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 Introduction to Competitive Battling

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Join date : 2010-09-28
Age : 21

PostSubject: Introduction to Competitive Battling   Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:06 pm

*notice this is not my work, but a collective team of Smogon Members work, all credits to them*

INTRODUCTION

If you’re a dedicated trainer, you’ve probably battled the Elite Four so many times they sound like boring class lectures. You endured this for the sake of training your loyal Pokémon, and after turning them into the fullest they could be, maybe you wanted more. So you decided to battle your friends on Wi-Fi, but after pounding them mercilessly (or having cried “Uncle!” one too many times), maybe Pokémon began to get stale.

But there is more to this game. Something bigger.

This is the world of competitive Pokémon, the art of playing Pokémon to win. In this world, that 999 attack Pelipper you hacked as a joke to sweep your friend’s team isn’t allowed. Competitive Pokémon emphasizes an understanding of game mechanics, team organization, and battle tactics, rather than cramming four moves of differing types on your Pokémon and picking whichever one is super effective.

Now that we’ve gotten you interested, you’ll want to examine just what competitive Pokémon is about in more detail. You will first learn about the finer details of the game you may not have noticed, and then we will give you a brief overview of the competitive world.

The competitive Pokémon environment is drastically different from what most new players are used to. Unlike in the Gameboy and DS games, you play against human opponents. Outsmarting a handheld machine is one thing, but outsmarting a real person is something else entirely. As such, there are a few key things to expect in competitive battling.

The first thing you need to know is that people will play to win. Although it was enough to get by in the cartridge games, using Pokémon because they are cool or your favorites is the fastest way to lose. Your opponents will be using whatever Pokémon they feel give them the best chance of winning, and in order to be competitive you should do the same.

One of the most surprising aspects to new players is the idea of switching. No longer will an opponent leave in a Pokémon until it faints; they can-and will-take advantage of the ability to bring in a new Pokémon with a better matchup. Also, do not be surprised if your opponent predicts your switch to hit you incoming Pokémon with a super effective attack, as most players will take advantage of obvious plays in order to gain some sort of advantage.

The role of luck in Pokémon comes as an unpleasant surprise to many new players. Between critical hits, chance effects such as burn and flinch, and attacks with less than perfect accuracy, the potential for lucky wins and losses is everywhere. At the end of the day, new players should realize that, while winning is important, any individual win is near meaningless. As in American Football, any given player can win on any given ladder match; what is more important is winning in the long run. The best player in the world can still lose, even to newcomers, but will likely be able to maintain a much higher win-loss ratio

Tiers: see tier thread for details: coming soon
the following pokemon are banned in competative play.
Arceus
Darkrai
Deoxys
Deoxys-A
Deoxys-D
Deoxys-S
Dialga
Garchomp
Giratina
Giratina-O
Groudon
Ho-Oh
Kyogre
Latias
Latios
Lugia
Manaphy
Mew
Mewtwo
Palkia
Rayquaza
Salamence
Shaymin-S
Wobbuffet
Wynaut
Game Mechanics

"Mechanics" is the term we use to refer to the way Pokémon works internally. Up until now, you have probably been able to ignore most of the detailed mechanics of the game, and still be successful. But in competitive Pokémon, there is a very fine line between success and failure. You must understand the subtle mechanics of the game, and exploit them to their maximum effectiveness. If you don't, you can be sure that your opponent will.

In order to win a battle, you must faint all of your opponent's Pokémon before they do it to you. As such, the entirety of competitive Pokémon strategy is focused on damage -- the ability to deal damage, withstand damage, and avoid damage. Since damage is the end-all-be-all of battling, you must become familiar with the various game mechanics that affect damage.

Move Mechanics

These are mechanics that affect the damage of a given move in battle.

Type Effectiveness

You are probably familiar with this from ingame play. Certain types of moves do more or less damage to certain types of Pokémon. For example, Ground moves are "super effective" against Electric Pokémon, doing twice as much damage to them. A Pokémon's type, and the type of moves it uses is the single biggest factor determining how much damage it can give and take. The ability for an individual Pokémon or a team of Pokémon to give and take damage across a variety of types is called "Type Coverage" or simply "Coverage".

Physical and Special moves

All damaging moves are either physical or special. Physical moves use the Attack stat while Special moves use the Special Attack stat.

In the first three generations, whether moves were physical or special depended on their type. All Bug, Flying, Fighting, Ground, Normal, Poison, Rock, Ghost, and Steel moves were physical. All Dark, Dragon, Electric, Fire, Grass, Ice, Psychic, and Water moves were special.

It wasn't until the 4th generation that moves were categorized based on their style of attacking. This information can be found under your Pokémon's Battle Moves page on their Summary screen. Physical moves have a red and yellow box while special moves have a purple box. Moves that deal no direct damage have a gray and white box.

It's important to keep this in mind when building your Pokémon's movesets. You do not want to give a move like Psycho Cut to a Pokémon like Alakazam. Even though Psycho Cut would be STABed, it is a physical move and will not deal much damage due to Alakazam's horrible Attack stat.

Stat Mechanics

These are mechanics that affect the statistics of a Pokémon, and thus affect its ability to give, take, and avoid damage.

Natures

Every Pokémon can have 1 out of 25 different natures. Most natures will raise one stat by 10% and lower another stat by 10%. In competitive battling, every Pokémon has one or two preferred natures depending on the moveset they are using. For example, a Pokémon meant to use only physical attacks would most likely benefit from an Adamant nature, which raises Attack by 10% and lowers Special Attack by 10%.

There are 5 Natures out there which do not have an effect on any stat. They are Hardy, Serious, Bashful, Quirky, and Docile. These natures should not be used in a competitive setting since they provide no beneficial stat boosts to the Pokémon.


Effort Values (EVs)

EVs are "invisible" numbers that can increase a Pokémon's stats. Every 4 EVs in a particular stat is equal to 1 point in that stat. Every Pokémon is capable of having a maximum of 510 EVs with a maximum of 255 EVs in any one stat. Note that neither 510 nor 255 are numbers that are divisible by 4. This means you only need 508 EVs total (252 EVs in any one stat) to have a completely EV-trained Pokémon. The remaining 2 EVs are useless.
Link to EV GUIDE : http://pokerupt.forumotion.com/t549-guide-to-evs#5609

Competitive Clauses

In competitive Pokémon, there are several standard rules used in every match. These rules are called clauses, and they serve to stop some over-powerful strategies, reduce the role that luck can play in a match, and overall just make the game more enjoyable. If you are playing on a simulator, these rules will be enforced automatically; in wi-fi play, activating any one of these clauses will usually result in disqualification.

Evasion Clause
Moves that boost evasion (i.e. Double Team and Minimize) are not allowed.
Freeze Clause
Two or more Pokémon on a team cannot be frozen at the same time.
Sleep Clause
Two or more Pokémon on a team cannot be asleep at the same time. Self-induce sleep via rest does not activate Sleep Clause.
OHKO Clause
One-Hit KO moves are not allowed.
Species Clause
Two or more of the same Pokémon may not be used on the same team.
Self KO Clause
If both players have only one Pokémon left, moves which KO both the user and the opponent are not allowed (e.g. Explosion, Destiny Bond). If recoil damage would cause a tie, Self KO Clause does not activate, and the player who last attacked is the winner.


Common Mistakes

Prediction is one of the keys to a successful game, but it should not be heavily relied upon. No one can predict with even close to perfect accuracy, and even a single missed prediction often means that one of your Pokémon will be KOed. That is not to say that you should never take risks, but it is important to weigh the rewards and the potential consequences of each decision that you make. To take a very basic example: Let’s say you have a Choice Band Tyranitar (moveset: Stone Edge, Crunch, Earthquake, Pursuit) in play against your opponent’s Heatran. It may seem like the best attack is Earthquake, which will hit Heatran for super effective damage and easily take it down in a single hit. However, Choice Band will force Tyranitar to continually attack with Earthquake, which is a very risky play due to the frequency and power of sweepers which are immune to Ground-type attacks. Stone Edge only has 80% accuracy, but it is Tyranitar’s most powerful attack, and will prevent most sweepers from setting up safely. Additionally, Heatran will likely lose somewhere between 80% and 95% of its health even if it does stay in.

Gimmicks, or novelty Pokémon or sets, are common among newer players. They can be fun for comical purposes, but will rarely serve any significant purpose in a competitive metagame. Once you get to more advanced levels of play you can start creating custom Pokémon sets, but until then, the best way to get started is to use the common, tried and true sets until you get down the basics.

Although it may be difficult to comprehend at first, it is important to remember that directly countering every threat in the game is impossible. Even if the Diamond/Pearl metagame was not filled with more powerful sweepers than in any previous generation, the metagame is constantly changing, and players will quickly find ways to abuse common trends. For this reason, there are in fact very few Pokémon that can always be directly countered at all! But fear not; Pokémon is more than just countering, and with experience you will learn that it is possible to play around any kind of threat with a well built team, through planning, prediction, and custom sets.

Always try to think in the long term. A large part of competitive Pokémon deals with the ability to analyze situations and form a plan to deal with both short and long term threats, while at the same time executing your own strategy. It is easy to focus only on the Pokémon you are currently facing, but it is imperative that you learn to consider all of your opponent’s possible plays in both the short and long term.
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