To kick off the Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Latin America International Championships, held between Nov. 17 to 19, one Paradox Pokémon is finally being acknowledged and used by more pros after underperforming for months since its VGC debut back in February.
Although Regulation E started off with a bang with The Teal Mask DLC’s Ogerpon leading the way, the competitive meta has since shifted away from the adorable Grass Legendary and now leans toward Dragon Pokémon. Among fan-favorite dragons like Salamence and Dragonite, it’s actually Roaring Moon—Salamence’s Paradox counterpart—stealing the show at LAIC, the first of the three big international tournaments this VGC season. Roaring Moon is among the top 12 most-used Pokémon at LAIC, landing a spot on 18.2 percent of teams at the event.
It might not be in the top two like its fellow Paradox pals Flutter Mane and Iron Hands, but Roaring Moon was featured in five of the nine matches shown during the Nov. 17 stream for day one of the tournament. In fact, three of those matches involved a Roaring Moon mirror matchup, with both competitors having the Dragon/Dark ‘mon on their teams.
This may come as a surprise since Roaring Moon hasn’t been the most popular or common Pokémon in the VGC meta since it first became legal in Regulation B. Three regulations later, Roaring Moon is now among the most-used ‘mons at an international championship. So, what happened? How did Roaring Moon go from zero to hero?
Pokémon pros at LAIC are crediting and taking inspiration from top players at Toronto Regionals, where Dragon Pokémon were on the rise in the top cut. VGC veteran Paul Chua posted a tweet with a screenshot from LAIC’s second round of Swiss where both competitors used the same Roaring Moon team that earned him second place in Toronto.
Similarly, former world champion Eduardo Cunha credited Toronto Regionals semifinalist Jamie Boyt for popularizing Roaring Moon with the Poison Tera Type. “It really allowed us to all see how Roaring Moon can be a really good Tailwind user and not need that much Attack as long as it has Knock Off or Breaking Swipe,” Cunha said in an interview after winning his round six stream match.
In other words, rather than using the Paradox dragon as a pure offensive threat, players are using it more as a support ‘mon with speed control, item removal, and a way to lower foes’ Attack.
Two regional champions, Joseph Ugarte and Justin Tang, also pointed out how the return of one popular TM in The Teal Mask has been a game-changer for Roaring Moon. “The addition of Knock Off is a huge buff and is so relevant in this metagame where items play such a big role,” Ugarte said in the VGC Preview Roundtable ahead of LAIC.
We’ve already seen a lot of Roaring Moon throughout day one of LAIC, but it’ll be interesting to see how many show up on day two and if one can win the whole event.