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An Introduction to 3v3 Singles

Discussion in 'Battle Spot' started by JabbaTheGriffin, Dec 6, 2013.

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  1. JabbaTheGriffin

    JabbaTheGriffin Stormblessed
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    What is 3v3 Singles?
    To put it simply, 3v3 Singles is bring 6, pick 3, similar to how VGC doubles is bring 6, pick 4. As a Smogon user, you're probably fairly accustomed to Smogon's OU metagame, which is 6v6 singles. Gamefreak's main singles metagame, however, is a completely different beast. It has its similarities to 6v6—with several threats being equally potent in both metagames—but it plays at a much faster pace. Even on WiFi, battles are often over within a couple minutes. Yet that doesn't stop it from being a very enjoyable metagame. With the faster pace, the consequences of your decisions become much bigger than in 6v6. Where a well-timed double switch may gain you a bit of momentum in regular singles, a similar double switch in 3v3 could win you the entire battle. Furthermore, the initial strategy that goes into picking your three choices for the battle can give you an advantage or disadvantage right off the bat, but it's generally nothing you can't overcome by outplaying your opponent. The high stakes and fast pace of 3v3 makes it a great metagame for those who enjoy constant thrills in their battles.

    Take note that if you plan to play on your cartridge, you'll have to breed yourself a team. Luckily, Gamefreak has streamlined the breeding process this generation, and it's the easiest it's ever been. Smogon has several resources on breeding perfect Pokemon in X&Y, notably http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/breeding-perfect-pokemon-in-pokemon-x-y.3490432/ by TheMantyke.

    Furthermore, the Battle Spot singles ladder operates on a very bare-bones banlist. Only cover legends and event Pokemon are banned from the ladder. For the time being (prior to Pokebank,) this list is only comprised of Yveltal, Xerneas, Zygarde, and Mewtwo.


    Notable differences from 6v6
    As mentioned above, many of the big threats in 6v6 (such as Kanghaskan and Blaziken) also terrorize 3v3. However, there are some key teambuilding differences between the two metagames. For instance, hazards are nowhere near as common in 3v3. Generally, the time it takes to set up hazards is better spent getting in a free attack. Stealth Rock does still have some utility in breaking Sashes (which are much more viable in 3v3 due to the lack of hazards) and neutering 4x Stealth Rock weak Pokemon such as Talonflame and Charizard.

    The rule set is also somewhat different from Smogon OU. Species Clause is still in effect, but notably OHKO clause and Evasion clause are not present. This, on paper, means that people can just throw around Fissure and Minimize to their heart's content. In practice though, much like hazards, your time is better spent attacking. You may run into the occasional Guillotine Gliscor or Minimize Chansey, but these encounters are few and far between.

    Item Clause is also in effect, meaning that you can only use one of an item on your team. This is nowhere near as limiting as it seems, as you generally don't want more than one of an item on your team anyway. You want your team to be diverse and cover as many threats while also threatening as much as you possibly can. Running three sets of Leftovers on your team is definitely not conducive to such a strategy. Luckily, since Mega Evolution stones are not technically the same item, you can use as many as you want on a team. Unlike 6v6, where you only want one Mega Evolution on your team, in 3v3, it's generally preferable to have two and bring the one that has the most favorable team matchup into battle.


    Common Pokemon
    Once again, it should be noted that many of the threats you'll find in 6v6 are the same in 3v3 singles. However, here I'll point out major threats so you know what you'll want to breed and what you'll need to cover these threats.

    Talonflame: Talonflame is probably the most common Pokemon in early stages of the Singles ladder. Its STAB-boosted priority Brave Bird (because of its ability, Gale Wings) checks a large portion of the metagame. Most carry a Choice Band because without it, Talonflame simply lacks the power to be a threat. Pokemon that can take advantage of it being locked into Brave Bird, such as Tyranitar and Mawile, are good Pokemon to have on your team. Rotom-W resists both of Talonflame’s STABs and can pick up momentum with Volt Switch. Bulky Pokemon such as Gliscor and Hippowdon have no trouble dealing with Talonflame.

    Rotom-W: Rotom-W is very dangerous because you simply have no idea what it's going to do right off the bat. It could Will-o-Wisp, Trick a Choice Scarf, or Volt Switch for momentum. It also covers a large portion of the metagame, so you're going to see it everywhere. Venusaur doesn't mind Will-o-Wisp all that much and can neuter it with Sleep Powder or just outright kill it with Giga Drain. Lum Garchomp can take one Will-o-Wisp and set up a Swords Dance.

    Kangaskhan: Kangaskhan stands as one of the best Mega Evolutions brought by X&Y. Whereas a Normal typing generally isn't that good, with a single weakness and reasonable bulk for a sweeper, Kangaskhan can be really difficult to revenge kill while it runs through your team with an extremely powerful Return. The best way to deal with it is to simply do as much damage to it before you die so that you can revenge kill it with a faster threat that won't go down to Sucker Punch. If you're just starting off, having one of these in your back pocket may make learning the metagame just a bit easier.

    Mawile: Mega Mawile does a very similar job to Kangaskhan, and, coincidentally, the Incredible Hulk as well: smash. Mawile plays a slightly different game than Kanga, though. It takes advantage of its numerous resistances to set up a free Swords Dance and then either take an attack and return with an OHKO (nothing can take a +2 attack from Mawile with the exception of dedicated physical walls that resist its STABS like Skarmory), or Sucker Punch faster, frailer threats to death. Despite the fact that Mawile-Mega doesn't get STAB on Sucker Punch, very little can stand up to it. Even Pokemon that resist Sucker Punch are going to take a huge chunk of damage. Rotom-W can burn Mawile, but doesn't like Play Rough. Faster Pokemon that can OHKO and take a Sucker Punch are your best chance of checking it. The most notable threat from that group would be Garchomp.

    Garchomp: Garchomp is definitely one of the best Pokemon in the metagame right now. It has the bulk to take most hits (even some of the weaker Ice Beams) and has a great Ground / Dragon-type STAB combination. Swords Dance sets get a lot of chances to set up and then wreak havoc. Scarf sets serve as very good cleaners, though being locked into Earthquake or Outrage are both dangerous situations for Garchomp. Togekiss is immune to both of Garchomp's STABs but needs to watch out for Stone Edge. Chipping off a bit of damage leaves it open to relatively easy revenge killing from the likes of Greninja and Talonflame.

    Greninja: Protean is definitely one of the best abilities in the game. Getting STAB on every attack and being able to manipulate weaknesses is a godsend for a fast sweeper. Greninja can do a lot of things too, with the most potent sets being Life Orb and Focus Sash. Unfortunately, even with Protean boosting its attacks, it can be a bit weak at times. Using this to your advantage and using bulkier Pokemon to take it down (such as Azumarill or Rotom-W) should prevent it from being too much of a threat to your team. Still, the ability to use Greninja well can give you a head start early on in your ladder run.

    Aegislash: Aegislash is really nifty. If you're going to use it on your own team, I encourage you to get creative. Run a Weakness Policy Automize set. The current most popular set is Swords Dance/King's Shield/Shadow Sneak/Sacred Sword or Iron Head. It's a good set, and you definitely want to look out for it. When beating it, you might want to run EQ on your physical sweepers just so you don't get hit by that -2 from King's Shield. Unfortunately, that set doesn't take advantage of Aegislash's full potential. Rotom-W can burn it while taking little from most of its attacks. Garchomp can revenge kill it, as +2 Shadow Sneak isn't scratching Garchomp and Chomp doesn't have to worry about King's Shield lowering its attack. Diggersby is immune to Shadow Sneak and wrecks Aegislash with Huge Power Earthquake (that strategy is better left to Special Singles, however.)

    Blaziken: Speed Boost has always been one of the most dangerous abilities, especially in a format as fast as 3v3 singles. Blaziken doesn't need to Mega Evolve to be a huge threat, but most that you'll run into are of the Mega variety. Generally you'll see Protect/Swords Dance/Flare Blitz/High Jump Kick. Blaziken is the true definition of a nuke. However, even with Speed Boost making it impossible to outspeed, it's still fairly easy to check. Azumarill and Talonflame both resist both of Blaziken's STABs and have priority that Blaziken is weak to. Slowbro flat out counters Blaziken, if you want to opt for a more defensive route.

    Tyranitar: Tyranitar's versatility has always been one of its strong suits. Even with a laundry list of weaknesses, it's always found itself near the top of every competitive format. 3v3 is no different. Tyranitar can be an Assault Vest, purely physical, or mixed attacker. It can be scarfed. It can be banded. It can be Mega DDtar. It can be a bulky Stealth Rock setter to neuter Talonflame. You have to be extremely wary of how you play it from the first turn it's in, however, or you can end up digging yourself an early hole. Rotom-W can outspeed and burn it, while not minding any special attacks it usually packs. Hippowdon can counter most versions pretty well and Garchomp and Azumarill are solid checks, though with Mega Tyranitar's beefed up Defense, you have to be careful not to underestimate how much you need to chip off of it first.

    Azumarill: You have to be very, very careful to avoid giving Azumarill a free Belly Drum unless you have a surefire way of revenging it afterwards. Note that most Azumarill carry Sitrus Berry, so they're much harder to revenge. Especially avoid using Outrage if you know your opponent might have Azumarill lurking in the back. That situation is never going to end well. Rotom-W can take it down even after a Belly Drum, since it resists Aqua Jet. Rotom-W can also burn other versions if Volt Switch is your only way of damaging it and you don't want to switch into something that can't take a hit from it. If Azumarill is low enough in HP, Talonflame can finish it off since its priority will go first. The key to beating it, however, is to simply avoid giving it a chance to set up.


    Battlespot Ladder
    One of the most fun parts of being a 3v3 enthusiast is competing with other Smogoners trying to rise up the ranks of the world ladder. Several of the top players in America are Smogoners, with kd24, myself, Stellar, Jibaku, and locopoke all being top 10 mainstays.

    You can see how everyone on Smogon stands and the teams most of them have used to achieve their ranks in this thread: http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/smogon-battle-spot-leaderboard.3491758/

    Feel free to join us, and someday, together, we can take down the Japanese from the top of the world ladder!
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