VGC18 Pokémon Analysis – Kangaskhan

Written by Damon Murdoch

Championships Battle Season 8 Ranking: 12th
Pokémon Showdown! January Rankings – 
Unweighted: 15th (9.27541%)
1500: 15th (10.23829%)
1630: 16th (11.69144%)
1760: 16th (11.37031%)


One of the strongest Mega Evolutions introduced in Pokémon X and Y, Mega Kangaskhan has been a dominating force in every metagame it has been legal since its introduction to VGC in 2014. However, Mega Kangaskhan has received a series of big nerfs going into Sun and Moon. The biggest nerf being the reduction in power of its signature ability: Parental Bond. It has gone from dealing 50% extra damage on the second hit to only 25%. Along with the nerf to Parental Bond, Kangaskhan has lost access to Power-Up Punch thanks to TM changes in Sun and Moon. Even so, not even this was enough to kill Mega Kangaskhan for good and after a year off, she’s returned to carve her place into the 2018 format.

Notable Moves

Fake Out

Fake Out is the main reason Mega Kangaskhan is still viable in this format and that is reflected heavily in its usage. Kangaskhan’s STAB Fake Out provides solid damage output and disruption and typically enables a partner Pokémon to use a setup move such as Volcarona’s Quiver Dance or Cresselia’s Trick Room. This move is the main thing that separates Mega Kangaskhan from the other popular Mega Evolutions in this format such as Charizard, Metagross, and Salamence. Because of this, Kangaskhan teams are typically built more around reliable setup.


After the nerf to Parental Bond, Double-Edge is generally required on Kangaskhan to get significant damage out of it; as opposed to 2015 where you could opt to run Return or Double-Edge depending on the team. Return is still viable on teams which rely on a slow, bulky Kangaskhan alongside a fast, Swagger Tapu Fini. Outside of that, however, it does not provide nearly enough damage in this format. With an attack boosting nature, Double-Edge does still threaten most neutral targets and it can easily punch holes through teams that don’t adequately respect it.

The Pokémon Showdown usage stats show that Double-Edge becomes an increasingly more common move on the higher ladder.Return, on the other hand, has higher usage in the lower ladder ratings and becomes less common on the higher ladder.

Damage Calcs
Low Kick

Low Kick provides good coverage for Kangaskhan, allowing it to hit Heatran, Ferrothorn, and Tyranitar; all of which resist its Double-Edge. It also allows Kangaskhan to heavily damage other Kangaskhan and Snorlax without taking Double-Edge recoil. The usage stats on Pokémon Showdown shows that Low Kick is used on the majority of Kangaskhan by default and it gets progressively more common the higher you look on the ladder.

Damage Calcs
Sucker Punch

In VGC 2015 it was extremely rare to see a Kangaskhan that didn’t run Sucker Punch. However, thanks to the reduction in power to sucker punch from 80 base power to 70 and the Parental Bond nerf, the damage you get out of it is significantly worse than it has been in the past. However, it is still used on a high number of Kangaskhan as it is effective for hitting common threats such as Mega Metagross and Mega Gengar. It also prevents you from getting completely walled by Aegislash.

An alternate move you can run in this slot is Crunch, which allows you to avoid the Sucker Punch mind games with Pokémon such as Gengar and Aegislash. However, lack of priority and the fact that Aegislash’s King Shield can drop Kangaskhan’s attack makes this a less viable option.

The Pokémon Showdown usage stats show that while Sucker Punch is quite common on the lower ladder (making up around 40% of Kangaskhan), it gets progressively less common higher up on the ladder. This likely indicates that players are relying more on moves such as Ice Punch or Protect rather than Sucker Punch.

Damage Calcs

While it was not often seen on Kangaskhan in previous formats, the nerf to Sucker Punch has made Protect Kangaskhan far more viable than before. Protect allows you to play much more safely with your Kangaskhan, but typically means you lose the ability to hit ghost types such as Aegislash and Gengar. Protect Kangaskhan is extremely good on teams that have other Pokémon to cover Kangaskhan’s inability to hit ghost types, and on teams where keeping Kangaskhan alive is their main win-condition; such as Tapu Fini Swagger teams. In the Pokémon Showdown usage stats, it shows that Protect is a reasonably common move on Kangaskhan, having around 30-34% usage at all points on the ladder.

Ice Punch

Ice Punch is a coverage move Kangaskhan carries to ensure it can pick up an OHKO on Landorus-Therian after Intimidate, and not really anything else. It is also solid against Mega Salamence, which it can OHKO without Intimidate, but fails to pick up the KO at -1 attack. Ice Punch also does acceptable damage to common Pokémon such as Amoonguss and Zapdos. However, as these Pokémon are only two times weak to Ice, Double-Edge still does more damage. This move is solid as it allows you to KO one of the strongest switch-ins to Kangaskhan in Landorus, and should be used on teams that don’t require another move such as Sucker Punch or Protect. The Pokemon Showdown usage stats show that Ice Punch is a very common move that becomes increasingly more common higher on the ladder; with an 8% difference between its unweighted stats and its 1760 stats.

Damage Calcs

Notable Items

Kangaskhanite: Kangaskhanite is objectively the best item on Kangaskhan on practically every team it is used. You shouldn’t ever expect to see anything different.

Sample Sets

Set 1: Standard Fast Kangaskhan

Kangaskhan-Mega (F) @ Kangaskhanite
Ability: Scrappy
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Fake Out
– Double-Edge
– Low Kick
– Sucker Punch / Ice Punch / Protect

This EV spread is the most common used in the 1760 weighted usage stats on Pokémon Showdown at 16% usage. Followed by it are Jolly Kangaskhan with the extra point in special defense and the same EV spread but with Adamant Kangaskhan. It’s a standard set that trades the higher damage output of an Adamant nature for the higher speed of a Jolly nature.

Set 2: Standard Bulky Kangaskhan

Kangaskhan-Mega (F) @ Kangaskhanite
Ability: Scrappy
EVs: 212 HP / 252 Atk / 44 SpD
Adamant Nature
– Fake Out
– Double-Edge
– Low Kick
– Sucker Punch / Ice Punch / Protect

This EV spread is the fourth most common EV spread for Kangaskhan in the 1760 weighted Pokémon Showdown usage stats and it trades speed for very solid bulk. This EV spread ensures you take a Gigavolt Havoc from a Timid, 252 SpA Tapu Koko in Electric Terrain, as well as having a roll in your favor to live Choice Specs Tapu Lele Psychic in Psychic Terrain. It also ensures you take Low Kick from opposing Kangaskhan and Superpower from Landorus-Therian.

Damage Calcs
Set 3: Standard Fast Balanced Kangaskhan

Kangaskhan-Mega (F) @ Kangaskhanite
Ability: Scrappy
EVs: 92 HP / 164 Atk / 12 Def / 4 SpD / 236 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Fake Out
– Double-Edge
– Low Kick
– Sucker Punch / Ice Punch / Protect

The fifth most common Kangaskhan EV spread on Pokémon Showdown at 4.430% usage, this EV spread provides a small amount of bulk to allow you to live a few hits while still having high attack investment and enough speed to out-speed max speed, neutral nature Togedemaru and Mimikyu.


Pokémon which use a setup move such as Quiver Dance or Calm mind heavily benefit from the support provided by Mega Kangaskhan. One example is Volcarona, which sets up Quiver Dance and then provides extremely fast damage. Another is Tapu Fini, which is able to tank hits extremely well and provide consistent damage output after setting up Calm Mind(s). Azumarill also benefits from Kangaskhan’s Fake Out support because it can provide Azumarill the turn it needs to set up its Belly Drum and then sweep opposing teams with Aqua Jet.

Kangaskhan is also extremely good for supporting Pokémon which want to use Substitute, such as Heatran or Aegislash. Fake Out can often give that one free turn needed to set up the Substitute and put yourself in an extremely good position.

Pokémon which want to set up speed control such as Zapdos, Cresselia or Kartana benefit heavily from Kangaskhan’s Fake Out support, as it can often prevent opposing teams from setting up their own speed control. This can also give you an early advantage.


Kangaskhan is most often seen on standard teams which are referred to as ‘CHALK’. This is due to their resemblance to the teams used in the VGC 2015 format that consisted of Cresselia, Heatran, Amoonguss, Landorus-T, and Kangaskhan. In the current format, this archetype typically involves some variation of the following:

Tapu Fini
A Fire Type (Volcarona, Heatran, Mega Charizard Y, Entei)
Speed Control (Cresselia, Zapdos)
A Support Pokémon (Amoonguss) or an offensive Electric Type (Tapu Koko)

These teams are based around one of the strongest archetypes which existed in the VGC 2015 format. They generally rely on using Kangaskhan to aid the setup of strong Pokémon such as Tapu Fini or Volcarona, or to enable Trick Room setup with Cresselia. Cresselia used on these teams typically run Sunny Day for the weather match-up, as well as strong synergy with Heatran’s main STAB attack.

One team that serves as an extremely good example of this archetype is MisterGX’s ‘Goodstuffs’ team, which uses Kangaskhan, Volcarona, Ferrothorn, Tapu Koko, Landorus-T, and Suicune. This team is built around using Kangaskhan to support the setup of a bulky Volcarona, Tailwind Suicune and Electrium Koko for strong offensive output. The team has had consistent results in online competitions and has a few decent placings at Live Events. An early version of this team can be found in the Trainer Tower sample teams thread here.



In this format, Mega Kangaskhan is very weak to Intimidate from the likes of Landorus-T, Scrafty, Hitmontop or Salamence due to its inability to boost its attack using Power-Up Punch. Ice Punch helps to deal with Intimidators such as Landorus-T and Salamence; however, it is more difficult to deal with Scrafty and Hitmontop.

Fighting Moves

Kangaskhan has to be careful of coverage fighting type moves from opposing Kangaskhan and Landorus-T, as well as STAB fighting types such as the odd Pheromosa, Scrafty, Hitmontop or Terrakion. Speed control, such as Tailwind or Icy Wind support, helps Kangaskhan deal with fast fighting types, as it is usually able to outspeed and OHKO them. However, it struggles to deal with bulkier fighting types such as Scrafty and Hitmontop, especially given that they also provide the Intimidate support which hurts Kangaskhan the most.

Alternative Options

It’s not correct to say that any of these Pokémon truly replace Mega Kangaskhan, but they have similar roles on teams (Fake Out support or strong normal type damage) and can be used when another Mega Evolution is desired or Kangaskhan doesn’t fit the team.

  • Fake Out Supporters
  • Hitmontop
  • Scrafty
  • Raichu
  • Persian-Alola
  • Weavile
  • Incineroar
  • Attackers
  • Snorlax


While Kangaskhan has taken some pretty big hits to its viability in the transition to Sun and Moon, it has still managed to find a solid place in the 2018 format. It is no longer the strongest Mega Evolution it once was and faces stiff competition from the likes of Charizard and Metagross, but it is still an extremely solid pick on teams which are built around setup or just want a fast, bulky Pokémon which can punch decent holes through an opposing team if given the chance.

Credit to All0412 for the featured image.

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