Pokémon Sun and Moon brings lots of changes to the familiar Pokémon formula, and the competitive metagame is no exception. New additions like Z-Moves and new terrain effects could change competitive strategy in 2017. The biggest change, though, is in the Pokémon themselves. There are a number of new Pokémon that are viable choices in what’s commonly referred to as the Over-Used (OU) tier — the Pokémon you will probably see most commonly in major tournaments. Let’s take a look at some of the top contenders.
With its new Ice-typing, Alolan Ninetales is a great choice for setting up in the metagame. It has an impressive Speed stat, and its Special Defense means it can take a punch or two while it drops Aurora Veil, a move that halves attack damage. Its small but diverse move set allows it to cover a lot of its weaknesses, but do keep an eye out for Steel-type Pokémon if you’re looking to start a match with Ninetales in the lead.
## Alolan Exeggutor
Alolan Exeggutor is pretty slow (I mean, look at it), but it turns that in its favor with the ability to learn Trick Room, which flips turn priority, favoring slow Pokémon rather than speedier models. Its new Grass/Dragon typing means that it has a lot more resistances too. Alolan Exeggutor can even stand up fairly well to Fire-type Pokémon if it really has to. However, its severe weakness to Ice could put you in a tough spot.
Another great offensive choice, Kommo-o’s excellent Attack and Special Attack gives it a lot of versatility when it comes to planning out high-damage movesets. It’s got sturdy defenses, and learns good coverage moves like Earthquake and Flamethrower to help take out any threats. Get rid of any Fairy or Psychic types that might cause Kommo-o trouble and you’ve got a great mid- to late-game sweeper that will clean up whatever’s left.
Pokémon’s endearing yet mildly unsettling trickster creature has the power to wreak some havoc in competitive tournaments. Its Ghost/Fairy typing means Mimikyu can resist a wide array of attacks, but few Pokémon can dodge its own volley of special moves. Its inherent Ability, Disguise, means it can block damage from the opponent’s first attack, allowing it to set up Swords Dance and really get the ball rolling. It’s an excellent late-game cleaner that can end things very quickly once the opposing team’s powerful Pokémon have been weakened.
These new Alolan forms with their unique typings are going to prove very useful in the meta-game. Alolan Marowak is a fun choice if you’re looking for a strong attacker to add to your team. Marowak may be a bit squishy, but it has the potential to set up Stealth Rock to target switch-ins or Will-O-Wisp to annoy people with nasty status effects. Pairing it with Tapu Bulu can also negate Marowak’s weakness to Ground types.
You do not want to face off against this Ulra-Beast in battle, but it’s a great choice if you need a reliable sweeper on your team. Pheromosa has deadly speed clocking in at 151 at its base and packs quite a punch to boot. It’s squishy, though, so if you don’t KO your opponent in one go, you could be in some serious trouble. Luckily U-Turn lets Pheromosa spot counters and switch out accordingly, keeping it safe until the time is right.
If you really want to tick off your opponents, make sure you save room for Toxapex. Toxapex specializes in setting hazards for your opponents, and it can last quite a while with its reasonably high defense. It learns nasty moves like Scald, which causes burns and can take chunks out of Water-type Pokémon. Meanwhile, using Toxic or Toxic Spikes can help you stall. Use Recover while you’re at it to regain HP while your opponent slowly dies of poisoning. What’s more, Toxapex learns Haze, which is great if you switch-in and are hit with a setup that deals out status effects.
What makes a good Pokémon in-game is quite different from many of the Pokémon you’ll see in competition. While these are all viable suggestions, the 2017 season has yet to really get started, and we could be seeing some surprises down the line. And if your favorite new Pokémon don’t make the cut, you can still compete with them in other tiers — and who knows? Maybe something surprising will be in vogue. When it comes down to it, build the party that you enjoy the most!