Ｐｅａｃｅ Ａｎｄ Ｔｒａｎｑｕｉｌｉｔｙ
Mega Sceptile has a unique set of perks over the tier's other Mega Evolutions that make it an effective revenge killer, cleaner, and offensive check to the tier's many Water- , Ground-, and Electric-types. Chief among these are its exceptional Special Attack and Speed stats, which enable it to threaten many offensive teams with its powerful STAB moves; its Grass / Dragon typing, which allows it to function as a decent check to Pokemon such as Suicune, Latias, and Hippowdon; and its ability in Lighting Rod, which makes it a uniquely potent offensive answer to Electric-types such as Mega Manectric and Zeraora. These traits make it quite an effective tool on offense against opposing offensive teams that lack a strong defensive presence and render it difficult to switch into consistently without a specially bulky Pokemon. That said, Mega Sceptile can nevertheless be quite easy to check both offensively and defensively. Choice Scarf users, strong priority attackers, Pursuit trappers, and the ubiquitous Mega Aerodactyl all exploit Mega Sceptile's frailty and common weaknesses, while most specially bulky Pokemon have the typing, natural bulk, or both required to switch into Mega Sceptile's attacks consistently. It is also helplessly walled by most of the tier's defensive Fairy-types, making it tough to use in the face of common threats such as Mega Altaria, Klefki, and Togekiss. It also relies heavily on punishable moves in Leaf Storm, Focus Blast, and the very weak Hidden Power Fire to do significant damage and cannot fit all of its ideal coverage onto a single set, giving it a mild case of four-moveslot syndrome. This makes it tough to optimize for teams and relatively easy to position an offensive check against it. These setbacks leave Mega Sceptile quite helpless in a number of matchups despite its upsides and relatively awkward to fit onto teams due to both its numerous downsides compared to other Mega Evolutions and its covering of roles easily filled by other, non-Mega Pokemon.
name: All-out Attacker
move 1: Leaf Storm
move 2: Dragon Pulse
move 3: Giga Drain / Energy Ball / Focus Blast
move 4: Hidden Power Fire / Focus Blast
evs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Leaf Storm grants Mega Sceptile crucial nuking ability, doing heavy damage to most Pokemon that don't resist it and, letting it function as a revenge killer in exchange for lowering its Special Attack two stages upon use. Dragon Pulse is Mega Sceptile's Dragon-type STAB move, which, in addition to its strong neutral coverage, lets it act as an offensive check to the likes of Latias, Hydreigon, and Kommo-o. This neutral coverage is key against foes such as Moltres, Rotom-H, and Gengar, as it would lack broad coverage with Grass-type moves alone. Giga Drain grants Mega Sceptile a form of recovery and a Grass-type move it can use without the drawbacks of Leaf Storm. However, the recovery of Giga Drain can be exchanged for the notable bump in power provided by Energy Ball, which grants Mega Sceptile crucial OHKOs and 2HKOs without having to use Leaf Storm. Notably, Energy Ball allows Mega Sceptile to OHKO Alomomola after Stealth Rock and 2HKO Suicune if it has used Calm Mind on your first Energy Ball. Hidden Power Fire gives Mega Sceptile the ability to hit Steel-types, most notably hitting Scizor for 4x damage, and makes it more difficult to switch in directly. Focus Blast is much stronger than Hidden Power Fire against Steel-types weak to Fighting, most notably OHKOing Cobalion and Bisharp as well as 2HKOing Mega Aggron. In exchange, it is notoriously inaccurate and much less reliable against Steel-types that take neutral damage from Fighting-type moves, namely Scizor and Klefki.
A Timid nature is used over Modest to allow Sceptile to outspeed Mega Manectric, Zeraora, and Crobat, as well as Speed tie with Mega Beedrill. Lightning Rod is an extremely useful tool and is crucial to Mega Sceptile's success, as the threat of a free Special Attack boost makes Electric-types think twice before using their STAB moves.
Use Mega Sceptile's blazing Speed to revenge kill key offensive threats such as Latias, Mega Manectric, and non-Choice Scarf Hydreigon after they have been put in KO range of its attacks. This is best accomplished by getting entry hazards up early and often with a teammate, as chip damage is generally needed to put most threats in range. For example, unboosted Latias needs to switch into Stealth Rock twice before it is cleanly OHKOed by Dragon Pulse, and Primarina and Terrakion both need to switch into Stealth Rock twice to be OHKOed by Giga Drain. In this way, entry hazard support minimizes Mega Sceptile's overreliance on Leaf Storm to do major damage. Mega Sceptile has decent defensive utility despite its frailty thanks to its resistances and Lightning Rod; take advantage of this by switching in on predicted status moves such as Wish and Stealth Rock, as well as predicted Water- and Ground-type attacks from passive Pokemon such as Hippowdon and Slowbro, for an opportunity to fire off an attack. Don't do this too liberally, though, as this will lead to Mega Sceptile being worn down very quickly, and it can be caught off guard with a predicted Ice Beam from Pokemon such as Swampert and Slowbro if it comes in too predictably without scouting. Despite Lightning Rod effectively deterring Electric-type attacks, especially Volt Switch, the generally offensive nature of Electric-types makes them trickier to switch into for Mega Sceptile than predicted Scalds from Swampert, as they will generally carry hard-hitting coverage to pressure it and prevent it from switching in unpunished. Zeraora can do major damage to Mega Sceptile with Close Combat, while Mega Manectric can chip it with a Fire-type move or simply remove it from the game with Hidden Power Ice if it has it. For these reasons, Mega Sceptile should ideally only come in versus these Pokemon on a slow Volt Switch or U-turn, a double switch, an aggressive prediction, or after a teammate has been KOed, so as to minimize unnecessary damage. Many of the Pokemon Sceptile is capable of switching into, such as Hippowdon and Alomomola will often carry Toxic, making it risky to consistently switch directly into them. It is therefore ideal to bring Mega Sceptile in against these Pokemon on a slow U-turn or with precise prediction. Play aggressively early-game around Mega Sceptile's switch-ins and predict them with either your coverage moves or double switching. Despite the high risk of aggressive prediction, simply attacking what's in front of you is often a losing game due to how dangerous it is to give free turns to Mega Sceptile's most common switch-ins. The many switches Sceptile forces by virtue of its Speed and power are useful in this regard for gaining favorable positioning early on for offensive teams. Be careful when using Leaf Storm, as most of the tier can exploit a Mega Sceptile after the Special Attack drop. It should generally only be used if the added power is needed to KO what is in front of Mega Sceptile or if you need to wear down whatever is coming in on it.
Mega Sceptile fits best on more offensive teams that appreciate a fast revenge killer and a means of annoying teams that rely on the offensive presence of Electric-types or the defensive presence of bulky Water- and Ground-types. Scizor pairs brilliantly with Mega Sceptile, as not only can Scizor scare out most of Mega Sceptile's checks with Bullet Punch and bring it in for free with U-turn, either Pokemon can set the stage for the other to clean late-game by softening up the other's checks. Other pivots capable of bringing in Mega Sceptile on their own checks include Choice Scarf Infernape, Rotom-H, and Assault Vest Mienshao. Spikes support from Klefki is extremely useful for putting foes in range of Mega Sceptile's attacks, and its defensive typing allows you to fall back in the face of threats such as Calm Mind Latias and Mega Beedrill that Mega Sceptile cannot reliably revenge kill. Klefki also provides invaluable Thunder Wave support to cripple Mega Sceptile's offensive checks and open the door for it to clean late-game. In general, Steel-types are very proficient at handling Pokemon that are problematic for Mega Sceptile. Scizor, Doublade, and Klefki all cover Mega Aerodactyl, Mega Altaria, Mamoswine, Togekiss, and Latias to some capacity. Doublade and Cobalion can also wallbreak for Mega Sceptile with Swords Dance, easing its matchup versus bulky teams. Wallbreakers are crucial for teams carrying Mega Sceptile, so it can potentially clean up late-game as well as capitalize on its revenge killing ability. Swords Dance Terrakion, Calm Mind Latias, Mamoswine, and Nasty Plot Infernape all synergize well with Mega Sceptile in this way. Offensive Stealth Rock setters such as Nidoking and Terrakion put heavy pressure on opposing Fairy- and Steel-types. In return, Mega Sceptile can very capably support them by being an offensive answer to Water- and Ground-types. Mega Sceptile is extremely fast and therefore an effective revenge killer, but it should rarely, if ever, be the fastest Pokemon on your team due to how easily it is revenge killed itself. Choice Scarf users such as Krookodile and Hydreigon can compensate for this deficiency and prevent faster threats from walking over your team while also providing crucial team support with Defog, U-turn, and in the case of Krookodile, Pursuit. Choice Scarf Infernape can also bait in bulky Water- and Ground-types to bring in Mega Sceptile with U-turn, as well as threaten Fairy-types with a fast Gunk Shot.
Mixed attacking Mega Sceptile can act as a functional lure to Togekiss and Mega Altaria with Iron Tail or to Alolan Muk with Earthquake. In doing so, however, it must sacrifice one of Hidden Power Fire, Focus Blast, or its secondary Grass-type STAB move, limiting its effectiveness to those threats specifically and making it worse in other matchups. Substitute can take advantage of the many switches Mega Sceptile forces and make it tougher to revenge kill, but it can prove to be a waste of HP if a defensive check such as Togekiss is waiting in the wings. It also cannot viably use Leaf Storm, making it much easier to wall. Substitute can also be used in conjunction with Leech Seed to annoy Mega Sceptile's switch-ins and soften walls for a teammate, but having only two easily walled attacks can prove extremely exploitable in the face of offensive threats such as Scizor and Mega Altaria. Leech Seed alone with three attacks can also serve this function without sacrificing a moveslot for Substitute, but for the same reason as running Substitute alone, exchanging a coverage move for Leech Seed opens Mega Sceptile up to being exploited by a number of threats it'd be able to hit with its coverage otherwise. Swords Dance Mega Sceptile has a better matchup versus certain stall archetypes than standard Mega Sceptile, but it is generally outclassed as a physical Grass-type wallbeaker by Tsareena, which doesn't cost a Mega slot and is significantly stronger. Its mediocre Attack stat for a Mega Evolution also means it is helplessly weak unboosted and tougher to use in offensive matchups, where it generally has fewer setup opportunities.
Checks and Counters
**Fairy-types**: Mega Sceptile is hard walled by the tier's most popular Fairy-types, as they not only are immune to Dragon Pulse but also generally resist Grass. It is therefore a sitting duck versus Togekiss and Mega Altaria, two very dangerous Pokemon to give free turns to, and it must play aggressively around Klefki with Hidden Power Fire to do any sort of damage to it. Despite taking neutral damage from Grass-type moves, Florges and Sylveon have the raw bulk to come in consistently on Leaf Storm, force Sceptile out, and heal up.
**Ice-types and Ice-type coverage**: Mega Sceptile's frailty and 4x weakness to Ice means it will be decimated by virtually any Ice-type attack. Mamoswine can therefore revenge kill it quite handily with Ice Shard, despite being slower, while Mega Manectric can nail it with Hidden Power Ice if it predicts correctly.
**Steel-types**: Though they must watch out for Hidden Power Fire and Focus Blast, Steel-types wall Mega Sceptile's STAB combination and can take advantage of it after a Special Attack drop from Leaf Storm. Scizor and Cobalion can set up on a -2 Mega Sceptile if it lacks Hidden Power Fire or Focus Blast, respectively, while Klefki, Mega Aggron, and Mega Steelix can either fire off a free attack or set up entry hazards as Mega Sceptile switches out.
**Pursuit**: Most of the tier's viable Pursuit trappers threaten Mega Sceptile, making it extremely susceptible to being trapped by the likes of Alolan Muk, Mega Aerodactyl, Assault Vest Bisharp, and Choice Band Scizor, especially if it has gone for Leaf Storm.
**Faster Pokemon and Strong Priority**: Mega Sceptile is exceptionally fast, but not enough for it to not be outsped by Mega Aerodactyl and most Choice Scarf users, most notably Hydreigon and Latias. It is also quite easily taken out by Scizor's Bullet Punch, Bisharp's Sucker Punch, and Mamoswine's Ice Shard, the latter of which OHKOes it invariably thanks to its 4x weakness to Ice.
- Written by: [[eht, 237235]]
- Quality checked by: [[vivalospride, 151509], [Hilomilo, 313384], [Surgeon, 347604]]
- Grammar checked by: [[martha, 384270], [The Dutch Plumberjack, 232216]]