Tag Archives: gba

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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[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

Ban or Not: Hoopa-Unbound

By bhahn

I’m a very analytical person.  I love to debate, exchange facts, and convince people to do something.  Luckily in Pokèmon, there is a great time and place to do this: tier assignments.  Speculation isn’t my strong suit, so I’ll leave that on the back burner until more facts are available on Sun and Moon ‘mons.  That aside, I will be writing a series about several Pokèmon who are on the border between OU and banned in league format.  I’ll discuss three catagories: Typing/Stats/Ability, Movepool/Coverage, and Team Synergy/Prep.  I will decide whether these ‘mons should be allowed, and afterwards I will speculate (yay!) on how what we know about the new generation will potentially change their tiering.

So let’s start with the first entry.

Hoopa-Unbound

I remember laughing when I heard that this thing would be suspected in OU.  I know it’s good, but never did I expect it to clear Smogon’s standard tier.  I just scratched my head upon hearing it was no longer legal in OU.  Apparently, members of my league agree, as it was actually lowered to OU-B (we use the GBA’s old point system, but select a tier for each ‘mon ourselves).  Other leagues, like the GBA, left Hoopa on the banlist.  To see why, let’s break the Djinn Pokémon down.

Typing/Stats/Ability

One look at the base stat total proves that Hoopa-U is a beast.  This thing rivals Rayquaza in its ability to run crippling physical and special sets.  Dark and Psychic serve as predominantly special attacking types, so the choice specs set is run most often, but physical options are equally viable.  160 and 170 are no doubt Uber attack stats.  Special defense is strong as well.  The rest of the stats leave a bit to be determined.  Base 80 speed doesn’t cut it for sweeping; I always scarf Hoopa.  This flaw was a larger issue in OU, a much more speed-centric tier than Ubers, and an even bigger one in league play.  Hoopa’s defense is also very poor considering U-Turn is its Achilles’ heel.  Between the lack of speed and poor defense, Hoopa is left to wallbreak rather than sweep.  Magician is a pointless ability considering Hoopa-U needs a choice item to function in top form.  Dark and Psychic is a sound defensive type, with only two weakness; U-Turn one of only a handful of moves which can finish this dark magician.  Overall, only two of the six stats scream banlist, and while typing is strong defensively, Hoopa is to physically frail for it to matter in some cases.

Movepool/Coverage

Hoopa-U has all the STAB power it could ever ask for and then some.  On the special side, Dark Pulse is the primary dark STAB, while Psyshock is the psychic one (Psychic also works but forfeits the mixed coverage).  Conversly, Hyperspace Fury, Zen Headbutt, and Knock off work on the physical spectrum.  Non-STAB coverage is pretty standard for a special psychic type: Shadow Ball, Signal Beam, Focus Miss, Energy Ball, and Thunderbolt highlight the list.  Elemental punches offer much needed patching to complete Hoopa’s type coverage.  Given the insane stats in both offenses, this diverse moovepool makes Hoopa downright scary, especially in standard play.

Team Synergy/Prep

Hoopa, like Landorus-I in many ways, was banned in standard play because its unpredictability is too great.  But in the league format, preparation is far more critical and there are ways to mitigate Hoopa’s destructive power.  Almost any bug-type move will knock out Hoopa, and many ‘mons get signal beam.  Having a fast sweeper with Signal Beam can force Hoopa to run a scarf.  Defensive fairies can check choice scarfed Hoopa well, forcing switches and costing Hoopa’s team momentum.

Certain support is needed to aid Hoopa.  A strong steel type is ideal to shrug of bug and fairy type moves and to kill fairies in return (unless one is willing to risk running Gunk Shot). Good steel types are rare, so this is a bit of an issue for Hoopa teams.  Thunder Wave support is a must if Hoopa isn’t holding a choice scarf, as is Heal Bell support.

Final Thoughts

Hoopa is great and hits insanely hard, but its blasé speed is what keeps it from obliterating everything, especially in league format.  Hoopa is also crushed by status, and is too frail to survive the physical onslaught of OU unscathed.  It is not the only thing without switch ins: Victini V-Create is scarier in my opinion, as is a Mega Lop HJK or +2 Pinsir Return, and these are all faster.  Hoopa’s best selling points are more potent in standard play than league format.  It has just enough checks in the league format.

Verdict: Not Banned

Sun and Moon?

Z-moves are the main thing to watch here.  Hoopa already hits hard enough that it won’t be beneficial; z-moves will be better on weaker ‘mons.  That said, a z-type fairy or bug move will easily finish Hoopa if they are indeed as strong as advertised.  Depending on the availability of these moves, Hoopa may be left outgunned as well as outrun, sealing its fate as an unbanned Pokèmon.

Feel free to comment with Pokèmon you’d like to see discussed in future articles.

 

[Sep 29th, 2016]