Published on October 7th, 2015 | by Zog


Greener Grassy Terrain: A More Balanced Future For VGC?

VGC. Is it an esport? Maybe not. Yet. But it’s still our game. And while we’re not all the way there to playing a fully-fledged esport, it’s interesting to think about how we could get there. We know competitive Pokémon’s not a perfect game, so how could it be better?

Obviously, since I fell short of Worlds this year for a variety of reasons (several game-related), I haven’t had many Pokémon-related things to do. I’ve been away in Japan, looking into game design and wistfully yearning for a future title in a metagame that isn’t so inherently luck-influenced. So, as they say over there, the Devil makes work for idle hands, and I’ve been thinking of ways in which future generations of Pokémon could become a more enjoyable and diverse competitive game. Where even Houndour itself could be useable. How, you ask, could something so utterly revolutionary and groundbreaking ever happen, in this very video game? The first place to start… is the game itself!

Game Freak have made a huge effort in improving VGC in the last couple of Generations, and it shows. The Battle Box, online battling and rankings, the balance tweaks in Gen VI, it’s all excellent. But there’s still quite a few places that could use some shaking up if we want to see the competitive game grow bigger. So here’s a few creases to think about!

Your Type Chart is Venomous Poison

My relationship with the type chart has always been tumultuous, if passionate. If I’m Heidi Klum, the type chart is Seel. Basically, the only difference is it’s unbalanced, as opposed to having a weird face. The Pokémon, that is. It all boils down to some types being better than others. For example, the Water-type: it’s only weak to Grass and Electric, and only resisted by itself, Dragon, and Grass. Which is a problem, since every fully-evolved Water-type can learn an Ice move. This means that Water-types don’t really interact well with the metagame and are rather dry, a problem ironically only worsened by Rain. There are dozens of Pokémon of less common types that are basically tournament-unusable because they’re 100% flattened by well-played Rain. Rain and other monotype-heavy, polarised teams are very matchup-influenced and in my opinion, are the single worst thing about the game in its current state. And it didn’t take losing cut at Nats to getting re-paired (Thanks, dopey Hydreigon-owning oaf who knows who he is) to an unwinnable mono-Rock matchup for me to tell you that. Stuff like Rain, where if you don’t have a counter to it, you lose on team preview (but if you do have one, you win). Rain is boring, it’s stifling and it’s holding the game back. Rain just needs to go. It’s worse than Jim Davidson.

So how could we easily make Rain less of a problem? My best suggestion is: the Poison-type! A type so bad I forget it’s a type; instead I think of the time user Rebel sang the Alice Cooper song at a dog so horribly it bit him in the face. Poison is so bad, there isn’t a single primary Poison-type Pokémon in the top 50, despite its positive matchup with the new Fairy-types. It’s bad because Poison-types have both bad stats and hardly any resistances. Essentially, Poison is bad. However, as well as actually thematically making sense, were Poison to resist and be super-effective on Water, suddenly Drapion, Weezing, Tentacruel, Dragalge, and Scolipede all become totally viable teambuilding options and the game becomes more interactive for the player.
Similarly, you have the Bug-type and Ice-type, pure (or Vanilla) Ice-type in particular being dangled by its metaphorical ankles and forced to sign over its life savings for the funding of Death Row Records. Bug- and Ice-type Pokémon are flat-out inferior and should never be making it into anyone’s serious teams. Typical example: it’s all well and good having Mega Heracross, with its amazing stats and powerful STAB moves, but when it simply cannot win against a huge amount of popular choices (namely Talonflame and Sylveon), it might as well not exist. Mostly though, it’s the weakness to Hyper Voice spam that makes Heracross such a bad choice. Which takes me onto the next subject!

Every Man Needs a Tool

Being the type of person I am, I take great care with the items I equip, both for myself and my Pokémon. For myself, that means dressing like David Blunkett stuffed into Macklemore’s washbin. For my Pokémon, that means using the most effective items possible. Effective items, in Generation VI, are sadly lacking in number. As the kind of lover who’s actually pleased at receiving a small Swarovski crystal owl on an anniversary, you can imagine how upset I was at X/Y’s removal of type-based Gems, which comprised 9 of the 12 items on my two Worlds teams. I was so addicted to gems that I managed to take Psychic Gem Beheeyem to the World quarter finals and still have no regrets. Gems were, essentially, my entire strategy, and back in the day, my teams chewed through those carats like a less-charismatic, gold-digging Bugs Bunny. So when they were gone, I had only one option: to whinge at the lack of variety in items and demand that Game Freak add more.

I am, of course, only half joking; I’m just that kind of guy. That said, currently the best items are the Sitrus Berry, Lum Berry, Life Orb, and Choice Scarf, with the resist Berries, Leftovers, Rocky Helmet, and Focus Sash being useable and the Mental Herb, Safety Goggles, and power-boosting Choice items okay for niche uses. You’re not going to see any serious players using anything not on that list. So, how about we change that? Here are some cool ideas!

  • Bring back the Gems! They’re already in the game (at reduced 1.3x power), so why not? I’d still use them. Plus doing so relights the fire of Incinerate, making it hotter than a young Jason Orange and otherwise a worthwhile moveslot.
  • We’re all sick of Hyper Voice, and the Safety Goggles already exist to give an Overcoat-like effect, so why not have a Headphones item that gives the holder Soundproof? Fixes Scrafty’s crippling weakness to Sylveon while still giving Sylveon the option to win with Moonblast, and gives infinitely more switch-ins to the dreadful syringomyelic death scream that is Pixillate Hyper Voice.
  • How about an Eviolite that instead gives 1.5x Attack and Special Defense? High-risk, high-reward, lets more people play with their favourites. A Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 that, if viewed, does not induce involuntary seppuku by the nearest sharp object.
  • And power up the Binding Band from 1/6 partial trap damage to 1/3. Then Infestation Bug-types, Cradily and Goodra instantly become a viable strategy, instead of a stupid idea used only by Weevil Underwood in real life.

Those are only a few suggestions, but they’re worth thinking about!

Everything in its Right Place

Obviously, it would be a big ask to expect Game Freak to make every single Pokémon and move into a worthwhile choice for competitive play. They’ve evidently had a go at it in Generation VI, with a lot of the lamer Pokémon receiving minor stat boosts or interesting new moves like the Terrains and Electrify. What they failed to account for, however, is that it all still gets steamrolled by the poorly-balanced Mega Kangaskhan, Sylveon, Talonflame, and Rain, so again all these options might as well not exist. You can argue that not every Pokémon needs to be viable, but I’ll always counter that there’s no harm in making more of them more useful to those that do play competitively.

So, it’s baby steps, I suppose. In the future, with the game growing as well as it has done, I’m sure Game Freak will move away from introducing broody kangaroos that can, literally, potentially one-hit KO approximately 99% of Pokémon in the game, through Focus Sash and Sturdy, with no setup, two rolls of the RNG, whilst having one weakness and with no used stats below base 100. Now, that is Dappy-in-a-petrol-station stupid. Let’s hope for a slower-paced and more interactive game based more around tactics and reaction, instead of this whole charade of having these uninteractive one-dimensional threats like Rain and Sylveon that have to be dealt with proactively and through a limited selection of Pokémon. With just a few little changes, we could very quickly have a healthier competitive game. Take a look at these ideas:

  • Fix Prankster, the most irritating ability in the game! Easily done by adding base power to Swagger and by removing Full Paralysis. I lost in top cut at UK Nats by getting 5/6 turns fully paralysed by some dude who did practically nothing but spam Prankster Thunder Wave and specs Hyper Voice. That isn’t how you play to win a tournament and I’d say simply don’t be that guy, but I’d rather the game didn’t give that kind of play the chance of working in the first place.
  • Remove Rock Slide’s flinch rate. A common request, and why? How did I go out of the top cut of the Major? Choice Scarf Rock Slide flinches 5/6 times. Happens to loads of people, shouldn’t be possible in the first place.
  • Reduce the power of Parental Bond. I think this kind of goes without saying: I will reiterate that every single Pokémon in the game that can OHKO Kangaskhan can also be OHKOed by Kangaskhan. The destructive rage of a single mother off the rails has escaped from backstage on Jeremy Kyle. Now, it’s after you, on your Nintendo 3DS. But in Pokémon, there is no Graham in aftercare. Only the bitter draught of defeat.

Showdown at the OK Computer

Now, these are all just small balancing changes, which are relatively inconsequential and not enough for Pokémon to explode as an e-sport. So what do I think would be the single healthiest thing for the game? A separate game mode for competitive battling. Basically, an officially-implemented Showdown. Make your Pokémon in-game, choose everything about them, battle with them. No need to worry about time commitments or Pokémon availability, and no need for hack checks or anything else at all. Just pure and simple competitive Pokémon. Don’t like it? Stick to the main game and play like you have done before. Do like it? Then wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Greener Grassy Terrain, Indeed

Anyway, those are a few of my thoughts on how to re-tune the game we love into something more sporting. Who knows, maybe some of this stuff might actually happen? Interesting, right?

Something a lot of people don’t pick up on with competitive Pokémon is, a lot of the winning comes down to building the most effective team that beats everything. Not a team that has a strategy as such: a team that beats as much as possible. That generally means finding the most overpowered combinations, and exploiting them to the max. How to win more games? Learn how to identify what’s good, and how to build with it. How better to do that than think about what is strong and how you could beat it? Even though it might seem like it’ll never happen, it’s always useful to challenge yourself by analysing the game and its balance. If you’ve never tried it before, give it a go!

So, I hope you’ve had an enjoyable read! Maybe have a think yourself on what really is unbalanced about the game, and how you’d change it. It’s a really good topic, so I’d like to hear what you think!

About the Author

A veteran tournament player, Daniel "Zog" Nolan is proud of his no-nonsense attitude and silly sense of humour. When he's actually doing work, Zog likes to hide toy snakes in the wilderness (and other decidedly more lab-based activities) in the name of scientific progress. Follow on Instagram at dan_z_nolan and Twitter @Zoggykins!

125 Responses to Greener Grassy Terrain: A More Balanced Future For VGC?

  1. freezehaxVGC says:

    I love your outlook on the future of VGC as we know it. Your ideas like less flinch percentage and base power on swagger was frankly, while obvious, ingenious. Although hax is and always will be a part of Pokemon, less it be honestly less exciting. Hax is an important element in why Pokemon is exciting and I feel there would be less interest without it. Toning it down a wee bit does seem like the best option. Loved the article! Following!

  2. BlinkPlaysVGC says:

    I agree with everything said in this article! Cookie for you!

  3. The Wullz says:

    Pretty much hit the head of the nail with this article. While I believe the hax factor of competitive battle adds a quality to pokemon battling, such as more unique battles, it should be toned down a little. Players spamming Prankster Thunder Wave and hoping for Rock Slide haxs can be annoying, especially when the game’s luck decides to demolish your team. Overall, good job and great points!

  4. Daemien says:

    I would just love to see the all-offense nature of doubles toned down a bit. It feels like there isn’t any room to build any other team composition: No traps, no Poison, so on and so on. The whole thing boils down to winning the speed race and then OHKO’ing the team. I’d like to see more balance around offense and defense. There is so much potential for interesting strategies that just get blown out by double-targeting, and the fact that crits negate stat changes doesn’t help.

  5. RAV44 says:

    I’ve always thought that an item that prevents flinching will be great, and lets you remove a little bit of hax

  6. KaSlaps says:

    I think the only thing I can disagree with is the Binding Band mention. 1/4 seems more fair than 1/3, as otherwise even Shuckle becomes considerably powerful at KOing things, which doesn’t seem to logical. At 1/4, it is effectively like a trapping version of Curse, and takes longer than Perish Song to KO Pokemon, which would add more variety/consistency to Perish Trap teams.
    Steel is also a fairly overpowered type in the defensive department despite the nerfs given to it. It resists over half of the game’s typing and is weak to all of 3 types, and offensively grants some very efficient neutral coverage. Meanwhile, types like Bug are resisted by, and weak to, everything under the sun (especially Charizard’s Heat Wave).

  7. Shabok says:

    I agree with the “Official Showdown” idea. I know many people who would get into VGC if they didnt have to spend weeks building a team, SRing for legends, etc. Many spend more time preparing their team than actually battling with it, and I think this is a huge turnoff for potential newcomers.

  8. Garchamp says:

    You pretty much echo my thoughts on an “Official Showdown” type game. One of the biggest barriers to entry for new players is breeding and SRing for legends. It takes up so much time and effort for starting players to put together a half decent team and if they end up performing badly in an official event, it’s just going to leave a bad taste in their mouth and they’ll probably end up jumping on the already enormous LoL bandwagon for a *clears throat* “better” esports experience. 
    What makes games like LoL successful in the esports world is because everything is available right from the start (albeit, behind an ugly pay wall but that’s free to play games for ya). You just pick your champ, argue over who’s going where and set out from there. There’s no pre-match grinding involved (unless you consider saving up money to unlock champs “grinding”), it’s there and ready to use. If Pokemon ever wants to be a recognised as a true esports game, it should take these ideas and implement them.
    Just no pay wall please.

  9. voodoo pimp says:

    Steel is also a fairly overpowered type in the defensive department despite the nerfs given to it. It resists over half of the game’s typing and is weak to all of 3 types, and offensively grants some very efficient neutral coverage. Meanwhile, types like Bug are resisted by, and weak to, everything under the sun (especially Charizard’s Heat Wave).

    Bug actually isn’t terrible defensively, with three weaknesses and three resistances (two of which are pretty common).  The problem with it is that two of its weaknesses are also really common, and offensively it’s awful (tied with Grass for the most types resisting it).

  10. kristian444 says:

    Good points, well made. With all the improvements they made in Gen 6 I’ve got high hopes for the future. They’re clearly starting to take the competitive side more seriously but, as you demonstrated, not quite seriously enough yet. Surely only a matter of time.

  11. ThunderPunch says:

    The Official Showdown one sounds amazing, as do a few other changes. Wonderful article as always Zog!

  12. Carbonific says:

    Your best article to date in my opinion; the Pokemon series really needs this kind of critical analysis.
    On the subject of Showdown’s teambuilder essentially being in game, since it’s probably the most controversial of the points that you made: I just think IVs and Natures should cease to affect battle performance altogether. It’d have essentially the same effect.

  13. AkaiSuicchi says:

    I am definitely disagree with bringing back gems.
    Or, if they choose to do it anyway they must add a new rule for VGC only : “One per Team”.
    Imagine a team with every pokemon with its gems NOT FUN AT ALL.
    Are you suggesting to fix Swagger and Full Paralisys just because you lost one game? Seriously?


  14. Nucleose says:

    Are you suggesting to fix Swagger and Full Paralisys just because you lost one game? Seriously?

    This isn’t an isolated incident though. Many people lose many games because of swagger and full paralysis, and prankster has a lot to do with these things. Either prankster gets removed or these moves that are a bit silly get fixed, which is preferable as prankster still has interesting applications outside of RNG manipulation.

  15. KaSlaps says:

    I am definitely disagree with bringing back gems.
    Or, if they choose to do it anyway they must add a new rule for VGC only : “One per Team”.
    Imagine a team with every pokemon with its gems NOT FUN AT ALL.

    Are you suggesting to fix Swagger and Full Paralisys just because you lost one game? Seriously?

    1. Gems are reduced to a 1.3x power boost as of Gen 6, making them a one use Life Orb. Acrobatics and Unburden sets are the only things that will benefit from them in Gen 6.

    2. Paralysis and confusion are unhealthy tactics as they rely entirely on luck. You can’t tell me there’s skill behind stopping the opponent attacking over 50% of the time because you used 2 moves on them.
    The spammability of Thunder Wave and Swagger, particularly on Pranksters, is crazy, and a nerf would be beneficial to the game.
    As proposed, Swagger could have a low base power like Nuzzle does, meaning it doesn’t benefit from Prankster, but that’s balanced by the fact it can’t be countered by Taunt. Confusion chance could also drop down from 50% as an alternative change, say, to 33%.

  16. Andrew Hovis says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is. Taunt is a thing, there are counter measures to tactics like thunder wave and swagger.

  17. jugol says:

    What do you think about Parental Bond not having secondary effects, a la Sheer Force? That would end the Fake Out and PuP abuse, it’s a start.

  18. SurpirseScarfer says:

    The preparation for VGC is tough for people just starting out in game. I know. Trying to breed perfect Pokemon with the right natures and egg moves can be brutal. I love the “official showdown” idea, especially since it would be separate from the rest of the game. Genius. Someone needs to get game freak on this ASAP.

  19. Astronautical says:

    11/10 would read again 🙂 Your points on the hax affecting the games is a good one, and Pokémon is unlikely to see eSports status if it’s possible to win because of bad luck overdose. Some things, like Fake Out / Air Slash flinches are strategy. Confusion rolls are not.

    I heartily agree with the Official Showdown argument. It would be very beneficial to people who are simply too busy to SR or even breed Pokémon. I neve played with Gems, but I’ve heard their praise and I think it would be good to bring them back, even if they have been nerfed. [s]Just no Fairy Gem pls, Sylveon too stronk.[/s]

    Something I think would be interesting to see would be an item that acts like the Smooth Rock or Damp Rock that increases the length of Trick Room / Tailwind. While I think this might make TR a bit unbalanced, I always felt that Tailwind never lasted long enough to do anything with. Having an item (Windy Rock?) to make TW last longer or another item (Tricky Rock?) to make Trick Room last longer is something I’d like to see. These items can be balanced by not being able to hold Safety Goggles or Mental Herb, making them high risk – high reward.

    If Parental Bond gets nerfed I hope it also goes to Mega Marowak.

    And why don’t we just remove Swagger from the game entirely?

  20. Abacus says:

    I agree with a lot of what this article says, however there is one thing that I find a little contradictory. You complain about the whole meta being too offensive, with everyone trying to OHKO each other before they get OHKOed, but then you want to bring back gems, which would add a whole lot more offence, getting KOs previously not achieved.
    Sorry if I’ve misinterpreted, but I don’t understand that aspect.

  21. Tmac says:

    I am definitely disagree with bringing back gems.
    Or, if they choose to do it anyway they must add a new rule for VGC only : “One per Team”.
    Imagine a team with every pokemon with its gems NOT FUN AT ALL.

    Are you suggesting to fix Swagger and Full Paralisys just because you lost one game?
    You got some good points, but fixing things because hax could happen isn’t competitively good.
    Showdown idea sounds great. I would like to see it combined with pokken tournament graphics.

    Wait… You’re complaining that gems shouldn’t be added because they’re ‘not fun’ (Entirely subjective and a bit baseless since a one time Life-Orb equivalent would definitely not be on every Pokemon on a team) and yet apparently RNG outs like Thunder Wave and Swagger are somehow “Good for the game competitively”? Are we playing different games?

  22. voodoo pimp says:

    I am definitely disagree with bringing back gems.
    Or, if they choose to do it anyway they must add a new rule for VGC only : “One per Team”.
    Imagine a team with every pokemon with its gems NOT FUN AT ALL.

    The only gem I recall being a problem was Dragon Gem Draco Meteor, which is less of a problem now that both Draco Meteor (along with the Dragon type in general) and gems have been nerfed, and limiting them to one per team wouldn’t solve that anyway.
    Gems also gave offensive mons a lot more flexibility in item choice, and would make Hawlucha, Tornadus, and a few other Flying-types and Unburden mons a lot more viable than they currently are.

  23. The only gem I recall being a problem was Dragon Gem Draco Meteor, which is less of a problem now that both Draco Meteor (along with the Dragon type in general) and gems have been nerfed, and limiting them to one per team wouldn’t solve that anyway.
    Gems also gave offensive mons a lot more flexibility in item choice, and would make Hawlucha, Tornadus, and a few other Flying-types and Unburden mons a lot more viable than they currently are.

    Acrobatics Talonflame says hi.

  24. PinkSylvie says:

    It would also be great if they made freeze like sleep in turn amount. I once lost a game because my ferrothorn was frozen by an ice beam for 8 turns straight. Another one of my mons also got frozen by the next ice beam. I do agree with rock slide nerf and earmuff/headphones item for sound proof. The current meta has for the most part become CHALK, and i wish gf would either ban legendaries and kangaskan, or make poison/ice viable. I would love to be able to use froslass, aurorus, or other pure/non water 2ndary types on a team. If they do that, they should probably give hail a boost to function like sandstorm with a 1.5 def/sp def boost, ice attack boost, etc. If they do, they should make a few types immune to hail damage aswell.

  25. voodoo pimp says:

    Acrobatics Talonflame says hi.

    Talonflame is already viable though.  And Flying Gem Acrobatics is weaker than LO Brave Bird, so I suspect all that it would change is make bulky/support sets more common.

  26. cgyc says:

    This was a very interesting article. I’ll analyze it more later, but I agree with much of what you wrote. Well done!

  27. GhostSword says:

    I want the showdown part so bad. I was thinking of an idea where you download the Pokémon in by scanning your team sheet. It solves hacking and accessibility issues so the non-pentagon Pokémon can be reintroduced. Great article! Sums up all our concerns personally

  28. BadIntent says:

    I agree with a ton of this, but I disagree with a few points. First I want to touch on the particularly great points of this article.
    I wholeheartedly agree with reworking Prankster, Rock Slide, and Parental Bond. These are linked to Thundurus-I, Landorus-T, and Mega Kangaskhan, three Pokemon that severely stifle the growth of the metagame. I feel the former two even compromise some of the legitimacy of the game with the insane amount of luck they induce. No need to repeat what you said so perfectly.
    Unfortunately, I do not have any trust in Gamefreak to do alter the mechanics of those techniques. Even after constant complaining about Prankster and Rock Slide in Gen 5, they went out and made Meowstic-M, a Pokemon with the sole purpose of abusing the RNG. I don’t think Pokemon will ever be less luck-based. However, I think the design of Meowstic should be looked to in the future for at least balancing luck. With excellent base stat totals, unique typing and strong Abilities, Thundurus-I and Landorus-T are very strong Pokemon without abusing the RNG. Therefore, they should not also be given tools to take advantage of it. Other Prankster Pokemon like Liepard, Whimsicott, and Meowstic all induce hax, but they really can’t do anything else. This means if your team can sufficiently stop them from haxing you, you can shut the team down. With Thundurus-I and Landorus-T, even if you can somehow manage to prevent Swagger, Twave, and Rock Slide flinches all at the same time (lol good luck), they can usually still beat you outright. This is poor balance, and I hope Gamefreak at least sticks to compromises like with the three weaker Prankster users or by limiting Rock Slide to particularly slow Pokemon. This way better teams will be able to thrive despite the amount of luck in the game, because the Pokemon that can take advantage of luck will be otherwise incompetent.
    Competitive Mode is an absolutely amazing idea that I’ve talked about with buddies for a long time. Again, you explained it perfectly. If you want to keep bonding with your Pokemon the normal way, you can keep on playing in-game how you did before. This would lower the barrier to entry even more and I’m positive it would draw a huge chunk of the Showdown-only online warriors who don’t have time to waste making teams in game. Breeding, catching and EVing Pokemon is extremely tedious. The process of getting multiple flawless legendaries is so absurd, most intelligent people have simply adopted shadier methods.
    Now for what I disagree with.
    The type chart is absolutely unbalanced, but I like it that way for a simple reason. It contains the metagame to manageable levels. And by contain, I don’t mean suffocate the metagame like Landorus-T and Thundurus-I. I think VGC 2009 was a good example of how a ton of Pokemon can be viable, but Pokemon with ungodly typing provided some consistency to the game. See Metagross, Latios, Snorlax, Zapdos. With the sheer number of Pokemon available in VGC now, I feel that a metagame that makes too many Pokemon viable would turn the game into more of a crapshoot. Before people realized genies still dominated everything late in VGC 2012, most of the metagame was chaos and luck of the draw because there were just so many matchups to deal with.
    The unbalanced type chart also lends itself to “scrub-killing” teams like Rain. Like you mentioned, if you are unprepared, you simply lose from the start. As long as reasonable checks can be added to your team without compromising it’s core, I think that is good. Top players will be able to squeeze them in, while less experienced players will find team building against stock strategies like that more difficult. With the barrier to entry of Pokemon already so low, relative beginners have a legitimate change at besting top players, especially in Bo1. Abusing the type chart to make scrub killing combinations like Rain or Kangaskhan + Sylveon at least lets veteran players keep some of their edge. They know exactly what combinations are good, regardless of the metagame and are the most likely to come out on top with the yearly rules shift. This means, yes newer players can jump into the game and still win, but if the vets are willing to adapt to each year’s changes, their knowledge of the lopsided type chart can still get them easy wins over beginners.
    Items. Similar argument here, but this one is less theorymon as it was heavily prevalent in 2013. Like your mentioned, many teams could make use of 4+ gems and be incredibly effective. I did this exact same thing, running 3-4 gems on my 2013 teams. The problem is this makes the game much more guess-heavy. People can’t tell if their opponent’s Cresselia is a bulky Chesto-Rest variant or a super offensive Psychic Gem/HP Fire set until it KOs your supposed Cresselia counter in Scizor. That’s hilarious stuff on stream, but not very fun to play in Bo1 Swiss. Limiting the viable items and therefore viable EV spreads and movesets makes the game less about guessing which set your opponent has correctly.
    Overall, I think this is a pretty great article and you toned down a lot of the crazy. I’ve known you (not really personally) since 2010, and you’ve always been pretty eccentric. In my case, usually it’s hard to get through your musings because of your writing style. This, however, is a solid piece filled with reasonable solutions. 


  29. Fantom0 says:

    I think confusion itself could be taken down to a 25% success rate (1 in 4 chance to hit yourself). A lot of issues with balancing I think comes from the fact that Pokemon is a video game first and a competitive tournament scene second, and that isn’t going to change, and rightly so. But I don’t think any of us have particularly fond memories of, “The wild Zubat used Supersonic!”.

    I also want to make a point about typing. I feel the type chart is actually pretty good as is. As BadIntent said, it does allow you to compile the metagame into fewer types and dual types you need to be concerned about. I would, however, be in favour of buffing some of the lesser types slightly, like Poison, but I wouldn’t be all that upset if Weezing remained non-viable.

  30. Cappa says:

    I really liked this article myself and rather than echoing all that I agree with above I’ll just highlight the one point I thought would be worth addressing.

    I think the “competitive mode/showdown mode” is a great idea, and it’s a good start. Though I’m not certain on it being the golden solution. Whilst it would be a step forward competitively, it just feels like it’s taking away a bit of what GF put into the game to make it unique.

    The concept of IV’s and EV’s being each Pokemon’s “genetics” and “experience” I think EV’s and IV’s are a cool idea, but they just don’t work in practice and they make it painful for competitive players to get set up. However the system has such great charm to it, and I feel that teambuilding is a way that a player can express themselves in the competitive game, more so than many other esports. When I play DOTA, I usually follow pretty vanilla builds and really it doesn’t have the same enjoyment as my team (usually) being totally unique to me as a player. As much as I hate breeding (and god do I hate it), I can’t help but build a bit of a bond with the teams I take to events; as I’ve raised them, practiced with them, then I take them into a tournament with me. Hey, whilst I play pretty meta teams generally, I still feel like the mons on the team are really my own because of the experiences I’ve had. I love taking my “battle veteran” mons into comps and even though it’s a little lame, I love to think that my Lando’s got a good amount of “battle scars” to it since I’ve taken it to so many tournaments. These are some of the experiences that make the game unique and fun.

    Everyone’s had those moments where they’re EVing stuff on the way to a tournament, or breeding the night before. It’s painful, but it’s sort of an experience, if you get me. I can’t really think of many a solution, but I don’t really want the bonding aspect of Pokemon to go away with something like “competitive mode”. Bonding with your team in the story isn’t the same AT ALL to bonding with stuff as you breed them and practice on Battle Spot. I hope that something can be done to make the game more accessible to everyone without getting rid of the fun that can be had by getting to know a team. Call me a casual, I don’t care that much, just think this is something that should be taken into account. Competitive mode is a huge step forward, but it definitely takes away from a lot of things that I think make Pokemon a unique and great game to play competitively.

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