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Thread: The Serebii Journal Issue 2

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    Default The Serebii Journal Issue 2




    Welcome to The Serebii Journal, Serebii's own web-zine. This will be a monthly thing and be brought back if enough people enjoy it so be sure to stop by the input thread and give us your input of the articles and idea as well as suggest new ideas.

    Editor's Note

    We're introducing some new changes from last month. First we are introducing more articles. We are now up to eight articles, as well as introducing new community and misc articles that are less competitive. Second is a general theme to which most of the articles will be related to in a general way. This month's theme is Generation Changes.

    Index

    Metagame Articles
    DPP Leads

    Trends in the Metagame

    Battle Strategies
    Featured Mega - Charizard

    Featured OU Threat - Scizor

    Choiced Items

    Community
    Interview with Ragnarok

    Misc
    What If? Moves That Would Better Pokemon

    Standing the Test of Time Part 1

    Current and Upcoming Events in the SPPF Competitive Community
    3/1/14 - Pokemon will be changed for Seldom Strikers

    3/5/14 - Team submissions end for the Teambuilding Competition

    3/8/14 - Serebii Tours will open for sign ups

    Credits

    Credit goes to Ragnarok for editing the articles he could. Credit to McDanger, BestGamePearl, Eaglehawk, and Gray for writing the articles.. Credit will be given in the articles. Credit to Emeraldgoblin for the banner.




    Last edited by McDanger; 1st March 2014 at 8:46 AM.



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    Leads in DPP
    Credit to Gray

    Introduction
    One of the characteristics of DPP that sets it apart from all the other generations is the use of leads,Pokemons specifically chosen to start any and all battles for a certain team.As RBY is a metagame very much influenced by hax and not much else and GSC and ADV having a much slower pace back then there weren't many motives to waste one pokemon just to have a better match-up in the beginning of the battle(especially considering the opponent would probably just switch in these situations )
    However in DPP the metagame is much faster thanks to the mechanic changes,certain moves being updated(Outrage for example which in the previous generations was a 90 base power special move)introduction of new pokemons, moves, and items there was a need to start the battles the best way possible whether that meant simply setting up hazards as quickly as possible, summon favorable weather that your team could exploit(example Rain Dance teams) or just hit as hard as possible from the beginning of the match.
    Types of leads
    Before I go on and start explaining that certain leads used to run, it's important to point out that the best strategy when picking your lead is to choose it once you've decided the rest of your team.Of course that doesn't necessarily mean you must never under no circumstances start building your team with your lead but it is best to leave it for last so it can adapt better to the rest of your team.

    Now as I briefly mentioned in the introduction there are several roles a lead can do I'll explain the most common lead roles and also mention the best pokemons at that.



    Common Lead
    Usually bulky pokemons who can not only set up Stealth Rocks but also phaze.These leads more than usually can switch out once they've done their job and act as walls or tanks later in the game making them not safer but also easier to use.Although it's important to mention they all not phazers or walls.Unlike pokemons like Swampert who can't do much once they've been taunted some of these leads can hit reasonably hard making it difficult for frail taunters such as Azelf to know whether to go play safe and go for Rocks or Taunt.
    Usually seen on Balanced and Stall teams

    Tyranitar @ Chesto Berry / Lum Berry
    Ability: Sand Stream
    EVs: 252 HP / 32 Atk / 224 SpD
    Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Payback
    - Stone Edge
    - Stealth Rock
    - Earthquake / Rest
    Tyranitar is one of those pokemons whose name alone speaks for itself it's has great Stats, a very wide movepool, it's Rock/Dark provide not only a handful of convenient resistances and immunities but it also works rather well offensively and as an added bonus it's ability can make it an extremely useful lead since sandstorm not only boosts it's special defense by half but also can break the Sashes of certain Suicide Leads.
    Payback's power is doubled if Tyranitar is the last pokemon to move, given the popularity of extremely fast leads and that Tyranitar's base speed is only 61 there isnt much of a problem you can still run Brave nature if you want to play safe but the only common thing you'll no longer outspeed is Swampert which can hurt Tyranitar with STAB Earthquake.Stone Edge on the other hand is more consistent as it can only do more damage than usual due the high critical hit chance, however it's low accuracy makes it a risk.Stealth Rock is a staple on this kind of lead, you should keep in mind that because of Tyranitar's low speed you are usually better of attacking certain leads right from the start otherwise they can use Taunt and you'll have wasted an entire turn.For the last move Earthquake lets you hit Steel types such as Metagross, Heatran and Jirachi while Rest provides recovery allowing Tyranitar to be used later in the battle.

    Swampert @ Leftovers
    Ability: Torrent
    EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Def
    Relaxed Nature (+Def, -Spe)
    - Earthquake
    - Ice Beam
    - Stealth Rock
    - Surf / Protect / Roar

    With defensive stats of 100/90/90 and only one weakness Swampert is arguably one of the best pokemons to set up Stealth Rocks.Earthquake with it's 100 base power and accuracy is a very reliable STAB and when combined with Ice Beam has an almost perfect neutral coverage allowing Swampert to threat certain pokemons such as Heatran,Dragonite,Zapdos etc. The last move can change depending on what you need/want.Surf can be used if you feel more comfortable having a secondary STAB although Protect and Roar are usually the best options for the last moveslot as they help Swampert act more like a wall.Protect helps with predictions as it can help you scout for not only Grass Hidden Powers coming from certain Electric pokemons like Zapdos and Jolteon but also against incoming Explosions from other leads (such as Azelf)As an added bonus Portect gives Swampert free Leftovers turns which it will gladly take due to it not having any other form of recovering its health besides Rest.Last but not least Roar is also an excellent choice for the last move to force your opponents pokemons to switch out giving you a glimpse of what their team is(this can be particularly helpful in DPP since there was no team preview before BW)


    Metagross @ Occa Berry / Lum Berry
    Ability: Clear Body
    EVs: 252 HP / 240 Atk / 16 Spe
    Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Stealth Rock
    - Bullet Punch
    - Earthquake / Explosion
    - Meteor Mash / Explosion

    Thanks to it's great typing, amazing stats and useful movepool Metagross is considered by many DPP players to be the best lead in the tier and sure lives up to that.With Occa Berry Metagross can beat any grounded fire pokemon bar Shuca Berry variants(*cough*Heatran*cough*) thanks to it's great attack stat and Earthquake which can also deal some nice damage to Steel types like opposing Metagross or Jirachi.Bullet Punch can not only finish off Suicide Leads after bringing their health down to 1 HP but since it gets a same type attack boost it can be used as a sort of reliable stab(granted it still is pretty weak).As for the last move Meteor Mash can hit anything that doesn't resist it ridiculously hard and even some pokemons who resist it better watch out specially since Meteor Mash has a 20% chance of raising Metagross' attack stat.Explosion can be used over Earthquake or Meteor Mash if you really don't like people or if you just like to go out with a bang.Occa Berry as mentioned before lets Metagross survive Fire Blast from Fire pokemons giving Metagross a chance to OHKO them with Earthquake while Lum Berry can be used to deal with the likes of Roserade and Smeargle which will attempt to put you asleep only to then watch and regret as you immediately wake up and 2HKO them.
    Suicide Leads
    Due to its name you probably think these leads are just some mad bombers who will do nothing but try to destroy everything in their surroundings at the cost of their own lives.But actually that's not exactly true.Granted some of them do carry Explosion but it is usually their last resort and as such only used when there is nothing else that they can do.As such suicide leads are very fast pokemons with no investment in defense that go to the field to do a certain job and once they're out there they won't fool around.

    Aerodactyl @ Focus Sash
    Ability: Pressure
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
    Jolly Nature (+Spe, -SpA)
    - Stealth Rock
    - Rock Slide / Stone Edge
    - Taunt
    - Earthquake
    With an amazing speed stat of 130 it is the number one Stealth Rocks .Depending the pokemon Aerodactyl is facing it should use a different first move.Against slower and defensive pokemons Aerodactyl is usually better of starting with Taunt as the chances of surviving a second turn are quite high thanks to Focus Sash while against more offensive leads which often carry priority moves to break through Sashes it's safer to use Stealth Rocks immediately.The moves selected give Aero a wide neutral coverage hitting at least neutrally anything that isnt called Bronzong.Rock Slide is the main STAB but can be replaced by Stone Edge if you don't mind the lower accuracy and want to hit harder while Earthquake hits Steel types super effectively and as mentioned before also provides an almost perfect neutral coverage.

    Infernape @ Focus Sash
    Ability: Blaze
    EVs: 64 Atk / 252 SpA / 192 Spe
    Naive Nature (+Spe, -SpD)
    - Fake Out
    - Close Combat
    - Fire Blast
    - Stealth Rock
    Infernape may look as an inferior option as a suicide lead when compared to Azelf and Aerodactyl due to it's lower speed but this infernal ape has a few tricks up it's sleeve that set it apart from the other leads.Fake Out not only breaks sashes but also will make the opposing pokemon flinch.Fire Blast and Close Combat are two very potent stab moves and when paired with Infernape's offensive stats can deal massive damage if you're not too careful against it.Unlike other suicide leads Infernape is usually much more offensive, meaning it will usually only go for Stealth Rocks as a last resort.

    Roserade @ Focus Sash
    Ability: Natural Cure
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
    Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
    - Toxic Spikes
    - Sleep Powder
    - Leaf Storm / Grass Knot
    - Hidden Power Fire / Ground
    While most Suicide Leads rely on Taunt in order to keep other pokemons to set up hazards, Roserade relies on something slightly more annoying and that is Sleep Powder.While having a much riskier accuracy in comparison to Taunt, Sleep Powder completely renders a pokemon useless for as long as it stays asleep giving Roserade a chance to set up Toxic Spikes maybe even getting two layers before the opponent pokemon even wakes up.Then Roserade can proceed to deal damage with it's STAB move Leaf Storm if you're not certain it'll live to attack more than just once or Grass Knot for a more reliable yet risky move since it's power will depend on the opponents weight.The Hidden Power type depends on what bothers you the most.If you want to beat Skarmory,Scizor and Forretress Fire is surely the way to go but if you find Fire types more annoying HP Ground can pack quite a punch.

    Azelf @ Focus Sash
    Ability: Levitate
    EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
    Naive nature (+Spe, -SpD)
    - Fire Blast/Psychic
    - Stealth Rock
    - Taunt
    - Explosion
    The most popular lead in OU and for good reasons too as Azelf can run pretty much any kind of set as a lead.It can act as a suicide lead of offensive teams,set up dual screens, set up weather...it can even run a Trick+Scarf set to prevent certain leads from using their abilities to their full extent.
    This one is Azelf's most used set.Reaching a max speed of 361 can almost surely not only set up Rocks but also prevent the opponent from doing so.Fire Blast is the primary choice for the 3rd move since it can hit most Steel types who resist Explosion but Psychic can be used instead for a more reliable attacking move.Mind you if you do go for Psychic then certain Steel types will be a major headache for you.
    Anti-Leads

    Machamp @ Lum Berry
    Ability: No Guard
    EVs: 240 HP / 248 Atk / 16 SpD / 4 Spe
    Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Dynamic Punch
    - Ice Punch
    - Payback
    - Bullet Punch
    Being one of the most popular and threatening physical attacker in DPP Machamp also finds a niche as an Anti-Lead being able to deal damage to many other pokemons whether by means of a super effective move or simply by unleashing it's main STAB Dynamic Punch which thanks to No Guard is a 100% accurate move that not only inflicts massive damage to anything that doesn't resist it but also will confuse the opponent and if luck is on your side you may find this side effect quite helpful specially against slower leads who might lose the chance to set up Stealth Rocks.Ice Punch and Paybeck allow Machamp to hit at least neutrally anything that resists Dynamic Punch.Ice Punch can OHKO Dragonite and even if Roserade carries a Focus Sash Bullet Punch is there as a way to finish it off while Payback hits most notably Ghosts and Psychic types such as Frosslass and Azelf.

    Gengar @ Focus Sash
    Ability: Levitate
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
    IVs: 0 Def
    Mild Nature (+SpA, -Def)
    - Shadow Ball
    - Icy Wind
    - Counter
    - Focus Blast/Taunt
    Granted no the most popular of leads but when played correctly Gengar can defeat any other lead in the game.Icy Wind not only ohkoes Dragonite and hits several other leads super effectively but it also lowers their speed meaning pokemons like Azelf and Aerodactyl who would normally outspeed Gengar will find themselves being 2hko'ed after Icy Wind not only slows them down but also breaks their Sashes.Shadow Ball is Gengar's STAB and with a Mild nature boosting it's Special Attack will do decent damage to most pokemons.Counter works like a charm on Gengar specially when paired with Taunt meaning pokemons like Metagross or Machamp who would otherwise just 2hko Gengar thanks to their high attack stats and access to priority moves end up being ohko'ed instead.Despite Taunt being able to stop slower leads from stetting up hazards and making it easier for Gengar to use Counter successfully Focus Blast is the primary choice for the last moveslot since when paired with Shadow Ball it has perfect neutral coverage and also allows Gengar to Heatran and such.


    Other Leads
    These can work as a bit of a mix between certain lead roles, although they mostly relate to suicide and anti-leads.

    Smeargle @ Focus Sash
    Ability: Own Tempo
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Def / 252 Spe
    Jolly nature (+Spe, -Atkf)
    - Spore
    - Spikes
    - U-Turn
    - Counter/Stealth Rock
    Smeargle has one thing that sets it apart from every other pokemon in the game and that is the fact that Smeargle does not have a movepool.It has a moveocean meaning it can use any kind of support in almost any kind of team.It has one slight drawback though.It not only has a lower BST than any OU out there but also UU.So even though on paper it CAN run any kind of set it that doesn't mean it can always do a good job.
    Now this is just one of the sets Smeargle can actually run and it is very simple.Step One put opponent's pokemon asleep.Step Two set as many layers of Spikes as your team needs(or as many as you dare to use).U-turn to break Sash.
    And that is the main strategy when using this Smeargle set.Counter is rather tricky to use specially if your opponent's pokemon is asleep and there's no real way to know when its going to wake up.If you decide to run Stealth Rock you may want to use it after you get one layer of Spikes.

    Ninjask @ Leftovers / Focus Sash
    Ability: Speed Boost
    EVs: 248 HP / 244 Def / 16 Spe
    Jolly Nature (+Spe, -SpA)
    - Baton Pass
    - Swords Dance / Protect
    - Substitute / Protect
    - X-Scissor
    The most used lead for Baton Pass teams.Ninjask may not have the best stats, movepool or typing but it does have one feature that makes it truly unique and its because of that feature that it is the number one lead for Baton Pass teams.It's ability: Speed Boost.Thanks to its ability Ninjask can boost its already high speed to absurd levels.After one Speed Boost it can outspeed every pokemon in ou with or without a choice scarf so after a first turn Protect you can play around for a bit using Substitute and Protect to max your speed before passing your stats to another pokemon.If you run Focus Sash the best strategy is to just let Ninjask take the first hit while it uses Swords Dance and then Protect to get an extra speed boost before switching out(still when facing certain leads it's best to use Protect just to scout if the opponent will try to Taunt you).
    Not much to be said about Ninjask since the way it is played doesn't vary much although you better watch out for pokemons whose priority moves can hit Ninjask at least neutrally like Dragonite's Extremespeed and worse Mamoswine's Ice Shard since due to Ninjask frail defenses it wont be able to take more than one hit.

    Mamoswine @ Focus Sash
    Ability: Snow Cloak
    EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
    Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)/Jolly Nature (+Spe, -SpA)
    - Earthquake
    - Stealth Rock
    - Ice Shard
    - Endeavor / Stone Edge
    Mamoswine can work as a really effective lead thanks to it's great attack, decent speed and bulk and also access to Stealth Rock and thanks to it's Ground/Ice typing Mamoswine can face any form of weather without having it's sash broken.Earthquake coming from Mamoswine will do decent damage to anything that doesn't resist it even without an item to boost it's power while Ice Shard might not have a high base power it is usually only used against pokemons who resist/are immune to earthquake meaning mostly Grass and Flying types.Endeavor is a nasty move when coupled with a Sash and a priority attack and Mamoswine can abuse it just fine since despite its decent bulk its Ice typing makes Mamoswine weak to pretty much anything that moves in OU making easy for Mamoswine's HP to drop to 1.Stone Edge can be used instead of Endeavor to deal with bulkier Flying types more effectively.

    Heatran @ Shuca Berry / Lum Berry / Life Orb
    Ability: Flash Fire
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
    Naive Nature (+Spe, -SpD)
    - Earth Power
    - Fire Blast
    - Explosion / Taunt / Hidden Power Grass
    - Stealth Rock
    The most used pokemon in this generation surely I'd have a bounty on my head if I had forgotten to mention Heatran which can act also act as a pretty powerful lead.I'll start of with the item choices: Shuca Berry prevents Heatran to be OHKO'ed by the most common leads with access to Earthquake giving Heatran the chance to either attack or go with Stealth Rock in case it can't ko the other pokemon.Lum Berry lets Heatran wake up immediately when faced against a sleep inducing lead(such as Roserade and Smeargle) while Life Orb is the most offensive option which allows Heatran to just cause massive damage.Fire Blast may be somewhat of a risk due to it's low accuracy but makes up for it with its high base power.Earth Power provides great coverage and while may not still do much to Tyranitar thanks to it's Sand SpDef boost it still can leave a dent on most Rock types.Hidden Power Grass can be used in order to deal damage on Water types like Swampert and Gastrodon but other than pokemons with 4x weakness to it it wont do much damage.Taunt will stop slower leads from setting up their own hazards while Explosion serves as way for Heatran to deal some serious damage on Blissey for the cost of it's own life.



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    Trends in the Metagame
    Credit to McDanger

    Competitive Pokemon is defined by creating teams to pit against another players. However some teams or cores are exceptionally good, which leads to multiple people using them. This leads to trends in the metagame, where specific sets, pokemon, and cores are common and are considered the current metagame. Trends are a very common occurrence in the competitive scene, even in the short time we have had XY OU, there have already been several trends due to their effectiveness against the current threats. Understanding and learning trends is a key part of team building and understanding team preview as it will allow you to generally deduct a set for the pokemon you see.

    What makes something trend?

    In order for something to trend it has to be effective. The pokemon or core that you may be trying to get to trend has to work exceptionally well in the current metagame while not being so abstract its not effective against less common threats. An example of this is the current stall core, Rotom Wash, Heatran, and Mega Venusaur. The core is able to switch into top tier threats like Thundurus I, Manaphy, and Conkeldurr with Mega Venusaur while Landorus I, Landorus T, Tyranitar, and Mega Pinsir are handled with Rotom Wash. Finally, Genesect, Talonflame, and Aegislash can be stopped with Heatran. This core can also deal with less common threats like Dragonite, Kingdra, and Mega Garchomp with its general bulk and strong generally coverage. This makes the core extremely effective, and as such, very popular with player that use stall, while offensive players have to be prepared to deal with this core so they aren’t stalled out.

    Countering trends - Being Anti - Meta

    Once you know what is trending, its generally easy to counter it. Sometimes this is done with one pokemon, sometimes a core. This is called being anti-meta, meaning you go against the flow of the game and the general population. This is generally very effective as its gives you an immediate team advantage and forces the opponent to play harder to successfully execute their strategy. A prime example of this was in BW2 with the Landorus I, Tyranitar, and Keldeo core which is completely shut down by Gyarados, leading to it being popular for a while. This also lead to the core adapting, giving Keldeo Hidden Power Electric to deal with the increased number of Gyaradoses. There is also a fine line between being anti-meta and being gimmicky. Hidden Power Bug Keldeo is anti-meta in BW2, but Choice Specs Tyranitar is a gimmicky set.

    Examples of Trends

    As stated above, stuff will trend for various reasons. In BW 2 the Landorus I, Tyranitar, Keldeo core trended due to its sheer offensive pressure as well as how easily Tyranitar dispatched of the common answers to Keldeo and Landorus such as Latias and Celebi. This stayed popular because its an incredible flexible core that maintains a lot of offensive power while covering most threats, while at the same time being not to dependent on weather like powerful sun and rain cores. This core never fell out of favor till the ban of Landorus I from OU.

    In XY OU, Mandibuzz was a popular trend in the very early days with its ability to stop all commonly used Aegislash sets which was extremely common. This in combination with Defog and Knock Off, made Mandibuzz extremely popular for a long time, falling out of favor with the ban of Mega Gengar as well as the shift to more mixed sets for Aegislash which Mega Venusaur and Heatran can check while covering a wider array of threats than Mandibuzz.

    Ladder vs Tournament

    This is very important, you are going to see trending things more on the ladder rather than in a tour due a key factor. Most things that trend are meant for long term success, geared to handle a wide array of pokemon like you see on the ladder, while tournament teams are built for short term success to handle only a handful of common threats. Tournament matches will provide a wider group of teams and diversity generally than the ladder, as well as more of a challenge. Because of this, its important to learn trends on the ladder rather than fight in tournaments in hopes of learning them.

    To conclude, understanding what is trending in the metagame is a big part of success as it lets you know what is more common and what is effective rather than just looking over a threat list. This will assist your team building as it will familiarize you with what is common and what isn’t as well as show you what to expect when laddering or in lower levels of tournaments where people use the same teams.





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    Mega Spotlight - Charizard
    Credit to McDanger

    History

    Charizard is the original fire starter and as such is a popular with a lot of fans. Charizard however failed in comparison to other fires that were introduced in RBY such as Ninetales who had 100 special and Arcanine who has better bulk and attack. However, Charizard does have access to Swords Dance and 100 speed, allowing it to pressure threats physically, being one of the few pokemon to have access to Earthquake that wasn’t a ground type. However, Charizard still struggles against the bulky waters in OU as well as faster bulky threats like Alakazam and Starmie, forcing it into UU. Even there however, it has to fight with Moltres for a spot on teams, doing what Charizard does better and having access to Agility. This makes Charizard an oddity in RBY, being sub par to other fire types and struggling with its weak stats.

    Charizard made a surge in GSC gaining Belly Drum from breeding, allowing it to break the common Skarmo-Blissey core and apply a lot of general pressure. However, Charizard ends up borderline, struggling with new and old threats. New bulky water types such as Suicune were introduced that shut down the fiery dragon while faster threats like Raikou and Starmie can easily revenge Charizard. Aerodactyl rises as a threat gaining Rock Slide and Ancient Power allowing it to nail the dragon for massive damage, while Slowbro can wall Charizard even at +6 with its massive physical bulk. This still puts Charizard out of the spotlight of OU, but being more common than RBY, giving the dragon some hope looking toward Adv OU.

    In the world of Adv OU, Charizard finds itself borderline again, being a high risk, high reward pokemon and demanding a lot of team support to effectively work. Once again, Belly Drum leads the charge in Adv, now making use of Double Edge do drop Charizard into the range of a Salac Berry to fix its speed problem. Charizard also gains a new fire move in the generation switch, Overheat. This is perfect on physical sets as it inflicts more damage than Fire Blast and doesn’t slow Charizard down. Charizard also gains a new toy with breeding again, Dragon Dance, allowing it to boost its speed and attack making it easier to outpace threats but lacks the raw power that the belly drum set provides. Finally, with the creation of Focus Punch, Charizard can abuse a Substitute and use Focus Punch on threats like Blissey and Tyranitar that would wall its special set, but struggles with Blaziken who gets a stab boost on Focus Punch. However, new bulky waters once again stop the dragon. Milotic easily walls it with its massive bulk, not caring about Hidden Power Grass like Swampert, and KOing it back with Surf. Suicune is still huge making it even harder for Charizard, especially with Calm Mind negating its only means of hitting the dog for super effective damage.

    DPP crushed the dragon, banishing it to the depths of NU with the birth of new, more powerful fires like Infernape and Heatran in OU, forcing old rivals like Arcanine, Entei, and Blaziken into lower tiers. Furthermore, the move split makes more of these pokemon viable, Arcanine and Blaziken can now abuse their high attack stats, giving Charizard less of an edge. Charizard only gained Roost and Air Slash in the generation switch, Roost giving it a way to heal itself, as well as the much needed Life Orb to increase its damage output. However, none of these were enough to help the dragon. Charizard finally started abusing its 109 special attack, making use of Sunny Day to allow its Fire Blasts to hit for a lot of damage, while Air Slash gave it a special flying stab. Solarbeam can be used as well to punish waters that come into Charizard, but its nemesis Milotic dropped down with it, while some rocks dropped like Rhydon and Regirock. The creation of Stealth Rocks further limits the effectiveness of Charizard, losing half its health switching into them, effectively crippling it.

    Black and White were no kinder to Charizard than DPP, at least giving it a new ability Solar Power. This allowed it to hit like a truck under sun, giving it a 50% attack increase at the cost of 12.5% of its hps per turn. However, no sun existed in NU aside from manual sun. However, Charizard made a name for itself in NU, being the best option for a fire type. This opened new doors for Charizard as it embraced choiced items like the Choice Scarf to sweep and the Choice Specs to wall break. Charizard also makes use of a Substitute Roost set like Articuno, often not needing more coverage than Fire Blast and Air Slash. Finally, Charizard can make use of its old physical sets using the gens and Acrobatics to deal massive damage once and then having a 110 base power stab without a recoil. However, Stealth Rocks still clip Charizard’s wings, but without the presence of a lot of bulky waters, Charizard can finally thrive for the first time. Sure it has trouble with eviolite dragons like Dragonair and Zweilous, but Charizard can break through them with a physical set or have a teammate weaken them.

    X and Y gave Charizard an amazing gift, not one but two mega forms. This allows it to finally stand tall in the light of OU and become known as one of the most unpredictable pokemon in the tier. While Charizard itself is still bad in OU, its mega forms redeem its most common movesets. As Mega Charizard X, Charizard can now abuse Dragon Dance as well as its new ability Tough Claws allowing it to gain a 1.3% power increase on physical contact moves while finally gaining dragon typing, giving it stab on the near flawless coverage, resisted by two pokemon. As Mega Charizard Y, Charizard becomes a living nuke, having a massive 159 special attack, passing the mighty sea busion Kyogre as well as gaining Drought, allowing it to decimate waters with Solarbeam and everything else with Fire Blast.


    Mega Charizard X

    Qualities

    Mega Charizard X is easily the most destructive pokemon in OU, having a solid base speed of 100 and 130 attack. This makes Mega Charizard X a perfect abuser of Dragon Dance, while having arguable the most aggressive offensive typing of any pokemon, only resisted but Azumarill and Heatran out of all 718 Pokemon. This allows nothing to come in easily against Mega Charizard X, and this is furthered with one of the most aggressive abilities, Tough Claws. This effectively lets Mega Charizard X hold a Life Orb without the negative effects. Mega Charizard X also has 130 special attack, allowing it to take the role of wall breaker rather than a sweeper with its wide array of special moves such as Fire Blast and Dragon Pulse.

    Mega Charizard X has more defense than its other mega, having a solid 111 physical defense, giving it an edge in the priority filled metagame, most of which are physical. 85 special defensive is also respectable, but not like its normal defense. With its solid bulk, Mega Charizard X has no trouble setting up a Dragon Dance and taking down multiple pokemon on the opponents team, while it also opens windows of bulkier spreads to give it more staying power and allow it to grab another Dragon Dance or two before burying your opponent.

    Before it mega evolves, Charizard is still quadruple weak to Stealth Rocks, making it absolutely necessary to remove them from the field. As Mega Charizard X, Charizard loses its immunity to Spikes as well as Toxic Spikes, both of which are common on stall teams, which Mega Charizard X has some trouble breaking. This makes a rapid spinner or a defogger a key teammate with Charizard, Excadrill is the most common one as it is the best rapid spinner available as well as its ability to set up Stealth Rocks.

    Playing with Mega Charizard X

    All your opponent needs to do is lower their guard for a turn and Mega Charizard X is out and at +1, meaning something is going to go down. Mega Charizard X plays like most dragons, bring it in at the end of the game and set up a Dragon Dance and go to town. Mega Charizard X has near flawless coverage as well, mainly relying on its stab moves Dragon Claw and Fire Punch, or Outrage and Flare Blitz, to tear massive holes in the opponents team while Earthquake will KO Heatran, the more common of the two stab resistors. Thunder Punch can be used to beat Azumarill that tries to come in, but makes you weaker to Heatran. Primarily using Dragon Dance, Mega Charizard X is meant to clean up the field, coming in when everything it weakened and anything that can stop it is removed and winning the match.

    However, while nearly never seen, Mega Charizard X does have a massive 130 special attack, making it an excellent physical lure for threats like Landorus Therian and Heatran and KOing them with its mixed coverage of Fire Blast and Earthquake, while making use of sun support to fire off Solarbeam at Rotom Washes that try to stop what they expect to be a Dragon Dancer set. Overall, this is more of a niche option as it really lacks the raw power of Dragon Dance Mega Charizard X and often pushes into Mega Charizard Y’s territory.

    Hazards are also Mega Charizard X’s best friend, allowing it to score more OHKOes with a layer of Stealth Rocks and Spikes. This is another reason why Excadrill is a nice partner with Mega Charizard X as it can’t be blocked setting up Stealth Rocks. Deoxys Defense as does a nice job as a lead with Mega Charizard X, setting up both forms of hazards while on more balanced teams Skarmory does a nice job with its bulk or Forretress who, like Excadrill, can set up hazards and spin them away.

    A wall breaker is a nice teammate with Mega Charizard X, being able to weak the physical walls that come in to try and stop Mega Charizard X from sweeping. Ones that bait in Rotom Wash and Landorus Therian are particularly effective as those are two of the big answers to Mega Charizard X, making Garchomp a nice choice. Garchomp can also break Azumarill and Heatran that resist Mega Charizard X’s stabs. Garchomp also baits in a lot of the same revengers like Latios and can beat them with a Haban Berry.

    Playing Against Mega Charizard X

    Mega Charizard X really doesn’t care about much and will destroy teams if given an inch, so don’t give it any. Faster threats will force the dragon to attack rather than set up. Things like Terrakion and Garchomp will force Mega Charizard out if it hasn’t boosted yet or to attack with Earthquake and Dragon Claw respectfully. Intimidate also hurts the dragon, making bulky Landorus Therian nice. With the right evs, Landorus Therian can come in after it Dragon Dances and live a few hits and easily KO back. Scarfed Landorus Therian is particularly popular for this as without Dragon Dance or Adamant ones will be outpaced and KOed with ease as some Mega Charizard Xs will stay in on Landorus thinking they outpace.

    Should Mega Charizard get a Dragon Dance out, its not over yet. There are plenty of Choice Scarf users that can outpace and KO it, but most don’t want to come in in fear of an attack instead of Dragon Dance. Latios is one of the best, KOing it with Draco Meteor like nothing and easily outpaces it. Garchomp is another good answer with its stab Earthquakes while Terrakion can but has to rely on Stone Edge. Keldeo can work in a pinch but fails to KO Mega Charizard X and will be KOed back or take massive damage. Unfortunately most priority users won’t deal a lot of damage, the best ones being Banded Genesect and Banded Talonflame.

    Common Sets

    Charizard @ Charizardite X
    Ability: Blaze
    EVs: 252 Spd / 252 Atk / 4 Def
    Jolly Nature
    - Dragon Dance
    - Dragon Claw
    - Earthquake / Thunder Punch
    - Fire Punch / Flare Blitz

    By far the most common set, this is geared to be as fast and aggressive as possible. Dragon Dance is your way of boosting and sweeping while you make use of Dragon Claw and Fire Punch as your main stabs while Flare Blitz is often used for a lot of damage. Earthquake is your main coverage move to hit Heatran hard, but Thunder Punch desimates bulky waters. Jolly is the most common nature so you can outpace more threats at +1

    Charizard @ Charizardite X
    Ability: Blaze
    EVs: 248 HP / 56 Atk / 44 Def / 64 Spd / 96 SDef
    Adamant Nature
    - Dragon Dance
    - Dragon Claw
    - Roost
    - Fire Punch / Earthquake

    This isn’t common on the ladder, but is very effective. FIrst of all tho, credit to D0nut for the spread. This forgoes the the raw speed and aggression of Mega Charizard X in favor of bulk for longevity to take teams by surprise. This set needs more team support as it will have holes in its coverage, making it important to cover them with teammates. One of the key moves that differs from the standard Dragon Dance set is Roost, allowing Mega Charizard X to heal of priority damage as a lot of teams rely on that to check faster threats, making this deadly to a lot of common teams.


    Mega Charizard Y

    Qualities

    Mega Charizard Y is is a prime example of a wall breaker, having massive special attack at a whopping 159 while inducing sun furthering the power of its fire attacks. This allows Mega Charizard Y to basically just fire off Fire Blast and deal immense damage even is its resisted. Because of this, Mega Charizard Y is one of the hardest Pokemon to switch into as the only thing that can come in relatively safe is Assault Vest Goodra, and even that is 3HKOed. With 100 base speed, Mega Charizard Y outpaces a lot of bulkier threats while the frailer faster threats can’t switch straight in as they get OHKOed like nothing. This makes Mega Charizard Y a huge threat to stall and bulkier teams due to its raw power, but it has a harder time against faster teams due to its low physical defense.

    Playing with Mega Charizard Y

    Mega Charizard Y is one of those pokemon that requires very little thought or planning. You bring it in and spam Fire Blast. Due to its massive power, Mega Charizard Y often doesn’t need much else, but likes using some coverage moves. Solarbeam decimates waters that switch in while Focus Blast of Earthquake are used to destroy Heatran. Mega Charizard Y often uses Roost as its last move due to its ability to force switches so much, tho there are other moves that can be used, namely Dragon Pulse.

    Mega Charizard Y doesn’t need much in terms of team support as its job is to tear gaping holes in your opponent’s team. This makes it more effective as a supporter to say, clearing the way for sweepers with its ability to force in bulky pokemon and force your opponent to generally sac something in order to get a threat in that can revenge it.

    Hazards are the fastest way to clip this dragons wings, losing half its hps everytime it comes into them. This makes a defogger or a rapid spinner a nice partner with Mega Charizard Y. Assault Vest Excadrill is a solid choice as it can come into the dragons that try to wall Mega Charizard Y and spin away hazards while Latios is a nice defogger as it scares off Terrakion and Garchomp with its powerful stabs while making Thundurus wary of staying in. While not as good, Scizor can do a decent job with defog as Latias doesn’t want to stomach a U turn and Bullet Punch intimidates Tyranitar and Terrakion from staying in, but loses against Thundurus and Garchomp.

    Hazards are also nice to use with Mega Charizard Y as they make it near impossible to escape a 2hko from the offensive behemoth. Spikes in particular are nice as a lot of the threats that try to stop Mega Charizard Y are grounded such as Goodra and Garchomp. Stealth Rocks are nice as well to wear down Thundurus quickly and make it wary of coming in a lot. Toxic Spikes however serve no purpose with Mega Charizard Y as it will just beat whatever comes in faster than toxic will.

    Mega Charizard Y has the lowest defense stat of the two Charizard megas with 78 defense like standard Charizard. In a priority filled metagame this is not good, so Mega Charizard Y likes all priority abuses to be removed prior to it being sent in repeatedly. Ones like Talonflame and Genesect are particularly troublesome due to the massive damage they inflict while Aegislash is not one to be laughed at, still doing decent damage. There is no quick way to fix this and you just need to be wary of what can and probably does have a priority move when using Mega Charizard Y.

    Playing Against Mega Charizard Y

    First is to maintain offensive pressure, similar to Mega Charizard X, except this doesn’t need a turn to become truly deadly. As such its very important to maintain Stealth Rocks on the field in order to deter it from coming in and if it does, force it to use Roost. Powerful sweepers do a nice job maintaining pressure such as Terrakion and Thundurus. Another thing is to target its speed, Mega Charizard Y has no way to boost its speed outside the random Flame Charge and, while 100 is average, there are plenty of threats that can outpace going from Landorus up.

    Should Mega Charizard Y get in, unless you have a dragon something is probably going down. There are a handful of threats that can actually come into Mega Charizard Y and KO it back. First is Goodra with an Assault Vest, taking 30% from Dragon Pulse and KOing back with Thunderbolt. However Dragon Pulse is rare and Fire Blast only does around 25%, making it a solid answer. With Earthquake Assault Vest Tyranitar does a nice job with its massive bulk and KO back with Stone Edge or Rock Slide. However should it have Focus Blast Tyranitar will lose a minimum of 53%, making it not the greatest answer. Special Defensive Latias can also come in three times and beat it but it needs to be max hps and special defenses to do this.

    Common Sets

    Charizard @ Charizardite Y
    Ability: Blaze
    EVs: 252 Spd / 252 SAtk / 4 Def
    Timid Nature
    - Fire Blast
    - Solar Beam
    - Focus Blast
    - Roost / Dragon Pulse

    This set is more common on the ladder as it uses the general evs PS provides, but is still good. This set focuses more on speed then power, hitting 328 speed to outrun everything from Genesect down. Fire Blast is your main move and stab, while Solarbeam is for Rotom Wash and Manaphy. Focus Blast stops Heatran and Tyranitar that would be a threat to the dragon otherwise. FInally Roost rounds off the set to heal itself, but Dragon Pulse can be used to hit dragons that switch in harder.

    Charizard @ Charizardite Y
    Ability: Blaze
    EVs: 196 Spd / 252 SAtk / 60 Atk
    Rash Nature
    - Fire Blast
    - SolarBeam
    - Earthquake
    - Roost / Dragon Pulse

    This focuses on surprise and power, forgoing timid for rash or mild nature to increase Mega Charizard Y’s damage output while still outrunning threats with a positive nature and a base speed of 80. Moves are nearly identical to the above set for the same reasons bar Earthquake which is here as a more reliable answer to Heatran and Tyranitar with Focus Blast’s 70 accuracy.

    The Surprise Factor

    The biggest factor of Charizard’s new success in OU is that it has two powerful forms, that have different answers. This makes it unpredictable and favorable to the Charizard user as it makes the opponent wary. The don’t want to send Landorus Therian into Charizard before it mega evolves in case its Mega Charizard Y which easily KOes it, while sending Latias right into Charizard isn’t a good idea as Mega Charizard X destroys it. This makes it important to look at the opponent’s team in team preview and think of which mega form its likely to be as its often the line between losing or winning.

    Conclusion

    Both of Charizard’s mega forms are two of the most powerful megas introduced in XY, and have no trouble getting a spot on a team. While it all boils down to preference, neither is actually better than the other, doing two completely different things giving them different roles making Charizard extremely versatile as well as a powerhouse for the first time in OU.
    Last edited by McDanger; 1st March 2014 at 8:37 AM.



  5. #5
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    Featured OU Threat - Scizor
    Credit to McDanger

    History

    Scizor was first introduced in GSC, being one of the few steel pokemon, but was edged into BL with how common Fire Blast was and its general lack of a movepool, having to use Hidden Power Bug and Steel Wing for stabs. Scizor only shown with good predictions and Baton Pass having access to both Swords Dance and Agility.

    Scizor remained largely unchanged in Adv OU, still sitting in BL again with its terrible offensive movepool. Scizor did gain Silver Wind, which was physical in Adv OU, so it didn’t have to use Hidden Power to cover as a pseudo stab anymore. Scizor also gained Iron Defense, furthering its usefulness as a stat boosting passer for some teams, now having three good boosting moves.

    DPP is the meta that defined Scizor, giving it several new items. First of which was the new ability Technician, giving its moves with 60 base power or less a 1.5 boost. Next Scizor got a new priority move, Bullet Punch which not only gets the boost from Technician, its also a stab giving it a large power boost. Next Scizor gained access to a better form of recovery with Roost, allowing it to heal itself and run a more effective Swords Dance set. Finally, Scizor gained two new bug stab moves, Bug Bite which gets the Technician boost, and U turn which allows Scizor to scout and make better use of the Choice Band that was introduced in Adv OU.

    BW brought no new changes aside from Acrobatics, but gave a lot of new threats that were afraid of Scizor such as Terrakion and Kyurem Black. This made Scizor the king of OU, being the most commonly used pokemon with its powerful Bullet Punch and U turns. Scizor did gain new teammates with the introduction of Volt Switch, giving rise to Volt Turn teams with Rotom Wash.

    Playing With Scizor

    Scizor is most often used as a priority abuser, which gives it competition now with how common priority moves are. Scizor still does a decent job tho with how common fairies have become. Scizor is still commonly seen using a Choice Band to deal massive damage with Bullet Punch or Pursuit trap pokemon such as Aegislash and Latios. U turn is always used to scout and create momentum when Scizor forces a switch while Quick Attack is a nice secondary priority to hit fires and waters that resist Bullet Punch.

    Scizor is also seen now using Defog to remove hazards. With its access to Roost and general bulk, Scizor does a good job at removing them, but it is often outshone by its mega form as a hazard remover who has superior bulk and no ability to use a Choice Band, but does have access to Leftovers unlike its mega form.

    Scizor also has to compete with Genesect who now has priority just like Scizor but a higher level, as well as superior offensive stats and ability in general, making it often better and easier to use than Scizor. Genesect can now come over into Scizor’s area to say with Extreme Speed as well as Iron Head and Shift Gear, making it harder to find a use for Scizor aside for Defogging as Banded Genesect hits harder with an attack boost from Download as well as is faster.

    Playing Against Scizor

    Scizor does struggle currently tho due to how common fire types are, all which can easily KO Scizor while Rotom Wash is also extremely common who can burn Scizor. Most teams carry at least one of these to handle Talonflame, or using Talonflame, making it hard for Scizor to really do anything. Aegislash is also a nice answer with King’s Shield, lowing Scizor’s attack but two stages effectively forcing it out.

    If you lack a fire pokemon, a powerful special attacker can generally beat Scizor. Threat such as Manaphy and Thundurus do a nice job as they resist Bullet Punch and put on a lot of pressure with their stab moves, while strong physical attackers such as Conkeldurr can deal good damage to Scizor and heal off damage from Bullet Punch.

    Conclusion

    Scizor has some trouble getting on teams outside of its mega form with new threats such as Aegislash and Genesect that can do its job. Scizor will see more use once the meta stabilizes more and new threats such as Terrakion and Kyurem Black reappear. Overall, Scizor is still a good pokemon, but struggles against new competition in OU.



  6. #6
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    Choiced Items
    Credit to McDanger

    Choice Items have played a major part in the metagame since the release of the choice band in Adv OU, giving rise to powerful wall breakers while DPP introduced the Choice Scarf and Choice Specs. However, not everything is good with a choice item. This article will break down each choice item and discuss what are good users and what aren’t.

    Choice Scarf

    By far the most common choice item, the Choice Scarf is used to give a +1 speed boost to anything that uses it. The Choice Scarf can either allow some pokemon to act as revenge killers and check boosting sweepers, or use it to act as a sweeper.

    Effective Example


    Landorus-Therian (M) @ Choice Scarf
    Ability: Intimidate
    EVs: 32 HP / 252 Atk / 224 Spd
    Jolly Nature
    - U-turn
    - Earthquake
    - Stone Edge
    - Knock Off

    Landorus Therian is one of the most common Choice Scarf users, being able to revenge threats like Thundurus I and +1 Mega Tyranitar. Landorus Therian also makes use of Intimidate to check Mega Charizard X and other dragons and physical sweepers such as other Landorus Therians and Terrakion. Landorus also has access to U turn, allowing it to scout in some situations where its not clear what the best move to use is.

    Other Examples
    - Garchomp
    - Genesect
    - Thundurus Therian
    - Tyranitar

    Less Effective Example


    Rotom-Wash @ Choice Scarf
    Ability: Levitate
    EVs: 252 Spd / 252 SAtk / 4 SDef
    Timid Nature
    - Volt Switch
    - Hydro Pump
    - Hidden Power [Ice]
    - Trick

    Rotom Wash is not as good of a user as before as it functions best now as a physical wall to pressure physical threats such as Talonflame and Mega Charizard X. As such, the use of a Choice Scarf limits Rotom Wash’s bulk and general effectiveness. Rotom Wash also has trouble beating other electrics such as Thundurus Therian who have more speed and attack who aren’t as good sponging hits like Rotom Wash.

    Other Examples
    - Heatran
    - Scizor
    - Infernape
    - Manaphy

    Choice Band

    The Choice Band is the oldest of the three, having been introduced in Adv OU. The Choice Band gives a +1 attack boost to anyone that holds it. As such, you would think most physical pokemon would enjoy holding one, but often times most would rather use a Life Orb and be mixed, or use a boosting move such as Swords Dance.

    Effective Example


    Genesect @ Choice Band
    Ability: Download
    EVs: 252 Spd / 252 Atk / 4 SDef
    Hasty Nature
    - Extreme Speed
    - U-turn
    - Iron Head
    - Blaze Kick

    Genesect is one of the best examples of a good Choice Band user having access to Download as an ability, as well as Extreme Speed, making it a powerful revenge kill, generally able to get a +1 attack from Download, effectively doubling Genesect’s normal attack. U turn works like Choice Band Scizor last generation as a go to move to deal a lot of damage while Iron Head is for stab and spamming.

    Other Examples
    - Talonflame
    - Scizor
    - Dragonite

    Less Effective Examples


    Lucario @ Choice Band
    Ability: Inner Focus
    EVs: 252 Spd / 252 Atk / 4 SDef
    Adamant Nature
    - ExtremeSpeed
    - Bullet Punch
    - Close Combat
    - Ice Punch

    With two priority moves and a massive physical movepool, Lucario looks like a solid choice for a Choice Band. However, Lucario has access to not only Swords Dance which it can easily get off as well as Agility. This allows Lucario to be more effective as a priority abuser as well as a cleaner than with a Choice Band, often making it far inferior to a Life Orb boosting set.

    Other Examples
    - Conkeldurr
    - Breloom
    - Gyarados

    Choice Specs

    The Choice Specs are often an overlooked choice item, but are still very effective. The Choice Specs give a +1 special attack to any holder, but most special attackers, or common ones, are more effective with a Choice Scarf or a Life Orb.

    Effective Example


    Latios (M) @ Choice Specs
    Ability: Levitate
    EVs: 252 Spd / 252 SAtk / 4 HP
    Timid Nature
    - Draco Meteor
    - Psyshock
    - Surf
    - Trick

    Latios is a premier Choice Specs abuser, having massive attack, high speed, solid coverage. Basically unless the pokemon switching it has a good special defense or resists Draco Meteor, its going to take massive damage. Even fairies like Sylveon aren’t safe getting 2hkoed by Psyshock. Trick also allows Latios to cripple walls like Skarmory, Rotom Wash, and Tyranitar that switch into it.

    Other Examples
    - Keldeo
    - Heatran
    - Tornadus Therian

    Less Effective Users


    Thundurus (M) @ Choice Specs
    Ability: Prankster
    EVs: 252 Spd / 252 SAtk / 4 SDef
    Timid Nature
    - Focus Blast
    - Volt Switch
    - Hidden Power [Ice]
    - Grass Knot

    Thundurus I is a good example of a terrible Choice Specs user for a few reasons. First it has a lot of competition with Thundurus Therian who has more special attack making it a good abuser of the Choice Specs and the second is its ability. Without Trick, Thundurus can’t truly abuse Prankster as it would get locked in Thunder Wave or Taunt and have to switch right out again. Because of this, a Life Orb or Leftovers are always a better choice.

    Other Examples
    - Latias
    - Landorus I
    - Manaphy

    Conclusion

    To conclude, choice items are going to be continue to be a big part of the metagame, but requires an understanding of risk vs reward to be really effective due to their locking nature. When you are using a choice item, you need to think how its better than a Life Orb or other items so you know you aren't using an outclassed item.



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    Interview with Ragnarok
    Credit to Bestgamepearl

    Note: This may be tweaked in format in the next 24 hours

    BGP: To start off, can you tell us a little about yourself? I know everyone forgets moderators are people, what kind of person are you? :P

    · Ragnarok: I am a 23 year old living in London. For hobbies during the spring and summer I like to go rollerblading (normally for hours) as well as work out and play video games. During the winter, aside from working out I am basically a hermit as I hate cold weather.

    · BGP: I know I can't rollerblade to save my life. How long have you been doing that? Is it your way to get away from things and pains in the neck like me?

    · Ragnarok: Pretty much =p. I've been blading since 2008 after I saw some youtube videos about it. Before I skated during the late 90s and early 2000 but since starting high school / secondary school I lost interest, that and the skates got ruined from leaving them out but seeing as they weren't mine, I didn't care that much. At that time I mainly stuck to skating in my back garden as it was pretty dangerous for a kid my age to be skating out of the house. The garden was big enough for what I wanted out of them. Now I skate from area to area, sometimes out for three hours. It makes a nice break from everything from friends to family and modding, as I can then forget about the pain in the arse drama and politics and focus on myself. It's been pretty life changing imo. Once I start blading nobody else matters.

    · BGP: I remember the one time I tried skating at a little rollerskate ring. I'm pretty sure I made a better floor mop than a skater. You mentioned video games, naturally. What was your first system and, if you remember, game?

    · Ragnarok: The first system I played was my brother's Gameboy, with the earliest game I remember being Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. At the time we also had an Nintendo Entertainment System but thinking the games on their were way out of my depth, I stuck to the Gameboy.

    · BGP: Have you stuck with Nintendo, or have you tried other platforms?

    · Ragnarok: For the majority of my childhood my only choice was Nintendo handhelds as I wasn't confident enough to try playing bigger console games on the Playstation, though eventually I moved to that brand when it came to console gaming. At around 8-10 I was playing the N64 (which eventually got sold as it wasn't mine) and the Super Nintendo but even then it was mainly Mario games with the odd Street Fighter thrown in. it wasn't till I was 12 that I started playing RPGs but even then I started with the 2D final fantasy games. Nowadays I shuffle between Playstation and Nintendo. Don't think I'll ever get an Xbox because the market they target is different to what I like, they being Microsoft.

    · BGP: I'm the same way! Now you've been around for a lot longer than I have. Were your first pokemon games Red and Blue?

    · Ragnarok: Yes but like most games at the time, I didn't own them. My brother would let me play them from time to time on the condition that I didn't save the game. Around the time he got them the anime was also showing in the UK which might have been a factor as to why I stuck with the series. At the time I didn't really realize what an RPG really was so it came as a surprise when I found out Pokemon was. The first pokemon game I owned was Pokemon Yellow which I got for Christmas alongside a copy of Doom for the PC.

    · BGP: I believe my first exposure to the series was mostly through the anime, though I haven't watched it in years. Moving on, how did you stumble upon Serebii? Were you on any other sites prior to it?

    · Ragnarok: I wasn't really tied down to any sites until I discovered Serebii. I believe it was around the time Emerald came out and I was looking for movesets I could use for the battle frontier. I stumbled across Serebii while looking for the movesets, and granted I did use a couple sets from there, I mainly stuck to Psypokes for movesets once I found that, which had more to offer. Finding a good dex for 3rd gen pokemon was hard back then (for me atleast) plus simulators weren't as big as they are today. I believe the simulator of choice was Netbattle, which had it's own host of problems but largely got the job done. I did dabble with it for a bit but didn't find it as exciting as ingame.

    · BGP: Now I remember you from ever since I've been on Serebii, before you became a mod too if I recall correctly. For the reader's sake though, what was your first guild, or clan as they were called back then?

    · Ragnarok: My first clan was called Team Dawn. At the time, I didn't really know what clan would be best for me as I was still a bit of a newbie to the whole forum / community scene, so I decided to join Team Dawn which was relatively small but seemed to have been building up a bit of a rep. Unfortunately the clan closed a few days after I joined so I ended up joining the Super Elites, which ended up being my home for a good 2 years.

    · BGP: And that is how I remember you, though I don't know if you remember me being in that as well. Speaking of guilds, I figure this is a good time to ask. What contributions have you made to the competitive section since you've become a moderator? Are there any in particular that you're especially glad you contributed to?

    · Ragnarok: I'd say I've contributed a lot to the competitive section, and with the help of fellow moderators and friends, made it what it was today. To understand that you would need to look back to what it was before.

    · BGP: Don't get me started on what it used to be!

    · Ragnarok: Unfortunately, the readers will have to :P
    During the 3rd Generation, the competitive section was relegated to around 3 subforums in the general 3rd gen forum, and competitive on serebii was in an even worse state than people realize. As competitive wasn't as big as it is now (in my opinion), having dedicated mods that kept up with the scene was a rarity and nobody really knew how to tackle it (from my viewpoint). General rules not really tailored for that specific section. A lot of things made it really hard and stressful moderating competitive, so when Archangel and BaldWombat became a mod, I helped them form the rules of the newly established competitive forum, which included rules tailored for each section such as Rate My Team. Since then, building the competitive section into what it is now has been a gradual process. At one point I decided to rewrite and add new rules which would improve the entire section, such as making rules and guidelines for rating teams and posting them. I remade the rules for the guilds section, rewrote the rules for general discussion, tournaments, leagues etc and restructured the whole forum so everything was streamlined for everyone. All with the input of other moderators in the section. That isn't to say some rules haven't been met with backlash, but those changes were in response to updates to the entire forum rules, something I didn't have control over so I don't let that get to me too much. Though I'd say the biggest thing I contributed to would be the Official Serebii League and Battle Frontier, which I helped build as a regular member (OSL) and was my own project (Battle Frontier)

    · BGP: Naturally, those both got a lot of community involvement! Now obviously neither is around anymore, is there any chance they will return in some form or another?

    · Ragnarok: I don't believe a league like it was back then will return unfortunately. As the nature of the community has changed, those ended up being unviable ventures. What ended up happening with the OSL was a symptom of the shift in playstyles in Gen 5, which ended up being weather wars. Most monotypes then became unviable for use on a competitive level in the current metagame, with the amount of things to check / counter the league would be too easy. The leaders also didn't like how restricting monotypes were and any new candidates that could maintain the power were put off joining, so I had to come up with a way of keeping everyone interested and making it challenged, which is when I established the battle frontier which reception was mixed but some have to understand that the I believe forum leagues need to a step above what is offered by general users in the league forum. For a while the battle frontier's activity was up (more than the OSL before the shift) and brains / challengers were fairly happy, but then the second problem that plagued the league also plagued the frontier, which were leaders actually sticking around for a year. Once it got to the point where I couldn't find new brains without lowering the challenge, I decided to kill it. Even if I lowered the challenge I wouldn't have been able to replace everyone that left due to not being committed.

    · BGP: Reasonable. While we're on competitive pokemon, any thoughts on the recent suspect testing?

    · Ragnarok: Not really much different than most. While I am sad about Mega Lucario he had to go imo. Genesect I am torn on and would hope it's given another shot down the line.

    · BGP: I think we all knew Mega Lucario's time in OU was coming to an end. Now one more thought provoking question, if you could make any change to the competitive section as it is now, what would it be if any at all?

    · Ragnarok: I think the competitive section as it is now is pretty good for the size of the community on there. At the moment I can't think of any changes I would want to make.

    · BGP: Fair enough! To finish off, what pokemon interview would be complete without this one. What is your favorite pokemon?

    · Ragnarok: My favourite Pokemon would have to be Lucario, as I like the combo of Steel / Fighting plus it was something that has gotten me out of tight spots.

    · BGP: That explains why you were saddened to see his famed mega evolution go! But anyways, thanks for your time sena, it was a pleasure!

    · Ragnarok: Same to you.



  8. #8
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    What If? Issue 1
    Credit to Eaglehawk

    Time and time again, we always wish for things on Pokemon just so that they can become better. Take Flareon for example. GameFreak has trolled the Pokemon fanbase for five generations for not giving Flareon an actual usual STAB to go with super-high attack (Fire Fang doesn’t count). Finally in Generation VI, Flareon finally got the move it wanted and needed: Flare Blitz. While it’s not OU material, it definitely makes it a more viable pick in the lower tiers. With this, allow me to introduce to you some other Pokemon that could use GameFreak’s magic touchup.


    Flamethrower/Fire Blast Lati@s



    Let's start off with a PokeCommunity wish as old as time itself. Ever since their debut in Generation III, a lot of people god mad at GameFreak for not giving either airplane a Fire-type move, which makes sense since all dragons that aren’t underwater ponies, dimensional timelords, or flash-frozen chickens can breathe fire. Thus, players grudgingly went with Hidden Power Fire as their choice of coverage of the twins. It held out surprisingly well for three generations, but in the Generation VI, the Lati@s get screwed over by GameFreak once again with a nerf in damage to their only good coverage move. Granted that other metagame factors also influence their drop, giving them an actual Fire-move can rekindle their smoldering state in OU.

    Fire-type moves are almost staple on Dragon-types because of its almost unresisted coverage (lol Heatran). The examples are everywhere: most Garchomps run Fire Blast, some Dragonites run Fire Punch, almost all Goodras and Hydreigons run Fire Blast, and the list of lower tier Dragons can go on and on, but the general trend is pretty clear. Giving both of them Fire Blast will reestablish their placement as a top tier threat. In the past, Steel-types such as JIrachi. Bronzong, or Celebi could switch-in risk-free and bully it. With Generation VI introducing new powerhouses such as Aegislash and Mega-Evolutions such as Mega-Pinsir, the twins need better coverage. With Fire Blast/Flamethrower, say goodbye to its counters. By adding that to its huge arsenal of Draco Meteor, Surf, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam, Psyshock, Earthquake, etc., your opponents won’t know what to expect from the jets.

    Slack Off Snorlax



    Snorlax was notoriously known for surviving into OU for the first four Generations for being fat. It’s ungodly combination of sky-high HP, good Attack, and astounding Special Defense made it a Blissey that could actually hurt. Sadly, unlike Blissey, Snorlax has no reliable recovery and status healing (RestTalk doesn’t count), and could only switch into opponents so many times. Furthermore, the introduction of a boatload of Fighting-types spelled the end of Snorlax’s reign in OU. Though it did really well as a counter to many of Gen V UU’s Fire-type Pokemon (which is a lot) and Specially based Pokemon (which is a lot more), its big issues with longevity were still the case.

    The most obvious quickfix to one of Snorlax’s issues is Slack Off. Although it may change nothing for its Choice Band sets, Snorlax picks up a new role in smashing faces in while still staying healthy. Slack Off will allow Snorlax to play like a Specially defensive version of Hippowdon. Although it doesn’t have access to hazards, it can definitely be a nuisance with a Parashuffling combo of Body Slam and Whirlwind. Regardless how you use Snorlax, he’s still a thorn in many Special sweepers sides, and Slack Off will only make that thorn bigger.

    Tough Claws Electivire



    Electivire’s been thrown under the bus for quite some time. GyaraVire was cool back in really early Gen IV, but in reality, it was super-bad. Everyone learned about that in Gen. V and never used it again, leaving Electivire to rot with lower-tier trash (both figuratively and Garbador). Sadly, its situation makes sense though: it has a super-predictable ability, below-average speed, and coverage moves with low base damage. How can we fix this?

    Why not give it Tough Claws?

    To be completely honest, Electivire is completely qualified to be a Tough Claws candidate. It’s based off of a monkey to some degree, and monkey scratches really hurt (personal experience). In summary, it’s more qualified to have super-strong claws than something like Aerodactyl. Tough Claws gives a Life Orb-size boost to most of Electivire’s most critical moves, such as Wild Charge, Ice Punch, and Cross Chop. Where in past generations the coverage moves fail to wall-break effectively, the power buff converts many of its 2HKOs and 3HKOs to OHKOs and 2HKOs. Although it’s definitely not OU material, it can most definitely tear things up and cement its place in UU.

    Ice Beam Keldeo




    Have you ever heard of a Water-type that doesn’t have Ice Beam?

    I’d like to think that I haven’t.

    Sadly that Pokemon exists, and its name is Keldeo. Seriously, Keldeo had everything it needs to become a top tier threat: A Fighting-type Psyshock, super-high Special Attack, and smashing STABS, but no coverage. To deal with Garchomp and provide himself with a Ice-type coverage move, Keldeo was relegated to run Icy Wind, which has nice utility, but no damage whatsoever. Keldeo has long since been shoved out of the spotlight, but Ice Beam definitely will make him stronger than before.

    Ice Beam removes a couple of big problems for Keldeo. First off, it reliably hits two of his biggest checks, Latias and Celebi, for a good amount of damage. However, the magic lies in the fact that he has a now reliable coverage move to kill Dragons. Simply put, last generation every Dragon/Flying Pokemon (pretty much every Dragon that used Dragon Dance) laughed at Keldeo’s sad excuse of an Ice-coverage move. Furthermore, it allows Keldeo to finally kill 4x Ice-weak Ground Pokemon without relying on Hydro Miss. At least PermaRain back in Gen V allowed for Keldeo to ignore that portion of its coverage issue, but with the death of PermaRain, Keldeo needs new ways to stay strong and relevant in OU. Although the chances of it going back up to OU are somewhat slim, the Pokemon drop rates from OU are increasing. With many of OU’s former Dragon kings such as Salamence predicted to drop to UU, Keldeo’s need for an Ice-coverage move is stronger than ever.

    Honorable Mentions

    Fur Coat Blissey/Chansey

    I'm pretty sure this goes without saying. This ability unanimously makes the pink blobs even fatter than they ever were. With Fur Coat halving damage from Physical moves, it essentially makes both blobs borderline impossible to take down without a super-effective Close Combat. Although it doesn't change the fact that it can't do squat against set-up sweepers, it'll definitely be hellish to take down and make stall all the more hair-ripping to play against.

    Close Combat Tyranitar

    Weird? Not as weird as you think. Sandy-Saurus already learns Superpower, which makes Close Combat a plausible move. Besides, he's got stubby arms that basically scream "I can only fight as far as my arms can go." This gives many of Tyranitar's more offensive sets more sustainable coverage. Superpower blows because it drops T-Tar's Attack. Close Combat does have its downsides by dropping both of Dino's defenses, but for sets more oriented around sustained damage sweeping, such as Choice Scarf and Dragon Dance, Close Combat is a blessing that makes Tyranitar all the more to be feared.



  9. #9
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    Standing the Test of Time
    credit to McDanger

    Every new generation, new pokemon are discussed. People ponder over the effects they will have on the metagame and possible sets. After a while, some of these hyped threats fall out of OU, not being able to compete with other threats. Some pokemon however stand above the others, staying in OU for their entire existence in the competitive metagame with their stats and movepools.This article with be broken into two parts, the first covering pokemon that have remained OU since RBY, the second covering ones that have stayed OU since GSC which will appear next month.


    Gengar

    Gengar was an interesting pokemon in RBY, big the only full evolved ghost type while having two physical types with a monstrous special attack. Gengar made due however with its large and diverse movepool, including moves like Thunderbolt and Explosion, to deal a lot of damage as well as help beat other special threats. Gengar also was one of the only OU pokemon to have Hypnosis, making it a nice choice as a sleep inducer, competing with Exeggutor for a slot.

    With the special split of GSC, Gengar retained its massive special attack, as well as gained some new tricks. Gengar gained access to Ice Punch, giving it a nice ice attack to hit grasses with that resist its Thunderbolts, as well as a new attack Dynamic Punch. Gengar also gained Destiny Bond through leveling up, allowing it to take its killer down with it, allowing Gengar to break through rest talk sweepers like Suicune and Snorlax

    Adv gave Gengar Levitate, freeing it of its ground weakness. Gengar also gained a few new moves, Will o Wisp and Giga Drain. This allowed Gengar to pressure new threats like Swampert and old ones like Tyranitar. Gengar can also make use of another new move, Focus Punch. This allows Gengar to beat Blissey easier. Gengar is also one of the fastest threats in Adv OU with its 110 speed, notable in the tier. This made Gengar a very powerful threat in the Adv OU metagame, as well as divers and fairly unpredictable.

    DPP finally gave Gengar special stabs with Shadow Ball and Sludge Bomb as well as a special fighting move, Focus Blast. This completely changed Gengars sets, focusing on its flawless coverage with Shadow Ball and Focus Blast rather than elemental coverage. Pain Split allows Gengar to run a more effective substitute set while the rise of Scizor gave Gengar a reason to use Hidden Power. With new items Gengar can now be a devastating attacker with a Life Orb, or a swift revenger with a Choice Scarf.

    BW gave Gengar no new moves, but changed the mechanics for Disable, allowing it to be more effective. This allowed Gengar to capitalize on its Substitute sets using Disable, Pain Split, or 3 attacks. While its speed was no longer unique with the drop of the Lati Twins, Gengar still held strong as a solid offensive ghost type with its massive coverage and good speed. Gengar can also act as a bait with an Expert Belt to Ko or cripple threats that try to set up on Gengar such as Dragonite.

    Looking Forward

    Gengar faces strong competition with Aegislash who has more offensive pressure at the cost of speed. With the increase of priorities, Gengar has a harder time staying in and getting in, finding less chances to get in and set up Substitute, but is still very effective with its ability to pressure fairies with its poison stab moves. Gengar will have a hard time getting onto teams now, but its still an effective pokemon in OU.


    Starmie

    Starmie was an amazing pokemon in RBY, having psychic typing which had no weakness or resistance, as well as its massive coverage and access to recovery. This made Starmie a big threat, especially once Chansey was removed. Starmie also has access to Thunder Wave so it doesn’t have to rely on Body Slam for paralysis. Starmie’s speed also gives it an edge, outpacing a lot of OU threats and with its 100 special, is able to pressure a lot of threats as well as absorb hits decently well.

    GSC gave Starmie a more defensive role, gaining Rapid Spin, allowing it to remove the new entry hazard, Spikes. This combined with its previous support moves like Thunder Wave, Recover, and Reflect, you have a powerful support pokemon. Starmie is considered one of the top five pokemon in all of GSC OU with its ability to spin easily as well as its ability to KO ghost types that try to stop Rapid Spin with Surf.

    Starmie retains its title as the best rapid spinner in Adv OU with its ability to come in easily on Spike users, only exception is special defensive Forretress with Hidden Power Bug. Starmie remains largely unchanged in Adv OU, getting no new moves, but now runs both a Rapid Spin set like in GSC as well as its offensive set in RBY, allowing it to pressure threats and make it a bit unpredictable. However, Starmie struggles with Zapdos and the newly dropped Celebi, both who have large special defense, while the common Blissey gives it trouble as well.

    Starmie gained more offensive items in DPP, making it take a more offensive role. Starmie was a common anti lead with its speed and raw power with a Life Orb as well as its coverage. Starmie can also make use of the new Choice Specs to deal massive damage locking itself in one move. Starmie still can make use of its old Rapid Spin set and is still a solid Rapid Spinner, but falls in favor to the offensive sets with its new items to deal massive damage.

    BW aided Starmie’s defensive Rapid Spin set, giving it Scald. This allows Starmie to truly set its offensive and defensive sets apart while making its defensive set more effective. BW2 gave Starmie an edge with its offensive set tho, giving it Analytic. This gave Starmie a 30% power increase when if it moves last, ex when Starmie forces a switch. This in combo with a Life Orb allows Starmie to beat its old enemy, Celebi dealing 70% to defensive sets.

    Looking Forward

    Starmie has a lot of competition now, Excadrill has dropped to OU and is every bit as good of a spinner as well as a hazard stacker while Defog is easier to fit on a team than a rapid spinner. New threats like Aegislash can easily KO Starmie as can Talonflame making Starmie more focused on hitting threats on the switch in. However Assault Vest users can limit its effectiveness as they can easily take a hit from Starmie even with its Life Orb and Analytic boost.

    Honorable Mentions


    Cloyster

    Cloyster has huge defense, making is not to surprising its on the honorable mention page. Clamp earned it OU in RBY with the wrap mechanics while Spikes secured it in GSC. Cloyster did well in Adv OU with Salamence and Metagross, both of which it could beat pretty easily. Cloyster however fell out of OU in DPP with the rise of Stealth Rocks and the fall of Spikes. Cloyster regained its OU title in BW with the new move Shell Smash in combo with Skill Link making it a deadly sweeper. Cloyster yet again struggles with the common priority moves in the meta as well as Aegislash who resists both of it Skill Link moves and easily KOes back with Shadow Ball and Shadow Sneak, making Cloyster more at home in UU.


    Snorlax

    Snorlax is a defensive behemoth, having solid special defense, good defense, and massive hps. Snorlax was a monster in GSC gaining Curse as well as Sleep Talk, which carried over into Adv. Snorlax also gained the Choice Band which was a less common set, both of which helped it through DPP. Snorlax doesn’t make it onto the list tho, falling into UU last generation with how offensive the meta got, forcing it out. Snorlax has trouble still in OU, but has an easier time with its bulk and new item, the Assault Vest. This allows Snorlax to be a special defensive beast, but with threats like Mega Lucario and Conkeldurr being common, it has a hard time getting onto teams and being truly effective in the tier.


    Zapdos

    Zapdos has been a solid pokemon with its good special in RBY and its bulk in GSC and Adv. DPP gave Zapdos more offensive moves such as Heat Wave and new items such as the Life Orb and Choice Specs. Zapdos also dropped to UU last generation, edged out by Thundurus and later Thundurus Therian. Zapdos however is standing strong in OU again with its defensive abilities, allowing it to beat threats like Landorus, Keldeo, and Aegislash as well as its access to Heat Wave, giving Zapdos strong coverage as well as its good stats in general. Finally, Zapdos also gets defog, allowing it to remove hazards now, furthering its effectiveness in the OU metagame.





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