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Pokémon VGC Guide: DLC Revolutionizes the Metagame!

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Judit Llordés
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New episode of the Pokémon VGC guide, let's talk about how the arrival of the Pokémon Sword and Shield DLCs will transform the ongoing metagame

We're back here with the third episode of the Pokémon VGC Competitive Format Guide. If you missed the previous chapters of the guide you can easily retrieve them from this link. In the last Pokémon Direct Game Freak shocked everyone announcing two DLCs that will replace the third titles typical of almost every generation of the pocket monsters game. This choice caused a lot of discussion, but we are interested in the competitive side. In fact, there is not enough talk of the influence these two expansions will have on the competitive, the metagame could be completely revolutionized by the arrival of many news announced.



Old and new Pokémon, new moves and Gigamax forms

The two downloadable content will be released in the coming months. Respectively Lonely Armor Island in June while The Snowy Lands of the Crown in autumn. The first DLC will therefore be available in the middle of the metagame, just a few months before the most important event of the year. We are talking about the World Pokémon 2020 to be held as always in August.

There will therefore be time for competitive players to adapt to the changes that the metagame will inevitably undergo, so that they can arrive prepared for the world championship. On the other hand, Game Freak has already experimented with a competitive format that undergoes changes during the year just last year, with a VGC 2019 that brought the novelty of the three series, with changes to the regulation every 3 months or so.

The second DLC will probably influence the next competitive regulation, the one that opens the next season of Pokémon battles. Precisely for this in the course of this episode we're going to focus primarily on the first of the two expansions. Even if the inclusion of so many legendaries can only make us think of the idea of ​​a new Uber format, like that of 2019 or 2016.



With these premises we can not help but believe that Game Freak has put a special attention on the competitive side also in these contents, as indeed he did for the two eighth generation titles. Many of the innovations that have been announced make us think. After the last two episodes we now have the basis for thinking about what could happen. So let's go see what we're talking about.

Old Returns & New Arrivals - Pokémon VGC Guide: The DLC Revolution

The metagame of Pokémon, and of many competitive video games, is a very delicate balance and a small change is enough to start a real revolution (Incineroar's arrival with Taunt probably says something to some of you). In this case we speak of the reintroduction of some Pokémon we already know inside Sword and Shield. Among the Pokémon whose return has been confirmed we find:

  • Volcarona
  • Kingdra
  • Magnezone
  • Lycanrock
  • Crazy
  • Dedenne
  • Azurill
  • Chansey

Obviously, the entire evolutionary lines of these Pokémon will be present. We are particularly interested in the first two. Indeed Volcarona it is a very strong Pokémon, it has never dominated the metagame, but it has always reserved some surprises for the players. His Flame Body ability can create major problems for the opponent, plus his unique Fire Flame move is really powerful. Unfortunately, the 4x weakness to Rock-type moves could penalize him strongly in this metagame, but never say never.

Another important introduction is that of Kingdra. Since the advent of the Kobold type, Kingdra has lost a lot of space in competitive use, but in the past he was one of the kings of the competitive. With Nuotovelox it was the Pokémon that best exploited the weather conditions of rain. In this metagame it could forcefully return to the game given the great reduction of Pokémon Kobold, just see that the most used Pokémon at the moment is a dragon, or Dragapult. He will likely have to battle Dracovish to get a place among the most used Pokémon.



A Legendary Fighter - Pokémon VGC Guide: The DLC Revolution

Another important introduction to Lonely Isle of Armor is that of the new Legendary. Kubfu is coming, which evolves into one of the two forms of Urshifu. The Pokémon is of particular interest to us because Game Freak has stated right away that it can be used in competitive. Given the importance we can expect that Urshifu, at least in one of its two forms, will have been designed to have a competitive impact.

The shape "Single Shot Style”Appears to be the weakest one as this form is a Fight / Dark type, which suffers from a 4x weakness to the Fairy which could make it very fragile. The most interesting one is the "Multi-shot style“, Type Fight / Water. This particular type is shared only with Poliwrath (as well as with Keldeo, but being a mysterious Pokémon it cannot be used in competition).

It could easily find its place in competitive battles and, if equipped with a good set of moves, could do well against most of the most used Pokémon in this VGC 2020. Also, both Styles have one Gigamax form which could hold many surprises.

Small Adjustments - Pokémon VGC Guide: The DLC Revolution

Finally the DLCs will lead new moves which can be learned from the Move Teachers, thus balancing some sets of Pokémon already present in the two basic games. In addition to the announcement of the arrival of Gigamax forms for the three eighth generation starters and for the two Kanto starters, until now excluded from Sword and Shield.


Until now the only one of the three new starters to have minimal use is Inteleon, often used for its exclusive move Tiromirato able to evade the Sonoqui and other moves of the same type. It is often played on hail-based teams with Vanilluxe. Their Gigamax forms could give that extra push that these Pokémon need.


Instead we are sure that Venusaur will be able to find its place within the metagame. The Kanto Grass-type starter has always been used over the years and we have no doubt that the Gigamax will be very attractive to competitive coaches.

Appointment in Melbourne

This episode also ends here. We talked a lot about the future that awaits us in the competitive arena, on the other hand it is better to arrive as soon as possible with clear ideas in order to have an advantage over the opponents. We will meet next month with the next episode, in which we will talk a lot about the first major event played on Sword and Shield. We are talking about the Melbourne international, running from 21 to 23 February, we can be sure that it will strongly mark the future metagame.

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