Friday, January 2, 2015

ORAS' movers and shakers

December stats are out, so we get our first look at stats that come close to being representative!

Unfortunately, I don't have access to any of the stats before ORAS came out, because they were all lost due to some incident, but I don't remember Latias being so dang high. Guess Healing Wish is just as awesome, without forgetting Defog. One thing's for sure, though: Latias' and Latios' megas are absolute total flops, on par with Garchomp's. Life Orb is all the rage, as well as Choice Scarf for Latios and Leftovers for Latias.

I also remember Azumarill being higher than this... wasn't it #2 before ORAS came out? Either way, it's off the top 10, and the top Fairy in town is now Clefable of all things. Slowbro is on a considerable rise, so the days of it barely making the OU cutoff line are over. Just how powerful is mega evolution as a concept? Even when the Pokémon loses an amazing ability like Regenerator, it can still improve by a considerable amount. I have to admit the whole setup, with mad defense and Shell Armor, is absolutely perfect for a Calm Mind attacker. So in Slowbro's case, it's all a matter of execution.

But the most popular of all the new megas, with Salamence's out of the way, is unsurprisingly Metagross'. To be honest, before ORAS came out I was expecting it to be suspected almost instantly, but instead Greninja took that spot, while Mega Metagross is settling in quite nicely. Can you imagine if it wasn't weak to Ghost and Dark? At that point it would probably be pretty broken.

Round 1 of the battle of the Magic Bounce mega evolutions goes to Sableye, surprisingly enough. I say that because of a BST difference of 220 in Diancie's favor, but nope. Access to instant recovery and the always useful Will-O-Wisp are the big difference makers, and it too can go places with Calm Mind, without forgetting about moves like Knock Off. The classic Leftovers set is also seen sometimes, but Mega Sableye is what really powers this little guy. Meanwhile, all Diancie can muster is offensive sets that are forced to go mixed because of the lack of Power Gem or Play Rough. Granted, nothing likes taking attacks off 160 in both offensive stats, 110 speed and Rock Polish or Calm Mind to power them up. Still, the mandatory mixed thing hurts like hell. It's even more insulting when you factor in the fact that Carbink can learn Power Gem (yet has no use for it). But between Mega Sableye and Mega Diancie, there's not much room for Espeon aside from "I want to use another mega". We're reaching the point where the one-mega-per-team restriction is forcing us into some painful choices, it seems.

A mega that's really surprising me has to be Lopunny. I was expecting it to be something like UU, maybe BL, but it's OU, and fairly comfortably at that. This is an example of Gamefreak really doing a stellar job with certain megas. Aside from obvious OP garbage like Huge Power, Scrappy is the best possible fit for a Normal/Fighting Pokémon, and the addition of HJK was the extra boost it needed too.

As for Mega Gallade... it truly is the prime example of why speed is the single best stat in Pokémon. It doesn't have the raw firepower Mega Medicham has, but what it has is virtually everything else. That extra 10 speed allows it to outspeed so much stuff Mega Medicham can't do much against, its special bulk and workable physical defense allow it to set up with Swords Dance, Close Combat is more reliable than HJK, and Knock Off is Knock Off.

Mega Altaria is another mega I predicted to fall shy of OU. Once again, I was wrong. It's a surprisingly effective Dragon Dance attacker (yes, a Pokémon that was always known as being acceptable defensively is now a great Dragon Dance sweeper), and Pixilate helps compensate for the average attack power (considering the lack of held item slot). Speaking of Pixilate, it's now more popular than Mega Gardevoir! Once again, it doesn't have the sheer power, but it doesn't roll over and die from any physical attack, and Dragon Dance is just that good. Gardevoir doesn't have anything to make up for it. Mind you, Altaria's only ahead by four ranks, because Gardevoir still has that devastating attack power, but hey, ahead is ahead.

Gothitelle confirms its newfound status as OU - guess this whole Shadow Tag debacle in ubers had the benefit of really waking people up to its potential. Hey, isn't it usually the other way around? Tentacruel is also making a return, but Mega Venusaur took a huge tumble downward. Shame.

Sceptile and Beedrill actually barely made the usual OU cut-off line, but aren't getting promoted due to shenanigans that have to do with the aforementioned massive data loss. Turns out Dragon Pulse, Giga Drain and Fail Blast are just enough to make Mega Sceptile work. Rotom-W fears it so much, which definitely helps. As for Beedrill, the stupidly powerful and fast U-Turn does wonders to hide its miserable defenses, and Drill Run is an effective coverage move, with Knock Off as another useful option. Let that sink in for a minute. We may be having a level 10 bug in OU. WHAT.

Politoed just barely missed the usual cut-off line, but it's getting really close... it gained a fantastic teammate in Mega Swampert, which also came very close. It's more popular than Kingdra and overshadows the hell out of Kabutops, though neither of these require your mega slot. Mega Heracross and Mega Pinsir also missed the cut-off line, which is kind of surprising considering Heracross was supposed to become god-tier with Aegislash gone, and there was mild suspect test talk for Pinsir at one point. In fact, the entire mega trio Aegislash pulverized suffered greatly with the shift to ORAS, with Gardevoir also losing substantial ground and Medicham being somewhat obsoleted by Gallade. Infernape, Togekiss, Alakazam, Hippowdon and Donphan are also completely gone. I guess the Donphan jokes can stop now, huh? Blissey is another Pokémon that was completely abandoned, though Chansey remains very strong in mid-high OU.

In ubers... wow. Let's just say Rayquaza wasn't the only one that shook the tier to its core, so much it created its own tier. Groudon's improvement was such that even all of Arceus' types combined failed to get as much use as it did! Sure, it's by a few tenths of a percent, but as far as I can tell this is only the second time Arceus gets dethroned in such a fashion (Kyogre similarly edged it out once at some point in gen 5). The amazing thing is that it's got so many moves it can use. There's the EQ/Precipice Blades toss-up, but beyond that Fire Punch and Lava Plume are both usable Fire moves (though the former is often favored), then we have Stealth Rock, Stone Edge, Rock Polish, Thunder Wave, Roar, Swords Dance... good luck stopping THAT monster! Ground became Arceus' third most popular type just because that's Primal Groudon's only weakness, that's how much it left ubers into a smoldering crater. Any Pokémon, such as Palkia, that suffers in the sun greatly dropped in the rankings. Yep, we're living in a world where Kyogre and Palkia are the worst of their trios, and Rayquaza and Giratina are the best.

Speaking of Kyogre, despite how underwhelming its Primal form is otherwise, it turned out to be its bread and butter for the sole reason that it's capable of stopping Desolate Land, opening up that huge Water weakness. I don't remember if Klefki was this high before, but well, it's #22 in ubers, and that's without any Swagplay cheese (more on that later). Mega Diancie also made quite an impression in ubers. No doubt those beefy stats combined with Magic Bounce have something to do with it.

Of course, eyes were on the new AG metagame to answer the age-old question, which truly is the most powerful of all Pokémon, without any rules to hold them back? The answer is... well... Arceus. Yep, put all its types together, and it's still more used than Rayquaza, who prompted the creation of this ladder to start with. It's weird, considering Arceus is universally considered beatable in ubers, but Rayquaza is universally considered unbeatable. Klefki comes in right behind these two, and Swagplay is the obvious culprit. Of course such a set would be insanely useful against Mega Rayquaza and Extremekiller Arceus, two Pokémon who just love to boost their attack. Primal Kyogre is also all the rage to help stop Desolate Land and Delta Stream, understandably.

Then we have Darkrai, one of the big winners since it has no restrictions on how to use Dark Void. THEN we have the usually superdominant Xerneas at #7, followed by Moody Smeargle which can also spam Spore willy-nilly, Baton Pass its stat boosts away, do some Minimize cheese... really, Smeargle seems to impersonate why all of these standard fan-made rules exist. Incredibly, Greninja comes in as high as #12. BAN FROM OU NAO. Espeon is the top Magic Bouncer at #13, because at least you can use it on the same team as Mega Rayquaza, and there are also Baton Pass shenanigans to consider, though Sableye is immediately behind - but keep in mind, vanilla Sableye is slightly more popular than Mega Sableye in AG!

By the way, almost as many games were played in AG as in ubers this month. It's safe to say people really were curious about a rule-free environment!


  1. "Knock Off is Knock Off" is perhaps one of the most succinct ways of describing this metagame that I've ever heard.

    1. I honestly can't believe Knock Off hasn't gotten anything banned yet (and yet Gunk Shot of all things probably will). Between that and being neutral against Steel, Dark really is a top-tier type this gen. Probably why they made it weak to Fairy.

  2. Even in VGC 2015 Megagross is really used, along rain teams too which have a resurgence in that metagame, with Politoed still hanging in at #21 there, probably to do something about CharY, otherwise a lot of these new Megas seem to be pretty good, unlike various forgettable ones from XY

    1. And the odd thing is, I thought it was going to be the reverse. Pleasantly surprised to see so many megas I'd dismissed succeed.

    2. The new bunch of Megas seems to be more diverse and balanced than the XY ones. Among XY megas there were so many that were either glass cannons who fold to one hit or just ridiculous shit like Kangaskhan or Lucario. This time they made some more defensive Megas that can still dish it out (like Slowbro and Sableye and Altaria), but not to a broken extent. Aside from Rayquaza and Salamence, it seems like a well-made bunch.

  3. "op garbage" inb4 huge power Garbodor

    I also see lum (or even persim) berry becoming fairly popular to beat klefki (the obvious swagger-berry-eq on arceus), but I am probably incorrect, especially given that a team can have more than one key.

  4. *Reads about Smeargle in AG*
    You weren't kidding when you said it was like Gogo from FF6.

    Shame about Palkia and Venusaur though.

  5. I do deeply apologize I haven't checked your blog in a while, but did you end up getting ORAS?

  6. I predicted Espeon, at least, for AG...