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Among the new battling styles introduced in Black and White, the two famous ones are triple battles and rotation battles. The third style is not so much a style as it is an optional setting for battles. Its name? Wonder Launcher.
So, the question on some of your minds may be, "What is this Wonder Launcher?" Wonder Launcher introduces in-battle usage of items such as Potions and Revives. Every turn, in a Wonder Launcher battle (the setting is available in all four styles of battles: singles, doubles, triples, and rotations), each player gains a "point". These points are the "currency" of the Wonder Launcher.
Items in Wonder Launcher are not taken from your in-game bag, but they can be purchased in-battle by using the points you accrue. You cannot "stock up" on items either, as they must be used on purchase. The maximum number of points a player can have at a time is 14, which is also the cost of a Max Revive. Beyond this, unless a player spends points, he will no longer gain any more.
Wonder Launcher adds a new aspect to competitive battling and increases the emphasis on prediction and long-term planning. Now, rather than having to use a move on a sweeper for setting up, you can instead run a different move and use your Wonder Launcher to give your sweeper a boost. Perhaps a wall on your team is on the brink of fainting, and cannot switch in and heal itself; what can you do then? Use a Hyper Potion to restore its HP to the point where it can possibly tank a hit and heal itself. A myriad of new options, both offensive and defensive, are added by the Wonder Launcher, and this increases the emphasis on bulky offense.
Embargo's potential increases meteorically from a normal to a Wonder Launcher metagame. In the usual metagames, Embargo only prevents the opponent's Pokemon's held items from having effect for 5 turns, which is not particularly useful in most cases. However, in a Wonder Launcher battle, Embargo prevents the usage of purchased items as well, which can foil an opponent's strategy.
A well-timed Embargo on a sweeper switching in can prevent it from getting stat boosts, meaning your check has a far easier time fighting it. In the standard metagame, Embargo can nullify several Pokemon's precious Life Orbs and Choice items, and additionally prevents them from using their items, crippling sweepers and allowing you to gain an advantage over them. In Little Cup, Embargo has a rather significant effect as it negates Eviolites, allowing you to quickly KO those Pokemon that try to set up with the aid of Eviolite.
There are 4 items that fall under this category: Item Urge (1 point), Ability Urge (3 points), Item Drop (5 points), and Reset Urge (9 points). Out of these, the Item Urge, Item Drop, and Reset Urge are not particularly useful as there are few one-time-use items that are prevalent in battles, you will rarely lose your items, and it is usually better to switch to reset your stats. However, Ability Urge is a good niche item, as it can let you reactivate Intimidate to help tank a hit, or to reactivate an auto-weather when your weather inducer is out in battle rather than having to switch.
There are 6 items that fall under this category: Awakening, Antidote, Burn Heal, Ice Heal, Parlyz Heal (4 points each), and Full Heal (6 points). The first 5 are useful as they are inexpensive measures to combat bad luck such as that random freeze and that unfortunate Thunderbolt paralysis, but they pale in significance compared to some of the other items, which are often the focus of entire strategies. On the other hand, Full Heals are entirely outclassed by these items, which allow you to heal all of the major status ailments for 2 less points; temporary ailments such as confusion are not too common and can be resolved by a simple switch. These are not as useful in Little Cup, as there is usually neither the time nor the spare points to use them.
This category consists of 5 items: Potion (2 points), Super Potion (4 points), Hyper Potion (8 points), Max Potion (10 points), and Full Restore (13 points). Of these, Potions are one of the most useful items in Little Cup, while Hyper Potions and Full Restores have applications in OU. Super Potions and Max Potions are oddballs and are not particularly useful, as Super Potions are overkill in Little Cup and not good enough for OU, while Max Potions are superfluous in Little Cup and applicable only to Pokemon with obscenely high HP stats such as Blissey in OU, and even then they are very expensive for the task. Hyper Potions are valuable to sweepers as they give them more attacks with Life Orb and enhance their longevity, and can also help tanks survive a crucial hit. Full Restores are usually inefficient, but they can be used as a last resort for a wall to live.
This category consists of just one item, the Ether, which costs 12 points. Ethers are inefficient, and in the long run a tank cannot infinitely stall with them. On top of that, sweepers can take advantage of tanks that are trying to stall their PP out by purchasing X Items to potentially OHKO the tank after some boosts. Ethers are items only to be used in a pinch, and should not be the basis of a strategy.
This item class has 2 items: Revives (10 points), and Max Revives (14 points). These 2 items are very expensive, but are quite useful to sweepers and tanks alike. Sweepers with a new lease of life can attempt to re-run through the opponent's team, which may become easier to sweep, while a stall team will prefer to use it to restore an important wall in order to deal with a sweeper. These items also mean that players must keep even fainted Pokemon in mind, as they can potentially be brought back to unleash terror. This gives rise to interesting mindgames.
This is the largest category of items. The X Items come in 4 "stages": 1 (3 points each), 2 (5 points each), 3 (7 points each), and 6 (12 points each), each boosting the stat by the respective number of stages. These items make the biggest splash on the Wonder Launcher metagame, as they practically remove the need for setup moves, allowing sweepers to run 4 attacks for more coverage. Strategies often revolve around getting a sweeper a +2 or +3 boost to its favored offensive stat, and then letting it loose on the opponent's team.
X Items 1 and 2 are the most useful in Little Cup, as they are cheap and usually get the job done. In OU, X Items 2 and 3 are the preferred ones, as they can provide the raw power needed for a sweeper to pummel through its checks. X Items 6 are an entirely different ball game, however. While they are ridiculously strong, they are also very expensive and take a long time to obtain. Since sweepers may need boosts in more than 1 stat (defenses are crucial to bulkier sweepers), X Items 2 and 3 are more practical. However, if a sweeper manages to get a +6, it will likely be able to rip an entire team to shreds.
Naturally, a large new game mechanic like Wonder Launcher will change a metagame radically. In Little Cup, Wonder Launcher provides bulky offense with a recovery option that takes 2 turns to charge up, and heals 20 HP, which is a powerful weapon to operate off. At the same time, spamming Potions is not wise, as opponents can use the free turns they get to set up a sweeper and rout your entire team. Prediction is key here, as each choice can determine the fate of the match.
In OU, Wonder Launcher works quite similarly in fostering bulky offense. Sweepers can boost both their offenses and defenses over time to plow through an opposing team, while tanks must be able to harm the Pokemon they are attempting to check. For example, Magnezone can take advantage of trapping Ferrothorn, who cannot harm it much, to stock up on boosts and sweep through an entire team, while Pokemon like Dragonite value a defensive boost to aid their longevity. Long-term planning is key as there are no quick recovery items.
Wonder Launcher is a relatively unexplored aspect of BW compared to its more famous cousins—triples and rotations. It is an interesting prediction-oriented metagame. While it is presently not implemented on a Pokemon simulator, you can try it out on the Global Battle Union if you wish!
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