The cool kids of the competitive Pokémon scene.
With every official Pokémon tournament coming around the corner, we can see how the metagame is changing so very quickly, the variety of mons that rise and fall in usage changing every few weeks, making the early Pokémon Scarlet and Violet competitive metagame incredibly varied and exciting, even with an open team sheet structure.
Lets take a look at the list of the 12 most popular Pokémon at the Knoxville Regional championship.
While this Pokémon may not have seen a ton of usage in the Series One meta or even early Series Two, players are now realizing the potential of this superhero dolphin.
Palafin takes skill and great positioning to make the best use of its Zero to Hero ability, knowing when to keep it in and fire off attacks in its Zero form, and when to switch it out and let it come back on the field and clean up in the end game.
Another surprising Pokémon, Tyranitar is definitely an underdog that is showing its true worth right about now, and for a good reason.
While this pseudo-Legendary used to be slapped on teams just for its Sandstream ability to enable Sand Rush users like Houndstone and Lycanroc, it is now used for its own amazing defensive and offensive prowess: being able to tank the strongest of super effective hits with the Assault Vest item and firing back at top meta threats in the format such as Iron Bundle, Flutter Mane, and many others for incredibly strong damage.
Coming in at 10th place is another pseudo-Legendary, Dragonite. Its dual typing held it back in past generations, with Dragon and Flying making it four-times weak to ice moves. And while ice moves are rampant in Series Two due to one infamous mecha penguin, Dragonite is still shining, and it can thank Terastallization for that.
With Tera Normal, Dragonite can get rid of its weaknesses and fire off very strong priority Extreme Speeds, or just go Tera Flying and decimate its opponents with Tera Blast. With two strong abilities serving different purposes, Dragonite has a lot of flexibility, along with the bulk and offense to back it up.
A massive Attack stat along with threatening Speed, coupled with the ability to boost either of its two best stats even further through the use of the common Booster Energy item, Roaring Moon is a meta threat you cannot ignore.
Earlier, you would see this prehistoric Salamence run a Speed-boosting Booster Energy set along with Tailwind to enable its team while also firing off powered-up Acrobatics. A recent adaptation, however, has seen Roaring Moon run an Attack-buffing Booster Energy set with Dragon Dance over Tailwind, letting it turn speedy alongside a high enough damage output to OHKO even a couple of mons that take resisted damage from its attacks.
Since the dawn of Series Two, Talonflame has taken the spot of Murkrow as the preferred priority-Tailwind-setter, simply because it has a better defensive matchup into the meta than the unevolved crow.
Not only can Talonflame fire off fast Tailwinds, it also has access to the move Will-O-Wisp that lets it immediately cripple physical attackers. Other support moves like Taunt and Quick Guard also lets Talonflame shine as a potent support mon. It can also go on the offensive with Brave Bird and Flare Blitz to do great damage when not supporting its team.
It’s hardly a surprise that string cheese man made it to the most popular Pokémon list for Knoxville Regional. Gholdendgo has a broken ability in Good as Gold that makes it immune to every non-attacking move alongside great stats, an amazing dual-typing, and an incredibly powerful signature move: a recipe for success.
Evolving from an all-out offensive Choice Specs set, Gholdengo have adopted a setup build with Life Orb to ensure the Special Attack drops from Make it Rain dont matter as much to the Steel and Ghost dual-type.
This good doggo often hangs around near the top of usage charts. Arcanine has great stats all around, able to utilize either of its offensive stats, but its defensive and supportive capabilities are what make it really shine.
Arcanine has a solid defensive stat spread that allows it to stay on the field and keep disrupting its opponents using moves like Snarl to weaken Special Attackers and Will-O-Wisp to cripple Physical Attackersall on top of its Intimidate ability to slow them down even further. With access to a strong Flare Blitz and priority Extreme Speed, Arcanine is never a passive bystander.
Players have begun to recognize that the prehistoric Donphan has Great in its name for a reason. Great Tusk has a massive Attack stat and amazing physical bulk to decimate its opponents when it has Speed control on its side, thanks to its middling Speed.
Apart from its lackluster Speed, Great Tusk also has a bad Special Defense stat, which lets it really lean into its offense by doing large amounts of damage quickly with an item like Life Orb, or surviving one hit guaranteed with an item like Focus Sash.
This Grass and Poison dual-type ish high up on the usage charts in any format that it’s in, having an invaluable kit that is evergreen and always threatening.
With access to Spore and Rage Powder, Amoonguss can disrupt an opponents game plan like nothing else. With its incredible bulk combined with the Regenerator ability, it is tough to remove this annoying little fungus from the board. Further options like Pollen Puff for healing and Clear Smog to remove all the stat boosts in the format sets Amoonguss and its partners up for success.
Fake Out and a slow pivot option with Volt Switch already gives Iron Hands a niche similar to the infamous Incineroar, but slap an Assault Vest on this guy, and now youre seldom picking up an easy knockout on it.
Being flexible enough to be run slow or fast along with a very oppressive Attack stat in conjunction with strong moves like Close Combat and Wild Charge easily puts Iron Hands in the top three most popular Pokémon at Knoxville.
Iron Bundle is consistently in the top three most popular mons in official tournaments. This futuristic Delibird is an absolute monster, and everyone is making good use of it.
There hasn’t been much of a change in its role as an incredibly fast Icy Wind support Pokémon that also be offensively threatening with great coverage between Hydro Pump and Freeze Dry. Still, players have been adapting by dropping one of its moves for Encore, letting it take an even more of a supportive role than before.
Flutter Mane should be proud of itself since players have had enough belief in it to get it to the No. 1 spot in tournament usage rates over and over again. Incredibly fast with an amazing offensive presence, this prehistoric Misdreavus shows us why it can walk the talk.
With a dual typing of Ghost and Fairy, Flutter Mane has a great offensive presence across the entirety of the metagame, and with access to items like Life Orb and Choice, it can boost its damage to unprecedented heights while also having access to great supportive moves like Taunt, Trick Room, Perish Song, and more.
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One big point that sticks out after taking a long and hard look at this list is the lack of Dondozo and Tatsugiri, who have previously dominated the usage charts in official tournaments but are nowhere near the top at Knoxville.
And even though some mons have not made it to the top 12 most popular Pokémon at Knoxville, they have still come on stream and have shown to be dominating the competition on Day One, and were talking about real unorthodox picks. Pokémon like Ceruledge, Scream, Iron Jugulis, Stonjourner, Camerupt, and even Electrode have been making waves in Knoxville, creating a fun and innovative scene for this Regional tournament.