Month: May 2014

The Blame Game

You tell ’em Spheal

Hey there Hat Lovers,

Today I’ll be discussing a topic a lot of players have been murmuring about. It’s not a fun one to bring up, and it’s a bit self-contradictory to bother writing a whole article about a topic no one should bother bringing up, but here goes:

I call hax!

It’s easy to get riled up over some bad luck. A lot of players liken the luck aspects of Pokemon to the odds of bad beats in Poker. No one feels they deserved to lose when the odds were in their favour, and no one wants to hear about someone else’s bad beat unless there’s some funny story or interesting lesson involved. Simply put, unless you have something relevant to discuss, you’re just complaining if you bring up the details of your loss and the end message is “I don’t feel I deserved to lose.”

You’ll notice I used the word “deserved,” as if people are owed something by the game that will have our RNG rolls land as we want them to when we need them. But of course we aren’t owed anything, and we don’t “deserve” to be rewarded with a win every time we make the right play. We deserve to be rewarded with a win the proportion of the time that play would win us the game. If you miss a Play Rough and it costs you the game, that’s the 10% risk that comes with running Play Rough. But I doubt you often think “thank goodness Play Rough hit” the other 9 times you needed a Play Rough to win.

Negativity Bias” is the term given to people’s tendency to focus on the negative things that happen rather than the positive. It’s easy to forget the 9 times you won off of Play Rough when you’ve experienced the 1 time you lost off a miss. If you need convincing that the RNG isn’t out to get you, try this: over the next ~20 games you play, count the number of times your 90% accurate move hit or miss. I would be surprised if anyone hit less than 75% of their Overheats or Draco Meteors. And I imagine anyone that is at such a low ratio could bring it up to 90% with an increased sample size.

Curse you RNG gods!

This article comes in the wake of the May International Challenge, where trainers played 60 games over 3 days. If you used a 90% 60 times in your 60 games, you’re supposed to miss 6 of those over the course of the tournament! Six negatives is plenty of negative experience to remember. Those 54 games where things went as planned are folded and stored in the back of your mind never to be seen again. It’s a fallacy to say you deserved those wins, but didn’t deserve your 6 losses due to “hax.” The two are tightly intertwined. That’s the deal you made with the devil.

How to improve

It’s all fine and good to recognize that “hax” are part of the game; that we won’t always win a game we expected to. But the more important part is to recognize how to avoid such a situation in the future.

Recently, I attended a local premier challenge finishing 3-3. I think I can say that my head wasn’t in the game that day, but I can also say that luck wasn’t on my side. In round 1, at the end I lost because I missed a Will-o-Wisp. In round 3, I lost because I became paralyzed (Thunder Wave) and was fully paralyzed to prevent my game-winning attack. In round 4 I lost because my opponent got a ~35% damage roll.

But if I left my tournament report there, I wouldn’t be doing things justice as far as the true reasons I lost.

In round 1, I also made a foolish switch, saving my Bisharp from a Scrafty, but letting Venusaur become Perish-trapped. And what’s worse is that afterwards, I failed to see through obvious perish trapping plays and I hit a Protect once or twice when I probably should’ve seen it coming. But what’s more is that I could have recognized that my only out to not fainting to Perish Song was to double target their Gothitelle and not worry about the Politoed, meaning I should have ignored the urge to be clever and predict their Protects. It wasn’t a great start to the day. The game ended with my lone Rotom vs. his lone Scrafty, and Rotom missed a Will-o-Wisp required to tank his next Crunch and deal burn damage over a couple turns before finishing him off with Thunderbolt. I could blame the Will-o-Wisp, but that was a sloppy game on my part and I didn’t need to put myself in a position where I had to rely on Will-o-Wisp in the first place.

Sure, 85% of the time, when I played the way I did, I would have still won. But had I played a little smarter, had I sacrificed the Bisharp immediately, had I recognized a win condition and coupled that with some basic prediction, I would have won 100% of the time. That’s 100% my loss.

My face when I stare down
a Rotom I can’t KO

I don’t have as in-depth a story involving my Gyarados being paralyzed. The game is a bit fuzzier in my memory, but I don’t recall any egregious misplays. Of course that doesn’t mean I didn’t make any. I think there was a turn I should have Protected, but didn’t without a good reason. What was really odd about that game was that his Rotom-H didn’t have an electric attack. I was dodging in and out, Intimidating with Gyarados trying to avoid a Thunderbolt when it turns out I didn’t need to. And at the end, I was Thunder Waved to prevent Gyarados using Ice Fang on Garchomp for the win. Accounting for accuracy, I could say that I should have won that scenario ~70% of the time, but let’s get real here:

Any other Rotom would have been carrying Thunderbolt and I would have lost that turn anyways had he used Thunderbolt instead of Thunder Wave. I can’t blame my luck when the same game played with an extremely standard moveset would have resulted in my loss. I was playing with the expectation that he had Thunderbolt, and I still would have fallen victim to it. As such, I can’t even call my Gyarados switching a misplay to watch for in the best of 3, because it wasn’t what lost me the game. Had he run Thunderbolt, that was my loss to take 100% of the time.

My third loss , both myself and my opponent were pretty done with the day, and just there for fun. We both aspired to much higher than starting the day 1-2. Neither of us were really concentrating very hard on the match and we both slipped up here and there I think. I lost the game when his Mega Gengar Shadow Balled my Gardevoir for KO. I knew it was a bulky Gengar and had done calcs before to see if my Gardevoir could survive its Shadow Ball. I misremembered and instead of Sucker Punching the 1 HP M-Gengar, I used Dazzling Gleam and planned to Assurance the Ferrothorn sitting next to it. But the true calc is that I survive Shadow Ball the majority of the time, not all the time. Had I remembered this, I probably would have played differently.

Your point?

My point is that each of my 3 losses that tournament I could be blaming on “hax.” I lost a game on a 15% chance, a 29% chance, and a 37.5% chance. Each loss I could attribute to being on the receiving end of poor luck, but I can’t look back at that day as anything other than losing 2 games I know I could have won with better play, and 1 game where I am sure better plays could have been made, though I don’t recall them specifically. Each of those losses were completely deserved. My goal as a player should be to put myself in a situation where the RNG has as little role in determining the winner as possible. I failed to do that on 3 separate occasions and 3 times in a row it came back to bite me. For that, I can only blame myself.

To grow as a player and become better, the only way you should ever reflect on a tournament is not to say “I would have won if only this hadn’t happened.” Instead, ask yourself “how could I have played differently, or built my team differently to avoid my losses?”

I want to clarify, I don’t think that every loss to “hax” can be attributed to subtle personal errors. Often your team’s move accuracy can’t be altered too drastically without missing out on KO’s. But if you don’t look to all possible sources for your loss, you can’t get better.

I’d love to see Aaron Zheng chime in here with his thoughts after his famous Worlds Top 4 match where he missed 5 Will-o-Wisps in a row, and Ryosuke played a strategy (paralysis + confusion) designed to abuse probabilities. Looking at his series, I could say he was robbed of a win in one of his games due to bad luck. But in the third game of that series the RNG favoured Aaron if anything, and yet he still lost. So can I really say that he was robbed of a win earlier? As a study experience, I think that series is an amazing one to reflect on how luck affects the game. I strongly encourage everyone to give it a watch if they can:

In Conclusion

Luck Probability is part of the game. As players, we can choose to follow one of two ideals:

  1. We can abuse probabilities and try to generate situations where the RNG rolls in our favour more often than not.

    Or

  2. We can choose to avoid probabilities and try to generate as few situations where the RNG determines the outcome of a match as possible.

Both extremes hold merit, but you should recognize the faults in either approach and where in this continuum you lie. Nonetheless it is foolish to blame the RNG without first acknowledging how well you’ve ascribed to your choice of ideal.

Whether you embrace the RNG or refuse to acknowledge its presence, it is a ubiquitous force in the game of Pokemon.

Cheers,
Crawdaunt out

Pokemon of the Week #5: Azumarill

Hello Hat Lovers!

For week the fifth of Pokemon of the Week we’ll be looking at Azumarill. Azumarill was introduced in generation 2, but originally it was a very mediocre Pokemon. Since its inception it has gotten better with each passing generation. Generation 3 gave Azumarill Huge Power, which turns its base 50 attack into an effective base 150 attack. Generation 4 gave it physical STAB with the physical/special split. Generation 6 has changed Azumarill’s pure Water type to a Water/Fairy type.

Azumarill has finally made a name for itself this generation. Being a Fairy type allows it to deal with the ever popular Dragon types Garchomp and Salamence. Having a massive attack stat to go with a priority move is also a major boost that allows Azumarill to pick off weakened opponents.
Base Stats:


100 / 50 / 80 / 60 / 80 / 50

As we can see Azumarill’s offensive stats are terrible and its defensive stats are pretty good. However Huge Power makes that attack stat an effective 150 base so once we take that into account Azumarill’s stats are looking great. The only poor stat is it’s middling speed, but Azumarill has a strong priority move to make up for it.

Abilities:

Azumarill has three abilities: Thick Fat, Huge Power and Sap Sipper.

Thick Fat reduces Fire and Ice damage, but Azumarill resists these types to begin with and Azumarill has much better choices for it’s Ability.

Huge Power doubles Azumarill’s attack stat. This is the Ability for Azumarill and it so important to its viability that I had to mention it twice before getting to this section.

Sap Sipper makes Azumarill immune to Grass moves and boosts it’s attack by one whenever it gets hit by one. You miss out on Huge Power but an unexpected immunity to Grass can catch your opponent off guard. Use this Ability when using a defensive set on a Perish Trap team.

Attacks:

For offence Azumarill gets Aqua Jet, Waterfall, Play Rough and Superpower. Aqua Jet and Play Rough are the main attractions, providing great coverage and both a priority move to make up for Azumarill’s low speed and a strong attack to use with Azumarill’s fantastic attack stat. Waterfall gives you a strong Water type move and a powerful STAB that doesn’t miss, but I’d only use it on a Choice Band set. Superpower gives Azumarill an attack that OHKOs Mega Kangaskhan, a much needed boon for any team.

For non attack moves Azumarill gets Belly Drum, Helping Hand and Perish Song. Belly Drum maximizes Azumarill’s already monstrous attack stat at the cost of 50% of your HP. Helping Hand puts Azumarill into a supporting role. Perish Song makes Azumarill an option on Perish Trap teams to set up Perish Song.

Sets:

Belly Drum:
Azumarill @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Huge Power
Level: 50
EVs: 212 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SDef / 36 Spd
Adamant Nature
– Aqua Jet
– Play Rough
– Belly Drum
– Protect

Belly Drum raises Azumarill’s attack to +6, ignoring any previous attack drops. Sitrus Berry will heal you back to 75% which should be enough to withstand one hit. From here you can start spamming Aqua Jet with an attack stat of 896. This set appreciates Fake Out support to help it set up safely, often from Mega Kangaskhan.

I’ve seen a spread of 212 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 36 SDef / 4 Spd going around on the internet. This spread reduces the chances of getting OHKO’d be Manectric’s Thunderbolt but it doesn’t prevent the KO entirely. I’d prefer to try and speed creep other Azumarill / Mawile then lower the chance of a KO that I can’t prevent entirely.

Choice Band
Azumarill @ Choice Band
Ability: Huge Power
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 212 HP / 4 SDef / 4 Def / 36 Spd
Adamant Nature
– Aqua Jet
– Play Rough
– Superpower
– Waterfall

This set hits hard without the need to cut your HP or spend a turn on set up. This is the set me and Mark have been using the most because without the Band Azumarill isn’t hitting as hard as we’d like. This set has issues due to the lack of Protect and locking into one move preventing you from using a strong attack and finishing up with Aqua Jet.

Mark’s spread: 60 HP / 124 Atk / 68 Def / 188 SDef / 68 Spd

– Survives M-Manectric TBolt and M-Kanga’s Return. Still OHKO’s 252 HP M-Kangaskhan. Outspeeds Machamp, TR Chandelure, and Scrafty. Mainly wanted 79 speed Azumarill on my team so Azumarill could deal with Scrafty and protect its partner. It’s not like Azumarill cares that much about Scrafty, so feel free to take that Speed investment and return some of it to Attack if your team doesn’t care. A good target Attack is 196 to OHKO Garchomp at -1 100% of the time, but to reach this while keeping your bulk, you need to let M-Kanga have a 6% chance to KO you.

Expert Belt
Azumarill @ Expert Belt
Ability: Huge Power
Level: 50
EVs: 212 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SDef / 36 Spd
Adamant Nature
– Aqua Jet
– Play Rough
– Superpower
– Protect

Wanting to avoid the pitfalls of a Choice Band set while still retaining the power to OHKO our main targets brings us to Expert Belt. This set still gets the OHKO on Kangaskhan, Garchomp, Salamence, and Tyranitar while still 2HKOing Rotom-H with Aqua Jet. This set loses out when you can’t deal super effective damage to the target, but you often lost out to those Pokemon anyways.

Teammates:

Azumarill will enjoy a partner that helps it set up a Belly Drum. Kangaskhan is an excellent user of Fake Out and once you have a +6 Azumarill beside a Mega Kangaskhan your opponent is going to have to decide which threat is more important to deal with and leave the other to wreak havoc.

Amoonguss can redirect attacks with Rage Power and resists any Electric attacks being aimed at Azumarill. Amoonguss is also a great answer to Rotom-W.

Manectric can redirect Electric attacks with Lightning Rod and can provide Intimidate support with its Mega Evolution to help Azumarill take a hit. Raichu also provides Lightning Rod support as well as Fake Out support to help Azumarill set up safely.

Rotom-H has great synergy with Azumarill, being able to switch in on any Electric or Grass attacks and threaten opposing Grass and Steel types with Overheat. Salamence appreciates having Azumarill to switch in and take a Dragon or Ice move aimed at it.

Azumarill can be the Fairy type in a Fantasy core (Fairy/Dragon/Steel) or the Water type in a Grass/Fire/Water core.


Counters:


Grass types like Mega Venusaur and Amoonguss can wall Azumarill and hit with a super effective Giga Drain. Ludicolo can also give it trouble but doesn’t enjoy taking a Play Rough. Trevenant and Gourgeist can burn it with Will-O-Wisp and use either Leech Seed or a STAB move to help it go down faster. Ferrothorn can wall any Azumarill that lacks Superpower.

Rotom-W can 2HKO Azumarill with Thunderbolt and survive a Play Rough. Rotom-H can OHKO Azumarill using a Life Orb set. Either Rotom form can burn Azumarill to reduce it’s threat level to a minimal one. Mega Manectric can Intimidate Azumarill and deal a ton of damage with Thunderbolt, having a good chance of OHKOing standard Azumarill.

Having Quick Guard on your team helps with dealing with Azumarill, as does having your own priority move to KO it before it can KO you.

Conclusion:

Azumarill’s great typing, Ability, and movepool makes it a great Pokemon for VGC. An opponent can never ignore Azumarill as it threatens to Belly Drum and start sweeping. The Aqua Rabbit took a while to grow on me but I’m now a fan of having it on my teams for defensive switches and powerful physical attacks.

Team Archetypes #1: Venusaur Teams

Hello Hat Lovers!

Today I’m here to introduce a new type of article: Team Archetypes. These articles will delve into different types of archetypes VGC teams have formed, how they operate and how they can be countered. Sets for each Pokemon mentioned here can be found on Brigette’s PC in a format ready to be imported onto Showdown so you can try out the team in no time.

Introduction:
To start off the series I’ll be looking at the Mega-Venusaur team archetype. My Top 4 Washington Regionals Team falls into this archetype. This Team won the Spring 2014 Asia Cup and is what I consider to be the standard for the Venusaur archetype. Another more recent team also followed this archetype to take 6th place at New England Regionals.

This archetype focuses on Mega Venusaur, a defensive behemoth that can survive almost any un-boosted attack in the format. This team plays a chess-style game where you try to take out the one or two Pokemon that stop your Pokemon of choice from sweeping/walling the opponent’s remaining Pokemon while keeping your win condition safe.

Team Core:

Azumarill completes
both cores
Did someone say
defensive synergy?

This team often focuses on both the Grass/Fire/Water core and the Dragon/Fairy/Steel core to make for easy switches. Mega Venusaur obviously fills in the Grass type spot on the team. For the Fire type slot Rotom-Heat is an obvious choice that counters Talonflame in addition to its Fire type duties. Azumarill is a common choice for the Water type for the first core, while also being a Fairy for the second core as well.

Garchomp and Salamence are the goto choices for Dragon types, either one or both often make it on the team. Aegislash is a great Steel type for the team that also hard counters Kangaskhan. The aforementioned Azumarill counts as our Fairy type. Since both cores can be completed using five Pokemon the last slot can be left open for another Pokemon outside either core or another Pokemon that doubles up on an existing type.

Other Options:
The team doesn’t need to use the above six Pokemon, so long as their roles are fulfilled.

The team can praise
the sun if it wants to

Since Venusaur has trouble with certain teams, this kind of team can benefit from an alternate Mega Evolution. Having an alternate Mega makes it tougher for your opponent to chose the right Pokemon to bring against you and can allow you to change your strategy during best-of-three matches. Either Mega Charizard can be used as an alternate Mega to make your opponent question whether or not you’re a sun team or not. Lucario and Mawile are also great alternate Mega Pokemon that deal with Kangaskhan handily and become the Steel type on the team. Special mention goes to Lucario which can function as a non-mega Pokemon while still keeping your opponent guessing.

Alternate megas are
welcome on this team

Outside of alternate mega Pokemon we also have other choices for the members of each core. Rotom-W can take Azumarill’s place, though we’d need to replace Rotom-H and there isn’t a great replacement for the toaster. Gyarados provides Thunder Wave support, another Intimidate, and another partner that Garchomp can Earthquake freely beside. Bisharp can replace Aegislash to scare away Intimidate users and threaten with Sucker Punch, Assurance and Quick Guard. Scizor is another option for dealing with Gardevoir with a Life Orb Bullet Punch. Wigglytuff can also scare away Intimidate users and fill the Fairy role. Gardevoir is another great option for a Fairy type that can run a wide range of sets.

Team Strengths:
This team has lots of valuable options available to it, such as:

  • Mega Venusaur that can tank hits from most Pokemon in the format
  • Intimidate, Will-O-Wisp, and Rough Skin to punish physical attackers
  • Both Grass/Fire/Water and Dragon/Fairy/Steel cores to allow for easy switches
  • Low reliance on low accuracy moves
  • Answers to most common team archetypes
  • Versatility from individual Pokemon, making the team more versatile
  • Finally, all the Pokemon on the team are good on their own
All of these traits are great to have. This team archetype can also deal with several Pokemon I had trouble with, like Kangaskhan and Azumarill. The greatest strength of this team is that every member is good at what it does without support and everything comes together by providing offensive and defensive synergy with each other.

If you can get rid of the two most threatening Pokemon on the opponent’s team Venusaur can often make a grand stand against the last two and come out on top.

Countering the Team:

Birds beat plants, but
birds lose to ovens
Dragons are great, but
they have a (Play) Rough
time against Fairies

Defeating Mega Venusaur requires either a way to OHKO it, or double targeting it (possibly for two turns). Staraptor and Talonflame can take out Venusaur with their Flying moves, although Mega Venusaur often run enough HP and Defence to withstand Talonflame’s Brave Bird boosted by Life Orb. With Intimidate support Venusaur will be able to take a Brave Bird from either Pokemon. Staraptor also has the option to use Final Gambit to take out Venusaur. Gardevoir with Choice Specs and OHKO Mega Venusaur with Psychic.

Mega Kangaskhan will beat Venusaur one-on-one, so long as you can get around Venusaur’s partner. Doubling up on Venusaur can take it out, however this is a risky option as you could lose your whole turn to a Protect. Bisharp with Assurance is great for this as it will finish off a Venusaur that took a solid hit already.

This team has Garchomp,
which is a good Pokemon

So once your team has a way of dealing with Venusaur it needs to deal with the whole team. Rotom-W threatens the rest of the team with Thunderbolt and Hydro Pump, Rotom-H with Hidden Power Ice also deals with most of the team. Gardevoir puts pressure on the whole team sans the Steel type, doing a number to Venusaur with Psychic and dominating the Dragons with Moonblast. Bisharp can follow up on a spread move with Assurance to KO most of the Pokemon on the team, but this does require a double target.

Overall, having at least one of the Pokemon that can OHKO Mega Venusaur and keeping it around long enough to take Venusaur out is the best way to deal with this team. The Pokemon this team hates the most are Kangaskhan, Rotom-W, Talonflame and Gardevoir. These Pokemon are fairly common and if you can play them well you’ll have a good shot at taking this team down, so long as you’re able to keep them away from their counters.

Conclusion:

Its like Ferrothorn, except you
don’t get destroyed by Fire

Of all the team archetypes I’ve tried this format, this one has been my favourite by far. It fits my play-style of focusing more on countering the opponent’s strategy then setting up my own. This team has done well in the last set of Regionals and I expect it to do well at Nationals. If your team lacks a good way to KO Venusaur you can still beat it by making the proper predictions throughout the game, but relying on out-predicting your opponent all game is unreliable no matter how good you are. It would be wise to practice with and against this team archetype so you know how to deal with it.

Let us know if you found this article useful and we’ll make more!

Pokemon of the Week #4: Trevenant

I for one welcome our tree overlords

Hello Hat Lovers!

For week four of Pokemon of the Week we’ll be looking at Trevenant. Trevenant is a Ghost / Grass type from generation six.Trevenant is a Pokemon that hasn’t seen a ton of play in VGC 2014, but it has a solid Pokemon to use.

Much of what Trevenant does can be done by Gourgeist as well. Of the two, Trevenant has weaker defences but has a higher attack stat as well as the best Ability between the two of them. These make Trevenant a strong choice between the two Pokemon.

Trevenant gets a plethora of status moves and a great Ability that makes it a major pain if you can’t get rid of it quickly. Being a Ghost type, Trevenant can wall standard Kangaskhan and cripple it with status moves.

Trevenant is also a tree. I’m sure you noticed that, but I felt like saying it just to be sure.


Abilities:

Trevenant has three Abilities: Natural Cure, Frisk, and Harvest.

Natural Cure will remove any status conditions from Trevenant whenever it switches out. This lets it deal with Will-O-Wisp but Trevenant has a better Ability to use.

Frisk gives you useful information when you send in Trevenant, but Gourgeist has this Ability as well and has better stats for it.

Harvest is the reason to use Trevenant over Gourgeist. Every turn Trevenant will have a 50% chance to regenerate a berry it has consumed. If the sun is active this chance becomes 100%. Using Sitrus Berry with this strategy makes Trevenant impossible to get rid of unless its OHKO’d.

Base Stats:

85 / 110 / 76 / 65 / 82 / 56

Trevenant’s base stats aren’t fantastic. It has a good attack stat and its defences are decent enough. What makes Trevenant worthwhile is its typing and Ability.

Attacks:

For offense, Trevenant has Horn Leech, Wood Hammer, Shadow Claw and Phantom Force. Horn Leech is the weaker of the Grass moves and heals Trevenant, while Wood Hammer is stronger but deals recoil. Both attacks are viable it all depends on what you want Trevenant to accomplish. Shadow Claw is a generic Ghost stab. Phantom Force removes Trevenant from the field for a turn and goes through Protect.

The main selling point of Trevenant’s move pool is the status moves it learns. We have Leech Seed, Will-O-Wisp and Trick Room to play with. Leech Seed and Will-O-Wisp deal residual damage while either healing Trevenant or halving the opponent’s attack. These moves are what let Trevenant deal with Kangaskhan so easily.

Sets:

General Utility:
Trevenant @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Frisk
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 76 Atk / 156 Def / 20 SDef / 4 Spd
Adamant Nature
– Wood Hammer / Horn Leech / Phantom Force
– Will-O-Wisp
– Leech Seed
– Protect

This Trevenant is what I would consider to be a standard set. Wood Hammer OHKOs 252/44 Rotom-W, but they’ll be faster and threaten Will-O-Wisp. For this reason you may want to just stick Horn Leach and focus on healing. Phantom Force removes Trevenant from the field so the opponent has to sit through another turn of Leech Seed and Burn before they can get an attack on you.

Will-O-Wisp and Leech Seed cripple Kangaskhan and put pressure on attackers that can’t KO you such as Garchomp.

The defence allows you to survive Adamant 252 Tyranitar’s Crunch 100% of the time. 4 Speed goes farther than it would on something like Rotom because Trevenant has that unique base 56 speed that puts it ahead of Azumarill and Mawile without giving it hope of catching up to the rest of the format. The Special Defence looks like it was just what was leftover but it prevents Gengar from every OHKOing Trevenant with Shadow Ball.

Trick Room:
Trevenant @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Harvest
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 76 Atk / 156 Def / 20 SDef / 4 Spd
Brave Nature
– Wood Hammer / Horn Leech / Phantom Force
– Will-O-Wisp
– Trick Room
– Protect

Trevenant is a solid Trick Room setter due to its immunity to Fake Out and good bulk. Once Trick Room is up Trevenant can start burning things. Phantom Force is a cool move in Trick Room because you can use it on the last turn of Trick Room to get two turns off of the field.

Teammates:

Trevenant needs partners that can get rid of Fire type attacks. Rotom-W and Rotom-H can take on most Fire types in the format and come out on top. Dark types that resist fire such as Tyranitar and Hydreigon will be able to deal with Fire while also taking care of opposing Ghost types that threaten Trevenant.

Dark types are also a big threat, Fighting types like Lucario and Scrafty can deal with these Pokemon fairly easily.

Mega-Charizard-Y brings Drought to the table, so Harvest will activate every turn.

If Trevenant is using Trick Room you’ll want slow Pokemon to go with the strategy as well as a partner that can help set up such as Scrafty. Scrafty also provides Intimidate support, which Trevenant appreciates greatly. I can see Trevenant working on a Charizard/Mawile team that is composed of fast Pokemon that work with Charizard and slow Pokemon that work in and out of Trick Room.

Whichever Pokemon are paired with Trevenant must be willing to give up the chance to use Sitrus Berry, as Trevenant won’t function well without it.

Counters:

The easiest way to beat Trevenant is to KO it with Fire. Mega Charizard, Rotom-H, Talonflame, and Pyroar all threaten the OHKO on Trevenant and Trevenant can’t do much in return.

Dark types such as Tyranitar, Bisharp, and Hydreigon will deal a ton of damage to Trevenant, but the physical ones won’t enjoy a Will-O-Wisp.

Mega Venusaur will handle Trevenant with ease, it doesn’t like being burnt but Sludge Bomb will deal a ton of damage and Venusaur has Synthesis to heal itself.

Aerodactyl prevents Trevenant from healing with Unnerve and can deal good damage with Sky Drop.

Taunt shuts down Trevenant, just make sure not to use a Pokemon weak to its stab moves.

Conclusion

Trevenant is certainly an interesting Pokemon, and one that shouldn’t be written off. Like most Grass types, it can be a win condition on its own once the opponent loses their way of OHKO’ing it. Be sure to watch out for it, and if you face be sure to keep your counter around. The last thing you want is to face a Trevenant that keeps eating Sitrus Berries while you hopelessly hack away at it.

I… AM A SPY! Zoroark, the mind-game Pokemon

Anyone up for a game of poker?

Hey there Hat Lovers!

Today’s article is about one of my favourite Pokemon to put on any team. Zoroark’s Ability “Illusion” disguises it as whatever Pokemon is last in your party. So if you bring 4 Pokemon, Zoroark will disguise itself as the 4th Pokemon, including the Poke Ball it was caught in.

As a Dark-type, Zoroark is immune to Psychic, resists Ghost and Dark, and is weak to Fighting, Bug and Fairy. Given the immunity, and useful resistances, Zoroark has the potential to ruin an opponent’s turn if they target it with the wrong move. That said, Zoroark also doesn’t want to become the target of a Fighting or Fairy move. As such, before adding Zoroark to your team, you’ll really want to think about potential teammates. The key to a good Zoroark is a good bluff. Just having a Zoroark on your team can throw your opponent off tilt. But just what cards are you bluffing with?

Base Stats:

60 / 105 / 60 / 120 / 60 / 105

Zoroark is the definition of a glass cannon. It has a useable Attack stat, a good Special Attack stat, and a strong speed stat placing it above all the base 100’s as well as Garchomp. However, Zoroark isn’t going to take any hits unless they’re resisted or really weak. I mean… a 4 HP Zoroark can take a Power-up Punch from a Kangaskhan, but it’ll die to a Return before baby Kangaskhan gets a chance to hit. That’s a base 125 attack stat with a base 102 move (100 would still work). So to give you the idea, Zoroark will be OHKO’d by anything neutral with a similar power behind it from either the physical or special spectrum, and is definitely going to be KO’d by something super effective.

But Zoroark’s not that bad! 105 Speed is fast enough to outspeed plenty of the metagame, and hit pretty hard. Given that Zoroark’s strengths are… its strength, and its weaknesses are irreparable, Zoroark’s item is going to be about hitting harder to make the most of your turn’s worth of surprise.

I think the best way to look at Zoroark is to think of it as a Pyroar but with a fun Ability, coverage, and without the nuke that is Overheat.

Attacks:

Nasty Plot
Flamethrower
Dark Pulse
Hidden Power Ice
Focus Blast
Sucker Punch
Foul Play
U-Turn
Fling

I’ll add one bit of discussion here. Dark Pulse vs. Night Gaze. Dark Pulse is 100% accurate and slightly weaker, but with a 20% chance to flinch. Night Gaze is 95% accurate, slightly stronger, and has a 40% chance to lower the opponent’s accuracy. Considering you’re going to want to KO them, not drop their accuracy… Night Gaze is almost entirely inferior. Go with Dark Pulse unless you find some abstract calc that I haven’t considered where the extra 5 base power makes a difference.

Additionally, Sucker Punch is a useful move to have, but the only relevant calculation I can think of that Dark Pulse doesn’t do better is OHKO’ing Mega Gengar. But as Zoroark resists Ghost, and you’re running Zoroark (which means you’re being tricky), Zoroark can take a Shadow Ball anyways.

Sets:

That Garchomp is SO dead



Zoroark @ Life Orb
Ability: Illusion
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
Timid Nature
– Dark Pulse
– Flamethrower
– Hidden Power [Ice]
– Protect

This is the Zoroark I’m prone to using. Life Orb ensures Hidden Power Ice will KO any Garchomp. With a Life Orb, You’ll also have a 50% chance to OHKO 252 HP Mega Mawile. Dark Pulse will also OHKO up to 252 HP / 88 SDef Calm Meowstic or coincidentally, Chandelure (same calc)! You won’t be able to OHKO Aegislash-Shield, but you’ll make a big dent.

Zoroark can run other sets. Choice Specs is largely similar to Life Orb, but will push you over the Chandelure/Meowstic hump. On a Specs set, I might run Focus Blast as a last resort option. I wouldn’t recommend Focus Sash since you’ll miss out on Garchomp KO’s with HP Ice. Zoroark also has a few other neat moves you can try to take advantage of. Fling, U-Turn and Sucker Punch are neat to play with for their versatility, even without Physical investment.

Nasty Plot is also strong if you can set it up, but would need support from a partner. If using Nasty Plot, I’d pose Zoroark as something like a Kangaskhan alongside Tailwind Smeargle, so you can threaten a Fake Out and Dark Void, but also threaten a Nasty Plot + Tailwind.

Teammates:

Zoroark partners well with Pokemon that are common targets of Psychic-type moves. Mega Venusaur has been taking some flack recently, and is being targeted by strong Gardevoir Psychics as an answer. Unfortunately, that’s the only relevant Psychic user in the metagame (maybe… Gothitelle?). So, though it sounds neat to tempt Psychic attacks, this isn’t the metagame to do it in. Zoroark can also take Ghost attacks like Shadow Ball from Aegislash, which allows it to deal well with Aegislash as long as it’s a surprise.

But the best resistance Zoroark sports is Dark! Zoroark can take a Sucker Punch from the big users, or Crunch from Tyranitar. In return, it can deal good damage to Mawile, but not great damage to the others. Not unless you turn to Focus Blast which will KO up to 184 HP Mega TTar… 70% of the time. I’m not a fan but it’s an option. Zoroark’s role here is not to take out these Pokemon, but to KO their partner or combo to 2HKO the big guns while drawing their attention for a turn.

I recommend Zoroark as something that can pose as a tempting target. Think of anything that doesn’t seem like it’s a threat, or is easily dealt with by a move Zoroark can take. For instance, posing as a Scarfed Gardevoir against a Mega Kangaskhan/Mawile. Alternatively, you can pretend Zoroark is a threatening Pokemon like a Fake Out user or something with a threatening status. A good example might be Raichu, which pretends to have Lightningrod and Fake Out, protecting your Gyarados in a couple ways. Just be sure your opponent’s best response isn’t to target Zoroark, or else you’ll just be KO’d pointlessly. So while bluffing Kangaskhan could be neat, bluffing Smeargle isn’t as wise.

I think the best way to look at how Zoroark fits on a team is to figure out what role it fills. Zoroark OHKO’s Garchomp and Salamence. it’ll also KO Dark-weak Pokemon or surprise KO Ferrothorns and chip in for the major part of a Mawile’s demise. The niche Zoroark fits in is that it can also tempt misplays that you can capitalize on. There’s enough of everything I just said to warrant Zoroark as the extra mon to round out a 4 or 5-mon core.

Counters:

Pictured: Zoroark


As I’ve mentioned, Zoroark is a glass cannon. I don’t know if a ‘Counters’ section is relevant, but I will mention that you shouldn’t counter yourself by bluffing a Pokemon with an Ability that Zoroark should have activated upon switching in. So don’t pretend your Zoroark is a Salamence, it’s anything but intimidating.

Though it’s neat to run mons that share Zoroark’s moves (e.g. Flamethrower), I wouldn’t say keeping the disguise is that relevant. Hidden Power Ice is often the best way to stay disguised.

As a Pokemon that can deal with everything Zoroark throws at it, Rotom-H really could care less about facing Zoroark. It won’t even 2HKO without including Sitrus Berry in the equation. It’s not like Zoroark deals with Mega Kangskhan very well either. The only way to deal great damage is via Focus Blast.

Zoroark also doesn’t like to face spread moves. If your opponent’s default is to just Rock Slide + target, then Zoroark can’t do its job of bluffing (though it may do its job of KO’ing something weak to ice). Dazzling Gleam is another big problem as it will KO Zoroark while dealing damage to a partner.

Conclusion:

Using Zoroark just for the mind game isn’t a good reason. If Zoroark fires off an attack and doesn’t KO, then gets hit in return, you’ve had a fun “HA!” moment, but you’re stuck with a Zoroark while they have whatever they’re using. Sometimes that’s ok. If you can 2HKO them before they 2HKO you, then that’s a neutral-positive trade.

Zoroark works best if it would be a good idea to bring it regardless of what it’s pretending to be. I really think the best way to think of Zoroark is as an alternate Pyroar. Considering Pyroar isn’t something players are scrambling to use, that doesn’t sound like a high recommendation. But alternate doesn’t mean “it works exactly the same but is inferior/superior.” Zoroark brings its Illusion Ability, which let’s you take surprise KO’s when you play your cards right. Zoroark is also a great best-of-3 mon because of the mind game potential.

When you can play with complete confidence of what you’re doing, but your opponent has that nagging feeling that they’re walking into a trap, their potential for misplays is much higher than yours. Against a strong opponent, it can also make their moves more predictable if they can see the “safe” plays. That’s the greatest strength of Illusion, and what Zoroark brings to your team over Pyroar. Otherwise, just think of it as a Pyroar with Dark STAB (which is still not bad)!

Cheers,
Crawdaunt out

Pokemon of the Week #3: Noivern

Hello Hat Lovers!

This week we’ll be looking at Noivern. Noivern a Flying/Dragon type from generation six (not to be confused with the ever popular Dragon/Flying typing we’ve seen before.) Noivern screams “niche Pokemon,” from its lower base stats to its interesting move pool to its useful Abilities.

Noivern hasn’t seen a lot of play this season, players have been flocking to the ever-popular Salamence. If you try to use Noivern like a Salamence you’re going to be disappointed with your results. However, Noivern has a bunch of neat moves that separate it from its fellow Dragons, giving it a supporting role rather then an offensive one.


Abilities:

Noivern’s Abilities are Frisk, Infiltrator and Telepathy.

Frisk is the preferred Ability, revealing both your opponent’s items whenever Noivern is sent out. This alerts you to potential Choice Scarf, Focus Sash, Berries, etc. This can give you a ton of knowledge about your opponent’s Pokemon before the first turn begins.

Infiltrator is another solid Ability. With this Noivern can attack through Substitutes. This situation isn’t common enough to warrant its use, unfortunately.

Telepathy is an option if your team has moves that hit your own partners, such as Discharge or Boom Burst.

Base Stats:

Noivern’s base stats are: 85 HP, 70 Attack, 80 Defence, 97 Special Attack, 80 Special Defence, and 123 Speed. As we can see Noivern is much faster then the other Dragons, but lacks the power or defences that they posses.

Attacks:

Draco Meteor is the goto Dragon move, dealing respectable damage even from Noivern’s base 97 special attack. Other notable attacks include: Flamethrower, Boom Burst, Psychic, Dark Pulse, Focus Blast and Hurricane. Another damaging attack Noivern gets is Super Fang, which deals 50% of the target’s current HP as damage. This rounds down so it won’t trigger the Sitrus Berry of a Pokemon with a full, even HP stat.

Noivern also gets Tailwind, Taunt and Switcheroo. Tailwind makes Noivern a great support Pokemon bringing some rare speed control to the game. Taunt shuts down Pokemon such as Amoonguss. Switcheroo allows Noivern to give a Pokemon a Choice item while taking their item.

Sets:

Unlike last week’s Lucario, Noivern can only use a handful of sets effectively.

Support Noivern
Noivern @ Focus Sash
Ability: Frisk
EVs: 5 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
Timid Nature
– Draco Meteor
– Super Fang
– Tailwind
– Protect

This Noivern brings Tailwind support to the team. Draco Meteor and Focus Sash allows Noivern to beat Garchomp and Salamence as well as deal solid damage to most Pokemon. Super Fang deals half of the target’s current HP as damage making it much easier for Noivern’s partner to KO it.

Choice Specs
Noivern @ Choice Specs
Ability: Frisk
EVs: 252 Spd / 252 SAtk / 4 HP
Timid / Modest Nature
– Draco Meteor
– Flamethrower
– Hurricane / Boomburst
– Switcheroo

With Choice Specs Noivern hits harder than Scarf Salamence. Flamethrower will hurt Steel types. Hurricane is a power Flying STAB, but its accuracy is terrible outside of rain so I wouldn’t advise it for most teams. Boomburst deals decent spread damage but you must be wary of your partner. Switcheroo passes Choice Specs to a Pokemon that won’t want them, and can be devastating if pulled off.

Teammates:

Like all Dragon types, Noivern appreciates having Steel type partners that can switch into an incoming Fairy, Dragon, Ice, or Rock attack. Aegislash, Bisharp, Mawile, and Ferrothorn are suitable choices. All of these Pokemon will like having Noivern switch into Ground, Fire, and Fighting moves for them.

Out of these four Pokemon Bisharp is the only one that can take full advantage of Tailwind. Noivern’s Super Fang followed up by an Assurance from Bisharp will be able to KO most Pokemon in the format. Finally, Bisharp will be able to OHKO Fairy types that give Noivern trouble.

Counters:

Tyranitar can tank anything Noivern throw at it and return KO with Ice Beam, and Sand will remove the Focus Sash. Fairy types are immune to its Dragon moves and threaten a Moonblast/Play Rough/Dazzling Gleam. Steel types can wall sets lacking Flamethrower. All of these Pokemon need to be wary of taking a Super Fang + partner attack, so you’ll need to rely on some prediction.

Aerodactyl can out speed it and 2HKO with Rock Slide while having a flinch chance on both of your Pokemon. It can also match Tailwinds with you.

Once Noivern has used Draco Meteor it’s Special Attack will be lowered and almost anything will be able to tank a couple hits from it and KO back.

Conclusion

Noivern is an interesting Pokemon that thrives from specific scenarios. It can deal with other Dragons, provide Tailwind support, and help other Pokemon nab KOs on bulky Pokemon. Yet its still outclassed by its peers in the offensive department and doesn’t share the popularity that its brethren do.

When putting Noivern on a team, you need to acknowledge what it can do that the other Dragons can’t, and capitalize on it.

Pokemon of the Week #2: Lucario

Credit goes to Tomycase of NewGrounds

Hello Hat Lovers!

This week we’ll be looking at Lucario. Lucario is a Fighting/Steel type from generation four. Lucario is one of the mascot Pokemon from generation 4, getting its own movie and a spot in Super Smash Bros Brawl.

Lucario hasn’t been a viable Pokemon for VGC in the past seasons; this can be attributed to its average speed and poor defences. This has all changed in generation six, Lucario has been given a Mega Evolution that boosts its speed and offensive power. Lucario also gains some viability as a Pokemon that can out speed and OHKO Kangaskhan with ease.

Abilities:
Lucario has three abilities: Inner Focus, Steadfast, and Justified. Mega Lucario’s ability is Adaptability, which boosts Mega Lucario’s same type attack bonus (STAB) from 1.5x to 2x.

Inner Focus prevents flinching, rendering Fake Out useless against it and preventing random Rock Slides from ruining your day. Steadfast boosts your speed when you flinch, allowing you to most likely go first on the following turn. Both abilities are useful but I would always chose Inner Focus to prevent the opponent from ruining a turn for me.

The final ability is Justified, which increases Lucario’s attack stat by one stage whenever it is hit by a Dark type attack. Because Lucario isn’t going to be the target of any Dark type attacks due to its typing you’ll either need to switch it in on a Dark move targeting another Pokemon or use a move like Beat Up on your own Lucario.

Mega Lucario has Adaptability, making its Fighting and Steel moves far stronger than usual. Close Combat will smash holes in teams and Bullet Punch will be able to OHKO frail Pokemon.

Base Stats:
Lucario has the following base stats: 70 HP, 110 Attack, 70 Defence, 115 Special Attack, 70 Special Defence, and 90 Speed. Having high attack and special attack allows Lucario to use both physical and special sets effectively. 90 speed allows you to speed tie with Kangaskhan on the turn it Mega Evolves and out speed everything with less than base 90 speed. Faster Pokemon will out speed you unless you use a Choice Scarf. Lucario’s low defences make it quite frail, although it’s typing gives it a plethora of resistances so it can at least survive one of those.

Mega Lucario has base 70 HP, 145 Attack, 88 Defence, 140 Special Attack, 70 Special Defence, and 112 Speed. The massive buff to both offensive stats along with Adaptability make Mega Lucario far stronger then its base form. 112 Speed puts Lucario comfortably above most of the metagame, allowing it to get the jump on Pokemon such as Mega Kangaskhan, Charizard, and Garchomp. The 88 Defence increases Mega Lucario’s survivability slightly. It can be trained to survive an Earthquake or a Power-Up-Punch, but don’t expect much from it.

Attacks:
Lucario has a myriad of options for both physical, special, and supporting sets.

For physical moves we have Close Combat, Bullet Punch, Rock Slide, Crunch and Extreme Speed.

For special moves we have Aura Sphere, Flash Cannon, Hidden Power Ice, and Vacuum Wave.

Other moves Lucario learns are Follow Me, Quick Guard, Feint, Swords Dance, Nasty Plot, Heal Pulse, and Final Gambit.

Lucario learns other moves that are usable, but they’re incredibly niche and probably not worth it.

Sets:

The amount of sets Lucario can use is greater then most Pokemon in VGC due to its vast move pool and equal stat distribution amongst it’s offensive stats.

Mega Lucario (Physical)
Lucario @ Lucarionite
Ability: Inner Focus
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SDef / 244 Spd
Jolly Nature
– Close Combat
– Bullet Punch
– Swords Dance / Rock Slide / Crunch / Extreme Speed
– Protect

Since Mega Lucario’s base attack is higher then its special attack and Close Combat is stronger than Aura Sphere it makes sense to pick physical Lucario. 244 Speed puts Lucario above base 110 Pokemon after Mega Evolving, although you lose against other 252 speed Mega Lucario, so you may chose a 252 / 252 spread if you’d like. Theres also the option of dropping down to 180 speed, which puts you just above Garchomp but below base 105 and 110 Pokemon. This would allow you to invest into bulk but due to Close Combat lowering your defences I wouldn’t bother.

Close Combat smashes anything that doesn’t resist it. Bullet Punch takes care of frail Fairy types and gives Lucario a priority move. Swords Dance will boost Lucario’s attack to terrifying levels and if you can set it up safely it’ll put a ton of pressure on the opponent. Rock Slide beats Mega Charizard-Y, unless they invest in a massive amount of bulk. Crunch gives Lucario a way to deal with Ghost types. Extreme Speed is good for niche situations like getting a finishing blow off and a Pokemon with a priority move, dodging a Sucker Punch when you’re low on HP and getting a hit off a Pokemon before an opposing Rage Powder / Follow Me activates.

Mega Lucario (Special)
Lucario @ Lucarionite
Ability: Inner Focus
Level: 50
EVs: 68 HP / 4 Def / 252 SAtk / 4 SDef / 180 Spd
Timid Nature
– Aura Sphere
– Flash Cannon
– Nasty Plot / Vacuum Wave / Dark Pulse / Hidden Power Ice
– Protect

Because of how popular Intimidate and Will-O-Wisp are special Mega Lucario is also viable for VGC. Aura Sphere nets a OHKO on fast Kangaskhan, but not on bulky Kangaskhan. Flash Cannon OHKO’s Gardevoir. Like Swords Dance on the physical set, Nasty Plot boosts Lucario’s special attack by 2 stages, making it a huge threat if pulled off. Vacuum Wave Gives Lucario a priority move. Dark Pulse serves the same purpose as Crunch did on the physical set. Hidden Power Ice is an option but it doesn’t get the OHKO on Garchomp so I don’t consider it to be worth a slot.

Since this Lucario doesn’t lower it’s defences with Close Combat I’ve given it 180 speed to just put it above Garchomp and put the rest into bulk and give it a higher chance of surviving Garchomp’s Earthquake.

Lucario (Anti-Kangaskhan)
Lucario @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Inner Focus
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Spd / 252 Atk / 4 SDef
Adamant Nature
– Close Combat
– Bullet Punch / Flash Cannon
– Rock Slide
– Crunch

This set has one simple goal: KO Mega Kangaskhan right off the bat. Close Combat OHKO’s 4 HP / 0 Def Kangaskhan 100% of the time and has a 75% chance to OHKO 252 HP / 0 Def Kangaskhan. The rest of the moves provide coverage.

Scarf Lucario can also use Final Gambit, although you’ll need to move your attack EVs into HP and lose the ability to OHKO Mega Kangaskhan. Staraptor is the best user of Final Gambit in the VGC 2014 ruleset, but with Lucario it’ll be a surprise.

Lucario (Follow Me)
Lucario @ Sitrus Berry / Leftover / Lum Berry
Ability: Inner Focus
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 140 Def / 116 SDef
Calm Nature
– Follow Me
– Aura Sphere
– Feint / Quick Guard / Heal Pulse / Protect / Final Gambit
– Feint / Quick Guard / Heal Pulse / Protect / Final Gambit

Admittedly I’ve never used a Follow Me Lucario and don’t consider it to be a great user of the move, I wouldn’t be covering all the bases if I didn’t mention it.  Follow Me isn’t a move most expect when they see Lucario, so you might be able to catch your opponent off guard. Aura Sphere still deals decent damage without investment and gives you a chance if Lucario is your last Pokemon. Quick Guard, Feint, and Heal Pulse all support your partner. Since you have a full HP investment Final Gambit is an option if you use it right off the bat.

The above spread allows Lucario to survive Fire Blast from Salamence and Tyranitar, Heat Wave from Chandelure, Earthquake from Garchomp, and Power-Up-Punch from Kangaskhan. The choice of item depends on what the rest of the team needs. Sitrus is ideal but plenty of Pokemon are happy to have a Sitrus Berry to hold.


Teammates:


Lucario works well with Dragon/Flying types such as Salamence or Noivern, as they can switch into the others weaknesses. Gyarados also works well with it. Intimidate support will allow Lucario to survive Garchomp’s Earthquake for sure. If you’re using Swords Dance or Nasty Plot it would be good to have a Pokemon that helps it set up like a Fake Out user or Amoonguss.

Lucario appreciates partners that can deal with Dragon types like Garchomp and Salamence. Scarf Gardevoir can deal with these threats, as can your own Scarf Salamence. Most Lucario will want a partner that can KO Aegislash and Gengar if they don’t carry a Dark move of their own.

Mega Lucario isn’t one of those Mega Pokemon that you want to bring to every battle. Because of this it works well on double Mega teams. Keep this in mind as you build a team with Lucario. If your team has a Mega you don’t always want to bring or you have a lot of trouble with Kangaskhan Lucario makes for a great alternate Mega. Having Lucario on a team with another potential Mega gives your opponent a lot to think about in team preview.

Counters:

Salamence is a fantastic counter to Lucario, being able to switch into an attack from it, out speed it and OHKO it with Fire Blast. Amoonguss is able to redirect and withstand most attacks from Lucario. Aegislash can wall most sets so long as they don’t use a Dark/Ghost move. Garchomp out speeds regular Lucario and can still survive a hit from Mega Lucario and retaliate with Earthquake. Talonflame can also out speed and KO Lucario, however it can’t take a hit from Lucario at all.

If you’ve been keeping up with the metagame you’ll notice that all the Pokemon I listed are very common to see. This is why Lucario hasn’t seen as much play as it could.

Conclusion

Its interesting to note that in Smogon’s singles format (which might as well be the only one that exists) Mega Lucario has been banned because it is considered nigh uncounterable. In doubles Lucario is certainly a threat but it can be dealt with because you have two Pokemon out at once and at least one of them should be able to deal with it.

I probably wouldn’t even consider Lucario if it weren’t for Kangaskhan, but having a Pokemon on your team that beats the most popular Mega in the metagame is a godsend for most teams. I always see players struggling to beat the behemoth and Lucario is the second Pokemon I recommend to them (the first being Aegislash)

I hope you’ve been enjoying the series so far and if you want to see your favourite Pokemon featured next week let us know!

~Max