Tag Archives: analysis

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.

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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]

Golisopod: The New Behemoth Bug Type

Honestly, did anybody expect Wimpod to stay wimpy forever? I knew this little bugger was going to grow up into a monster, but Golisopod was not what I anticipated. Wimpod’s ability Wimp Out seemed awful to me at first, and I was hoping its evolution would flip the script a little bit and get an ability that does the opposite: scare out the opponent when your health drops below 50%.

But alas, Golisopod gets Emergency Exit as its only ability, which is basically Wimp Out but with different flavor text. But is Emergency Exit truly a deal breaker? And what can we expect from it in league format heading into Generation 7?

After all, what exactly makes Emergency Exit so “bad?” There’s a few reasons which I’ll briefly explain here:

  1. Emergency Exit activates after you are hit below 50%, not the end of the turn. With Golisopod’s base 40 Speed, you will often get switched out without getting a hit off.
  2. Golisopod is Stealth Rocks weak, so it wants to avoid switching at all costs. In the context of league format, drafting it is essentially inviting your opponent to bring Stealth Rocks against you.
  3. Being switched out against your will hinders your ability to set-up and sweep.

But taking a closer look at Golisopod, namely its stats, reveals some amazing potential. To get a good understanding of its bulk, it’s essentially got the same HP and defenses as Mega Scizor, albeit with a worse defensive typing. (It has 75/140/90 bulk to be precise.) That bulk is valuable to a Pokémon like Golisopod, which will generally always be in fear of dropping below 50% HP. In fact, no matter what way you look at it, Golisopod will always have that issue.

But along with that bulk, Golisopod packs a punch with 125 base Attack, which is respectable for sure.  So, it appears that looking at stats alone, Golisopod has a lot of things going well for it. But what exactly can it do with these stats? What about its movepool?

Primarily, lets cover its signature move, First Impression. First impression is a +2 priority Bug Type Move with 90 Base power, but it can only be used on the first turn it is sent out. This makes First Impression the strongest priority move currently in the game. It functions extremely well with Golisopod’s “crippling” ability, believe it or not, since it acts as a reset button for this move. This makes Golisopod a potentially great revenge killer.

Other highlights of Golisopod’s movepool are as follows:

  1. The newly buffed Leech Life, which is now an 80 base power healing move, which ties with Oblivion Wing as the strongest HP-draining move, unless you count Dream Eater.
  2. Water STAB moves like Razor Shell and Liquidation, both which have a chance to lower the opponent’s Defense. Nice and spammable.
  3. Priority moves in Aqua Jet and Sucker Punch, and of course, First Impression. Although Sucker Punch is now 70 base power this generation, it’s strong enough to help mitigate Golisopod’s poor speed stat.
  4. Yup. Golisopod can set up some hazards if you need it to. This is especially notable for league play, where hazards play a big role in preparation and counter-team building.
  5. Physical coverage moves including Rock Slide, Poison Jab, Brick Break, and Aerial Ace. (Yeah, I know those last two moves aren’t all that impressive, but they could be useful in a league match where movesets tend to get a little funky sometimes.)

There’s two last moves that deserve their own separate section, and not just a bullet point. Substitute and Swords Dance. Based on its ability, Golisopod seems like the last Pokémon you’d want to set up with, because you’d just get ejected at some inopportune time and lose all your stat boosts. But with the threat of First Impression, you can force the opponent to switch, which can be your opportunity to set up a Substitute. A nice quirk in Emergency Exit’s mechanics is that Golisopod will not switch out if its health is dropped below 50% from Hail, Sandstorm, or Substitute. It also won’t switch out if an item like Sitrus Berry keeps it above 50% once activated.

Behind a substitute, you’re free to go for a Swords Dance or two, and with Aqua Jet as a STAB priority move, sweeping with Golisopod is much more achievable than it would seem on paper.

In that sense, Emergency Exit is truly both a blessing and a curse. Just like with every Pokémon, you must play to its strengths and not its weaknesses, or better yet, turn those weaknesses into strengths. Used correctly, Golisopod has the tools to overcome its ability, and even use it as an advantage on occasion. Whether you set up and sweep or set up hazards, slap on a Choice Band or a strap on an Assault Vest, there’s plenty of things you can do with this beastly bug type.

I see this thing having a bit more success in draft leagues than I do in normal Smogon tiers. Behind the right coach with a well-drafted team and some smart movesets, this Pokémon can really shine. I know you could say that about pretty much every Pokémon, but with an ability like Emergency Exit, I feel like Golisopod needs a little bit of defending, as I can already tell many people will write it off because of its ability alone.

But don’t be afraid to use this monster! We’ve been waiting since Surskit for a usable Water/Bug type, and this generation we were introduced to two. And if you learn how to use it well, it will be your opponent that Wimps Out against you!

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