Anyone who keeps up-to-date with the competitive Pokemon scene, even remotely, knows how much of a nightmare it has been for the past couple of years. This stands for both Smogon and VGC. The reason for this can be summed up quite simply as Landorus Therian Form (Lando T). Obviously Lando T isn’t the only problem, in fact, it is far from it, but it is the most prevalent example of how overpowered pokemon, as a result of power creep, send the metagame into a state of disarray.
For a brief moment, it seemed like the latest entries into the long-standing Pokemon franchise, ‘Sword and Shield’, would fix this problem with the exclusion of the National Pokedex. This was met with major criticisms, primarily from the casual fan base. However, this was perhaps the single best move that could have happened from a competitive standpoint. The meta for Sword and Shield, whilst still evolving, is incredibly refreshing and has seen any pokemon being able to be utilised at a competitive level. Pokemon like Butterfree, who saw so little usage in previous generations to the point where they were un-tiered, have found themselves being usable. On top of this, with a Gigantamax form under its belt, Butterfree has found itself a spot in the Uber tier, something which no aspiring Pokemon master would have ever predicted in the past.
Getting into competitive Pokemon has never been easier than it is currently, you no longer have to breed for perfect pokemon, and can instead train any one up to become perfect. Strategies are varied and you can never predict what pokemon you might see on a competitive team.
However, with the announcement of Downloadable Content, and along with it, 200 pokemon from previous generations, it looks like the metagame may once again be plunged into chaos. Among those returning, are previous meta defining pokemon, such as Volcarona, Garchomp and, rather unfortunately, Landorus, just to name a few. Whilst it still remains to be seen whether or not some forms of pokemon, such as therian forms, will be carried across, It is safe to assume that all forms that do not require items specific to games or generations, such as Mega Stones or Primal Orbs, will carry across.
Pokemon’s competitive scene is rather small as far as esports scenes go, and it cannot afford to ruin the meta as it has in the past, when they are already on such shaky ground with the player base. Only time will tell whether they manage to avoid disaster or not, and I sincerely hope that they manage to keep the games competitive side feeling as fresh and diverse as it does currently going forward.
By Brandon Borrelli Yi