Saturday, 30 May 2015

Nationals is around the corner!

Hey Fools!

Welcome back once more for an exciting instalment of what I think could happen at Nats this year. As the CP standings go, here's what's up:

So, in first place is my friend Dale, and if he does well at Nationals, ie. come top 4, he should have his position locked up for Worlds qualification.

Hot on Dale's heels is Kevin, who I've had the pleasure of playing against in the PFG tourney we hosted last year.  He's a really smart player and is able to think a few turns ahead of the average player (in other words players like me hahaha). Watch this space!

In third place is Jonah, who's also a friend of mine. I've played a couple of matches against him, and I know that if he has a good day come Nationals, he'll have a super deep run and will have a convincing finish. However, I also need to mention here that I have noticed that if he has a bad match in a Bo3 round it could affect his play in the subsequent matches in that Bo3 set. So, Jonah, here's my advice: don't let your emotions affect your performance mate! You need a clear mind to make the best predictions and plays.

As for the rest of the field, we notice a few interesting things. Johannes (who came 2nd at Nats last year and went to Worlds to rep our country) is absent from this list. And in all fairness, if there were more events in the Free State I know for a fact he'd be on this list. I'm not sure if he's going to Nats, but seeing how much further Cape Town is from Bloem that Jhb is to Bloem, I imagine the travel logistics will prevent him from attending. Honestly, why the hell host it in CT? It's not close to anything other than itself...

As for Acreland (Morné) and myself, we're not going due to how inconveniently far CT is for us. It's probably better if I don't go either, since I'm spending every waking moment trying to pass this damn degree of mine.

Okay, so if I were to bet money on it (and I do so at the fear of losing friends hahah) I think a total random will win it all. They'll have some team that they saw someone popular, like Ray Rizzo, used and will pilot it to ultimate victory. My good friend Dale will face off against Jonah in Top 4(!!) and we'll all wait with baited breath to see who'll come out on top.

Anyways now that that's out of the way, here are some Pokémon that I think will be popular and some Pokémon that will need to be countered:

Mega Metagross will be popular at Nats. It can use Substitute to nullify Will-o-Wisp burns and Sleep, Ice Punch to better manage Landorus-T, Iron Head to annihilate Fairies, Zen Headbutt to take out Mega Venusaur and Amoonguss and could even use a cheeky Hammer Arm to weaken Mega Kanagskhan.

To beat this guy make sure to pack some heat, like Heatran or Charizard Y. Or you could just use other super effective moves to beat it (did you really think I was going to say something other than this??? lol)

Amoonguss! With great bulk, Spore,  redirection and Regenerator this guy will definitely be doing the rounds come Nats. And since Wolfe used it to win a Regionals recently, the sheep here in SA are bound to make use of it.

Substitute and Safety Goggles are a good way to work around this guy.

Sirknight babyyyy! I love this Mega Pokémon and it's a really solid choice too. As we've seen recently, Mega Gardy with Trick Room is a popular choice, so be prepped for that. Sylveon can tear apart your team if you don't take it out soon enough. Fairy is such a solid type to carry in terms of both offence and defence!

Iron Head from any reasonably strong Steel-type can take care of this. Snarl also does some work against these two, lowering their damage output.

Rotom-Wash is a Pokémon I will hate playing against till the day I pass away. That's why it's on this list. Also, I feel like it's a strong and bulky Water-type and is a good option for those players that won't opt for Suicune. So, what I'm basically telling you is: be prepared to see bulky Water-type Pokémon. They're a huge hit this year, and most teams have one since the whole Fire-Water-Grass core is getting quite a bit if hype.

How to counter these guys? Easiest solution is Ludicolo to be honest!

Sticking to the Water theme, Rain was something I was dreading at last year's Nationals. Luckily I didn't face one, because it can honestly be a 40/60 chance (in their favour) if you don't have a reasonable counter to Rain. Please be prepared for it (but not over prepared ;) ).

Easy way to counter it: using a Ludicolo of your own. Or have a bulky Fairy, like Sylveon or Gardevoir, around. Those Hyper Voices do tonnes if left unchecked. Charizard Y is also a good choice here for obvious reasons.

Terrakion and Landorus-Therian are just too strong to not include on this list. Rock Slide is easily one of the better moves (if not the best) in the game. They both have their own ways of managing Mega Kangaskhan too. Landorus-T with Intimidate and Superpower and terrakion with Close Combat. And for that reason alone, people will be using it. But, it's a solid choice for countering Charizard-Y, so Y not run it?

Trick Room is a whole lot better this year that in the 2014 format, that's for sure. And don't think that Taunt will be the ticket to beating out Trick Room either, since there are a lot of ways to work around it. Mental Herb and a handful of abilities like Oblivious really make it tough to solely rely on Taunt to counter TR.

Obviously there's a whole lot of stuff that I've left out, but for the most part, I covered the rough gist of it all.

Now, if I were a rational thinker (and that's a pretty big assumption!) I would use the following team to make sure I get into Top Cut at least:

Saturday, 9 May 2015

My favourite Pokémon in VGC 15 so far

Hey fools! It's been a while indeed. I thought I'd like to share my favourite 'mon from this season. So here goes (in no specific order) :

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Landorus-Therian makes an appearance on this list. It has incredible stats blah blah blah... But on a very serious note, this Pokémon is defining the season. Having a solid counter to this bad boy on your team is definitely a must! 

It's one of my favourites, because it was the first legendary that I successfully RNGd to be shiny! It looks like a tiger-thing. It's also based off of some god of fertility, so what's not to like, lol?

Now that I'm playing in the Dodrio Cup it'll be nice not being paired up against a Lando-T on every team :D

Breloom is such a qt. Although there is very little innovation needed to succeed with this Pokémon, it can be very game defining. The fact that it has access to Spore pretty much makes it a great team member (unlike Parasect which is, sadly, utterly useless in comparison with Amoonguss).

It's one of my list candidates, because it has such an interesting ability that makes a move like Bullet Seed viable. It's also a very volatile 'mon, in my opinion. So the luck element that it brings can spice up a team. Bullet Seed can anything from an underwhelming 2 times, to a very lucky 5! times. Wow.

If I see a Blaziken on my opponent's team in team preview, I am really impressed :D. If it turns out to be a Mega Blaziken, then I'm immediately smitten! I like it's design, speed and the unexpected KOs that it can net.

Besides the phallus-like-object on its head (I mean seriously, why did Gamefreak add that funny thing and besmirch a great design...), it looks like such a gangster. This is my second favourite Mega of all time (albeit not necessarily the best).

Megaaaaa Lopunny! This Pokémon was clearly designed to look like a woman (I mean it even has high heels after it's Mega Evolved for heaven's sake), I'm surprised it can even have a male version. If you have read any of the recent articles on this blog, you would have seen that I'm quite the fan of Mega 'punny. 

After I lost to an Encore + After You Mega Lopunny paired with a Sylveon on Battle Spot (needless to say, this ingenious strategy completely caught me off guard) I fell in love with it. 

I always like to argue that Mega Lopuuny is a faster, frailer version of Kangaskhan. But that's not necessarily entirely true. It's better than Mama Khan, in some ways too. It gets that secondary Fighting type, so it gets STAB Low Kick, and for those of us with an insatiable appetite for risk: High Jump Kick. Having Scrappy Low Kick vs Aegislash is always nice.

I feel like Mega Lopunny should also have access to Double Edge, but alas it was not to be. We're stuck using Frustration (or Return if you're THAT kind of person) as the ideal choice for Normal-type attack.

If you haven't guessed it yet, this is my favourite Mega!

Can you smell that? The Tran... is... cookin'! The best fire type doing the rounds at the moment. I wasn't a very big fan of this monster back in VGC 13, and I can't remember why. But it has certainly earned it's place in my heart this year. If there are no more Fighting-type / Water-type / Landorus-type Pokémon on your opponent's field, it might be time to bring in the cavalry and win!

It has such a cool design (there's a trend here, I'm sure of it), looking like a fire-breathing mecha frog. Heatran has such great typing, and a movepool that is more than sufficient.

Once again, a Pokémon that I didn't highly rate in VGC 14, despite it being one of the best Pokémon at the time. If this hack 'n slash-type was released in Black and White it would have been GODLY strong, due to the resistances that Steel-types still had at the time. In spite of the nerfs to Steel, it's still such a beast!

Stance Change is such a winning strategy, I'm really not surprised that it is in the top 12 most used 'mon on Battle Spot Doubles.

With access to Wide Guard, it can easily serve a more support orientated role on a team, rather than just super tanky retaliator.

I really like this Pokémon, but only when it's shiny :)

Suicune is such a beautiful thing to admire. It just looks super graceful and elegant, and demands respect from all. ^_^

I have loved Suicune since HGSS, and it's mainly due to its typing and incredible natural bulk. Only having two weaknesses, and the following base stats:

Base stats (from Bulbapedia, I don't own this image)

At Lv. 50At Lv. 100
160 - 207310 - 404
72 - 139139 - 273
108 - 183211 - 361
85 - 156166 - 306
108 - 183211 - 361
81 - 150157 - 295
Total:580  Other Pokémon with this total  

it's no surprise it's seeing so much action  this season. Having a Pokémon that can tank a lot of hits and support with Tailwind, Snarl and Scald burns really makes team building easier, because Suicune provides such a strong base.

I've nicknamed my Suicune 'Gypsy', because I was so bulky in gen 5 when I was still learning how to play competitively.

Well, gang, that's a wrap. I hope you've liked this. I'll try and get some real content, like a team report or summin sometime soon. Hopefully Stephen can post something too! It's like he's been on a half-year hiatus. Lol.