Metagame Trends – Speed Tiers

Hey there Hat Lovers,

After writing my article “On Developing Speed Tiers Throughout a Metagame,” I figured I would re-visit the concept with a bit of an application article on how VGC 2015 Speed Tiers are shaping up. Today I’ll look at some defining Pokemon for VGC 2015, what speed control is in the format, and how to plan around those two in combination. The group at Nuggetbridge has once again provided an invaluable Speed Tier list courtesy of “Level 51,” so be sure to thank him for this discussion!

Defining Pokemon of VGC 2015

This being a speed tiers article, these Pokemon are not always defining by their overwhelming presence in the metagame, but rather their unique speed stats and ability to threaten relevant Pokemon. This list will cover things that people plan for specifically. While there are some things I could see people using that may be fast (e.g. scarfed Hydreigon), the following Pokemon are unique Speed stats you should be thinking about.

Fast Pokemon

Landorus-Therian

Beware of Rock Slide flinches

  • 240 – Scarfed Adamant Terrakion
  • 228 – Scarfed neutral Base 100s
  • 214 – Scarfed Adamant Landorus-T
  • 191 – Timid Greninja
  • 189 – Positive Mega-Salamence
  • 178 – Positive Base 110 (Mega-Metagross, Latios etc…)
  • 176 – Positive Base 108 Terrakion and friends
  • 172 – Neutral M-Salamence
  • 169 – Jolly Garchomp (still worth noting)
  • 167 – Positive Base 100s (Jolly M-Kangaskhan, etc…)

Here’s what’s fast in the metagame! The most common speedy Pokemon is probably scarfed Adamant Landorus-T. While scarfed Neutral Base 100 Pokemon aren’t impossible to come across, I think most people plan their scarfed Pokemon to be faster than 214 speed just to be faster than Landorus-T. So I expect that people creeping the top of the relevant speed tiers will aim to reach 215+ Speed.

After Scarfed Adamant Landorus-T, there’s a sprinkling of fast notable Pokemon. However, most of these are things you can OHKO or just use speed control to beat. I think the only relevant Pokemon in the Positive Base 100 tier that is max speed is Jolly Mega-Kangaskhan. But considering that’s possibly the most common Mega to come across, it’s worth out-speeding if you can.

Mid-Speed Pokemon

Hydreigon

Beware of the… Dark Pulse flinches?

  • 152 – Neutral Base 100 Pokemon
  • 150 – Modest Hydreigon
  • 143 – Non-scarfed Landorus-T/ scarfed but at -1
  • 139 – Positive Smeargle
  • 134 – Jolly Breloom, Metagross, M-Swampert
  • 122 – Adamant Bisharp
  • 118 – Positive Base 110 at -1 (Icy Wind)
  • 112 – Jolly Garchomp at -1 (Icy Wind)

The neutral Base 100 tier is probably the most highly contested speed range at the moment. Choice Specs Modest Hydreigon is often running max Speed right now, so being above that is an important benchmark. And for all the Base 100 Pokemon, you might as well max your Speed at that point. So anyone creeping Speed in the mid-range is likely settling at 153+ Speed.

After that, some people might settle lower (e.g. Base 80 Pokemon) and just out-Speed Landorus-T’s 143 Speed stat. This is useful for non-Scarfed Landorus-T, as well as in combination with Icy Wind. I don’t think anyone specifically settles at 140 anymore to out-Speed Smeargle, and that’s furthered by Landorus-T’s presence at 143.

The next relevant Speed stat is found at Base 70, with Breloom being the main reason. Like Smeargle in VGC 2014, Breloom being the fastest Spore user is something good to plan around. So settling your Speed at 135+ is worth noting. It also lets you out-Speed fast Bisharps, Jolly Metagross, and M-Swampert (if you care about M-Swampy).

Lastly, any team using Icy Wind may be planning their middling Speed stats around what Speed a -1 Terrakion or -1 Garchomp sits at. So anything in the slow range (e.g. Cresselia) may invest to hit 119+ or 113+. This also guarantees out-Speeding all the Base 100 Pokemon after an Icy Wind. As such, it can be useful to invest up to this point sometimes. Pokemon like Adamant Bisharp have little reason to drop from their Speed stat of 122 for this reason; this ensures Bisharp will out-Speed even faster Cresselia (e.g. 119).

Speed Control

Cresselia

Beware of… flinching

ORAS has re-introduced Icy Wind, Tailwind and many relevant Trick Room setters. As such it’s useful to think about these methods of Speed control when planning your team’s Speed stats. Icy Wind and Tailwind are the most relevant to the discussion of Speed tiers. In order to out-Speed a team in Tailwind, a Pokemon needs to be pretty darned fast already or supported by counter-control like Icy Wind. But the most relevant Tailwind users are +2 Zapdos (242), +2 Suicune (212) and +2 Togekiss (202), who I’ve given 4 Speed EVs to for their +2 Speed stats. Ludicolo and Swampert usually sit around 95, or 190 at +2 in the rain; this out-Speeds Positive M-Salamence (189). Technically a +2 Neutral Ludicolo/M-Swampert can hit 244, but these two prefer bulk to Speed.

These stats may be relevant for a slower Choice Scarf Pokemon as a target. But considering Adamant Landorus-T sits happily at 214, if you want to out-Speed all of these +2 Pokemon you can just out-Speed Scarfed Landorus-T and be done with it. If you are thinking about using a scarfed Pokemon slower than Landorus-T (e.g. Rotom-A) then I guess you could settle around the numbers above.

I just went to look for Scarfers above Base 91 Speed that could go for bulk over extra Speed, and all of them are threatened by Landorus-T. So there’s little reason for anything to settle below Landorus-T but above say… Jolly M-Salamence if you can help it.

Conclusion

Essentially… Speed tiers at the moment are defined by Landorus-T, Hydreigon (and as a result, Neutral Base 100s), Jolly Breloom and Bisharp/Cresselia sitting around Icy Wind numbers. The greater availability of Trick Room setters are also happy to make all your Speed plans useless. Pokemon that get to benefit from Tailwind are often too fast to out-Speed without a Choice Scarf, and even then many of them are faster than something like Scarfed Landorus-T.

Compared to VGC 2014, the diversity of speeds in VGC 2015 makes for quite a more complicated Speed tier list. And with greater Speed control available, investing in Speed is a little less fruitful than before. Nonetheless, planning around the biggest threats is useful, and hopefully this review is helpful!

Cheers,

Crawdaunt out

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