Thursday, July 26, 2012

Competitive Battling Spotlight #37: New Pokemon Fourteen

The awesome Mienshao!

Tier: UU (as of July 2012)

H.P.: 65
Attk: 125
Def.: 60
Sp.D: 60
Spe:  105


Inner Focus:  Prevents being flinched by opponent’s moves. This ability is rather situational and, when compared to Mienshao’s other two options, doesn’t stand out much at all. It’s nice to be able to ignore an opposing Mienshao’s Fake Out, or even an Iron Head flinch run from a Jirachi, but in both of those scenarios, Mienshao will be taking a lot of damage due to its frailty. In short, you’re better off switching out to a Pokemon that can take the flinching hits than leaving Mienshao in to ignore them.

Regenerator:  Restores up to 1/3 HP when switched out of battle. For a frail offensive Pokemon, this may seem like an odd choice of ability, but it actually comes in handy more times than you’d think. Most common Mienshao sets will run Life Orb, which means that the restoration of 33% of your health will definitely be welcome. U-Turn also capitalizes on Regenerator’s effect, dealing damage on the opponent while scouting what they’ll do next. Definitely an excellent ability for Mienshao.

Reckless:  Boosts the power of recoil moves by 20%.  Hi Jump Kick nabs the boost from Reckless for its potential to lose half of Mienshao’s HP if it misses. This means that Mienshao’s most powerful STAB move is made even stronger with Reckless. This ability is probably tied for Mienshao’s best option because it is tailored toward more offensive play, which is how Mienshao should be used.


            Mienshao is a good Pokemon introduced in Black and White. With its Fighting typing and a very good movepool backed by good offensive stats, it really has everything it needs to take apart stall teams and even single-handedly beat out most of its common counters. However, despite its great list of assets, it just wasn’t cutting it in OU. With threats like Terrakion in the tier, most Fighting types have been subjugated to much lower usage, due to his beastly dominance and command of almost the entire metagame with just two moves. This, coupled with quite poor defenses, sent Mienshao packing at the end of June to the lower realms of UU.

            Which is, in my opinion, a grave mistake. Right as it entered UU, Black and White 2 became released into the competitive scene, blessing Mienshao with a purely offensive ability in the form of Reckless. Reckless allows for Mienshao’s already destructive Hi Jump kicks to hit very, very hard. It also has access to Hidden Power Ice backed by a decent base 95 Special Attack to take on the likes of Gligar or Claydol. Regenerator isn’t a bad ability for it, either, as with a standard Life Orb set with Fake Out and U-Turn, a lot of the damage taken from prior turns can be relieved.

            With this wonderful coverage and power, Mienshao has the potential to single-handedly increase the viability of offensive play in the Underused tier, being capable of ripping apart entire stall teams on its own. I never liked it too much in OU (I <3 Terrakion), but in UU I think it is safe to say Mienshao will quickly Jump up the ranks.


Potential Sets *all sets may effectively use either Regenerator or Reckless, unless specifically stated*:

1. Enter, the Shao
   252 Atk/6 SpAtk/252 Spe
    Naïve/Naughty @ Life Orb
    -Fake Out
    -Hi Jump Kick
    -Stone Edge/Hidden Power Ice

            This was a common spread during Shao’s stay in OU, and for good reason. With Life Orb and 125 Attack, Fake Out serves as an excellent way to get some early damage on the opponent’s Pokemon. Hi Jump Kick is the main move of the set, being able to punch holes in anything that doesn’t resist it. Stone Edge and Hidden Power are for coverage, while U-Turn gets Mienshao out of there and attains momentum in your favor.

2. Deadly Dancer
    6 HP/252 Atk/252 Spe
    Jolly/Adamant @ Fighting Gem
    -Swords Dance
    -Hi Jump Kick
    -Stone Edge/Hidden Power Ice/Substitute    

            If Mienshao weren’t so frail, or if it were just a bit faster, this set would probably ban it straight to BL. After a Swords Dance, Hi Jump Kick alone is capable of 2HKOing everything in the entire tier that is not a Ghost type. Even Slowbro, an expected counter to Mienshao, loses AT LEAST 60% of its health just by switching in to one of these. For this reason, with Acrobatics being able to hit a lot of things HJK can’t (in addition to being boosted once Fighting Gem is used), this set has near perfect coverage. Just pair Shao with a fast Pursuit trapper (ahem, Krookodile) to get rid of Ghosts and other fast threats, and you will have no problem sweeping teams.


3. Choice Scarf  
    252 Atk/ 6 SpAtk/252 Spe
    Jolly/Adamant @ Choice Scarf
    -Hi Jump Kick
    -Stone Edge   
    - Dual Chop/Aerial Ace
            With Mienshao’s unique and excellent Speed stat, as well as great offensive skill, a Choice Scarf set can be extremely effective, especially as it allows for you to outspeed and kill nearly every common Scarf user in UU (Flygon, Darmanitan, Krookodile, etc). Jolly is preferred here, to reach the maximum potential Speed, though Adamant allows for the Hi Jump Kicks to hit much harder.
            In terms of coverage, Hi Jump Kick and Stone Edge are almost all you need, having excellent synergy together. Dual Chop can be made use of to break Subs and hit Dragons hard, but usually Hi Jump Kick can do that better.

            You may run either Reckless or Regenerator on this set, depending on what you want to do. If you’d like HJK to be as powerful as it can be, obviously Reckless is what you want. But if you want ScarfShao’s role to be more of a hit-or-miss kinda thing that focuses more on prediction than doing heaps of damage, then Regenerator is grand with U-Turn. Either one works very well here. 

4. MienChoice   
    6 HP/252 Atk/252 Spe
    Ability: Reckless
    Adamant @ Choice Band
    -Hi Jump Kick   
    -Stone Edge
    -Aerial Ace
            Choice Banded Mienshao serves a different role than its Scarf counterpart, and that is to hit things hard. With Hi Jump Kick and Reckless, Mienshao becomes more powerful than even Choice Banded Adamant Terrakion, which is quite a feat to accomplish considering it is nearly just as fast. In UU, not many things can live a Hi Jump Kick from this set, meaning that you’ll be catching a lot of things off guard with your sheer outright power. Because of this, as always, team support will help optimize this set.
            Because the Adamant nature loses out on a little bit of Speed here, you’ll want to use something fast to make up for and take out the quicker threats that Mienshao might have trouble with (such as Azelf, or Flygon, to name a few). Maybe using your own Choice Scarfer could help greatly to patch up this lack in outright Speed. Also, because of Mienshao’s notoriety as both a powerful and versatile offensive threat, it is likely to force  a lot of switches from things like Scrafty, Snorlax, Porygon2, etc. For this reason, entry hazards will be a great aid to this set, as with any other.


5. Mienshao, Would You Knock it Off Already?!
    4 Hp/252 Atk/252 Spe
    Jolly @ Life Orb/Leftovers
    -Knock Off/Substitute  
    -Hi Jump Kick    
    -Stone Edge/U-Turn     

             Of course, where would I be without my somewhat-gimmicky sets. Here I’d like to believe that this set has the potential to cripple and possibly kill most of Mienshao’s common counters and checks, such as Slowbro, Azelf and any Ghost type. Using the logic that Mienshao will likely be forcing a lot of switches, you can use your awesome prediction skills to know when your opponent is going to send something in to wall or outrun Shao, smacking them with a Knock Off or Toxic (or setting up a safe Sub) and likely crippling their initial strategy (and definitely confusing the **** out of them!).

            Afterward, you may either fire off a Hi Jump Kick or U-Turn out to an appropriate check/counter. Stone Edge is also a great option here, as it can kill opposing Chandelure on the switch.

This set has the potential to work because it allows you to weaken something that would otherwise win one-on-one against Mienshao so that once it’s finally gone, Shao or something else on your team can remove the remainder of the weakened threats.

6.  Life Orb + 3 Attacks
    4 Hp/252 Atk/252 Spe
    Jolly @ Life Orb
    -Hi Jump Kick  
    -Stone Edge    

             Just like a standard offensive set, but with a small addition. With Protect or Sub, Mienshao’s ability to scout opposing threats is made apparent here. Using one of the aforementioned scouting moves, you can ease your prediction greatly, shedding light on how to react to an opponent’s Pokemon. Protect gives you the ability to determine (possibly) whether an opponent is Choiced or not, and also shows a bit of their strategy to taking your Mienshao down. once you have learned of this, you are free to act accordingly, giving you a slight edge.


            Mienshao is a fantastic addition to the competitive metagame with its great stats, typing and abilities. Additionally, its ability to beat out its own counters with some advanced prediction and rather unconventional sets make it a great strategy Pokemon for those who enjoy playing mindgames, or just altogether catching your opponent off guard. Definitely try out Mienshao on a UU team sometime soon, because it may not last there for long!

Competitive Usability: 

  • STAB Fighting and a movepool with good coverage.
  • Great Offensive stats across the board.
  • STAB Hi Jump Kick boosted by Reckless
  • Regenerator, to make up for its frailty.
  • Very fragile.
  • Narrow Special movepool.
Verdict:  8 out of 10 

            Mienshao looks like a weasel with long, floppy hands. Its coloration and design are also rather unconventional for a Fighting type. The good thing about all of this is that Mienshao is pretty unique, both as a Fighting type and as a Pokemon in general. The bad is that it’s actually kinda creepy, and I’m not entirely sure what type of look its designers were really trying to depict.
Aesthetic Design:  6 out of 10

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Competitive Battling Spotlight #36: Old Pokemon Ten

The most huggable of all Water/Ground types, Quagsire!

Tier: RU (as of July 2012)

H.P.: 95
Attk: 85
Def.: 85
Sp.A: 65
Sp.D: 65
Spe:  35


Damp: Prevents the opponent from using the move Selfdestruct or Explosion. Also prevents damage from Aftermath. Not a good ability in 5th gen. Not too many Pokemon use Explosion anymore because of its drop in power from last generation, and even if it was used often, the most prominent Exploders reside in the upper tiers anyway. Furthermore, the only Pokemon with Aftermath (Skuntank, Electrode, Garbodor) are also RU at best, meaning there’s not too much of a need for this ability. Plus, Quagsire’s other two are far superior.

Water Absorb: Restores 1/4 of HP when hit by a Water type move. This was Quagsire’s prime ability in 4th gen, and for good reason. Becoming immune to the ever-common Water type attack is quite the blessing, though this ability is probably optimized on much bulkier things. Still, Water Absorb is a great defensive ability on a decent defensive Pokemon. Also, because there are strong Water Pokemon in just about every tier, you will never find yourself at a huge loss for using it.

Unaware: Ignores opponent’s stat boosts. Quagsire’s best ability, in my opinion. With its great defensive typing, stats, and movepool, Quagsire really makes for an excellent Unaware abuser, becoming able to shrug off boosts from any tier’s top threats. With Scald’s chance for Burn and reasonably good bulk, Quagsire becomes an easy counter to just about any non-Grass type Physical attacker. You should definitely try Unaware Quagsire if your team struggles with powerful setup sweepers.


            Due to its bulk, good typing and decent movepool for a wall, Quagsire has always been a good defensive Pokemon in the lower tiers. Unfortunately, however, with Swampert being better in generally every single aspect, however, it always ended up falling to the likes of NeverUsed.
            When Black and White came about, however, a lot changed for the mud fish. These changes came in the form of two seemingly minor additions to its build that proved to be much greater at second glance. With Unaware, Quagsire now had the ability stop boosting sweepers cold, a problem it could never effectively deal with before. Additionally, with the new move Scald carrying a nice 30% chance to inflict a Burn on the target, as well as that hefty base 95 HP and 85 Defense, Quagsire’s usability really soared in the generation shift.

            Of course, Quagsire retains some major problems, as can be expected. While its typing only has one weakness, it is a quadruple weakness to a type that encompasses some of the best utility Pokemon in the games. With thorns like Celebi, Virizion, Roserade and Shaymin being used very often in the upper tiers, Quagsire’s biggest problem remains being able to beat these Pokemon that can force switches, catch a team member with Leech Seed, and/or set up entry hazards. Amoongus is also a deadly threat to Quagsire and teammates as with Spore and STAB Giga Drain it can force Quagsire out while putting another team member to sleep. It’s definitely recommended that you carry a Grass-killer on your teams if you’re running Quag.

            Quagsire’s bulk is also a bit subpar when compared to tanks like Swampert, Gastrodon and Milotic. As a Water/Ground type, it ignores the Electric type weakness that most other Waters suffer from, yet it doesn’t provide as much utility and power as Swampert, nor does it serve to wall dominant Weather threats in OU like Gastrodon. Still, the ability to effectively stall out weaker setup sweepers should not be ignored.

Now sitting comfortably in the RU tier, Quagsire has become one of those few lowly-used Pokemon that can be quite efficient in just about every single tier (yes, even OU!). From experience I’ve found that, with its newfound ability to ignore the power of certain threats and still use moves like Toxic, Yawn and Encore to beat stall, Quagsire remains a true quagmire of the competitive Pokemon metagame, and should not be overlooked in the category of bulky Water types.


Potential Sets:

1. Curse That Blue Blob! (Standard Curse)
    252 HP/4 Atk/252 SpDef
    Careful @ Leftovers/
    -Waterfall/Stone Edge

            This is the most standard Curse set for Quagsire, as with Unaware and a good amount of Physical bulk it becomes able to win against many opposing bulky setup-ers. After a few Curses, Quagsire will be able to take hits from just about any Physical Attacker to cross its pond. Waterfall and Earthquake together have decent coverage, though if you’d like better coverage at the cost of one less STAB move, Stone Edge may be used to hit certain other threats that don’t mind Water/Ground type moves.

            Of course, this set loses easily to any Grass type ever, and super powerful Special Attackers are a pain too, so team support is vital. Braviary makes a good teammate here, as with its sheer power on a Choice Scarf set, it can plow through just about every Grass Pokemon in RU and below, while still being able to down most Special Attackers.

            You can opt to use this set (the same exact spread) in UU and OU as well, though, of course the team support will be different. Try considering which threats in those tiers will cause problems for Quag and continue by patching up holes accordingly.

2. A Twist in the Curse  
    252 HP/4 Atk/252 SpDef
    Careful @ Chesto Berry / Leftovers

            This set deviates a bit from the standard Curse set, and puts more of an emphasis on pumping up Quagsire’s subpar Special Defense in addition to its already good Defense. This means that once Grass types are eliminated, Quagsire will be able to wall and setup up against almost anything.
            Another problem that the standard set has that this one attempts to fix is status ailments. Burn and Poison are real downers to any sweeper (and any tank, for that matter), so by employing the Resto strategy, Quagsire’s longevity will be essentially guaranteed after its put enough defensive boosts under its belt. Of course Water Absorb Pokemon and Bulky Waters in general will be annoying, so maybe  running a heavy-hitting Electric or Grass type will help you in the long run.

            I have used this set in OU/UU before, and I can assure you that I’ve achieved more sweeps with it than you or I would either believe. Kind of a gimmicky set, but once you have an Amnesia or two up, you can start picking things off after a Curse or more.

3. Physical Wall  
    252 HP/252 Def/4 SpDef
    Relaxed @ Leftovers
            This is probably Quagsire’s most common set, and for good reason. By now all of the above mentioned assets should be pretty clear and I’ll spare you the redundancy by not explaining how this set works in depth.
            Just send it in on any physical attacker or wall of sorts and utilize the appropriate move. Works well in any tier.
            Additionally, you may run Ice Beam to replace either Scald or Earthquake in order to catch Grass types as they switch in for some decent damage.

4. Yawning is Contagious (Pseudo Phazer)   
    252 HP/252 Def/6 SpDef
    Relaxed @ Leftovers

            This set takes advantage of the usual list of assets by utilizing a different type of set that Quagsire can shine with. With Yawn, entry hazards, and a good amount of prediction, Quagsire can really bring down entire teams by crippling their main threats. Essentially this set is amazing; using Quagsire’s good bulk, typing and ability, send it in against something that won’t really like going up against it (like Claydol or Magneton, etc). Then, by predicting who the opponent will send in, you are free to go for a Yawn on the switch, essentially forcing out the next threat, lest they be put to sleep.

With entry hazards up, this set can really do work by getting a significant amount of residual damage on their incoming threats. The EVs and the rest of the moveset are yours to decide, though Max HP and Defense are probably best since Quag’s Special Defense is so low you’ll probably want to either max it or ignore it. Stockpile

5. Choice BandSire!
    252 Hp/252 Atk/4 SpDef
    Adamant @ Choice Band
    -Stone Edge    
    -Return/Body Slam    

             This set, in comparison to the others, is probably best used in RU and NU for a bit of a surprise factor. With a decent base 85 Attack and pretty good STAB + coverage moves, Quagsire is a surprisingly good user of the Choice Band, where it can hit many things hard while still being able to handle sweepers with its bulk.



           Quagsire is not the best Pokemon out there. As both a bulky tank and a physical wall it is outclassed by a good many things. However, with its good typing and unique ability, it really fills a niche in the competitive metagame that not too many things can. It can prevent your team from being swept by an attacker that relies heavily on Swords Dance or Dragon Dance, while still retaining an ability to support its teammates. It is definitely a universal Pokemon that is quite underrated at the moment.

Competitive Usability: 

  • Good physical bulk + Scald
  • Good typing with only one weakness
  • Unaware
  • Subpar stats overall
  • 4x Weakness to the common Grass type
  • No offensive presence without Choice Band or Curse
Verdict:  7 out of 10 

            Ok, Quagsire’s appeal is much worse than its competitive viability. In terms of design, Quagsire easily comes off as dim-witted and simple-minded. Plus, it’s painfully basic, with only about 3 different color schemes and a blobby, under-detailed body design. It’s never really been one of my favorites in terms of looks.
            But I shouldn’t be too harsh on the little mud fish. Perhaps that Quagsire is simple is instead a good thing. He’s always smiling, which not too many Pokemon (especially those OU-ers) are capable of, and his most recent sprite art depicts him opening his arms out in anticipation of a hug. Maybe he is a little cute.  
Aesthetic Design:  6 out of 10

Monday, July 9, 2012

Brand New "Videos" Tab

I've just updated and added a brand new Page to the tabs on the top of the site. This one is the "Video" Page, which leads you to my Youtube account. There, I post Pokemon Battle videos, as well as videos about the Pokemon Competitive metagame in general. You should definitely check it out!

It's broken down by the type of battle, be it a Nintendo DS Wifi match or a Pokemon Showdown battle.

Please do enjoy!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Smogon Tier Updates and Black and White 2 Release June 2012: Ubers and OU

As per every 3 month period, Smogon's tiers have been updated accordingly with the cumulative usage stats of the past three months. This means that a few things have moved either up or down depending on how many people are using them in their respective tier.

In addition, with the release of Black and White 2 in Japan (and therefore the release of these Pokemon into the competitive metagame overall), several new Forms, Moves and Abilities have been implemented, providing for a completely new battling experience!

Below are minor analyses for each tier, complete with what's new and what's expected to come in the next three months! I hope you will enjoy...

*Because a lot has changed with these releases, and there is a lot to speculate about, I will be releasing these posts in a series throughout the evening.*

*All tier listings will be updated according to this new data*



Nothing was banned to Ubers this month, meaning that the only two additions to the list were the newly released Kyurem Black and Kyurem White forms. This was to be expected, as with their Base Stat Totals amounting to a smashing 700, as well as devastating offensive and defensive stats backed by a good offensive typing, absolutely nothing in OU would be safe from their destruction. These two will likely play out in Ubers as slightly improved versions of Zekrom and Reshiram respectively, and their 170 attacking stats will surely be enough to power through some of the most dedicated walls in the legendary tier.


A lot has been added to OU this time around, meaning that a huge tier shift can be expected in the coming months. First, Keldeo was added to the tier in addition to the new Therian forms of Thundurus, Landorus and Tornadus. All four of these threats will make huge impacts on the metagame for each their own reasons, providing for a significant boost to offensive teams (especially Rain).

These Two to OU, as Predicted 

Four more Pokemon were also added to Overused, these being bumped up from either the UU or BL listings. The first of these include Mew and Deoxys-D, two extremely versatile Pokemon in OU and UU before who are now officially part of the tier. As Psychic types, they score a notable resistance to Fighting type attacks, meaning that most hard-hitters like Infernape, the new Keldeo, and especially Terrakion might have a hard time plowing through these two. Mew also has the potential to learn every single TM, HM and Tutor move in the entire game, which with its greatly balanced base stats across the board means that it will be vastly capable of fitting onto virtually any team imaginable, perfect for filling a variety of roles.

Hail, the New Weather Watchers in OU!

The last two new OUs are Pokemon that are no strangers to this standard scene. In 4th generation, Hippowdon and Abomasnow made a huge impact for their defensive and offensive capabilities, respectively, but it was their automatic weather-casting abilities that ground them in place as two effective supporters. Now, after having both spent some time in UU with offensive beasts like Stoutland and Kyurem, they will try their hand at the new OU metagame, just in time for the release of some new abusers.

How will their stay go? It's safe to say that Deoxys-D and Mew have found new homes in OU, and they won't be leaving anytime in the near (or even distant) future. But Hippowdon and Abomasnow, on the other hand, are different. Again, as these two bring about auto-weather, they are sure to shine as great team supporters, yet with Tyranitar already dominating the tier and Hail never amounting to any game-changing impact, their usability seems to be much more limited than other weather-veterans such as Ninetails and Politoed.

What's more, Sand Stream and Snow Warning have been OFFICIALLY BANNED from UnderUsed and below, meaning that if these two mons were to drop to UU in the next 3 month update, they would not be able to abuse automatic Sand or Hail. These problems are only further relegated by the fact that neither of these two got anything particularly good from either the Dream World or the Move Tutors, so without their main abilities, they're nothing spectacular in Standard.

But I guess we should look at what they can do for teams as a whole, rather than what they themselves are capable of. With Kyurem getting buffs like Roost from the Move Tutors in BW2, we should expect to see a rise in that usage. Also, Mamoswine is as prominent as ever for its ability to revenge kill almost all Dragons and hit just about everything hard in general. Sand also got a big buff with Landorus's new form, as well as Gliscor gaining access to Stealth Rock and Roost with Poison Heal (the horror!). Even though Tyranitar is and always will be the most effective sand summoner in the game, having dual sanders on one team is never a bad idea.

The Rest of the Tier, and the Anticipation of the Forthcoming Storm 


Nothing else really noteworthy happened in the last three months of usage for OU. Scizor, Dragonite and Rotom-W remain the Three Kings of the tier, which is by no means a surprise. However, this is not a relevant month for what was added and lost from the tier. Instead, the real deal-maker for all eager battlers remains the release of Black and White 2, which means essentially the release of an entirely rewritten metagame. I've talked extensively about what the new Therian forms might be capable of, and I think it's safe to say that those three and Keldeo will alone reshape the metagame, forcing the rise and fall of many different Pokemon in order to keep them in check. Jellicent is expected to be the prime Keldeo-stopper, while Mamoswine is great for taking out the other three.

On a different note, some veteran OUs just got more fearsome. Ferrothorn now has the capability to run Stealth Rock, Spikes and Leech Seed all on the same set, meaning his utility just skyrocketed. Kyurem and Volcarona also both got Roost from the Move Tutors, meaning that their Stealth Rock weakness now takes a back seat to their offensive dominance.

Some other neat, noteworthy additions include Terrakion acquiring Stealth Rock, increasing its usability as an extremely threatening wall-breaker that can now support its team.

Breloom now has access to Technician as an ability, meaning that with Swords Dance, Spore, and Mach Punch's better coverage than Bullet Punch, it is now optimized as a better (at least offensively) version of Scizor. That is terrifying considering how amazing Scizor already is.

Reuniclus also now has Regenerator, while Conkeldurr gains the three elemental Punches (Ice, Fire, Thunder...). Neither of these are huge additions, as Reuniclus could probably make better use of Magic Guard, and Conkeldurr already has all the coverage it needs with Payback and Stone Edge, but their novelty and ability to outdo most of these two Pokemon's most common counters make them worthy of a mention.

And lastly, but not conclusively, Haxorus now gets Superpower and Aqua Tail, while Tornadus picks up Heat Wave. This is great news, as both of these boasted supreme power with just their STAB moves alone. Now with these particular moves for coverage, you can expect to see their usage go up a bit (though possibly not TOO much).