Training Tips for the Final Four Mega-Evolved Pokémon
Trainers have been stockpiling Mega Stones to help their Pokémon Mega Evolve with the help of some special codes for the past several months, and the last was finally released in September. This code is for the Ampharosite, Altarianite, Latiasite, and Latiosite Mega Stones, which allow Ampharos, Altaria, Latias, and Latios to Mega Evolve. These rare Mega Stones can't normally be found in Pokémon Sun or Pokémon Moon, so make sure to use this special code before it expires on October 31, 2017.
It's been said that Dragon-type Pokémon are virtually indestructible. That may be embellishing a little bit, but we think you'll agree that this month's Dragon-type Mega-Evolved Pokémon are almost unparalleled. Read on for tips to help them soar—but note that you won't be able to catch these Pokémon in the Alola region. You can transfer them through Pokémon Bank and Poké Transporter if you teamed up with them during your previous adventures, or you'll have to make some trades with your friends if you didn't.
You'll also need the Key Stone for your Z-Ring in Pokémon Sun or Pokémon Moonbefore your Pokémon will be able to Mega Evolve. Continue exploring Poni Island if you haven't already acquired this Key Item. Your adventures in Alola will be nearly complete once your Pokémon can Mega Evolve, so we'll focus on top tactics for the tough battles you might face against other players or at the Battle Tree. Don't forget that your Pokémon must be holding its Mega Stone to Mega Evolve, and that only one of your Pokémon can Mega Evolve per battle!
Amp Up Your Team
Ampharos has a special place in the hearts of many veteran Trainers. Mareep can be found early on in Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver, and helping the Wool Pokémon along its journey to become Ampharos was the first opportunity many Trainers had to work with an Electric-type Pokémon through a full three-stage Evolution line. When Mega Ampharos was initially discovered, many Trainers were just excited for an excuse to train Ampharos again—never mind its sky-high Special Attack and its intriguing new type combination of the Electric and Dragon types.
Unfortunately, Mega Ampharos has a couple of notable weaknesses. The first is that it's difficult to gain a type advantage from its new type combination. It gains three new weaknesses alongside its three new resistances, and it can't learn the mighty Draco Meteor move. With the Pokémon relegated to the weaker Dragon Pulse, some Trainers opt to forego a Dragon-type attack entirely because the damage from that particular attack can be unimpressive without help from a damage-boosting held item. Mareep's final form is also sheared from a stout-and-slow mold, so its lack of Speed makes it a bit of a black sheep among Electric-type Pokémon.
Mega Ampharos can still be a powerful teammate if you're mindful of its weaknesses. The easiest problem to solve is its Speed. Consider teaching Ampharos the Agility move, to speed it up in Single Battles, or pairing it with a teammate that can turn the tables with Trick Room in Double Battles. There's not much you can do about its lack of Draco Meteor, but Focus Blast helps bridge the gap. It can stop Steel-type opponents that resist the combination of Dragon Pulse and Thunderbolt—most notably Excadrill, Ferrothorn, and Magnezone. (As an added bonus, it shares the unreliable accuracy of Draco Meteor, making each battle more suspenseful!)
Protect is a must for this Pokémon in Double Battles, while the combination of Rest and Sleep Talk is an option in Single Battles. Volt Switch can be a solid zap-and-run tactic in either format—but don't be shocked when the strategy is shakier for Mega Ampharos compared to a quicker Electric-type Pokémon. Inversely, Mega Ampharos is much less reliant on Hidden Power than other Electric types—a doubly supereffective Hidden Power can still be helpful, but Dragon Pulse's same-type attack bonus makes it a safer choice most of the time. Mega Ampharos is one of the sturdiest Electric-type Pokémon, so you have the option to play on its stoutness. Precious attacking turns can be sacrificed for Cotton Guard, Reflect, or Light Screen.
Get Your Strategies Humming
Altaria seems similar to Ampharos at a glance: a Pokémon that isn't traditionally selected for competitive play and has a different type after it Mega Evolves. But a Fairy- and Dragon-type mix helps make the Humming Pokémon a more reliable competitor post-Mega Evolution—particularly in Single Battles. The key to its success is the Pixilate Ability, which it shares with Mega Gardevoir. Pixilate increases the power of Mega Altaria's Normal-type attacks and causes them to become Fairy-type attacks instead, sidestepping the need for strong attacks from its new type.
Mega Altaria's stats are well-rounded, which can be a strength and weakness. It's one of the few Pokémon that can be trained to use physical or special attacks with equal aptitude, but each Altaria you train is best off focusing on one or the other. Altaria using physical attacks tend to be better suited for Single Battles, while special attacks are a superior option in Double Battles. Mega Altaria's balanced stats make it sturdy enough to keep humming along in the face of most attacks, but neither its Attack or Special Attack stats provide enough power to do inspiring damage out of the box.
Dragon Dance solves Mega Altaria's problems in Single Battles by boosting its Attack and Speed. A full-power Return provides fantastic Fairy-type damage, but Altaria can't learn the monstrous Dragon-type attack Outrage without help from a Move Tutor in Pokémon Omega Ruby or Pokémon Alpha Sapphire. You could settle for Dragon Claw, instead, or forego Dragon-type attacks entirely for Earthquake and Roost or Fire Blast. With resistances to seven types and immunity to another, a Mega Altaria that knows Roost can be a frustrating foe.
In Double Battles, it's crucial to have the Humming Pokémon speak up with the Hyper Voice attack. Hyper Voice inflicts hefty damage against both foes, but it can still be challenging to find ways for Mega Altaria to outperform Mega Gardevoir's higher Special Attack because the two Pokémon share both this move and Pixilate. One edge for Mega Altaria though is the capacity to learn Fire-type attacks, like Fire Blast and Flamethrower, that allow it to burn down Steel-type foes. Perish Song, Haze, Ice Beam, and the aforementioned Roost also stand out as interesting—if not supremely effective—moves that set it apart. If you have access to the Move Tutors from Hoenn, the supportive Tailwind is its best differentiator.
Legendary Pokémon for the Eons
Latios and Latias are two Pokémon that share much in common. Both are Dragon- and Psychic-type Pokémon with the Levitate Ability, similar stats, and the capacity to learn similar moves. Latios's stats are slightly more inclined toward offense while Latias's are more defensive, but both have high Speed and Special Attack. Note that unlike Diancie and Mewtwo, these Pokémon are permitted at facilities like the Battle Tree and in most bouts at the Battle Spot.
Latios has traditionally been the stronger battler because launching a quick, powerful Draco Meteor enhanced by a damage-boosting item like Dragonium Z or Life Orb is key for Dragon-type Pokémon that focus on special attacks. The tables turn when Mega Stones are involved, however. Balanced stat increases from Mega Evolution encourage an approach based on sustained damage instead of on burst damage. With quick knockouts off the table, Latias's superior defensive prowess is often the better fit.
The goal for either of these Pokémon after Mega Evolution is clear—win long battles by leveraging high stats. Mega Latios and Mega Latias are marathon runners—if your goal is to win quickly, you'd be better off giving them a Choice Scarf or Life Orb rather than a Mega Stone. The key moves for these Pokémon in their Mega-Evolved state are Calm Mind and Recover. Those two moves help the Eon Pokémon power-up and dish out steady damage turn after turn instead of in one big chunk like the regular Latios. Battles with these Pokémon may take eons, but they're likely to be the last Pokémon levitating when the dust clears.
Latios and Latias can potentially learn a wide variety of attacks, but with only two selections left after Calm Mind and Recover, you'll probably want to fall back on the basics. Most Trainers finish up with Psyshock or Psychic and Draco Meteor or Dragon Pulse. Draco Meteor is worth special attention—it brings the most power, but at the cost of lowering the Special Attack your Pokémon worked so hard to build up with Calm Mind. We suggest complementing Calm Mind with a Timid Nature, and you may want to invest some training into Defense and HP. Stay away from Protect, even in Double Battles—there just isn't room for it.
These Pokémon can learn an incredible selection of other useful moves if you think you'd enjoy a different strategy. Heal Pulse, Helping Hand, Light Screen, Reflect, Safeguard, and Swagger are all excellent supportive moves, while Energy Ball, Ice Beam, Shadow Ball, Surf, and Thunderbolt provide myriad alternatives on offense. Feel free to build your own strategy by combining these moves and the others we've mentioned previously. Few Pokémon can learn as wide a variety of moves as Latios and Latias, so take the opportunity to have fun!
Dragon-type Pokémon are always elusive. Click here to learn more about how to acquire their Mega Stones before the code expires on October 31, 2017. We hope you've enjoyed training Mega-Evolved Pokémon this year! Don't forget to keep checking back at Pokemon.com/Strategy for more Pokémon TCG and video game strategy, tips, and tournament analysis.