Metagross, The Iron Leg Pokémon. It is the result of two Metang achieving fusion. It has four brains in total that are joined by a complex neural network. As a result of integration, it is smarter than a supercomputer. Combined, the four brains can breeze through difficult calculations faster than a supercomputer. It can float in the air by tucking in its four legs. When hunting, it pins the prey to the ground under its massive body. It then eats the helpless victim using the large mouth on its stomach.
Metagross was one of the most consistently used Pokémon in the 3rd Gen Competitive Battling scene. Its Psychic/Steel typing left it with only two weaknesses whilst giving it a boat-load of resistances. Almost all of its stats are above average, including a fantastic Attack and Defence stat, whilst its only below average stat is its Speed. Over-all its move pool is pretty good, it certainly isn't as versatile as a Tyranitar or Salamence, who have access to a much wider and more versatile set of options, but it's wide enough to breed variety and contains plenty of strong moves, making it a superior sweeper and a force to be reckoned with.
Over all not much has changed directly for Metagross. It has gotten some new toys from the physical/special split, including: the elemental punches from the Emerald Move Tutor, physical Pursuit, and a physical Psychic STAB, but in general these are just "toys" and will never form the core of a Metagross move set. The core of Metagross hasn't changed at all, it still has physical Meteor Mash and Earthquake forming the bulk of its physical offence.
As for what the physical/special split has done for other Pokémon, it hasn't been all that harsh on Metagross. The Pokémon who got Earth Power, for the most part had Earthquake anyway, so not many new threats have gathered. Fire types have gotten a physical STAB now as well but in general Metagross was more worried about being hit by special Fire attacks anyway, so nothing much has changed on that side of things either.
Over all it remains to be seen how popular Metagross will be in this generation, it hasn't changed very much but everything else has changed a lot, it'll always be a strong choice but maybe it won't hold as high a position as it once did (of course it's always a possibility that it'll hold a much higher position than it previously did).
Clear Body: is Metagross's only choice of trait. In general it's fairly useful, it isn't a particularly 'awesome' trait but it's fairly helpful. Metagross won't suffer attack drops from Intimidate and can't have its stats lowered by stat-lowering attacks (such as Charm).
- Meteor Mash
It was mentioned in the overview that Metagross's only below average stat is its Speed. Well Agility solves that problem completely. With a reasonable investment of Speed EVs, after a single Agility Metagross can outrun the fair majority of opponents and sweep the entire team.
Early on in a battle Agility-Metagross will probably play a more defensive role, taking advantage of its many resistances and good defences to support its team. Although Metagross has a very high Attack stat it can't sweep a healthy team off the bat so Agility is usually saved until the late game, when a sweep is viable. Its also because of this that I would advise Leftovers in place of Life Orb. Although Life Orb is a viable option (and will make sweeping much easier) it greatly diminishes Metagross's tanking abilities, not only chipping away HP but taking the place of Leftover's recovery. As you would expect, when the late game is reached and your opponents walls are weakened, then is the time to Agility and go sweeping.
Meteor Mash and Earthquake are self explanatory, one is Metagross's best STAB move whilst the other has awesome type coverage (and also covers three types that resist Meteor Mash). The last offensive move will more than likely be dictated by preference and your team.
Explosion is nice since off of Metagross's huge attack stat it's essentially a guaranteed KO on anything that doesn't resist it. It also acts nicely as a 'desperation' move, if you desperately need to get rid of an opponent's Pokémon for whatever reason it may very well save the game for you.
Thunderpunch wallops most Water types for a lot of damage. Since Water types are frequently used to wall Metagross's Meteor Mash a Thunderpunch will make your opponent think harder about how they counter it. As an added bonus it also hits Skarmory for super-effective damage, who would otherwise cause you a lot of problems.
EVs and Nature:
Metagross needs at least 198 speed, so that after a single Agility it can be guaranteed to outrun Aerodactyl, Jolteon, and Crobat, and in turn just about every other threat around. With the addition of Choice Scarf it's worth boosting that speed a little further up. The new 'marker' number will probably be 202, since Choice Scarf Heracross is likely to become a popular staple of many teams and after a single Agility Metagross will outrun all Adamant variations of that aforementioned Heracross. The rest of the EVs should be dedicated to maxing out Attack with whatever is leftover thrown into HP.
Extra speed markers are possibly worth the investment however. At 207 speed Metagross will outrun Suicune at its minimum and at 222 Metagross will outrun all Adamant variations of Tyranitar. Occasionally these investments will be worthwhile since striking first can be a huge difference maker so they are worth consideration.
- Meteor Mash
The Choice Band variation of Metagross. It was a staple of many 3rd Gen teams. Its Attack stat is absolutely beastly with a Choice Band behind it and Metagross has such a large collection of resistances that it can easily pull it off, switching into opponents with no choice but to run and walloping the switch in with a potential 607 attack stat.
Once again, Meteor Mash and Earthquake need no explaining. Explosion and Thunderpunch have already been covered previously but there's two new additions that this set could enjoy using.
Up against Choice-Gross most opponents will have no choice but to switch (assuming they have no viable chance to KO it). As they switch hitting them with Pursuit may very well get a KO. Another area where Pursuit shines is the extermination of Ghost Pokémon. If your team has Gengar or Mismagius problems Metagross with Pursuit can probably solve them.
Ice Punch on the other hand can get rid of the many Pokémon with a 4x weakness to it. Although many are unlikely to switch into Metagross there are situations where they may (such as Salamence or Flygon switching in to block an Earthquake), with proper prediction you can get an easy KO.
As the more experienced members of the battling community know, using Choice items in general requires good prediction skills to be taken advantage of to the fullest extent, but some delicate care may need to be exercised with Metagross since Magnezone will eat it for breakfast if the wrong move is chosen.
EVs and Nature:
Max Attack and Max HP is a boring but reliable way to run Choice-Gross EVs. Some people would consider shrinking Metagross's attack stat slightly in order to bolster its defences a little (mainly for surviving against Dugtrio Earthquakes, since Dugtrio can trap Metagross in play leaving it with no choice but to take the Earthquake), but aside from that there's not much else to do.
If you favour an offensive spread Max Speed can be employed instead of Max HP. Without any Speed EVs Metagross is outrun by a fairly large host of Pokémon (including some common ones such as Milotic and Suicune), the Speed EVs will be helpful in allowing Metagross to strike first. Jolly however probably isn't worth the investment as the new additional Pokémon that can be outrun aren't too important.
- Meteor Mash
The Choice Scarf variation of the aforementioned Choice Band set. In a similar vein, prediction is the key, but of course the difference between this and the Choice Band set is rather than hitting tough Pokémon harder it outpaces weak Pokémon and beats them to the punch. With Max Speed and the Scarf Metagross can outrun: Gengar, Mismagius, Garchomp, Zapdos, Salamence, Flygon, Slaking, Tauros and a whole host of others. Speed can be a big difference maker, especially up against defensively weak but offensively powerful opponents. The Choice Scarf set can capitalise on that.
EVs and Nature:
The only thing that is worth considering changing is the Nature. With a Jolly Nature Metagross can add: Alakazam, Sceptile, Dugtrio, Starmie, Raikou and Weavile (among others) to the list of Pokémon that it outruns. The only Pokémon that it's shy of out-speeding are: Aerodactyl, Jolteon, Crobat, Ninjask, Electrode, Mewtwo and Deoxys, as well as some other Pokémon who have an Choice Scarf boost as well.
- Meteor Mash
The Sleep-Talker. With Metagross's great Defence stat and many resistances it makes for a very good defensive wall, and with Sleep-Talk it can survive a long time. As an added bonus it can be brought into opponents using Hypnosis (or another Sleep Move) to activate the sleep clause whilst not completely debilitating one of your Pokémon.
EVs and Nature:
The EVs for this set are hard to put together but Max HP is a given since it's a tanking set. Chances are it's being used for its large defence stat so some bulking up can be done to its defence whilst the Attack stat is supplemented by the nature boost. Alternatively defence can be maxed as well as receiving the nature boost, putting Metagross at a potential 394 defence stat. You could also attempt to go for balanced defences, bringing up its Special Defence so that it can take special hits decently.
Don't expect this set to compete with the physical attackers but it is an option. STAB Psychic does decent damage, especially to opponents who aren't expecting to absorb it. Grass Knot hurts most water types (Swampert, Milotic and Suicune especially) and Hidden Power [Fire] deals with opposing Steel types. Even though it's a Special set you really should carry Meteor Mash, Pokémon like Blissey and Snorlax have no business walling Metagross but they will if you drop it. Even without any EVs it still packs a strong punch.
If you put Choice Specs on this set then it needs to played just like the Choice Band and Scarf sets. Prediction is essential for getting the maximum benefit out of the set.
EVs and Nature:
The EVs are relatively self-explanatory. Max out Special Attack and make sure the HP stat reaches 352 for maximum Leftovers recovery, the rest can be dumped into Defence or even Attack.
A faster variation could be tried, sacrificing one of the defences with the nature and pumping some of the HP EVs into Speed. It was covered in the Choice Band set that there's a whole host of Pokémon that Metagross has the potential to outrun when dedication has been put to its Speed stat.
Zen Headbutt, Flash Cannon, Magnet Rise, Bullet Punch, Hammer Arm, Rock Slide, Iron Defence, Reflect, Light Screen, Shadow Ball, Sludge Bomb, Stealth Rock, Psych Up, Grass Knot.
Zen Headbutt gets STAB but the fact that Psychic doesn't have particularly strong type coverage, and the fact that Metagross's physical move-pool is far from shallow, means it's relegated to the sidelines. Meteor Mash outdoes it in the STAB department and hits most Poison and Fighting types hard enough anyway.
Flash Cannon, much like Reminiscent Headbutt, is relegated to the sidelines in favour of a better STAB move. Psychic has a little more base power but hits more types for neutral damage. Luster Cannon's base 80 power is far from impressive even after STAB so the other options will take priority most of the time.
Magnet Rise is a bit of a novelty option but a Metagross without an Earthquake weakness is much harder to take down. It probably isn't worth using since Metagross has better moves to be using but it's worth a mention.
Bullet Punch is an “always strikes first” STAB move so it's worthy of mention for picking off weakened opponents. Of course Metagross's physical move pool is already pretty crowded so it's a bit of an 'afterthought' option.
Hammer Arm is a strong move and has some nice coverage but most of the types it hits are already damaged badly by either Earthquake or Meteor Mash, and whilst Metagross's speed is far from 'awesome' losing some Speed isn't a particularly nice side effect for Metagross.
Rock Slide was a move that used to be used for handling Zapdos and Gyarados. Since Ice and Thunderpunch have become physical now I see little reason for using it but it still handles those Pokémon as well as the three Fire/Flying types. It also serves as an option for those who don't intend to trade from Emerald.
Iron Defence will turn Metagross's defence stat from large to huge. However it won't eliminate its two weaknesses, defend it from special attacks or prevent critical hits, which is the main reason for it not being used. It's somewhat viable but Metagross has better things to be doing.
Reflect is a bit better than Iron Defence whilst doing a similar thing. Of course the fact that Reflect persists for five turns even after it's switched out is the main reason for its viability. Once again, Metagross probably should be on the offensive so its usefulness is significantly lessened.
Light Screen is the special answer to Reflect. Once again, Metagross probably should be on the offensive so its usefulness is significantly lessened.
Shadow Ball and Sludge Bomb are two other special moves Metagross has access to that could be used on the special attacker but their power isn't particularly overwhelming and neither is their type coverage.
Stealth Rock is supportive move and Metagross has the defensive abilities to use it effectively but it's been spread to so many Pokémon that once again: Metagross probably should be on the offensive and leave the supporting to its team-mates.
Psych Up can copy an opponents stat boosts. It has situational uses (e.g. copying a Snorlax's Curses) but those uses are unfortunately only situational so the move has very little reliability. Especially since most Pokémon who can stat boost will usually be able to KO Metagross fairly easily.
Grass Knot has been mentioned already in the Special set but I'm mentioning once more just so that people know it's a viable option on the physical sets. Its only use is to deter water types but its pretty effective at that. An Adamant Metagross with no Special Attack EVs does over 50% damage to the standard Swampert and about 30% to the standard Suicune and the standard Milotic. Its use also extends to the environment where Ubers are allowed, doing about 50% to most Groudons and about 30% to most Kyogres. Some of those numbers aren't hugely impressive and only take into account the standards, but they are certainly good enough to warrant using Grass Knot.
[I would just like to note that the standard EV spreads of the aforementioned Pokémon usually include little to no Special Defence EVs, if one of the aforementioned Pokémon happens to have its Special Defence bulked up you will probably score less impressive numbers. Of course as a result your physical attacks will hit harder.]
Whilst Metagross has beastly offence and a fairly wide array of moves to choose from it suffers from the 'four move-slot syndrome'. Meteor Mash and Earthquake are both automatically givens on 90% of Metagross sets but the third and fourth move could be one of many things.
A Metagross without Grass Knot or Thunderpunch can be walled by most bulky water types (with: Suicune, Swampert, Milotic, Vaporeon, Gyarados, Slowbro, Ludicolo and Manaphy being the main ones), they resist Meteor Mash and aren't hurt too badly by Earthquake, whilst having the potential to fire back water moves that will do about 30% or more damage to Metagross.
Other Pokémon who also resist the Meteor Mash and Earthquake combo include: Skarmory, Zapdos, Moltres, Charizard and Bronzong. Skarmory and Moltres however need to watch out for Thunderpunch, Zapdos needs to watch out for Ice Punch and Zapdos, Charizard and Moltres all need to watch out for Rock Slide. Levitating Bronzong resists all of its possible moves however except for Hidden Power.
There are some other noteworthy Pokémon who, although lacking a Steel resistance, can still stand up to Metagross fairly well. Donphan, Hippowdon, Torterra, Gliscor and Weezing are some examples. The first four have STAB Earthquake to threaten Metagross with whilst Weezing will probably have to rely on Fire Blast or Will-o-Wisp to cause worry. Steelix is also another Pokémon who does fairly well against Metagross, even with its Ground weakness it only takes 35% or so from Metagross's Earthquakes and can hit back with STAB Earthquakes of its own.
A lot of Metagross's like to Explode, especially when it looks like it won't survive much longer, so having a reliable Ghost type or a REALLY tough Steel or Rock type is quite important, otherwise you'll have to sacrifice a Pokémon (or throw up Protect or Substitute if the opportunity presents itself, although being so lucky and having that situation is unlikely). I also emphasise 'really' since even the ever unbreakable Skarmory can expect to take about 60% damage from Metagross, possibly 80%-90% if the Metagross has a Choice Band or Life Orb equipped. The kind of Pokémon I'm referring to are: Steelix, Probopass, Aggron, Bastiodon, Regirock and Rhyperior, and even then some of those Pokémon are going to be taking a huge chunk of damage.
Choice Band Metagross's are somewhat easier to deal with if you can predict well. It's a matter of sending in the right Pokémon at the right time: if an Earthquake is coming throw out a Levitator or Flying type, if Meteor Mash is coming send in a tough water or steel type. This stuff should be pretty obvious but it needs to be mentioned. If you have very good prediction skills you can send in Magnezone (or Probopass) and trap Metagross in play whilst its locked into a Choice Band move that doesn't do much damage. Magnezone and Probopass both have a 4x resistance to Meteor Mash which is very handy and both generally won't take much from any of Metagross's other moves, of course not counting Earthquake.
Also on the subject of Magnezone, whilst it may turn out to be a bit of a novelty it can Magnet Rise. Whilst with Probopass this isn't a big deal (since Metagross can out-speed it most of the time) a Magnezone with absolute Max Speed will always outrun an Adamant Metagross (barring Choice Scarf or Speed boosts). This generally means that if Magnezone can get in play against Metagross it can Magnet Rise before Metagross can fire off an Earthquake.
Metagross's Fire weakness is somewhat hard to exploit since most strong Fire attacks come from Fire types, most of which are weak to Earthquake. But Metagross's Ground weakness is especially exploitable since most good physical attackers have access to Earthquake. Pokémon like Garchomp and Salamence are faster and pack a powerful Earthquake, so Metagross either has to switch or face either a KO or a lot of damage. Dugtrio is also worthy of mention since once it's in play Metagross can't switch (due to Arena Trap) and will KO most Metagross's with its Earthquake (and is essentially guaranteed a KO if Metagross is below 80% health).
In a pinch you can rely on a faster Pokémon to finish off Metagross before it finishes them off. Pokémon like Starmie can shave off 40-50% of Metagross's HP (and a fair bit more with support from Choice Specs) and sometimes damage like that is all you need. Ideally you would be targeting its weaker Special Defence but there are physical options as well (such as Heracross and Medicham) that can still take it down a huge notch even without Earthquake assistance. Other desperation options include firing back with Counter or throwing Destiny Bond at Metagross.
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