The Mettle of the New Metal Meta
Reddie, Tangent444, and Brian
1 year ago
The Test Your Mettle event gave us three new Pokémon: A super cute steely mouse, a super small pair of Grass scissors, and a super strange looking Skarmory Sr. Most of us have seen and caught them by now, but this begs the question: what do we do with them? Are they good for PvP? PvE? What league? Are they paperweights? Can they take my dog out for a walk? To answer these questions and more three members of the Meta Analysis team have collaborated to provide an in-depth look at these new Pokémon and what potential they may have in the game.
The Mettle of the Metal Meta
TOGEDEMARU, THE NEW QUEEN OF WILD CHARGERS
Wild Charge users aren't the most exciting niche of pokemon conceptually. They all do basically the same thing, with almost the same moves, with a largely identical stat distribution even. The differences between them are small, and in many cases easily ignorable. As a flip side of that arrangement though, they're much easier to directly compare against each other than, say, all the various Water/Ices. An obvious question then arises as a consequence- if they can be directly compared to each other, then which one is the best?
There isn't a single 'best' one. Even within a group as homogenous as Wild Chargers, you can eke out enough differences to make one option or the other feel better as a part of your team of six, even if it's something as minor as a choice of the very underpowered non-STAB coverage move.
Togedemaru comes pretty close though, and usurps at least one big name.
No. 777 Togedemaru
Rank 1 GL Stats:
* Attack: 130.6
* Defense: 108.6
* Stamina: 121
* Stat Product: 1.718M
* IVs: 0/15/5
* Level: 27
Fast Attacks: **Thunder Shock**, Spark
Charged Attacks: **Wild Charge**, **Fell Stinger**, Gyro Ball
From a glance at the Roly Poly Pokemon's numbers, there is one immediate point of comparison that naturally presents itself- Magnezone. Both are Electric/Steel types, both have a very similar statline, both have the near identical bread and butter combo of High Energy Generation Electric Fast Attack:tm:, Wild Charge and a 35 Energy bait move:copyright:. However, Togedemaru ends up edging ahead in a few small, but noteworthy ways, all the small advantages adding up to make the Alolan critter a clear preference in most circumstances.
1.) Spark vs Thunder Shock
Basically every Electric type wishes it had Volt Switch, but in absence of that, Thunder Shock is a clear favourite over Spark, thanks to its even higher energy generation at the price of an even lower damage output. The small advantage in energy generation is especially important in case of Wild Charge users- It takes 12 Sparks to get to two Wild Charges, but only 10 Thunder Shocks. 10 Sparks to get to one 35 Energy bait move + Wild Charge, vs. 9 Thunder Shocks. Not a massive advantage in absolute terms, but considering that basically all Wild Charge users are made out of paper mache, being able to dump their damage as fast as possible before either fainting or dipping matters a lot.
2.) Slightly better stat product
Self explanatory- Togedemaru is far from tanky, but it manages to be less glassy than Magnezone, especially when you consider that in many cases when someone uses a Magnezone, they use its Shadow version, leaving the pile of magnets so brittle that it has to shield almost every attack coming its way. And as elaborated in the next section, comparing Togedemaru with specifically Shadow Magnezone isn't that outlandish, and in that head-to-head, Togedemaru is significantly bulkier.
3.) Fell Stinger vs Mirror Shot
For those unfamiliar, Fell Stinger is a Bug-type clone of Power-up Punch. Cheap, deals a pittance of damage, raises user Attack, and is the secret sauce that pushes Togedemaru to the next level and lets it take Magnezone's spot in the meta. After just one Fell Stinger, taking only four Thunder Shocks, all the resulting Wild Charges are on par with Shadow Magnezone's as far as damage goes, making Fell Stinger -> Wild Charge a very potent combo, if it lands. That 'if' is of course very important to keep in mind, but considering it's crucial to the functioning of Wild Chargers as a whole, ability to successfully bait has to be assumed at least sometimes.
One could argue that arrangement makes Togedemaru more exploitable- since it needs a Fell Stinger to really push its Wild Charge damage further, it makes not shielding its first move a much more alluring option to try to exploit the impulse to buff on the side of the Togedemaru user. It's a fair argument- in response to which the Togedemaru user can just Wild Charge from the get go and heavily dent its opponent who expected to be tickled with Fell Stinger before dipping out.
Preliminary Great League rating: 3/6 (Limited format centric, borderline open meta viable)
As good as Togedemaru is when compared to Magnezone, it's not gonna be taking up Go Battle League by storm. At its core, the Roly Poly pokemon is just a Wild Charger, a playstyle that's very exploitable in open Great League despite the deceptively high winrate on PvPoke, especially with 5/6 of the core Great League meta either resisting Electric, or having enough neutral bulk to be able to comfortably tank a Wild Charge, even a Fell Stinger boosted one. That's not to say it's impossible to use Togedemaru in open Great League and win, but it's hard to argue that it wouldn't be easier to win with one of the conventionally better Electric types, such as Lanturn, Lanturn, or Lanturn.
In limited formats, it is one of the best Wild Charge users, but even with its slightly higher bulk and better defensive typing compared to the rest of its kin, there are still many situations where one might opt for something else. These include needing a more reliable damage output from either Raichu, finding use in Luxray's Psychic Fangs (particularly important in Toxicroak-heavy metas), or Hisuian Electrode's unique resistance profile and ability to threaten opposing Ground types.
Notable IV breakpoints / bulkpoints
Being a Wild Charge user, Togedemaru doesn't really have any breakpoints to consider since it will be inflicing basically all its damage with Charged Attacks. During testing, no notable bulkpoints were found either, and recommendation is as close to rank 1 as possible, especially as some very high ranks have the potential to flip several matchups, including:
0-0 shields: Volt Switch / Wild Charge Alolan Golem, Shadow Latios, Fire Punch Shadow Hypno, and Fairy Wind / Flamethrower Slurpuff
1-1 shields: Cofagrigus, Shadow Venusaur, Primeape, Haunter, Shadow Electrode, raid IV spreads of Alolan Raichu, and Shadow Latios
2-2 shileds: high rank Vigoroth, Shadow Alolan Marowak, high rank Shadow Meganium, Politoed, high rank Talonflame / Incinerate Typhlosion (iff Charge Attack priority over Fast Move damage is fixed), and the new Double Kick / Psychic Fangs Shadow Girafarig
All of those are extremely slim "1 HP and a dream" victories and not something to rely on, mentioned more so to demonstrate what possibilities a higher rank enables if everything goes according to the plan.
Ultra League Potential?
At level 51, a hundo Togedemaru reaches 2471 CP, making it theoretically usable in Ultra League, but considering that it ends up with lower bulk, than Magnezone there, is extremely expensive *and* requires the Best Buddy boost, I can’t recommend it over the big magnet.
Terrible, don’t use it. Even if it wasn’t so horribly statted, Steel isn’t a good coverage type, and Togedemaru’s bulk isn’t suited for relying on moves more expensive than Wild Charge.
Spiky Shield is Chesnaught’s signature move, relevant here because in main series games, Togedemaru is one of the few other pokemon able to learn it, and has been portrayed using it in the anime series. It’s likely then that if Spiky Shield ever gets added to GO, Togedemaru will be one of its recipients- of course it’s impossible to speculate about how good that move will be, but if it’s even decent, then Togedemaru will likely gain another niche as a Wild Charger with Grass type coverage that doesn’t faint instantly to an Icicle Spear.
CELESTEELA, THE NEW SKARMORY IN TOWN
Celesteela has arrived, and brings with it the same Steel/Flying type combination that has established Skarmory as a force to be reckoned with. Down the line we will get Corviknight, which will add a third Steel/Flying type to the game and very well could outshine both of the aforementioned duo currently in the game. But for now, we will look at how Celesteela compares to Skarmory and whether it is worthy of your attention.
First, let’s compare the stat distribution of Skarmory and our new Ultra Beast variant of Skarmory. Celesteela comes in with lower overall bulk than Skarmory. This is most evident at the Great League level, where Skarmory has a large advantage; that is, if we ever get a Level 15 Celesteela that can fit in at Great League level. The gap is closer in Ultra League, due to the fact that Skarmory tops out at 2412CP at Level 51, but Skarmory still holds the bulk advantage. Additionally, Skarmory will never reach a CP to compete at the Master League level, but Celesteela can. Celesteela’s Master League performance is nothing to write home about, but that is one thing it can do that Skarmory cannot.
Second, let’s compare the movepool. Both Skarmory and Celesteela come equipped with Air Slash, a move that can best be summed up with the description “average”. They each have a different secondary Fast Attack option to choose from. Skarmory is equipped with Steel Wing and Celesteela is sporting Smack Down. Each can provide a unique niche depending on circumstances, but Air Slash is likely your standard go-to option. Skarmory often ran Steel Wing in Flying Cup and Celesteela, if ever eligible to play in a Flying Cup, would change the game by running an unresisted Smack Down in the format. In terms of Charged Attacks, this is where the biggest differences come to play. Skarmory’s bread and butter is the Sky Attack + Brave Bird combination, and Celesteela offers neither of these. Instead, Celesteela offers Body Slam, Bulldoze, Heavy Slam, and Iron Head. Body Slam is a low energy Charge Attack that will tack on consistent chip damage, and is a clear choice as the primary Charged Attack. Bulldoze, an underwhelming move at 80 damage for 60 energy, is the likely choice for a secondary Charge Attack due to it offering ideal coverage for Electric, Fire, Rock, and Steel types that will prey on the Steel/Flying dual type combination. Heavy Slam and Iron Head exist as alternative options if you would rather run a Steel type move. Which one you pick should be determined by which move you land on first, because it turns out both do 70 damage for 50 energy. If you really want to be cheeky, you could run Heavy Slam and Iron Head together, just to make your opponent question your sanity.
Celesteela is not eligible in Great League at the current moment, due to all of them being Level 20 and above. If it ever were, it would be a pretty steep downgrade to Skarmory. Doing a Matrix sim of the two, there are a large amount of matchup drops and few pickups. Celesteela can grab a one-shield win with Shadow Swampert, due to the speed of Body Slam, but otherwise just drops matchups left, right, and center. Celesteela’s most likely niche would be as a throwaway second Skarmory in ABB lineups, hoping to draw out traditional Skarmory counters in order for the real Skarmory to come out later and try to sweep. Bulldoze allows it to threaten these counters, which is typically what you want from a sacrifice on an ABB team.
Celesteela and Skarmory compare far better in Ultra League. Skarmory is in the mold of a 100% IV, Level 51 Pokémon at the Ultra League level. Celesteela plays as the budget Skarmory, as one you encounter from raids would only need a handful of power-ups to reach the 2500CP limit. And doing a Matrix sim of the two, Celesteela appears to be a slight downgrade but they are far closer to each other in performance. Skarmory’s sim results typically look stronger on the surface, but removing Brave Bird from the equation puts them closer to each other. This shows Skarmory has that big play potential that Celesteela lacks, and is likely why it is still the Steel/Flying type of choice. Bulldoze is a nice coverage tool but it won’t really flip losing matchups to wins. This means Celesteela is better at covering its weak spots but doesn’t do the things you want it to do as well. As such, you are probably better off with Skarmory. At the very least Celesteela can be tested and played with for a lot less resources and is worth having one in the bag, just in case.
In Master League, Celesteela goes 10-22 against the meta in a 1v1 shield multi battle simulation while Skarmory goes 0-32. Let’s just call that progress and not talk about Master League Steel/Flying types ever again.
Celesteela is typically worse than Skarmory in all leagues where it might actually serve relevance within the meta. It isn’t currently Great League eligible, and in Ultra League it mainly serves as a budget Skarmory with better coverage but worse upward potential due to lacking Brave Bird. It is worth going for a Celesteela just in case and having one at the ready in the bag to build for when the time is right. But you could be forgiven if you didn’t go all out to get one and you probably shouldn’t rush out to spend stardust on this.
Kartana: The Grass Raid Pokémon of Our Dreams
Let’s save some time. Kartana isn’t built for PvP. It’s way too attack weighted and fragile for capped leagues. Unless you lock it onto a slow Water type or a Mudboi, you’re just too frail to do anything. So maybe it’s a Master League Pokémon? That’s where high CP attack weighted mons tend to have play…right?
While the Steel typing is nice, a kit centered around Grass type damage is just not that useful in a meta full of Dragons and Steel. Kartana sports a 9-22-1 record against the broader Open Master meta in the 1 shield scenario. A win rate as miniscule as its catch circle. And of those 9 wins, Kyogre is the only one that I would expect to see with any type of regularity. So, let’s forget PvP and focus on PvE, where Kartana is really going to cut its way to the top.
Kartana immediately becomes the best Raid attacker in the game against Water type bosses like Kyogre and Ground type bosses like Groudon. Shadow Metagross is the only thing that surpasses Kartana against Rock type bosses like Regirock, but that requires you to already have a level 50 shadow Metagross. Kartana is something you can raid for right now.
Besides being incredibly useful in these raids, Kartana, with the hard hitting Razor Leaf and access to the cheap and strong Charge Move Leaf Blade, has the perfect kit for beating Rocket Grunts. Kartana is the best counter for most Water, Rock, and Ground Rockets while also being quite strong as a neutral attacker against other Grunts and Leaders.
It can be a bummer when a raid boss is bad for PvP, but it's also a relief. Raid and trade for the hundo, but only if you care about maximizing your PvE efficiency.