I Came 3rd in the Super Speed Battle Competition (in the UK….)

Well that was a shock.  My first attempt at a proper battling competition (I did enter the battle of legends thing, but my lack of competitive legendaries meant I didn’t really do or learn much) and I came 3rd in the UK.

That makes it sound a little more impressive than it was.  3rd in the UK is very cool, but it was only 250th overall.

For those that may want to check, my IGN name is Avenger and I scored 1663 points.

I’m pretty chuffed.

But to be honest it was not really an achievement based on skill.  For instance very little thought was put into the team (more on that in a moment) and the short turn time meant that offensive rather than defensive was always going to do well.  This helps newbies like me as it becomes more about match ups rather than deep strategic thought (there wasn’t enough time for that to happen).  Also 3 Pokemon rather than 4 allowed for it to be more about how much quick pressure you can bring to the party.

I was fairly consistent in the 3 Pokemon I brought.  I think my first couple of games had me lead with an opening Khan (standard set) and Competitive Milotic (I’ll go into her in a moment) and have Metagross in the back to try mop up with Bullet Punch after Khan made some holes.

A couple of games in I realised Metagross wasn’t doing enough and I’d be better off with the suicidal Talonflame Brave Bird (with a Choice Band), so switched him to be the Pokemon I needed in the back.

My original plan was simple.  Khan does as much damage as possible, Milotic (who has recover and leftovers) chips in and generally annoys people (competitive is an amazing ability) and then Metagross has the defensive and offensive presence to do some serious tank sweeping.

However it became obvious that bullet punch didn’t give anywhere near the power that Brave Bird from Talonflame did, and Metagross, without serious thought being put into his build, wasn’t able to tank much.  On top of that Milotic could tank some serious hits, so Talonflame could come in and cause havoc.

Milotic was definitely my MVP.  Competitive is a great ability in a game that has a lot of intimidate users (Gyrados, Mega Manetric, Salamanence, Mawile, etc).  So in a lot of my matches Milotic got a free +2 boost to her Special Attack which suddenly makes her a real threat to anything that isn’t resisted to her two attacking moves.

I ran

  • Milotic @ Leftovers
  • 252 Hp / 252 Sp Atk / 4 Speed
  • Ice Beam / Scald / Protect / Recover
  • Modest

In almost all matches people would target Khan and then Talonflame, leaving Milotic free to keep smashing things.

This really wasn’t a tournament of finesse (for me), it was hitting things, and Milotic could both hit things and take a hit against a meta game that didn’t seem to be expecting her.

Nothing really for you to learn from me getting 3rd here, it was more luck than judgement.  But it should make you aware of the potential for competitive Milotic, be very careful when using intimidate if you see her on a team…

As I side note…I hated weather teams (rain and sun really shut me down as Milotic didn’t appreciate either)

My Pokemon Notes #1

So calling it “yesterday I learned” somehow suggests daily posting, and that anything I learned was only posted yesterday.  Neither are true.  So we’re changing the series name to “My Pokemon Notes”.  The idea is still the same, to type up things I learned in Pokemon recently.

I’ve somehow managed to get my rated doubles battles into the winning percentage (trust me, I was nowhere near that 2 days ago).  I’m now at 15 vs 14, go me!  Can’t remember my rating off hand.

So what can we put that down to (I went about 8 vs 2 today, though remember that is at lower ratings than any good players are at).

A few things

  • Slowly learning the speed tiers of Pokemon (see previous note).  Bit more difficult in rated doubles as there are far more Pokemon than in VGC at the moment (which is Kalos Dex only).
  • Learning about “win conditions”.  I’ve been watching a lot of Pokemon on Youtube, especially Alex Ogloza.  The main thing I’ve taken so far is to “know your win condition”.  Take a look at their Pokemon, which ones you think they will bring, and make sure you identify who your important counter(s) are and keep them safe/in the game until the dangerous opposing Pokes are taken out.

    This is complicated, and I am a long way from learning it, but I’m starting to get the right thoughts.

  • Playing a bit more strategic.  I should imagine everyone who first starts playing goes on “hyper offence” and starts trying to whack everything it can.  Switches are actually more key in VGC than singles players will have you believe (I read many times that VGC doesn’t do switching, always written by singles players), and so getting those switches right, having both predicting and having bulky enough Pokemon to be able to switch is key.
  • My team has more synergy.  Not perfect, no real thought put into team building, just going by feel, and the last Pokemon I still need to sort – I switched Garchomp (issues with Earthquake as only levitate user was Rotom H) for Latias but not convinced.

    Currently running (EVs escape me)
    * Gardevoir @ Choice specs. Modest, Trace – Dazzling Gleam/Psychic (also has Protect and Calm Mind but useless with Specs, need to change this)
    * Rotom-H @ Sitrus Berry. Modest, Levitate – Overheat/Thunderbolt/Will-o-Wisp/Protect (thinking of changing for a Rotom-W, but don’t have any other fire users)
    * Metagross @Life Orb. Adamant, Clear Body – Protect/Zen Headbutt/Bullet Punch/Hammer Arm (fairly new)
    *Kanghaskhan @ Khangaskhanite. Adamant. Scrappy – Fakeout/Return/Power-up-Punch/Sucker Punch
    *Milotic @ Leftovers. Modest, Competitive. Ice Beam/Scald/Protect/Recover
    *Latias @ Assualt Vest. Timid, Levitate. Ice Beam/Dragon Pulse/Pyschic/Recover (Recover wasted on Assault Vest)

  • Milotic came on as I had no ice beamer and wanted one.  Done well, though only just survived a Gengar Energy Ball (had no idea he COULD carry that).  She and Latias have only been on a few games.  Milotic has done better than Latias but keeping both going for now, trying to decide which to change, possibly for a fire as I’d like to change Rotom W for Rotom H.  Thinking of a bulky taunt/wide guard Talonflame variant.

So that’s my notes so far.  Oh and apparently getting sturdy on Shedinja is now a thing with a lot of build up.  Didn’t see it coming as would have shut it down, but know for next time.

Yesterday in Pokemon Battling I Learned

Again these are nothing but my battling notes taken from Battle Spot battles.  They are used personally and reflect the fact that I am just learning what on Earth I am doing.  Maybe they’ll help other people, maybe not.

  • Everything is about speed, we touched on this last time.  This time however I decided to keep track of various Pokemon I came across.  To that end.
  • Tyranitar – Speed 61 (Mega = 71).  Can be physical or special.
  • Garchomp.  Speed 102. Often banded though can carry scarf, rocky helmet or a few other things
  • Exploud.  Speed 68.  Almost always specs to abuse that huge STAB for Boomburst.  Usually ability = scrappy.
  • Smeargle.  Speed 75. Often has Dark Void, Kings Shield and carries a Sash.  Usually has fake out or quick guard support.
  • Gallade.  Didn’t see this one but thinking of trying one out.  Speed 80.
  • Kangaskhan.  Speed 90. Mega has speed 100.

And that’s the notes from yesterday. About to start playing a few more so let’s see what this evening brings.

Yesterday in Pokemon Battling I learned #2

So the idea is this is a semi regular look at some of the notes, real and mental, that I make to myself as I slowly (and I do mean slowly) comes to terms with what Pokemon Double battles are all about.

Notes from the last 2 days include

  • Darkrai with Dark Void is taking the piss somewhat.  It needs to be nerfed/banned as far as I can see.  But maybe I’m too happy with the ol’ ban hammer.
  • If Typhlosion comes out, whack it right away,  eruption is a beast (150 at full HP) but becomes manageable at lower HP levels.  It is probably scarfed (seen 2 so far, both outran a max speed, jolly Garchomp so must be scarfed I think) so try hit it with priority.  Has a base speed of 100, plus a scarf increases the base speed to 1.5, so 150.
  • Speed matters.  I repeat that again.  SPEED MATTERS.
  • Kyogre Water Spout – see the Typhlosion comment.  Whack it, whack it hard.
  • For the sake of some notes on speed.  Darkrai has a ridiculous base speed of 125 , Typhlosion is base 100, Kyogre 90.  For the sake of comparison, Garchomp has a base speed of 102.
  • Smeargle will often have both Dark Void AND Kings Shield.  And one spamming sod went and put both that Smeargle set AND Darkrai in the same team.
  • Quick Guard = very annoying as a Darkrai partner.  Talonflame and Hitmontop spotted as that role so far.
  • Need to try a prankster taunter, though too late for this competition as can’t change Pokemon.

That about covers my notes from the last two days.

So 3 Months Later and We Try Again

Funny thing this having a baby thing…you think you’re on top of everything and then they change the rules on you.  So yet again I find that what spare time I THOUGHT I had, I didn’t.

But we’re trying this Pokemon thing again anyway.  I’ve signed on to this Legend League thingy, which was a bit of a mistake as I didn’t realise they locked the box.  I threw in any ol’ Pokemon without any thought and now I’m stuck with it.  My team is

  • Kangaskhan (mega stone) – Adamant, Scrappy, Return/Sucker Punch/Fake Out/Power up Punch
  • Blaziken (mega stone), Adamant, Speed Boost, High Jump Kick/Flare Blitz/Protect/Power Up Punch
  • Talonflame (Life orb), Adamant, Gale Wings, Brave Bird/Roost/ Swords Dance/Flame Charge
  • Exploud (Choice Specs), Scrappy, Modest, Flamethrower/Boomburst/Focus Blast/Crunch
  • Shaymin, Timid, Natural Cure, Seed Flare/Substitute/Leech Seed/Air Slash
  • Garchomp, Jolly, Rough Skin, Stone Edge/Dragon Claw/Earthquake/Fire Blast

Currently at 7:11 with that team.  Rather lacking in balance, and struggles against Darkai’s Dark Void (that thing needs to be banned for the next VGC).  Also struggling vs Kyogre who is coming up a fair bit in rain teams.

I’m doing another “today I learnt” post in a minute, so we can skip to that to see what I learnt.

Other than that I’ve decided not to worry about the VGC rules.  From what I understand we’re expecting new ones in a few months or so, so by the time I have gotten past “rubbish” I’d need to be learning a new meta anyway.  So instead I’m just going to stick with doubles using the console for now (maybe some Showdown play but console is far more convenient for me), learn a bit about things in the ranking games and wait out the new meta.

Think that about covers it for now.  Next up….things I learned today.

Yesterday I Learned #1

OK, things were somewhat delayed – this having a baby thing, not as easy as Mega Kangaskhan makes it seems.

Anyway, trying again.  This time taking the advice of the excellent Nugget Bridge (great forum, great blog, well worth checking out) and aiming at VGC 2014 Rule set (Pokemon must be Kalos native, part of the Kalos Pokebex, and no to Xerneas, Yvettle and whoever that Z thing is).  I’m adding in the additional rule set of no legendary flying birds.  Mostly as I am far too lazy to keep resetting for a good one.

To begin with I will be using the Pokemon Showdown system so save me having to breed and train up these Pokemon, and because it will enforce the ruleset for VGC 2014, something which the open doubles system on the games cart doesn’t.

Anyway this is dragging on far too long, after playing yesterday (I plan on including a post on what team I ended up with at the end of the weekend) a few things I learned from using Pokemon Showdown.

  • Manetric always seems to carry Hidden Power Ice.
  • Reuniclus has issues staying alive long enough to get Trick Room up.  Going to try him with a sash.
  • Burning Mega Kangaskhan is not a way of shutting her down.  It only takes one power up punch to bring her above normal again…so you at best waste a turn of hers on a weaker attack.
  • Speed really does matter for most Pokemon.
  • I hate speed ties

OK, that should get us going for now.  I plan on building out a page on each Pokemon with things I learned.  Never going to be as extensive as the Smogon lists, but it should help me understand basic things like move sets, threats, speed tiers, damage, etc

 

This Week I Learned – Pokemon #1

The start of a series of things I learned in Pokemon this week.  It’s been a bit of a delay (of a few months) on my dive into competitive Pokemon, so this is also the “proper” start of the blog.

The delay has been for a few reasons (not least getting the hang of being a new Dad), but I’ve started diving into Battle Spot in recent weeks, and am planning on going on Showdown – just as soon as I decide what meta to be involved in!

I’ll be discussing options in a blog post later this week – but in the mean time let’s get started on the first “This Week I learned” (completely ripping off Reddit’s “Today I Learned” board).  This will be done every Sunday, reviewing things I learned in Pokemon this week.

A warning first – I’m new to competitive Pokemon, so a lot of things I learn will be obvious to “Pokemon Masters”.  If you’re a Pokemon expert this is probably not the post for you.

This Week I leaned – Pokemon #1

  • Mega Kangaskhan is a Monster, seriously.  It destroys everything.  I need to start carrying Will-o-wisp
  • It also runs sucker punch, which ruins any priority effort.
  • I’ve been running a Boomburst Exploud (named Elijah after my son – who is also very loud).  This thing is a beast.  STAB Boomburst ruins almost everything, though it needs to be fast enough as it’s not that bulky.  Which leads us to…
  • Getting a baton pass set to work on my Speed Boost Scolipede is bloody hard.  It seems easy in theory but I struggle to pull it off.
  • Just learned that using Luminose for egg hatching is more efficient than doing it on the long road at the Pokemon Day Care, since you don’t have to turn around.
  • Talonflame are EVERYWHERE.  Which also means that Rotom Wash is as well, since it’s the best TalonFlame Counter in the game (something I’m told, not tried running a Rotom Wash yet).
  • 3vs3 is VERY different to 6vs6.  The Smogon sets are not necessarily the best option.  If 3vs3 becomes my chosen format then I’ll need to come up with my own sets.

Monster Dungeoon – My Delve into Competitive Pokemon Battling

Welcome to Monster Dungeon, my slowly revamped Pokemon blog and (soon to be) Pokemon Forum. In an Internet full of Pokemon blogs and Pokemon forums, you might wonder what the point of setting up another is?

 

Well there are a few reasons.

 

  1. I love the Pokemon game, I may well be seriously addicted (though not competitively, more on that in a moment)
  2. I always enjoy having my own space on the net (I have run blogs and forums on a number of subjects)
  3. I wanted to create somewhere to share my efforts in becoming a Pokemon master! Sound cheesy? Well, yes, but one things I didn’t fine on the web is somewhere that can help teach you how to go from being someone who understands some Pokemon basics (super effective, etc) to someone who can battle competitively.

 

So that is pretty much going to be the focus of this blog and, to a lesser extent, the forums. My efforts in going from a competitive Pokemon beginner through to a Pokemon expert. Or at least as close to one as I can get (at least close enough to see what a Pokemon expert looks like through a really powerful telescope).

 

There are a number of useful sources on the web that will be helping my journey. Smogon University has all the rankings and move sets you need to get started, even if gen 6 is still “Uncharted Territory”, Serebii has all the data I need with regards moves learned, breeding, etc and Nugget Bridge is, well, a Pokemon (battling information) nugget gold mine.

 

I tried setting this blog up before, on much the same premise, and failed. In fact I managed to play maybe a dozen or so games using an emulator before real life issues got the better of me. This time there are some rather dramatic time restraints limiting me as well…

 

  • I have a full time job (I’m 32)
  • I have a wife
  • Much of my “hobby” time is spent playing rugby (my other obsession)
  • I now have an 8 week old son (where the majority of my time is spent)

 

All things considered that’s a lot of time spent on other things, never mind playing Pokemon and then writing about it.

 

The plan is, then, to get a couple of posts up a week charting my efforts to learn the competitive Pokemon scene, a bit at a time. This can be seen to be an advantage – OK I’m never going to be learning as quickly as a student, or what have you, but you can watch what I do step by step and, hopefully, take confidence in the fact that an average Pokemon game player, with very little competitive experience, can (hopefully) learn the ropes.

 

I’ve read forums where people seem intimidated by the competitive battling scene. Indeed I was before I jumped in. Ivs, Evs, etc are just the beginning, complete EV spreading for specific moves and %s makes my GCSE maths done a lifetime ago (16 years! Now I feel old) strain under the stress.

 

This blog will do what it can to simplify, to cover both the superficial and the complex in a way that can encourage you. For if I am able to make sense of it, I can promise you that you will. And if I can’t…then I’ll have failed in my quest!

 

So sit back, enjoy my successes and failures, and please do leave comments – I’m going to need encouragement along the way!