Pokémon Sun and Moon: What does it mean for Competitive Players?

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With the most recent trailers and information reveals about the upcoming Pokémon Sun and Moon, we thought it useful to take a look at how these reveals affect the competitive battling side of Pokémon. We hope to update and add to this article as more is learned about Pokémon Sun and Moon and what it will introduce or change.

In Battle

The new battle screen will allow you to track the stat changes of both your Pokémon and the opposing Pokémon, without the need to rely on a notepad. It also appears that this feature will keep track of a Pokémon’s ability. It is currently unknown if ability noting is limited to your own Pokémon, or whether the game displays this information for an opposing Pokémon after its ability has been revealed.

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For those learning the types of newly introduced Pokémon, move effectiveness will now be displayed in the move selection screen.  It is unknown at this time how this feature will interact with the Doubles battle format.

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How these new features interact with type changing moves and abilities will likely not be known until after Pokémon Sun and Moon are released.

Out of Battle

The recently revealed Hyper Training mechanic appears to grant trainers the ability to change the IVs (called Individual Strengths by the Pokémon Company) of their Pokémon. This is a huge boost for trainers, and a potential time saver for ensuring that both their bred and captured Pokémon are able to reach their full battle potential.

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It appears that there is a Hyper Training shop somewhere in the Alola Region, where new items called Bottle Caps can be exchanged to increase the IVs of your Pokémon. Official wording also makes it seem that these changes can only be applied to level 100 Pokémon, although that will not be confirmed until after the games are released. Currently, there are no details on how to collect Bottle Caps other than news that the Japanese Magearna gift will hold a Silver Bottle Cap.

As the full details of Hyper Training have not yet been revealed, we do not yet know whether Hyper Training can be used to lower IVs or to change IVs to specific levels less than the maximum of 31. We can dream though, as both of these options would be a further boost to trainers as they seek to put together the ultimate team.

Tournaments and Competitions

New features for the Pokémon Global Link have been announced that appears to open up a whole new world of tournament organisation to trainers. A new Friendly Competition feature has been constructed that will allow trainers to become competition hosts, for either online, or live tournaments, and hold these competitions outside of and in addition to official tournaments.

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Revealed information shows that Tournament Hosts can set:

  • Name & Description
  • Ruleset (Single or Double Battle)
  • Pokédex (Alola or National)
  • Restrictions (Pokémon from Sun/Moon only, or including Pokémon transferred via Pokémon Bank)
  • Duration of Competition
  • Battle Timer
  • Daily Battle Limit
  • Whether the Competition is public or private
  • Which trainers may participate (with restrictions ranging from open to everyone, to allowing you to specify individual invited trainers)

Online Competitions appear to be random matchup ladder-based competitions. Live Competitions, however, seem to be more amenable to tournament settings that involve Swiss Rounds and Top Cuts, making them perfect for grassroots use. By using a QR code that will allow participants to battle according to the competition’s regulations, this new feature could be a method of being able to run essentially tethered tournaments in a live setting.

If this is the case, it would be a huge gain for organisers who until now have had to run untethered tournaments, taking the manual work out of checking teams and enforcing time limits. We expect this to have a greatly positive impact on the grassroots and Premier Challenge scene at least. Some specific details are yet to be confirmed, such as whether Live Competitions will have a locked Battle Box, whether battle replays can be saved during Live Competitions, and whether Live Competitions can be played out in a non-face to face setting, but the overall news is positive.

Here at Pokémon Australia we will look to make use of this new tournament feature to give Australian trainers the best possible opportunities to practice for the Video Game Championships for future formats.

Pose-Move Mechanic

There appears to be some kind of new battle mechanic that involves trainers interacting with their Pokémon through poses. This may be a mechanic to use a hidden special move, or to power up moves. Details are scarce outside a brief appearance in a Japanese trailer.

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This new mechanic appears to make use of a trainer’s wristband/bracelet, making it similar to the Mega Evolution mechanic. It is unclear whether these two mechanics are related, how they might interact, and what kind of impact this mysterious new mechanic will have on competitive battling. Given that Mega Evolution was revealed just prior to the 2013 World Championships in the lead up to Pokémon X and Y’s release, and the 2016 World Championships are coming up in just under a month, we may be able to learn more about this new battle mechanic very soon.

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New Pokémon and New Abilities

As with every new Generation of Pokémon, there will be new Pokémon and new Abilities to learn about and to consider when building a team to bring to battle. Without knowing base stats, it is difficult to comment on the battle utility of many of the Pokémon revealed so far. Many of the new Abilities that have been revealed look like on the right Pokémon, they will be very influential in future formats. Again though, exactly how influential these abilities are in future formats will depend a bit on the base stats of the Pokémon holding that ability.

To get a full rundown on all the Pokémon revealed so far, you can check out our news article, or jump on the Pokemon Sun and Moon website.
Some noteworthy Pokémon and abilities include:

Tapu Koko and Electric Surge

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Tapu Koko is the Guardian Deity of the Melemele island. Knowing this, it is likely to have base stats totalling 600, as with similarly important Pokémon from previous generations, like Zapdos, Entei, and Landorus. Its ability, Electric Surge, is brand new, and sets an Electric Terrain field effect upon entering battle. As Electric Terrain prevents grounded Pokémon from falling asleep, the right stat distribution could see Tapu Koko with high usage as a method of counteracting powerful sleep strategies seen in previous formats from the likes of Smeargle, Amoonguss and Breloom. While Tapu Koko will have to be careful of Ground type moves, its Fairy and Electric typing should also be strong offensively.

Bruxish and Dazzling

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Strong priority moves from Pokémon like Talonflame, Azumarill and anything with Sucker Punch have been an important part of past formats. Bruxish’s ability Dazzling prevents priority moves from hitting, like an automatic Quick Guard. Bruxish’s Water/Psychic typing is not bad, but not great either. Base stats, movepool, and the specifics of how Dazzling works against things like Pranskter moves and how much of the field it affects will be crucial to Bruxish and Dazzling’s utility in future formats. Dazzling, depending on its mechanics, has the ability to be very strong on a bulky support Pokémon for Trick Room teams, or on a fast offensive Pokémon, as it can negate priority as a method of dealing with either of these team options.

Mudsdale and Stamina

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Currently revealed on the new Pokémon Mudsdale, the ability Stamina, which increases a Pokémon’s Defence after each attack taken could present a strong defensive option for teams that try to support Pokémon like Mudsdale so it can steadily grind through opposing teams. Combined with Intimidate, this could be a great punishment against a physically-oriented team. Special attacks and super effective Grass, Water and Ice attacks would be in high demand if Mudsdale and Stamina prove to be a strong option.

Mimmikyu and Disguise

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Currently revealed for the new Pokémon Mimmikyu, Disguise appears to act as a kind of 0hp substitute. The mechanics of Disguise have not been fully revealed yet, particularly as to whether it might reset upon switch out. With a Fairy/Ghost typing, Mimmikyu could be good as a support or an offensive Pokémon depending on its stat distribution thanks to this ability, which will allow it to remain on the battlefield for at least one extra turn, or even two if it held a Focus Sash.

Comfey and Triage

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This ability has so far been revealed for the new Pokémon, Comfey. Giving high priority to recovery moves would be a fantastic ability for a support Pokémon to have when paired with strong attacking Pokémon of different varieties. We should expect Comfey to have a deep support movepool, but how useful Comfey is will depend on how well it is able to use that movepool, and how well trainers are able to partner it with offensive Pokémon.

 

We hope you have found this helpful. We will continue to add to our analysis of mechanic changes and additions as more information for Pokémon Sun and Moon is revealed,  so stay tuned to keep on top of all the new aspects to the competitive battling side of Pokémon that will come with Sun and Moon’s release on November 18.

About Mindape

A Pokemon fan since Blue and Red. Rarely seen as a trainer in the wild due to irl commitments, but dedicated to contributing to the community regardless. Rio 2016 Olympian.
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