Resource VGC 2019 Viability Rankings [Moon Series Update]

NO, KEEP GOING
Alright fine...

Magnezone:
Sturdy Magnezone to guarantee it survives and Custap Berry activates. Run it with Groudon on your team. Turn 1 set up Gravity so Groudon gets Precipice Blades hitting every target for 100% accuracy, even Flying types. Turn 2 you just go crazy with priority accurate Zap Cannon / Thunder wrecking things. Also run Electroweb for speed control in case you don't need Groudon/Gravity, and Protect/Flash Cannon to round it out.

Gigalith:
Exactly the same concept. Sturdy ability, lead with Gravity, pair with Groudon. Turn 2 you have priority accurate Stone Edge, or perhaps Explosion. And run Wide Guard for added utility.

These Custap Gravity leads also work well with Hypnosis users like Lunala on your team.
 

Netherious

formerly Shivershaft
is a Pre-Contributor
Alright everyone! It's time to shift toward the Moon Series Viability thread! I will be updating this as we get closer to the deadline of Sun Series. I'd like to get this up by the end of the week. Is there any significant changes in the meta with Z moves that has been noticed? It will be tricky to develop the list before we get some tournament results but I will continue to observe tours and the high ladder on Showdown.

Please give me any input you may have and I'll be sure to use it in the Moon update. I will likely just copy paste the main list to start and then make changes as things change. Either way, let's get on it!

Thanks,

Neth
 
I think Lunala to A+ is the big change that has to happen. How the meta adapts to that is yet to be decided but it's hard to argue the big 2 megas didn't turn into a big 3.

We'll see how the rest of the meta changes. I expect DM to be less viable (probably B- or even C+) since it gets hit by lunala and all it's counters. Lugia will be more viable with multiscale and it's Z move. Kyurem B might not be totally unviable with Z-freeze shock. But most of that is speculation.
 

PikachuVincent

Banned deucer.
I think Lunala to A+ is the big change that has to happen. How the meta adapts to that is yet to be decided but it's hard to argue the big 2 megas didn't turn into a big 3.

We'll see how the rest of the meta changes. I expect DM to be less viable (probably B- or even C+) since it gets hit by lunala and all it's counters. Lugia will be more viable with multiscale and it's Z move. Kyurem B might not be totally unviable with Z-freeze shock. But most of that is speculation.
I also seen Psych Up Lunala destroying me. But I wouldn't put it at A+. Maybe A or B but not that.
 

Adamant Zoroark

catchy catchphrase
is a Contributor to Smogon
Stakataka should drop to B or lower for Moon series. It's supposed to be an answer to Xerneas, but with Lunala now having a Z-Move in its arsenal, all of Xerneas's common restricted partners reliably deal with Stakataka, meaning it can't even reliably do the one thing it's supposed to do reliably. Everything that was an issue for it in Sun series (e.g. Intimidate shuffling & inability to do much of anything outside of Trick Room) is still an issue for it in Moon series, meaning Stakataka's experience shifting to Moon series has been overwhelmingly negative. To give an example of how bad Stakataka is now, my first team for Moon series had Stakataka on it. It was quickly changed to Kartana during testing, which on paper made the team worse by making the Xerneas matchup worse, but it actually made the team better in practice. If that doesn't explain how bad Stakataka is at doing its job now, I'm not sure what will. There's just no way to justify it being in the A ranks in Moon series.

Also definitely move Lunala to A+; the thing is so powerful now with access to Lunalium Z, giving it the ability to do massive damage to almost anything in its way given that there are very few Ghost resists outside of Incineroar and Yveltal; I've even seen Z-Focus Blast for all those pesky Incineroars. Likewise, Yveltal should go up to A, as it's become so much more useful now with its ability to outspeed and put pressure on Lunala.
 
I almost want to drop Xerneas from A+ to A with the introduction of Z moves... Much easier to deal with using things like Groundium Z Groudon or Lunalium Z. However, Xerneas is still Xerneas, and is still stupidly strong if you let it set up. I support Lunala moving up to A+ with its Lunalium Z and Yveltal going up too for its ability to deal with Lunala. Lunala seemed really weird in Sun Series in that nothing other than Electric Seed seemed very appealing to give it. People were using Spooky Plate on the thing as what really seemed like a filler item if Tapu Koko wasn't also on the same team to allow it to use Electric Seed. Prior to Moon series I probably would have said Groudon was too highly rated but now I think with Groundium Z it's where it should be.
 

Netherious

formerly Shivershaft
is a Pre-Contributor
I definitely agree with a lot of the above statements. Please see my responses below:

Lunala A --> A+

By far one of the best and most reliable Restricted Legendaries. Any team lacking a ghost resistance or a reliable way to handle Lunala is asking for trouble these days. Lunala is too versatile to go unchecked, and A+ is a tier that basically says this in what pokemon it contains.

I am hesitant to move Stakataka yet as with an increase in Yveltal and Xerneas, It still has it's uses. I think if anything I can see it moving down to B+ but not much lower than that.

Xerneas I am also not ready to move down to A. While Z moves can nuke it, I don't think it changes the fact that xerneas can singlehandedly win games still. And it can run its own Z move in place of power herb. If usage and success dwindles for It I'm all for the move but right now, I don't think we are there yet.

As for some other changes, please see below:

Toxicroak A --> B+

This was a long time coming. with the rise of Tornadus, Toxicroak has struggled to break rain like it used to. Lunala increasing in usage and Kartana as well make life harder for Toxicroak.

Tapu Fini A- --> B+

Yveltal A- --> A+

Yveltal is amazing with the Z move, and i've also seen a lot more bulky variants around. It's getting too good to be ignored and just handled on the spot. Even Tapu Koko is struggling to beat it when it is paired with so many checks to Koko.

Crobat B+ --> A-

Very Reliable, Super Fang makes everything in range of a KO by Lunala, and many other Z move users. Lots of natural synergy in a metagame dominated by fairies and fake out users. It's almost a perfect lead pokemon.

And some bulk changes that I think make senses for this new metagame. Pretty self explanatory:

Bronzong B --> B-
DMN B --> B-
Zygarde B --> B-

Clefairy B- --> B
Raichu B- --> B
Salazzle B- --> B
Talonflame B- --> B
Tapu Bulu B- --> C+

Gengar C+ --> B-
Landorus C+ --> B-
Rayquaza C+ --> B-

Dialga C --> C+
Suicune C --> C+
Togedemaru C --> C+

Togekiss D --> C-

Let me know what you all think!

Thank you,

Netherious
 

TPO3

Never practice; Always perform.
I agree with most of those, the only one I don't agree as much with is Yveltal. Yveltal is a great mon that can serve as a reliable check to a lot of the best mons in VGC, but A+ seems a bit high. IDK if I'd put it on the same level as mons like Kyogre and Xerneas. It's weak to or resisted by several of the most common mons in the tier, and all of its STAB moves, while powerful, come with drawbacks. (Doing less damage when their items are gone, Relying on the opponent's attack stat, relying on the opponent attacking/getting blocked by psychic terrain.) I'd say A rank is probably fine, since that's where Groudon is.

Talonflame can be up higher, imo. (Like B+) One of the few mons with access to priority tailwind, but this one also serves as an effective check to Grass-types while not being reliant on a weather for its best STAB move. Also has some cool niche support moves (i.e. Will-o-Wisp, Quick Guard) that Tornadus doesn't have.

Ninetales UR -> B or B-
Ninetales is overlooked in moon series rn. Unlike Incineroar, it's not weak to Sacred Sword or Superpower, and it actually resists Fairy-type attacks. It's also a non-restricted that can get rid of Kyogre's weather, which is cool. It also has a useful niche attack in Power Swap, allowing it to rid Xerneas of its Geomancy boosts. I've been using it in tandem with Overheat, so you can swap it (or other special attackers) to -2 instead of just neutral. It can also soak up a bunch of intimidates and just dump them off on slow physical attackers like Incineroar or Dusk Mane. I wouldn't put it too much higher than this though, because its damage output is still lackluster, and while swapping attack boosts off is cool, it doesn't touch the other stats. (Boosted xerneas after getting swapped is still +2/+2 in SpDef/Speed, for example.)

Also thoughts on Kyogre -> S-tier? I know it takes up a restricted slot, but IMO, waterium Z gives it the versatility that it was really lacking in Sun Series. Z-spout at 1 HP does just as much as Z-spout at full (base 250, for reference) and is basically a delete button against anything that's not Amoonguss. Also gives Kyogre the added benefit of taking less damage from Knock Off, which makes Yveltal much less of a check in some instances.
 

Pyritie

TAMAGO
is an Artist
Ninetales UR -> B or B-
Ninetales is overlooked in moon series rn. Unlike Incineroar, it's not weak to Sacred Sword or Superpower, and it actually resists Fairy-type attacks. It's also a non-restricted that can get rid of Kyogre's weather, which is cool. It also has a useful niche attack in Power Swap, allowing it to rid Xerneas of its Geomancy boosts. I've been using it in tandem with Overheat, so you can swap it (or other special attackers) to -2 instead of just neutral. It can also soak up a bunch of intimidates and just dump them off on slow physical attackers like Incineroar or Dusk Mane. I wouldn't put it too much higher than this though, because its damage output is still lackluster, and while swapping attack boosts off is cool, it doesn't touch the other stats. (Boosted xerneas after getting swapped is still +2/+2 in SpDef/Speed, for example.)

Also thoughts on Kyogre -> S-tier? I know it takes up a restricted slot, but IMO, waterium Z gives it the versatility that it was really lacking in Sun Series. Z-spout at 1 HP does just as much as Z-spout at full (base 250, for reference) and is basically a delete button against anything that's not Amoonguss. Also gives Kyogre the added benefit of taking less damage from Knock Off, which makes Yveltal much less of a check in some instances.
do you have any tournament results or replays to back this up? This is a significant jump for a mon that hasn't been ranked before.
 

TPO3

Never practice; Always perform.
do you have any tournament results or replays to back this up? This is a significant jump for a mon that hasn't been ranked before.
TBH C+ or C might be a safer rank for it right now, at least until major tournaments happen.

In terms of tournament results, Ninetales did manage to nab a top 8 spot in the Zelda VGC Moon Series challenge, which featured a couple of top VGC players. (Only large-ish moon series tournament that's happened so far, as far as I'm aware?)

Sadly I didn't save a lot of my replays when I was using Ninetales on ladder. This is the only one I managed to save:

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2019moonseries-847093412

It ends up not mattering b/c the kyogre stays asleep but ninetales in that position guarantees that Xerneas lives whatever attack the Ogre uses and sets up Geomancy (at that point I didn't know if the ogre was Z, or Specs, or something else. All I knew was that it wasn't scarf because it was slower than the Lunala.) There were more matches where I managed to swap boosts off of Xerneas (and once a Groudon n_n) but I didn't manage to save those replays, I'll try to use the team more and get some for you.
 

Netherious

formerly Shivershaft
is a Pre-Contributor
Hi Everyone!

I've got a few changes/additions for Moon series. I'm going to try and limit my automatic implications and move towards suggestions to get a better idea of how to rank specific pokemon as a community and not off of my own judgement. I'm going to test out a new feature with a polling website to conduct small studies with every post and gauge what people think without having to get long explanations. Feel free to explain your reasoning within the forum but for the most part people enjoy a quick and concise way to express their opinion and I hope that this addition will enhance our viability rankings to become a respected and highly used VGC ranking tool!

Without further delay, here are my suggestions which will be reflected within the Poll:

Kartana A+ --> A

Lunala A+ --> A

Crobat A- --> B+

Stakataka A- --> A

Tapu Fini B+ --> A-

Ferrothorn B+ --> B-

Ho Oh B+ --> B-

Solgaleo B+ --> B

Ditto B- --> C

Gengar B- --> B

Landorus-T B- --> B+

Gothitelle C+ --> B-

Palkia C+ --> B

Whimsicott C+ --> B-

Shedinja UR --> C+

Ninetales UR --> C+

Kommo-o UR --> C+/B-

Terrakion UR --> C


If I missed anything vital please bring it up in in a post and give an explanation as to why it should be added or be moved and I'll add it to the next weeks update!

I'd like to try and do this weekly or bi weekly depending on how active we can get it! Let's make this VR the best it can be and I want to get the community as involved in my process as possible!

Please visit the link below to take the survey! Answer all questions, please.

VGC VR Survey

Thanks!

Netherious
 

Netherious

formerly Shivershaft
is a Pre-Contributor
A HUGE thank you to everyone who partook in our first Viability Poll! This is going to become a regular thing. The turnout was amazing with 25 responses in under 48 hours. This helped to give me a better idea of how to rank things and I will continue to do this and improve the VR with this new valuable asset to determining rank. Please see the link to view the results:

VR Poll Results 1/26/19

Kartana A+ --> A

Lunala will remain at A+

Crobat A- --> B+

Stakataka will remain at A-

Tapu Fini will remain at B+

Ferrothorn B+ --> B-

Ho-Oh B+ --> B

Solgaleo B+ --> B

Ditto B- --> C-

Gengar B- --> B+

Landorus B- --> B+

Gothitelle will remain at C+

Palkia C+ --> B

Whimsicott C+ --> B

Ninetales UR --> C+

Kommo-o UR --> C+

Terrakion UR --> C+



I did notice I missed Shedinja, so that will roll over into the next poll! Thank you all for participating. The next update will be next week! Feel free to nominate any changes for the coming weeks that were missed in this poll.

Netherious

Thanks,
 

Adamant Zoroark

catchy catchphrase
is a Contributor to Smogon
I think Heliolisk may be deserving of a rank. It was extremely niche at best in Sun, but with Moon series introducing Z-Moves, Z-Thunder gives it a way to threaten any variant of Kyogre (thanks to Dry Skin giving it a Water immunity) as well as other threats like Yveltal. It also gets Eerie Impulse to dampen the damage output of the likes of Xerneas and Lunala, even boasting an immunity to MMM for the latter. It still has major issues (e.g. not really being able to touch Groudon or Amoonguss, as well as being pretty worthless against AV Kartana without HP Fire) so I don’t think it can get any higher than the C-ranks, but I think it’s at least worth including it in the next poll.
 

TPO3

Never practice; Always perform.
What would be thoughts on pushing Xerneas up to S-rank? Yes, it takes up a restricted slot, and yes, it needs support to work.

On the other hand, it has taken 15 out of 16 spots in top cut at the first 2 large events of the year, and it's the centerpiece to several archetypes that function very differently from each other (RainDeer, SpaceX, XernDon being the biggest ones). Also, a lot of the counters to Xerneas are much easier to work around in the 2/3 setting that large tournaments provide, especially when most of them have fairly exploitable weaknesses. (I.e. 4x weakness to fighting, getting Sub'd on, etc.)

Maybe it's not worth it but I just thought I'd see what everybody's thoughts are n_n
 

Ace Emerald

Minimal effort with maximum profit
is a Site Staff Alumnusis a Top Smogon Social Media Contributor Alumnusis a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus
Everytime I enter a new meta with Xerneas, I always bet against it. "It's too predictable, people know how to counter it, new meta shifts XYZ will diminish its ability to operate." And every meta I end up using it because its really that good. It can turn around games by itself. There's maybe 2 or 3 notable archetypes without it. Definitely deserves S rank.
 

Netherious

formerly Shivershaft
is a Pre-Contributor
Goodmorning VR! Apologies for the delay but after a busy weekend with Oceania and other events, we should see a lot of changes! Please visit the link below and fill out this weeks poll for the month of February!

https://goo.gl/forms/1JmtV673PgJRj2nJ2
Poll will remain open through this coming week giving plenty of time to vote for a wide margin of players. Share it with your comrades so we can be as accurate as possible!

Thanks,

Netherious
 
Ok, so I've decided to make a long post which I'll divide into a few sections regarding what I think about the current VR rankings:

In my honest opinion, there are some flaws regarding the current state of the VR thread. The most important ones, which are why I think that this thread is failing to achieve its proposal, are:
- Poor activity (this one is quite obvious, so I don't have to explain it).
- Lack of a VR council
- Ranking issues
I don't know about every single VR thread in Smogon, but I guess that most of them have a Viability Rankings Council, which are experienced people in the metagame itself which can decide whether the nominations made by the community are correct or not and provide critical thought and opinions on the current state of the metagame.

I don't think that having polls are a great idea for a VR thread, because literally anyone can vote, and most of the nominated ranking issues haven't been talked about in the actual thread. I can't vote for something that I don't have much information about. For example, mons such as Nihilego or Clefairy were nominated for dropping without even discussing their viability in the current metagame. Nihilego hasn't seen much usage recently, but that doesn't mean that it's not viable anymore or that its viability has actually dropped, so there must be some type of discussion about the mon before considering it to drop (in this case, I think that Nihilego should drop, but I don't think it's fair to make this type of polls)

Keeping this example in mind, someone who decides to vote in the poll would see Nihilego, and try to think the last time where it saw some success, and as the last time was a long time ago, they would think that it's no longer viable, just because of usage (that's another thing to talk about, usage isn't the same as viability). What I think that the voter should do is think about the nomination, and after seeing Groudon's increase in both viability and usage, as well as Lunala, they should vote for Nihilego to drop.

But we can't assume that everyone is going to act like that, so that is where the VR council comes in clutch. They should be good players with an educated opinion that can vote giving reasons for why a mon should or shouldn't drop/rise
I think that we should follow DOU's example and rank only those mons which are actually viable. I think that we should "clean" a lot of the low tiers and make higher tiers "wider", so that differences between pokemon that now are in the same rank but that their viability isn't the same can be tiered in different ranks.

Let's think about the current A- rank. Pokemon such as Stakataka, Tornadus and Tsareena are better than Ludicolo, but Ludicolo is way better than Gengar and Landorus! This keeps going again and again, and I think that the only solution is to drop most of the mons and delete most of the D and some of the C mons.

Something else that I think should be considered when nominating a Pokemon should be replays. We could say that Ditto or Shedinja should be A rank because they just won a Special Event! But we don't have replays that prove their viability ingame. Those replays should be well selected, and they must be mid-high level replays (regionals streams, high ladder, npa...) to be "good" proofs that show how good a pokemon is.

For example, I saw some days ago a post in the creative and underrated sets which showed just a low ladder replay where the opponent used a water move in front of a Cradily. This doesn't show Cradily's viability, it just shows how you "tricked" someone that didn't know how Cradily worked. I'm sure that Cradily could se some use in the proper team, but this isn't the best of examples.

So, those are my thoughts about the VR. Don't get me wrong, I think that the VR are super cool, but I think that there's room for improvement, and I would like to see how this grows. I think that we should start a whole new thread for Ultra series because the difference between Moon and Ultra is quite big, and I think that it is a good opportunity to make some changes to the thread.

About the rankings themselves, I'd like to make some noms:

Volcarona from C- to B/B+
I think that Volcarona is a really good pick atm. It has recently risen in usage in the Xerneas Groudon Koko Inci Amoonguss and Volc build (which, by the way, won Collinsville the last weekend). Volcarona is really good because it fills two roles in the same slot: a sun abuser that can nuke almost everything that doesn't resist fire, and a decent support mon with moves like Whirlwind, Rage Powder or Tailwind. It's also interesting because the most common sun abuser is Venusaur, which doesn't actually recieve a boost in its power, but just a speed increase. Venusaur can deal with Kyogre really well, and it's great for venu compositions because it improves that matchup. But Volcarona is helpful in almost every Kyogre-less matchup, as there are not much things that can stop sun besides Kyogre itself.

In my opinion, Volcarona's viability has increased, not only because it has found a good team to be in, but also because Groudon compositions are more popular nowadays, and Volc can abuse easily this. Talking about Groudon teams, here's the next nom:

Groudon from A to A+
This are some reasons:
  • Edu's winning team had Tsareena as its ground resist. Yeah, I know it's a meme, but it's true indeed. It shows that teams have to rely on their offensive pressure to deal with Groudon, and if the Groudon user gains some momentum with some type of speed control + U-Turn into it, their opponent is really in trouble, as they have little defensive counterplay to it (mostly being Flying types which can be hit by a Rock-move, or maybe some grass types like Ludicolo or Tsareena which are weak to Fire Punch, although not every Groudon runs it).
  • The best Intimidate user is Incineroar, which isn't really a Groudon counter or even a switchin. Hitmontop is rarely seen, and Wide Guard is only run by Smeargle and sometimes Lunala or Solgaleo.
  • There are some things going bad for it: Steel types aren't as common as in sun series (Dialga isn't really a mon, and neither is Dusk Mane) and more offensive checks to Groudon are being used, such as Ludicolo, Tsareena, Venusaur, Volc... But Groudon builds are adapting to this, and are using Talonflame, Koko, and other mons to deal with these threats and Kyogre archetypes.
Groudon is growing both in popularity and success, and I think it's because it had potential since the beginning, but it was a really underexplored archetype. Now that it has won some tournaments, players will be less reluctant to use it and try new builds. I think that it's going to win some majors before moon series ends.

I'll write some low-tier changes that can be considered:
Clefairy bad, Smeargle good :/
Arcanine, Aegislash, Celesteela, Shiftry, Victreebel, Gastrodon, Giratina also bad but very bad >:(((
Abomasnow, Cherrim, Ninetales-A get out of here hail is worse than dusk mane lmao

Meme rank description:
Reserved for specific hard setups that're just tough to classify under any of the above rank. These Pokemon can snowball very quickly out of control if not stopped early on or specifically teched for, but have inherent major flaws stopping them from taking over the metagame by force.



???​
 

Luckyboy123

Ironically Named
is a Tiering Contributor
Ok, so I've decided to make a long post which I'll divide into a few sections regarding what I think about the current VR rankings:

In my honest opinion, there are some flaws regarding the current state of the VR thread. The most important ones, which are why I think that this thread is failing to achieve its proposal, are:
- Poor activity (this one is quite obvious, so I don't have to explain it).
- Lack of a VR council
- Ranking issues
I don't know about every single VR thread in Smogon, but I guess that most of them have a Viability Rankings Council, which are experienced people in the metagame itself which can decide whether the nominations made by the community are correct or not and provide critical thought and opinions on the current state of the metagame.

I don't think that having polls are a great idea for a VR thread, because literally anyone can vote, and most of the nominated ranking issues haven't been talked about in the actual thread. I can't vote for something that I don't have much information about. For example, mons such as Nihilego or Clefairy were nominated for dropping without even discussing their viability in the current metagame. Nihilego hasn't seen much usage recently, but that doesn't mean that it's not viable anymore or that its viability has actually dropped, so there must be some type of discussion about the mon before considering it to drop (in this case, I think that Nihilego should drop, but I don't think it's fair to make this type of polls)

Keeping this example in mind, someone who decides to vote in the poll would see Nihilego, and try to think the last time where it saw some success, and as the last time was a long time ago, they would think that it's no longer viable, just because of usage (that's another thing to talk about, usage isn't the same as viability). What I think that the voter should do is think about the nomination, and after seeing Groudon's increase in both viability and usage, as well as Lunala, they should vote for Nihilego to drop.

But we can't assume that everyone is going to act like that, so that is where the VR council comes in clutch. They should be good players with an educated opinion that can vote giving reasons for why a mon should or shouldn't drop/rise
I think that we should follow DOU's example and rank only those mons which are actually viable. I think that we should "clean" a lot of the low tiers and make higher tiers "wider", so that differences between pokemon that now are in the same rank but that their viability isn't the same can be tiered in different ranks.

Let's think about the current A- rank. Pokemon such as Stakataka, Tornadus and Tsareena are better than Ludicolo, but Ludicolo is way better than Gengar and Landorus! This keeps going again and again, and I think that the only solution is to drop most of the mons and delete most of the D and some of the C mons.

Something else that I think should be considered when nominating a Pokemon should be replays. We could say that Ditto or Shedinja should be A rank because they just won a Special Event! But we don't have replays that prove their viability ingame. Those replays should be well selected, and they must be mid-high level replays (regionals streams, high ladder, npa...) to be "good" proofs that show how good a pokemon is.

For example, I saw some days ago a post in the creative and underrated sets which showed just a low ladder replay where the opponent used a water move in front of a Cradily. This doesn't show Cradily's viability, it just shows how you "tricked" someone that didn't know how Cradily worked. I'm sure that Cradily could se some use in the proper team, but this isn't the best of examples.

So, those are my thoughts about the VR. Don't get me wrong, I think that the VR are super cool, but I think that there's room for improvement, and I would like to see how this grows. I think that we should start a whole new thread for Ultra series because the difference between Moon and Ultra is quite big, and I think that it is a good opportunity to make some changes to the thread.

About the rankings themselves, I'd like to make some noms:

Volcarona from C- to B/B+
I think that Volcarona is a really good pick atm. It has recently risen in usage in the Xerneas Groudon Koko Inci Amoonguss and Volc build (which, by the way, won Collinsville the last weekend). Volcarona is really good because it fills two roles in the same slot: a sun abuser that can nuke almost everything that doesn't resist fire, and a decent support mon with moves like Whirlwind, Rage Powder or Tailwind. It's also interesting because the most common sun abuser is Venusaur, which doesn't actually recieve a boost in its power, but just a speed increase. Venusaur can deal with Kyogre really well, and it's great for venu compositions because it improves that matchup. But Volcarona is helpful in almost every Kyogre-less matchup, as there are not much things that can stop sun besides Kyogre itself.

In my opinion, Volcarona's viability has increased, not only because it has found a good team to be in, but also because Groudon compositions are more popular nowadays, and Volc can abuse easily this. Talking about Groudon teams, here's the next nom:

Groudon from A to A+
This are some reasons:
  • Edu's winning team had Tsareena as its ground resist. Yeah, I know it's a meme, but it's true indeed. It shows that teams have to rely on their offensive pressure to deal with Groudon, and if the Groudon user gains some momentum with some type of speed control + U-Turn into it, their opponent is really in trouble, as they have little defensive counterplay to it (mostly being Flying types which can be hit by a Rock-move, or maybe some grass types like Ludicolo or Tsareena which are weak to Fire Punch, although not every Groudon runs it).
  • The best Intimidate user is Incineroar, which isn't really a Groudon counter or even a switchin. Hitmontop is rarely seen, and Wide Guard is only run by Smeargle and sometimes Lunala or Solgaleo.
  • There are some things going bad for it: Steel types aren't as common as in sun series (Dialga isn't really a mon, and neither is Dusk Mane) and more offensive checks to Groudon are being used, such as Ludicolo, Tsareena, Venusaur, Volc... But Groudon builds are adapting to this, and are using Talonflame, Koko, and other mons to deal with these threats and Kyogre archetypes.
Groudon is growing both in popularity and success, and I think it's because it had potential since the beginning, but it was a really underexplored archetype. Now that it has won some tournaments, players will be less reluctant to use it and try new builds. I think that it's going to win some majors before moon series ends.

I'll write some low-tier changes that can be considered:
Clefairy bad, Smeargle good :/
Arcanine, Aegislash, Celesteela, Shiftry, Victreebel, Gastrodon, Giratina also bad but very bad >:(((
Abomasnow, Cherrim, Ninetales-A get out of here hail is worse than dusk mane lmao

Meme rank description:
Reserved for specific hard setups that're just tough to classify under any of the above rank. These Pokemon can snowball very quickly out of control if not stopped early on or specifically teched for, but have inherent major flaws stopping them from taking over the metagame by force.



???​
Just a quick note, the meme rank of this year was something that was included quite literally as a meme by the vgc discord it ain't meant to be taken seriously though this probably should be mentioned in the description of the rank. The description itself is a remnant of last year's vr thread where a rank existed that included mons like chansey, blissey and eevee which all had that potential to go out of control though it took some effort to do so, though that potential is a lot less likely this year
 
Some thoughts. Not voting in a poll because I think a well thought out argument is more important than whatever sense of consensus it leaves you with. A lot of people have bad opinions. Myself included, more often than not. Posting an argument here means those bad opinions can be argued against and not included in the rankings. A poll doesn't include that. Similarly, a more niche Pokemon won't get responses in a poll because most players won't have seen if used or used properly. If you can't defend your argument, it shouldn't be included on a VR.

With that, my opinions after playing moon series for a while:

I could accept Xerneas in A+ or S, either one seems fine.

Groudon should move up to A+. I don't think it's meaningfully worse than the other restricteds listed there. Even if it's not as powerful, it enables other Pokemon to operate at a high level and it's consistent results should move it up.

Tapu Lele should move down to B+. It's not very good right now and most people are running Tsareena instead.

Ludicolo can drop down to B+ as well. It's not bad but Tornadus makes it harder to operate and people have found other answers to Kyogre.

Landorus is still more niche. It's really only useful on XY, it's not very good on other teams. I'd move it down to B tier.

Heatran should move down to B- with all the other outdated checks to Xerneas.

Zygarde should move up to B. It's shown it's viability with results at recent tournaments, and it's decidedly better than Dusk Mane and Ray.

Ray should move down to C+. It's not very good and hasn't really shown itself recently.

Kommo-o and shedinja should move up to B-. They're both showing up in every tournament, including very strong results in Cannes.

Move Zapdos, Suicune, and Bulu down. Probably to C. They're all borderline unviable and have no finishes to their name, unlike C+ mons.

Move Zekrom up to C+. It almost cut Australia internats and has a decidedly decent core built around it, whereas other Pokemon in are mostly non-existent.

Also move Lurantis up to C+. It has a niche on trick room teams that are weak to Incineroar, which is most trick room teams. Most recently it got second place in the Korean league.

Ditto to C or C+. It did just win a special event.

Kyurem White, Lugia, and Naganadel to C+. They all have niches and decent albeit not great results. They all benefited from Z moves as well.

Volcarona to B or B-. It won the Korean league, Collinsville regional, and got t4 at internats. Granted, it's mostly been on one archtype but as an answer to sun teams that provides general utility with redirection and speed control, its very very good.

Kyurem-B to C-. It also has improved due to Z moves. Baek got CP with it in Dallas so I think it's viable, if not good.

Drop Rotom-W to D. It doesn't do anything and no one has used it.

Add heliolisk to C-. It's won a special event and made a number of appearances even if it hasn't cut anything notable. Being immune to Kyogre and Lunala's attacks is a cool niche.

Scizor and Jynx probably deserve C- ratings as well since they've shown they aren't totally useless as well, even if I haven't used them.
 
Ok, so I've decided to make a long post which I'll divide into a few sections regarding what I think about the current VR rankings:

In my honest opinion, there are some flaws regarding the current state of the VR thread. The most important ones, which are why I think that this thread is failing to achieve its proposal, are:
- Poor activity (this one is quite obvious, so I don't have to explain it).
- Lack of a VR council
- Ranking issues
I don't know about every single VR thread in Smogon, but I guess that most of them have a Viability Rankings Council, which are experienced people in the metagame itself which can decide whether the nominations made by the community are correct or not and provide critical thought and opinions on the current state of the metagame.

I don't think that having polls are a great idea for a VR thread, because literally anyone can vote, and most of the nominated ranking issues haven't been talked about in the actual thread. I can't vote for something that I don't have much information about. For example, mons such as Nihilego or Clefairy were nominated for dropping without even discussing their viability in the current metagame. Nihilego hasn't seen much usage recently, but that doesn't mean that it's not viable anymore or that its viability has actually dropped, so there must be some type of discussion about the mon before considering it to drop (in this case, I think that Nihilego should drop, but I don't think it's fair to make this type of polls)

Keeping this example in mind, someone who decides to vote in the poll would see Nihilego, and try to think the last time where it saw some success, and as the last time was a long time ago, they would think that it's no longer viable, just because of usage (that's another thing to talk about, usage isn't the same as viability). What I think that the voter should do is think about the nomination, and after seeing Groudon's increase in both viability and usage, as well as Lunala, they should vote for Nihilego to drop.

But we can't assume that everyone is going to act like that, so that is where the VR council comes in clutch. They should be good players with an educated opinion that can vote giving reasons for why a mon should or shouldn't drop/rise
I think that we should follow DOU's example and rank only those mons which are actually viable. I think that we should "clean" a lot of the low tiers and make higher tiers "wider", so that differences between pokemon that now are in the same rank but that their viability isn't the same can be tiered in different ranks.

Let's think about the current A- rank. Pokemon such as Stakataka, Tornadus and Tsareena are better than Ludicolo, but Ludicolo is way better than Gengar and Landorus! This keeps going again and again, and I think that the only solution is to drop most of the mons and delete most of the D and some of the C mons.

Something else that I think should be considered when nominating a Pokemon should be replays. We could say that Ditto or Shedinja should be A rank because they just won a Special Event! But we don't have replays that prove their viability ingame. Those replays should be well selected, and they must be mid-high level replays (regionals streams, high ladder, npa...) to be "good" proofs that show how good a pokemon is.

For example, I saw some days ago a post in the creative and underrated sets which showed just a low ladder replay where the opponent used a water move in front of a Cradily. This doesn't show Cradily's viability, it just shows how you "tricked" someone that didn't know how Cradily worked. I'm sure that Cradily could se some use in the proper team, but this isn't the best of examples.

So, those are my thoughts about the VR. Don't get me wrong, I think that the VR are super cool, but I think that there's room for improvement, and I would like to see how this grows. I think that we should start a whole new thread for Ultra series because the difference between Moon and Ultra is quite big, and I think that it is a good opportunity to make some changes to the thread.

About the rankings themselves, I'd like to make some noms:

Volcarona from C- to B/B+
I think that Volcarona is a really good pick atm. It has recently risen in usage in the Xerneas Groudon Koko Inci Amoonguss and Volc build (which, by the way, won Collinsville the last weekend). Volcarona is really good because it fills two roles in the same slot: a sun abuser that can nuke almost everything that doesn't resist fire, and a decent support mon with moves like Whirlwind, Rage Powder or Tailwind. It's also interesting because the most common sun abuser is Venusaur, which doesn't actually recieve a boost in its power, but just a speed increase. Venusaur can deal with Kyogre really well, and it's great for venu compositions because it improves that matchup. But Volcarona is helpful in almost every Kyogre-less matchup, as there are not much things that can stop sun besides Kyogre itself.

In my opinion, Volcarona's viability has increased, not only because it has found a good team to be in, but also because Groudon compositions are more popular nowadays, and Volc can abuse easily this. Talking about Groudon teams, here's the next nom:

Groudon from A to A+
This are some reasons:
  • Edu's winning team had Tsareena as its ground resist. Yeah, I know it's a meme, but it's true indeed. It shows that teams have to rely on their offensive pressure to deal with Groudon, and if the Groudon user gains some momentum with some type of speed control + U-Turn into it, their opponent is really in trouble, as they have little defensive counterplay to it (mostly being Flying types which can be hit by a Rock-move, or maybe some grass types like Ludicolo or Tsareena which are weak to Fire Punch, although not every Groudon runs it).
  • The best Intimidate user is Incineroar, which isn't really a Groudon counter or even a switchin. Hitmontop is rarely seen, and Wide Guard is only run by Smeargle and sometimes Lunala or Solgaleo.
  • There are some things going bad for it: Steel types aren't as common as in sun series (Dialga isn't really a mon, and neither is Dusk Mane) and more offensive checks to Groudon are being used, such as Ludicolo, Tsareena, Venusaur, Volc... But Groudon builds are adapting to this, and are using Talonflame, Koko, and other mons to deal with these threats and Kyogre archetypes.[/SPOILER]
I can’t believe you used my Cradily set and battle replay to harpoon this thread! Yes my opponent was very dumb, but the theory is still solid and it is a great Kyogre switch in, which is all I was trying to show from the limited battles I had time to do that day. I’m not arguing for Cradily to be ranked or anything. It’s a “creative” set in a whole other unrelated thread.

Also, I agree with Groudon and Volcarona being ranked higher. Though being x4 weak to rock attacks makes Volcarona a very risky choice from experience (Ho-Oh struggles with this too) as most battles have either Groudon or Kyogre and Volcarona is weak to both.
 

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