Published on December 11th, 2015 | by MajorBowman49
New Mechanics Introduced in VGC 2016
Hey there! As you probably know by now, the VGC 2016 format includes previously banned legendary Pokemon like Groudon, Kyogre, and Rayquaza. Since their respective Primal Reversions and Mega Evolutions are allowed as well, a number of new mechanics are introduced that will have a huge impact on the way teams are built and games are played. For lack of a better term, the three new abilities that Primal Groudon, Primal Kyogre, and Mega Rayquaza bring to the table will be referred to as “Primal Weathers.” This article aims to explain these new weathers and mechanics so players won’t be left in the dark when January 1 rolls around.
Desolate Land is the signature ability of Primal Groudon. When a Groudon holding the item Red Orb enters the battlefield for the first time, it will undergo Primal Reversion and Desolate Land will activate. Desolate Land, just like Drought, sets up a sunny weather condition that boosts Fire-type attacks by a factor of 1.5 and activates abilities like Chlorophyll or Flower Gift. Unlike regular sun, Desolate Land will cause all Water-type attacks to fail, which is a huge bonus for Primal Groudon as its new secondary Fire typing means it would normally take 4x damage. Instead of always lasting for 5 turns like regular sun, Desolate Land will always stay active while Primal Groudon is on the field, even if that time span is longer than 5 turns. As soon as Primal Groudon is switched out or faints, Desolate Land ends and Water-type moves can once again be used successfully.
Primordial Sea is Primal Kyogre’s ability, and is basically the exact opposite of Desolate Land. Water-type attacks are boosted by a factor of 1.5 and Swift Swim users will see their Speed doubled. Fire-type attacks will fail under this weather condition, which benefits potential partners to Kyogre like Ferrothorn or Scizor more than it benefits Kyogre itself. Like Desolate Land, Primordial Sea lasts as long as Kyogre is on the field and ends when Kyogre leaves the field.
When Rayquaza mega evolves, it loses Air Lock in favor of Delta Stream, the third and final “Primal Weather.” Delta Stream doesn’t boost a certain type of attack, but instead weakens all moves that would be super effective due to a Flying typing. For example, Mega Rayquaza will take neutral damage from a Rock Slide and will resist a Thunderbolt while still resisting a Drain Punch. This effect applies to all Pokemon on the field, not just Mega Rayquaza. One interesting mechanic to keep in mind is how Weakness Policy works while Delta Stream is active. If Mega Rayquaza is holding a Weakness Policy and is hit with an attack that would be super effective due only to its Flying typing, such as Rock Slide, the Weakness Policy will not activate. The game does not even register Rock Slide as a super effective attack, and the “It’s Super Effective” message is not shown. If Ho-oh is on the field while Delta Stream is active, Rock Slide would still activate its Weakness Policy because Ho-oh’s secondary Fire typing would cause Rock Slide to still be super effective. Just like Desolate Land and Primordial Sea, Delta Stream only lasts as long as Mega Rayquaza is on the field.
Fairy Aura / Dark Aura / Aura Break
Newly legal Xerneas, Yveltal, and Zygarde all have abilities that have never been seen before in VGC. Thankfully, the mechanics of these abilities are all quite simple. Fairy Aura and Dark Aura boost the power of Fairy- and Dark-type moves, respectively, by a factor of about 1.33 (1 and 1/3). These boosts don’t negate each other, and multiple Pokemon with the same Aura ability on the field at once will not stack the effects of the boosts. This boost applies to all Pokemon on the field, not just the Pokemon with the ability. Aura Break reverses the effects of Fairy Aura and Dark Aura, causing them to decrease the power of Fairy- and Dark-type moves, respectively, by a factor of 1.33.
How do Primal Weathers interact with other weathers?
One question you may have probably deals with the way these new Primal abilities interact when more than one is in play. One thing to keep in mind is that Primal Weathers trump all other kinds of weather. If Primal Groudon is on the field and Desolate Land is active, switching in a Pokemon with a regular weather ability like Drizzle will have no effect at all. Desolate Land will remain active and Drizzle will fail. Additionally, the moves Sunny Day, Rain Dance, Sandstorm, and Hail will all fail if used while a Primal Weather is active. If a regular weather like Hail is active and Primal Groudon switches in, Desolate Land will take over.
How do Primal Weathers interact with each other?
Primal Weathers interact with each other in the same way that regular weathers interact with each other. If a Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre are sent out at the same time, the faster Pokemon will activate its ability first, followed by the slower. If Kyogre was faster than Groudon, Desolate Land would activate second and remain active. If Desolate Land is active and a Primal Kyogre switches in, Primordial Sea will immediately take over and Fire attacks used that turn will fail. In that same situation, when Primal Kyogre faints or is switched out but Primal Groudon remains on the field, Primordial Sea will not reactivate. Just like other weather abilities, they must be triggered by a switch, Skill Swap, or the like for the effects to take place.
When do the Primal Weathers activate?
As soon as a Kyogre holding a Blue Orb or a Groudon holding a Red Orb enters the field, they will begin the primal reversion process. This occurs before their base form abilites (Drizzle and Drought, respectively) activate. If you switch out a Primal Kyogre or Groudon, they will remain in the Primal form and the primal reversion animation won’t happen again, just like mega evolutions. The case is a bit different for Mega Rayquaza and Delta Stream, since Rayquaza enters the field in its regular form and won’t mega evolve until the beginning of the next turn. This means that Air Lock is active for a bit, and if the player decides to hold off on mega evolving Rayquaza, Air Lock will remain active. As soon as Rayquaza mega evolves, Delta Stream will activate.
How do Primal Weathers interact with Cloud Nine and Air Lock?
Speaking of Air Lock, it still works! If a Primal Weather is active and a Pokemon with the ability Cloud Nine or Air Lock is on the field, all of the effects of the Primal Weather will be negated. This means that Water-type moves can be used under Desolate Land, Fire-type moves can be used under Primordial Sea, and Flying-types will take damage based on the standard type chart. One thing to note is that Cloud Nine and Air Lock do not cancel the weathers, they only negate the effects. The Primal Weathers will still remain active as long as their respective setters are on the field, and the effects will all return if the Pokemon with Cloud Nine or Air Lock leaves the field. Primal Weathers can still be changed by switching in another while Cloud Nine is active, and regular weathers will still fail to activate.
How do Primal Weathers interact with ability-altering moves like Skill Swap or Worry Seed?
For a Primal Weather to be active, there must be a Pokemon with the corresponding ability on the field. If an ability changing or suppressing move like Worry Seed or Gastro Acid is used on a Pokemon with a Primal Weather ability, that weather will be canceled immediately and no weather will be active. Skill Swap is a bit different because abilities are not suppressed, only moved around. If a Cresselia Skill Swaps a Mega Groudon, Desolate Land will remain active. The only change is that Desolate Land will end when Cresselia leaves the field, not Groudon. In fact, Skill Swap can be used to reset Primal Weathers if they have been trumped, just like with normal weathers. If you have a Primal Groudon and a Cresselia on the field against your opponent’s Primal Kyogre and Primordial Sea is active, using Skill Swap on your Groudon will reactivate Desolate Land and hopefully put you in a much better position.
Role Play is another attack that can activate Primal Weathers. If a Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre are on the field and Primordial Sea is active, a Pokemon using Role Play on the Primal Groudon will reactivate Desolate Land. If the Pokemon that used Role Play switches out but Primal Groudon remains on the field, Desolate Land will remain active. While this sounds confusing, think of it this way: if there are two Primal Groudon on the field and one switches out, it would make sense for Desolate Land to stay active regardless of which Groudon switched in first since there is still a Pokemon with the ability left on the field.
I hope this cleared up some of the new abilities and mechanics introduced to VGC this season. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any other questions! In case you are wondering about the credibility, I tested these things in game to make sure I was correct. Have fun building and testing teams, I hope you’re ready for January 1!
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