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Thread: Serebii Journal - July Issue

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    Default Serebii Journal - July Issue



    Welcome to the relaunch of the Serebii Journal. This time there are a few changes which will be touched on below, nothing overly large to effect your reading. So sit back and enjoy our competitive and non competitive articles.

    Theme
    Fire

    Table of Contents
    Metagame Trends
    Feature Pokemon - Volcarona
    Fire Type Analysis
    Risk vs Reward
    Introduction to Stabmons
    Theorymon: New Abilities Mark I

    Things to look forward to next month
    First featured Yu-Gi-Oh Deck
    The return of interviews
    Theorymon: New Typing Mark I
    Featured Team - This will be pulled from anywhere teams are posted including rmts and teambuilding challenge

    The Staff

    To avoid a repeat, we are now introducing a writing staff.
    Ragnorak - Quality Checker/Head Editor
    McDanger - Lead Editor/Writer
    The Dragonknight - Writer
    Rising Star - Writer/Grammar Check
    The Imposter - Writer
    Eliteknight - Writer/Grammar Check

        Spoiler:- Article Writers this month:


    Remember to stop by the suggestion and discussion thread here as no posting outside the articles is allowed here.
    Last edited by McDanger; 8th July 2014 at 5:20 AM.

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    Current Metagame Trends



    Competitive Pokemon is defined by creating teams to pit against other 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 metagame trends. Trends are a very common occurrence in the competitive scene and always will be. 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.

    Ladder Trends

    Trends on the ladder typically happen after a player of high level uses a specific playstyle, team, set, or core. In example, pokeaim popularized Sand Offense through his many YouTube videos of him using Tyranitar + Excadrill. After his videos became popular, Sand Teams, most specifically the team that pokeaim used, consisting of Tyranitar/Excadrill/Greninja/Mega Pinsir/Talonflame/Dragonite. This team has been used multiple times on the ladder by multiple people after seeing Joey (pokeaim) use it.

    Recent trends include:

    / Deoxys Offense
    As many of you know, Smogon is currently Suspect Testing both Deoxys-Speed and Deoxys-Defense, with good reason. These two threats have been used more in the last month then they have since the start of XY. Both Pokemon are capable of stacking multiple layers of hazards more efficient then any other Pokemon. Deoxys-S has multiple other niches that Deo-D can't fulfill, such as Life Orb and Dual Screen variants.

    Deoxys-Defense has seen a lot of usage, specifically with its most common teammate; Bisharp. DeoSharp has seen a spike in usage due to the Suspect Test. Many things have been used to prevent Deoxys-Defense from stacking hazards as planned, either leading with Aegislash who cleanly 2HKOs with Shadow Ball, Garchomp who can either set up a Swords Dance or two and then OHKO, or a physical Fairy type, such as Azumarill or Mawile. Or simply use Excadrill and force them to switch out or sac their Deoxys-D.

    The main reason why Deoxys-Defense is so popular isn't because of its ability to stack hazards; it's because of the offensive pressure its teammates put on opposing teams, preventing them from freely removing hazards from the field without a lot of difficulty. People can run things that are somewhat gimmicky that will beat DeoSharp offense, such as HP Fighting Latios, Mega Absol, or Magic Coat Magnezone, but things like that don't have much merit vs non-DeoSharp teams.

    Deoxys-Speed is far different than Deoxys-Defense. Deoxys-Speed is the fastest Pokemon in the game, and as such, has the fastest, non-Prankster, Taunt in the game, which can be vastly helpful vs opposing leads. Deoxys-S can fill many different niches, either providing hazard support, Dual Screens, or Life Orb Attacker. Each threat benefits teams in different ways, and all are extremely beneficial to a lot of teams. I won't talk about Deo-S' hazard stacking set, as it fills the same niche as Deo-D, but to a lesser extent to due having less bulk. Although it can get Taunts off faster, it is usually not as good as its Defensive counterpart.

    Deoxys-Speed's Dual Screen set grants Hyper Offensive teams so many options. Deo-S' screens grant any Pokemon an easier time setting up, attempting to sweep. Even if the Pokemon that set up with the aid of Deo-S' screens doesn't sweep, it can break walls that would otherwise wall other members on the team, who end up sweeping. Mega Charizard X is a prime example of a Pokemon that appreciates Deo-S' screens. Charizard X is already one of the most prominent sweepers in the metagame, having screens half any attack makes Charizard's job that much easier.

    And lastly, Life Orb Attacker allows Deoxys to fire off attacks with its amazing coverage and outpace the majority of the metagame at +1. Deoxys outspeeds anything with a +1 Speed boost up to base 103 and slower. It is capable of revenge killing multiple things if Deo-S can hit it super effectively, and multiple things it can just hit with its STAB Psycho Boost. Deo-S has great coverage, allowing it to severely damage offensive teams, just by clicking the move that hits the Pokemon super effectively. It doesn't have to worry about surprise scarfers, unless it's a Terrakion/Keldeo/Latios/Latias, due to its great speed.

    -> Sand Offense
    Ever since Joey posted his YouTube video of him using Sand Offense, it became the next big thing. Sand Offense can be deemed as such when the opponent has a Pokemon with Sand Stream (almost always Tyranitar) and an Excadrill, who, thanks to Sand Rush, becomes a major threat to any team lacking a bulky Air Bound Pokemon. Although it isn't quite as popular as it once was, it is still a popular playstyle and can't be ignored when team building.

    The main reason why Sand Offense is so good is because of Excadrill's speed with Sand up. It outspeeds the entire metagame in Sand, only fearing opposing Excadrills. Excadrill can opt for either a Life Orb Attacker or Air Balloon Swords Dance when used in Sand. The best way to beat either set is with Skarmory or Rotom-Wash. Both Pokemon are capable of beating any Sand Rush Excadrill set with ease. Landorus-Therian, Gliscor, and Mandibuzz can all check Excadrill, but all fear taking multiple Iron Heads or the Balloon SD set.

    Obviously, these two Pokemon have a few weaknesses, most notably Keldeo, so typical teammates include AV Azumarill, Latias, or Mega Venusaur. There are more threats to this core and more common teammates, but it isn't worth mentioning as it varies by each person.

    Mega Mawile
    Mega Mawile in general has become extremely common as of late. Mega Mawile posses a threat to any and all teams due to its insane power. It doesn't have STAB on Sucker Punch, but it hits harder than a non-Life Orbed Bisharp does. Mega Mawile has truly has very few counters, a lot of shaky checks, but not counters. It can 1HKOs/2HKOs any non-Steel type with STAB Play Rough, and has access to Swords Dance, boosting its power even more. Sucker Punch allows Mawile's poor speed to not hinder it as much as it could, OHKOing the majority of the 100+ base speed Pokemon with a +2 Sucker Punch. There are things like Keldeo and Terrakion who can handle Mawile, even at +2, but they can never safely switch in, in fear of Play Rough.

    Countering Mawile is a tricky thing. As I said before, there are a lot of shaky checks, but few counters. I saw that because, depending upon the set, Mawile is countered by different things. Landorus-Therian is a popular check, as he is capable of taking one Play Rough + Sucker Punch if he's physically defensive. Mawile has no way of beating him without running a major gimmick like Ice Fang or Hyper Cutter, which I have never seen run befroe. Hippowdon, if physically defensive, can take two Play Roughs or even a +2 Play Rough, but can't beat it with previous damage. Scizor and Ferrothorn are common checks, but both are easily dealt with if Mawile carries Fire Fang. Mega Venusaurs that carry Leech Seed/HP Fire can check Mawiles lacking Iron Head, as they can either 2HKO with HP Fire or sap HP off of Mawile while it tries to kill Venusuar. Heatran is the most popular check there is for Mawile, as he can take any attack the SD set can throw at him. But, Substitute + Focus Punch or Speedy SD Knock Off sets are capable of defeating Heatran, preventing him from being a true counter. The one true counter for Mawile is quite gimmicky and almost never seen in OU; Arcanine. Arcanine, thanks to Intimidate, lower Mawile's attack, resists both STABs, can Will-o-Wisp on the Sucker Punch, and resist the very popular Fire Fang set. I'm not suggesting you use Arcanine in OU, as this is it main, if not only, niche in the OU metagame.


    Tournament Trends

    As I said previously, high level players are typically the "Trend Setters." They have the most experience in Pokemon and try a lot of different things, more than the average player. Sometimes they discover a style, core, or set that works extremely well. If they find one and use it in a battle for a tournament, the majority of the Pokemon community will discover it. Once everyone knows of it, it will be used on the ladder and become a trend.

    Let's take a look at current Tournament Trends:

    Stallbreaker Gliscor

    This set has become quite popular as of late. It was first popularized by Bloo, who used Stallbreaker Gliscor alongside Mega Charizard Y and Scarf Tyranitar in their battle vs Leftiez for the Semifinals of the Smogon Tour. The Gliscor set isn't the same as the Sub Toxic set of old, this set is specially defensive, giving it the ability to beat Landorus-I and other threats. Typically it runs enough speed for both Bisharp and Aegislash (60 EVs in Speed is enough), and the rest of the EVs split between HP and SDef. SB Gliscor runs Roost, Taunt, Toxic, and Earthquake. Sometimes people find a place for Knock Off, in fear of Air Balloon Steel types, such as Aegislash, Excadrill, and Heatran, but typically players opt for the standard set.

    This set is quite amazing at beating Stall, as well as some offense teams. Gliscor can simply Poison the opponents' Pokemon with Toxic and then spam Roost while it tries to kill Gliscor. Or if the Pokemon wishes to Heal itself of the Poison or use Leech Seed on Gliscor, Gliscor can simply Taunt and cripple the Pokemon from doing anything besides attacking.

    Here is a battle between two Tournament Players, gr8astard and Leftiez (GGuadeloupe), playing for Smogon World Cup of Pokemon. Both players are using Stallbreaker Gliscor on stall teams. Obviously, this battle goes on for a long time, longer than my computer can handle a replay for. You don't need to watch the whole battle to understand both Gliscors are very crucial to both players in the battle. Gliscor simply Taunts and cripples the opponents Pokemon.

    Here is a battle between two more Tournament Players, ben gay and Laurel, playing in WCOP. ben gay has an amazing team matchup, mainly due to him running SB Gliscor alongside Mega Gardevoir vs Stall. He has almost no chance of losing this battle right from team preview, thanks to his two amazing stallbreakers. In the replay, Gliscor puts in a lot of work, poisoning most every threat on Laurel's team and putting ben gay in position to win easily.

    Here is one more battle between two Tournament Players. dragonuser is playing Problems for WCOP. dragonuser is using a stall team with SB Gliscor, while Problems is using an offensive team. Between Gliscor, Quagsire, Chansey, and Mega Venusaur, dragonuser has no way to lose this battle without major misplays or major hax. Problems sees this and forfeits turn 14. Although there isn't much, it is easy to see this Gliscor set walls Bisharp, Landorus, and Scizor if Scizor doesn't get a Swords Dance in.

    Endeavor Keldeo

    For almost all of XY, the most popular Keldeo set, by far, was Choice Specs. It never changed, no matter the skill level. And then WCOP came around, and a new set emerged; Sub + Endeavor Keldeo. This set was first publicized by Kushalos, who posted the set in Creative/Underrated things on Smogon. This set's main niche is to weaken things like Azumarill and Mega Venusaur, two of the most common Keldeo counters, weaken them to the point where almost any move can kill them, thanks to Endeavor. The key is to Substitute until your Keldeo is at <25% health, and then use Endeavor. Here is a battle where jasonpwn guaranteed his win by using Endeavor Keldeo.

    This set, obviously, lacks the same power Specs brings to the table. People opt for this set when they want Keldeo's typing, allowing him to deal with Mega Tyranitar and bringing Scald/Secret Sword to the table. If a team doesn't have issues with Mega Venusaur/Amoonguss/Azumarill, it's probably a better idea to use the normal Specs set.

    Alomomola
    I don't think I saw Alomomola used once at high level play in BW2, but I have definitely seen it be used well by good players in XY. Alomomola was seen on a RMT early in XY, but the team never saw more than just acknowledgement. Now, in WCOP, gr8astard is using Alomomola extremely well. gr8astard has given teams to both Shoka and Halcyon of Light, both which have an Alomomola. gr8astard has also used Alomomola on both of his teams in his two (1 and 2) WCOP battles thus far.

    Alomomola is an extremely underrated Pokemon, as gr8astard clearly displays. Thanks to Regenerator, it can consistently switch in and out without worry. It is used over things like Slowking and Slowbro due to Wish and its high HP stat, allowing it to recover other Pokemon on the team. Alomomola is a great check for prominent setup sweepers, like Mega Charizard X and Mega Gyarados capable crippling them with Toxic. After they get poisoned, Alomomola can either spam Wish + Protect, or switch to another teammate who is capable of taking a hit. Alomomola can also check Latios/Latias if played right. Although it won't be able to take a Psyshock + Draco. If it switches in on a Draco, it will be able to take two after Leftovers recovery.

    Beating Alomomola is a tricky thing, as you most likely will end up with a status afterwards, and that could be crucial, depending upon the game and your team.
    Last edited by McDanger; 5th July 2014 at 6:59 PM.

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    Featured Pokemon - Volcarona



    History

    Relatively new, Volcarona was a dominant sweeper in BW 1, with solid base stats and the second best boosting move in the game, Quiver Dance. That working with its signature move Fiery Dance turned it into an offensive threat in one turn. Volcarona, while not that flexible in sets, was quite versatile, excelling in raw power on sun teams, or enjoying the diversity of sand, even earning a spot as a solid rain sweeper with its access to Hurricane and ability to break through sun teams. BW 2 changed the meta a lot and hurt the fiery moth more than helped it, gaining both Roost and Giga Drain allowing it to run a bulky set without Rest and the ability to hit waters without using a Hidden Power or Solarbeam. However new sweepers, especially Keldeo, gave Volcarona a run for its worth as a powerful special sweeper and with the sharp increase in rain usage most of BW 2 and new stealth rockers, Volcarona found itself far less used. However, Volcarona still held its own with its good bulk, now preferring a Passho Berry to weaken water attacks, often allowing it to create reversals on threats that would KO it otherwise. Volcarona earned its main spot on sun teams, filling not that large of a spot as sun demanded a rapid spinner anyway and assisting the main chlorophyll sweeper, Venusaur, sweep.

    Base Stats

    Hp: 85
    Attack: 60
    Defense: 65
    Special Attack: 135
    Special Defense: 105
    Speed: 100

    With 100 base speed, Volcarona is an oddity, neither that slow or that fast, outpacing threats like Tyranitar, Bisharp, Mega Garchomp, and Excadrill outside of sand, but loses to other common threats like Keldeo, Terrakion, Latios, Talonflame, Mega Pinsir, and Thundurus, while tieing with Mega Gardevoir. Its low defense of 65 makes it hard for Volcarona in a priority filled metagame, taking a lot of damage from threats like Aegislash, while new priority users like Mega Pinsir, Talonflame, and Azumarill can OHKO Volcarona with ease. Its low attack does help it with Foul Play users and confusion, but its big selling point is its 135 special attack, 1 point higher then Dragonite’s attack. That backed with a passible movepool makes Volcarona deadly with the right support.

    Using Volcarona in OU

    Volcarona is very hard to use in OU, mostly because of the common physical priority moves. It demands that those users be removed before it hits the field as well as hazards removed as it loses 50% of its health from Stealth Rocks. Other threats like scarfed Keldeo and Thundurus also should be removed as they can stop Volcarona from truly sweeping. There are a few pokemon that work well with Volcarona offensively and defensively, the first being Amoonguss. Without its assault vest, Amoonguss does a nice job checking Azumarill and Keldeo while putting something to sleep to allow Volcarona the set up turn, while with it it can check Thundurus and Aegislash with Sludge Wave and Foul Play respectfully, but falls to Mega Pinsir and Talonflame. Rocks like Tyranitar do the best job at checking both, as does physically defensive Rotom. Tyranitar can provide hazard support as well, or use the opening to mega evolve and sweep itself, while Rotom can spread burns or paralysis, also helping with Thundurus as it can absorb Thunder Wave.
    On the more offensive side, Latios and Latias do a nice job stopping Keldeo and pressuring Thundurus and Azumarill, but struggle with Aegislash. Mamoswine is also a decent choice as it can pick off Mega Pinsir and Thundurus with its ice moves, intimidate Aegislash with Earthquake, and set up hazards, but can’t directly come in on either of them with its sub par defenses. Both the Mega Charizards bring nice support to the table. Mega Charizard X can pressure Aegislash and Keldeo and do solid damage to Azumarill and break the odd Heatran that can sponge nearly all Volcarona’s attacks, while its bulk helps it beat threats like Talonflame and Mega Pinsir, while Mega Charizard Y provides sun to increase Volcarona’s power and reduce water attacks. Mega Charizard Y can also KO Azumarill and Keldeo with Solarbeam, cripple defensive Heatran, and just cause massive damage with Fire Blast.

    Playing Against Volcarona

    The key thing is to maintain hazards on the field so Volcarona is hesitant to come in, and when it is maintain pressure on it, or force it out. However a good Volcarona player will wait till there is no hazards on the field to try and set up. Pokemon like Dragonite can take a hit fairly well and pressure/KO it back with their powerful attacks. Priority users like Mega Pinsir are exceptionally good at maintaining pressure on Volcarona. Keldeo is a decent option with its powerful Hydro Pumps and it can live a Giga Drain from full health while Sand Rush Excadrill can catch it at +1 with the sand up and KO it. Limit chances for it to come in if you can’t maintain hazards on the field, or be prepared if you need to allow it to come in. If you are especially weak to Volcarona, constantly think if the move you’re going to make will allow the chance for a set up or at least come in and pressure you. Even unboosted, Volcarona hits hard.

    Sets

    Volcarona @ Lum Berry / Leftovers
    Ability: Flame Body
    EVs: 200 Spd / 252 SAtk / 56 Def or EVs: 252 Spd / 252 SAtk / 4 HP
    Modest Nature / Timid Nature
    - Quiver Dance
    - Fiery Dance / Fire Blast / Flamethrower
    - Bug Buzz
    - Hidden Power [Rock] / Giga Drain

    Volcarona’s most common set, this set makes use of its speed, special attack, and amazing boosting move. Fiery Dance is a nice stab fire move with its chance to boost special attack, but lacks the power of Fire Blast and even Flamethrower leaving it up to the user. Bug Buzz is really nice now as it hits through substitutes as well as hits common threats like Tyranitar, Mega Gardevoir, and Mandibuzz hard as well as gets around Mega Venusaur’s Thick Fat. The final slot is open for Giga Drain to heal and deal a lot of damage to waters or Hidden Power Rock for Charizard mostly which Volcarona can’t touch. The Lum Berry is the prefered item because of Thundurus, but Leftovers are nice for their healing factor. Evs most commonly used are max speed and special attack, but a more bulky spread is nice to live a few more hits.


    Volcarona @ Choice Specs
    Ability: Flame Body
    EVs: 252 Spd / 252 SAtk / 4 Atk
    Hasty Nature / Mild Nature
    IVs: 30 Def / 30 SDef / 30 Spd
    - U-turn
    - Fire Blast
    - Bug Buzz
    - Giga Drain

    This set was popular in higher levels of play back in Genesect BW OU and hits like a truck. With 100 base speed, Volcarona can still outpace a fair amount of threats and with a +1 to its special attack, something is going to take a lot of damage. With Fire Blast, Bug Buzz, and Giga Drain, the only thing that resists are fire types, in which case, U turn is a nice option to switch out tho you could run Hidden Power Rock but it would be inferior the the scouting abilities of U turn.
    Last edited by McDanger; 4th July 2014 at 10:01 PM.

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    Introduction

    Every young kid who played their copy of Pokemon Red and experienced the feeling of evolving their Charmeleon into an awesome Charizard knows the power of the Fire type. Throughout the various generations of Pokemon, the Fire starter has almost always been a fan favorite (sorry, Emboar). In competitive battling, the Fire type lives up to its status as a popular type and is a major threat that should not be overlooked.

    The Fire Type in General

    Offensively, the Fire type is very good. Boasting powerful attacks such as Fire Blast, Flamethrower, and Flare Blitz, many Pokemon will be hard-pressed to take repeated assaults from a strong Fire typed attacker. Fire is also notable due to the fact that it hits many good Pokemon for super effective damage. In almost every tier throughout basically every generation, the premier defensive Pokemon have been weak to the Fire type. Fire type coverage moves have thus been very popular on many other types of Pokemon to take advantage of its super effective damage against Grass, Bug, Ice, and Steel types.

    Defensively, the Fire type has its ups and downs. It has a whopping six resistances (Bug, Grass, Steel, Ice, Fire, and Fairy) that are all at least somewhat common in competitive play. Common Pokemon throughout every generation have had trouble breaking through Fire types. However, these solid resistances must come at a price. Fire has three weaknesses to Water, Ground, and Rock, all some of the most common offensive types in the game. Specifically, that Rock weakness is horribly crippling by providing Fire types with a Stealth Rock weakness, which means that whenever a Fire typed Pokemon comes in it loses 25% of its health instantly if Stealth Rock is on the field. Additionally, Earthquake is one of the best moves in the game, and being weak to it while having generally poor defenses is never a good thing. The omnipresence of attacks that are strong against the Fire type makes it difficult to use effectively as a defensive type.

    The Fire Type in OU

    There are four (technically, three) Fire types that you have to be prepared for in the OU metagame. This may seem like a small amount, but these four are top-tier threats that every team has to have an answer for.



    You can't talk about Fire types in OU without bringing up the Mega Charizards. As the only Pokemon in OU to get two Mega Evolutions, seeing a Charizard on the opponent's team instantly creates mindgames concerning which Mega Evolution it is using. Both Mega Charizards are incredibly powerful threats that should not be underestimated. Every team needs to have an effective way to handle Charizard, as one minor misplay against it can tip the tables heavily against you.

    Mega Charizard Y is the wallbreaker of the bunch, and is basically this generation's Hydreigon: next to no counters, but a large number of checks. Users of Mega Charizard Y have basically no reasons not to spam sun-boosted Fire Blasts off of its amazing 159 Special Attack, as the small number of Pokemon that can switch in on it are quickly defeated by a coverage move. Mega Charizard Y can also go the support route with a Will-O-Wisp set that seeks to switch in on common threats such as Bisharp and Azumarill and cripple them with a burn. Be warned, however, that using Mega Charizard Y essentially means you also have to use a Pursuit user, as otherwise the few existing Mega Charizard Y counters can come in for free and gain momentum and potential Stealth Rock damage on the switch. Your best bets for handling opposing Mega Charizard Y are Latias/Latios and Chansey, as these can take every attack that Mega Charizard Y commonly runs and force it to switch out. However, Mega Charizard Y can handle these with Dragon Pulse and Flare Blitz, respectively. Heatran also works, but they typically run Focus Blast or Earthquake to beat it.

    Mega Charizard X, instead of wallbreaking, prefers to either sweep through the opposing team or do the walling itself using its formidable defenses. There are two main Mega Charizard X sets, each with completely different counters, which adds yet another layer to the mindgames that Charizard plays. The most popular sets are the Dragon Dance sweeping sets, which in turn can either be bulky or full offensive. Bulky Dragon Dance Mega Charizard X seeks to use its excellent bulk and great set of resistances to set up and sweep through the opposing team. Access to Roost augments its defensive capabilities and helps it recover Stealth Rock damage. Once it has accrued enough boosts, it runs through the opponent's team with its dual STABs of Flare Blitz and Dragon Claw. Offensive Dragon Dance sets are similar, but they run more offensive EVs and typically use a coverage move (usually Earthquake for Heatran, but Thunder Punch can be run for Azumarill) over Roost. These Mega Charizard X use their terrifying offensive presence to force switches and gain boosts. The other primary set is the tank set, primarily found on defensive and balanced teams. Instead of setting up to sweep the opponent's team, it uses its great defensive typing and good bulk to counter and cripple numerous top-tier threats. Bulkier teams appreciate Tank Mega Charizard X's ability to handle tough Pokemon such as Mega Charizard Y, Bisharp, Aegislash, and Mega Mawile that could otherwise overwhelm said teams. Typically, Tank Mega Charizard X runs Roost, Will-O-Wisp, Dragon Claw, and Earthquake to maximize the amount of the metagame that it can handle. Mega Charizard X is easier to counter than Mega Charizard Y, with Dragon Dance variants being handled by Azumarill, Hippowdon, Heatran (if lacking Earthquake) Slowbro, and other bulky physical walls. The tank set had similar counters, though few of them don't mind a burn, so be careful if it is packing Will-O-Wisp



    Though it's considered more of a Flying type than a Fire type, Talonflame is definitely another OU Fire type that has shaped the metagame. Ever noticed how basically every single team has a Flying resist nowadays? Specifically, one that isn't bothered by Fire attacks? Talonflame is why. Though its stats may seem underwhelming (don't get me wrong, they are), they are coupled with one of the best abilities in the game: Gale Wings. Providing +1 priority to all Flying typed moves, Gale Wings causes Talonflame to be quite possibly the best revenge killer in the tier. Talonflame's Brave Bird is the second-strongest priority attack in the game (behind Yveltal's Dark Aura Sucker Punch), meaning that if a team has any sort of frail sweeper not resistant to Flying, they probably have a Talonflame counter to ensure that the bird can't come in and revenge kill it.

    The most common Talonflame set is the Choice Band set, which can come in after a teammate has been killed and fire off an insanely powerful priority Brave Bird that ravages most frail offensive Pokemon. Flare Blitz is used as a secondary STAB that hits the Steel-types that are frequently used to take Flying attacks. U-turn is used in the third slot to gain momentum off of the many switches that Talonflame forces and hit Tyranitar, a common Talonflame switch-in, fairly hard. The final slot is filler, but good options include Will-O-Wisp, Roost, Tailwind, and Me First. Though the Choice Band set is powerful, it is also very predictable. As such, some people run Sharp Beak or Life Orb sets so that Talonflame can switch moves and hit answers to Brave Bird with a powerful Flare Blitz. Bulk Up stallbreakers are also interesting options, as they can blow through stall teams with a speedy Taunt and the ability to slowly boost up to the point where Brave Birds can bust even the sturdy physical walls. Swords Dance Talonflames can also be run, but they are generally inferior to other options. Countering Talonflame is thankfully not hard, as it only has a base 81 Attack stat. Anything with reasonable bulk and/or Speed that can take one or two Brave Birds works. Options include Thundurus, Tyranitar, Rotom-Wash, Heatran, Raikou, and Mega Manectric.



    Though not as metagame-defining as the previous two entries, Heatran is almost as terrifying as them due to its incredible versatility. There are an incredible number of viable Heatran sets, and in order to develop a plan to eliminate it you first have to know which set you're facing,

    Again, there are too many usable Heatran sets to describe each of them in detail, so this section will just go over the basics of each of them. The primary set used is the specially defensive set, which is used on bulkier teams to set up Stealth Rock and check numerous threats in the metagame. Lava Plume's high burn rate and Heatran's great Special Attack make this set difficult to switch into as well, and access to Roar means that specially defensive Heatran also makes a great pivot. SubToxic Heatran seeks to cripple its most popular counters (bulky Waters and Grounds) with Toxic poisoning while stalling out bulky Pokemon in general with Substitute and Protect. SubToxic Heatran is best used on bulky offensive teams whose win conditions appreciate the weakening of bulky Heatran counters. Power Herb offensive sets also seek to lure bulky Waters and Grounds, but are better suited to more offensive teams with its one-use Solar Beam crippling or outright OHKOing common Heatran counters like Rotom-W and Azumarill. Finally, Choice Scarfed Heatran outspeeds everything up to Greninja and serves as a great revenge killer for offensive teams. Almost every single Heatran set has plenty of different options to choose from, making it even harder to handle than it normally would be. Stone Edge snipes Talonflame and Mega Charizard Y, two things that Heatran checks very well. Air Balloon helps protect against one potentially crippling Ground attack. Dragon Pulse can also be used to beat weakened Dragonite and Latios/Latias on the switch. Though it is hard to have a universal counter for Heatran due to its versatility, there are a number of answers to it. For the most part, anything with a strong, STABed Water, Ground, or Fighting attack works well to beat Heatran. Examples include both Landoruses, Keldeo, Gyarados, Garchomp, Conkeldurr, etc.

    The Fire Type in UU

    UU is the tier of Fire types. There are so many good Fire types in the tier that it would be impossible to discuss them all individually, but for the most part there are two groups of them: physical attackers and special attackers.



    Physical Fire attackers basically run the metagame. Every team needs to have a solid, physically bulky Fire resist because of these guys. Victini and Darmanitan basically play the same way, pivoting around with Scarfed/Banded U-turns and nuking things with extremely powerful V-Creates and Flare Blitzes, respectively. Arcanine's typically more defensive than the other two, but is very versatile and has helpful options for offensive sets like Close Combat, Morning Sun, and Extreme Speed. Infernape's simply incredible in UU, with a seemingly endless movepool and the ability to run many different viable sets. Most of the time, however, you'll see Scarfed Infernape or Mixed Infernape.



    Specially attacking Fire types are a little less prevalent than their physical counterparts in UU, but are still terrifying threats with a shocking amount of versatility. Mega Houndoom didn't appreciate the drops of Blissey, Infernape, and Goodra at all, but is still a premier special sweeper with a Nasty Plot set that can run through teams late-game. It even has Destiny Bond to take down yet another Pokemon after its sweep has run its course. Rotom-Heat is a powerful counter to many of the top-tier Pokemon, as it is able to run physically defensive sets, specially defensive sets, Choice Scarf, and even Choice Specs viably. Rotom-Heat is a lot like Rotom-Wash in OU in that it isn't overly threatening by itself, but provides invaluable support to other, bigger threats and serves as an answer to many opposing threats. Chandelure isn't nearly as good as it once was in BW UU, but still remains one of the tier's most potent wallbreakers and can easily punch holes in the opponent's team for another sweeper to wipe through late-game. Infernape makes another appearance, because even if its main sets are physical it can easily run just-as-threatening special sets that take advantage of its decent special movepool and access to Nasty Plot.

    Notable Fire Type Moves

    Physical:

    Flare Blitz | Power: 120 | Accuracy: 100 | PP: 15 (24) | Effect: Inflicts 1/3 recoil. 10% chance of burn.

    Flare Blitz is the gold standard of physical Fire typed power, being used on basically every physical Fire type that gets it. The recoil is definitely an annoyance, but the raw power it offers is often too much to pass up.

    Fire Punch | Power: 75 | Accuracy: 100 | PP: 15 (24) | Effect: 10% chance of burn.

    Fire Punch is the poor man's Flare Blitz, and is only ever really used as a coverage move on various physical sweepers. The introduction of Aegislash makes it usable on things like Mega Medicham who would otherwise be walled by it. Generally, though, you won't have to bother with this.

    V-Create | Power: 180 | Accuracy: 95 | PP: 5 (8) | Effect: Lowers user's Defense, Special Defense, and Speed by one stage.

    Though only two Pokemon in the game get it (Rayquaza and Victini), V-Create is a staple on them because of the ungodly amount of power it provides. In the case of Rayquaza, V-Create is the same power as a STAB Outrage, meaning that when it needs raw power without wanting to be locked into Outrage, it can fire off one of these and hit something just as hard. Down in UU, Victini spams this as much as it possibly can, punching holes in the opponent's team. It's definitely a very scary attack.

    Sacred Fire | Power: 100 | Accuracy: 95 | PP: 5 (8) | Effect: 50% chance of burn.

    Similar to V-Create, Sacred Fire has only two users, but those two (Ho-Oh and Entei) can definitely make good use of it. Both use it as their primary STAB attack, and is typically the go-to move whenever you don't know what will switch in. Nothing appreciates Sacred Fire's 50% burn rate on the switch-in, and with the same power as Earthquake it packs a punch, too. If this got better distribution it would probably be the best Fire type move, but it didn't.

    Special:

    Fire Blast | Power: 110 | Accuracy: 85 | PP: 5 (8) | Effect: 10% chance of burn.

    The special equivalent of Flare Blitz, but with no recoil and less accuracy. Generally, it's the standard special Fire move, getting excellent damage on anything that doesn't resist it. 85% accuracy is a bit of a gamble, but it's not as bad as some attacks.

    Flamethrower | Power: 90 | Accuracy: 100 | PP: 15 (24) | Effect: 10% chance of burn.

    The weaker, more accurate version of Fire Blast. With the nerf to its power it's not as useful as it once was, but for those who hate low-accuracy moves or for Pokemon who can't afford a miss, Flamethrower is a usable option.

    Lava Plume | Power: 80 | Accuracy: 100 | PP: 15 (24) | Effect: 30% chance of burn.

    A Fire typed Scald. A good option on bulkier Fire types, of which there are unfortunately few. Heatran's definitely the best user of it, as it forces a lot of switches to things that do not appreciate a burn. Sadly, most things that get this have better things to be doing.

    Overheat | Power: 130 | Accuracy: 90 | PP: 5 (8) | Effect: Lowers user's Special Attack by two stages.

    As the Fire typed Draco Meteor, Overheat sees use on hit-and-run attackers. Due to its crippling Special Attack drop, it's rare that you'll see it used more than once in a row. It helps that most of its viable users are hit-and-run by nature (ScarfTran, Mega Manectric, Rotom-H, etc.) which alleviates the pain of the Special Attack drop when used correctly.

    Support:

    Will-O-Wisp | Power: - | Accuracy: 85 | PP: 15 (24) | Effect: Inflicts burn.

    As the only attack that guarantees a burn when it connects, Will-O-Wisp sees a lot of use on support Pokemon whose aim is to cripple physical attackers. Due to burn effectively halving the opponent's Attack stat and the wide availability of this attack, expect to see Will-O-Wisp used often in competitive play.

    Conclusion

    Though Fire types have only started to dominate the metagame recently, they have done so admirably. Every generation since Generation 4 has seen Fire types as top-tier threats, and the Fire type is only getting better with each generational shift. The best way to witness the power of Fire types is to play a few games of OU or some other tier. Just remember that stopping, dropping, and rolling won't always be enough to save you from them.
    Last edited by McDanger; 4th July 2014 at 10:04 PM.

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    Risk vs Reward

    What is Risk vs Reward

    Risk vs Reward is often referred to as predictions by most players, but isn’t. Prediction is basically guess work while risk vs reward involves more though. As it suggest, this involves judging the situation and figuring out if the risk of a move is worth the reward. To effectively do this you need to understand the opponents team as well as your own, done generally through team preview.

    Heres an example. You have Swampert in on an opponents Zapdos with Mega Pinsir waiting while they have Gyarados. You know that your opponent can’t touch Swampert with Zapdos as well as needs it to beat Mega Pinsir, so a switch is likely. So you weigh your options, you can switch into Mega Pinsir to intimidate Gyarados, set up Stealth Rocks with Swampert, or attack with Swampert. Then you look at it from your opponents side. They know you have Stealth Rocks which if that goes up, Zapdos can be KOed by +2 Mega Pinsir. Gyarados is also the only thing that can touch Swampert as well, but if you go into Mega Pinsir they will be pressured. Zapdos can also live an Ice Beam so it could Roost so it could live an attack from Mega Pinsir as well as create a favorable matchup for it if Mega Pinsir comes in. As such, Stealth Rocks is the best option as you either get them up and cripple Zapdos if it goes to Gyarados or hurt both Gyarados and Zapdos if it Roosts.

    When to use Risk vs Reward

    Most often risk vs reward is predominant mid game after you have had a chance to feel up the opponent to say and understand how they play so you can adjust your style. While you can use it every turn, most turns will be smaller and you should be able to weigh the options within a few seconds. Sometimes it varies on the pokemon. Things like mixed Mega Garchomp are always risk vs reward situations where if you pick the wrong move you give the opponent a free turn as you switch to something more suiting.

    Conclusion

    Risk vs Reward is a dominating part of higher tier playing, especially in that of tournaments. While it is often used to an extent by newer players in the form of prediction, its a more logical based method of choosing your actions and makes the game a bit more strategic. Mastering Risk vs Reward is a step in the direction of being good at competitive play, working hand in hand with teambuilding and using team preview.
    Last edited by McDanger; 4th July 2014 at 10:01 PM.

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    Metagame Introduction - Stabmons

    Stabmons is a more abstract metagame like balanced hackmons that is a lot more enjoyable than standard play as it makes more pokemon usable. Stabmon is neary identical to OU in the exception that pokemon have access to all moves that match their types. This opens the door for several new sets and threats as well as team ideas that makes Stabmon a lot of fun to play.

    General Rules

    -All pokemon can use moves that match their current and past typings, ex. Espeon has access to all psychic and normal moves.
    -Mega’s have yet to be clarified if they gain their respected stabs.
    -Standard OU bans apply

    Common Team Builds

    Hyper Offense/Heavy Offensive

    Especially true amongst Serebii players, heavy and hyper offensive teams are often the first type of team that comes to mind. With new sweepers like Dragon Dance Garchomp and Shift Gear Scizor, its not that surprising. Most of these teams are easy to fill with powerful sweepers as there is an incredible amount of deadly sweepers now to make use of.

    Balanced

    Balanced is still quite good, but is overshadowed by stall and hyper offensive. However, balanced has a wide array of pokemon that can cause damage from both a defensive and offensive point of view. Greninja becomes deadly gaining Dark Void and Parting shot, comboed with its high speed, making it an excellent check to fast pokemon. Sableye is just as devastating if not worse, now gaining destiny bond. Even the defensive beast Tyranitar gets Dark Void. Offensively, bulky sweepers like Mawile and Scizor gain Shift Gear, Mawile also gaining Bullet Punch, while the genies and Gyarados gain Roost and Brave Bird. Finally, Kyurem Black and Terrakion gain priority moves with Ice Shard and Mach Punch respectfully, while the later also gets Head Smash.

    Stall

    Stall is really overlooked in favor of the powerhouse sweepers, but is still quite good. Defensive threats like Landorus Therian and Gliscor now Spikes, Landorus also gaining Roost, while Rotom Wash gets Scald. Hippowdon is now able to set up Spikes while defensive eevee forms like Umbreon and Vaporeon can wish pass, use Recover, or Rapid Spin, Umbreon also can use Parting Shot or Dark Void. Grasses now gain access to Spore, making Mega Venusaur a huge threat, which also gains Toxic Spikes. Steels now gain King’s Shield making things like Ferrothorn and Heatran a pain for physical attackers while darks like Sableye can use Topsy Turvy to flip boosted stats with priority thanks to Prankster.

    Example sets

    Offensive



    Garchomp @ Lum Berry / Life Orb / Garchompite
    Ability: Rough Skin
    EVs: 252 Spd / 252 Atk / 4 HP
    Jolly Nature
    - Dragon Dance
    - Dragon Claw / Outrage
    - Earthquake
    - Stone Edge / Iron Head

    Garchomp is naturally deadly in OU with swords dance and 102 speed, but add dragon dance and its easy to muscle through teams. Mega Garchomp also is an excellent user of dragon dance with its 170 base attack, much like Kyurem Black, making Garchomp an incredible powerful threat. With access to Dragon Dance, Dragon Claw is a favored dragon stab as it lacks the confusion of Outrage, however a lum berry helps but with priority sleep being common its best to save that. Earthquake is still your best ground stab, however Land’s Wrath is an option, but sub par while Stone Edge benefits from the attack boost and hits fairies like Togekiss hard, while Iron Head is another option.



    Togekiss @ Power Herb
    Ability: Serene Grace
    EVs: 252 SAtk / 4 SDef / 252 Spd
    Timid Nature
    - Geomancy
    - Moonblast
    - Flamethrower / Aura Sphere
    - Air Slash

    Togekiss gains access to one of the best boosting moves in Stabmon, Geomancy. However it is a one shot deal so team support is needed, but is devastating when it’s pulled off. Not much changes from that of nasty plot Togekiss except a good fairy stab with Moonblast. Air Slash and Flamethrower work as your coverage and secondary stab, while Aura Sphere is an option but is generally inferior.

    Defensive



    Sableye @ Leftovers
    Ability: Prankster
    EVs: 252 Def / 248 HP / 8 SDef
    Bold Nature
    - Dark Void
    - Topsy-Turvy / Parting Shot / Will-O-Wisp / Destiny Bond
    - Topsy-Turvy / Parting Shot / Will-O-Wisp / Destiny Bond
    - Recover

    Sableye is a champion defensive pokemon in stabmon with a massive support movepool and Prankster to gain priority with it. While older moves are useable such as will o wisp, they fall in comparison to new ones such as Parting Shot, forcing pokemon to switch out with stat decreases, or Topsy Turvy reversing stat boosts of sweepers allowing you to set up your own or hazards. Recover is still nice to heal damage unless you want to run Destiny Bond but even then its still helpful. Dark Void is a solid choice and should always have a slot just because it makes the game 6-5 at the start.



    Landorus-Therian (M) @ Leftovers
    Ability: Intimidate
    EVs: 8 Def / 248 HP / 252 SDef
    Careful Nature
    - Roost
    - Spikes / Stealth Rocks
    - Earthquake
    - Whirlwind / Defog

    Landorus Therian is basically a superior Hippowdon for teams that dont want sand. Having Intimidate, Landorus can be both specially defensive or physically defensive, making it an unpredictable wall for the most part. Now gaining Roost, Landorus can heal off damage and last longer in the match and having access to Spikes and Stealth Rocks, its unpredictable in terms of hazard set up. Will Earthquake is for a general stab, Whirlwind is now an option for phasing threats out that try to boost on it such as Dragonite that are immune to its attack. However if needed Landorus can defog for more balanced teams.
    Last edited by McDanger; 4th July 2014 at 10:02 PM.

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    Abilities often make or break a pokemon. Slaking and Regigigas would be top tier threat, but poor abilities hinder them, while pokemon like Blaziken are banned because of their stellar abilities pushing them over the edge. Here we will discuss some pokemon that would enjoy new abilities and would increase their competitive standing.

    Archeops



    New Ability: Aerilate

    Archeops has massive attack, high speed, high special attack, and a decent move pool. However, Defeatist however cripples Archeops’ offensive abilities, comboed with Archeops’ weakness to stealth rocks. However, with Aerilate Archeops’ turns into an offensive juggernaut, gaining a powerful stab in the form of Return as well as priority with Quick Attack. This comboed with Head Smash or Stone Edge makes it hard for anything that isn’t a steel to switch in and with Heat Wave on a mixed Life Orb set not much can easily switch into Archeops. Archeops can also use a Choice Band and just deal massive to anything that comes in, using Earthquake to hit steels aside from Skarmory who takes Stone Edge.

    Kyurem



    New Ability: Snow Warning

    Hail has only one inducer, two if you count Mega Abomasnow. Normal Kyurem would make a nice hail inducer with its dragon/ice typing, bulk, and massive attack stats. The biggest bonus is Kyurem’s access to Roost, allowing it to heal off damage from entry hazards as well as from coming into threats such as Rotom Wash, Mega Venusaur, and Greninja. This also frees Kyurem to come in and spam Blizzard from its 130 special attack as well as use an Icy Rock if you want. However Kyurem is better suited with a Choice Specs to increase the damage from Blizzard as well as Draco Meteor, or a Choice Scarf to revenge threats with its decent 95 speed.

    Mega Tyranitar



    New Ability: Sheer Force

    While being unable to fully abuse Sheer Force, Mega Tyranitar uses a lot of moves that get a boost from it while not really using Sand Stream. With Sheer Force, both or Mega Tyranitar’s stab moves get a boost. Crunch goes from 120 base power to 160 and Rock Slide goes from 112.5 to 147 hitting almost as hard as Stone Edge with solid accuracy . As for coverage moves, Mega Tyranitar often uses Ice Punch, now hitting for 97.5 base power on neutral threats, 390 on threats like Landorus Therian and Dragonite. Earthquake is the main coverage move that Tyranitar doesn’t get a Sheer Force boost one however, but doesn’t mind with its beefed up stab moves.

    Metagross



    New Ability: Bulletproof

    Metagross would thrive with Bulletproof, losing its fear of threats like Aegislash and Gengar being immune to Shadow Ball and Focus Blast. This would give Metagross a lot of chances to set up an agility or filler a better niche, a stealth rock offensive pivot. Metagross could also use an Assault Vest to give it even more bulk and become a powerful offensive pivot with the elemental punches, Earthquake, and Bullet Punch, allowing it to revenge threats as well as pressure a lot of them in general.

    Raikou



    New Ability: Lightning Rod

    Raikou is meant to get Volt Absorb at some point if Gamefreak decides to not troll us again. However Lightning Rod is superior, increasing its special attack when it comes into threats such as Thundurus with its Assault Vest set and can then KO back with the boost. This will allow Raikou to act a lot like Manectric in BW RU, come into an electric attack and then deal a lot of damage with its coverage move and general electric stabs, and Raikou is fairly hard to switch into with Thunderbolt, Aura Sphere, and Hidden Power Ice.

    Zygarde



    New Ability: Mold Breaker

    Mold Breaker is in general an amazing offensive ability. However it is spectacular on Zygarde as it negates Levitate on answers to it such as Latios and Rotom Wash allowing it to use Earthquake instead of Outrage. This also allows Zygarde to ohko Dragonite even without stealth rocks. With Mold Breaker, Zygarde becomes easily one of the most offensive dragon dancers with its natural bulk and Extreme Speed to revenge threats such as Mega Pinsir and Talonflame making it harder to revenge like most other boosting pokemon. [/CENTER]
    Last edited by McDanger; 4th July 2014 at 10:04 PM.

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