Game Freak On The Most Popular Pokémon Used For Competitive Battles

By Ishaan . July 4, 2014 . 4:31pm

The Pokémon Company recently conducted an internal interview with Game Freak director Junichi Masuda and Pokémon battle director Shigeki Morimoto, during which the two developers shared their thoughts on various aspects of Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, the last pair of games released in the series.


One of the topics discussed was the question of balancing the various Pokémon, and Masuda mentions a couple that he feels might be a little too prominent in the competitive Pokémon scene.


“At a recent Pokémon tournament in Japan, Kangaskhan and Garchomp were used quite a lot, so I wouldn’t deny that those seem a bit too prominent,” Masuda says. “But for now, it appears to me that the players seem to have a good grip on strategies to counter one another, so I think we’ve achieved an adequate sense of balance.”


Speaking with regard to the competitive Pokémon community, both Morimoto and Masuda feel that competitive Japanese players are still stronger than their western counterparts.


“I don’t know the definitive reason, but I think that one reason might be that there’s a closer community among players in Japan and it’s easier to communicate about Pokémon,” Masuda shares. “It’s possible to exchange information and opinions through various social networks, which leads to even more opportunities to practice battling.”


Masuda adds that he is seeing players communicate more about the games with one another overseas as well, so he’s curious to see if the 2014 World Championships Pokémon tournament will demonstrate any changes in the gap between Japanese and international players.

Read more stories about & & on Siliconera.

  • WindButterfly

    I prefer to win with my favorites. :P

    • Derek E Nay

      Delibird, Murkrow, Mawhile, Glaceon, Nidoking, and Dodrio!

      … I am going to have a bad time lol

      • 하세요

        Scarf’d Nidoking with Sheer Force focused on Special Attack is pretty damn lethal. Mega Mawhile can put in work, too!

        The rest though…not so much. Eviolite Murkrow can be gimmicky, kinda. *shrug*

    • 하세요

      I only have one favorite Pokemon – Breloom, so I lucked out on that one. All other Pokemon I love equally. There aren’t any Pokemon out there that I just wouldn’t want to use.

    • Hinataharem

      I can’t. Spinda is awful. Your favorites must be really good

      • cameron forsyth

        what are you talking about, spinda’s awesome with that contrary and assist. stat boosting V-creates for days.

    • God

      I do that too, but in single battles my offensive all-or-nothing style doesn’t really allow me to use Umbreon (my number 1 favourite)…

    • Reiswindy

      Bibarel, Farfetch’d, Wigglytuff, Sawsbuck, Heliolisk and Diggersby.
      I will be victory.

      • Aha Disco Elf

        Gotta love them monotype

    • Uso Ewin

      I’m still trying to get my Slaking, Archeops, and Regigigas team to work.

    • Nobody

      I love winning with my Starmie.

  • 하세요

    Yeah it’s a closer community because Japan gets all the epic Pokemon events, stores, movies in theaters, etc. It’s not a surprise in the least, lol.

  • Asura

    The “perceived” reason for the difference is that we have Pokemon Showdown, so there’s no reason to play the actual game competitively. It’s never been about communication – has he never searched “Pokemon forum” into an English browser before or something?

    Then there’s the fact that the Pokemon events are so scattered across the U.S. and exclude far more players than Japanese events do.

    Then there’s the fact that the online metagame in the U.S. (the smogon-based one) is actually far more balanced that the typical joke of a tournament Nintendo holds.

    • rubin

      lel, if anything it’s smogon metagames that are so unbalanced they need like 9000 different bans to be playable

      • Asura

        How the bloody hell did you never learn what the word “unbalanced” means in your entire life exactly?

        Please read your own sentence and comprehend how it’s a complete and utter logical trainwreck.
        Do you not understand that bans become external to the game, hence them being called “bans”. When something is external to the game, it is having zero effect on the balance of the game actually being played.
        The only way your sentence could possibly make sense is if you’re saying that smogon needs to ban an ADDITIONAL 9000 things to attain a playable metagame. Obviously I can tell that’s not what you’re saying despite it being the actual thing you wrote.

        I can’t believe I’m spoonfeeding this to somebody who knows how to read and use a computer…

  • Jettythesunfish

    Eh, there’s always gonna be those particular Pokemon people use a ton in competitive play. That’s something you can’t really stop.

  • MrJechgo

    I’d welcome any rebalance to the ENTIRE Pokédex, because it sucks hard to win with OP Pokémons than with your favorite team…

  • MasterScrub

    Balance? That’s a trip. I don’t think there’s a compelling reason to use a Mega Evolution that ISN’T Kangaskhan unless you’re playing by Smogon rules or something

    • God

      What are you talking about? Mega Mewtwo Y is an absolute killing machine! And Mega Charizard Y is kind of nice too, but his x4 weakness to rock-type attacks makes him hard to use in the competitive scene…

      • MasterScrub

        If you’re playing for fun Mewtwo Y is amazing, but he’s banned in any kind of competitive play.

        Charizard Y is pretty good, but Kangaskhan overshadows him IMO.

    • Suicunesol

      Mawile is unusable without a Mega Stone. :o

    • NintendoPSXTheSecond

      I’m just more surprised there aren’t many Sucker Punch Mega-Kahn’s out there.

    • Istillduno

      Mega Mawile comes out swinging immediately rather than needing a turn to PUP and has bulk and typing to take hits as well.

      Mega Gengar is basicly a Doom Blade from mtg, destroy target pokemon thanks to shadow tag and destiny bond.

      Mega Blaziken will mess up anything that doesn’t have priority, massive bulk or a focus band.

      That’s 3 reasons right there.

      • MasterScrub

        I dunno about Mawile and Blaziken being better than Kangaskhan, but I totally forgot about Gengar. Shadow Tag + Perish Song is ridiculous.

  • DanijoEX ♬ the Cosmic Owl

    I’ve never did get into competitive battles in Pokemon. I usually go for flexibility in favor of all else. Although…that might be the worst strategy for me…

    (And still can’t type right today…orz).

  • ivanchu77

    Screw competitive pokemon, that thing is so time consuming it makes warcraft look like a old arcade game, not to mention how common hacking is and how ridiculously unbalanced it is.

    completing the pokedex is enough, thank you

    • Asura

      It’s funny because most competitive players won’t waste their time with completing the Pokedex. **** that chore.

      • Reiswindy

        Then again not everyone is a competitive payer. I certainly had a good time completing the Pokedex. Nuzlocke runs are pretty fun as well. Not everything must be competitive.

    • It really does not take that much time. Get dittos.

    • rubin

      XY made breeding very easy though. Perfect Pokemon are just everydays commodity now.

    • Luke

      It’s really not that bad anymore. Pretty easy to get a 5 perfect IV pokemon in under an hour. I usually just breed dem pokes while watching tv or a movie.

      • Nobody

        It may be easy to get a 5IV pokemon, but getting one that has 5IVs in the RIGHT SPOTS will TAKE HOURS AND HOURS. It always take me that much. The amount of BS I have to put up just to obtain makes me sympathize with those who hack theirs.

  • echokanon

    Talonflames and Rotom-Ws are almost everywhere too…

    • 하세요

      Rotom-W was an issue in B/W already ._.’ but Talonflame is ridiculously common as well.

      • NintendoPSXTheSecond

        Just because it’s easy really. Nothing you can’t handle though.

  • MaskedHeroxx

    Please send me a link of pokemkn battke. …usa vs japan

  • John Smith

    I still feel a bit annoyed that Mega Sceptile got such a weird ability, compared to Blaziken’s Speed Boost and Swampert’s Swift Swim.

    • zferolie

      Lightning rod is helpful actually. Switch in on an electric attack and get a free Special attack boost.

      • echokanon

        But first you gotta mega it before it could happen, and it will raise the opponent alertness after that…

        • zferolie

          true true. still. if you have a water/flying pokemon out, they will be hard pressed not to use that thunderbolt. Still, if you THINK they will anticipate your sitch you can counter that too.

          Pokemon Mind games are a lot of fun lol

          • echokanon

            While I agree with that, for the strategy to work it requires more switching than usual.

            imo, unlike Absol which can start as a good threat and lead against hazzard/ailment leads, mega sceptile does not have a good timing to switch in/out for it to megavolve and yet still control the opponent’s action.

        • AuraGuyChris

          Not to mention that Ice Beam will be pretty common everywhere. Bye-Bye, Mega Sceptile.

    • rubin

      It was made with VGC formats in mind, where LR is a pretty potent ability.

  • Eder García

    i remember my times as competitive trainer… a lot of Blisseys and Snorlax… too hard to beat them specially with other pokemon with the combination of raise stats moves+substitute+batton pass

    • Nobody

      Roar, Whirlwind, and Haze put a stop to that.

      • 하세요

        Some forces are just too strong to even counter it in time unless you really anticipate it, especially since all force-switch moves are second priority.

        • Nobody

          I was just laying those out so they know what they can do about it. You are right in that it’s hard to stop if you don’t act quickly, however.

  • JustJam

    I suck at online battles. I think I’ve only won about 3 times so far xD

  • JohnNiles

    I know I shouldn’t gripe, but that quip about balance irks me. I’m fantasizing about the two of them playing some actual players and getting their butts handed to them. Then again, they would probably take away the wrong lessons anyway.

  • Kang’s broken as hell? NO KIDDING?!

  • James Robert Thompson

    Wasn’t there only one Japanese player in top 8 at VGC last year, and none in the seniors! And that’s using doubles, which is Japans ruleset, we prefer singles, and can still whoop their asses at their game.

    Seriously though X/Y is borked, unless they fix things with ORAS I’ll stick to BW2

  • 3PointDecoupage

    Speaking with regard to the competitive Pokémon community, both Morimoto and Masuda feel that competitive Japanese players are still stronger than their western counterparts. 
    This means war!

    Also, Garchomp is cheap. Cheaper than a ten dollar ditto.

    • Symbol de Au

      It’s true though, at least according to the rankings on global link.The highest ranked Japanese player is more than 1,000 points above the top American .As for VGC…I don’t follow it. Garchump also isn’t cheap.

  • Daniel Rossevelt

    I never played a Pokemon game for competitive play, i’ll battle my friends, but it is never really competitive, more of a casual for fun battle, competitive always seemed no life, wasting hours for perfect stats, and what not,

    • Asura

      Personally I think people who waste their life on the non-competitive aspects of Pokemon are wasting their life, but then again when did I suddenly become master of determining who is wasting their life?

      • Daniel Rossevelt

        Well to be fair i never said i was master at it, i just said it seemed no life. I’ll retract my statement though and change it to “competitive has never been fun to me, because of wasting hours for perfect stats, and what not, just to win”. Happy?

        • Asura

          “Well to be fair i never said i was master at it”

          Gee, I had no idea! It’s not like I read your post before responding or anything. Contact the press!
          (And even if you were to purposefully read sentences literally to have the point whoosh right over your head, even then… I asked when “I” was the master, not you. So your literal rendition failed miserably there.)

          • RadicalGuardian

            Dude, what the hell is your problem? Your replies are super aggressive. And over a video game no less. You need to calm down your posts a bit. Not everyone has the same view on competitive video games as you.

          • Nobody

            You missed the point entirely. Their issue is with others calling those who put a lot of time into competing in Pokemon “no lives.” If the person who made the original comment had just said that it’s not for them instead of insulting those that do it, this comment chain never would’ve gotten
            this long.

          • Asura


          • Daniel Rossevelt

            Just wanted to make sure nobody confused me for the master either, since you aren’t the master :p By the way your a little heavy on the sarcasm.

          • Asura

            I wanted to end that last post with “I’m never happy” but forgot to… (that would be a joke of course).

            But yeah, hopefully my heavy saucy sarcasm will be recalled in your head so next time you can make a post about preference without saying those who don’t share your preference have no lives. That’d be great.

          • DanijoEX ♬ the Cosmic Owl

            Not everyone sees things the way you do. You should really loosen-up. But really…who’s to say?

          • Asura

            “Not everyone sees things the way you do”

            Gee, wasn’t that the ENTIRE POINT of my post?

            What’s that WHOOSH sound?

    • Revorse

      I wouldn’t say they have no life. But going that deep into EV and IV and natures just isn’t fun. At least to me. But then again neither is losing all the time. So you gotta pick your poison…I suppose.

    • Ben Ruiz

      This is a pretty ignorant and, to be frank, incorrect assumption on how the competitive scene actually does anything. Also, “no life” really? You are an amazing judge of character then.

  • Pinkemon

    Yeah, that sounds about right from my battle spot trips. Garchomp and Mega mom everywhere. Talonflame can be a massive jerk too. I know this especially since I’ve swept teams with him. There’s also a bunch of volcarona, though that one goes down to aqua jet pretty quickly.

    The article also makes me wonder if Japan has their own equivalent of smogon.

    • (late in response here but) North America has Smogon, and that’s why Japan, China, Korea, etc. are primarily VGC focused. They don’t see a problem with VGC and their community isn’t split two ways. Which is what Masuda was implying here.

  • Pretty much sums up the team with those ‘mons being OU (Over Used) online…

    But hey, you’ve gotta be the very best. Like no one ever was, right? ;)

    • AuraGuyChris

      I refuse to live with a motto meant for a loser who keeps losing leagues!

  • rubin

    Japanese players better than Western? Pffhahaha, he couldn’t be more wrong. No Japanese won a VGC since gen IV for crying out loud. The part about communicating ideas between players is also bullshit. Japan doesn’t even have any large sites dedicated to competitive Pokemon, while there are at least dozen for the western audiance.

    • ShawnOtakuSomething

      this^ 100%

  • Rasputing

    A developer who understands and nurtures the competitive scene despite the game being made for children? Take notes, Sakurai.

    • 하세요

      What? He made an entire online mode the competitive scene, assuming you’re talking about Smash.

      • Asura

        An online mode no competitive player actually wants styled that way (FD only? Actual competitive players DO NOT ENJOY THAT)? You think that’s nurturing competitive play?
        Despite Sakurai removing practically all movement option depth (and I’m not even talking about advanced techs here, simply how pivots and momentum works) relative to BRAWL, which was already stripped of practically every other competitive aspect.
        Sakurai did not take notes.

        Sakurai thinks a fighting game can be balanced by 12 people (and less for the previous Smashes). Sakurai doesn’t even comprehend competitive.

        • James Robert Thompson

          Actually FD only was the JPN standard back in Melee, and it was only fairly recently they allowed battlefield and smashville in Brawl… given Sakurai’s in Japan the online mode makes sense…

          the rest though… yeah, neither series is very good at competative.

          • Asura

            Actually I did not know that about the stages.

            Japan can be a weird place sometimes…

        • Velen (Not WoW)

          He does however comprehend that the competitive scene is not the majority of the fanbase. Which the competitive community mistakes itself for, thus is a big brat about it.

          • Asura

            True (last part is arguable though, but I don’t wanna get into it). However, the competitive scene is what keeps the game alive and in the spotlight for years and years – granted not too much the case with Smash since everybody and their grandma loves poppin’ that in now and then.

            The competitive scene is also the one that uses the mechanics and wants to master them. The majority of the fanbase doesn’t really care. Making a game for competitive players won’t hurt the rest of the fanbase anyway, because despite Brawl being way less deep and dumbed-down mechanically compared to Melee, a competitive Brawl player will still completely and utterly wreck a casual player.

            So when you purposefully strip a game of depth (and that’s the problem here, it’s depth. Guilty Gear Xrd is going for simpler execution requirements, but the developers want MORE depth instead of less), you’re not making it better for casual players.
            The only thing you’re doing is making it worse for competitive players.

          • Velen (Not WoW)

            Here’s my problem with that: In my recent experiences involving the competitive community, I’ve been seeing feelings of entitlement and opinions and statements that lend themselves to such feelings. Many are basically complaining that the new Smash basically isn’t Melee 2.0.

            I never really played Melee (never really got the chance to all that much, with the exception of my local community college’s student lounge, and even that is sporadic at best), and though I can understand some misgivings like the removal of some mechanics from Melee, I draw the line at people getting up in arms just because the characters don’t handle like ice cubes on the ground and fall like every character is wearing a suit of armor in the air.

            I think the new Smash could do with some new gameplay mechanics myself, but I don’t think all the ones from Melee should come back just because the lack of them happens to be outside a Melee player’s comfort zone. This is 2014, not 2000-2001, let the series move on for goodness sake.

          • Asura

            Melee’s mechanics don’t have to come back.
            But there has to be mechanics providing equivalent depth, or else obviously people will say the game has less depth.
            This is the case for Brawl, it will be the case for Smash 4.

            It’s has nothing to do with comfort zones, it has to do with interest zones. A game devoid of depth is boring as hell (in the competitive perspective).

            The series did move on with Brawl. It turned into a party fighter. It is no longer a fighting game.
            And that’s why so many people stuck with Melee.

          • Velen (Not WoW)

            I don’t think you even understand what depth is in a game, to be perfectly honestly.


          • Asura

            The video you provided pretty much shows that you don’t understand that I do, in fact, understand.

            If we’re gonna be taking turns taking honesty pot-shots at each other, I’m gonna say I don’t think you comprehend how fighting games work.
            I’m also going to say if you never even played Melee at a high level, you should probably not stand tall and proud with opinions having to do with comparing depth between Melee and Brawl (and soon Smash 4).
            I actually was competitive in both games and went to tournaments for both games (just Brawl when Brawl first came out, but as the case with many I reverted exclusively back to Melee with time).

            The reason people are upset about characters no longer sliding like ice cubes on the ground and falling like they are wearing armor from the air is because of the numerous mobility tools and option selects those mechanics allowed for. If Brawl’s locomotory mechanics introduced enough mobility tools and option selects to have depth remain at a similar level as in Melee, people would not be so sour. One of the things that makes Melee amazing for so many people is how unique and interesting movement is relative to most other fighting games, and just how much of a focus there is on different ways to move and space properly. Of course people will be super salty when that’s stripped out, and of course their opinion will remain “Nah Smash 4 still looks bad” until they see an indication of the footsie magic existing again (whether in old form or new form, but it has to actually exist).

            Smash 4 thus far has not had any indication of depth at a meaningful enough scale returning – there’s always hope, but I’m actually willing to bet good money because I feel the odds are just that skewed.
            My friend who owns a Wii U will definitely buy Smash and I’ll definitely play it with him as a party fighter now and then. But for when I really want to enjoy myself I will stick to Melee.

        • Haganeren

          Yes, it takes notes, and he want to makes a deep games without L Canceling and such things. Also, they already made some location test with the E3 things. They takes note from the Tekken team which is still the most popular Fighting Game in Japan.

          It’s not because you will not have your favorite move in the next instance of the series that the games is not deep or competitive enough. That, we will see two months after the games is out.

          Right now, i see location test, Nintendo sponsor at EVO and organizing tournament… And from that, yeah, they take notes.

          • Asura

            “It’s not because you will not have your favorite move in the next instance of the series that the games is not deep or competitive enough. That, we will see two months after the games is out.”

            What the hell are you talking about?

          • Haganeren

            I am talking about your ” all movement option depth (and I’m not even talking about advanced techs here, simply how pivots and momentum works)” of course.

          • Asura

            No, no you’re not. I don’t think you have a single clue as to what you’re talking about.

          • Haganeren

            Well, thinks what you want, i suppose ?

            You talked about advanced moves like L-Canceling which was retired. I just said it’s not because those moves have been retired that the games will not have enough depth to be competitive. (I also talked about the fact they specifically wanted to makes the games by the Tekken team for that which can be a great indicator about what they think…) As such, i don’t see why Sakurai “didn’t takes note”. Did I misunderstood you somewhere ? Or maybe it’s me which didn’t expressed myself properly.

            At most, this kind of basic comment should have a “I doubt it” but eh, as you wish.

          • Asura

            “It’s not because you will not have your favorite move”

            It’s that line that made you specifically so difficult to understand initially for me.

            And again, you’re wrong. I already said, I’m not even talking about JUST advanced techniques. In that one post I referred to ALL movement options that increased depth, most of which are not ATs. How the hell you think the word “favorite” even makes sense to talk about these mechanics is also beyond me. Okizeme or Roman Cancels in Guilty Gear are not my “favorites”. Mechanics aren’t moves. Mechanics are the things that end up crafting the flow of gameplay.
            And no, when you strip a game of past mechanics that opened up new worlds of gameplay and option selects, the very thing you’re doing is stripping the game of depth.
            If you want you can go on believing that Sakurai will replace all the movement capabilities (and all the other stuff) from Melee with different mechanics that will create a similar level of depth.

            The chance of that happening is abysmal. I’d say both of us are more likely to get killed in traffic before the game releases than that coming true. The game’s build has already been played, and the team is just de-bugging at this point.
            If Sakurai hid dozens of obscure mechanics that are difficult to discover purposefully into the game, it goes against his entire mantra of removing such mechanics. It is also unlikely he introduced them accidentally because since the development of Brawl he has been actively trying to hunt down those accidents and erase them. Sure we may have something like Squirtle’s hydroplaning because of Sakurai’s overlooks. The chance that he will have so many overlooks that create a competitive environment even approaching that of Melee, as I said, is abysmal.

            Now on this I’m unsure, but didn’t the Tekken team also help with Playstation All-Starts? Correct me if I’m wrong. If I’m right, that game is a bloody mess and nowhere near competitive. Whether Tekken people are helping or not is not going to have any outcome on whether the game is competitive. Again, that all has to do with Sakurai’s vision for the game.

          • Haganeren

            “If you want you can go on believing that Sakurai will replace all the movement capabilities (and all the other stuff) from Melee with different mechanics that will create a similar level of depth.”

            Well…. Yes, that’s all I was saying actually. Just wait two months after the games release before saying that. I have no problem to see some advanced mechanics out if there is something else in return.

            The only thing i worry about Smash 4 is that it will be too similar to previous entries, so as you can see, It’s not your kind of worry at all… Maybe the opposite. I really don’t trust report from people which have played the game maybe what, 2-3 days ? That’s why i said “two months after the game release”. I want to let the vision of Sakurai express itself before taking him down if it have too. I am one of those guy which found Brawl really good after all… And more fun than Melee… (Apart from the tripping, what an horrible move.. err… mechanic) But granted “fun” have nothing to do with being competitive.

            Sorry if i have confused you with move or mechanic anyway. I have a tendency to say Roman Cancel, Focus or even combo are a “move” but as you said, it’s not really the good term.

            “Now on this I’m unsure, but didn’t the Tekken team also help with Playstation All-Starts?”

            If that’s right, i didn’t know.

    • AuraGuyChris

      To be fair, Masuda isn’t that good either. Online is plagued with Mega Kangaskhan and there’s no way in hell someone can use a Butterfree and expect to win a lot with it. There is not much competitiveness in favoritism.

  • Symbol de Au

    As someone who plays ranked battles(all of them not just one type) I realize that most of you have no idea how to Pokemon. That’s ok though. To be honest I don’t like people who say stuff like I just said. You don’t need to know how to Pokemon. It’s not important…but if you’re going to try to discuss competitive Pokemon like you know how to Pokemon…maybe you should know how to Pokemon. Again I don’t really care, just saying.

    • Vash bane

      ok im a idiot lol is that some sort of meme?

      the “how to pokemon” bit

      • Symbol de Au

        It isn’t. I just like that talk.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    Kangaskhan….I found a good way to stop “most” Mega AND walls……EXPLOSION AND SELF DESTRUCT

    • AuraGuyChris

      But M.Blaziken tend to have Protect…

      • ShawnOtakuSomething

        most users always use Protect in the first turn. after that make sure your pokemon is holding Focus Sash or sturdy just in case. Kaboom gone . most people use Mega Kangaskhan, Garchomp, Wifu and Charizard X and Y online anyway

  • As much as I love Pokemon, I’m too much of a Karenfag to ever compete.
    I’d like to see a player from somewhere other than Japan win, simply because I have nothing else to brag about when it comes to living in the US.

  • Ben Ruiz

    That is not even true about Japan being strong than the West. The western players have beaten Japanese players on a CONSISTENT basis at Worlds.

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos