Recently, I’ve realized that some vgc rate my teams seem to not really understand how this Metagame works. Through this guide, I hope to shine a light into the dark abyss that is VGCs. The main reason for this article is to provide information on what exactly VGCs is, and some major differences it has from single battles, which this community is more used to.
To start off, VGCs stands for Video Game Championships. It is a series of tournaments held worldwide that can allow you to qualify for the world championships held in various other places (generally north America). However, it is also referred to like a metagame. This article will focus on the metagame rather than the tournaments.
Note: This article also applies for Doubles Flat Battles done through the Global Battle Union
Ruleset for VGCs
As you can see, there are major differences from standard OU. First of all, it is in doubles format, which means some moves, abilities, and Pokemon are a lot more viable in this format, while others aren’t. Since it is also at level 50, EV distribution will be slightly different as well.
A major factor that really does differentiate this from singles is the Pokemon you can and cannot use. As you can see, all the “uber” power houses are ban as well as event only Pokemon. This means that you are allowed to use Pokemon like Thundurus, Tornadus-T, and Excadrill, but you cannot use Pokemon like Jirachi and Keldeo.
Some unusable moves
Keep in mind that VGC is usually 4 v 4 doubles. This means that there are less Pokemon in a team, and more Pokemon taking hits on the field, which makes it a fast paced metagame. Due to this, many moves become a lot less usable. Here’s a list of some of them:
- Entry Hazards (ex. Spikes)
- Set up moves (ex. Nasty Plot)
- Rapid Spin
Don’t be limited on the fact that these moves have lost some of their usability in this tier. There are definitely some great exceptions to some of the moves. For example, Quiver Dance Volcarona can actually be really good in this tier.
Some more useful moves
Similarly to some moves being a little less usable, there are some others that become extremely helpful, and can be used much more effectively than in singles:
- Tailwind / Trick Room – Due to the nature of doubles, and the fact that they can last as little as 2 turns, Tailwind and Trick Room are definitely among the first strategies that you will come across. Since the battle is fast paced, you can completely destroy your opponent in 4 to 5 turns under Tailwind and Trick Room. In addition to this, it is extremely difficult to make some reliable switches since there are 2 Pokemon on your opponent’s side of the field, which makes stalling out Trick Room and Tailwind difficult.
- - Icy Wind – Since you only have 2 back up Pokemon, switching is a bit harder to do successfully. So, by slowing down your opponent’s Pokemon, you can depend on your mediocre-speed, who tend to hit harder, to beat down your opponent.
- Protect/Detect – In double battles, you can easily have 1 pokemon become the prime target that will definitely be hit by both your opponents. This is where protect comes in handy since it can burn one of your opponent’s turns as well as save one of your own pokemon while the partner destroys a threat on your opponent’s field. In addition, this will help you to stall out a turn or 2 of Tailwind and help you burn your opponent’s fake out.
- Wide Guard / Quick Guard – Although used a little less, these moves are really only effective in doubles. Wide Guard works as a protect for spread attacks, which are very common due to the presence of multiple Pokemon on the field, helping your Garchomp avoid a Blizzard or your Volcarona from being Rock Slided. Quick Guard is used a little less, but it will help burn a turn of fake out, as well as save your weak Pokemon from a Scizor’s Bullet Punch.
- Helping Hand / Follow Me / Rage Powder – Once again, these moves are really only viable in a doubles environment as they can support partner Pokemon. Rage Powder / Follow Me will help you set up Tailwind/Trick Room or a Swords Dance a little more easily while Helping Hand can help you to get an important KO or knock Pokemon down to KO range.
- Fake Out - this move is a great utility you will see on most VGCs teams. Fake Out will help you when you are in a situation in which you can OHKO an opponent's Pokemon, but they threaten to OHKO you first, or if your team is revolved around a specific move that you must set up, such as Trick Room. Fake out can give you a free turn to do as you please, and get you into a 1-up position.
Changes in EV spreads
This is actually a little bit more difficult to explain. As you know, the stats at level 100 aren’t exactly cut in half to give you the stats at level 50. The IVs, EVs, and Base stat go into the following formula:
In level 100s, recall that 4 EVs = 1 stat point. However, in VGCs, it’s a little more complicated. When EV training, you want to make sure that the numerator in the given equation will yield an even number. In other words: [IV + (2 x Base) + (EV/4)]*.5 should be a whole number since the stats are rounded down before the nature gets accounted for.
This seem a little complicated? What I personally prefer doing is thinking about the stat I want ahead of time, and answer this question: if I give 4 less EVs to the Pokemon, will it still have the same stat? I then insert it into a stat calculator to check. Guess and check works pretty well in this case.
Some quick thought to keep in mind:
- If you have an Even IV, 248 EVs is where you’ll get the max stat, and 8 EVs for 1 stat gain from 0 EVs
- If you have an Odd IV, 252 EVs is where you’ll get the max stat, and 4 EVs for 1 stat gain from 0 EVs.