First off, I'd like to wish everyone a happy Colonialism Day. Second, I would like to thank SBJ for filling in for me last week, as I was having connection issues and couldn't get Rare Article up. If you recall, two weeks ago I promised a review of what's been going on with this year's VGC. I mean to fulfill that promise, so here is the article that I should have had up a long time ago:
When the rules for VGC 2012 were announced I wrote an article about my predictions for VGC 2012. This article will serve as an update to that, as I was right about a few things, but wrong about a ton of others. Cue the silly chapter headings.
Chapter 1: Goodstuffs, Or: "Goodstuffs" Sounds Like a Candy Bar
Last year, if someone was not running any particular strategy, one would say that they were running a "goodstuffs" team. In other words, there is no unifying theme, but all the Pokémon are good, and they work well in doubles. Surprisingly, it's not the weather teams that are doing the best, but these goodstuffs teams. Sure, weather is common, and perhaps more common than goodstuffs, but it has too many counters to be a sure-fire success. Because of this, we're going to look at a few Pokémon that show up on many goodstuffs teams.
Zapdos has been showing up a ton, specifically a Zapdos that has been taught Heat Wave by a Gen IV tutor. Zapdos' special attack and speed, along with it's ability to counter rain and hail teams with Thunderbolt and Heat Wave, respectively, makes it a force to be reckoned with. (The grammar snob in me wants to say "...makes it a force with which to be reckoned," as ending statements with prepositions is something up with which I shall not put, but it sounds weird to write it that way.) The tough thing for those of us who don't enjoy hacking is that getting a Zapdos with perfect IVs is difficult, as you only have one chance to catch it. RNGing is the only real "legit" way to reliably get a perfect IV Zapdos. An alternate option to Zapdos could be Electivire, as it has access to ThunderPunch and Fire Punch, but unfortunately it is at a disadvantage being a physical attacker due to the presence of Intimidate.
The appearance of Hitmontop in many of my matches was a surprise to me at first, but it makes a lot of sense now. He is a good Fake Out user with access to Rock Slide and Close Combat. Can you really ask for much more? Hitmontop essentially fills the place that Mienshao filled last year, and does it a little bit better.
Scizor is on almost every team I see, including a ton of weather teams. His low speed and access to Technition boosted priority moves makes him a great counter to Trick Room teams. His typing makes him sweep through hail like a boss. He is not weak to any moves common to rain teams. Sure, his fire weakness makes him a liability to sun, but that's why you stick him in the back when you see a Ninetales.
4. Other Common Pokes
Lati@s are in a ton of teams, as they are some of the strongest Pokémon that are still legal. Cresselia is a great supporter/set-up 'mon, Hariyama is a good Fake Out utilizer for Trick Room teams, and the Kami trio returns with their usefull abilities and high base stats.
Chapter 2: Weather, Or: Weather or not You Want it, It's Back!
I'm particularly proud of that pun I just made in the chapter title. Anyway, weather isn't as ubiquitous as I would have predicted. Sure, it's the most common strategy, but there are a ton of other teams cropping up that are doing just as well, and often better. However I thought I should still mention weather teams as any VGC player will come across a few. Rain is the most common, so make sure to bring some electric moves.
Another good strategy for fighting weather is to bring some of your own. A common thing to do is to put an Abamasnow along with a Pokémon that can learn Blizzard in your third and fourth spot, so that when your first two Pokémon get taken out by a weather team you can not only stop their weather but get an invaluable momentum boost.
That's all, folks! I'll see you next week. Comment on this post with your favorite VGC strategy!