ABC’s of VGC (2019, part 2)

Welcome back to the ABC’s of VGC! If you were able to make it here last time, we had an opportunity to cover the letters A through F of the VGC Pokedex, a brief alphabetical listing of the most competitive and most viable Pokemon in the known Universe! While not all Pokemon could be here to make it on the list, I’ve decided to take some time before we begin our session today to offer a few honorable mentions.

Afterwards, we’ll jump right into the letter G, all the way through to the letter L of the alphabetical PokeMeta. Be sure to comment down below on any of today’s honorable mentions that you find fascinating and would like to see me cover in more detail. I may decide to do an Appreciation post, or just generally discuss rant about anything that is requested, depending on the weather!

Honorable Mentions (Letters A thru F)

 

A- Aegislash, Araquanid, Altaria

B- Tapu Bulu, Braviary, Blastoise

C- Clefable, Celesteela, Charizard

D- Dialga, Driftblim, Ditto

E- Electivire, Excadrill, Entei

F- Flareon, Foongus, Florges

VGC’s (G through L)

 

Now that we’ve gone through a modest little list of honorable mentions (all fantastic Pokemon, by the way) let’s go right on ahead and take a look at what the next six letters of the alphabet have to offer for the VGC 2019 Sun Series!

Groudon

Groudon

Not much really needs to be said about this dynamic devastator. Yet, there is so much that we need to cover. Crowned King/Queen of the VGC meta of 2019, and various past seasons of VGC as well (no pun intended), Groudon and its aquatic counterpart basically delegate which teams are doing what this year. They command the meta, and are the principal rulers of how you lay your cards. They decide your fate, and also control the forecast at any given moment. And there is no single base team exempt from their judgment. Not Xerneas. Not Yveltal. Not even Incineroar. And we’ll be getting to all three of those god-like Pokemon very soon!

All that being said, is there really no way out whenever a vicious and gargantuan Groudon hits the stage? As usual, trainers, fear not, for your boy Brave Charizard is here with some helpful answers!

For starters, there are a number of Pokemon who benefit from the sunlight of Groudon. Interestingly enough, enemies of Groudon can actually take advantage of such opportunities as an opponent more so than any of its allies could ever dream of. In many ways, I see Groudon’s ability as a way to flip the script back onto it in a matter of seconds. Let me break it down.

Pokemon such as Venusaur, Exeggutor, Sunflora, and Charizard, all have abilities that can give them the upper hand when Groudon is on the field. Venusaur and Exeggutor are adept in their use of the ability Chlorophyll, which allows them to double their speed in sunlight, thus giving them an edge in combat.

The Chlorophyll ability, combined with Venusaur and Exeggutor’s use of Solar Beam — a move super effective on Groudon which takes two turns to execute under normal conditions, and only one turn to execute in harsh sunlight — makes it quite easy to calm this iron giant and put it right in its place. With a measly base 90 Special Defense, Groudon can barely shake the storm of solar energy when put to the test. In a way, Groudon has given the opponent an unfair advantage just with its sunlight alone!

Some other things to consider whenever there is a Groudon in play is its signature move, Precipice Blades. This is essentially much like the powerful Earthquake. Unlike Earthquake, Precipice Blades target only the opponents side of the field and not anyone on the user’s side. Also unlike earthquake, this move (strong as it may be) is highly inefficient at hitting even the least evasive of targets. Likewise, the move has a wide number of other issues with targeting down opponents of… I’ll say, the more feathery persuasion.

Precipice Blades has a shaky hit-miss ratio, hitting approximately 85% of the time, which can mean life or death in a situation where the user may be in dire straits, with an opponent of Groudon geared up and ready to fire back. One may breathe a small sigh of relief when the opponent calls to Groudon for this abominable attack — but only a small sigh at best!

In order to avoid Precipice Blades completely whilst giving yourself a winning edge in combat, you may want to consider employing a Flying type Pokemon on the field, many of which may simultaneously wield Groudon’s harsh sunlight against it: Ho oh, Moltres, Charizard, Tropius, or even Levitating Pokemon such as Rotom Heat, or a Moonlight-using Cresselia.

Such Pokemon are capable of using Solar Beam while diligently dodging those prickly Precipice Blades. Some of these airborne creatures may even be able to fight fire with fire! All of the fire types above, as well as an under looked feathery fiend known as Zapdos, can utilize Heat Wave or (with the exception of Zapdos) a wide variety of other fire attacks to burn opponents like Groudon on the other side for some critical damage!

If you are using Groudon, make sure you have all of your checks and balances in place. This Pokemon is slow, and very susceptible to the elements, but it is also very bulky (defensively), very powerful physically, and incredibly adept in combat. If your Precipice Blades aren’t sticking quite like you want them to, try applying a little more Gravity to the situation… 😉

Ho-oh

Ho-Oh.png

Despite Heatran trending slightly higher in usage than Ho-oh, I chose to cover Ho-oh strictly for the fact that this rainbow-like Pheonix has an incredible amount of value when it comes to taking out our beloved weather Legendaries. Not only is Ho oh incredibly viable in health and physical attack, it also has an exceptionally high base Special Defense stat of 154, the seventh highest Special Defense of all Pokemon in the known Universe!

Yes, the entirety of the Pokedex only has eight Pokemon with a Sp.Def stat as high! This is a very important statistic to commit to memory — the likes of Lunaala, Dawn Wings Necrozma, Kyogre, Xerneas, Tapu Lele, and many others can’t hold a candle to this lit flame, and even their most highly focused cosmic attacks won’t leave a dent if properly garbed.

Kyogre is most likely one of the biggest threats you’ll face in the VGC 2019 meta. It can be very difficult to take down Kyogre, especially if it happens to be clothed in a handy Choice Scarf, a popular hold item which increases speed of the user by 50% with the one condition of having to use only a single move for the remainder of its time on the field (hence, the name Choice Scarf).

With Kyogre’s Drizzle ability making it rain all over the arena, a Choice Scarfed Water Spout or Origin Pulse will most likely put all competition to rest in one fell swoop. This may seem like doom and gloom upon first mention, but I am very happy to inform you that not all is bad weather whenever this Pokemon is your opponent. Seeing Kyogre on the field for the first time will most certainly not mean your untimely fate, especially for our faithful fire bird from above, especially under the right conditions.

Trainers who prioritize on building Ho oh’s Special Defense will not only see it survive a full-powered Water Spout from Kyogre; it may also withstand the attack gracefully, and with great resilience, if prepared with a Passho Berry at its disposal. Such a berry cuts the super effective damage of a water-type move in half for one single attack!

This is a critical factor, as such a maneuver can help buy time while weathering down on the vicious whale of an opponent with moves like Giga Drain and Brave Bird. As a point of importance, the more you can weather down the whale, the weaker its move Water Spout will be.

As mentioned during our talks with Groudon, Ho oh is a great contender against all legendaries during the weather wars. Ho-oh elegantly resists all incoming Precipice Blades entirely due to its flying type advantage. A signature fire type move of Ho-oh, Sacred Fire, is especially useful against Groudon, as it gets a boost in power under Harsh Sunlight, and if Ho oh is also prepared to Giga Drain, it may also pierce through Groudon’s weak Special Defenses whilst retrieving some health all at the same time, all moves in the arsenal that are ready keys to victory. Knocking out two birds with one stone!

Just make sure that the Groudon you’re facing with Ho-oh is not a Primal, or there are troubles afoot at a much greater magnitude, namely the fact that Groudon in its Primal state resists both Sacred Fire and Giga Drain (as a Fire/Ground type)! Luckily, primals aren’t legal in VGC 2019, so you should be fine. 😉

 

Incineroar

Incineroar

There are so many things Incineroar can do that nothing else in the meta can do quite like this flaming luchador. A Pokemon with humble beginnings, Incineroar began as a favorite among many as a starter Pokemon with its premier stage known as Litten. Many people received this fire type starter incredibly well, and even formed a small following of dedicated #teamlitten fans during the debut of Pokemon Sun and Moon, the very games that began the Seventh Generation of Pokemon and eventually kicked off the Sun Series. It didn’t take much longer before the final evolution, Incineroar, would see one small adjustment that would change the combat potential of this ‘mon, and the entire metagame, forever.

A year after the release of the original Pokemon Sun and Moon, a new type of Incineroar was unleashed unto the world, along with new, elusive versions of Incineroar’s fellow starter companions Decidueye and Primarina as well. In particular, this Incineroar became available through the online Pokemon Bank system, a subscription based application which allows users to store Pokemon in a cloud-based box for a small annual fee.

Incineroar came prepackaged with its hidden ability Intimidate unlocked through the Pokemon Bank as a special gift. This single factor has created a swarm of new users across the nation, making it the most used Pokemon in possibly all of Pokemon history, currently with an 85% usage rate in all teams in today’s current season.

With the Intimidate ability, the very presence of Incineroar on the battlefield shakes and disorients all foes, dropping their attack stats by one stage just by entering the field. This has been an important mechanic in the implementation of Incineroar, as its use of U-Turn, Fake Out, and Knock Off, offer endless opportunities to pivot, set the stage for partners behind the ropes, and cut off the opponents momentum and leave them with no way to go.

Not only is Incineroar excellent at disorienting enemies, but it also packs a shamelessly devastating punch with a base physical attack of 115, highest of all the Alola starters, and a very comparable HP stat of 95 to go with its well rounded defensive stats of 90 for both physical and special attributes. This Pokemon, donned with either an Assault Vest or a pinch berry, is a stone wall that is a definite challenge to knock over.

Incineroar had then instantly became a mainstay in so many teams due to its strength, its willpower, its resilience, and its overall versatility in combat. Though not the fastest in the game, this monstrosity can attack first in almost any situation with Fake Out (a special egg move attained through proper breeding techniques).

Fake Out takes priority above and beyond all basic attacks, not only dealing considerable chip damage, but also forcing the opponent to flinch, no matter what the case may be. Only Pokemon with the proper ability can avoid flinching to a well-timed Fake Out. The only means of stopping this feint attack is an opposing Fake Out from an even faster Pokemon. Nothing else can stop Incineroar from laying it all out on an opponent with no mercy.

And that is not even the beginning of what Incineroar is capable of. It can devastate enemies with a fatality-inducing Flare Blitz. It can knock useful hold items with the darkness boosted strength of Knock Off. It can send powered up and stat-increased enemies flying with Roar. If it wants to, Incineroar can even choose to steal these status increases with a properly timed Snatch, like a thief in the night. Talk about having your cake and eating it too!

Incineroar can Bulk Up to increase its offensive and defensive stats. It can charge away and tag another partner into the ring with U-turn. It can wield a wide variety of devastating moves, such as Bulldoze, Outrage, Cross Chop, Brutal Swing, and even has its own fair share of Special moves such as Flamethrower, Snarl, and Fire Blast.

This all goes without mentioning Incineroar’s incredible exclusive attack Darkest Lariat, and the associated Z-move Malicious Moonsault, moves which bypass all changes in the opponents defensive or evasive stats. When this tyrant of a Pokemon is on the field, there is almost no escape. But I won’t rag on too much about Incineroar. I don’t want to seem too much like a Incineroar fanboy. Charizards need love, too!

Jumpluff

Jumpluff

Such a cute little dandelion, isn’t it? Jumpluff is actually overlooked by many for Pokemon of similar disposition, such as Whimsicott and Meowstic. I’ve decided to cover Jumpluff as the letter “J” in the alphabet of our competitive Pokemon ABC’s, as  Jumpluff’s profile details a wide variety of factors in the metagame that you must be aware of.

For one, Jumpluff, much like Whimsicott, is known for its uncanny skill at exercising speed control. Speed is a very important factor in the game; in decisive turns, speed can make or break a match, depending on who has the upper hand and the better technical ability in speed control. There are various similarities between Jumpluff and Whimsicott, but also a number of notable differences as well.

For one, Whimsicott (much like Meowstic) has a cheeky little ability known as Prankster, which allows it to assert move Priority on the battlefield with status-based moves such as Cotton Spore, life-draining Leech Seed, and most importantly, the most viable speed-controlling technique known as Tailwind. This is a major strength of Whimsicott — the Prankster ability, and it’s increased priority for status moves.

Jumpluff, however, does not have the Prankster ability, and as such has to take advantage of what it does have on the battlefield. As mentioned a fair amount of times prior, the ability Chlorophyll is useful as can be when there is a Groudon or another Pokemon creating Harsh Sunlight on the battlefield. With this Ability, Jumpluff secretly has a sort of priority in its own way — not over particular Priority based moves, but a priority over the speed factor itself.

Jumpluff isn’t guaranteed to go first (priority move will always go first over Jumpluff unless it runs a Priority based move itself). In lieu of this, many people run it with items such as Focus Sash, a fashionable garment which prevents an attack with the damage potential of inflicting a One-Hit KO from doing so.

With a Focus Sash, the user will live with one HP after a decisive blow, no matter what the stakes are, so long as the recipient of damage has a Full gauge of HP prior to the attack. If even as much a single point of damage is done with a Focus Sash on, the Sash is permanently broken and rendered useless. This will be the case unless the Sash holder can somehow manage to restore its HP all the way to a full gauge. Then, and only then, can a user survive a Knockout hit with Focus Sash.

A Focus Sash is important for Jumpluff because it guarantees in most cases that it will be able to use Tailwind while on the field, a maneuver which gives the user’s side of the field a doubled boost of speed for four turns. These four turns are crucial, and can tailgate a team straight to victory if used with some strategic basis in mind.

Another notable use for Jumpluff is the attack Memento, a move which fells the user (meaning the user of Memento will faint), while also decreasing both the attack and special attack stats of the intended target by a whole two stages (equivalent to cutting both attack stats in half). This is helpful when a Jumpluff has just one HP left after surviving an attack with Focus Sash, getting the Tailwind up, and then needing an out when everything is said and done. No matter if the user is at full HP or one HP, Memento will always have the same effect!

The best use of Jumpluff is on Sun-based teams. Its already high base speed stat of 110 (higher than most top-tier Pokemon in the game) becomes literally impossible to evade when Chlorophyll is activated.

Whenever you’re curious, take a look at Jumpluff’s huge catalog of attacks and abilities. You’ll be surprised at what you may discover. I’m sure you may happen upon something rather cheeky and useful. There are so many neat things that this puff ball may have under its sleeve, and to your free advantage! 🙂

Kyogre

Kyogre

Similar to Ferrothorn in our last discussion, I’m going to only briefly list out the strengths of this Leviathan, as much of it has already been covered in the Ho oh and Groudon sections of this talk.

Choice Scarf, Drizzle Ability, enormous HP and Special Defense stat, great Special Attack stat. Water Spout, a 150 damage attack at full HP (which gets weaker as the user’s HP goes down) Origin Pulse, an equally devastating though less accurate attack than Water Spout.

Also Thunder, a powerful electric attack that has 100% accuracy in the rain, and a variety of other incredible features. This Pokemon is second to none in the Sun Series. If you ever find yourself on the opposite end of Kyogre, I give you my blessings and wish you the best of luck.

But before we leave this topic, I’m going to let you in on a little secret…

I want to talk to you about “Ability Priority” (a term I just coined, honestly). Much like Attack Priority, Ability Priority determines when and how an ability is activated on the field. Unlike Attack Priority, Ability Priority is based on the speed of all Pokemon when released from their Pokeball’s, as opposed to the type of Ability being activated.

Ability Priority is an incredibly important factor that absolutely must — and I reiterate… MUST be considered when coming into contact with Kyogre. Competitive Pokemon is a game of information, and this factor — ability priority — is one of the most important bits of information when it comes to the weather wars.

Based on the time in which Kyogre activates its Drizzle ability, one may not only determine whether or not Kyogre may be wearing a Choice Scarf, but also determine if it’s possible to counter Kyogre’s Drizzle ability with the Drought of another Pokemon.

If Kyogre is sent out on the field at the same time as, say, your Groudon, and Kyogre’s Drizzle happens to be activated before Groudon’s Drought ability, it’s a small hint at who may be faster; wink, wink, WINK!

If, in another scenario, you send out a Ninetales, a very fast Pokemon (certainly faster than Kyogre), there are a few other factors to consider. If Kyogre’s Drizzle ability is activated before your Ninetales’ Drought ability, it means a lot, especially if your Ninetales has a nature that favors Speed over other statistics, and if you’ve raised your Ninetales to have great investment in speed.

Long story short: there’s no physical way that Kyogre can outspeed a speed-invested Ninetales without a Choice Scarf, so if their Drizzle ability is activated before your Ninetales’ Drought ability, it may signal a red flag!

This is an *incredibly* important piece of TOP SECRET information (wink wink), so make sure you keep it between us. What you choose to do with this information is up to you, and to you only. Godspeed, and good luck! 😉

*editors note: I forgot to mention one of the most useful abilities against Kyogre. Some Pokemon have special properties, such as Toxicroak and Heliolisk, in that they have the ability Dry Skin; this allows them to nullify all water-type attacks while simultaneously recovering HP as well! Do some research, and keep abilities like these in mind when building teams against the blue, menacing maelstrom. 🙂

Ludicolo

Ludicolo 2
Lastly, but certainly not least, we have our jolly fellow Ludicolo! I often times refer to it as the “hydro Incineroar.” This Pokemon is literally a timeless member of the Pokemon meta, dating all the way back to the days of Ruby and Sapphire in the Hoenn region. Ludicolo not only learns Fake Out, much like Incineroar, but it also boasts Knock Off; it has a Flare Blitz equivalent (Hydro Pump); and though it doesn’t have an exclusive Z-move like Incineroar, it is widely known for carrying a water-type Z-crystal on it, as it has one of the most versatile uses of Waterium Z in the game.

Being a Water/Grass Pokemon, Ludicolo resists not only fire but electricity, two common weaknesses in the meta. Ludicolo is also a Pokemon that is incredibly viable in rain. Rain yields a wide number of benefits for Ludicolo, either from its Rain Dish ability or Swift Swim. Rain Dish allows Ludicolo to gradually recover HP as long as there is Heavy Rain on the field. This factor, combined with the hold item Leftovers (an item which gradually restores the HP of the user), *combined* the employment of Leech Seed on an opponent, and potentially the use of Giga Drain as well, makes this Pokemon incredibly hard to KO, as it never stops constantly recovering massive amounts of HP every single turn!

Ludicolo’s second Ability, Swift Swim, is a Chlorophyll equivalent for Pokemon in Heavy Rain. Alongside Kyogre, or any Pokemon with the Drizzle ability, Ludicolo’s Swift Swim causes a ludicrous doubling of speed. With a base speed stat of 70, a Swift Swim Ludicolo bumps it all the way up to 140, outspeeding almost any Pokemon who may happen to lack any speed control to aid them. Considering that this pivotal factor comes with no strings attached whenever Kyogre is in play, and knowing that Kyogre is a mainstay in the Sun Series, it’s no wonder Ludicolo is one of the most used and viable Pokemon in the entire meta!

——-

On our next discussion we will continue covering the remaining Pokemon in the alphabet, letters M all the way through Z, offering a brief listing of Honorable Mentions at the start of our talk, much like today’s post. I find it incredibly necessary to do an honorable mentions list at least briefly, as Landorus is a Pokemon of the letter “L” that certainly deserves an honorable mention!

Stay tuned!  Be bold, brave, and brash, why don’t ya! B)

— Brave Charizard

image

#TeamCinnabar

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