Welcome to Smogon Doubles!

By Pocket, Arcticblast, and Pwnemon. Art by Kadew.
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Nearly two and a half years past since the inception of BW, and despite a whopping 649 Pokémon, the feeling that we have learned everything there is to know about this game begins to settle in. So, while we wrap up everything there is left to do in BW, we eagerly await for the release of the upcoming Generation VI.

However, a group of Smogon members have started a new exploration into this seemingly cultivated generation. They have entered into the world of SMOGON DOUBLES.

I invite you all to join in the fun of carving an entirely new metagame together with my fellow SmogDubs comrades and myself! We follow an identical ruleset to Singles, as follows:

By extension of Sleep Clause, the move Dark Void is banned, since it affects both enemies on the field. Unfortunately, Sky Drop is also another banned move for its implications with a known glitch in Doubles. Those two are the only additional rules you need to remember, though!

Our banlist is essentially the same list we utilized at the very beginning of BW1 suspect testing, with only 670+ BST Ubers prohibited from play. Kyurem-B is the only exception to this restriction, and recently released Pokémon from BW2, such as Genesect, Keldeo, and the Therian formes, are also all eligible for play! Smogon Doubles is certainly an untamed territory, and we need your help to carve a cultured metagame!

Why Play Doubles?

Despite having similar Pokémon to OU singles, controlling two Pokémon simultaneously adds an extra layer of complexity that transforms doubles into an entirely different game. In fact, this crucial distinction makes a single turn of doubles far more intense and exhilarating than an average turn of singles. Every move you perform is that much more critical, and the turn of events within a game flip-flops at an alarming rate. If you have become numbed by the meandering matches of singles, doubles will offer you a nice change of pace!

The "double aspect" provides an additional dimension to many moves, giving them uses that are not seen in singles. Protect, a move that proves useful in providing an extra turn of recovery or scouting a Choice item-wielding users' move in singles, also becomes a powerful alternative to switching in doubles. Rather than switching in a Pokémon to tank hits, why not simply prevent any harm at all with Protect!? Any move targeted at the protected user is basically wasted, while the attacking opponent is vulnerable to assaults from the protected user's partner. Since Protect is such a pervasive aspect of doubles, some players even pack Feint users to nullify Protect! A seasoned doubles player knows when to use Protect and how to exploit the opponent's turn of Protect.

It's not just Protect, either; there are plenty of moves that have brand new application in doubles. Here are some of the most notable:

Moves aren't the only aspects of Pokémon that can work differently in doubles, of course! Pinch items can be used much more effectively—a Kingdra or Ludicolo holding an Absorb Bulb can tank Politoed's Surf and use the item to get a 50% boost to their Special Attack. Gems and resist Berries become more viable as well; since battles can be much more fast-paced in doubles, having one of these items can mean the difference between life and death for a team.

Next, we have abilities—some prominent in singles, but others completely neglected—that get a new lease of life in a 2v2 metagame. Intimidate is a notable one, as it drops both opponents' Attack stats, which is incredibly useful for gaining momentum. With the rise in Intimidate's usage comes viability for Defiant; its two notable users in Tornadus and Bisharp are perfectly capable of sweeping if given a free +1 to Attack. Telepathy can't go unmentioned either—though completely useless in singles, the ability to avoid a partner's spread moves single-handedly propelled Musharna from obscurity into the limelight as a great partner for threatening Pokémon like Thundurus-T and Landorus-T. Last, but not least, is Swift Swim. That's right. It's back, baby.

Why Not Play VGC?

VGC is a perfectly fine metagame, but it caters to a completely different purpose than Smogon metagames do. We're here to fill demand for a doubles tier that exists for the same reason as OU—not to prepare for a tournament or win prizes, just for healthy competition and, most importantly, some good honest fun. Oh, and we get to make our own bans, so our rulesets are guaranteed to be more logical, at least until we get a suspect testing method.

Concluding Remarks

There you have it—a new, fresh metagame, with something in store for players of both singles and VGC. I strongly urge everyone to play a couple of ladder matches after reading this article. You just might find a new favorite tier! As someone who's been playing doubles since ADV, I can safely say that a meta based around this playstyle is (in the words of the ST8 Runner-up) justpeachy.

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