Hey, everyone! Missed me? Of course you have. Well, after my two week family vacation, I'm back to give you some hopefully useful information for those of you playing at USA or Canada's National Championship. If you're not playing, hopefully you'll find this article interesting, if nothing else.
For this one, I've decided to give you quite a bit more than your average dose of Pokemon for the coming week (the week of nationals OMG I CAN'T WAIT), by letting you know everything you need to act like you know what you're doing. That's right, this week, I'm going to be going over the Pokemon that are sure to be the most popular ones in the coming smackdown in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Disclaimer: This article is going to be a long one, as I'm making up for my two week absence. Please don't neglect reading it simply because of its length, as that would make me a sad panda. Read it all! You'll be a better person because of it!*
*Not guarenteed for all readers, results may vary
PUBLIC ENEMY(s) NUMBER ONE: The Kami Trio: Thundurus, Tornadus, and Landorus
These three non-uber Legendaries, commonly called "genies", have really taken the VGC 2011 format by storm. Get it? Storm? It's funny... because... I apologize. Let's get to the information. Firstly, these guys are fast. Their 111 (101 for Landorus) base Speed stat allows them to straight up outspeed a lot of the meta, and their Ability, Prankster, makes them even more formidible opponents. The Pranskter ability allows them to easily set up Tailwinds, Thunder Waves, and Taunts before the enemy can even touch them. Prankster+Tailwind is a great strategy to use in combination with powerful Pokemon that lack enough Speed to catch up to the genies, such as Haxorus, Krookodile, or Scrafty.
Even without looking at their stellar speed or amazing ability, the genie's stats are nothing to scoff at. In the Special Attack department, Thundurus and Tornadus weigh in at a hefty 125, with Landorus trailing at 115. Fittingly, Landorus has 125 base Attack, with Thundurus and Tornadus sitting at 115. This means that Thundurus, Tornadus, and Landorus get a STAB with Thunderbolt, Air Slash, and Earthquake respectively, each of these conveniently falling into the damage type of their more powerful offensive stat. To simplify all that fancy shmancy number talk, these guys are gonna do some serious damage to whatever dragons, horses, snakes, ice cream cones, or cottonball person things they're up against.
PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER TWO: Terrakion
In the videos of tournaments from earlier this season, I've found that the only Pokemon that is as common as the genies is the second Musketeer, Terrakion. That's right, behind those pigtail-esque horns of his, this guy has some fight in him. I could go on and on about how awesome and intimidating this guy looks, but that's not my job. Terrakion's role in your VGC team should be just a straight up physical attacker, and let me tell you, trainers, he fills this role well.
Rock Slide is (in my humble opinion) this Poke's bread and butter. With both Tornadus and Thundurus both being weak to rock, if you get a Rock Slide off, its 75 base damage, plus STAB can potentially start off your battle with a double knock-out. Another powerful tool in Terrakion's arsenal is Close Combat. With its 120 base damage combined with his 129 base Attack and a STAB, he can one shot darn near anything that doesn't resist Fighting. Vanilluxes, Krookodiles, Hydreigons, other Terrakions, and even Scraftys are especially afraid of Close Combat from this guy. Keep in mind that Terrakion has a higher speed stat than each of those, except for Terrakion, obviously, so he should be able to take them out before they even get a chance to do anything. The only Pokemon that can take a ... The obvious downside to Close Combat is the defenses decrease. Even if you outspeed their Pokemon, you'll only be able to potentially kill one of them. This leaves you open for their other Pokemon to take a swing at you when both of your defenses are -1. Chances of your Terrakion surviving a hit like that are unfortunately slim. But this dilemma thankfully has a bright side. When your Terrakion has his defenses at -1, you bet your boots your opponent will be aiming their attacks at him more than usual, just because he's obviously the easiest one to take out. If you can predict this and use Protect as much as possible after the defenses drop, chances are your opponent will be wasting at least one of their turns trying in vain to finish off your Terrakion, giving your second Pokemon free reign on the battlefield. That said, Terrakion is a completely viable option for the coming tournament, and I suggest you start getting yours ready so you can Rock Slide and Close Combat your way to victory.
PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER THREE: Hydreigon(?)
When we talked about the top 3 Pokemon used in VGC battles last night, I was taken aback by Hydreigon made the number one spot. In all the videos I'd seen of VGC battles, both over Wifi and at the actual tournaments, I'd seen very few Hydreigons. I assumed that this was because of their weakness to Terrakion's outspeeding Close Combat attack. But this apparently didn't deter 53% of the winning players from having this dark dragon on their team. I don't mean to offend anyone when I say this, but I personally really don't like this Pokemon very much at all. His weakness to fighting and its slower-than-terrakion speed means that Terrakion is pretty much a hard counter Hydreigon with its Close Combat. I think that the reason Hydreigon is in a large percentage of teams is because of his frequent use on younger player's teams. Let's face it. When you're a kid, what's cooler than a three headed evil dragon? Nothing.
Okay. Rant over. One of Hydreigon's good features are his pleasantly high Special Attack. Unfortunately, the only especially good special move Hydreigon learns for this metagame is Draco Meteor. With that move's stat decrease, Hydreigon is unfortunately a one-trick pony. In my opinion, you're better off using someone who can use better attacks that are super effective to other Pokemon in the metagame.
PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER FOUR: Musharna/Chandelure + Gigalith
Travis isn't going to like me for mentioning these guys in my article. But, like Travis, I am willing to make sacrifices to bring you the information you need. This combination right here is what I'm personally thinking about running for the tournament. I really like it because it does very, very well against the rest of the metagame if you can manage to get set up without being taunted or faked out.
For those that don't know, this team setup is based around using Musharna or Chandelure to set up a Trick Room while Gigalith Protects. After Gigalith becomes the fastest Pokemon on the field thanks to Trick Room, he then proceeds to obliterate everything with Earthquake, Rock Slide, and, eventually, Explosion.
While both Musharna and Chandelure are able to set up Trick Room and also are able to stop themselves from being hurt by Explosion, which one you personally use is entirely up to you. Both have strengths and weaknesses, and I'm currently making the difficult descision of which I'll use in Indy. On the Musharna side, there's Telepathy. A Hidden Ability which allows Musharna to dodge all of Gigalith's attacks. This means that Musharna will be completely unaffected by both Earthquake and Explosion, attacks which would severely damage him otherwise. The downside to Musharna is that it, unlike Chandelure, is able to be Faked Out. That could very possibly spell disaster early in the game, because a Gigalith without Trick Room isn't something most people would like to have, and Musharna flinching means there's one more turn without the move in effect. Chandelure, on the other hand, because of its Ghost typing, is completely immune to the effects of both Explosion and Fake Out. This means that the only thing stopping Chandelure from setting up is Taunt, which can be fixed with a Mental Herb. But, unfortunately, Chandelure not only takes damage from Earthquake, it takes super effective damage. According to my trusty damage calculator, there's a 66.6% chance that Chandelure will be taken out in one hit by his partner's Earthquake. That said, you'll probably not want to use Earthquake at all when you're using Gigalith and Chandelure, meaning you'll lose a powerful tool against Terrakion. The descision between Musharna and Chandelure is a tough one, but either way, Trick Room teams are going to be a big contender at Nationals.
PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER FIVE: Whimsicott
Prankster, Whimsicott and the Kami trio's ability, is seeing some serious play in VGCs this year. While each genie uses it for seperate reasons, Whimsicott uses it mainly as a speedy Tailwind setup. Tailwind, for those of you who don't know, doubles the speed of all Pokemon on your side of the field, a deadly combination with some of the slower, but more powerful Pokemon, such as Haxorus, Krookodile, and even Hydreigon. The cottonball's speed and wide pool of moves that can abuse Prankster make it the Prankster setup Pokemon of choice, at least for me. Its base Speed allows it to outspeed the genies, as well as anything else commonly used. Another strategy I've seen played is using a low-leveled Whimsicott to use Beat Up on a friendly Terrakion. Terrakion's ability, Justified, means that it gets an attack boost every time it's hit with a dark type move. Fortunately, Beat Up hits more than once, and triggers the stat boost each time, meaning you can set up your Terrakion with +4 attack on the first turn, while only dealing a very, very small amount of damage to it.
In closing, VGCs is going to be a really fun time this year, and I hope that all of you we'll be seeing there have a great time. I've really loved writing this article, especially after my two week hiatus, so I hope you've enjoyed reading it. Happy 4th of July to those of you living in the States and I can't wait to see you all at Nationals.
P.S., don't forget to wear your Team Plasma shirts on Friday! Can't wait to see all of you representing the coolest, most awesome-est PokeCommunity on the web!