Hello Hat Lovers!
Since VGC 2015 is essentially ORAS Battle Spot doubles we can start practising for the format so we’ll be ready for those early January Premiere Challenges. I’m going to give a rundown of the 12 most common Pokemon on the Battle Spot Doubles ladder including their moves, items and abilities.
The data for Battlespot usage comes from here: http://3ds.pokemon-gl.com/battle/oras/#double
Keep in mind that the top 12 is based off of what gets used the most and not what is the most successful. Data is subject to change as time goes on.
Most common ability: Scrappy
Most common item: Kangaskhanite 98.3% of the time.
Four most common moves: Fake Out, Sucker Punch Double-Edge, and Low Kick
VGC 2014 called, they want their meta back. Kangaskhan is currently at the top spot for Battle Spot Doubles. I never really understood why Kangaskhan was seeing less play late in the 2014 season. I get that there was a lot of Kangaskhan hate, but that was still true when it was dominating the format.
The most common spread continues to be the old Jolly 252 attack & 252 speed spread. Low Kick has replaced Power-Up-Punch as Kangaskhan’s Fighting attack. So instead of boosting it’s attack Kangaskhan can now OHKO several Fighting-weak Pokemon that it couldn’t before, such as Heatran, Hydreigon and opposing Kangaskhan.
Only 24% of Kangaskhan are carrying Protect, so you’re usually safe to double into it. If you’re relying on Landorus-T and Garchomp to deal with Kangaskhan watch out for the 25% that carry Ice Punch.
Most common item: 60% hold Choice Scarf, 20.3% use Assault Vest
Four most common moves: Earthquake, Rock Slide, Superpower and U-Turn
Oh look, Landorus-T is the new Garchomp, again. This is the second time Landorus has been made introduced to a format and taken Garchomp’s place. Landorus hits harder than Garchomp did with Earthquake and Rock Slide. Landorus also gets coverage moves like Superpower, U-Turn and Knock Off.
Scarf Landorus is kinda like a physical Scarf Salamence. Both have similar typing so they can switch into the same types of attacks like Ground and Fighting. They also both get Intimidate so you’re rewarded for switching them out repeatedly. Landorus has the added bonus of U-Turn, which lets it switch out while dealing damage. Only Mega Manectric and Staraptor has this utility in 2014 and they didn’t have the bulk that Landorus does.
Assault Vest Landorus seems like a neat idea, you have Intimidate to weaken physical attacks and then you reduce the damage you take from special attacks which makes for a bulky Landorus that doesn’t have to shoehorn Protect onto its move-set.
Most common ability: Gale Wings at 99.9%
Most common item: Life Orb, Choice Band and Sky Plate/Sharp Beak at 38%, 29%, and 15% respectively.
Four most common moves: Brave Bird, Flare Blitz, Tailwind and Protect
I really thought Talonflame would get worse once we had access to the National Pokedex. While this is still early in the season (2015 hasn’t even officially started) the fact Talonflame is still in the top 3 is impressive. There isn’t much to say about the bird that you couldn’t say in 2014, priority Brave Bird is a big threat to anything that has taken damage, and Talonflame can sacrifice itself to set up Tailwind for the team.
Most common ability: Pixilate with 100% usage (0.1% still got it wrong and use Cute Charm though).
Most common item: Choice Specs with ~60% usage, Pixie Plate with ~17% usage.
Four most common moves: Hyper Voice, Shadow Ball, Psyshock and Hidden Power.
Sylveon has become a major player in the metagame thanks to the Hyper Voice tutors from ORAS. With the bonus from Pixilate Sylveon is hitting both targets with a base 87 power STAB move, just short of a Moonblast on both targets. Like Talonflame with Brave Bird and Gale Wings, Sylveon is able to get by with just one attack on it’s ability.There were a decent amount of Sylveon that don’t have 4 moves in the stats. These Sylveon were likely using Hyper Voice and Sleep Talk as their only moves so that even when asleep Sylveon can continue yelling. Sylveon has access to Quick Attack as a way to finish off unsuspecting opponents that are low on HP and Hyper Beam to deliver a major attack at the cost of a recharge turn.
Fairy is a great offensive type and many common Pokemon are weak to it, so Hyper Voice is often threatening an OHKO on one target and a lot of damage on the other. Sylveon hasn’t stopped several Dragons from making the top 12, it has invited some Steel types to keep it in check. The only weaknesses Sylveon has are its low speed and its weakness to Steel attacks. Sylveon is hard to OHKO without type advantage but can be dispatched by a double-target.
Most common item: Weakness Policy with 41% usage and Leftovers with 30% usage.
Four most common moves: Shadow Ball, Flash Cannon, Wide Guard and King’s Shield.
Like VGC 2014, if you have a format dominated by Kangaskhan you’re going to have a lot of Aegislash as well. The rise of Sylveon and Landorus-T (both of which are commonly holding a Choice item and spamming a spread move) has made Wide Guard Aegislash an appealing teammate.
In 2014 I favoured Sacred Sword throughout the season but Sylveon makes Flash Cannon move appealing.
Most common ability: Virtually 100% use Intimidate (there is also 0.1% that use Moxie)
Most common item: Salamencite is used 86.4% of the time. Choice Scarf makes up 7%
Four most common moves: Protect, Draco Meteor, Hyper Voice and Fire Blast
Salamence is the only mega evolution from ORAS to make the list. Since Mega Salamence has base 120 speed there isn’t a need for a Choice Scarf, as Mega Salamence out speeds most of the metagame without a boost. Using a Choice Scarf on Salamence also makes it really hard to use against Bisharp.
Most Mega Salamence are specially based. Salamence gets a boosted Flying type Hyper Voice thanks to Aerilate. Salamence also gets Draco Meteor and Fire Blast for coverage. About a quarter of Salamence are physical so what out you don’t get your Sylveon OHKO’d by a Double-Edge.
Most common ability: Defiant with 99% usage
Most common item: Life Orb with 57% usage and Focus Sash with 31.8% usage
Four most common moves: Sucker Punch, Iron Head, Knock Off and Protect
Looking at what we’ve seen so far it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see Bisharp in the top twelve. Kangaskhan is the queen of the metagame right now and using Intimidate is one of the easiest ways to keep it in check.
The two most common Intimidate users Landorus and Salamence have to worry about Sucker Punch whenever they’re in play. Bisharp can also out speed and OHKO Sylveon and Aegislash with Iron Head and Knock Off respectively.
Life Orb makes Bisharp a real monster, able to OHKO so many Pokemon in the metagame even without a Defiant boost. Focus Sash also has merit for allowing you to make risky plays without being punished as hard for them.
In VGC 2014 having multiple Intimidate users on your team was pretty great, as Bisharp was pretty rare. Right now I wouldn’t recommend two Intimidate users on a team unless you have multiple counters to Bisharp (and Milotic).
Most common item: Sitrus Berry with 66% usage, Choice Specs following with 12.5%
Four most common moves: Thunderbolt, Hydro Pump, Will-O-Wisp and Protect
Just like in the beginning of VGC 2014, Rotom-W is very popular. I’m not surprised to see Rotom-W seeing a lot of usage but I don’t see why it is the most popular Rotom form. Last year we had just watched Aaron Zheng take third place at worlds with his Rotom-W and everyone was all aboard the hype train. This year we’ve just watched Rotom-H (and even Rotom-C) place better at worlds than Rotom-W did.
Based off this it would be fair to assume that Rotom-H would be the most popular Rotom form at the start of a new metagame but that doesn’t seem to have happened. Rotom-H has slightly better match-ups against the other top 12 Pokemon as well as many Pokemon that didn’t make the list like Charizard, Mawile and Metagross (spoiler warning, they didn’t make the list).
Most common ability: Regenerator at 83.2%
Most common item: 63.7% use Rocky Helmet, 15.3% Black Sludge
Four most common moves: Giga Drain, Spore, Rage Powder and Protect
Amoonguss continues to be the most popular form of redirection in the metagame. The most common item is still Rocky Helmet to punish Kangaskhan. You all know what Amoonguss does already.
I’m surprised that Togekiss is seeing less play than Amoonguss. Last year I remember seeing a lot of Togekiss on Battle Spot Doubles before the VGC 2014 ruleset was announced. Amoonguss has Spore will Togekiss has Tailwind and Air Slash, so both have their merits. Togekiss is bulkier than Amoonguss and has an easier time against Dragons and Talonflame, though it invites a lot of Rock Slides and has trouble with the same things that Sylveon does. Despite all the positive changes Togekiss received from being a Fairy type it now has to worry about Steel types like Metagross and Bisharp.
Most common ability: Rough Skin 95.9%
Most common item: Focus Sash 23.9%, Lum Berry 20.1%, Rocky Helmet 14.6%, Life Orb 13.5%
Four most common moves: Earthquake, Dragon Claw, Rock Slide, Protect
Oh look, old Garchomp still sees a lot of play. I suppose any metagame with Mega Kangaskhan as the top dog is a good format for Garchomp. While Landorus-T was considered the better Garchomp in VGC 2013 the popularity of Bisharp and Kangaskhan gives Garchomp a reason to be used as well. The scarcity of perfect Landorus probably has something to do with Garchomp’s usage as well.
Garchomp seems to favour the classic move-set, with Substitute not seeing enough use to be listed in the statistics (more players use Dragon Rush). Garchomp is one of the few Pokemon that doesn’t have a standard item right now. Less than 2% of Garchomp are holding Garchompite, so you can pretty much rule out Mega Garchomp from your view of the metagame.
Most common item: Choice Specs with 41.1%, Choice Scarf with 26.6%
Four most common moves: Dark Pulse, Draco Meteor, Earth Power and Flamethrower
Hydreigon has earned its place in the metagame thanks to its ability to eliminate Steel types like Aegislash and Bisharp. Choice Specs with the most common item, allowing Hydreigon to OHKO almost everything in the metagame.
Choice Scarf has also grown in popularity, which makes a lot of sense when you consider the drop in Scarf Salamence usage. Scarf Hydreigon is faster than Mega Salamence and Garchomp, and can OHKO them with Draco Meteor.
Most common item: 53.9% Gengarite, 41.3% Focus Sash
Four most common moves: Shadow Ball, Protect, Sludge Bomb, Will-O-Wisp
To really figure out how Gengar is being played we have to look at more of the data available. Kangaskhan is the most common partner for Gengar, so that probably accounts for a large portion of the Focus Sash Gengar. These Gengar provide the same support they did in 2014, only now Sludge Bomb is a popular attack to hit Sylveon with and Icy Wind is an option for speed control.
Whimsicott is the second most popular partner for Gengar. These two have their Shadow Tag/Encore/Disable shenanigans. I’m surprised that this strategy is as popular as it is but it works really well when the opponent doesn’t know what you’re doing.
I think it is important to remind everyone that the twelve most used Pokemon are not necessarily the twelve best Pokemon (remember Greninja was incredibly popular last season). I think the usage statistics are skewed by the lack of perfect legendary Pokemon available.
Right now the top twelve is mostly composed of Pokemon that were strong in VGC 2014 (some only once ORAS came out). I feel like a lot of players are using VGC 2014 teams on the ladder and not really exploring all the returning Pokemon yet.
All the same, if you want to do well on Battle Spot Doubles you’d best get yourself acquainted with these Pokemon and have a plan to deal with all of them. I hope this article helps you build your own team.