Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Competitive Battling Spotlight #21: New Pokemon Ability Releases


          Starting September 28, 2011 (tomorrow), the new Spooky Manor Pokemon Dream World Expansion will become active, allowing for the ability to obtain a whole range of new Pokemon with their Hidden Abilities, as well as new furniture and items for your Dream House.

        The reason this is important from a competitive standpoint is that several Pokemon to be released in this wave include Magic Guard Abra, Gluttony Spoink, and Volbeat, Illumise and Sableye all with Prankster (among many others). This means that a lot of fearsome threats are to be added into the mix of the lower tiers, such as RU and UU, and since this is the first major and noteworthy addition from the Dream World into the Competitive Battling scene, it will be extremely interesting to see how these things play out against some of today's top tier threats.

Here are some interesting sets that might be prominent in the new metagame. Please keep in mind that at this moment I am not sure where each of these will end up tier-wise, so these are rather rough, but still quite useful, sets:

            Prankster Sableye
            252 HP/252 Def/4 Sp.Def
            Impish @ Leftovers
            -Will O Wisp
            -Knock Off/Toxic/Sucker Punch

Sableye with Prankster is one of the most anticipated Pokemon to be released due to its excellent ability, and unique typing and movepool that allow it to easily come to occupy a special niche in the metagame in the coming months. While none of its stats are even above average, with max HP, max Defense and Will O Wisp, it can serve to wall a great portion of physical threats, such as Excadrill, Toxicroak, Dragonite, etc, crippling them before they are able to do much damage. The fact that Sableye’s typing grants it no weaknesses is also an enormous benefit on a support set like this one, as only the most deadly of offenders will be able to do it in.

Other noteworthy moves at Sab’s command include Taunt, Recover and even Trick, all of which give it an astounding edge over today’s most common Prankster abusers. For more fun with Prankster, you may fill the last slot of this set with Trick, and equip Sableye with an Iron Ball (or Macho Brace) instead of Leftovers. This will allow you to cripple other fast threats, namely Fire types that can’t be burned with WoW and Special Attackers that Sableye would not otherwise wall. Additionally, as a Ghost type Sableye fills the role of an excellent Spin Blocker on the likes of both offensive and defensive teams that rely heavily on entry hazards to diminish threats. Overall, this is one Pokemon that is sure to skyrocket in usage due to its new toy. Be sure to look out for Sableye’s debut in the lower (and perhaps even upper) tiers, and be sure to be prepared for it as well.

Volbeat Prankster
252 HP/252 Sp.Def/4 Spe
Careful @ Leftovers
-Tail Glow
-Baton Pass
- Confuse Ray/U-Turn/ Roost

Volbeat also has access to Prankster now, and, like Sableye, fills a completely new niche in the metagame for its unique movepool. Priority Sub is something not commonly seen, except on Thundurus and Whimsicott, but it serves a vital function on this set due to the remaining moves. Additionally, Volbeat also has access to priority Tail Glow, allowing for a quick +3 in certain situations. And while Beat’s Special Attack is one of the most awful ever conceived, being the only Prankster abuser with access to Baton Pass gives it an automatic Green Card into the land of success. If used correctly, this set can be extremely deadly, as Volbeat need only utilize one or two turns of setup, after which the Baton Pass is essentially guaranteed. This is an excellent support spread that can vastly benefit nearly any Special Attacker in the entire game, bulky or speedy. You better get your Taunters ready for this one, lest you be swept by a +6 Reuniclus behind a Sub!!!!!

Magic Guard Alakazam
252 Sp.Atk/4 Sp.Def/252 Spe
Timid @ Life Orb or Focus Sash
-Shadow Ball
-Focus Blast
-Psyshock/Guard Split/Recover 

My personal favorite of all the new DW Pokemon released in this mix, Magic Guard Alakazam is the long awaited key to redemption for this old wizard-thing. I mean, seriously, how beautiful is this?! Zam is one of the fastest Pokemon in UU right now, boasting 120 Speed, and with an endlessly complementary base 130 Special Attack, is essentially the epitome of an offensive threat. This, coupled with a movepool that almost always yields perfect coverage, creates a deadly threat now immune to entry hazards and residual damage from the likes of Poison, Burn or Leech Seed. This is almost a perfect offensive threat, in that it can come in all day without fear of losing health from SR/Spikes and blast away at an opponent’s weakened mons. As Life Orb will now no longer sap 10% of Zam’s health, you need only ensure he not be slapped by faster threats and priority. If you can ensure this simple task is done, you’ve got yourself a god of a Pokemon just waiting to obliterate cowering threats.

A good item for MGZam is definitely Life Orb, as it optimizes damage output with the excellent coverage to back it up. Likewise, a Focus Sash variant may be employed, as without fear of hazard damage, you can save it for later and still have your Sash intact if at full health. Additionally, Choice Scarf is a wondrous option for such a Pokemon as Alakazam, if you want a deadly revenge killer at your command.

As of right now, Alakazam sits comfortably in the top percentage of RU monsters, but I think Magic Guard is just the gift to send it packing straight to UU, or perhaps, dare I dream it, OU.

Honorable Mentions:
The following Pokemon also have decently notable tools attained from Spooky Mansion, though not as amazing as the previously mentioned threats.

   Meowth (Persian)- Unnerve; A fast offense/support Pokemon with the ability to cripple Berry holders like Kingdra, Exeggutor, and anything else that employs the Resto strategy. This could come in handy.

Mr. Mime- Technician; Technician is always a great ability for anything with even considerable offensive potential, and I think Mime can use it to its advantage. While primed as a decent Baton Passer for its inability to be roared away with Soundproof, I think a uniquely offensive spread can be attempted to reasonable success with moves like Charge Beam, Icy Wind and Magical Leaf getting nice boosts.

Snubbull (Granbull)- Rattled; The bulldogs are never really seen in any of the tiers, but I think Rattled is a nice little addition to their repertoire. With a nice +1 Speed boost upon being hit by a Dark or Bug type move, this could be an interesting way to attempt to get a sweep going in the lower tiers.

Smoochum (Jynx)- Hydration for Smoochum (Dry Skin for Jynx); Jynx is easily an overlooked offensive threat due in part to her weakness to Stealth Rock and middling Speed. Dry Skin doesn’t make her too much better, but it does slightly allow her to mirror Toxicroak’s success with it as an offensive sweeper. Still, bad defensive typing and no priority means this probably won’t be as prominent on an OU rain team, but it deserves the crown now as Jynx’s most viable ability.

Spoink (Grumpig)- Gluttony; I could be wrong in saying that the pinch berries (Petaya, Salac, etc) have yet to be released, but if I am not than this mention is a little bit irrelevant. Still, once Grumpig can get its hands on a Salac Berry, it shall definitely become a reasonable offensive threat in RU. 

It will be quite interesting to see how any of these novelties will impact the metagame, but I think the changes will start once these new Pokemon are implemented into their respective tiers.

Happy Battling! 


  1. Oh man, I'm super excited for the Spooky Manor too! Can't wait to get my hands on some of these guys.

    Just a few comments: Considering the relative rarity of berry strategies, Unnerve is appreciated so much less than Technician Fake Out (and Bite) on Persian. Maybe if even the majority of teams had at least one berry user. But since most don't, Persian really doesn't want to lose Technician. Meowth's real benefit from the Dream World is that it's easier to get Hypnosis bred onto it now.

    Mr. Mime can't learn Shock Wave with Technician, since it's not a TM anymore, but it can still abuse Charge Beam.

    And you are right; pinch berries have not been released yet. Still waiting on those guys. But in general, this is so exciting! I really want some Sableyes.

  2. Yes, about Meowth I was a little hesitant in even mentioning it here because of the reasons you've brought up. It COULD come in handy, but generally you're right and Technician is ideal.

    And I guess I should've checked about the compatibility with some of these abilities and old moves like Shock Wave. Thank you for pointing that out! I will fix it now.

    I am particularly excited about Alakazam and Sableye myself.