Tag Archives: league play

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!

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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]