Much to most people's surprise, the suspect test for Aegislash has been immediately followed by one for Mega Mawile. Just to go over things quickly, it has two primary sets: Swords Dance sweeper and Subpunch, off higher firepower than the likes of Mega Kangaskhan and Mega Mewtwo X, with the exalted presence of a Sucker Punch that outdamages Arceus' Extremespeed. And for two moves that don't even get STAB, Sucker Punch and Focus Punch share incredible synergy - one meant for use against direct attacks, the other otherwise (or hidden behind a sub). Yet one can't discount the enormous power behind the Swords Dance set, either.
This leads to a prediction game where correctly guessing what your opponent will do might give you a chance at halting Mega Mawile (easier said than done with its exceptional typing and workable defenses), but otherwise you pretty much lost the game. Which leads into the point I want to make today: prediction has always been part of Pokémon, and one of its most beautiful aspects at that. Yet even that is being challenged today with the old (read: new) 50/50 argument. Let it be known: I don't like how something that's been there for 18 years and not only accepted, but ultimately encouraged, is suddenly a scourge that has to be purged.
HOWEVER, the problem isn't guesswork itself, but the consequences of picking wrong in the gen 6 environment. Until now, if you picked the wrong move, or switched at the wrong time or whatever, the worst-case scenario was usually losing a single Pokémon. Gen 6 turned that notion upside down, though, with the advent of mega evolutions. Go back to last gen, if you please. Remember why Pokémon like Darmanitan, Chandelure and Haxorus failed as hard as they did despite their overwhelming firepower? Because they were neither fast enough, nor had enough survivability. Fast forward to gen 6, and we've already banned terrors like Mega Gengar, Mega Lucario and Mega Kangaskhan that not only had overwhelming amounts of power, but also the ability to actually USE it. And use it a lot, too. Mega Mawile is a bit from the same mold. Highest attack power in the game, gifted with an exceptional movepool, possibly the best defensive typing in the game's history, and just enough defenses to use it well.
Should it be banned? Forget it, I'm not going there, especially since I'm not only not that educated compared to the better players, but also inherently biased towards smaller banlists. I still believe gratuitous hate on Smogon is uncalled for, because to quote one of my former regulars: "They’re trying to balance a game that’s poorly balanced in itself, so of
course things are going to get banned, especially since gen 6
introduced mega evolutions." Anyone who believes the "official" definition of standard Pokémon play is anywhere near balanced is on par with those eejits who argue that tiers don't exist in SSB and all characters are miraculously perfectly balanced, despite how Ganondorf can't even get a 50% win ratio in a mirror matchup.
Anyway, those combinations of power, speed and/or bulk mean that when faced with those megas (and it's easy to argue in favor of Aegislash being cut from the same cloth), you no longer risk losing one Pokémon to a bad decision, you risk losing the GAME. And that's what makes many of those mega evolutions so far above and beyond anything we'd ever seen before: the risk/reward ratio of running them. There's little risk in using one of these monsters either way, yet the rewards reaped are out of this world.
Which leads back to the concept of mega evolution itself. The basic notion was to make a creative way of giving weaker Pokémon some much-needed viability (and then give some to fan-favorites like Tyranitar and Gengar just to market the whole thing better). But in hindsight, the execution may have been lacking. We've already lost a few megas, right now Mawile is being tested, but what's next? Gardevoir? Medicham? Heracross? Yeah, Gamefreak may
have messed up with this whole mega evolution thing. The idea of giving
some Pokémon a boost was great, and while anyone with a brain could tell
Gengar and Lucario would end up as they did, the likes of Kangaskhan,
Mawile, Medicham and Gardevoir were starting from so far back that it
was impossible to tell at which point they'd become gamebreakers. Even
So I can't really hate on them, no matter how much I'd
like to if I was into knee-jerk reactions. I mean, they really couldn't go with small, incremental improvements until they reached a desirable result, it would've taken too long. So they essentially had one shot at it, and it's easy for us armchair experts to say how it should've been done after the fact, but we have the benefit of hindsight that they didn't have. Did they implement it poorly? Yeah, probably. Could they have done a better job? My honest opinion: only through dumb luck. I mean, aside from Gengar and Lucario, many previous OUs have megas, and they're perfectly fine (and yes, for the purpose of this write-up I'm going to call Mega Garchomp sucking the big one fine). The reason for that? Because Gamefreak held back and didn't improve them too much beyond stats, and even there the stat boosts are often defensive in nature (especially in Scizor and Tyranitar's case). The baseline was already at a desirable level, so it was easier to micromanage just what they wanted to give them. Heck, I'll even be generous and acknowledge that they noticed Lucario needed a hand, because regular Lucario just isn't very good nowadays.
Do the math: despite the OU banlist being ever-expanding, only two non-legendaries, non-megas have been banned thus far: Blaziken and Aegislash. And unfortunately, I don't see it changing any time soon - as I just mentioned, all the likely suspect candidates from now until ORAS comes out are megas. Are we supposed to consider megas as being on par with legendaries - some are overpowered, some aren't, and that's the way it's supposed to be? To be quite frank, I'm not a fan of that notion. Gamefreak CLEARLY meant for all megas to be used in standard play - you won't see any one of them (aside from those that belong to already banned legendaries) banned in an official tournament, for better or for worse. This is a shame, because I was totally behind the concept at first, and it's only now that I'm realizing that Gamefreak may have gotten in over their heads with it.
Of course, this is only one reading of the situation. What's yours?