I was going back and reading this thread: What is the best set for a Pokemon? and as I read the responses, I felt I didn't fully address this idea of "The Element of Surprise". I'm pretty sure when I made that thread, I wasn't really playing DP, and as such, I didn't see all of those comments (I didn't read Stark much, or as it was called back then, Uncharted Territory), so I'd like to take this time to address those. I'll admit that I didn't take into account the "element of surprise" in my opening post, but I find this to be mostly overrated. This is especially true when most of the Pokemon who are outclassed at anything they might want to do are generally weaker Pokemon, meaning you can't do as much with the surprise. If you guess wrong on what set Salamence or Tyranitar have, you may lose the match. If Flareon uses Flamethrower instead of Fire Blast, it's not likely to have any long-term effect. My other problem with it is a more personal problem. It is impossible for me to have any real surprise. Allow me to explain with a sweeping generality: You make an awesome team that includes a surprising moveset on a Pokemon, and this surprise is basically that your Pokemon is a weaker version of another Pokemon, but you figure it's worth the loss in power because it can buy you a turn or two, and turns have value, too. The problem is that you are predicating your team on one of two assumptions. The first and most common assumption is that your team actually sucks. The reason I say this is because you are assuming your team won't be successful enough to be noticed (thus ruining the surprise). This is my personal objection to "the element of surprise" as a serious battler. I average a large number of spectators per battle, and thus after a couple of battles, I have to act under the assumption that the general outline of my team is well known. This means that I have to use teams that work in such a way that even if my opponent knows exactly what my team is capable of doing, they cannot stop it. Essentially, I have to beat the engineer armed with a handgun by using a tank. He may know exactly how my tank works, but is unable to penetrate the armor with his handgun and quickly dies to my own larger artillery. The other possible assumption is a bit more defensible, and that is relying on the element of surprise with the full knowledge that the team will only be used for a short number of battles (small enough that no one battler will have gathered the relevant information from the previous battles, and the metagame will not have shifted around it). This is part of what my JAA strategy was. I realized that yes, it's counterable by people who know what's coming, but if they don't know, it's almost a guaranteed win, and even if they do know, it's not like I lose for sure. I made the calculation that it was incredibly unlikely for anyone to be expecting that strategy, and it payed off. This is why I always have to laugh when people say that it wouldn't have worked at nationals. If I had gone, I would have used an entirely different team, because a large part of its effectiveness was removed simply by winning with it. For most people, however, they don't want to have to make a new team every week (assuming they get successful enough with their first few teams to start drawing attention). This means that either their team will rapidly lose effectiveness as people quickly adapt, or nobody adapts because nobody needs to (in which case the team starts out horrible instead of ending up horrible).