How did you choose your Dark Horse Pokemon for this project? What lead you to choose the Pokemon you did? Did you have regrets or were you happy with your selection?
Well, I've got this really simple two-part philosophy when it comes to Pokemon: A) always use the best mons and cores on your teams, and B) usage stats mean jack shit.
People seem to think the Dark Horse Project is about finding a way to break 1350 with gimmicks, and frankly I just didn't approach it that way. I figured I would make a good solid team that happened to have underappreciated Pokemon, and to me Slowbro has always been such a gem. If I had it my way, I wouldn't be posting here now, because he shouldn't be a Dark Horse.
How did you go about building a team for your Dark Horse Pokemon? Which kinds of teammates did you consider? What factors contributed to the team you created?
The first thing I started by doing when I made my current team was go "hey mienshao and Slowbro are two really underrated mons." I didn't care how much or little they worked together, I loved them, and by god they would both be on my team. Next, I began looking for Slowbro's perfect match. It basically had to be Steel or Fighting, because the Bro wanted Bug and Dark resists. It had to be specially defensive. That left Heatran. I never looked back.
After finding my first three, I went on Marriland Team Builder and fiddled around. I needed a Water resist for Rain Teams and I needed a Scarfer. Hydreigon covered both of these, and could counter ScRotom in a pinch. I needed a Spinner and an Electric resist, so Donphan was my man. I went offensive because I don't like a mon with base 120 Atk pussyfooting around, and besides, Slowbro could take anything. Donphan could also set Rocks, which let Heatran run Roar instead, which would prove so god damn helpful against set up sweepers. Last, I needed a Rotom counter that could get back HP and so I went to Celebi. The astute observer will notice that this is the team I used in my Warstory vs Taylor.
However, it was imperfect. Specifically, Gengar and VolTurn are assholes. So after some stimulating forum discussion I switched Celebi for my own homebrew VolTurn fucker and by God Roserade is good. This allowed me as well to switch toxic for WoW on Tran. Also, I took out Hydreigon for the more defense-oriented Zapdos, who still packs a punch, without being a wuss. Now this team has problems with fastmons, specifically Gengar and Tornadus. However, two days after these changes I went from sub-1200 to Hall of Famer, so read into that what you will. It's just a shame only Slowbro gets the glory. EXPECT AN RMT SHORTLY.
Also, after my achievement, to celebrate I cleverly snuck "bro" into each of my mons' names, so if you're laddering and you see that, look at the name.
Do you think it is more difficult or less difficult to ladder with a Dark Horse Pokemon? Why? Does the element of surprise play a factor in your battles? Is it easier to fight with a "highly used"" team or with Pokemon that are less common?
As I've said before, for me the challenge had nothing to do with usage. 1300 was something I'd never broken in my life, Dark Horse or no Dark Horse. This was just about making the best team possible, and anyway, Slowbro is hardly surprising.
That said, after adding in Zapdos and Roserade there was a definite element of "what are these mons" in some of my opponents, but out of kindness I'll attribute that to my unconventional set rather than incompetence.
How did you reach the Hall of Fame? Was it easy or difficult? Did having a Dark Horse Pokemon on your team benefit you? What advice would you give to those laddering with Dark Horse Pokemon?
Patience. This bears repeating so: patience patience patience. For one, the teambuilding / threat spotting / adjusting process cannot be rushed, or you will find yourself making a worse team sometimes rather than better. As is, I know my team is far from perfect - Donphan, for one, is terrible, and I play Zapdos like an imbecile. But I know that every change I've made (possibly excepting WoW on Tran) has made it stronger.
Reaching top 80 was quite possibly the toughest POKEMON RELATED thing I have honestly done in my life, and toward the end of my climb I can cite multiple times I almost shit myself. I kid you not when I say that every time I lost a battle, I would exit PO. I was that cautious of tilt. Eventually, though, I did make it. Nothing gives you quite as much pride as hitting that milestone with a team designed, engineered, and played solely by you.