Published on June 30th, 2015 | by JoeDaPr061
United States Senior Nationals Preview: The Metagame and The Players
Hey, all! You may know me as Joe Nunziata or, if you go by my screen name, JoeDaPr0, and I have been pretty active on the metagame and player database for the Senior division. With such knowledge, I figured to share it with the members of Nugget Bridge, and hopefully this will help you get prepared for the upcoming International Challenge and, more importantly, the United States National Championships!
Before I jump into profiles with players, I feel as if it’s necessary to address Nationals information, for those who may be confused, clueless, or frustrated.
United States Nationals Event Information
Pre-Registration for the US National Championships is required. You can pre-register on this page. If you do not register at that link, you will not be able to play.
The event venue is the Indianapolis Convention Center, in Indianapolis, IN. It’s somewhat challenging to find if you don’t know your way around, but it should be a big, silver building that is found along South Capitol Avenue. Another eye-catching clue is the Pikachu balloon used for parades inside the convention center entrance. Don’t worry, though, as the entrance to said convention center is mostly made of glass, creating a visible view of the Pikachu balloon.
If you’re using a GPS for driving to this event, the address can be found here:
100 South Capitol Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46225
Based on your Championship Point ranking, you will receive:
- Top 64: $750 Travel Stipend
- Top 32: $1000 Travel Stipend
- Top 16: Travel and Accomodations fully paid for both the player and a guardian + $300 Travel Stipend.
- 1st: $5,000 in scholarship money, Nintendo Wii U 32 GB Deluxe Set, 72 booster packs.
- 2nd: $3,000 in scholarship money, New Nintendo 3DS XL, 72 booster packs.
- 3rd and 4th: $1,500 in scholarship money, New Nintendo 3DS XL, 72 booster packs.
- 5th through 8th: 36 booster packs
- 9th through 16th: 18 booster packs
- 17th through 32nd: 8 booster packs
- 33rd through 64th: 4 booster packs
Last Minute Tips
- It is very easy to get stressed out after playing a maximum of 24 games and a minimum of 16 games in a single day. Bring something to entertain, refresh, or refocus yourself between rounds.
- Do not be discouraged from playing anymore if you have received 3 or more losses. Pokemon is mostly played for the fun of it so live it up to it’s meaning!
- Bring a notepad in order to jot notes on enemy teams down. Note that you must start with a CLEAN sheet of paper every round.
- Bring snacks and water to maintain your focus during and in between rounds.
Now, onto players that you should take note of and be prepared to see at the U.S. National Championships. These players are no slouch — be wary!
I assume the best way to do this is to start from the top of the map and make our way down.
Nathan W. (Peanut Butter)
Accomplishments: Wisconsin Regional Champion 2015 (65th in Championship Points).
Nathan had stomped out his first ever regional which was a pretty tough regional. There were players from all over the US, primarily the East coast and Midwest, and his prior lack of attendance definitely gave him the surprise factor — which he made full use of, winning the whole tournament. I expect to see Nathan at Nationals and wouldn’t be surprised if he moves on to Sunday.
Accomplishments: Indiana Regional Runner-up 2015 (26th in Championship Points).
Whether Allan will attend Nationals is an unknown at the moment, but I would expect him to show up. He, like Nathan, invaded the United States and almost won a Regional Championship in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Though, keep in mind this was in the stage of the season where the 2014 format was still in place. Regardless of the format, Allan will be a tough and mindful opponent to look out for as the brackets are being viewed.
Henry Maxon (Snake)
Accomplishments: Portland, Oregon Regional Champion 2015, 2011 Junior National Champion, Top 4 World Championships 2011, Top 4 Seattle, Washington Regional 2015 (1oth in Championship Points).
Henry is a great player and will for sure be at Nationals as he has a free trip being Top 16 in Championship Points as the 10th seed. His accomplishments really say a lot for the type of player he is. 2011 was clearly his best year, but it seems as if he is returning in the 2015 season with really good Regional Championship finishes. He is definitely one to be reckoned with on the roster!
Caden Kamp (Scumbag Caden)
Accomplishments: Utah Regional Champion 2015 (14th in Championship Points)
Caden has proven himself worthy to be on this list because of his Regional Championship domination in Utah. For starting his season in March, he has risen up through the ranks pretty quickly and is an immediate opponent to look out for.
Carson St. Denis (Dorian06)
Accomplishments: Florida/Seattle Regional Champion 2015, Oregon/North California Runner-up 2015, Top 4 Utah Regionals 2015 (1st in Championship Points).
Taking a glance at Carson’s accomplishments, all I can say is “Just wow!” He made at least top 4 in just about every Northwest Regional Championship in the 2015 season. Also achieving 1st in Championship Points is pretty awesome, considering this is his “first serious VGC season.” Him being a veteran TCG player and almost achieving maximum Championship Points before Nationals grants him the mindset and intimidation of an elite Senior — one to be feared.
Jacob Waller (Thank Swalot)
Accomplishments: Top 4 Missouri Regional 2015, Top 8 Kansas Regional 2015 (25th in Championship Points).
Jacob is no slouch at all. He has gone 5-1 in the Swiss rounds of the Missouri Regional and 4-2 in the Swiss rounds of both the Kansas Regional and Wisconsin Regional. Don’t expect an easy battle by any means if paired with Jacob because he does have a good amount of strength in best-of-3 formats.
Darrin Cooper (Ninten678)
Accomplishments: Top 2 Missouri Regional 2015, Top 4 Wisconsin Regional 2015 (6th in Championship Points).
Darrin is a pretty good player in the Senior division. He has placed at least Top 4 at two Regionals — both of which had intimidating competition — with an interesting not-to-be-mentioned Mega Evolution on his team each time. Like Jacob, I wouldn’t be surprised if Darrin moves on to Day 2 of Nationals, but I could see him falling short as well. However, his background is really good for Seniors and will be a tough opponent to face, as he clearly thrives in best-of-3 formats.
Luka Trejgut (Deltazephyl/Zephyl)
Accomplishments: Indiana Regional Champion 2015 (20th in Championship Points)
Luka has a relatively superior mindset for a Senior and his teambuilding style is really strong and fluent — the key to success in best-of-3 styled formats. Also, his tyranny in Indiana has given proof that he isn’t just another Senior, but a skilled one.
Michael Spinetta-McCarthy (Sir Chicken)
Accomplishments: Virginia Regional Champion 2015, Pennsylvania Regional Champion 2015, Massachusetts Regional runner-up 2015 (2nd in Championship Points).
Michael is considered one of the best Seniors in North America, and it’s not surprising why people think that. He’s got an amazing mindset for best-of-3 styled play and has won two Regionals in probably the most difficult region of the United States: The Northeast. There is no doubt in my mind that would say Michael is going to make it to Day 2 of US Nationals, and will be one heck of an opponent to be matched against.
Mihrab Samad (Megachar10)
Accomplishments: Top 4 Massachusetts Regional, Top 8 Pennsylvania Regional (18th in Championship Points)
Mihrab is known for using unconventional Pokemon choices, such as Landorus-Incarnate at Massachusetts and Crobat at Virginia. He has pretty good experience in a best-of-3 format, considering the Massachusetts Regional was recent. Mihrab, however, will need to hold back on gimmick strategies or Pokemon, if he wants to be consistent at Nationals. If he does create a consistent team, he will for sure be one to look out for on the Nationals bracket!
Brendan Zheng (Babbytron)
Accomplishments: 2013 Junior World Champion, Finalist at Texas Regional 2015, Top 8 at Missouri Regional 2015 (30th in Championship Points).
Brendan should be known by basically every Senior at this point, as he is the brother of Aaron Zheng (Cybertron) and is titled the 2013 World Champion in the Junior division. He also has had a pretty good Regionals run this season as a finalist in Texas.
Accomplishments: 2014 Nationals Top 4, Massachusetts Regional Champion 2015, Top 8 Kansas Regional 2015 (5th in Championship Points).
Kylie has had a great last two years being in the Senior division, as she has done well at Regionals this year and was a semi-finalist at Nationals last year. She is also the sister of Paul Chua (pwny person). Kylie is, without a doubt, one to look out for in the Swiss and Day 2 bracket, as she is expected to get Day 2.
Zachary Boyd (Progress1/Smeargle Kid)
Accomplishments: Runner-up Virginia Regionals 2015, Top 4 Pennsylvania Regionals 2015 (7th in Championship Points).
Zachary is known for using Smeargle at events, and I think that proves he is one of the better players in the Senior division in terms of best-of-3 formats. Considering he has been using a somewhat gimmicky strategy for the entire season, he is good at playing his cards right and not revealing too many tricks too early.
Jake Skurchak (pokebeys)
Accomplishments: Finalist at Wisconsin Regional 2015, Semi-finalist at Virginia Regional 2015 (4th in Championship Points).
Jake is quite a player who’s very consistent in best-of-3 format play. He has also had a very good season in 2015 in terms of Regional Championships and Premier Challenges.
Stephen Mea (Gramgus)
Accomplishments: Top 8 Massachusetts Regional 2015, Finalist Georgia Regional 2015 (24th in Championship Points).
Stephen has had a pretty good season in 2015, as he had Top Cut Massachusetts and Georgia, both of which were very recent.
Jake Rosen (sableyemagma)
Accomplishments: Finalist Pennsylvania Regional 2015, Top 8 Massachusetts Regional 2015 (23rd in Championship Points).
Jake has had a pretty good run this season, though keep in mind Pennsylvania was played in the X/Y format. Don’t let that phase you, since he has had a good season in the OR/AS format with a Top Cut finish at Massachusetts recently and great placements at Premier Challenges.
Emilio Forbes (emforbes)
Accomplishments: North California Regional Semi-finalist 2015, South California Regional Champion 2015, (43rd in Championship Points).
Emilio is a great West coast Senior and one to look out for at Nationals! I would expect him to move on to Day 2, as he has done pretty well in the International Challenge and had a great Regional Championships/Premier Challenge run. Considering the west coast is packed with good Seniors, his accomplishments are definitely above the average player.\Emilio be like
George Langford (Kobratail)
Accomplishments: North California Regional Champion 2015, Semi-finalist Arizona Regional 2015 (12th in Championship Points).
George has had a similar season to Emilio, except that he maxed out his Premier Challenge Championship Points.
Joe Nunziata (JoeDaPr0)
Accomplishments: Missouri Regional Champion 2015 (17th in Championship Points).
Joe has had a decent season. Winning a Regional is good and all, though it’s shaky on whether he will move on to Day 2 at Nationals, considering he has been known for using weird strategies in 2015 such as Mega Garchomp + Togekiss to get 9th at Wisconsin and Chesnaught to win the Missouri Regional. He will need a consistent strategy, similar to Mihrab, in order to make it to Day 2 if possible.
Ian McLaughlin (raikoo)
Accomplishments: Texas Regional Champion 2015, Top 8 Missouri Regional 2015, Top 8 Kansas Regional 2015, Top 4 Worlds 2014 (3rd in Championship Points)
Not much to say about Ian other than that he is one of the best Seniors in North America and is 100% expected to compete at Day 2 of Nationals. He is a Worlds competitor in the Senior division and has had a great Regionals run. You better be in your best state of mind if you do manage to face him at Nationals!
Abel Goodwin (YummyKitties)
Accomplishments: Finalist Florida Regional 2015, Top 8 Georgia Regional 2015 (21st in Championship Points).
Last but certainly not least, we have Abel who has had a pretty good season for Regionals in the South. He has been doing well in best-of-3 formatted play so far, and I don’t have many doubts that he will move on to Day 2 at Nationals. Beware of Abel in the Nationals bracket.
Joseph Costagliola (LifeOrb) – Virginia
Accomplishment(s): Virginia Regional Top 4 2015 (7-0 in Swiss) (51st in Championship Points).
Jonathan Melendez (WackaboomVGC) – Maryland
Accomplishment(s): Georgia Regional Top 4 2015 (33rd in Championship Points).
Albert Olster – Kentucky
Accomplishment(s): Florida Regional Top 4 2015 (61st in Championship Points).
Senior Pokemon Metagame
The following section will explain all the common Pokemon, move, ability, and item choices in the Senior division Metagame.
Mega Salamence is the most popular Mega Evolution in the Senior metagame, and for good reason. Its massive damage output and versatility makes it both a special and physical threat. Setting up Dragon Dances in a physical standpoint could be deadly and lead to potential sweeps while Hyper Voice in a special set ignores redirection and does massive damage.
EV spreads: Mega Salamence is mostly used with a 252/252/4 spread, using Timid or Jolly natures. The 252/252 is commonly used in Speed and physical/special attack, while the 4 EVs are used in HP.
Common partners: / /
Mega Salamence is sometimes used on Sand teams, hence the Tyranitar and Excadrill, and will most commonly be seen using a Mixed (Double-Edge/Hyper Voice) or a completely special (Hyper Voice/Draco Meteor) set. However, it can also be used as a duo with Clefairy. With Clefairy, Mega Salamence uses Dragon Dance and Roost in order to have maximum sustain, damage, and speed while Clefairy uses Follow Me and supports Mega Salamence with Friend Guard support, reducing all damage toward it by 25%.
Notable moves: Dragon Dance, Double-Edge, Earthquake, Protect, Draco Meteor, Hyper Voice, Fire Blast, Substitute, Roost, Rock Slide, Stone Edge, Return.
Ability choices: Intimidate
Item choices: Salamencite
Mega Charizard (Y)
Mega Charizard Y is a deadly Mega Evolution, having access to Drought, Heat Wave, Overheat, and a massive 159 base Special Attack stat. Mega Charizard Y is mainly used hyper offensively, though can be bulky at times.
EV spreads: Mega Charizard Y will sometimes run a 252 Special Attack and 252 Speed with a Timid nature, maximizing it’s offensive pressure. However, Mega Charizard Y are commonly run bulky with lots of investment in physical defense and HP in order to survive attacks like Mega Kangaskhan Return or Choice Scarf Landorus-T Rock Slides. The bulky spreads will commonly use Modest, since 4 Special Attack investment with a Modest nature can OHKO Mega Kangaskhan with Overheat and the Special Attack stat for 100 Special Attack with Modest is equal to 252 Special Attack without Modest.
Common partners: / /
Landorus-Therian is the most common partner for Mega Charizard Y because it provides Intimidate support, giving Mega Charizard Y an easier time surviving physical attacks. Also, Landorus-Therian gives extra coverage in Earthquake and Superpower to hit Rock types like Terrakion and Tyranitar, both of which outspeed and KO Mega Charizard Y. Aegislash is also a common partner for Mega Charizard Y in that it provides Wide Guard support and can OHKO threats such as Terrakion with Flash Cannon. Thundurus-Incarnate is a somewhat common partner for Mega Charizard Y, in that it provides valuable Speed control with Thunder Wave and Hidden Power Ice in order to do massive damage to Landorus-Therian, possibly even OHKO.
Notable moves: Heat Wave, Protect, Overheat, Solar Beam, Hidden Power Ground, Flamethrower, Ancient Power
Ability choices: Blaze
I highly suggest not to choose Solar Power, as it doesn’t do much of anything for Mega Charizard Y except for take a guaranteed 10% of damage in the sun when switched in.
Item choices: Charizardite Y
Kangaskhan has always been #1 in Battle Spot usage, and for good reason. However, Mega Kangakshan isn’t used too terribly often by Senior players as, say, Mega Salamence is. Mega Kangaskhan might have average base stats, but it has great bulk being a Normal type and at least 100 base stat points in defenses. Also, Mega Kangaskhan is used because of Parental Bond, giving Mega Kangaskhan practically a free Choice Band; however, the “Choice Band” added damage is separate from the normal damage of an attack. In other words, Mega Kangaskhan hits twice.
EV Spreads: Mega Kangaskhan primarily run Jolly or Adamant with 252 Attack and 252 Speed with 4 HP. Some Mega Kangaskhan could have some bulk investment, such as 212HP and 60 Defense in order to survive Adamant Mega Kangaskhan Low Kick. They also could run 228HP and 28 Special Defense in order to survive Mega Charizard Y Overheat with 4 Special Attack and Modest.
Common Partners: / /
To be honest, Mega Kangaskhan doesn’t have any partners. Mega Kangaskhan just fits any team and/or pairing with ease. For example, if Mega Kangaskhan is paired with Cresselia, Cresselia can use Trick Room while Mega Kangaskhan uses Fake Out on the threat toward Cresselia. Mega Kangaskhan is most commonly seen on the core of Mega Kangaskhan, Landorus-Therian, and Thundurus-Incarnate, as they all cover each other very well and is a nearly indestructible core. Landorus-Therian provides Superpower/Earthquake support to hit Terrakion, which is a pretty big threat to Mega Kangaskhan. Thundurus-Incarnate provides Speed control with Thunder Wave while Taunt is used in order to prevent Will-O-Wisps on Landorus-Therian or Mega Kangaskhan.
Notable moves: Fake Out, Protect, Return, Double-Edge, Low Kick, Power-up Punch, Sucker Punch
Ability choices: Scrappy, Inner Focus
Scrappy is used in order to get a Fake Out off on to ghost types such as Gengar while Inner Focus is used to prevent faster Fake Outs while getting a good amount of damage or another Fake Out off on to the opponent’s Fake Out Pokemon’s partner.
Item choices: Kangaskhanite
In the next following subtopics including this one, I will list all the Pokemon in the category and then give a sentence or two on what to expect from them.
Landorus-Therian: Used mostly with a Choice Scarf, Choice Band, Assault Vest, or occassionally Lum Berry with the moves of Earthquake, Rock Slide, Superpower, U-turn, or Stone Edge. Landorus-Therian also provides useful Intimidate support while being extremely offensive with base 145 Attack.
Aegislash: Mostly seen with the items of Weakness Policy, Life Orb, or Leftovers with the moves of King’s Shield, Wide Guard, Substitute, Shadow Ball, Flash Cannon, Shadow Sneak, or Iron Head. Aegislash is both extremely offensive with its coverage and base 150 in offensive stats and extremely defensive in its typing and base 150 in defensive stats.
Rotom-Heat: Mostly seen with Life Orb and Safety Goggles with the moves of Overheat, Thunderbolt, Protect, Thunder Wave, Will-O-Wisp, and Hidden Power Ice. Rotom-Heat is mostly used to outspeed and OHKO Aegislash, Landorus-Therian which aren’t holding a Choice Scarf, Mega Charizard Y, and Talonflame while doing massive damage to bulky Pokemon such as Suicune. It’s typing also allows it to wall most of the common fire types such as Heatran, Mega Charizard Y, Talonflame, and opposing Rotom-Heat.
Heatran: Heatran can be ran multiple ways, but it’s most common items are Leftovers, Chople Berry, Shuca Berry, Life Orb, and Safety Goggles. Heatran’s item basically can determine it’s set most of the time. For example, a Leftovers Heatran will indicate that it has the move Substitute while a Life Orb Heatran will probably have either Overheat or Flash Cannon in place of Substitute. Heatran’s most common moves are the previously mentioned Substitute, Overheat, Flash Cannon, Heat Wave, Protect, Earth Power, and Fire Blast.
Gengar/Mega Gengar: Gengar is almost always seen with a Focus Sash, and is a fast, supportive, and offensive Ghost type. Some moves Gengar like to run include Will-O-Wisp, Sludge Bomb, Taunt, Icy Wind, Shadow Ball, and Protect. Gengar can also be a Mega Gengar with moves like Perish Song, Disable, and Protect. Gengar isn’t the most common of the common Pokemon, but it’s support and coverage options are something to prepare for!
Hydreigon: Hydreigon will most likely have the items of Choice Specs, Choice Scarf, and Life Orb with the moves Draco Meteor, Dark Pulse, Earth Power, Flamethrower, Protect, Flash Cannon, and Dragon Pulse. Hydreigon has a pretty big base Special Attack stat of 125, and combined with the Modest Nature and Choice Specs will be immediately lethal.
Terrakion: Terrakion commonly has the items of Focus Sash, Lum Berry, and Life Orb, though Life Orb isn’t seen often. This horse will be packed with the moves of Rock Slide, Close Combat, Protect, Quick Guard, Stone Edge, Taunt, and Roar. The first three aforementioned moves are nearly always seen on Terrakion, but the fourth move is debated on by the player by the last four aforementioned moves. Terrakion is used because it outspeeds and OHKOs Mega Kangaskhan while doing massive damage with it’s coverage to other Pokemon.
Bisharp: Bisharp is almost always seen with either Life Orb or Focus Sash, but can run Choice Band in order to OHKO some Cresselia with Knock Off. Be wary of Bisharp’s ability Defiant, as it can turn into a +1 Bisharp after an Intimidate and start doing an overwhelming amount of damage with it’s moves. Popular move selections for Bisharp are Sucker Punch, Iron Head, Knock Off, Protect, and Assurance. Bisharp is mostly known for it’s amazing coverage, basically doing neutral or super-effective damage to the current metagame and gets OHKOs on Pokemon such as Sylveon.
Talonflame: Talonflame can be run a multitude of ways, and it’s most common items are Life Orb, Choice Band, and Focus Sash. It’s move selections are commonly Brave Bird, Flare Blitz, Tailwind, Overheat, Quick Guard, and Protect. Talonflame’s ability, Gale Wings, give all of it’s Flying type attacks +1 priority. Talonflame can be run as a supportive, kamikaze Pokemon with Tailwind, Quick Guard, and Overheat while some more offensive Talonflame will be seen with Life Orb and Choice Band with Brave Bird, Flare Blitz, and Protect.
Sylveon: This Pokemon will most likely be seen with the items of Choice Specs, Pixie Plate, or Life Orb with the moves Hyper Voice, Protect, Hyper Beam, Shadow Ball, Psyshock, Calm Mind, and Helping Hand. Sylveon is known for it’s amazing ability, Pixilate, which converts all moves that are Normal type in to Fairy type attacks with a 30% increase. Sylveon do occasionally run Calm Mind and Helping Hand, but expect 100% that Sylveon will have the move Hyper Voice.
Milotic: I’m sure you weren’t expecting to see this in the offensive section, but Choice Scarf Milotic is fairly common in the Senior division. Choice Scarf Timid Milotic will always OHKO Landorus-T unless they are Choice Scarf Jolly, but there aren’t too many of those around. There is also the bulky variant of Milotic with Recover and Icy Wind. Milotic is only viable this season due to it’s pretty great ability: Competitive. Competitive boosts the Special Attack stat by 2 stages if one of it’s stats are lowered (i.e. Intimidate, Icy Wind).
Breloom: Breloom can either be Focus Sash, which it commonly is, or Choice Scarf. Focus Sash variants will run Spore, Mach Punch, Bullet Seed, and Protect while Choice Scarf sets will carry Force Palm/Superpower, Bullet Seed, Rock Tomb, and Spore. Breloom is mainly known for firing off fast Spores while still doing a good amount of damage with Technician boosted Mach Punches and Bullet Seeds.
Mamoswine: One of the less common Pokemon in the Senior format, but some may be influenced to run it because it does an amazing job against the genies: Landorus-Therian and Thundurus-Incarnate. This mammoth will normally run Icicle Crash, Ice Shard, and Earthquake while it’s 4th move will differ from Icicle Spear, Rock Slide, Superpower, and Iron Head. Mamoswine is known for carrying either Life Orb, Focus Sash, or Choice Scarf with the ability Thick Fat, which reduces damage taken from Fire and Ice type attacks.
Blaziken: Always seen with Life Orb or Focus Sash, and is an extremely offensive powerhouse with it’s ability Speed Boost, which increases the Speed stat of Blaziken by 1 stage every turn it is on the field. Notable moves that Blaziken carries include Low Kick, Overheat, Rock Slide, Protect, Brave Bird, Hidden Power Ice, Superpower, and Flare Blitz. Basically, the strategy with Blaziken is to protect first turn, which players can abuse by either not attacking it or getting him/herself into a better position in order to take out Blaziken the following turn. I expect Blaziken to see a rise as Nationals come along, and I think it’s relevant enough in Seniors as is.
Rain: Politoed (left) and Ludicolo (right) are a great pairing because of Politoed’s ability Drizzle, which automatically summons Rain for 5 turns, and Ludicolo’s ability Swift Swim, which doubles the Speed stat when Rain is on the field.
Things to know about rain:
- Water type attacks do 50% more damage.
- Fire type attacks do 50% less damage.
- Solar Beam’s power is halved.
- Rain will counteract other forms of weather (Sun, Sand, Hail) upon activation of Drizzle/Rain Dance.
- Rain grants activation of the abilities Swift Swim, Rain Dish, and Hydration.
Politoed and Ludicolo are in particular the best combo for rain in the metagame because Politoed can set up the rain and give support to Ludicolo with Helping Hand and firing off Rain boosted Scalds. On the other hand, Ludicolo can create Fake Out pressure since it’s speed stat outspeeds most, if not all, of the Fake Out users in VGC once Rain is put into play. Ludicolo also has great coverage in Scald, Giga Drain, Ice Beam, And Hydro Pump. Politoed is mostly seen with either a Choice Scarf or Sitrus Berry having move options such as Scald, Helping Hand, Protect, Hydro Pump, Ice Beam, Rain Dance (Choice Scarf), and Encore. Ludicolo normally runs the item of Life Orb, though can sometimes carry an Assault Vest for extra bulk.
Kingdra (far right) is known for spamming Rain + Life Orb boosted Muddy Waters and Hydro Pumps to do an immense amount of damage while carrying another powerful STAB in Draco Meteor. Kingdra will most commonly be seen a substitute for Ludicolo, but definitely not fulfill the same role. Other moves to look out for on Kingdra include Ice Beam, Icy Wind, Scald, Dragon Pulse, and Protect. Kingdra is also somewhat viable out of rain, as Carson St. Denis (dorian06) used a Choice Scarf Kingdra
Sand: Tyranitar (left) and Excadrill (right) are similar to the aforementioned Politoed and Ludicolo in that they use weather in order to function to their fullest potential. These two Pokemon are great because of their abilities. Tyranitar’s ability, Sand Stream, whips up a Sandstorm on the battlefield for 5 turns, and Excadrill’s ability, Sand Rush, doubles Excadrill’s Speed stat for as long as Sand is present on the field.
Notes about Sand:
- Sand boosts the Special Defense stat of all Rock type Pokemon on the field by 50%.
- Activates the abilities Sand Rush, Sand Force, and Sand Veil upon creation.
- Replaces active Weather conditions (Sun, Rain, Hail) when the move Sandstorm is used or when a Pokemon with Sand Stream is switched in.
- Solar Beam’s power decreased by 50%.
BEWARE OF FAST ROCK SLIDES.
Tyranitar will commonly be seen with either a Chople Berry or Choice Scarf while Excadrill will be seen holding the items Focus Sash, Life Orb, or Lum Berry. Tyranitar is quite versatile, and can be run a variety of ways in terms of movesets such as Rock Slide, Crunch, Ice Punch, Low Kick, Ice Beam, Superpower, Stone Edge, Protect, Dark Pulse, and Fire Blast. Excadrill, on the other hand, is pretty cookie cutter in that it will only be seen with Drill Run/Earthquake, Iron Head, Rock Slide, Protect, and Swords Dance. The thing this duo does best is fire off fast Rock Slides, granting 2 30% chances for each of their opponent’s Pokemon to flinch.
Mega Venusaur: This Mega Evolution is commonly seen as a bulky Pokemon with Leech Seed, Protect, Giga Drain, and Sludge Bomb. It is incredibly hard to OHKO, or even 2HKO, and can stall out whole teams with Leech Seed, Giga Drain, and Protect to an extent.
Rotom Wash: Rotom-Wash is commonly known for holding a Sitrus Berry or Leftovers with the moves of Will-O-Wisp, Hydro Pump, Thunderbolt, Protect, Thunder Wave, and Confuse Ray. Rotom-Wash has pretty good bulk with 105 base defenses and can be defensively damaging to teams which aren’t prepared for it.
Thundurus-Incarnate: Thundurus-Incarnate is a very good supportive Pokemon at the time I am writing this article, and it is mostly because of it’s ability, Prankster (gives all Status moves +1 priority), and it’s offensive capability. Thundurus-Incarnate run Sitrus Berry for bulky builds while they can run Life Orb in order to do a huge amount of damage while still providing support. The type of support Thundurus-Incarnate grants include Speed control and Status control, which are both utilized with the moves Thunder Wave and Taunt. Thundurus-Incarnate will always run Thunderbolt or, rarely, Discharge and it’s fourth move can be Hidden Power Ice, Protect, or Swagger.
Cresselia: This Pokemon is all about support, having amazing bulk base stats of 120 HP, 120 Defense, and 130 Special Defense. It will most likely have a move of which speed control is endorsed such as Icy Wind, Trick Room, or Thunder Wave and will always carry an Ice move such as Icy Wind or Ice Beam. Psychic can be used on it, but it’s not the most commonly picked move selection. Cresselia can also run Calm Mind sets and become offensive while having Moonlight for sustainability. Cresselia is hard to OHKO, but not terribly hard to 2hko if a super effective attack is used on it. Cresselia usually run the items of Sitrus Berry, Safety Goggles, Leftovers, Kee Berry, and Rocky Helmet.
Suicune: Suicune is like Cresselia in that it has amazing bulky stats, but it also has great support moves such as Tailwind, Snarl, and Icy Wind. Suicune run Scald as an attack as well as Ice Beam for the most part. Suicune doesn’t have the best coverage options, but it’s supportive movepool makes up for that. Suicune typically carry Sitrus Berry or Rocky Helmet, but can also run Chesto Berry with Rest.
Clefairy: Clefairy is mostly known for it’s ability, Friend Guard, which reduces it’s ally’s damage taken by 25% and having access to Follow Me. Clefairy can also be a pretty bulky Follow Me user with Eviolite as an item, as it is only a Stage 1 Pokemon that can still be evolved. Clefairy usually have Follow Me, Protect, Moonblast, Icy wind, Knock Off, and Helping Hand as move selections.
Whimsicott: Whimsicott is a Pokemon that has decent coverage in Grass/Fairy, but is mainly used as a Prankster support Pokemon — like Thundurus-Incarnate. Whimsicott always carry Focus Sash with the move options of ENCORE, Tailwind, Protect, Taunt, Fake Tears, Tickle, Charm, Beat Up, Giga Drain, Moonblast. The reason I highlighted Encore there is because practically all Whimsicott carry this frustrating move and it is easy to forgot if you didn’t have any personal experience with Whimsicott yourself. Beat Up is a move used to pair with Terrakion and, because Whimsicott’s faster, will Beat Up Terrakion itself to do minimal damage while Terrakion with the Justified ability will be at +4 Attack on the first turn.
Nationals for Seniors will be tough, as there will be a great amount of competition to get into Day 2 and beyond. I wish everybody the best of luck, as I will be competing as well! Oh I almost forgot…
My Smart Money of who will win Nationals is on Michael Spinetta-McCarthy (Sir Chicken). He’s the best East coast player in my opinion and will dominate the competition at Nationals this year.