Category Archives: Editorial

Speculation and discussion on rules for Sun/Moon VGC

by NewGame+

Earlier this week, we were treated to a new Sun/Moon trailer. Along with that, the official site updated with the rules for the upcoming VGC ’17 season. The newest and most notable rules are as follows:

  • NO MEGAS WILL BE ALLOWED
  • Each player will have only 60 seconds to choose a move, with a total of ten minutes for the battle. If either player runs out of their ten minutes, they automatically lose.
  • Only Pokemon found in the Alolan Pokedex will be allowed

In this article, I’ll discuss each of the points and what they (could) mean for VGC in the future. Also, before I begin, I recommend reading Wutpulver’s VGC speculation article. In that article he discusses in depth on his thoughts of specific Pokemon on their roles in VGC ’17, so read that one first.

Only Pokemon found in the Alolan Pokedex will be allowed

This is the first biggest rule for VGC ’17. Many people have had issues with the currently allowed Pokemon for a few years, including the very infamous CHALK set (Cresselia, Heatran, Amoonguss, Landorus-T, Kangaskahn). Since these Pokemon were always found on a team in one form or another, the meta began to grow a bit stale. Now, however, assuming that most/none of these Pokemon will be found in Alola, the meta will have a lot more breathing room. Add in the fact that many of the newly introduced Pokemon seem to be oriented towards VGC, and it looks promising as to what kind of teams we’ll be seeing in the upcoming season. And that also leads us to…

NO MEGAS ALLOWED

This is another big one, since many people were upset with the way Megas dominated the format (Mega Kangaskahn in particular). Megas have dominated the scene ever since they were introduced, from M-Kanga, Garchomp, and T-Tar in VGC ’14, to M-Rayquaza, Primal Groudon and Mega… Kangaskahn… again… in VGC ’16. This is fairly huge because

 1) strategies will no longer be oriented around allowing/preventing a Pokemon to sweep as a mega, and 

2) the guessing game as to which Pokemon will be Mega is eliminated. You look at a team with Alakazam, Sableye, Tyranitar, and Garchomp, and there’s no telling which one is going to be the Mega (plot twist, it’s the Audino that you completely forgot about). And now, we move on to the final (and perhaps most important) rules introduced…

Each player will have only 60 seconds to choose a move, with a total of ten minutes for the battle. If either player runs out of their ten minutes, they automatically lose.

VGC ’16 saw quite a few stall tactics in which players would either win by stalling the timer, or would realize they were going to lose unless they stalled the timer. After many complaints by players (and, most notably, a certain wolf), it’s no wonder why they added what’s known as the “chess timer”. Now, for those of you unaware of what a chess timer is, it’s a timer that’s used in chess (as the name implies). Time is granted to each player rather than to both at the same time, to prevent players from winning by stalling the time. Each player has a total amount of time (in this case 10 minutes), and if a player allows this time to run out, then they lose. Period. This is absolutely necessary to stop people from winning via time stalling, and also stresses making plays in a quick and timely manner. This can also help for various official tournaments, as the timer can help matches end quicker and therefore have more done in a single day.

What are your thoughts on what’s in store for VGC ’17? Discuss in the comments below, and if you haven’t, check out Sun/Moon VGC Speculation if you haven’t already.

October 9, 2016

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Making a case for Sap Sipper Azumarill in OU

by NewGame+

Azumarill has always had a sad fate as a bit of a niche Pokemon in the OU metagame; all it’s ever really good for is hyper physical offense, and is almost never used with any ability besides Huge Power. Always confined to running either a Choice Band or Sitrus Berry/Belly Drum set, it’s easily defeated by Scald, Will-O’-Wisp, and physically defense Pokemon such as Skarmory, Ferrothorn, and Tangrowth. It’s sub par defensive stats also make it fodder for just about every Grass, Electric, and Poison user in the tier, meaning that a lot of work has to be done before Azumarill is allowed to do it’s thing.

 

Recently, however, I got to thinking; could Sap Sipper be useful in any way in OU? Maybe not as an offensive set, but maybe for defensive? I did some digging and research, and found that maybe, just maybe, Sap Sipper Azumarill could make a stand in this cold, cruel tier. Allow me to start with the set I tested:

Azumarill @ Leftovers
Ability: Sap Sipper
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Relaxed Nature
– Scald
– Toxic
– Protect
– Knock Off/Encore

For this particular set, the fourth moveslot comes down to your personal preference; Knock Off pairs well with Sap Sipper and allows you to get rid of any pesky items for your sweepers (Leftovers, Black Sludge, Eviolite, Rocky Helmet, Assault Vest, etc). Encore can be useful for locking your opponent into a status/weak move and allow toxic to chip away at their health (or you could switch out to one of your sweepers, either way). At it’s core, this set immediately walls all of the following:

Breloom, Ferrothorn, Serperior, Weavile (set pending), Lati@s, and Tangrowth (set pending). Breloom absolutely cannot touch Azumarill, since Bullet Seed is useless and Technician sets die to Toxic. The only way for Breloom to reliably take down Azu in this case is to SD up, but even then it’ll slowly be dying at the hands of toxic and scald. While Ferrothorn would be able to get up hazards, it wouldn’t be able to Leech Seed and/or Power Whip, and Gyro Ball would do a very small amount due to Azu’s pathetic speed stat. Serperior’s only option would be to HP Fire, since Leech Seed, Leaf Storm, and Dragon Pulse can’t do Jack shit. Weavile can’t do much unless it’s carrying Poison Jab. Just take a look at this:

252+ Atk Choice Band Weavile Icicle Crash vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Azumarill: 90-106 (22.2 – 26.2%) — possible 5HKO after Leftovers recovery

This is the best thing Weavile can do against Azu, and it’ll be taking Scalds to the face as it tries it’s damndest to take down the Big Blue Water Mouse Of Hatred.

Lati@s is pretty self explanatory; unless they run Psychic over Psyshock or unless they run Thunderbolt, they’re going nowhere fast. Sure, the could Calm Mind, but then they get encored into that as Azu poisons their drinking water, so good luck with that, fam. Tangrowth is walled depending on it’s set; if it’s not running Sludge Bomb, then it’s super fucked. Period.

Besides these Pokemon, Azumarill fares really well against other physical threats like Tyranitar, M-Lopunny, M-Medicham, Garchomp and M-Garchomp, Talonflame, Dragonite, M-Heracross, Bisharp, Landorus-T Scizor, and M-Scizor.

Let’s go with the biggest monster here in terms of attack power; M-Medicham. It’s best attack against Azu is Zen Headbutt, and is calculated as follows:

252 Atk Pure Power Mega Medicham Zen Headbutt vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Azumarill: 181-214 (44.8 – 52.9%) — guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery

3HK0. That’s beans to Azu. In this case, every Scald Azu throws at M-Medicham does 25-29% with a chance to burn. If Medicham has been weakened in any way prior, then it doesn’t stand a chance. Here’s some other calcs for other Mons listed here:

+2 44 Atk Technician Mega Scizor Bullet Punch vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Azumarill: 159-187 (39.3 – 46.2%) — guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery

+4 44 Atk Scizor Bullet Punch vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Azumarill: 139-165 (34.4 – 40.8%) — 54.5% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery

252 Atk Mega Lopunny Return vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Azumarill: 144-169 (35.6 – 41.8%) — 84.8% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery

252 Atk Life Orb Bisharp Iron Head vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Azumarill: 138-164 (34.1 – 40.5%) — 42.1% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery

252 Atk Mega Garchomp Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Azumarill: 166-196 (41 – 48.5%) — guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery

252 Atk Mega Tyranitar Stone Edge vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Azumarill: 162-192 (40 – 47.5%) — guaranteed 3HKO after sandstorm damage and Leftovers recovery

Now, offensive Lano-T can do quite a bit of damage, as seen here:

252+ Atk Soft Sand Landorus-T Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Azumarill: 195-229 (48.2 – 56.6%) — 34.4% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

However, on the flipside, Azu does this:

0 SpA Azumarill Scald vs. 72 HP / 0 SpD Landorus-T: 138-164 (40.9 – 48.6%) — guaranteed 3HKO

So it’s not all bad on this front. I would also like to specially point out Talonflame:

+2 252+ Atk Sharp Beak Talonflame Brave Bird vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Azumarill: 313-369 (77.4 – 91.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

however

0 SpA Azumarill Scald vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Talonflame: 156-186 (52.5 – 62.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO

…so yeah. It’s gonna fucking die.

So, after all this, you may be thinking to yourself; oh, golly gee willikers, what could possibly take down such a bulky, ferocious monster?

LITERALLY EVERY SPECIAL ATTACKER WITH A POISON OR ELECTRIC TYPE MOVE

As with any Pokemon with a crazy stat in one defensive category, it’s destroyed by Pokemon with high offensive stats in the other (i.e. Chansey is destroyed by physical mons, Skarmory is destroyed by special, etc). Such threats include Amoonguss, T-Bolt Clefable, T-bolt Lati@s, Rotom-W, Gengar, M-Manectric, Magnezone, Raikou, Thundurus, and Zapdos. These pokemon can absolutely ravage Azumarill, and those running Sap Sipper Azu need to be extra careful around these pokemon in particular. They can ruin you in one turn, so if you ever find Azu in front of one of these monsters, you need to get the fuck out. There’s also some physical attackers than can do a number on Azu, in particular Kyurem-B:

252+ Atk Choice Band Teravolt Kyurem-B Fusion Bolt vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Azumarill: 364-430 (90 – 106.4%) — 43.8% chance to OHKO

Yeah, it’s not a guaranteed OHKO, but it can be very frightening if caution isn’t heeded.

So, that’s the end of my analysis for Sap Sipper Azumarill. This article has gotten over 1000 words, which means I’ve put more effort into this than anything college related ever. brb as I bathe myself in a tub full of Flamin’ Cheetos.

October 1st, 2016

We Need More “Dumb” Picks in Drafts

by VirtualSpivey

During the draft of last season’s GBA League, PKMNTrainerSteve, aka M4GNITUDE, aka Battler X’s benefactor, made a surprising pick in Sawsbuck to join his team. Quickly derided and mocked for his choice, Steve stuck with the 4-legged buck and it had the audacity to go ahead and run a sweep through the Boston Red Sawks during Week 8. With just a single raise from its Sap Sipper ability, it quickly knocked out four of the opposing team and almost single handily winning the battle.

In a single battle, Sawsbuck showed that its horns are not mere decoration, but rather a bloody mess of corpses and lost dreams for the defeated. Those that mocked the steer were silenced, at least for a little while, and it even made Battler X a few new fans. Sawsbuck was featured as the 3rd best play in the League and people couldn’t believe their precious little eyes. This is the type of battling that needs to be shown more in the GBA League.

While competitive Pokemon is a blast and needs careful planning, especially in this format, it doesn’t hurt to consider that a good amount of Pokemon (that are usually trash) can actually be planned around in League rules. Sometimes a surprise draw can make opponents either not plan for those Pokemon, or be flabbergasted that someone would “waste” a slot on their team.

It would be a fun time to see a Lickitung tanking damage due to other coaches forgetting that it learns a vast array of moves due to its typing, as well as having respectable defenses when it holds an Eviolite. It also doesn’t slouch when it comes to hard hitting moves; it learns both Power Whip and Wring Out naturally, which can hit hard during a predicted switch. Or perhaps the untapped potential of Ursaring can come to the fray and destroy everything in its sight. Heck, maybe someone will go crazy and give it a couple of the ORAS tutor moves like Seed Bomb, so it can wipe out one of the many defensive Water type walls. Ursaring can throw out a Gunk Shot and hit those Fairy foes with the force of an ice cream truck. These are just a couple that I have come up with on a whim, but if one looks carefully they can find a great array of hidden assets to use.

This is an exciting time for the GBA League, with new games coming out and a boat load of new attacks, strategies, and Pokemon coming out to the fray. However, if one takes the time and dedication, they might just find a diamond in the rough.

[Sep 29th, 2016]