The Analysis Update Process: Quality Control [Required Reading]

Blue Kirby

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Before jumping into this thread, Aldaron's Past Analyses, New Analyses is required reading, so I'd recommend you read that thread if you haven't already.

So as you know, we are expanding our analysis pages to look past just the Pokemon we're analyzing. As Aldaron has said, we're now aiming to include our idea of "synergy" into each and every one of our analysis pages. We're looking beyond just the Pokemon itself - knowing how it can be used in a competitive team is just as important as knowing how to use the Pokemon on its own. How we go about doing this is what I want to talk about - having read many submissions it's clear to me that we're not quite all on the same page. The purpose of this thread is not to shoot down the work that people have already done, as I'm thrilled to see such enthusiasm in regards to improving the site. I just don't want anyone's time and efforts to be wasted.

The one aspect that is stumping many people is providing team options for sets throughout an analysis consistently. You don't want to talk about the same partners over and over again, but what do you do if most of your sets have the same counters? I have noticed that when people recommend partners, they primarily talk about defensive checks against the Pokemon that give the set trouble. I'm not discouraging this for a moment, as it is very important - what we want to see is people thinking a bit more outside the box and being a bit more specific.

For the sake of simplicity on my part, I will make some references to DPP Metagross as that is the first update I have submitted, and I don't want to step on anyone's toes. When you think Metagross, you know that it does have trouble with bulky Waters, Grounds, Zapdos, Rotom-Appliance etc. Immediately, Pokemon that have no trouble with these foes seem like great partners - Latias, Celebi or a specially defensive Zapdos of your own seem like good bets. Well, they are great partners, but it would be dull to talk about them for Choice Band Metagross, Agility Metagross, Lead Metagross and so on. Once they've been briefly mentioned once or twice, that's it - the reader knows they work. We've even got the Team Options section at the end of the analysis that allows you as the writer to sum everything up.

What other examples can you include? Well, there is a reason that we separate our analysis pages by sets - they all operate differently. What you want to be doing is picking out the qualities of a set that make it different from the others, and picking partners that capitalize on those qualities. For example, "Tank" Metagross pairs extremely well with Vaporeon, feeding off Wish and providing Light Screen in return to create a strong defensive core. On the other hand, the "Mixed Attacker" set surprises many of Metagross' usual counters, opening up the opponent's team for Dragon Dance Tyranitar to come in and mop up the mess. Even though Tyranitar doesn't work perfectly with Metagross defensively, in this case it is a fantastic offensive complement - the reader will understand that they do have another four slots to make up for the shared Ground weakness among other things. You'll find that if you approach partnering in this sense, you can easily find two or three partners for a set, and that's exactly what we want to see.

In some cases, the way that the "Team Options" section at the end of updated analyses could use some work as well. If you're having trouble, answer the questions from the template below and you'll be fine every time.
  • Paragraph 1: Supportive environments. Talk about the importance of passive aid through things such as Stealth Rock and screens, providing calculations where necessary. Basically, anything along those lines that helps the Pokemon you're analyzing reach its full potential goes here.
  • Paragraph 2: Offensive support. What can you use to beat what this Pokemon cannot? Life Orb can pick on Metagross' usual counters by preying on their generally weaker Special Defense. It can also explode to leave a hole in the opponent's team for Metagross to take advantage of.
  • Paragraph 3: Defensive support. What can take attacks for the Pokemon you're analyzing? How does it take attacks in return? For example, Latias takes Fire and Ground attacks for Metagross, while Metagross takes Ice and Dragon attacks in return.
  • Paragraph 4: Team perspective. What is partnered with the Pokemon that give you trouble? How can you make sure you've got an answer to them as well? Mixed Salamence takes on most of the Pokemon that are paired with the most common checks for Metagross, and provides a great defensive partner as well. There is no excuse for this section to be subjective - all the stats we need are right in front of us.
  • Paragraph 5: Additional strategies. This is optional for the most part. In Aldaron's post, he highlighted that when using Gyarados, it's important to "take advantage of what you know is coming", and outlined some strategies to help the reader do so. Anything you want to cement in regards to team perspective will end up here.

If you keep this in mind when you're updating analysis pages, you shouldn't find yourself running out of interesting material to use. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to post or drop either Aldaron or myself a PM.