Pokemon of the Week 19/12/2016 – Alola Ninetales & The Sad Tale about Hail

So with the winter holidays just swinging right around the corner, we thought of adding a little bit of festivities to our Pokemon of the Week for the next 3 weeks. We will be going over a brief analysis on the state of the Ice Types and where we see them as the Sun/Moon meta-game matures. There is also a new section introduced this week called \\HISTORY ANALYSIS//, where I talk about the history of certain mechanics related to the Pokemon of the Week.

\\STAT & TYPE ANALYSIS//

Let’s kick off the holidays with some base stat and typing analysis;

73 HP / 67 Atk / 75 Def / 81 SpA / 100 SpD / 109 Spe

Type: Ice / Fairy

There’s a few differences between Alola Ninetales and regular Ninetales. The overall BST remains the same, but loses 9 points in Atk while gaining 9 points in Spe. This places its speed in a very awkward position, as if Game Freak was intending to balance it. The 109 Spe makes it so that it is possible to out-speed particular Pokemon around the 100 ~ 120 range depending on the item equipped. This also forces precise EV investment into Spe depending on the match-up. In some match-ups, the victory will solely depend on the amount of EVs placed into Spe to out-speed particular Pokemon. Pokemon within the 100~120 Spe range to look out for include: Kartana, Alola Dugtrio, Metagross, Lucario, Lycanroc, Salazzle, Talonflame and Crobat. All which are capable of moving first and OHKO Alola Ninetales. Although 81 base SpA isn’t that great, it’s Ice and Fairy typing both offer great STAB coverage, making Alola Ninetales an offensive threat to many different Pokemon.

On the defensive side of things, Alola Ninetales does not offer much outside of 100 base SpD. It takes neutral special attacks pretty good and is capable of taking physical attacks reasonably well if enough EVs are invested into Def. Its typing is what makes it extremely frail in the current Sun/Moon meta with all them Steel and Fire type moves running around. But in all honesty, Ice types were never really made to be a defensive typing.

\\ABILITY ANALYSIS//

1. Snow Cloak: This ability is somewhat viable in doubles if you have another hail setter but should be completely ignored in singles. The 3/4 accuracy check under hail can help hinder moves that have low accuracy like Thunder Wave or High Jump Kick.

2. Snow Warning (HA): This should be the main ability for most builds since Alola Ninetales’ damage output is borderline OHKO if it does not equip Choice Specs or Life Orb. The hail is necessary in order to deal the remaining 1~2% against certain Pokemon.

\\MOVE ANALYSIS//

Before we move on to brewing potential builds for Alola Ninetales, lets first take some time and break down notable moves it can learn;

::Leveling Up:: ::TM:: ::Egg Moves:: ::Z Moves::
Roar Calm Mind Freeze-Dry Shattered Psyche
Dazzling Gleam Hidden Power Encore Subzero Slammer
Nasty Plot Protect Moonblast Twinkle Tackle
Ice Beam Aurora Veil
Blizzard Swagger

Key Moves:
Unfortunately, there is not a lot to talk about here due to the small move pool Alolan Ninetales comes with. The 2 key moves to note here are Blizzard and Aurora Veil. The ability to bypass accuracy check for Blizzard under Hail is just too good with Snow Warning. This means you have a 110 base power attack with STAB that can hit a whopping 165 power. If only hail would buff ice type moves like it did with rain on water type moves, then it would be so much better. Aurora Veil is a new move recently introduced in Sun/Moon that is basically Reflect and Light Screen all in one package. This is a must have move due to how powerful it is, offering the rest of your team the needed buff to defenses. The huge benefit of such a move is the fact that you only need one turn to set it up, thus saving up on turn usage.

Utility Moves:
Having access to Nasty Plot is incredible if you want Alolan Ninetales to take up a more offensive role on your team. A +2 increase to SpA can help ensure OHKOs especially when Ninetales has STAB to 2 pretty offensive types. Encore is a staple against many player actions, either locking them out of the turn or forcing switches. The last noteworthy move is Moonblast, simply because it is Alolan Ninetales strongest STAB move outside of Blizzard. The move Freeze-Dry is also a very note worthy move as it allows Alolan Ninetales to hit super-effectively through water type Pokemon that it otherwise couldn’t.

\\HISTORY ANALYSIS//

This section is a brief analysis of Hail throughout the history of Pokemon games, therefore you can just skip it if uninterested. Hail has never been much of a game changer since it was first introduced in Gen III as a move that could be learned via leveling up on certain Pokemon or through the use of TM07 Hail. And even when the first Snow Warning Pokemon, Snover / Abomasnow was introduced back in Gen IV, the concept of hail never really did take off. This was because it did not offer much outside of incremental damage in the form of DoT. However, it was somewhat used as a counter play to stall teams that used Synthesis or Moonlight.

It wasn’t until Gen VI rolled around the corner with Mega Evolutions that Hail teams started to see a bit more play because Abomasnow was able to keep the weather up consistently with its Mega form. Although, it was far from being anything that you would call “meta”. The other reason it became more popular in Gen VI was because Focus Sashes became a predominant thing in competitive play with all them Mega Evolutions running around OHKOing everything in sight. As we move into Gen VII, not many things have changed about Hail, and in fact might see less teams revolving around this strategy due to ban of Mega Evolutions pre-bank meta. But as post-bank meta becomes a thing, we might yet see Hail once again just right behind the spotlight where the meta teams shine. The sad truth about Hail is that it will always be used as a tool to counter play meta based strategies rather than being a mainstream strategy.

\\FINAL VERDICT//

Alolan Ninetales is capable of a lot of things regardless of the limited move pool it got. Although Hail Teams still don’t necessarily exist, the introduction of Aurora Veil points that it is going in the right direction. Perhaps in the near future, we will see more Hail only moves that will allow Hail Teams to truly become a part of the meta but only time will tell.

Hail is great tool for a lot of situations that people take for granted. The first aspect that many people know about is similar to Sandstorms, which are used to break Focus Sashes. For a aggressive Pokemon like Alolan Ninetales, breaking Focus Sashes is a key factor to winning, as it forces unnecessary switches and changes up the momentum of the opponent’s game plan. Another aspect that hail brings to the table, is the turn clock factor. If the opponent is not built defensively, they risk getting killed on a 16 turn clock, with every 4th turn being equivalent to a neutral hit move.

However, the dual typing of Fairy and Ice hinders Alolan Ninetales by making it vulnerable to popular attack types of the current meta, such as Fire and Poison. What it does gain from the two types is in the form of a offensively built attacker that is able to cover almost every type match-up with its STABs. This allows teams to compress roles relatively well when space is tight. In double battles, Alolan Ninetales truly shines due to AoE moves such as Dazzling Gleam, Blizzard and Aurora Veil. And Snow Warning provides incremental value when Icy Rock is equipped or Light Clay for an extended Aurora Veil.

\\POSSIBLE BUILDS//

1. Suicide Lead

Ability: Snow Warning
Item: Focus Sash / Icy Rock / Light Clay
Nature: Timid
EVs: 52 Def / 252 SpA / 204 Spe
Move 1: Aurora Veil
Move 2: Moonblast
Move 3: Blizzard
Move 4: Encore / Hidden Power Fire / Protect

2. ‘Nasty Plot’ Special Attacker

Ability: Snow Warning
Item: Focus Sash / Life Orb
Nature: Timid / Modest
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Move 1: Nasty Plot
Move 2: Blizzard
Move 3: Moonblast / Dazzling Gleam / Dark Pulse
Move 4: Extrasensory / Hidden Power Fire

3. Bulky ‘Calm Mind’ Special Attacker

Ability: Snow Warning
Item: Leftovers / Light Clay
Nature: Calm
EVs:  / 204 Spe
Move 1: Calm Mind
Move 2: Aurora Veil
Move 3: Blizzard
Move 4: Moonblast / Hidden Power Fire

4. Choice Special Attacker

Ability: Snow Warning
Item: Choice Scarf / Choice Specs
Nature: Timid / Modest
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Move 1: Hidden Power Fire
Move 2: Blizzard / Freeze-Dry
Move 3: Moonblast / Dazzling Gleam
Move 4: Extrasensory / Dark Pulse


If you liked our blog this week, please leave a like and share with your friends. Also leave some suggestions and comments down below. Stay tuned for next week, where we will be drifting down the slopes of Mount Lanakila with Alolan Sandslash.

For more articles written by me, go here:

https://megaclefex.wordpress.com/author/flashtactikz/
https://megaclefex.wordpress.com/2016/07/21/pokemon-mono-type-series-preview/

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