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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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]