With the arrival of Pokémon Bank (Pokébank) to Sun & Moon comes the introduction of a number of egg-moves and hidden abilities that were previously unavailable. Many of these are unlikely to see any usage in the VGC 17 format, though some may be noteworthy. In this article we’ll be looking over some of the egg-moves and hidden abilities with the most potential in VGC 17. For the full list of egg moves (courtesy of @pokemon_PhD), click the spoiler below.
Vikavolt – Electroweb
Electroweb provides Vikavolt with an alternative to String Shot for speed control. Unlike String Shot, Electroweb is able to break Focus Sashes on the likes of Ninetales, Kartana, or Tapu Koko, as well as dealing reasonable damage to anything weak to electric-type moves. However, String Shot does have the advantage as a pure speed-control option, as it hits everything regardless of typing/ability (with the exception of Clear Body users). String Shot also reduces Speed by 2 stages, whereas Electroweb only reduces it by 1 stage. Many Vikavolt don’t currently run String Shot, but of those that do, only time will tell if Electroweb will replace it as the preferred speed-control option.
Muk-A – Assurance
Assurance provides Muk with yet another viable option for its final moveslot. With Shadow Sneak and Curse being among the more popular filler moves on Muk’s moveset, Assurance may prove to be the best of the bunch, providing Muk with a powerful dark-type STAB option, allowing it to deal more respectable damage to Pokémon that are holding z-crystals or that have already had their item removed.
Mandibuzz – Knock Off
Mandibuzz has seen some usage in the VGC 17 format so far, and in a format with limited Knock Off users, gaining access to such a useful move seemingly makes Mandibuzz even more useful. However, its extremely low attack stat severely limits the usefulness of Knock Off on Mandibuzz, as its damage output is considerably lower than Foul Play on most occasions. Another factor limiting the usefulness of Knock Off is the prevalence of z-crystal users, as these items cannot be removed. One redeeming factor of Knock Off Mandibuzz is the popularity of the 50% health-recovering berries, allowing Knock Off to essentially deal 50% damage on top of its otherwise pitiful damage.
Machamp – Ice Punch
Machamp has seen very little success in the VGC 17 format thus far, limited by its restrictive move-pool and the prevalence of the Tapu quartet. However, the addition of Ice Punch to its arsenal may be enough to persuade some people to test it, particularly given the prevalence of the likes of Garchomp and Porygon2. With that said, Machamp is still likely to struggle against the ever-common Tapu Lele, Tapu Koko, and Tapu Fini, and may remain a niche option.
Salazzle – Fake Out
Salazzle has been biding its time since the release of Sun & Moon, waiting for Pokébank to finally give it access to Fake Out. Though it has strong offensive typing; able to hit the common combination of Kartana and Tapu Fini for super-effective damage, it has so far lacked the edge it needed to tip it over the edge and into the realm of real viability. It also has a fantastic base speed, with the only somewhat common faster Pokémon being Tapu Koko and Pheromosa. Alongside its other useful tools in the form of Encore and Disable, Salazzle has enough options to prevent it from becoming predictable. At the very least, expect to see Salazzle being experimented with after Pokébank becomes available.
Clefairy/Clefable /– Heal Pulse
Clefairy and Clefable have both seen very limited use in the VGC 17 format. One instance in which Clefairy has been used is on the infamous Eevee teams, which may benefit greatly from its new access to Heal Pulse, allowing it to keep the boosted sweepers on the field for longer. Whether or not Clefairy will have enough room on its moves is up for debate, however, it’s something we’re likely to see being tested on such teams in the future.
Gigalith – Curse
Gigalith has become reasonably popular in the VGC 17 format, and gains a new tool post-Pokébank in the form of Curse. Curse may be useful in the instance that the opponent protects their Pokémon to stall the remaining turns of Trick Room, or to give it the edge in Gigalith Trick Room mirror-matches. The most common Gigalith set; Rockium Z often runs Wide Guard as a means to check the likes of Garchomp. Replacing Wide Guard on this set is likely to be Curse’s best chance at success, as it won’t be able to see usage on the next most common set; Assault Vest.
Noteworthy Hidden Abilities:
Aerodactyl – Unnerve
Aerodactyl has seen little success so far in the format. In contrast, Figy Berry and its counterparts have seen widespread usage, on Pokémon such as Muk, Arcanine, and Vikavolt, among others. Unnerve is, therefore, a powerful ability in the VGC 17 format, but whether or not it will be enough to redeem Aerodactyl to the point of viability remains to be seen. It’s worth noting that the Unnerve user needs to remain on the field for its ability to keep preventing the use of berries, which given Aerodactyl’s frailty may not be possible.
Porygon2 – Analytic
Porygon2 has been among the most popular Pokémon in the format so far, having as much as 55% usage in top cut teams in December. Download has been the predominant ability choice on Porygon2, with Trace often being more of a hindrance than a help. With the boost from Download being decided by the opponent’s Pokémon, it can at times be unreliable, however, whether or not it’s worth giving up the potential +1 special attack boost for the also inconsistent Analytic is yet to be seen. With the majority of Porygon2 running Trick Room with minimum speed, it tends to aim to gain speed control and move first, making Analytic a less attractive option on these sets. It may be possible for the introduction of Analytic to bring with it a new type of Porygon2 that doesn’t run Trick Room and is more offensively focused.