an educated guess. The new metagame will be drastically different and will shift a lot of power around. Anyway I will probably be spamming Tapu Koko on the OU ladder as soon as it comes out.

[Oct 31st 2016]

How Emvee broke the format

by:Wutpulver

Emvee joined the GBA for Season 6 and immideately made a splash, without having prior draft experience. He assembled a unique team and abused some of the quirks of the counter team format.

Building a core

In case you need to refresh your memory, here is Emvees draft recap. The first three picks are fairly standart. Dragon/Fairy/Steel cores are very common and for good reason. Notable is the inclusion of Togekiss since it counters the added ground weakness that Mega-Ampharos brought to the trio. These three pokèmon do not leave many holes to be filled by later picks since they have the option to set Stealth Rocks, Defog and U-Turn. So far this isn’t really innovative but it is a solid foundation for whats to come.

Weaknesses

There are only 2 notable weaknesses that I could make out. First is the lack of strong fire attacks. Fire is one of the most important attacking types and a Togekiss or Gyarados Fire Blast is not exactly the strongest Fire coverage.

Second is the lack of recovery. Outside of Togekiss, every Pokémon of the Chimchargers has to resort to Rest to gain some HP back. This results in the team losing steam in drawn out battles.

Set up

Four of Emvees pokèmon are very well known as set up sweepers. Haxorus, Gorebyss, Gyarados and Slurpuff are famous for just that. It doesn’t stop here though. We’ve seen Rock Polish Donphan, Agility Mega-Ampharos and even Swords Dance Keldeo during the season. Almost every Pokémon on the roster can take over a game and be a win condition. This is incredibly important in counter team formats since it is impossible to check every single threat this team presents. What makes set up based teams even more effective is the tier system. No team can consist only out of top tier pokèmon wich makes it very hard to keep up the pressure and not offer too many safe turns. A tier 4-5 Pokemon is usually not able to threaten an OHKO, which opens up a lot more opportunities to run away with the game. In 7 out of the 12 regular season games, Emvee managed to have 1 Pokémon that killed at least half of the opposing team. Together, with Emvees tendency to bring very unusual sets, this team style makes it incredibly hard to prepare and play against it.

Will this change the meta?

I believe that this team archetype is superior to the ones we’ve been seeing so far and fully expect more coaches to try piloting one next season. The more common it becomes, the easier it will be to counter, since phasing will be the best way of working around it and teams will include more and more of these in their plans. I do think that this should have an impact on how the GBA is played and am curious to see how the drafts will develop.

[October 14th 2016]

 

 

Sun/Moon VGC Speculation

by: Wutpulver

How can someone predict how a format, that is not even announced yet, filled with Pokèmon whose stats we don’t know will turn out? Well you can’t, wich is why you should take everything I am going to say with a huge grain of salt.
Instead I am going to look at things that MIGHT be interesting for the upcoming format.

The first Pokèmon I want to look at is also one of my favourite designs: Oranguru. Starting with things we actually know both of its abilities are quite useful in doubles. Inner Focus stops the always common Fake Out while Telepathy has great synergy with its signature move Instruct. This move causes the targeted Pokèmon to immediately repeat the last move it used. Did you ever feel like your Garchomp’s Earthquake needed to deal double damage while leaving your second Pokèmon unscathed? If you did, then Oranguru is your ideal partner. Right now, it seems that it will be a support Pokèmon best paired with fast heavy hitters. The typing Normal/Psychic only has two weaknesses, which are Bug and Dark. Based on its design I predict low speed and strong bulk. How high these stats turn out will decide how important Oranguru will be in the upcoming meta. Its movepool will also play a huge role. I can see it getting Trick Room and Fake Out but these are very uncertain so lets move on instead.

Jangmo-o is mainly interesting because of its ability Soundproof. A dragon that is immune to Mega-Gardevoirs and Syleons Hyper Voice is bound to have some uses. Due to its revealed moves so far (Headbutt, Dragon Tail) I predict it to be a physical attacker along the lines of Haxorus. Its speedtier will be one of the crucial factors for its power.

Lycanroc-Day has quite a few interesting characteristics. Rock is a useful typing since it is great offensively and a counter to the always dangerous Talonflame. Sand Rush will be powerful if Tyranitar or Hippowdon have any place in VGC 17. Its signature move Accelrock is the first priority rock move and probably the biggest reason for excitement. I predict Lcanroc-Day to be a fast, fragile attacker that will make use of STAB Rock Slide and Accelrock to carve its niche.

Alolan Ninetales has an amazing offensive typing. The ultimate dragon hunter. Its viability will almost entirely depend on its speed and special attack. Should it be a prominent member of the new meta players will adapt and bring Bullet Punch on almost any team. Because of this I do not believe it will ever be dominant but a good fix for teams weak to Dragon.

Tapu Koko and Alolan Raichu have to be discussed together due to the obvious synergy of their abilities. Tapu Koko sets Electric Terrain on entry, while Raichu’s speed is doubled while Electric Terrain is active. These two share a typing in Electric and Earthquake as a weakness. Magnet Rise is a possibility but denies themselves the Electric attack bonus that the terrain offers. Raichus current speed is fairly high anyway wich makes the speed boost pretty irrelevant. This is why I hope that Alolan Raichu will have decreased speed and a significant boost in either bulk or special attack. Tapu Kokos signature move Nature’s Madness acts like an electric Superfang and will probably not be used much. I do not think the electric duo will have much of an impact and do not see an archetype developing around Electric Terrain unless more pokemon that benefit from it are released soon.

The most overhyped doubles pokèmon so far is probably Oricorio. Most poeple saw its ability and immediately tried to build combos with Volcarona, Salamence and Gyarados. The problem is that you have to protect your set up Pokemon either with redirection or flinching. Should Oricorio be a support Pokèmon that learns Follow Me or Fake Out, it will not have the offensive potential to make use of the free stat boost. If it is indeed offensive it will not be able to protect its partner properly. Aside from that it mostly looks like a gimmick to me and I don’t expect a high or even respectable BST from it.  The concept could be promising but I am afraid I can’t believe the hype.

[Oct 4th 2016]

Luxray and Drifblim are underrated

by: Wutpulver

There are some features that make a Pokèmon very desirable in draft leagues.Some of the more well known ones are Electric types, Defoggers and versatility.The biggest upsides for Electric as a typing are the lack of weaknesses (only weak to ground) and Volt Switch.The momentum gained from it is crucial in the format since teams usually have a few star pokèmon that do the heavy lifting. Protecting these from damage and enabling them to apply pressure is one of the best things low tier pokèmon can achieve and these two tier 5 “losers” do it very well wich makes me wonder why they have not been used so far.

How to use them

Luxray

Actually that is not true. El Scizor and the Borussia Donphan picked up Luxray in the 4th week of season 5. However, it was not used a lot and since it did not get drafted initially in any season, I think it is still eligible to being called underrated.

Even though its best stat is the 120 base attack, Luxrays main role is that of a defensive pivot. Intimidate is a great ability to have on weaker pokèmon since it always cripples physical attackers regardless of the actual power of the user. This also applies to other chip damage/crippling abilities like Rough Skin, Flame Body and Static. Here, it allows Luxray to take physical attack surprisingly well and a slow Volt Switch is great to gain momentum or bring in vulnerable pokèmon like Weavile or Talonflame. It has many attacking types in its arsenal but often has to settle for the inferior version. Instead of the elemental punches it only has the fangs and instead of Close Combat is has to be content with Superpower. Wild Charge as the main STAB-move is also suboptimal since the recoil will keep Luxray from sticking around longer. The best items are probly Rocky Helmet, Assault Vest and Sitrus Berry to improve your chip damage, bulk or staying power.  A few more interesting moves are: Roar, Snarl and Thunder Wave. An offensive set with Guts and Facade is also possible but lacks the speed to really make use of Luxrays attack stat.

Drifblim

I’ll be honest. The reason I wanted to include Drifblim in here was Defog and Aftermath. Suicidal utility is very effective coming from low tiers. Once I started looking into its expanded movepool it became clear that it can be extremely effective and I am going to make the bold claim that it is in the TOP 10 OF TIER 5 POKÈMON.

Let’s calm down for a bit and look at what it actually has to offer. The base hp of 150! seems tempting but the underwhelming defense stats hold it back quite a bit. The overall bulk is still decent in tier 5 but it could have been so much more. The ability Aftermath is one of the best you can have on this type of pokèmon. Potentially losing a quarter of their max health to a sack will make people very cautious around the DEMON KING DISGUISED AS A BALLON! Ghost/Flying is an amazing typing as well. Important immunities to Fighting/Normal and Ground are great to have. Spin blocking is especially useful. Speaking of hazard control Drifblim learns Defog wich any team enjoys in their lineup. Utility in general is probably its biggest selling point. Not convinced? Well I have this list: Clear Smog, Haze, Baton Pass, Calm Mind, Memento, Disable, Knock Off, Pain Split, Sucker Punch, Thunder Wave, Destiny Bond, Trick, Will-O-Wisp, Icy Wind, Skill Swap, Magic Coat and Weather Ball. Drifblim is a damn swiss army knife.

I guess I failed at that calming down part. Anyway this MONS… I mean underrated low tier Pokèmon obviously has some downsides attached to keep it in check. One of the biggest problems is lackluster recovery. Drifblim is one of the few Flying types that do not learn Roost. There are other options available like Stockpile/Swallow and Rest (Resto-Chesto into Unburden anyone?) but they just dont feel the same. Pain Split is largely useless due to its insane hp stat anyway.

The offensive movepool is functional but not outstanding. Hex and Knock Off are probably the more effective options but Drifblim is not supposed to be a sweeper anyway. You can still use Unburden for some offensive plays but it does not allow for attack enhancing items like Life Orb wich really stops any sweep attempts. The most effective Unburden triggers are probably Chesto/Resto, Power Herb/Phantom Force/Fly and Natural Gift. Still Drifblim can do so many things on a slim budget that you are guaranteed to get a lot of bang for your buck.

Sample Sets

Luxray

  • @Chesto Berry
  • Ability: Intimidate
  • HP 252 Atk 12 Def 244 Relaxed
  • Volt Switch
  • Superpower/ Ice Fang/ Fire Fang/Signal Beam/Hidden Power
  • Wild Charge
  • Rest

 

  • @Flame Orb
  • Ability: Guts
  • Atk 252 SpDef 4 Speed 252 Jolly
  • Facade
  • Wild Charge
  • Quick Attack
  • Crunch/Ice Fang

Drifblim

  • @Chesto Berry
  • Ability: Unburden
  • Atk 252 SpDef 204 Speed 56 Careful
  • Rest
  • Defog
  • Destiny Bond
  • Acrobatics

 

  • @Rocky Helmet
  • Ability: Aftermath
  • Def 252 SpAtk 4 SpDef 252 Bold/Calm
  • Clear Smog
  • Will-O-Wisp/Thunder Wave
  • Hex
  • Thunderbolt

 

Conclusion

There are still many hidden treasures buried deep in tier 5. Most of them should only be used as enhancing talent to your core but every man with two hands has a fighting chance. The choice of your benchplayers is more important than most players realize and they often offer the crucial bit of spice to really unlock your teams potential. They are more than just waterboys.

[Oct 3rd, 2016]

 

Revamping The Mega Tier List

by: Wutpulver

Why should the list change at all?

I believe that the current mega-tierlist stops many Pokémon from being drafted and severely limits the amount of viable choices.
Pokemon like Garchomp, Houndoom and Glalie went undrafted on the last 2 seasons and need to be more attractive.
If we take a closer look we see that 20 out of a total 36 available mega Pokémon are placed in tier 1.
Shouldn’t tier 1 be reserved to the absolute best Pokémon in the draft format?
How can that be the case when over half of choices are supposed to be the cream of the crop?
It is hard to justify having M-Sceptile in the same tier as M-Lopunny.

How can we improve it?

To make as many Pokémon as possible a viable choice i think we have to spread them out a bit .
First I want to expand the tiers to 5 just like the tierlist for regular Pokémon.
Also I want to make sure to slim out tier 1 and distribute them more evenly (Spoiler: My list is still pretty top-heavy).
This will decrease the average prize of megas so we might want to think about decreasing the total funds by a bit so that more low tier Pokémon get a chance to shine.

My Tiering Principles

  • Ideally every Mega is a viable choice.
  • It is better to have a Pokémon that is too strong in its tier than the other way around to ensure no mega feels like a flat-out bad pick.
  • If Pokémon are very much alike each other (Medicham and Gallade for example) they should be in different tiers so that one does not outshine the other.
  • A mega Pokémon can be in a lower tier than its regular counterpart because it has to compete against the other megas and in some cases (Tyranitar/Garchomp) is worse than the original.

The List

Tier 1

  • Medicham
  • Pinsir
  • Sableye
  • Charizard-X
  • Scizor
  • Venusaur
  • Altaria
  • Lopunny

Tier 2

  • Slowbro
  • Manectric
  • Heracross
  • Gardevoir
  • Alakazam
  • Diancie
  • Gallade
  • Charizard Y

Tier 3

  • Gyarados
  • Aerodactyl
  • Garchomp
  • Absol
  • Beedrill
  • Swampert
  • Blastoise
  • Aggron
  • Tyranitar

Tier 4

  • Sceptile
  • Ampharos
  • Houndoom
  • Pidgeot
  • Glalie
  • Sharpedo
  • Steelix

Tier 5

  • Camerupt
  • Bannette
  • Audino
  • Abomasnow

What are the upsides to this version?

This would give players a reason to draft Pokémon we haven’t seen so far.
Especially the Tyranitar/Garchomp duo, who would finally have a reason to be picked instead of just using the non mega versions. Other Pokémon, such as Steelix or Camerupt, can also be serious value picks.

Final thoughts

The list I presented is obviously not perfect and up to change, but I wanted to give an example of how a new list could look and mostly start a discussion about it.
Sun/Moon will shake the tiers up anyway, but I do think that a more nuanced list can go a long way to allow for more creative but competitive teams.
People can even make a decent argument for the tierings being better when they are unbalanced because it allows the players who have a better understanding of the format to draft significantly stronger teams and by that reward game knowledge more.
Personally I don’t buy into it because in my opinion a strong draft should be about carefully fitting pieces together instead of mashing the overpowered ones into each other.

09.30.2016