The season of a volatile VGC metagame is upon us, and we hope that you’re having as much fun team building as we are! Although the format only arrived on Pokemon Showdown yesterday, players have already been experimenting with the VGC 2019 Sun Series. We’re going to see a lot of change and evolution over the months to come, but let’s dive in and see what’s being brewed up!
Our first Pokemon has the highest potential for the Sun Series. Everyone’s favorite deer from VGC 16, Xerneas! Running a pretty standard set that we all know and love from the Big 6, Xerneas will be sweeping teams like it’s nobody’s business if opponents come in unprepared to hard-check it.
Xerneas @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
– Dazzling Gleam
Common checks for Xerneas will crop up as Ferrothorn, Aegislash and some newer additions since VGC, like the slow-yet-ever-stall-y Celesteela. Ferrothorn, like Xerneas, comes fairly cookie cutter in many cases.
Ferrothorn @ Lum Berry
Ability: Iron Barbs
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 SpD
– Gyro Ball
– Power Whip
– Leech Seed
Ultimately, no matter how we try and shift the EV’s, we’re looking at a frequent 2HKO from Ferrothorn’s Gyro Ball.
0 Atk Ferrothorn Gyro Ball (147 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Xerneas: 168-198 (83.1 – 98%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Should the Ferrothorn user choose a set running 252 Atk EV’s, and maybe something like an Assault Vest, for example, they’re then looking at a 94% chance to OHKO Xerneas.
252 Atk Ferrothorn Gyro Ball (147 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Xerneas: 212-252 (104.9 – 124.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
Next, we come to another VGC 2016 powerhouse, the Sapphire generation’s poster child Kyogre! While we’re going to have to wait a few months for Blue Orb to come available in the Ultra Series, Kyogre will find a home on many teams without its Primal markings. Referring back to VGC 2016, one of the most common non-Primal Kyogre sets ran Choice Scarf, a Modest Nature, and an offensive EV spread.
Kyogre @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
– Origin Pulse
– Water Spout
– Ice Beam
This Choice Scarf set allows us to exploit Kyogre’s very high SpA base stat, while moving very quickly through Scarf + Spe EV. Due to the return of Groudon to the format, Kyogre will show its strength strongly checking Groudon in Sun:
252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Groudon in Sun: 168 (81.1%) – 200 (96.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
And other more recent Fire-type threats like Incineroar through Sun:
252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Incineroar in Sun: 168 (83.1%) – 200 (99%) — guaranteed 2HKO
All the while destroying these, and a good portion of the non-Fire-type meta when in Rainy conditions. Pokemon to watch out for when using a Kyogre of your own will be some of the previously mentioned Grass-type Pokemon, such as Ferrothorn and Amoonguss. Not only will they resist the strong Water-type attacker, but also hold the potential to pack a punch through a beefy Grass Knot (Kyogre’s large, or something…).
Not to skim too quickly over Groudon, the Ground-type behemoth will likely be returning in full force as a physical attacker, showing its raw power through Precipice Blades. Though we won’t have access to the main VGC 2016 Groudon set until next year, some viable options may arise in Assault Vest, Choice Scarf/Band and Life Orb. A sample Choice Band set may look like so.
Groudon @ Choice Band
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Precipice Blades
– Rock Slide
– Fire Punch
– Stone Edge
Where Groudon shows up in VGC 2019, we are likely to see its new pal alongside… VGC 2018’s top
dog cat Incineroar! Through last season, we watched both Figy Berry and Assult Vest sets tear through the meta. One may expect very similar Incineroar sets such as:
Incineroar @ Figy Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
– Fake Out
– Flare Blitz
– Knock Off
Flare Blitz will put up massive numbers in Groudon’s sunlight, so be ready whether Fire-weak or not!
As legendaries are the exciting theme of VGC 2019, let us continue on through some more popular Pokemon! Tapu Lele who everyone grew to love in VGC 2018, will once again likely be a force to reckon within the new evolving meta.
As Lele can not use Psychium through the Sun Series, trainers will be looking to items such as Life Orb and Choice Scarf to fill the void. Both Thunder and Thunderbolt will be newly viable options on Lele, as we can expect to see Kyogre and other Rain-type ‘mons running rampant through the format. Shadow Ball, Dazzling Gleam and other moves will fill flex slots on this set, allowing the user to be creative as the meta shapes itself.
Tapu Lele @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Psychic Surge
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
– Shadow Ball
Necrozma-Dusk-Mane, making its VGC debut in the form of a lion, is another contender likely to make waves in the format. Basing usage off of the Ubers format, where Necrozma is a top tier player, we can begin shaping sets like the one below (Leftovers are another potential item choice). With access to Trick Room, Necrozma has the potential to be a hard hitting Trick Room setter, with Weakness Policy pumping up its survivability and attack power significantly.
Necrozma-Dusk-Mane @ Weakness Policy
Ability: Prism Armor
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpDef
– Photon Geyser
– Sunsteel Strike
– Trick Room
ThoughNecrozma-Dusk-Mane will likely have a place in the meta, the prominence of Groudon is going to make its job a little less easy. That said, this never seems to stop team builders from working out solutions!
Though we covered a number of Pokemon likely to see meta usage in VGC 2019, this is only a brief summary of some common contenders from past formats. Other legendaries like Mewtwo, Yveltal, Rayquaza and Lunala show strong potential in the legendary slots. As we move into the thick of the Sun Series, we’ll find out who can stand the test of competition!
It’s going to be an exciting few months, so stay tuned to your favorite VGC sources, and check our Pokedex for updates!