Wednesday, April 19, 2017

VGC 17 Analysis: Alolan Ninetales

[VGC 2017] Alolan Ninetales - Special Attacker / Utility Moveset

March 3 2017

Deviant Art by snook-8

Hail has been one of the most underappreciated weather in the VGC format, though Gen 7 has introduce us to a new viable Hail setter in the format: Alolan Ninetales. Despite the lackluster special attack, Alolan Ninetales serves two niche roles in 1) summoning hail, and 2) screen support with Aurora Veil. Thanks to its fast 109 speed stat, Alolan Ninetales can setup screens for it opponents, spam Blizzards in hail to target down Grass-, Dragon-, Flying-, and Ground-type Pokemon, or use one of its other variety of support options like Icy Wind, Encore, Disable, etc. Keep in mind, Alolan Ninetales is still rather frail and usually relies on the item Focus Sash to withstand at least one hit even from neutral attacks. Even so Steel-types, Fire-types, and opposing weather setters can either disrupt or prevent Alolan Ninetales from doing its task. Despite these flaw, Alolan Ninetales has distinguish itself as one of the premier weather setters in the format and shows Hail is as strong as ever.

Alolan Ninetales

Type: :ice: :fairy:
Base Stats: 73 HP / 67 Attack / 75 Defense /  81 Special Attack / 100 Special Defense / 100 Speed
Weaknesses:  :steel: [x4] , :fire: [x2] , :rock: [x2] , :poison: [x2]
Resistances: :bug: [x0.5], :ice: [x0.5], :dark: [x0.5]
Immune To: :dragon: [x0]

Ability 1 : Snow Cloak  - Raises Evasion by 20% in hail.
Hidden Ability - Snow Warning - Summons hail whichi lasts for about 5 turns.

Blizzard Spam (Special Attacker)

Ninetales-Alola @ Focus Sash / Light Clay
Ability: Snow Warning
Level: 50
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Blizzard
- Freeze-Dry / Icy Wind / Moonblast
- Aurora Veil
- Protect

- Outspeed common Pokemon (Garchomp, Lele, Arcanine) and Speed Ties with Kartana.
- OHKOs most frail variants of Garchomp.
- Focus Sash allows Alolan Ninetales to withstand one fatal hit,
- Light Clay extends the amount of Aurora Veil turns from 5 to 8. 

One of the reasons why Alolan Ninetales has received a ton of usage in the format despite its lackluster offense even with the Hail-Spam Blizzard is that's its one of the only Pokemon with the combinations of Aurora Veil and Snow Warning. What makes Aurora so useful in this format since as a support move, its basically built-in Reflect and Light Screen in one move, allowing Alolan Ninetales to reduce the damage of its allies by about a third. Given how fast Alolan Ninetales is, the Ice/Fairy-type can easily setup the not only its own weather condition before the match begins, but go for the potential Aurora Veil option to decrease the damage output of the opponent, a strong help for its partners. Keep in mind Alolan Ninetales's speed isn't a good straight as most, if not all the weather setters in the format are slower than Alolan Ninetales (unless Scarf) and can setup their own weather conditions to prevent it from going for any Blizzard spam or even setuping the useful Aurora Veil option. 

Blizzard is Alolan Ninetales's best spread damage given it can't miss its targets in hail and inflicts a good amount of spread damage against its foes in addition to the residual hail damage. For secondary attacking options, the choice entirely up to the user between Freeze Dry, Icy Wind, and Moonblast. First off, Freeze Dry allows Alolan Ninetales to exclusively target Water-type Pokemon for super effective damage, which can be useful when facing foes such as Gyarados, Pelipper, or Gastrodon. Icy Wind a good speed control option for Alolan Ninetales to run that drops the speed stat of both targets by one stage. Moonblast is listed here to hit opposing Fighting and Dark-type Pokemon for super effective damage, but that's about it. Finally Protect allows Alolan Ninetales to guard itself for one turn at least to allow for better positioning or scouting for any incoming attacks.

The following are some offensive calculations of Alolan Ninetales's Blizzard and Freeze Dry without any items or boosts: 

Offensive Calcs:



252 SpA Ninetales-Alola Blizzard vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Koko: 66-78 (45.2 - 53.4%) -- 84.4% chance to 2HKO after hail damage
252 SpA Ninetales-Alola Blizzard vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Lele: 46-55 (31.7 - 37.9%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after hail damage
252 SpA Ninetales-Alola Blizzard vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Garchomp: 232-276 (126.7 - 150.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252 SpA Ninetales-Alola Blizzard vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Bulu: 108-128 (61 - 72.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after hail damage and Grassy Terrain recovery
252 SpA Ninetales-Alola Blizzard vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Kartana: 121-144 (89.6 - 106.6%) -- 43.8% chance to OHKO
252 SpA Ninetales-Alola Blizzard vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Gengar: 66-78 (48.8 - 57.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after hail damage

Freeze Dry

252 SpA Ninetales-Alola Freeze-Dry vs. 244 HP / 88 SpD Gastrodon: 192-228 (88.4 - 105%) -- 18.8% chance to OHKO
252 SpA Ninetales-Alola Freeze-Dry vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Gyarados: 172-208 (101.1 - 122.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252 SpA Ninetales-Alola Freeze-Dry vs. 252 HP / 44 SpD Tapu Fini: 68-84 (38.4 - 47.4%) -- 0.4% chance to 2HKO after hail damage
252 SpA Ninetales-Alola Freeze-Dry vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Araquanid: 68-84 (38.8 - 48%) -- 0.4% chance to 2HKO after hail damage
252 SpA Ninetales-Alola Freeze-Dry vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Milotic: 74-90 (36.6 - 44.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after hail damage
252 SpA Ninetales-Alola Freeze-Dry vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Garchomp: 204-240 (111.4 - 131.1%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252 SpA Ninetales-Alola Freeze-Dry vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Pelipper: 232-280 (138.9 - 167.6%) -- guaranteed OHKO


Fast Support / Disruptor 
Ninetales-Alola @ Focus Sash
Ability: Snow Warning
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Blizzard / Freeze Dry
- Encore
- Disable  / Imprison
- Protect 

Here is a peculiar Alolan Ninetales set dedicated in disrupting the opponent's strategy and preventing move choice. Encore allows Alolan Ninetales to "trap" its opponent into using the same move repeated for about 4 turns, essentially useful for any form of setup. Disable pairs well with Encore as Alolan Ninetales effectively prevents the opponent from using the same move it's used prior the turn before. One way to play this Alolan Ninetales set is to "protect" to scout out the moves from the opposing team to see if either Encore or Disable is appropriate to disrupt the opponent's momentum. Imprison is another option Alolan Ninetales can run to seal the opponent from using any if its moves, such as the ever common protect. Lastly as an attacking move, Blizzard can be utilize to inflict good spread damage against the opponent, though Freeze Dry is an option in case Alolan Ninetales want prevent itself from potential Wide Guard.

Potential Teammates include, but aren't limited to:
  • Ground-types- Note all Alolan Ninetales's weaknesses don't appreciate Ground-type Pokemon with their Ground-type STAB options. In fact, only a handful of Pokemon resist the combination of Ice- and Ground-type attacks. ( Ex. Garchomp, Mudsdale, Krookodile, Gastrodon, etc).
  • Water-types - Alolan Ninetales appreciates most bulky Water-type Pokemon in the format given their resistances to Fire- and Steel-type Pokemon and having a generally positive type advantage. In turn, Alolan Ninetales threatens opposing Grass-types who threaten Water-type Pokemon ( Ex. Milotic, Araquanid, Gastrodon, Tapu Fini, etc). 
  • Fire-types - With the prevalance of Steel-type Pokemon, Fire-types make decent switch ins for Alolan Ninetales to switch out for as they can threaten the OHKOs. ( Ex.  Arcanine, Alolan Marowak, Talonflame, Incineroar, Torkoal, Talonflame, etc.) 
  • Steel-types - Despite being weak to Steel-types, they also serves as decents responses for Poison- and other opposing Steel-type Pokemon for Alolan Ninetales.  ( Ex. Celesteela, Metagross, Alolan Sandslash, Kartana, Magnezone, etc ) 
  • Slush Rush - Pokemon like Alolan Sandslash double their speed in Hail and can be valuable partners to outspeed common Pokemon like Tapu Lele or Tapu Koko.
  • Intimidate Support -  In addition to Aurora Veil, Intimidate can actually help Alolan Ninetales and its team take physical damage much better than before.  ( Ex. Arcanine, Krookodile, Gyarados, Salamence, etc). 

Threats include, but aren't limited to:
  • Steel-types -Celesteela, Metagross, Kartana, Scizor, Magnezone, Alolan Sandslash, etc.
  • Fire-types - Arcanine, Alolan Marowak, Incineroar, Torkoal, Talonflame, etc.
  • Rock-types - Nihilego, Gigalith, Aerodactyl, etc.
  • Poison-types - Gengar, Salazzle, Nihilego, etc.
  • Opposing Weather Setters (who are slower)
  • Trick Room since Alolan Ninetales is fast and frail against common TR Offense. 
Other Notable Options
  • Choice Scarf is an interesting item choice to allow Alolan Ninetales to outspeed even things such as Tapu Koko, Pheromosa, and Scarf Garchomp. 
  • Though uncommon, Alolan Ninetales can run Roar to not only phaze out any setup-based Pokemon, but also prevent opposing Trick Room. 
  • Nasty Plot is a decent setup move which raises Alolan Ninetales special attack by two stages. 
  • Life Orb or Choice Specs can boosts the power of Alolan Ninetales's special attacks without any setup.

We won't be seeing Alolan Ninetales too much as winter is coming to a close. Maybe we'll find some Aloe Vera Vulpix and Ninetales as Fire-types.

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