Battle Spot Special Season 1 Report Part 1: Say Alola To The Special Pokémon!

By Theorymon.
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Art by Tikitik

Art by Tikitik.

What's Battle Spot Special?

Whenever you choose to ladder on Pokémon Sun and Moon, you may notice a ladder that says "Special". Just what is this Special, you ask?

Every season in Battle Spot, Game Freak likes to throw a curveball at us and have one ladder that totally changes! Last generation, these rulesets varied wildly, such as having a metagame where only new Pokémon were allowed, a metagame where Pokémon must hold Berries, a metagame that banned the top Pokémon in Doubles (making their own UU of sorts!), and even a metagame that used inverse battles!

That trend is continuing into Pokémon Sun and Moon. This time, it's an Alolan Uber party: all Pokémon that can be caught in Alola are allowed this season!

Rules

Metagame Trends

Say Alola To Our Ubers!

For this article, we will focus on the Pokémon you can't normally use in Battle Spot, or as we like to call them for now, the "Alolan Ubers." Most of these Pokémon are major forces in the metagame and must be prepared for to succeed!

Lunala

Typing: Ghost-type / Psychic-type

Ability: Shadow Shield

Stats: 137 HP / 113 Attack / 89 Def / 137 SpA / 107 SpD / 97 Spe

Calm Mind

Lunala
Ability: Shadow Shield
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Calm Mind
- Moongeist Beam
- Roost
- Moonblast / Will-O-Wisp / Focus Blast / Ice Beam

Offensive Support

Lunala
Ability: Shadow Shield
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Will-O-Wisp
- Moongeist Beam
- Roost
- Moonblast

What's the big deal?

All hail the queen of this season's Battle Spot Special! Lunala's typing may be poor, but thanks to the incredible Shadow Shield, Lunala is the most high-profile threat of the metagame!

What should I expect to see?

Moves
Other Moves

Lunala actually has a fairly diverse movepool. If you're willing to leave things up to Lady Luck, you can use Hypnosis to let Lunala set up more easily. It also gets Thunder Wave for paralyzing sweepers, and Thunderbolt can be used to OHKO Gyarados and beat Celesteela without the need for Calm Mind.

Other Details

With Lunala being 4x weak to its own STAB type, you'll usually want to run a Timid nature and maximum Speed to at least tie with opposing Lunala. If you really hate Alolan Muk, you have the option of running a Bold nature and maximum HP and Defense to avoid a 2HKO from its Crunch after it gets burned. Just note that you will want to wear down opposing Lunala a bit, since neither Lunala will go down before Shadow Shield is taken care of!

What are its flaws?

Since Lunala is the queen of this metagame, almost every competitive player's team revolves around eliminating it. While Shadow Shield makes Lunala impossible to OHKO without a critical hit, it's certainly possible to revenge kill it once Shadow Shield is down. Many Pokémon will run Dark- or Ghost-type coverage in general just to hit Lunala hard.

Solgaleo

Typing: Psychic-type / Steel-type

Ability: Full Metal Body

Stats: 137 HP / 137 Attack / 107 Defense / 113 Special Attack / 89 Special Defense / 97 Speed

Bulky Flame Charge

Solgaleo
Ability: Full Metal Body
EVs: 196 Atk / 172 SpD / 140 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Sunsteel Strike
- Flame Charge
- Crunch
- Flare Blitz / Earthquake / Morning Sun

All-Out Attacker

Solgaleo
Ability: Full Metal Body
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly / Adamant Nature
- Sunsteel Strike
- Crunch
- Flare Blitz
- Earthquake / Morning Sun / Flame Charge / Wild Charge

What's the big deal?

Lunala may be the monarch of this land, but don't let that fool you: Solgaleo is still an excellent choice as an offensive Steel-type. Solgaleo is still rather difficult to KO (especially when given Grassy Terrain support), and unlike Lunala, it is capable of boosting its Speed.

What should I expect to see?

Moves
Other Details

The EV spread given for the bulky Flame Charge set gives Solgaleo around a 93% chance of surviving a Modest Lunala Moongeist Beam (close to the chance of avoiding a critical hit). This allows Solgaleo to defeat Lunala one-on-one with Flame Charge followed by Crunch. The Speed EVs allow Solgaleo to outspeed Ash-Greninja after one Flame Charge. If you don't care about the bulk to beat Lunala, consider a Jolly nature so Solgaleo can outspeed Mimikyu naturally and Pheromosa after a Flame Charge.

What are its flaws?

All the Dark-types that are gunning for Lunala aren't exactly great news for Solgaleo either. While it won't be KOed by them, this means that many Pokémon will be able to hit Solgaleo super effectively.

Magearna

Typing: Steel-type / Fairy-type

Ability: Soul-Heart

Stats: 80 HP / 95 Attack / 115 Defense / 130 Special Attack / 115 Special Defense / 65 Speed

Trick Room Attacker

Magearna
Ability: Soul-Heart
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA
IVs: 0 Spe
Quiet Nature
-Trick Room
-Fleur Cannon
-Shadow Ball
-Flash Cannon / Dazzling Gleam / Volt Switch / Heart Swap

Speed Booster

Magearna
Ability: Soul-Heart
EVs: 44 HP / 252 SpA / 212 Spe
Modest Nature
-Shift Gear
-Shadow Ball
-Fleur Cannon / Dazzling Gleam
-Flash Cannon / Dazzling Gleam / Thunderbolt

What's the big deal?

Magearna may seem easy to dismiss, since it's allowed in the Smogon OU metagame. However, with all the Dark-types out to get Lunala and Solgaleo, Magearna has an excellent typing to deal with them. It's also a master of speed control, having two moves that let it outspeed most of the metagame. Finally, with Soul-Heart, Magearna has serious potential to actually sweep teams!

What should I expect to see?

Moves
Other Moves

If you are paranoid about Incineroar, you can use Aura Sphere to deal massive damage to it. Magearna gets Reflect and Light Screen to help out other sweepers. Pain Split can make up for Magearna's lack of recovery, though note that Magearna does have a decent HP stat. If your team really hates Blissey, you can use Iron Head and try to use Shift Gear three times to 2HKO it. You can even use Thunder Wave to paralyze foes, though note that Magearna tends to lure in Garchomp in desperate situations.

Other Details

Obviously for the Trick Room set, you will want 0 Speed IVs so Magearna can underspeed Celesteela for Trick Room. For the Shift Gear set, the given EVs allow Magearna to outspeed Pheromosa after one boost.

What are its flaws?

Magearna may be a good sweeper, but fact is, it needs to set up before it can outspeed anything significant. This means that against Pokémon that apply serious offensive pressure, such as Garchomp and Solgaleo, Magearna can have a hard time setting up safely. Magearna's coverage is also rather awkward due to being forced to run Shadow Ball for Lunala, meaning that it risks getting walled by several prominent Pokémon.

Ash-Greninja

Typing: Water-type / Dark-type

Ability: Battle Bond

Stats (after forme change): 72 HP / 145 Attack / 67 Defense / 155 Special Attack / 71 Special Defense / 132 Speed

All-Out Attacker

Greninja
Ability: Battle Bond
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
-Dark Pulse
-Ice Beam
-Hydro Pump / Surf / Scald
-Water Shuriken / U-turn

What's the big deal?

With Greninja getting a forme based off of everyone's favorite Pokémon League choker, it may seem like Greninja is just a fanboy Pokémon. While its usage is certainly inflated by that fact, Greninja's Dark typing still saves the day, making it a very viable late-game sweeper once Battle Bond activates, with Ash-Greninja being powerful and outspeeding most Pokémon in the metagame.

What should I expect to see?

Moves

What are its flaws?

Unfortunately, since Greninja needs to net a KO to transform into Ash-Greninja, it's rather weak when it can't nail Pokémon super effectively. This is especially problematic considering Greninja's pathetic defenses, making it get 2HKOed by almost every Pokémon in the metagame at minimum.

Zygarde-C

Typing: Dragon-type / Ground-type

Ability: Power Construct

Stats (after forme change): 216 HP / 100 Attack / 121 Defense / 91 Special Attack / 95 Special Defense / 85 Speed

Dragon Dance

Zygarde
Ability: Power Construct
EVs: 156 Atk / 116 SpD / 236 Spe
Adamant Nature
-Dragon Dance
-Thousand Arrows
-Crunch
-Outrage

Coil + Rest

Zygarde
Ability: Power Construct
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpD / 4 Spe
Careful Nature
-Coil
-Rest
-Sleep Talk
-Thousand Arrows

What's the big deal?

Once one of the most awkward ends of a Pokémon trio, Power Construct has given Zygarde a new leash of life with its extremely bulky Complete forme. While Zygarde is rather weak for an Alolan Uber, it makes up for it by using its bulk to easily set up.

What can I expect to see?

Moves
Other Details

For the Dragon Dance set, the above spread allows Zygarde to survive a boosted Moonblast from Lunala 93.7% of the time (about the same chance of getting slammed by a critical hit) while outspeeding Ash-Greninja after a Dragon Dance. If you're good with less bulk, you can simply use maximum Attack and maximum Speed for the Dragon Dance set. For the Coil set, maximum investment in HP and Special Defense makes it nearly impossible to OHKO with special attacks once it becomes Zygarde-C.

What are its flaws?

Zygarde-C is extremely bulky, but you'll need to get Zygarde down to 50% of its health to activate the forme change. This is a very awkward task, since moves will often either not do enough damage to Zygarde, or in the cases of super effective ones such as Ice Beam, Zygarde might get KOed before it can activate its forme change. Despite its menacing looks, Zygarde-C also only has base 100 Attack, making it the weakest of the Ubers offensively and forcing it to compete with Garchomp for a slot.

The Discarded Ubers

Not all of the Ubers of Alola were so lucky. Here are the two Alolan Ubers that simply aren't good enough to be in common use.

Necrozma

Typing: Psychic-type

Ability: Prism Armor

Stats: 97 HP / 107 Attack / 101 Defense / 127 Special Attack / 89 Special Defense / 79 Speed

What's up with this Pokémon?

Once again, Game Freak has elected to make the third legendary of a boxart trio into a weakling until the next game. Necrozma isn't completely useless, however. While it's extremely rare, Prism Armor is actually a great ability that, unlike Filter and Solid Rock, is not blasted through by Moongeist Beam!

What can it do?

If you see Necrozma, it's likely to be some kind of support set. Prism Armor lets it actually survive Lunala's Moongeist Beam, meaning it can paralyze it with Thunder Wave and deal some decent damage with Dark Pulse. Note that Necrozma will need massive Special Defense investment to survive Moongeist Beam, however.

Necrozma gets some other interesting support moves as well, such as Stealth Rock (handy for breaking Shadow Shield) and Trick Room, which could make it a decent alternative to Magearna (though it lacks Magearna's coverage). Necrozma also gets Calm Mind and Morning Sun / Moonlight, but as a Calm Minder, Lunala is usually a far more dangerous choice.

What holds it back?

Simply put, Necrozma has a hard time doing any of its roles better than other Pokémon in the format. As a Calm Minder, Lunala rules with an iron wing, while Magearna is the queen of Trick Room. Necrozma is a decent user of Stealth Rock, but even with that helping against Lunala, most teams are better off using designated Lunala checks such as Alolan Muk and Mandibuzz. It doesn't help that Klefki and Garchomp are arguably better hazards setters as well.

Zygarde-10%

Typing: Dragon-type / Ground-type

Abilities: Power Construct / Aura Break

Stats: 54 HP / 100 Attack / 71 Defense / 61 Special Attack / 85 Special Defense / 115 Speed

What's up with this Pokémon?

Zygarde-10% is the forgotten forme of Zygarde. Thankfully, it can have Power Construct, so it can become the far more powerful Zygarde-C at the very least.

What can it do?

Zygarde-10%'s one good aspect is that it's fairly fast, outspeeding Lunala, Solgaleo, Hydreigon, and Garchomp. This is pretty nice considering its typing, meaning it can hypothetically run a Substitute set by forcing out Pokémon it can OHKO (such as Garchomp) and harassing its opponent until it becomes the much better (but slower) Zygarde-C. Zygarde-10%'s lower defenses can also let it change into Zygarde-C more quickly if switched into a weak attack, but this is still risky.

What holds it back?

For all that extra Speed, Zygarde-10% still only has base 100 Attack, which isn't going to OHKO many neutral targets. Zygarde-10% is also rather frail, making it difficult to hit that Power Construct sweet spot without getting KOed. It's usually best to stick to regular Zygarde for your Power Construct needs because of this.

Stay Tuned Next Time...

So, these are the stars of this season of Battle Spot Special! Of course, we can use more than just the Alolan Ubers. Because the Alolan Ubers are so small in size, there are plenty of other viable Pokémon to cover. Stay tuned for part 2, where we will go over the rest of the viable Pokémon of Battle Spot Special!

Tapu Koko Garchomp Alolan Ninetales Pheromosa Celesteela Alolan Muk Incineroar

If you have any questions, check out this thread on the metagame!

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