Monday, May 16, 2011

Competitive Battling Spotlight #12: New Pokemon Six

  Today we a have Pokemon that’s been receiving quite a bit of attention for its placement within the rough Smogon tiers, where arguments have arisen that it is either too dominant for UU or still not good enough for OU for a number of devastating factors

The Boundary Pokemon

 Tier: BL (as of January 2012) 
H.P.: 125
Attk: 130
Def.: 90
Sp.A: 130
Sp.D: 90
Spe: 95

Abilities:  Pressure: A typical ability for a Legendary Pokemon. Though there are others out there that could make Kyurem a much better Pokemon, it could always be worse. I guess beggars can't be choosers. 

            Analysis: In avoidance of a bias, I will hereby present a number of reasonable factors for both sides of the argument, allowing you, the great reader, to reach your own conclusion as to where Kyurem should sit in the new metagame.
First let’s begin with the bad. Initially, you might think there are so many burdens for Kyurem to carry on its glacial back, which would not at all be incorrect to assume. However, the vast majority, if not the entirety, of its problems stem from one key detriment to this monstrous Pokemon’s usage: its typing. Dragon and Ice, while offensively superb, garner too many weaknesses to common attacking types, and more particularly, to common attacks in general. Weakness to Mach Punch, especially with a lacking base 95 Speed and the fact that everything that carries Mach Punch does so with STAB leaves Kyurem with too many openings where there really shouldn’t be any. Its defensive stats in general are quite amazing, but with Pokemon like Conkeldurr, Mienshao and Terrakion running around, Kyurem doesn’t stand too much of a chance.
Its next significant weakness is to the Dragon type, where with 95 base Speed it is outsped by nearly every single Dragon out there (bar Altaria and Druddigon, but who really uses them?), resulting in an unfortunate oncoming barrage of Super Effective Dracos and Outrages to the face. Again, though its defenses are good, Dragon is one of the most powerful offensive types out there, and Kyurem does not match up well against Garchomp, Salamence, and even Dragonite, especially when it can’t outspeed and destroy them with a 4x Ice STAB.
Next, and perhaps most importantly, Kyurem is weak to the Rock type. While STAB Stone Edges and Rock Slides aren’t always too threatening, or common for that matter, perhaps its most monumental bane is to the premier entry hazard, Stealth Rock. Losing 25% of its gargantuan health upon switching in is a humongous downside to Rem’s longevity, especially as it is a Pokemon who is most effectively used when switching in and out (it has no boosting moves). What’s more, Stealth Rocks, or entry hazards in general, are used on about 95% of teams today, which makes hazard prevention and removal (i.e. Rapid Spin, Taunt, Magic Bounce, etc) that much more important if you wish to use this Pokemon.
Lastly, while not a conventional weakness as defined by its typing, Kyurem’s movepool is not nearly as useful as its stats might need it to be. It has a considerable amount of offensive moves, including (and limited to) STAB in the form of Draco Meteor, Outrage, Ice Beam and Blizzard, alongside Focus Blast, Hidden Power, Stone Edge and a couple of Ghost moves. That’s about it. As far as “support” goes, it’s got access to Toxic, Sub, and the Dual Screens, though again with its awful defensive typing it won’t make much of a Tank/Wall no matter how high its HP.

            Now for the good. A 660 Base Stat Total; higher than everything non-Uber that doesn’t have a horrendous ability (ahem, Slaking and Regigigas). Ice and Dragon STAB backed by 130 offenses and 95 Speed. Hello Choice Scarf?  Excellent defensive stats that have already been mentioned in this analysis because this really is the limit to this Pokemon’s fame. This really is the first Legendary Dragon with so much power and potential that really hasn’t lived up to its name. Or, rather, it can’t for that matter. I won’t tell you whether Kyurem is “good” or “bad”, but I will say this very exhaustive list highlights the most important things to consider in using it. It’s got what it needs to be a good Pokemon, it just needs to learn how to use them.

Potential Sets: 

  1. Special Choice Scarf Kyurem
4HP/252 Sp. Atk/252 Spe
Modest/Timid @ Choice Scarf
-Draco Meteor
-Ice Beam  
-Focus Blast  
-Hidden Power Fire

            This is my favorite Kyurem set, mainly because it’s the first one I ever used for it. With a larger and more usable Special movepool than a Physical one, this set takes advantage of both of Kyurem’s insanely powerful STABs, along with its decent Speed and other coverage moves. This set  should prove to be quite dominant in the UU tier, where the most prominent Steel type is Registeel, and as long as that is out of the way, not a lot of things are going to enjoy taking a STAB Draco (or Ice Beam) from a 394 Special Attack stat. Also, if used on a Hail team, Ice Beam may (and should) be replaced with Blizzard. Better move in Hail is better.

  1. Mixed Kyurem
128 Atk/128 Sp.Atk/252 Spe
Naïve/Naughty @ Life Orb/Choice Scarf  
-Ice Beam  
-Focus Blast  
-Stone Edge

            With offensive stats like that, Mixed sets are easily the best thing for Kyu to run. This is a rather basic version, with Max Speed and Mixed offenses attained to be fast and deal damage while attempting to avoid those overly powerful Super Effective attacks (and Stealth Rock). Really, this is more of a guideline set, as with the given EV spread Kyurem can run just about any of the attacks it has. HP Fire, Shadow Ball, Psychic, Return, you name it. In terms of item, Life Orb is a good one for this set, allowing for much stronger hits, though Scarf can be used to make Kyurem outspeed just about everything that is itself not Scarfed. It’s all up to you; this set really has no boundaries.

  1. Glacier Hone
4HP/252 Atk/252 Spe
Naïve @ Life Orb/Leftovers  
-Hone Claws
-Stone Edge   
- Blizzard

            Ok, so he gets one stat-boosting move (I’m still not counting Double Team). Hone Claws is a good move, but in a world where Swords Dance and Dragon Dance exist, it’s never seen as ideal for something. Unfortunately Kyurem gets no Physical Ice STAB so Blizzard will have to do. It will enjoy the accuracy boost that Hone gives it, although if you still fear a miss, Ice Beam may be put in its place. Also, if you want a purely Physical set, Return or Shadow Claw may be used in this last slot, both of which have their perks. For coverage, and to hit Steel Types that will wall the hell out of every single one of the aforementioned moves, Focus Blast may also be employed, as it too welcomes the accuracy boost.

  1. SpD Boundary
252 HP/4 Sp.Atk/252 Sp. Def
Calm @ Leftovers   
-Reflect/Light Screen  
-Dragon Pulse/Dragonbreath/Draco Meteor    
- Glaciate

As every type it is weak to is a predominantly Physical type (with the slight exception of Dragon), this set takes advantage of the other side of the spectrum, in an attempt to feign a Support/Wall variant. As long as you can avoid entry hazards and Fighting moves, you’ll find this set does a surprisingly good job in taking Special hits and setting up a Screen or two, Poisoning the opponent, or firing off with an annoying, yet powerful, STAB. Glaciate is basically a slightly stronger Icy Wind and the Speed drop on your opponents could definitely come in handy late-game. Its partner can be any of the three Special STAB, where Dragonbreath has the potential to Paralyze, Draco has the potential to kill weakened things, and Dragon Pulse is somewhere in between.

  1. The Most Powerful Offensive Frozen Dragon EVER
252 Atk/252 Sp. Atk/4 Spe
Rash/Naughty @ Life Orb/Leftovers  
-Draco Meteor/Outrage
-Ice Beam  
-Stone Edge   
- Focus Blast

Yeah, I said it. This thing can kill ANY Dragon type in the entire game (granted Kyurem can hit them before being hit). You name it, it’s dead. Does that make Kyurem the most powerful Dragon in existence? All the same, this is a very joyous set for smashing just about anything with some of the most powerful moves in the game. This set defines Wallbreaker. Though the Speed in this set is lacking, the whole point of this spread is to switch Kyurem in on something that can’t harm it too much, force a switch, and demolish whatever dares come in. Ideally, if 227 Speed is still not good enough for you, Choice Scarf may be used. With the given EVs Kyurem will hit 340 Speed, enough to outspeed base 105s and below. Then, even those will be cowering beneath Kyurem’s monumentally icy wings.
Conclusion: I must confess that Kyurem hits a soft spot somewhere in my soul, and I have grown particularly attached to it during this developing metagame. I just always saw the good in it while everyone else (including Mama Kyurem) saw his resounding flaws. Kyurem is not a bad Pokemon at all, no matter what anyone tells you. He just has so much holding him back from being a great one. Let this Pokemon be the true exemplification of the current metagame, where the things that are so viciously present are those that keep such a powerful being from the higher tiers.  I will not recap his pros nor his cons, for I’ve said enough now. The time for you to make the decision has come. Use Kyurem, use him well, and see past his flaws? Or consider the significance of the types that he is weak to as too dominant in the new game for his longevity. Whatever you decide, Kyurem will be patiently waiting for you, in the void between the black and white.

 Competitive Usability: 7.8 out of 10 

It looks badass, it has a mask and wings of ice. It looks like a frozen, deadened bird and that is somehow cool. Whether or not Pokemon Grey will bear the face of this monster, it doesn’t seem to compare much to the coolness of its Fire and Electric brethren.

Aesthetic Design: 8 out of 10


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  2. Cool sets man , just caught this badass dragon , so here is my thoughts for an awesome set I just came up with ..,

    Rash@life orb .., 126 ATK/252 sp ATK / 126 Spd
    -dragon pulse
    -psychic/HP fire
    -stone edge

    So let's see .., I've put dragon pulse instead of Draco cuz oh well u know why -2 in sp atk after being used .., blizzard stronger than ice beam but umm the accuracy is bit of problem if u don't want a miss , psychic to deal with let's say conckledurr and HP fire to deal with scisor and the rest of the steel gang , stone edge he actually doesn't have that many powerful physical moves so yea this might work .., guys ur comments and thoughts :)