Hello, hello; hey again and nice to meet you if we haven’t met before! It’s been a very long week for Team Cinnabar. We participated in our first ever online competition, the official Sun Series International Competition on Battle Spot, and it was an absolute experience, to say the least. Lots of hard lessons, lots of memorable moments, some RNG loss/failure, a few painful misplays, and some pretty clutch victories.
As a beginner, running a mono-fire set in the 2019 format was definitely very difficult. The number of challenges Kyogre and Tapu Lele posed for us was insurmountable. If there was a Kyogre and a Tapu Lele on the field, we basically got swept. And surprisingly, we didn’t see too many Groudon, but that’s just from our side of the fence. Whenever Ho oh had a chance to break in with a decisive Brave Bird, there was a chance in a match or two that we turned the tides and sealed up a victory. But alas.
Today we are continuing our coverage of some competitive giants of the VGC 2019 format, tackling one for each letter of the alphabet. On our last post, we covered letters G through L, with Ludicolo being our last subject. Today, let’s open up with some honorable mentions of competitive Pokemon who didn’t make it on the last list, and then continue moving through the remainder of the alphabet, covering much of what you can expect to see in the Sun Series, and some that you could even see on the Moon Series as well.
Honorable Mentions (Letters G thru L)
G- Garchomp, Gothitelle, Giratina (Origin)
H- Heatran, Hitmontop, Hawlucha
K- Kartana, Klefki
L- Lunala, Tapu Lele, Lugia
VGC’s (M through S)
Meowstic! Possibly one of the most dangerous support Pokemon, Meowstic is a very fast creature endowed with the Prankster ability, giving the ability to use status moves before anything else that lacks priority on the field. With this ability, Meowstic is known for sporting a wide variety of status moves which can be useful in many situations. Known as the “Restraint Pokemon”, this clever little cat culminates its psychic power through its enormous ears and eyes when in danger. In a competitive setting, it’s known for calling down rain with Rain Dance, handy when Kyogre’s Drizzle ability has been nullified by Groudon’s Drought ability during a weather war.
This tricky Prankster is a very savvy Fake Out user, which is excellent next to another Tailwind user (possibly with the Prankster ability as well). With base 104 speed, Meowstic will most likely get to be the Pokemon who uses Fake Out first! It is also one of the few priority powerhouses which can learn Fake Out naturally through leveling up, making it more accessible and easy to use in the competitive realm.
Meowstic can set up Trick Room, lay out Misty Terrain, which weakens Dragon type attacks while protecting all grounded* Pokemon (not airborne or Levitate ability) from status inflicting moves such as Amoonguss’ Spore or a crafty Thunder Wave (a move which Meowstic commonly carries). It can lay out Light Screen OR Reflect with priority, helpful in defending against Origin Pulse and Precipice Blades. With Quick Guard, Meowstic can offer protection from priority attacks such as Fake Out and Extreme Speed, or it can disarm an opponent with an attack lowering move such as Charm. The amount of techniques this Pokemon can learn are second to none, or at least very few.
On top of this, Meowstic can learn very powerful Psychic type attacks such as Psyshock, Psychic, Psybeam, Calm Mind, Dream Eater and even more powerful elemental moves such as Shadow Ball, Charge Beam and Thunderbolt. There are so many things this tiny but terrifying Pokemon is capable of, and I bet it is definitely likely to end up in one of your teams in the near future!
Nanagadel is a speedy powerhouse often built and trained as a glass cannon. It is one of the more well-rounded Ultra Beasts, most of which are endowed with powerfully distinct yet highly imbalanced base stats. With a base speed of 121, it outspeeds an enormous amount of Pokemon, clocking in as one of the Top 30 fastest Pokemon in the GS Cup. With a very solid base special attack of 127, a Modest Naganadel is doing some series damage.
This noxious dragon often carries a Focus Sash, as it allows the Pokemon to set up Nasty Plot, doubling its already high special attack stat without suffering a one-hit knock out during the set up period thanks to the Sash. Afterwards, Naganadel is free to let off any number of high velocity and devastating moves such as Dragon Pulse, Sludge Wave, Sludge Bomb, Flamethrower, Air Cutter, Air Slash, Dark Pulse, and even the all-mighty Draco Meteor.
A defensive Nanagadel can set up Tailwind, Charm an opponent to lower their attack, disorient the competition with Ally Switch (instantly switching the position of two adjacent partner Pokemon in battle), utilize a Toxic – Venom Drench combo, and even offer a Helping Hand whenever necessary. This Ultra Beast is very versatile and useful in the Sun Series, resisting powerful attacks such as Water Spout from Kyogre with its dragon typing. Keep a keen look out for Groudon, Necrozma, and the legendary dragons, however. These Pokemon can eliminate Nanagadel with little effort!
Oranguru is an oft-overlooked Pokemon that has been gaining attention lately for its wide variety of support options. In a decisive battle with Pokemon wielding high impact, low accuracy attacks, Oranguru can not only make these attacks more likely to hit with Gravity, but also Instruct the Pokemon to attack twice in a row with the same move! Oranguru also has two very handy abilities: Inner Focus and Telepathy.
With Inner Focus, Oranguru will never flinch; an Inner Focus Oranguru with Focus Sash is certain to set up a Trick Room or Gravity without fail, with the exception of double targeted attacks, status condition, or multi-hit moves which break a Sash. With Telepathy, Oranguru avoids all attacks from adjacent partners such as Earthquake, Lava Plume, Sludge Wave, or even Explosion. Want to use Bulldoze with Incineroar or Groudon to slow down all opponents on the field? Switch in Oranguru and watch its Telepathy go to work!
(Keep in mind that the Telepathy ability protects Oranguru from the partner’s attacks *only* and not all spread moves from the opponents side)
The ‘guru is bulky in special defense and can Taunt an opponent attempting to set up a status move, or otherwise set up Calm Mind to boost its own special attack and special defense stats. A support Oranguru often comes with Protect, Gravity, Trick Room, and Psychic, allowing for a Groudon to release Precipice Blades at an alarming rate and with devastating accuracy!
The Normal/Psychic typing of Oranguru offers a special protection from Lunala’s Moongeist Beam, but can also pose a number of hazards when there are dark type Pokemon like Yveltal and Incineroar on the field. Oranguru can learn Sunny Day, Rain Dance, and a wide variety of elemental attacks such as Earthquake, Thunder, and Energy Ball. This quiet and intelligent creature, though docile, can learn numerous technical maneuvers which can quickly place your team in first place if used carefully. Don’t sleep on Oranguru!
Pelipper has been a signature rain-setter for many years in competitive Pokemon. It’s essential for any Rain team, and its a good secondary backup switch in for Kyogre in order to maintain the harsh rain in say, a Kyogre x Dialga team. Pelipper’s relatively solid defense of 100 is its most notable statistic, but with instant rain at its whim, this Pokemon’s Hydro Pump and Scald are powerful attacks that are bound to do as much damage as any heavy hitting water type with only modest EV investment necessary.
Pelipper often carries Focus Sash, and can set up a Tailwind along with Drizzle to give powerful rain-adept beasts like Mega Marshtomp and Ludicolo a highly competitive edge in battle, as they become capable of outspeeding almost all enemies with their Swift Swim ability. Pelipper isn’t as common these days with Kyogre in the spotlight, but in many ways, if this is a favorite of yours, it can easily be integrated into a Sun Series team as a possible substitute for Kyogre in a restricted core such as Solgaleo and Palkia/Dialga. Pelipper is great competitive Pokemon for beginners, as it has inspired some of the most handy and easy to use Rain teams to date!
The Sky High Pokemon that roams the atmosphere, Rayquaza is the somewhat forgotten third member of the weather trio that means serious business in battle. With its impeccable attack and special attack stat of 150 and a healthy 105 base HP stat, setting up a Dragon Dance can often mean this Pokemon is ready to knock out anything in the way with Dragon Claw, Outrage, Draco Meteor, or Earthquake.
Rayquaza learns a pretty nice set of Move Tutor moves such as Icy Wind, Tailwind, Earth Power and Hyper Voice. Also with its primary ability being Air Lock, it instantly neutralizes all effects of weather, which can be a good defensive and offensive maneuver when there are fire or water type Pokemon in play during a weather war. It’s a good stand-in for any member of the weather trio, especially where the weather wars are concerned, but probably isn’t going to be seen in a wide variety of matches in the Sun Series due to Mega Rayquaza and its primary move Dragon Ascent being barred from the Sun and Moon Series. An awesome addition to any team, but probably not the most viable Pokemon in this current climate (no pun intended).
Reshiram dominates the letter R of the alphabet as the Vast White Pokemon of Truth, hailing from the fast and furious Unova region! We’ve decided to pick Reshiram as the R Pokemon of today’s list, designating Rayquaza as the letter “Q”, due to there being a fierce lack of considerable R and Q letter creatures in the Pokemon world.
Reshiram has a very high special attack stat of 150 and a very desirable typing of Dragon/Fire, which is handy (as a Dragon type) for neutralizing a number of common threats in the Sun Series such as Fairy, Water, and Electric type Pokemon. It’s base speed is only 90 which means it’s only going to speed-tie with a Kyogre at best, so train it with this in mind.
Also, Reshiram’s ability Turboblaze allows it to deal damage to Pokemon in spite of their ability (similar to Solgaleo’s signature move Sunsteel Strike), but it unfortunately cannot break through the Shadow Shield of Lunala (Shadow Shield is a pretty special ability). This Pokemon is definitely not the most viable Pokemon in the meta, but with a very diverse moveset and relatively safe typing, it can come in clutch in some situations where some extra fire power is needed.
(The Ability Turboblaze itself is very nuanced and hard to qualify what exactly it works for in most cases. For an extensive explanation of the Ability, check out this Turboblaze article on Bulbapedia).
As a specially offensive elemental dragon, the best use of Reshiram is when it is trained as a Timid Pokemon with high speed stats, outspeeding or speed-tying most other legendaries in the meta. Reshiram can be well versed in both offense and special offense, sporting physical attacks such as Outrage, Dragon Claw, Crunch, Steel Wing, Rock Slide, and special moves such as Draco Meteor, Dragon Pulse, Earth Power and its signature move Blue Flare.
As a mono-fire trainer myself, I think the best use of this Pokemon can come in one of three ways: alongside Victini’s Victory Star in the Ultra Series with its strongest moves, a potential secondary Tailwind setter (it’s always good to have two) with speed and special offense as its priority, or as a Choice Specs or Choice Scarf assault weapon. Just be sure to watch out for strong dragon and ground type threats!
Perhaps one of the quirkiest looking Pokemon (and Ultra Beasts) to date, this unsought monstrosity has a sort of cult following, often hailed as one of the best kept secrets of the Pokemon meta. It has a fantastically obtuse defensive rating of 211 (Top Five highest of all time), along with a special defense rating of 101 which is certainly nothing to sneeze at. It is also one of the slowest Pokemon to use Gyro Ball and the slowest Pokemon to ever learn Trick Room, making it a speed demon in more ways than one.
Stakataka can easily shatter defenses (and a Focus Sash) with Rock Blast, and given it has a high attack stat of 131, anything it lays its hands on (feet, legs… arms?) are in serious trouble. Another solid play is an endless Rock Slide assault during Trick Room as a constant threat of flinching opponents. And of course, we cannot forget this rock-solid Ultra Beast’s defensive maneuvers such as Wide Guard for defending against spread attacks like Precipice Blades and Icy Wind, Stealth Rock for limiting the opponents pivoting options, and Iron Defense for a quick and easy boost in sturdiness.
This stacked attacker shares an uncanny spiritual semblance with many cosmic Pokemon of the legendary variety, in that it learns Trick Room, Ally Switch, Gravity, Telekinesis, Magnet Rise, Skill Swap, and Magic Coat, which gives it a decent bit of supportive potential. Perhaps all of those eyes embedded in the Beast’s exterior secretly make it a Psychic type in nature, or possibly only when each block is separated from each other’s solid steel sheets. Either way, as a Steel type Pokemon, Staka cannot be poisoned, and is likewise a great stall Pokemon when using Toxic itself.
The number one weakness of this Ultra Beast is Earth Power; with a quad Steel/Rock weakness to this move (and other Ground type attacks), and an only average special defense stat, this move can crack right through Stakataka’s defenses and melt it from the inside out!
And there you have it, folks. A tasty sampling of some of the greatest competitive Pokemon in the meta game. We have already made it to part three of the series, but we still have one more set to go. All of the above mentioned aren’t even the *greatest* of what we have left to see in the alphabet.
What are some of your favorite Pokemon to train? Keep them all in mind; they may possibly end up in an honorable mentions list, or even in one of my future posts. If they are something you really cherish, I might even write an appreciation post on it as well! Be sure to tune in really soon (probably a couple of days after this post goes live) for the final installment of the ABC’s of VGC, Tornadus through Zygarde!
–Brave Charizard B)