Brisbane Premier Challenge | 19/02/17
1. Luke Milligan (MrPidgey)
2. Joshua Callaghan
3. Dan Kendall
4. Jackson Mayberry
5. David Gillett
6. Lachlan How
7. Graham Amedee
8. Malcolm Mackellar
Box Hill Premier Challenge, Melbourne | 25/02/17
1. James Katsaros (@ChosenFutureVGC)
2. Sam Hughes (@sam_slugmeister)
3. Nicholas Bingham (@Ludicolopatrol)
4. Meaghan Rattle (@AvengedWerehog)
5. Emma Williams (@CobalteVGC)
6. Galvin Hui (@HuidVGC)
7. Chris G
8. Jackson Bankovic (@AbacusVGC)
Newcastle Premier Challenge, Sydney | 25/02/17
1. Simon Konsti (@0riginalname)
2. Martin Larumbe (@BaseIN2)
3. Andrew Das
4. Connor Croese
Compared to the last few weeks, the usage of Island Guardians has changed yet again. Tapu Koko has been fluctuating between 20% and 50%, reaching closer to 50% this week. Tapu Lele usage has also been variable, from 50% team usage last week to only 30% this week. Although Tapu Fini remained fairly constant at 50%.
Tapu Koko and Tapu Lele
The usage drop of Tapu Lele may be associated with the rise in Kartana. Another potential cause may be Arcanine usage. Tapu Lele requires heavy speed investment or a Choice Scarf to ensure Arcanine doesn’t hit it with a Snarl or a Flare Blitz before Lele can use Psychic to pick up KOs. Tapu Koko is a much safer middle ground against both of these threats and more. Koko is able to offer strong coverage and can hit common members of the Arcanine, Tapu Fini and Kartana archetype (AFK) for at least 75% when backed by a Life Orb or Choice Specs. Tapu Koko’s consistent offensive pressure, as well as a lack of choice in Ground Types, would account for its large usage. We expect Tapu Koko will remain at this usage for quite some time.
Tapu Lele, whilst lower in usage, may be more suited to a Best-Of-One environment due to surprise factor in its held item. Psychium Z, Choice Scarf, Choice Specs, Life Orb and HP healing berries are just a few of the items viable on Tapu Lele. Some Scarf Tapu Lele purposely underspeed Tapu Koko to gain a terrain advantage, making them even more difficult to deal with. In Best-Of-Three this is alleviated somewhat, and Tapu Lele may not be chosen in favour of both Tapu Koko and Tapu Fini.
Tapu Fini usage will likely remain the most consistent going into the Oceanic International in a couple weeks time. This is due to its ability to serve as a strong neutral Pokemon and limit the effects of RNG on the user. Tapu Fini effectively delivers a greater chance that the stronger player will win the match. Calm Mind is currently the most common moveset, as Special Attackers including Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele and Nihilego are all much less threatening to Tapu Fini with two or three SDef boosts. AFK being one of the only stable archetypes in the format may also aid in explaining its high usage, as team building is much less important than when attempting to build around Tapu Lele and Tapu Koko.
Sadly, Tapu Bulu is non-existent and has slowly been fading out since December. This trend is expected to continue and Tapu Bulu is not expected to go deep in the Oceanic International.
Once again, Hail is the most prominent form of weather, followed by Pelipper and Gigalith with very little usage. Ninetails has recently been used by Aaron (Cybertron) Zheng, and this may explain the continued rise in Ninetails as a support on primarily Tapu Fini teams.
Pelipper has slowly been disappearing since December, with Porygon2, Tapu Fini and Tapu Koko lessening the strength of high powered, single target Water-Type attacks. As Rain decreases in usage, counters to Rain may also begin to decrease, allowing for Rain to be a stronger archetype in turn. Nonetheless, there is no evidence to suggest a drop in AFK usage, so Rain may remain a weaker archetype as a result of this matchup.
Gigalith has surprisingly low usage this week, with only one appearing. Gigalith’s main strength is its ability to override Hail and underspeed Araquanid. Araquanid’s surprisingly low usage may have led to players opting against Gigalith. Instead, they might be opting for Garchomp – as it covers Arcanine and Muk as Gigalith does.
Pheromosa + Tapu Lele
Pheromosa + Tapu Lele has been an archetype increasing in usage of late. As bulky set-up Pokemon like Tapu Fini and Snorlax have become more common, KOing them with extreme offensive pressure has been one method of removing these Pokemon quickly. However, Pheromosa relies heavily on All-Out Pummelling and High Jump Kick for damage output, causing several problems. If Pheromosa uses All-Out Pummelling into a Protect and the adjacent Pokemon attacks Pheromosa, Pheromosa will usually be KO’d. Consequently, Pheromosa users need to be able to correctly call every move the opponent makes. High Jump Kick accuracy isn’t perfect either, meaning that surefire win conditions may be lost due to misses and players may tilt for the rest of the day.
Pheromosa may see usage in the Oceanic International, however calling Protects and hitting High Jump Kick for a minimum of 18 games will be very difficult. Although if the player can pull it off, they will definitely be a threat in later stages of the event.
The trend of Flying-Type Pokemon with Psychic/Misty Seeds continues, with Drifblim usage growing as of recent. Drifblim offers the most surefire way of setting up Tailwind, with its typing offering immunities to Garchomp Tectonic Rage and Pheromosa All-Out Pummeling. Hence, it is invulnerable to the strongest Physical moves in the format which would be used to bypass the SDef boost gained from a Seed. After Tailwind-ing, Tapu Lele is free to launch a powerful Shattered Psyche. With support options such as Disable and Will-O-Wisp, Drifblim can aid in keeping Tapu Lele safe from Garchomp, and Pokemon who attack with Poison and Steel-Type moves on the first turn.
After Gavin Michaels’ recent dominating win in Anaheim, Mimikyu has risen in usage as a Trick Room setter. Originally, Porygon2 was the most viable setter. Mimikyu’s ability Disguise, alongside Z-Destiny Bond and decent offensive stats allow it to perform a more offensive role. Stopping Mimikyu and its partner from sweeping is extremely difficult once Trick Room is up. Snorlax is a very common partner, with Belly Drum and Curse granting Snorlax extremely high Attack. Mimikyu usage is expected to rise going into the Oceanic International as players see the strength of hard Trick Room teams.
Special thanks to Martin Larumbe, Timothy Walsh, and Phil Nguyen for results.