Each year since Pokemon Online took a hold of VGC preparation we have had the ability to practise as much as we want, and with maximum ease to get ready for the regional and national qualifiers, and for those select few, the World Championships. This has invariably led to major threats being outlined very early on in the season, and specific counters being discovered in lieu of this. As people try new strategies to overcome these counters, previously untried pokemon come into the spotlight. The cycle repeats, counters are found, anti-teams are made and the 'metagame' takes shape. However, my question is; Does the formation of a 'metagame' per se, have a detrimental effect on how players fare in the actual tournaments, or will it actually improve performance? In my experience from playing extensively last year, in VGC11, I was able to see how quickly the metagame changed, team types constantly rose in popularity, and the masses duly made "anti-metagame" teams. This led to a shift in the flux, and what was once considered anti-metagame became common. This happened so much, as we got closer to regionals, I was seeing some particularly ridiculous sets, purely designed to counter other ridiculous sets people had been using. People were creeping speed to beat pokemon who were speed creeping, and people were making anti-teams to beat other anti-teams. Is there any way to avoid this? Or is it something we must accept will happen inevitably? Does this anti-metagaming give us an edge over the common uneducated opponent due to the fact we have explored every boundary of the ruleset, or does this just mean we are expecting more from less skilled players, leading to overprediction, poor selection of our 4 pokemon, and possibly defeat. On the other hand, will this give us an advantage? If we expect everything and take nothing for granted are we less likely to be caught out by gimmicks and tricks, leading to greater successes? Does this formation of a constantly changing metagame get taken account when we make final teams for the events, with the creation of fancy teams exploiting minor gimmicks, or do we just go back to basics, with what is simple and effective? So I pose this to you, does the formation of a metagame, and consequent anti-metagaming help or hinder us in the tournaments which matter, with real prizes on the line?