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Choosing 4: How do you pick?


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#1 Pendlz

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 09:10 PM

Let me start off by saying that there seems to be four different contributing factors to winning a Pokemon match.  The first is teambuilding, second choosing the Pokemon you want to use, third is how you play the mons at your disposal, and fourth is luck or hax.  In this discussion I will be focusing on the second aspect of a battle, or picking the Pokemon and what order you want them to battle.  

 

Now I consider myself a better-than-average team builder and a fair battler.  Granted, I'm definitely not in the top portion of battlers that have been at it for more years than I (Madison regional was my first live tournament) such as the admins of the site, Cybertron, Wolfey, or to be frank most people that haven't joined the site within the past year or so.  However, more recently it seems that I'm losing a ton of battles not because of my team, but because I just don't know how to choose what Pokemon to use.  Right off the bat I'm at a disadvantage because the type matchups don't go in my favor.  Whatever I lead, the opponent leads the perfect counters.  Whatever I have in the back, the opponent is prepared for and ready to handle.

 

 I can't identify which of my opponents's Pokemon threaten my team the most, whereas on the flip side the opponent seems to always know what to bring and where to put each Pokemon.  

 

So if I had to make this post into one question (which I could've done in retrospect) it would be this: how do you figure out which Pokemon to lead, and which to bring in back? Is it a mental checklist you go through?  A quick scan of the team archetype?  Use mons that have the most resistances to the opponent's team? Or do you just have everything countered in teambuilding so well that it doesn't matter what you lead? (partially kidding on the last one)

 

So I'll open the floor up, excited to see what everyone has to say!



#2 Firestorm

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 09:21 PM

Required Reading: A Preview to Team Preview in VGC


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#3 shinryu

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 09:34 PM

I throw darts at a board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...but in all seriousness, more like gut instinct and what that little voice in your head is predicting based off team preview. Usually I try to make a team with an idea "neutral" set of leads, but of course the overall idea is to be flexible so you won't be screwed if you have to use something else.


Edited by shinryu, 16 June 2013 - 09:35 PM.


#4 Lucien Lachance

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 09:45 PM

The biggest part with picking your four Pokemon comes with understanding your team and how it fares against the various threats in the metagame. If you read the articles, you see a lot of people talk about how they have "go-to" lead pairs which are general safe bets. These are pairs that cover each others weaknesses relatively well and can deal good damage quickly to the opponent. Examples would be Rotom-W / Metagross or Zapdos / Hitmontop.

 

Let's face it, no team can perfectly counter everything. You simply cannot. And a lot of teams have that one Pokemon that they need to play around in order to deal with that threat successfully. After that, it's just a matter of whether they'll lead with that threat or keep it in the back for later.

 

Just keep practicing with your team and experimenting. I would highly suggest taking notes of what Pokemon you led against what team and how it fared. If say Tornadus + Breloom fared awful against Trick Room maybe you should try something different the next time.


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#5 Josh

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 04:26 AM

Things to consider:


    [*]Team composition should be first on your list, look for the tell tale signs of TR, Rain, gimmicks you might recognise etc etc. Learn as much as you can without knowing anything but what they have.
    [*]Average speed of opponents team - if they have a slow-medium team you can normally get away with leading pretty offensively and going for a first turn/second turn KO or two (pending composition of team i.e TR which you might want to lead into more carefully)
    [*]Does a combination of two of my team look extremely threatening against theirs?
    [*]Do I need to keep something alive to win the game?
    [*]How much do I need to disrupt the opponent/how threatening does their team look?
    [*]Choose leads
    [*]Can my leads switch comfortably when threatened? i.e Hitmontop vs Tyranitar (lets assume the other two are irrelevant), can I safely avoid the CC and then threaten the Hitmontop?
    [*]Congratulations you should now have 4 mons chosen and should have a relative idea of what you want to achieve in the battle
    [/list]

    It sounds like a lot to think about but it's stuff you can spot very quickly with a little practice. I think there's a lot to be said for having a consistent go-to lead if you're not so sure as well, you might not always be in the best position but if you're comfortable with the team and the leads are strong against all kinds of match-ups you will be fine and should win.



#6 Pendlz

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 11:03 AM

Thanks for the responses. And wow, I can't believe I missed an on-site article that literally answers the thread. Thanks Firestorm, sorry I missed that one.

#7 IceKingz

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 11:27 AM

If I'm running more of a standard team, I like to look for a glaring common weakness (usually like fighting or ice) and lead with something I think can help get the most initial coverage.  Then I basically just work off of who that Pokemon needs to be safe against the other opposing Pokemon and build.  It's pretty simple but in all honesty I think there's some luck, to an extent, with leads as your opponent may be thinking something totally different than you.


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#8 PhantomChampion

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 12:23 AM

I take a look to see if the opponents team has any similar weaknesses. I then choose my lead based on that having a gut feeling that they will lead with the Pokemon that shares a weakness. For example, I just had a battle where my opponent had 3 dragon types. Two of them being Dragon/Flying and one being Dragon/Ground. I led with my Garchomp and Tyranitar having the feeling his lead would consist of one of the dragons. This way I would have Dragon type moves and Rock type moves to counter his lead.

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