Dealing With Non-Pentagon Threats on Battle Spot – A Season 12 Reflection

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Battle Spot Season 12 saw the rise of some really interesting non-pentagon threats. These Pokémon gained previously-inaccessible moves or abilities, through being migrated from previous games via Pokémon Bank. These moves could have come from either old move tutors, or even special events. This article aims to enlighten you on new developments that have been seen throughout the 12th season of Battle Spot.

Follow Me Users

There are now a few more viable Follow Me users added to what was once a very exclusive list. Redirection is something that can be useful for lots of teams, so be sure to consider all your options in teambuilding. Be prepared for many unique Pokémon choices if you wish to do well on the Battle Spot Doubles ladder, especially these unusual support Pokémon. Follow Me is a +2 priority status move which “redirects” the attacks used by the foe Pokémon towards the user, a great way to protect frail Pokémon like Talonflame or Weavile. It’s also great for allowing things like Mega Salamence to set up Attack and/or Speed boosts with moves such as Dragon Dance.

Magmar

magmar

Back in 2013 in the Masters division, Se Jun Park managed to make top 8 with his own Magmar. It will of course run the coveted move Follow Me, with the rest of its selected moves usually being Will-O-Wisp, Helping Hand, Overheat/Flamethrower or Protect. Magmar’s ability will predominately be Flame Body, as when a Pokémon hits it with a contact move, it risks a chance of being burned. Kangaskhan, for example, has a 51% chance of being burnt if her Parental Bond ability is active when she targets down Magmar. This is most likely the reason most Magmar pick the Bold nature, to patch up Magmar’s lower defensive stat. It will only be seen with Eviolite, which boosts the defensive stats of not fully evolved (NFE) Pokémon. This is why Magmar is used over its evolved brother Magmortar, since it has higher defensive capabilities with Eviolite equipped. Another handy consequence of this is that it helps with item clause (only one of each item on a team), since it does not require an item like Sitrus Berry.

Electabuzz

electabuzz

Resembling Magmar’s role on a team (though far less common) is Electabuzz. Clearly, Electabuzz has the Electric typing instead of Fire; which is only weak to Ground and resists Steel, Electric and Flying types. This allows it to be a better redirection choice against Mega Salamence and others. It has the ability Static rather than Flame Body, which gives a 30% chance to paralyse an opponent’s Pokémon on contact, once again 51% against Mega Kangaskhan. Electabuzz can provide speed control both with its ability and the move Thunder Wave. Electabuzz is more of a sleeper pick, but it could be used viably in some highly niche team situations.

Mr. Mime

mr._mime

Mr Mime has an excellent movepool to support teams with. Now having access to Follow Me, but also Wide Guard, Quick Guard, and Fake Out means you should definitely be aware of what it can do. It can carry the ability Soundproof to negate damage from Hyper Voice, which is all too common on the ladder from Pokémon like Mega Salamence, Mega Gardevoir and Sylveon. Also be aware of Filter, another ability allowing it to reduce damage from supereffective attacks to 75%. Bold is the nature normally observed on Mr Mime to compensate for a much lower Defense stat compared to its Special Defense. Unfortunately Mr. Mime requires substantial investment in bulk if you want it to survive on the field for long enough to support its teammates.

Blastoise

blastoise

Blastoise has excellent defensive stats (79/100/105) and has an amazing pure Water typing, giving it only two weaknesses, making it a strong candidate for a support. The spot where Blastoise can trick people is that it can either be a support Blastoise, or it could be Mega Blastoise. Most of the time it will be the Mega form (66.7% at the time of writing). However if teammates like Kangaskhan or the like are present, there is a good chance that it could be the support variant. A support Blastoise will most likely carry Scald, Icy Wind/Ice Beam (a choice between speed control or an immediate KO on Landorus-T), Follow Me and Protect. Remember that Fake Out is not actually legal with Follow Me Blastoise, since they come from separate events. Battle Spot does not check for these things on older generation event Pokémon, so don’t expect to never see a Fake Out with a Follow Me Blastoise, though if you do see such a thing, you can be sure that the Blastoise is illegitimate. Bold/Calm Nature and Rocky Helmet/Sitrus Berry are the stock items seen on Blastoise. The decision should be made here to tailor to the needs of your team specifically.

Legendary Beasts

Entei

entei

In VGC15, Entei always had a filler move of either Snarl, Will-o-Wisp or Substitute from the standard set of Sacred Fire, Stone Edge and Protect. But now it has the option of running Extremespeed, giving it a more offensive role on teams. The nature lock for this special event was Adamant for Entei. Consequently, its ability to check Kangaskhan if running Extremespeed is reduced; since it can’t speed tie and burn Jolly Mega Kangaskhan with either Sacred Fire or Will-o-Wisp. In season 12, 34% of Entei carried Extremespeed, proving that it’s certainly a move to consider when either playing with or against Entei.

Suicune

suicune

Suicune’s “new” move in Sheer Cold allows it to win some difficult stall matchups; as Calm Mind Cresselia, Porygon2 and Maranga Berry Milotic gain more and more traction in the metagame. If given enough turns to hit a Sheer Cold, Suicune can win the matchup on the spot. This is evidently quite a handy move to have up your sleeve. Sheer Cold should be used as a fourth move over Snarl or Protect, keeping the staple Scald, Ice Beam and Tailwind in the first three slots. The nature lock for Suicune was Relaxed, but once again don’t expect every Suicune to follow suit with this. Sheer Cold is an amazing option on Suicune and has resultantly seen much usage throughout season 12.

Raikou

raikou

Raikou is the one that arguably benefits least with old moves being reintroduced. It does gain access to Aura Sphere and Weather Ball, which provide some interesting coverage options. Nevertheless, these moves don’t get Same Type Attack Bonus (STAB: 1.5x for moves of the same type of the user) and hence don’t pick up any relevant knockouts. It also potentially gets weaker with the worst nature lock of all: Rash (reducing Special Defense). More likely than not you won’t see any change in Raikou’s moves, with Thunderbolt, Hidden Power Ice, Reflect, Light Screen, Snarl and Protect still weighing in as the common moves run by Raikou.

Hidden Ability Genies

The Genies in Incarnate form now get a potential buff having access to their Hidden Abilities.

Thundurus-I

thundurus

The ability Defiant grants a +2 attack boost whenever the Pokémon has another stat reduced. This can occur as the result of an Intimidate from opposing Pokémon, or from a move such as Icy Wind lowering their speed stat. Thundurus’ Defiant variant can threaten bulky Mega Kangaskhan if it receives an attack boost from a stat drop, as these types of Thundurus run the attack Superpower. While it does have a chance of a One Hit Knockout on 4 HP Kangaskhan, it’s only around 50% after the boost. If you see a defiant Thundurus, it’ll always be either Physical or Mixed, running Wild Charge, Superpower, Protect, and then a filler move such as Hidden Power Ice or Knock Off. About 17% of all Thundurus-I on Battle Spot appeared as the Defiant variant in season 12, so it’s certainly one to keep an eye on.

Tornadus-I

tornadus

Tornadus-I also gains the ability Defiant just like Thundurus-I, and is seen with the Defiant ability more commonly at about 24% of the time. Tornadus has fallen from grace from the days of VGC13, where it was used for its Defiant-boosted Flying STAB with the Flying Gem Acrobatics combo. Acrobatics is a move that normally has 55 base power when holding an item. But if it is not holding an item, the move becomes 110 base power. What worked excellently with Tornadus was that the Flying Gem boosts the power of a Flying-Type move once by x1.3 (It was x1.5 before Generation 6, but has since been decreased). The Flying Gem activates before Acrobatics took items into calculations, allowing a very strong move to be used for a single turn. Since Gems have been nerfed/made unobtainable AND Mega Salamence now dominates the metagame with its own high base power Flying-Type attacks, Tornadus-I is left in an awkward position. The addition of the Fairy typing also doesn’t help Tornadus-I, as its Flying-Type moves are now devalued when Fighting-Type Pokémon can be removed with Sylveon or others. Today, Tornadus is more likely to use Sky Drop, Superpower and Knock Off if focusing on offense, however Acrobatics with no item is still seen.

Landorus-I

landorus

Landorus is possibly the most interesting Pokémon out of the three. A variant of the famous “Japanese Sand” archetype was developed in the US by trainers opting to replace Excadrill with Landorus-I. This was initially brought about by Angel Miranda and the Imoutos, who used Landorus-I at Premier Challenges in the New York area. It used its ability Sand Force to boost its Rock, Ground and Steel type attacks by 1.3x, to help target key threats to Mega Salamence and Tyranitar.

With the removal of Pentagon Rule, Landorus was given access to its hidden ability Sheer Force. Sheer Force grants a permanent 1.3x boost to any attack with a secondary effect, without the need to have Sand up. This is at the expense of having all secondary effects of an attack removed, ie Rock Slide’s flinch chance, etcetera. This provided Landorus-I with utility outside of Sand teams, as there wasn’t really any other viable Special Ground-type attacker. While Landorus-I would still run Hidden Power Ice to combat opposing Landorus, it will not get a Sheer Force boost, since it has no Secondary Effect. Commonly, the attacks you’d see on a Landorus-I would be Earth Power, Hidden Power Ice, Sludge Bomb and Protect. However, Stone Edge is also an option if your team needs a way to hit Thundurus or others hard. Sludge Bomb allows for a two-hit knockout on most Fairy-Types. Another unique feature of Landorus-I is an unusual speed tier of base 101. This allows it with maximum investment to always outspeed Jolly Mega Kangaskhan and other base 100s by at least one point.

Heatran

heatran

Eruption Heatran, oh my. Eruption gives Heatran a 100% accurate 150 base power spread move which loses power as Heatran’s HP drops. The advantages of this attack over Heat Wave are clear; any of you who had used Heatran before would understand the crippling fear of missing a Heat Wave on an important target! Speed control is essential for Heatran, as you want to avoid taking any damage before using Eruption, as to maximize the damage output. Heatran’s nature lock from the Special Event in Pokémon Ranger is to the Quiet nature, so most Eruptrans will fit into Trick Room teams. This is a crucial thing to take into account at Team Preview. Items to increase an Eruptran’s longevity are common, with several utility items also being used. Leftovers is the most common item, so that Heatran can make use of Protect to regenerate more HP for stronger Eruptions. Safety Goggles allows Heatran to check two major threats to any Trick Room team — Amoonguss and Aegislash. This pair has the option of underspeeding a medium-speed Trick Room team and either Sporing them (with Amoonguss) or knocking a TR setter out with strong STAB moves (with Aegislash). Life Orb is also an option to increase the damage Heatran can output while on the field, helping make more efficient use of the limited turns Trick Room is active for. However this can be quite counter-intuitive, as the damage to self from Life Orb will reduce the power of Eruption.

Eruptran has some varied partners that it can be played alongside. Amoonguss can be used to redirect attacks away with Rage Powder to keep Eruptran healthy. It can also shut down threats to Heatran by Sporing them before they can attack if Trick Room is active. Gardevoir and Kangaskhan are common Mega partners. Manual sun has also been seen in the past from players such as Wolfe Glick in 2012 (albeit not with an Eruption Heatran). Cresselia is a notable partner, as it can check Landorus-T with Ice Beam and set Trick Room or sun. Another terrifying trick it can pull is by Skill Swapping its Levitate ability onto Heatran. This was the infamous Levitran core used by Wolfe in 2012 at worlds, allowing Heatran to lose its 4x Ground-Type weakness, then reduce its water weakness with manual sun. An issue with this core is that now with the existence of Mega Charizard-Y, Heatran loses its immunity to Fire attacks and will take neutral damage from Charizard. Irrespective, any sort of Eruption Heatran is a huge threat and shouldn’t be taken lightly in Team Preview.

Concluding Thoughts

Season 12 has shown us some amazing new strategies that could be built around these older event moves and abilities, which certainly create some exciting possibilities should this ruleset return. We were only able to research a few strategies that had come to light with the rule change, however please feel free to explore other possibilities which we have missed. There are lots of other potential combinations that could exist; this list is far from exhaustive. We hope you enjoyed season 12 of Battle Spot, and please continue to have fun playing Pokémon!

About FloristtheBudew

Howdy friends. My name's Brendan Webb and I first started in the VGC 2015 season. I was fortunate enough to Top Cut the 15' Australian Nationals with a 6th placement and managed to qualify for worlds. Something I am eternally grateful for. I'm one of the few Tasmanian's who play so if you are interested in my views. You can follow me on twitter @FloristtheBudew
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