Featured VGC 2012 Core: Metagross and Rotom-W

By muffinhead. Art by Birkal.
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Metagross is one of the coolest Pokémon of all time. It was a force to be reckoned with back in VGC 2009, when it was probably the most dominating physical attacker in the entire metagame. Its movepool is ridiculously huge, containing several excellent STAB options as well as elemental punches and priority. This, combined with its excellent typing and even better ability, makes Metagross a top-tier Pokémon and a large threat in VGC 2012.


Rotom-W came into being in Gen 4, along with all the other Rotom forms. It used to maintain its original forme's Electric / Ghost typing, but that changed in Gen 5. Rotom-W is now a dual Electric / Water-type Pokémon with the Levitate ability, giving it the potential to be one of the best defensive Pokémon in the game. The addition of the Water typing also granted Rotom-W a STAB boost on Hydro Pump, which is a truly powerful attack in VGC 2012. Good STAB attacks and a surprisingly useful support movepool give the opponent shivers when they see Rotom-W in the Team Preview.

Core Qualities

Metagross and Rotom-W work together as a bulky, hard-hitting core. It is a solid choice for newer players to test out because it has good offensive and defensive synergy. Few spread attacks give the core trouble, and the combination of Steel-, Psychic-, Water-, and Electric-type attacks give awesome coverage. Although Metagross and Rotom-W are not the fastest of all Pokémon in VGC 2012, Metagross has a STAB Bullet Punch that allows it to attack against threats in Tailwind or Trick Room. Another reason why this core works so well is that there is one special attacker and one physical attacker. This prevents a dedicated special or physical wall from being too much of a threat in a lead matchup. The opening team of Metagross and Rotom-W completely shuts down common threats such as enemy Metagross, Abomasnow, and Tyranitar thanks to defensive synergy and strong STAB attacks.

The unique typing combination of these two Pokémon give the core a balance that is unparalleled in VGC 2012. Spread moves, such as Rock Slide, Blizzard, and Surf, are extremely common. It is a general rule to not have both Pokémon weak to one spread move at the same time. Metagross and Rotom-W take this to a whole new level. Metagross has two weaknesses: Fire- and Ground-type attacks. The most common spread attacks with these types are Heat Wave and Earthquake. Rotom-W is immune to Earthquake and resists Heat Wave. This means that if an opposing Pokémon were to use Earthquake or Heat Wave, Rotom-W would take negligible damage, effectively making the spread attack useless. The resistances don't end there. Metagross resists Rock Slide, which is probably the most rage inducing move of all time in VGC. Rotom-W takes neutral damage from it. This means that Rock Slide users must rely on another attack to deal damage. Similarly, Rotom-W resists Surf, making rain teams a little less scary to deal with.

The difference that sets this core above others is the ability to deal heavy damage to the Pokémon that threaten half of the core. For example, Ground- and Fire-type Pokémon who threaten Metagross are washed away by Rotom-W's powerful Hydro Pump. Strong Dragon-type Pokémon that Rotom-W can't quite handle, such as Latios, are mauled by Meteor Mash. On top of this, if the opponent uses a Pokémon with Intimidate to try and stop physical attackers from destroying their team, it's not going to deter Metagross: Intimidate does nothing, thanks to Clear Body.

Playing With the Core

This is where personal touches are added. Metagross is a physical attacker, but which moves should you choose? Meteor Mash is its strongest Steel-type attack, but a miss can be the end of the game. Bullet Punch is a low Base Power move, however, the priority can be so crucial to the team's success. Iron Head is an in-between option. Not quite as much power, but the accuracy and flinch rate make it work. After that, Metagross can go for coverage against other Steel-types with Earthquake, or hit Water- and Fighting-type Pokémon with a powerful STAB Zen Headbutt. Elemental punches can be used for specific threats—Gyarados or Garchomp—if needed. Hammer Arm gives good all-around coverage, and can help combat Trick Room teams. Finally, although it was nerfed in Gen 5, Explosion is still a viable option, especially on such a beefy Pokémon with Clear Body. Picking three or four of these moves will probably be the hardest choice when finalizing the core. Rotom-W is very similar to Metagross when it comes to options. The only difference is Rotom-W must decide on EVs and items more so than moves. Speed or bulk? Hydro Pump and Thunderbolt are a given, but Hidden Power Fire, Hidden Power Ice, or Thunder Wave? Choice Specs, Sitrus Berry, or Electric Gem? All of the variables must be just right to make a team that fits your playstyle.

Playing Against the Core

First off, this core is extremely hard to break. A good lead matchup is half the battle. If you lead with Pokémon that immediately threaten both Rotom-W and Metagross, the game is in your hands. However, this also means that picking the wrong lead Pokémon is equally as bad. Fake Out disrupts the core's momentum and forces Protects that you can capitalize on. The ideal matchup would be a fast special attacker with a super effective move on either Metagross or Rotom-W that can't be OHKOed by either. For example, Chandelure has Heat Wave to hit Metagross and Shadow Ball for Rotom-W. Although it won't OHKO either, Chandelure puts you at an advantage. Zapdos is another way to defeat the core. With its bulk and typing, it utterly walls any Metagross lacking Ice Punch; it also carries a strong Thunderbolt as well as Heat Wave. If you have faster offensive presence and predict correctly, Metagross and Rotom-W will fall.

Fitting Your Team Around the Core

This core is so solid that it can lead to the creation of almost any team. Because the core is relatively slow and prone to Fake Out, a team might succeed better if Metagross and Rotom-W are used as the backup Pokémon. Both Metagross and Rotom-W appreciate Icy Wind, Thunder Wave, Trick Room, Choice Scarf teammates, or Fake Out support from another Pokémon on your team. The support moves or Choice Scarf Pokémon ease the need to outpredict the previously mentioned faster threats. Cresselia gets a special mention for being one of the best partners to this core. Metagross and Rotom-W can take out common Cresselia counters, and Cresselia's infinite supporting movepool works wonders for the team.

Other than defeating faster threats, Metagross and Rotom-W need a way to deal with weather teams. Sometimes, the overwhelming power of STAB Surf in the rain is too much to handle; Ludicolo can also put a serious dent in Rotom-W with Giga Drain. Sun teams are an even bigger issue, as most sun teams have a SolarBeam user. Furthermore, Rotom-W's main way of dealing with Fire-type Pokémon, Hydro Pump, is weakened in the sun. Abomasnow can work against rain teams thanks to Snow Warning and STAB Giga Drain; it also has decent synergy with both Metagross and Rotom-W.

Get Out There!

I hope you enjoyed this, because I have loved using this combo since before VGC rules even came out. But enough hipster talk; I have to go do laundry with my floating steel washing machine that has psychic powers. Don't be afraid to tweak each and every move, item, and EV! Good luck and have fun!

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