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Team or skill?

Discussion in 'BW OU' started by SoulRed12, May 3, 2013.

  1. Agent Gibbs

    Agent Gibbs
    is a Community Contributor Alumnus

    Dec 8, 2011
    Too bad luck isn't an option, because...well, it's Pokemon.

    To carry on from what Windsong is saying, team building is probably the biggest factor in a person's success. Not only is it important to have a solid team so that you can recover from a bad prediction or misplay, but a solid team is also important in recovering from hax. Hax is one of the most powerful aspects of Pokemon since it has the potential to override skill completely. You might run a few calculations and find that Pokemon X has the potential to cleanly sweep as long as it has enough health to take a hit from the opponent's Pokemon Y. Then you are able to carefully play your way into a perfect checkmate with just enough HP on Pokemon X to survive that attack...and then your opponent gets a critical hit and ruins everything. As long as you have a solid team, you increase your chances of recovering from such hax and possibly finding another opportunity to win the game.
  2. Jcpdragonx


    Aug 19, 2009
    Team is more important. Skill (and err... luck) will get you over the line in an even match up, but sometimes you will be up against a stall team and there is nothing your team can do.
  3. Soul Fly

    is a Contributor Alumnus

    Jan 16, 2013
    Predictions are very important tools in the tournament scene mainly because we at least have a semblance of idea of whom we are facing..

    in the ladder though we have zero data regarding our opponent, no Ranking, Glicko W/L ratio to begin with s prediction is impossible. Prediction can only take place when you have information.
    That and the fact that most teams on the ladder are the auto-pilot kinds and the risk of your opponent playing irrationally.
  4. ShootingStarmie

    is a Team Rater Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnus

    Sep 3, 2011
    Okay, so this is coming from personal experience. I believe it's mainly the team that gets you so high onto the ladder, mainly because I believe that's how I got so high onto the ladder. I mean sure, I'm a good battler, but I wouldn't say I'm good enough for the top 10 on the ladder (which I've had two alts in at the same time), but my team was good enough to handle common threats that were commonly seen on the ladder.

    I have to agree with WindSong about how a team needs something to fall back on if there's a mis-prediction. The team I mainly used to ladder had a solid defensive core, which you could fall back on if you're "out predicted" or if you misplayed.

    Here's the team I laddered with:


    And here's a picture of my peak


    And finally, some replays of getting into the 2000 acre mark with this team. (Granted, some of these replies have slightly different Pokemon compared to my team, but it's mainly because of the time period)





    So, no. You do not need skill, (well, not much) to hit high on the ladder. You just need a great team, and not rage if you get haxed.
  5. Hack

    is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Social Media Contributor Alumnus
    Ubers Co-Leader

    Mar 12, 2012
    "In the end, Pokémon is just a gambling game."

    Maybe exaggerated to a point where people would disagree and start comparing the game chess, which as a chess player myself, I can only say is flat out false. There are three factors that determine the winner of a Pokémon battle: team, skill (prediction and knowledge) and luck (hax). The first one cannot depend on luck, but even then, a bad team matchup can bring down the best built team anyway. Prediction is not entirely luck-based, there is of course a chance of noticing the habit of the opponent and catching on with smart switches, this will work against any player as long as you analyze their skill level/playstyle early on. But ultimately, when two players with excellent teams and knowledge play each other, analyzing predictions in such long chains (like predicting double switches, or even predicting double switches are too obvious and so forth) will make many guesses quite random. I wish I could show some replays of this, but I have a bad habit of not saving any...

    Basically, I believe a good team is the first goal to peak a ladder, or win a tournament because prediction is twofold and can lead to misplays, while a good team will consistently be good.
  6. Dzi


    Sep 13, 2012
    Skill and Experience is probably the key in order to win games. If you know the tier you are playing really well, you can use weird pokes or unused sets and still dominate the ladder. So experience is definitely what you need to win. Play a ton of matches everyday and read or research about the Pokemon usually found in the tier. I also agree about the saying 'Prediction is Key' but in order to predict correctly you should know what set your opponent is using, the moves that your opponent has etc and all of that can be solved by experience.
  7. peng


    May 21, 2009
    Clearly far more games come down to team match-up now than in past generations. As a result you can have games where one player can just drop hazards, trap a mon and exploit their good match-up without really having to think.

    However, I think skill and the team used overlap more than people have identified in this thread. People are throwing round examples like "shit player using ttar + keld + lando beats good player" or "sometimes you get matched up against stall and can't do anything", and I can't help but look at these examples and think: if the good player brought such a ttar/keld/lando weak team with him to a tournament battle then he clearly isn't that good. Exactly the same with stall example. You'd never see a top battler come out of a horrendous loss against stall and say "bad match-up". If they brought a team that literally has no method of breaking stall then they clearly aren't as skilled as you are making them out to be.

    I'm not trying to make out that team match-up doesn't happen - clearly a Rain team with Dugtrio beats Sun teams 99% of the time. Clearly SD Feraligatr is pretty much an auto-win against most Sand Stall teams. I think that blaming these losses on team match-up is fair enough, because your opponent has probably gone out of their way to run these Pokemon specifically because they know they are autowins against the teams you like to run.

    However, blaming a loss to standard Ttar / Keldeo / Landorus (barring random HP Bug or something), or standard SandStall just isn't right. Using Latias as your only check to Landorus / Keldeo is just bad teambuilding and at times like that you have to accept you fucked up with your team choice, and not just blame a bad team or match-up for a loss. When if you have actually prepared for the match-up (i.e. bringing Baton Pass Celebi, fast Jellicent and/or some heavily specialised niche mon like Virizion / Gyarados) and then still lose because the team you are facing is actually running something like Jolly CBTar + U-Turn Landorus or something that flat out makes Virizion a liability (talking about shit like Volcarona here), then I feel thats fair enough to blame on team match-up.

    - don't use "bad team match-up" as an excuse for your own incompetence for bringing a Keldeo / Landorus weak team + Latias to a tournament game, or losing in a tournament finals because you brought a team that cannot handle Volcarona + Dugtrio. - you can't blame your team on losing to something so ubiquitous.
    - if you have actually attempted to try and beat a specific team, but then still have a disadvantage at team preview because of their certain 5th / 6th Pokemon choice, or moveset designed to improve their match-up back against you, then yeah you had a bad match-up.

    edit: also agreeing that prediction is wrongly glorified, its just educated guesswork
  8. Windsong

    Windsong .dancin forever
    is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus

    Apr 29, 2009
    also can we stop associating "skill" and "ladder peaks" because you can be utter trash at the game and still peak high so easily... .cry
  9. SoulRed12


    Apr 27, 2009
    Alright, how about this question, then. If most of you see the game as just "autopilot" teams and losing right from team preview, what redeeming factors do you even find in the game? If people can just run XYZ core or strategy, and win 99% of their games not taking Hax into account, and prediction is just "glorified guesswork," why do you still play the game? (Of course, this assumes you do still play the game rather than just contribute to the forums.) Is it just because you enjoy teambuilding? I just like to think there's a lot of in-battle strategy going on that helps determine the outcome, but it seems like a lot of you disagree with that.

    Another interesting question: A lot of you mention that team building is uber important "this gen." What would you do to make this metagame better and less about winning right at the team preview? Obviously, no point in getting in depth here (I'm sure there are discussion threads for that elsewhere) but I'm curious to know just some general big picture fixes you think would improve things.
  10. Chou Toshio

    Chou Toshio Over9000
    is an Artist Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Aug 16, 2007
    Well Pokemon is a gambling game from the fundamental action of it. Chess is a game of "response", where as Pokemon is a game of "betting".

    Games like Go and Chess are different because there is no information management or betting. All the moves possible are right there on the board-- there's no hiding information. If one player can "see" a move the other can't, or foresee the flow of events farther-- that just means he's the better player.

    In Pokemon, even when you know the other player and can make intelligent predictions-- you're predicting, you're making a bet on what you think he will do from a limited number of options.

    It's quite different from a game where there is no "betting" (in Go or Chess, there is only responding-- no betting) and the challenge lies not in guessing correctly, but in perceiving a far greater number of options that are hidden to us only by the limitations of our minds.
  11. Curtains


    Jul 6, 2009
    Woah I have to stop you there. Chess isn't a game where you just respond to every move your opponent does. In a tournament chess situation you have to account for many more things than just the reply of the opponent. You have to account for things pawn structure, material, king safety, color complexes space, initiative, weak squares, short term threats, long term threats, strong or weak pieces and much more. On an absolute beginner chess level it is all about moving the pieces around until you find a tactic or checkmate. As far as information management there is tons of it chess....People may think that because there are 600 pokemon that chess isnt as deep as pokemon. According to an article there are 318,979,564,000 possible combinations of the first four moves of chess. Also there are 169,518,829,100,544,000,000,000,000,000 possible ways to play the first ten moves of chess. Most of these may have there own name that you have to learn and get familiar to. Not every one of these variations are viable i admit. But even if a tenth of a percent were viable that would still be 3 million variations of only the first four moves of chess (if i got my math correct). This is just the first 4-10 moves. Also there are thousands of middlegame themes and patterns. Even sub master club level players like myself think up to 7-12 moves ahead. Then we get to the endgame where there are trillions of different combinations that you have to try to understand on the fly. Even with less pieces on the board the difficulty skyrockets. There are thousands of extremely difficult endgame patterns that you have to remember. Even if you know them you have to get into the position to do it....

    That doesn't mean pokemon doesn't take skill. It really just can't be compared to chess. I think pokemon is more like poker than chess.
  12. Cyberkirby


    Mar 16, 2013
    I'd probably have to say skill. I mean, you could have the best team on the planet, but if ya don't switch or lack proper team support, you would just be a very, very tough punching bag. Even a team of Arceuces(?!) Can fall if you have the proper skills.
  13. Cai278


    Mar 19, 2012
    Chess and this game are entirely different. Ive played in just as many chess tournements as I have pokemon and chess is no where near as random. Like its been said in this thread the team matters more. I dont know how many times Ive made a prediction and the guy left in his Ferrothorn while I switch my Salamence that just missed fire blast out (sure I mean he could have predicted me to do that but id say its a little risky). Chess is more absolute and as long as you are focused and skillful there isnt one move that will completley fuck you over. Plus in chess we all have the same pieces and it is based entirely upon who is more expierenced/better which is completley unlike the metagame today.
  14. Lady Alex

    Lady Alex Mew is blue
    is a Tiering Contributor Alumnus

    Aug 28, 2010
    Skill is obviously important, but I think team quality is grossly more important. Whenever the Dark Horse project was around, I just spammed Deoxys-D hyper offense teams with X low usage pokemon and made it easily multiple times. If the dark horse project were to ever be reintroduced, I would just use band tyranitar + keldeo + Celebi teams and do the same. It's quite sad.
  15. Grey Knight

    Grey Knight

    May 25, 2013
    well half of the people on this ladder had a big winning streak once probably because of hax and don't really play again with that alt occupying space in the ladder

    Anyway far more important than team building is the skill of the player
    i realized that lately when i made a team by only using OU sweepers no SR support no weather and no water resistor LOL, a team that somehow managed to peak 1900 in one day, i dint really copy pasted the smogon's sets in my team for example my scizor has 182 speed so i can 3hko with u-turn the politoed and make my agiligross sweep easier since politoed is lured to use scald-hydro pump.

    However there are always those teams like drag mag,batton pass that little prediction is needed the the quality of the team (charge beam spam magnezone ,dragon spam) matters the most the same goes for rain dance in UU and the lower tiers.

    As for the hax people stop mentionig it, hax might also decides matches but for haxed defeat there is a haxed win and so most of players in the upper ladder experienced both negative and positive hax in almost the same ratio at least those who have played a big sample of games there is a big probability of error for the rest.

    For those that don't believe i got 1900+ with agiligross and no stalling pokemons
    replay of me super powning shimmer numper #52, in the OU PS ladder no hax used

    i know you are not going to watch them so i am not posting anything else

    note: for some reason i was using sashed max speed tyranitar and latios because it was an earlier version of my team.
  16. Champion Steve

    Champion Steve

    Nov 18, 2012
    I have to ask, are you really showing off your skill at Pokemon if you're only using ineffective tactics (bad Pokemon/teams)? I mean, I see a lot of comments like "someone who's really skilled should be able to defeat a good OU team with their team of UU and RU mons." It just seems like an unneeded handicap. Generally, when the players are less skilled, team is much more important because one person's auto-win team auto-wins first. But you can only improve a team so much and eventually skill (mainly planning ahead and making guesses at the opponent's battle strategy from their team's makeup and their previous moves) will be what's deciding matches.

    ...er, well actually luck (both hax and bad team match-ups) will still decide a good deal of matches but it should even out over a larger sample size and the more skilled players should win. On average.
  17. dice

    dice Tournament Banned
    is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus

    Feb 24, 2012
    I don't think throwing out random percentages off the top of your head is the purpose of this thread, Gozubzu and Vemane. The purpose of this thread seems to revolve around the prospect of how matchup related Gen5 actually is. While I do agree that sometimes, winning is practically impossible, for instance say you're using Tyranitar / Starmie / Skarmory / Landorus-T / Heatran / Celebi and your opposing is using Magnezone / Dugtrio / 4 Dragon-type, I do believe that making the right plays is actually a skill that a lot of players do not have. Making the right sacrifices in offensive matchups is one of the primary mistakes I see from many players, even some pros who are returning to Gen5. Yesterday I was faced with a scenario where I had to choose to sacrifice a Slowking or Breloom against my opponent's Latios. He also had a Celebi alongside Latios, so Breloom seemed relatively worthless and Slowking could set up Trick Room and kill most of his team easily; however, I had a Jolly Breloom and I saw his Celebi was Specially Defensive from scouting earlier in the match, so, while it seemed dumb at the time, I sacked Slowking and went into Breloom. He switched to Celebi as I SD'd (Draco was at -4) and then I could Spore and SD again and proceeded to win. Obviously this is a relatively simple play and it had a lot of risk involved, but if I had went to Breloom to sacrifice instead of Slowking, I may not have won which is why picking proper sacrifices is key. Another thing I keep seeing in this thread is about how predictions are important. To be honest, I do not think predictions are very crucial to play. If you're predicting, you're either a.) risking too much for the reward it brings, or b.) behind in a match. In either situation, prediction is not typically ideal for your match and it is just an educated guess. Why risk with prediction when you can try to make the correct play everytime by going into the right Pokemon every time and picking the right moves? Obviously, prediction is going to become involved in the later parts of a game where there are some coin tosses involved, but that is the nature of Pokemon. I think that if you play well, you can minimize prediction and become far more consistent. Lastly, I believe that teambuilding is the most important component of BW2. Having a surprising gimmick in tournament play (watch out for some interesting sets in WCOP battles) can be gamechanging. Cool sets like DD Latios can throw your opponent for a loop and give you the win. Obviously, in ladder play you cannot run gimmicks effectively due to the problems of running into the same person, word of your team being spread, etc. However, in tournaments, gimmicks thrive. A well-built team containing gimmicks that work well together (e.g. AcroSciz luring Keldeo's counters) is the reason many players win consistently, so I feel as though teambuilding is the most crucial part of BW2. I agree with PenguinX that bad teambuilding =/= bad matchup (Latias and Celebi as your only Landorus check is rather bad and Celebi sucks atm) and predictions are over glorified (I mentioned earlier in my post).
  18. Cosmic Fury

    Cosmic Fury

    Aug 15, 2011
    I would think team building comes hand in hand with skill in battle. The more you know about your Pokémon and the better you are at using them, the better you eventually get with building teams around them.

    For example, I actually have a Lapras-based rain team. The only reason I built this team is because I know how to play Lapras as well as I do. If I didn't know too much about how this plays, what its threats are, and what it can abuse and threaten itself, I would lose almost every match, because I would have no idea how to build a team around it.

    Thankfully, I do have enough working knowledge to be able to either check or counter many of its threats, as well as help it come out on top against things it would be either strong or weak against.

    Being able to work around your team's weaknesses both while you're building the team and during gameplay both involve skill. I would have to say that the two things are entirely intertwined (especially considering that I've smashed teams that would have normally destroyed mine given that different plays were made).
  19. Silverangel


    Dec 5, 2012
    I honestly say the team's power is amplified (or even reduced) by the skill of a user. I know someone that uses teams that are good in theory, but he's not a good strategist, and thus lost to me. The team itself is a major force, but I believe that with a good player, the team's power can carry the player a long way, similar to having a good sword and a good swordsman to use it.
  20. Princess Bubblegum

    Princess Bubblegum

    Mar 2, 2011
    As a stall player, it comes a lot more down to the team than my skill, if they bring something that can break my team, there really isn't much I can do about it outside of trying to limit the Pokemon that can do that as much as I can.

    of course... team building is a skill so...

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