So you want to be champion? My name is Brent and I am the current dark type gym leader and former champion of Pokemon Reddit League. Today I’m going to give future challengers advice about team building in general and for our league.
Team building is important in all forms of competitive Pokemon so it’s no wonder that your team can make or break your PRL challenge. You’re only allowed one team and often times people will change theirs up several times before getting their first badge. For battling against our league some of the important things I made sure my team had were ‘mons with different sets and unpredictability, ones that could make use of different coverage, and made sure it was balanced in some way.
Using different sets such as defensive/choice scarf Landorus-T is one of the ways that you can succeed. If you don’t get your first badge using defensive Lando, when you rematch your opponent will definitely get thrown off by the switch to scarf Lando. That alone could be a big enough of a surprise and game changer in the rematch to win.
Talonflame is another example of a Pokemon that can run different sets successfully. At the beginning of the XY metagame Talonflame’s most popular set was choice band. It was successful at the time and checked many threats like Mega Pinsir or Volcarona. Now at the end of the ORAS metagame we have many different sets that Talonflame can run effectively: defensive stall breaker with Will-O-Wisp and Bulk Up, Swords Dance cleaner and even the classic choice band set are all still viable.
Coverage is very important in our league. Because each leader uses a different type, you should construct a team with balanced coverage to take on a wide variety of Pokemon. It is recommended that you bring at least one or two Pokemon with a wide variety of options.
During my league challenge I used Gengar because of its threatening position in the metagame and its wide special attacking coverage. 130 special attack with 110 speed and the ability to learn a variety of moves leaves it an underrated threat in PRL. Gengar has powerful STAB moves in Shadow Ball, Sludge Bomb, and Sludge Wave; in addition, it also has access to many useful coverage moves including Thunderbolt, Dazzling Gleam, Energy Ball, Focus Blast, Dark Pulse, and Psychic. With all of these coverage options in conjunction with stellar special attack and speed, Gengar is capable of sweeping entire teams if it gets an opening. Aside from this, Gengar can also run a viable stallbreaker or annoyer set using Substitute, Will-O-Wisp or Toxic, and Disable. Changing your sets for each gym leader you face is very important and can help you win.
Making a balanced team is also important. Our gym leaders all use at least five Pokemon of our gym type; the remaining selection is a “wild card.” The purpose of these wild cards is so that our challengers cannot just walk in with, say, Mega Gardevoir and sweep straight through my gym. When challenging the league, you must state your team up front; therefore, it is incumbent on you to similarly ensure that your own team does not have any glaring weaknesses. You want to make sure that your team isn’t swept by any one mon. Hyper offensive can be effective in OU, but depending on your match up, it can be unhelpful. For instance, current Champion Eco_politiq used a hyper offensive team during his league challenge, and while it was very effective against some gyms, he really struggled against our Poison gym leader, CleverMiltank, who was able to effectively counter team using stall. The ability to scout your teams means that we will bring a hard counter to your biggest threat and planning around that can help you win. Making sure that your team doesn’t get swept by a Talonflame is just another example of team building to win. Any playstyle can win, just make sure that your team doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses or we will take advantage of that.
Mega Venusaur makes Azumarill sad faced 😦
When you challenge, it may sound fun to bring some of your favorite mons to do a gym leader challenge, but not all are quite up to par for competitive play. As Zdeb93 pointed out in the last entry, some Pokemon are just not useful. Using UU or even RU ‘mons can turn out successful and surprise your opponent enough to give you the edge, but at the end of the day, some are RU for a reason. They may be outclassed or even just not powerful or fast enough to do well. Likewise, bringing only A+/S rank OU Pokemon can also hurt you more than help. They are fantastic and put in great work, but if you pick them just because of their viability ranking, that doesn’t help your team, particularly if you don’t know how to use them. The other disadvantage to this is that these Pokemon are among the most common, and so our experienced leaders will know how to handle most of their sets. Being able to identify one’s role and using different Pokemon effectively can make you a great team builder. That’s something you learn not from reading who the best Pokemon in the meta currently are, but by playing games and getting a feel on what work with who.
Finally, when team building it is important to think of cores. Eco_politiq wrote a detailed blog entry a few weeks ago on this subject- you should check that out for more information, but for now, I’ll outline a couple of basics.
There are many cores that can do work against monotype.One example is Mega Venusaur and Heatran. They resist almost every single one of the other’s weaknesses. Venusaur is an excellent answer to fighting, ground and water types that threaten Heatran, whereas Heatran can check psychic, flying and fire types that Venusaur is afraid of. They are an excellent example of the beginning of a good PRL team with their ability to run offensive, defensive and even choice scarf sets well.
Explore new teams, think of ‘mons that complement each other well and most of all, make sure you prep for each battle. Knowing against what type you’re going against gives you a huge advantage in team building and you should use that. Hope this helped and good luck current and future challengers!