Monday, 20 February 2017

Teambuilding on Paper & How to be Effective.

Hi guys today I am back with a bit of a different post, to her than posting more content about my smeargle used spotlight series or the monthly report/ experience discussion and analyses, this time I bring forth an article. Even thought this topic of teambuilding especially on paper isn’t ever given much attention that it does need or deserve, I feel this is the most common and basic step, the step where your instinct and intelligence comes in when you want to start building a team, this is the first step to teambuilding.

Teambuilding has been one of my most favorite things to do in the competitive aspect of pokemon and I have done it loads, I too myself start and prefer the teambuilding on paper whenever doing it, as it has clearly made me think more clearly about what I do with my pokemons and then what their ultimate roles are going to be. Without further ado lets get into the discussion of this topic and I’ll explain my own specific method of doing it correctly:

Before starting:
Of course you have to pre-pare something whenever doing somethings, you do prepare a team in pokemon, however there are some things I feel like are needed to be done before actually starting to build a team. These in my view re the following:

Something to write down onto:
Of course when I say teambuilding on paper you are just not randomly going to go to pull out a teambuilder and get going with your ideas, I think more of an accurate and comfortable method is to find sometime that makes you feel easy to write down on other than scribbling over a tiny surface to write, I prefer you choose something big. Also to clear up the term in use here, ‘paper’ may not mean a literal paper, you can even use a writing board which does give you the option of correction too! Also having something bigger of a paper to write onto is better as it gives everyone of your ideas in front of your eyes and are easy to access, other than a mistake I did in the past of doing it on a notebook and then constantly keep flipping between the pages which sure was annoying, and hence you have been made aware of this, please don’t.

Prepare a types list:
Types list is a must as it has been considered a very generally good thing to have in your teams, the ability of your teams to hit every type of pokemons for super effective damage is going to be the main purpose of this list. Listing down all the eighteen types, i.e Normal, Fire, Water, Grass, Electric, Ground, Rock, Steel, Bug, Fairy, Psychic, Ghost, Ice, Dark, Fighting, Dragon, Poison, Flying, will give you easy access to the facts that what types can you hit super effective damage for, which becomes favorable in surprise matchups. There are loads of pokemons and loads of people that try them therefore having a general type check can be extremely solid for when the team gets into the competitive battling.

Prepare a metagame list:
This is perhaps more important than preparing a types list nd should be your first preference to check when in comparison with whether you want to check the types list or the metagame list. It is almost seemingly impossible to make a pokemon team countering all the pokemons in the entire game. Metagame is called as the collective set of pokemons that are popular, this does vary from time to time, so collecting this data to get a general idea of what the format has, and you should be able to counter with your team as a priority makes you a whole lot more effective when coming to the on paper teambuilding. In other ways it will kind of be serving as a sort of path or a map which tells what the team requires next.

Prepare a combination to counter list:
Like wth every metagame, thre are pokemons used a whole lot and significantly commonly and stand out amongst the others. If you have been interested into pokemons’ competitive side, synergy is a term you would be already introduced to, synergy is basically described as a flexibility between different pokemons that allow them to work well with each other, this synergy can be either in the form of a lead matchup or a tye core or a core of pokemons that benefit from each others’ moves and abilities.
Listing downs some noticeable and popular cores and having answers to them makes the making of a team much of an easer task, these combinations generally seem hard to break through so having something to check them is always a great idea to have.this allows you to made decisions much less confused and a bit more confident in team preview and when going into the game, you know how play to effectivel against them, this alsotells you about if your team is good when matching up against the metagame or not.
Examples of this include the lead matchups of tapu koko + garchomp, Double Ducks, Torkoal + Lilligant and etc.
More examples as in cores include celesteela + tapu koko + garchomp and the all popular core of Kartana, Arcanine and Tapu fini.

After started:
So now I think we have a general idea of the things we should need to get a good teambuild started, after you have listed down essential, if only in my perspective aspects for the effective teambuilding, now would be the great time to start it off, however the lists ou prepared aren’t just there to show off or something, now is the time when you get your brain starting to work. Following are someof the things in my view that should be kept in mind when teambuilding:

Keep synergy and strategy in mind:
Ofcourse this is the principle for good teambuilding that you should always keep in mind things like strategy as well as synergy, as the team goes along it should feel like being knitted and bounded closely within itself with each member.
Synergy is a really important factor in teambuilding, there are some people out there who decide to have fun and do mono-type teams, some even find them good, however in more of a competitive team, you would need some serious synergy. When lets say starting of a teambuild with a proygon 2 you would have to consider and keep in the back for what covers it up, taunt is a very much threatening factor in its case, strong fighting moves as well as the move toxic which inhibits its effective traits is something of a threat to consider. So you may want to consider a second supportive pokemon with maybe mental herb if required that gives essential roles of porygon two or maybe the one with the ability oblivious, others like ghost types can help cover up the fighting weakness, furthermore your own taunt or misty terrain setters can block offthe toxics that are incoming.
Keeping strategy in mind is also very important, the term strategy may not applied to all teams, especially seems a doubtful term to use with non-themed teams, however let me explain it in both cases. Lets carry on with another example with porygon 2 where it has the move trick room which makes slower pokemon go first, then keeping other members that are really fast is surely not the good deal here, in other cases such as in the case of a team relying highly on the combination of double ducks, may not want to carry more weather setters as they may disrupt its offensive presence. To the term strategy applying to non themed teams, you can take an example of a team that has a sashed kartana, now keeping as chip damage weather user like ninetales, will break its sash on the end of the turn it was send out to battle in therefore it may be the right call to give katana an assault vest and bulk so it can survive atleast one or two more hits alongside another partner like ninetalesthat is also very seemingly frail.

Playing in the comfort zones
If you are a new vgc player this might not be for you,but if you really do like to analyze your own self and discover the top tier terminology of this game, you may have heard of something called ‘playstyle’ many popular players like Sejun Park who has a reputation for using surprise mons, Baz Anderson who is a known user of strong Set-up Teams, Other people like Wolfe Glick that use Bulkier and more Defensive teams are well recognized for their playstyles. Therefore similarly playstyles may generally also fall into the category of hyper offense, defensive, balanced teams etc or may it be more uniqe, like finding some success with stranger and least used pokemons or pokemon movsets, players like Ashton Cox and Jon Hu especially have a big reputation for applying this theme on their teams, I also feel like going with this form of ‘surprising and offensive’ playstyle. Also the playstyle can be hybrid.
Now if you are a newer player to vgc the best advice I can give you to regarding this is suggest you to test out different teams and then notice you likes and your dislikes. If you have a good knowledge of what you generally like, most recommended is that you roll down your teams in the way you feel the most comfortable and easy with them, this is the sole reason why there is no such thing as ‘one best team’ learning to play a team is a different part but takes a bit more time to get used to, sticking to playstyle provides more time to practice with the team, whereas learning to play takes a whole lot more time in terms of making adjustments. In my opinion the most preferable one is to stick with your playstyle if it is not bad against the state of the format, if it is bad against the format, than learning to play different styles and team is the better option for you, also this gives you an increase of knowledge and a more in-depth understanding of the concepts of different teams.

Don’t doubt your own decisions:
This is something I really want to say all the time in most aspects of pokemon, same comes for teambuilding, there might be an instance in the teambuild where you feel like that non of the metagame can really actually help you out in making or completing the tam, and ou need a certain niche role for a pokemon that non of the standards can use. Therefore leading into a different pokemon that may provides the required role of whether typing, ability, item choice or moves that you need for you team and works the best in cases of synergy and strategy feel free to put it on your team, since this pokemon is tougher to explain with all the thought process you have gone through for it, you may be asked to replace this pokemon however if it does its job well don’t replace it.
There are also many times where you really would want to build around quite some different teams in this format, whether they include a certain weaker strategy or a pokemon that you see with potential but never has been used before, in those cases surely go for the chance of teambuilding with this pokemon and who knows you may end up really liking the team, in many cases we have seen popular players using somewhat different options and being lead to great results with their teams, definitely go for what you feel like doing with the team!

Building up the Team:

1)      Writing down the base: of course when teambuilding write down the base of your team, you may have chosen it as a combination of two seemingly desirable pokemons you may want to test out. This pokemon or combination of them is going to be the base of them, separately write down what troubles your base of the team could face and what pokemons are strong against it, after writing it down underline the pokemons from the metagame list and also the types that the pokemon can hit for super effective damage. Also the strategies or leads that it is strong against.
2)      Core/Synergize the base: moving on the next step to your teambuilding is going to be centering your base pokemon or pokemons. There are various ways you guys can do this and this can be done by either building a core of types and core around this pokemon that can cover up this pokemons’ weaknesses (refer to the notes you took for what threatens it) try to target down the threats to your pokemon when trying to think of a core around them, this can also be done by synergy formation through abilities that benefit the base of the team. If you build aroud a oncept follow the same, an example would be the building of a trick room team, where your priority would be to counter things like opposing taunts, whirlwinds etc.
3)      Metacovers: after you have successfully synergized or formed a core around the base of your team, now is the step to very likely choose the next 3 or two mons (dependant on what number of mons you are left with after the core) this step can be for various things too, one is for covering the metagame, the one that your core doesn’t cover or even pokemons to cover up further threats of pokemons that are in your cores. Focus the most on covering up the rest of the metagame or the weaknesses.
4)      Adding Fill Ups: this step is quite tough to be executed on paper, however if you are thinking about this team thoroughly you can see the overall team about its common weaknesses, try to think critically on what threatens you team, there may not be one clear threat but a concept that you face trouble against, for example if you build a team that is way too fast and doesn’t have sufficient to trick room teams or opposing tailwind, then you should look through your team once, again, after all this synergetic buildup you may not want to break the team apart, what I do in these cases is that I try to look for what pokemon moves I can use that give me that little bit of boost in the game against the threats. In other cases you can look for substitution of the pokemons, consider substitution of complete roles that the pokemon performs and the new one should add in strong aspects to your team against that threat, try not to break good synergetic combinations such as replacing garchomp with flygon in the popular combination of tapu koko + garchomp, which may not generally work.
5)      Variations: definitely do consider the ratio of special attackers to physical attackers in your team, you can have 5 pokemons that acquire their physical attack, but will prove bad against the teams that have intimidate supporters, further on the other side a team with so many special attackers will be threatened by snarl users in the format, that is why try to keep a good balance to not lose offensive momentum (more importantly) in a battle.

After done:

Encourage 252/252/4 spreads:
This is something everyone who has experience playing pokemon will consider sure it seems promising and somewhat satisfying to have complex ev spreads for your team, however this may not be the time that you want to do that, there is more you need to do about the team, that is why encourage 252/252/4 spreads at first.
The importance of this is that you really don’t know how to build up complex spreads as you really don’t know how the spreads work out so doing that is quite a waste of time now. Add a general idea of what your pokemons want to use for example you are using a physically offensive arcanine. You most likely want 252 attack and 252 speed stat, with the 4 remainder in its bulk. This can also be done with other pokemons for example and offensive tapu fini that holds a choice specs can be also given a 252/252/4 ev spread to start with.
Later in the process of improving the team you can further modify these sets to what your team needs and to fill in the gaps that this team may have, most of the times not a big ev spread change is needed, however small amount of ev adjustments can do really well by giving you just the bit of factor you always wanted from them.

Always test:
This is sure going to be the next step for teambuilding, and please as you do this do not start breeding or obtaining the team in game though, what seems great on paper most likely even will lack in some factors and also your team is just not fully modified too in terms of its ev spreads. The proper process would be to test out the team before getting it actually to adjust the team accordingly, your team may have good synergy but general bad matchups against some archetypes or may lack dynamism for sure as well, a great team is the one in which every two pokemons can work well together with each other, this may look hard to achieve however the step of team improvement can make it very much possible and you can achieve it sometimes with little less effort than other times. This process of testing to improve the team provides a great way for you to actually analyze you team and the way in which it works against the metagame that you will most likely be facing, fine tuning the team is quite a good substitute for the word of improvement here.

Note taking while testing:
This step is something I am greatly n support of, nothing can be achieved if you really aren’t writing down, in the practice or say test matches that you play, you may want to consider your teams’ posititve side, for example realizes how two pokemons are helping you out in a lot of situations or how good they are when the term dynamism gets applied to them and then surely your teams lackings, you may include the following to your notes and answer these questions or statements applied to your team (this I my way to teambuilding, of course you may differ) under the observations in your test matches:
·         What do I lose against in common scenarios, or what teams are strong against me.
·         What moveslots are not being utilized at all or very little or are of very little and insignificant and hypothetically important but not actually in the game.
·         Where do the individual pokemons on my team lack? For example in those facing scenarios in which what attacks take down my pokemons and make it inefficient against its partners.
·         Is there a common pokemon that I am having trouble with?
·         Are my lead matchups against certain common core teams good or effective?
Above questions are something I always am considering when testing out my teams, and important notes here to; you may not always have to scrap the team if t is bad against some pokemon, for example in a team of mine I had matchup troubles from muk’s bulk and offense, however I had an arcanine on that team, so I added to my playing strategy against that pokemon, whenever I see a muk in the team preview I will make sure to bring my arcanine which had will-o-wisp, first thing I would do will be to cut down this pokemons’ attack by switching in the bulky arcanine immediately and then going for a will-o-wisp on it the next turn. Similarly I was having huge troubles against the double ducks leads and my team with the pokemons that I had didn’t had much against it at all. I had a nihilego with focus sash and a raichu both of which could be useful against that combination, however raichu lacking the sash could be extremely unsufficent for my team, what I did was make my raichu bulky with assault vest to make it survive the golduck’s z-move and then make it target back before going down immediately, whereas on the side nihilego would also provide a good measure of offense on the combination, even despite being weak to that combination, what I generally meant there was that there are multiple options available to you to improve your team and I believe there is always a chance to improve a team even though one never will be perfect, but improvements brought in it can help it o much well than the team’s own previous self.


So guys this was it for my first guide in vgc 2017, hopefully it was helpful, this time I took a bit of a different route with posting and posted about this topic, which seems silly but I think it is worth to write down and who knows someone may learn something from it. I hope you guys liked it, Bye for now!

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