Why does this thing exist?

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Seriously, why does that thing exist? ^

I get it. One of the strongest Tapu’s in the game. Versatile fighter with Psychic Terrain, Psychic, and Psyshock for physical attack damage, bulky in its own right (in terms of Special Defense). Fabulous array of fairy type STAB attacks. A fairly cute looking creature to boot.

Go ahead. Just chuck a Choice Scarf on this thing, and Tapu Lele is doing some serious damage. I must also mention that the greatest perk of Psychic Terrain is that it disables priority-based moves such as Fake Out, Extreme Speed, and tricky abilities like Prankster or Triage? If you’re grounded, that is… *wink wink*

All that being said though, how in the world has this thing become such a problem for me and my fire type squads? You’d think that with running nothing but fire type Pokemon within a highly competitive, VGC atmosphere, I’d be struggling with the likes of Garchomp, Landorus, Salamence, Milotic… heck, even Tapu Fini would be giving us some serious problems, right?

Nope. Tapu Lele. Only Tapu Lele. And even worse… that accursed Cresselia (I’ll get to that little troublesome one later). Those are the types that I’m worried about. Something about this clumsy little island fairy really just grinds my gears. I don’t know about you folks, but it has been *so* hard for me to find an appropriate counter for this thing. Even with the all-mighty Incineroar at my disposal (which I choose not to run… not out of spite, but out of love), I can’t seem to get around teams who carry this elusive, admirable, elegant monster of a muse.

The deadly combination of Psychic, Psyshock, Psychic Terrain, and that accursed Choice Scarf… (which is quite popular for Lele in VGC apparently). There are very little in the way of special defense that can handle the might… the scorned fury.. of the fashionably Scarfed Lele. I suppose in a way I can just think of the most *simple* solutions to the problem. Think, for example, of one of my most favorite fire type Pokemon from Kanto. Lovely, fluffy, furry, the magnanimous Flareon. This Gutsy, Flash Fire Pokemon would have all the appropriate means to answer for the aforementioned magical monstrosity, right?

By the way, Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee for the win. 😛

Flareon

Look at him! Just look at that cute little adorable baddy bad! Isn’t he such a good boi ! 🙂

Not only is Flareon terrifyingly cute, it’s terrifyingly powerful as well! Busting in with an impressive 130 base attack stat, comparable to some of your all-time favorites such as Garchomp, Landorus, Scizor, Terrakion, Latios, and even Mega Charizard, this little fox (?) is packing a punch (or kick).

Alongside this, Flareon holds its own well against many Specially Offensive threats with an astonishing 110 base special defense, the highest of all fire types (with the exception of Mega and Legendary Pokemon).

Fully equipped with this knowledge, one would expect Flareon to be a savvy contender against the likes of the most pink and pretty of all fairy types. Except… you’d be wrong. Speaking from the perspective of a prolific Fire-type gym leader with lots of experience and a great aptitude for mind games; me, the great Brave Charizard, otherwise known simply as Quinn (in some States). I can tell you right now that Tapu Lele does not have any problems with pushing over my great and wonderful Flareon. You wanna know why…? It’s because of Psyshock. 😦

Well-polished players in the meta are highly aware of the Specially Defensive resilience of Flareon. Therefore, leading Flareon on the opposing side would trigger a good player’s immediate instinct to do away with it before it gets a chance to inflict any serious 3rd degree burns. As such, a good Psyshock just does the trick without even a flick of the wrist. Psyshock is a powerful Psychic type attack that does solid physical damage to the opponent whilst calculating the user’s Specially Offensive stats, that being a very scary base stat of 130 for Lele, curiously rivaling Flareon’s Offensive stats one-to-one.

A single hit from Psyshock blitzes right through Flareon’s flimsy 60 base defense stats, with an already low base HP stat of 65. There’s no way Flareon stands a chance against Lele, like at all. This one move alone, along with Tapu Lele’s uncanny ability to outspeed anything (in a Choice Scarf), means that Flareon isn’t going very far with this tough little bunny rabbit (or is it a bunny rabbit, exactly…?).

Incineroar.jpg

So, what are our possible solutions? Fortunately as a Fire type gym leader, I have access to crafty Dark-type Pokemon such as Incineroar and Houndoom. In most cases, I generally tend not to run Incineroar, so that’s simply out of the question. Likewise with Houndoom, it still struggles with out-speeding Tapu Lele in Scarf mode, and is barely bulky enough to take a good hit from a well-aimed Moonblast from any direction.

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Is it possible for a properly Scarfed Pokemon of our own (say, Rapidash), to put an end to this mistress of a monstrosity? Hardly so…. and let me elaborate. A Choice Scarfed Rapidash easily outspeeds Tapu Lele, this is true. A well-timed Poison Jab can put a serious dent into the Lele’s Tutu without being placed into harms way. What gets in the way is Rapidash’s inability to OHKO most opponents, which I’m shamefully forced to admit, Rapidash being very underrated in my humble opinion.

Tapu Lele is honestly only a tad less flimsy than Flareon with a base 75 defense and a base 70 hp. Yet, I can’t seem to tailor a Rapidash that can knock out Tapu Lele with one Poison Jab, or even a Flare Blitz. A potential caveat is the use of Expert Belt, a hold item which increases the damage of a supereffective move by 20%. This would seemingly bestow our hopeful Rapidash with its rightful win condition. Without the added speed of a Choice Scarf however, Rapidash is left wide open for a free and vicious Psychic Terrain boosted Psyshock. Chances are slim that Rapidash is ever making it out of that situation alive.

There are many fire type Pokemon who, even with the proper set up, just cannot deal a definitive blow on our little flowery creature. Entei is lacking in Special Defense. Blaziken and Infernape are out of the question. Arcanine (even with an Assault Vest) isn’t quite powerful enough, though Arcanine does demonstrate a modicum of potential against Lord Lele.

With an Assault Vest, increasing its Special Defense by 50%, though disabling the use of   status moves such as Sunny Day and Roar. An Assault Vest allows Arcanine to withstand a couple attacks while delivering a two-hit KO with Flare Blitz. Yet; Psyshock is always a potential threat. For now, Arcanine is our greatest chance. Our greatest glimmer of hope. Our properly crowned Legendary Pokemon (See: Pokedex).

Arcanine.png

Up to this point, Lord Lele alone has applied obnoxious amounts of pressure on so many of my fire-type teams (of which I have many). I’ve yet to find a feasible solution to the problem. And I’m usually quite capable of finding a feasible solution to the problem. Therein lies our conundrum; is it worth preparing for Tapu Lele in the meta, or can I salvage myself with pure firepower alone?

There are so few Pokemon that I actually fear. Most of typically happen to be electric or psychic types; I still get a little shaken up by Terrakion from time to time. There are Rain teams that I struggle with from time to time. As a whole, through countless matches ran in succession, I’ve been able the weather all the storms; all the Earthquakes; all the Rock Slides; all the Low Sweeps. I’ve learned how to read an opponents play and break it down limb from limb. Type advantages against the flame are no longer a disadvantage. Such is the strength and liability of a competent gym leader. What happens to be your greatest weakness, it becomes your greatest strength. But, what happens when your greatest challenge lies not in type advantages, but pure damage output?

Alas, I’ve caught wind of there being a reward at an upcoming International Competition, and it’s a Shiny Tapu Lele. A golden opportunity, I’d presume. A shining moment of glory for me to capture in the sunlight, a chance for me to no only be the Tapu Lele, but to BEAT the Tapu Lele. Yet, I mustn’t rush. I’ve got to continue my training before entering a proper International Competition. I am a polished trainer indeed, but there is so very much to learn. There are some things though that only hands on experience can teach.

Those are the thoughts of a younger and more naive me. This isn’t about winning a competition for me. This is personal. The key to mastering the flame is to jump right into it and capture it on your staff, and let it fly wild and free, with the might of one thousand Marowak’s. And that’s what I’m here to do. I’m here to set this stage on fire, baby. So let’s just go out there and do the thing!

I hope I’m not alone in this fiery passion for greatness. I’m sure it’s going to be one heck of an experience for me. One thing’s for certain, though: even if we lose, we all still win. Even with Tapu Lele as a consolation prize, the true reward — the experience itself — a priceless gem that lasts a lifetime. Think you have what it takes, fellow trainer? I’m sure you do. You wouldn’t hop onto the forum of the great Brave Charizard for nothing! I’m on a Master Quest, and I’d hope to see you there along the way!

Lele, your dark tyrannical rule ends now.

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–Brave Charizard B)

#TeamCinnabar

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