Pro Players Insight! — About the new Pokémon

While we patiently wait on the VGC ruleset to be released and the first events to be played, we have wanted to talk a bit with some of the best players from all around the world so that they can give us some of their insight regarding the new Pokémon available in Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet!

Take it with a grain of salt: we don’t know yet how the metagame will be like, but the most experienced players’ opinion is certainly valuable. They knew what to do in teambuilding and battle in past, varied formats, so they will surely adapt well to the new, Terastallization-based format!

Table of Contents

Palafin

IconPokémonTypeAbilitiesHPAtkDefSpASpDSpeBST
palafinPalafin
(Zero)
WaterZero to Hero10070725362100457
palafin-heroPalafin
(Hero)
WaterZero to Hero1001609710687100650

Brought to you by BRA Gabriel Agati, finalist at 2022 NAIC!

Palafin will be a very unique Pokémon to use, due to its ability Zero to Hero. This Pokémon should be mostly brought as a lead so you can switch it out Turn 1, either by using Flip Turn or just hard switching. Because of that, I expect Palafin to be used along with teammates that don’t mind much taking hits in the switch-in, usually bulky Pokémon or even Tatsugiri if Dondozo is your other Pokémon on the field.

Wave Crash is the best STAB move for this Pokémon, since it has natural high Attack and HP stats. Notable coverage moves include Close Combat, Ice Punch, Acrobatics and Jet Punch. While I do expect its main function to be doing damage, it also gets some interesting status moves like Helping Hand, Bulk Up, Taunt, Haze and Encore.

Since Palafin is too reliant on its Hero Form to be strong, I don’t think it will be very popular in the metagame. Being “forced” to always switch out on Turn 1 costs too much momentum and that’s something most players are not willing to take. However, 650 BST is still very impressive and I won’t be surprised if it gets any success at some point in the season.

Dondozo + Tatsugiri

IconPokémonTypeAbilitiesHPAtkDefSpASpDSpeBST
dondozoDondozoWaterUnaware
Oblivious
(H) Water Veil
150100115656535530
tatsugiriTatsugiriDragonWaterCommander
(H) Storm Drain
6850601209582475

Brought to you by JPN Tomoyuki Yoshimura, semifinalist at 2017 Worlds & winner of 2022 VR Galar Farewell!

Dondozo and Tatsugiri with the ability Commander are a very unique duo! By arranging these two on the field next to each other, Commander will activate, which will trigger Tatsugiri entering Dondozo’s mouth, powering up all of Dondozo’s stats (+2 in Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense & Speed) in exchange of battling an essentially 1 vs 2 battle.

If you played back in the Alola times, Dondozo’s boosts will remind you of Eevium Z Eevee’s Extreme Evoboost! This is one of the strengths of this combo, as Dondozo is quite bulky and particularly strong against physical attackers like Dragonite or Garchomp. Its downside is that neither Dondozo nor Tatsugiri can switch out, and Tatsugiri cannot do anything: it can neither receive direct damage or status moves, nor attack.

In order to reinforce this combination, beating the opponent’s special attackers before Dondozo enters the battle is one of the strongest strategies. A Pokémon with Will-o-Wisp can help too with the physical attackers. A way to avoid fighting a 1 vs 2 battle is to get your own Tatsugiri poisoned, so that it loses HP while in Dondozo’s mouth, and, when fainted, another partner can take its place in a usual double battle. In this case, a very advantageous ally to have in the back is Flamigo, which, with the ability Costar, can enter the battle alongside Dondozo and copy its boosts to give you a very oppresive duo!

Great Tusk

IconPokémonTypeAbilitiesHPAtkDefSpASpDSpeBST
great-tuskGreat TuskGroundFightingProtosynthesis115131131535387570

Brought to you by ESP Guillermo Castilla, finalist at 2022 Worlds!

Great Tusk comes with one of the few type combinations that did not exist in the Pokédex yet: Ground and Fighting. It also has one of the more balanced stat distribution in all new Pokémon in Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet, and it especially excels in Attack (one of the highest in the game) and Defense, which alongside its decent HP stat make it a very good physical wall. Furthermore, it’s a relatively quick Pokémon, as its Speed surpasses the Rotom forms’. Its Special Defense is somewhat lackluster, though.

What makes Great Tusk a Pokémon to be taken into account is its vast movepool. Its most powerful STAB moves are the well-known Fighting-type Close Combat and a new Ground-type move with same base power and secondary effects: Headlong Rush. As coverage, it can learn moves from many types: Ice SpinnerKnock OffPlay Rough and Stone Edge are the most prevalent, but MegahornIron Head and Thunder Fang are other good options as well. Due to its huge movepool, Great Tusk can take advantage of different Tera Types in order to Terastallize. Offensively, it can use Ground Tera Type to remove Fairy, Psychic and Flying-type weaknesses, in addition to powering up Headlong Rush and thus defeating Sylveon or even Amoonguss easily. Defensively, Steel Tera Type makes it resist many moves that would otherwise be super effective.

I would recommend you to test this Pokémon with an Assault Vest set to have the most movepool options and minimizing its weak Special Defense. A Booster Energy set would also be a good choice to strengthen its already powerful Attack. I will leave you here an example set to enjoy Great Tusk!

Flutter Mane

IconPokémonTypeAbilitiesHPAtkDefSpASpDSpeBST
flutter-maneFlutter ManeGhostFairyProtosynthesis555555135135135570

Brought to you by THA Chaiyawat Traiwichcha, the 2022 Thailand National & World Cup champion!

I believe that Flutter Mane is one of the strongest Pokémon right now in terms of an offensive threat. My colleague Jong Dae-Jung and I have discussed how absurdly broken it is with its Protosynthesis, which can increase its highest stat by Booster Energy or Sun support and elite combination of top-tier Special Attack and Speed stats, making it a really high-potential Pokémon.

This offensive profile is excellently complemented by its dynamic STAB duo of Fairy and Ghost, especially considering the possibility of useful move choices like Shadow Ball, Moonblast, Dazzling Gleam, Trick Room, and a ton of other moves you can experiment with. Aside from Life Orb, Choice Scarf, and other sets of Flutter Mane, Booster Energy with Calm Mind is another interesting combination to try. Calm Mind comes in handy to function as another win condition with moves like Substitute, and after a Protosynthesis-boosted Speed and some Calm Minds, Flutter Mane outspeeds and defeats anything it encounters.

When combined, Flutter Mane and Chi-Yu could be a terrifying offensive duo because of Flutter Mane’s high Special Attack stats and Chi-Yu’s Beads of Ruin ability to reduce an opponent’s Special Defense by 25%. This is not even mentioning the fact that Terastallizing with Flutter Mane can increase its power even further. This allows for the limitation of offensive and defensive counterplay as you can change typing to avoid the revenge-killing capabilities of certain priority moves. Overall this Pokémon is a great one to try out!

Iron Hands

IconPokémonTypingAbilitiesHPAtkDefSpASpDSpeBST
iron-handsIron HandsFightingElectricQuark Drive154140108506850570

Brought to you by AUS Henry Rich, the 2022 Brisbane Regional champion!

Iron Hands, the Paradox Pokemon parallel to Hariyama, brings not only a physically powerful Pokémon with very high HP, Attack and Defense stats, but also a new type combination to VGC: Fighting and Electric.

Fighting/Electric is a great offensive combination, in which Iron Hands can utilize via Wild Charge, Thunder Punch, Close Combat, and Drain Punch. It also has the ability Quark Drive, which can give it an even higher offensive boost. It also has access to Heavy Slam and Iron Head, and using a combination of those with a Steel Tera Type, it gains both the resistances of Steel and the ability to comfortably take on the Fairy types that usually threaten it.

It can also act in a more supportive role, its typing and bulk making it a good defensive switch-in whilst still having access to Fake Out, which puts on a lot of pressure from the get-go. I believe that with Iron Hands’s ability to check a lot of common Pokémon and fill such a versatile role, it will become a staple on many teams as the meta develops, and we’ll come to see it as one of the higher-usage Pokémon.

Iron Moth

IconPokémonTypingAbilitiesHPAtkDefSpASpDSpeBST
iron-mothIron MothFirePoisonQuark Drive807060140110110570

Brought to you by HKG Pan Si Ming, the 2022 Hong Kong National champion!

I wanted to talk about Iron Moth, kind of a Fire/Poison Volcarona. If we look at the species base stats of Iron Moth compared to those of the original Volcarona, we will find that it sacrificed 5 HP and 5 Defense for 5 Special Attack and 5 Special Defense… but Iron Moth also has 10 more Attack and 10 more Speed than Volcarona! The Speed increase is especially important.

At a first look, Iron Moth cannot learn Quiver Dance, which is a pity and would have probably meant that Volcarona is a better choice in many cases… However, when I checked the Pokédex, I found that there are many new strong Dark-type Pokémon, such as the Treasures of Ruin (Wo-Chien, Chien-Pao, Ting-Lu and Chi-Yu) and Roaring Moon. It’s not hard to foresee that, because there are so many strong Dark-type Pokémon, there will be many players that will use Fairy-type Pokémon to counter them, especially Roaring Moon which is 4 times weak to Fairy. And actually, Iron Moth is 4 times resistant to Fairy and can easily beat Fairy-type Pokémon.

To sum up, I personally think Iron Moth will not be that overpowered given the absence of Quiver Dance in its movepool, but it is certainly still a good partner of Dark-type Pokémon such as Roaring Moon and the Treasures of Ruin!

Roaring Moon

IconPokémonTypingAbilitiesHPAtkDefSpASpDSpeBST
roaring-moonRoaring MoonDragonDarkProtosynthesis1051397155101119590

Brought to you by USA Joseph Ugarte, semifinalist at 2022 EUIC & NAIC!

Roaring Moon may look like the spiritual successor (or predecessor in this case) to Mega-Salamence, but through a unique movepool and flexibility attained through Terastallization, it has plenty of options to pressure the opponent.

The two most popular Tera Types I’ve observed on Roaring Moon from in-game ladder and Pokémon Showdown are Dark and Steel, both providing unique benefits. Dark Tera Type usually is used to power up Roaring Moon’s Throat Chop or Crunch, dealing large amounts of damage especially factoring in any extra boosts. Steel Tera Type is typically used in tandem with Iron Head, being an almost perfect defensive type change and providing Roaring Moon with offensive coverage to pressure some of its main threats, such as Flutter Mane and other Dragon-type Pokémon. The Flying Tera Type variant is also worth noting, usually paired with Booster Energy and Acrobatics to deal large amounts of immeadiate damage.

In terms of the most useful items for Roaring Moon, in my opinion they seem to be Life Orb, which provides damage boosting while also allowing for some flexibility between move choices; and Choice Band, which focuses on amping up the damage considerably and opening a slot for U-turn, allowing it to pivot freely into other Pokémon like Arcanine and Gyarados. Roaring Moon, while seemingly linear actually has quite a bit of depth to it, giving it functionality with multiple sets in multiple situations. I am looking forward to seeing how this Pokémon performs, as the future looks bright for it.

Conclusions

What do you think about these featured Pokémon? There are so many others that have potential and have missed out for now, like Flamigo, Maushold, or Chi-Yu, but expect to see them high in usage!

Time will tell about this metagame, but the tournaments are about to start. We will see our first glimpse at the metagame at the Stuttgart Regionals VGC Side Event next weekend, which you will be able to watch live in Victory Road’s Twitch channel; and we will have the earliest metagame-establishing major online event on the following weekend. Don’t miss out!

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