Monday, June 23, 2014

Featured PKMN: Eeveelutions and the 2014 July Eevee Friendly

Recently, Play! Pokémon and Nintendo have been pretty creative for rulesets for online tournaments. Earlier this month, the Pokémon Global Link site hosted one of these tournaments, the Think Fast Challenge. In this challenge, participants only had 10 minutes to have single format battle, 30 seconds to chose the Pokémon with which to battle with, and 15 seconds to select moves. This challenge returns next month as a double battle tournament. I participated in it and enjoyed it, although I didn't do particularly good or bad. I ended up with a rating somewhere around 1500, which is what you start with. This past weekend was an International Challenge, which runs every month (roughly) and follows VGC format: double battle, Kalos native/dex Pokémon only.

Next week, registration for the next online tournament, the Eevee Friendly will begin (July 3rd, 2014 - July 10th). The tournament will run from July 11th - July 14th. The Eevee Friendly, as you might have guessed, is only open to Eevee and its evolutions. The Pokémon also have to have been caught or bred in Kalos, so Black and White Tutor moves are not available. The battle format is Rotation, which doesn't see a whole lot of use. The most interesting aspect of this tournament, in my opinion, is there are only 9 usable Pokémon. Not only that, Eevee and it's evolutions aren't known for having wide movesets so finding ways to utilize the limited resources to the best of one's abilities will be very interesting to see. Unfortunately, the entry prize isn't as good as some of the past tournaments. Anyone who plays gets 1000 PokéMiles, but I don't know many people hurting for PokéMiles. Regardless, this looks like it could be a fun tournament to play in.  Since the tournament was announced, I have been planning a team to use, as I've never made a Eevee team. I'm almost done with it, so I'll likely raise each of Eevee's evolutions so I have a couple alternates if I feel the team isn't performing the way I would like.

Matt's Eevee Team:

Leafeon (Male)

  • Ability: Chlorophyll - Doubles speed in strong sunlight.
  • Item: Shell Bell (?) - Heals a little HP based on the damage dealt.
  • Attacks: Swords Dance, Substitute, Leaf Blade, Aerial Ace
  • Strategy: Leafeon is a Pokémon who doesn't see a lot of play usually, however in this format I think it'll be decently good. It resists Jolteon's strong electrical attacks and lands super effective hits on Vaporeon, and since it's likely a lot of people will run these two and rain, I can see Leafeon being a good counter. Aerial Ace is just there for people who want to spam evasion, which is allowed. Shell Bell is still being debated, as it's recovery isn't super reliable... however I'm using Leftovers on a different Pokémon so it's the next best thing to heal my Substitute HP use. I also intentionally chose a male Leafeon to counter Male Cute Charm Sylveons.

Jolteon (Male)

  • Ability: Volt Absorb - Absorbs electrical attacks to heal 1/4 HP.
  • Item: Expert Belt (powers up super effective hits) or Heat Rock (extends sunlight from 5 turns to 7)
  • Attacks: Shadow Ball, Thunderbolt, Hidden Power (Ground), and Sunny Day
  • Strategy: Since there are no ground Pokémon to nullify electrical damage, Jolteon itself is the best thing to counter other Jolteon. In fact, with HP Ground it does super effective damage to other Jolteon as well as Flareon. Other Jolteon will also likely run Rain Dance, so my Jolteon can rotate in on a Thunder, absorb it, and then dispel rain with Sunny Day. This also supports Leafeon's ability. I'm still unsure of what item it should hold, however since well timed rotations into electrical attacks could heal it, and I have wish support, it will likely be a damage increasing item like Expert Belt or Heat Rock to extend Sunny Day.

Flareon (Female)

  • Ability: Guts - Doubles attack power if poisoned, paralyzed, or burned.. but Flareon can't be burned. Ever.
  • Item: Toxic Orb - inflicts the "badly poisoned" status on the holder after one turn.
  • Attacks: Flare Blitz, Façade, Flame Charge, Protect
  • Strategy: Guts Flareon is a BEAST. Using Protect, I get a free turn for Toxic Orb to take effect. Once Flareon is poisoned, it gets an attack boost as well as it can no longer be put to sleep or paralyzed. Flame Charge allows for a boost to Flareon's rather low speed while landing a good hit. Façade will likely be the most utilized move as it doubles in power when Flareon is poisoned. Flare Blitz is a last ditch "one last KO" move as the recoil and poison will likely do Flareon in. However, that one last mighty hit against defensively strong Pokémon like Leafeon, Glaceon, and Umbreon may be needed. On the plus side, it's super effective against Leafeon and Glaceon as well. Flareon's fire attacks also get a boost if Jolteon's Sunny Day is still in effect. I also intentionally chose a female Flareon to counter female Cute Charm Sylveons.

Espeon (Female)

  • Ability: Magic Bounce - reflects stat altering and status moves back at the opponent.
  • Item: Light Clay - extends the time that Reflect and Light Screen are in effect.
  • Attacks: Reflect, Light Screen, Psyshock, Dazzling Gleam
  • Strategy: Espeon is mostly support. Magic Bounce protects it from status like Will-O-Wisp from Flareon, Thunder Wave from Jolteon, or Toxic from essentially any Eevee. It then sets up Reflect and Light Screen to decrease damage to it's team mates. Psyshock is a good same type move and it does damage based on the defense stat instead special defense. Since most Eevee evolutions have lower defense the special defense this works great. Psyshock was suggested by Team KO member Patrice. (Thanks Patrice!) Dazzling Gleam is there so Espeon can land an OK hit on anyone who thinks they can switch in Umbreon safely.

 Umbreon (Female)

  • Ability: Inner Focus - this Pokémon will never flinch from an opponent's attack.
  • Item: Leftovers - heals a little HP each turn.
  • Attacks: Curse, Payback, Wish, Toxic
  • Strategy: Ideally, Synchronize would be a better ability here, as the only flinching move that Eevee evos currently have available to them is Bite. However, while breeding I got a Hidden Ability Eevee that was perfect for an Umbreon so I couldn't say no. Additionally, you can't use Ability Capsule on Pokémon with Hidden Abilities. Oh well, it means I can't be Faked Out in Non-Eevee Friendly matches and King's Rock won't be an issue for Umbreon (I doubt anyone will use it, but they could). Umbreon is a pseudo-supporter. Toxic can poison essentially every Pokémon on the opponent's team, and Wish helps its team mates. Curse builds up it's Attack and Defense, with its defense already being pretty high, and cuts speed. This works perfectly with Payback. If a move is used after Umbreon is hit, it boosts to a 100 power move. As Curse cuts it speed, that is highly likely. Most Eevee evolutions (Jolteon, Flareon, Vaporeon, Espeon, and Sylveon) have pretty low defense, so this set is meant to take their hits and return fire pretty hard. Espeon's screens help it say in longer too.

Sylveon (Female)

  • Ability: Cute Charm - may infatuate an opponent if they make physical contact.
  • Item: Rocky Helmet - deals damage if opponent makes physical contact.
  • Attacks: Protect, Toxic, Wish, Moonblast
  • Strategy: Another pseudo-supporter, Sylveon is meant to outlast the opponent, and with help from Espeon's screens that's quite possible. Sylveon's Special Defense laughs off special hits like they're nothing, however its defense is pretty low. Because of that, just about anyone who knows what they are doing will use physical attacks. That's where Rocky Helmet comes in. With the combination of Reflect, Sylveon's pretty high HP stat, and the Helmet, physical attackers won't have the easy time they are expecting. Combo that with Toxic and the ability to heal itself with Wish and there might be a lot of people who forfeit or disconnect out of frustration. Not to mention that Cute Charm could infatuate their Pokémon giving Sylveon the chance to heal. Eevee evos are roughly 88% male, so unless some seeks out females for their team, they aren't very likely to have many and are thus could find themselves Charmed.
Like I mentioned before, I'm also planning to raise alternates.. namely the only three other Pokémon allowed in the tournament.

Vaporeon

  • Ability: Hydration - heals status if it is raining.
  • Item: Chesto Berry - wakes up a sleeping Pokémon at the end of the turn.
  • Attacks: Acid Armor, Scald, Rest, Ice Beam
  • Strategy: Vaporeon is a walling monster. If I find out one of my other eeveelutions isn't up to snuff, Vaporeon is in. Even in the sun, Vaporeon can be annoying. In the rain? Forget about it. Hydration automatically heals status, so it can Rest and wake up at the end of the turn instead of having to wait 2 turns. If rain ends, or wasn't up to begin with, then Chesto will give it one free Rest. Also, Ice Beam isn't weakened by Sun, it just can't freeze. That means I will still have a valid attacking move in the Sun. Scald is weakened, but it can still burn, so it's still decently valid too. Regardless, I could always just Toxic with one of my other Pokémon and then wait them out with Vaporeon. The nice thing is, if Vaporeon is in the Sun, then Jolteon's Thunders are likely to miss.

Glaceon

  • Ability: Ice Body (heals HP in Hail) / Snow Cloak (increases evasion in Hail)
  • Item: ???
  • Attacks: Frost Breath, Yawn, Ice Beam/Ice Shard, Hidden Power
  • Strategy: If I were to run Glaceon I'd be shocked. Glaceon is probably the Eeveelution I find the least interesting. First of all, with my current theme, Glaceon just plain doesn't fit. Sun makes it take more damage from Flareon, it is slow, and its abilities require Hail which hurts every other Pokémon on my team. It's not all bad though. Frost Breath is cool. It always lands a critical hit, so it ignores any stat boosts. Thing is, there aren't really any sp. defense boosting movesets I'm worried about. Yawn could put stuff to sleep, but I already run Toxic as a primary status. After I poison most, if not all, of their Pokémon they can't be put to sleep. Ice Shard is a priority move, which is something my Pokémon currently lack. However, if I wanted I could always give Flareon Quick Attack... and it would be stronger. Hidden Power would be required, and I'd likely just chose some type that's super effective against things I'm worried about. Ground covers Jolteon and Flareon, Steel covers other Glaceon and Sylveon, Poison covers Leafeon and Sylveon... whatever. Regardless, Glaceon is only slightly more likely to get on my team than Eevee itself.

Eevee

  • Ability: Adaptability - increases damage from attacks that match the Pokémon's type.
  • Item: Choice Scarf/Choice Band - boost speed or attack respectively. Lock the Pokémon into one attack.
  • Attacks: Return, Double-Edge, Retaliate
  • Strategy: First of all, if I did this, it would be under the pretense that I accept that I will not be winning ever. You may have noticed all of Eevee's moves are Normal. Well, that's due to the fact that you really shouldn't be attacking with any other type. These get neutral coverage against all of the other eeveelutions, and since there is no ghost evolution, isn't ignored by any of them. Adaptability will also increase the same type attack bonus for all of these to 2x. Once you chose one, you're locked in, so chose wisely. Return gives the most reliable damage at 102 base damage if Eevee likes me a lot. Retaliate will be 140 base damage if one of my Pokémon was just knocked out, and Double-edge is for when I just don't care anymore. The downside, Scarf Eevee could out run most of its evolved forms, but several are bulky enough to take the hit and KO Eevee. Choice Band Eevee hits harder, but it will likely be KO'd before it can attack. I also considered an Eviolite version and using Curse to try to bulster Eevee a little, but Umbreon runs Curse more efficiently.

So do you plan on entering the Eevee Friendly Competition? Do you want to make suggestions for my team? Please leave your comment below! Keep in mind, this is for the 2014 Eevee Friendly rules, so make sure your suggestions fall within the guidelines for the tournament. For example, yes, I know teaching one of my physical sweepers Iron Tail would really help against Sylveon.. but that is not a legal move for this format (not Kalos native). Any derogatory posts will be deleted.

UPDATE 6/24: I have changed Espeon from knowing "Psychic" to knowing "Psyshock" as per Patrice's suggestion. Additional reasoning can be found in the Espeon section of this post.

UPDATE Post Tournament: This is the team I finally went with. I made some slight tweeks to Espeon, but that's about it. In retrospect, I should have run Return over Aerial Ace on Leafeon. I went 12/8 in the tournament (60% win percentage). Not particularly good or bad really. It put me at a score of 1554 so I finished 1921 out of 10,000. I am particularly happy with one Rating Match post-tournament that I had versus a guy that had Thundurus, Latios, and Mega Blaziken on his team. The Eeveelutions really showed that in the right hands they can be decently good.