THE META CIRcle
The meta is something you’re probably familiar with by now, assuming you’ve read the previous articles. The term "meta" is an abbreviated version of "metagame," which refers to the process of determining the most effective strategies within a game, and how to play around those strategies. In Pokemon specifically, the set most competitive players would expect on a Pokemon, or the Pokemon on a team that they would expect to see, are components of the meta. The meta, by its very nature, handles many random threats very well and can easily beat the majority of opponents, but is typically predictable.
Anti-meta are sets that deviate from the meta specifically to counter the meta. Because they are specifically geared towards beating the expected and subverting expectations, meta teams will often struggle against them. Lures are a not-so-extreme example of this: they use something that would typically be mediocre at best, but because people expect it to be running the meta set they can be caught off guard when their answer is actually beaten by it. Things like Power Herb Heatran and Nature Power Azumarill are some popular examples of lures. Stall originated as an anti-meta style and still holds some of the same traits as a result, but due to its strong viability and popularity it is can be considered meta. Note how stall teams build themselves to soak hits from the common meta threats of other teams, and how random off the wall stuff like physically attacking Pokemon being run specially or a weird coverage move can dismantle stall Pokemon, and even entire stall teams.
Finally, we come to rogue. Rogue is pretty much “not-meta” without being geared to beat the meta. Low ladder is often cluttered with odds and ends, which meta teams can easily sweep through. Rogue teams/Pokemon are the wild card which prevent anti-meta from consistently winning. Even one off-the-wall Pokemon on a team can catch an anti-meta team unaware and ruin their plan, and since they sacrificed raw strength for specific peaks of power where meta lacks, they often fail to overcome this unforeseen adversary. It might take the form of fewer EVs in a particular stat to give or take an important hit, or the loss of a coverage move, or simply a misprediction expecting a certain answer and not getting it.
So what does this mean for you, the reader? Be cautious when using anti-meta, especially when you see something that looks like a deviation from the meta. When playing meta, watch out for anti-meta sets that are lying in wait. And lastly, never forget that rogue elements can not only throw a wrench in your plans, but also your foes. Stay safe on the ladder, trainers! Until next time!
(AN: Have a threat in the meta that you struggle with? Send me suggestions for the next issue of the Threat List!)