With the Pokémon World Championships coming up this weekend, The Pokémon Company has been working hard to promote the event. This has included the Pokémon YouTube channel providing player spotlights of “Top Trainers” in the TCG, the VGC, and Pokkén Tournament. The company has also released VGC and TCG Power Rankings for players to consider going into the World Championships.
The Pokémon VGC Power Rankings specifically rank prominent, restricted Pokémon duos in the current metagame. This season, players were allowed to use two legendary creatures per team that would have been banned under previous rulesets. As a result, competitive Pokémon currently requires players to carefully choose the restricted legendary duo they will utilize.
Five Pokémon experts spearheaded the rankings: Aaron Traylor, Alex “PokeAlex” Gómez, Gabby Snyder, Justin “Spurrific” Burns, and Lee “Osirus” Provost. The Pokémon Power Rankings listed the top five restricted duos as follows:
Xerneas and Groudon made it to the top of the Power Rankings due to high damage output and team synergy. Multiple Pokémon can complement this duo, with some of the frontrunners including Incineroar and Tapu Fini. Many other creatures can function effectively in the final two slots of a Xerneas and Groudon team. As a result, such a team can be difficult for opponents to predict and prepare for.
Rayquaza and Kyogre succeed in the current meta almost entirely due to their ability to counter Groudon. This pair does a solid job shutting down Groudon, and players can pair them with other Pokémon meant to handle Xerneas. They also benefit from teammates who can boost their Speed stats, whether that be through Trick Room or Tailwind. The Pokémon Power Rankings’ No. 2 duo is uniquely adept at dispatching the No. 1 duo.
Ultra Necrozma can deal massive damage, especially with a Psychic-type boost from a partner Tapu Lele’s Psychic Terrain. In this particular team set-up, Groudon functions as a late-game clean-up Pokémon. As a result, other legendary creatures can fill its role, depending on the player’s desired team composition.
When paired together, Rayquaza and Xerneas are typically trained to be more defensive. They can afford to do so as long as other Pokémon on the team take the offensive frontlines. This team composition is useful for combatting common Primal Groudon teams, as well as surviving attacks better than expected.
Though less common than other restricted duos, Lunala and Groudon still made it onto these Pokémon Power Rankings. Lunala is good at setting up Trick Room, as its Ghost typing makes it immune to Fake Out. In addition, Lunala’s Shadow Shield prevents it from taking big damage from the first attack that hits it. Once Trick Room is active, Groudon becomes an excellent sweeper that can cover Lunala’s weaknesses.
Dylan Tate is a student in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, including Smash Bros., Splatoon, ARMS, and Pokémon. Dylan also writes Nintendo news articles for Nintendo Enthusiast.