Battle of the Week

By Eo Ut Mortus.
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Have you ever wandered through the RMT archive, happened to come across two excellently built teams of completely different eras, and wondered when pitted against each other, which one would come out on top? Or perhaps you've always wanted to see two specific players in a head-to-head match, except it seems that whenever one is online, the other is not? Maybe you just enjoy sitting back and watching a good match every now and then? Well, these issues and more were the bases behind the idea of the Battle of the Week.

How does the Battle of the Week work?

Every week, Smogon users may nominate players that they wish to see in battle. Users may nominate up to three people, none of which can be themselves. Nominees must have shown activity within the past week and must be willing to participate.

After a period of time, the nominations will be tallied up, and the ten people with the most nominations will be placed into a poll. Everyone will be able to vote for the player(s) they wish to see in the Battle of the Week. After 24 hours, the person with the most votes will be chosen as the first confirmed battler.

After the first battler has been selected, the other nine people will be placed in another poll and voted upon yet again. The person with the most votes will be picked as the second battler. The two players will then schedule a specific date and time for when they can have the match, which will be announced in the thread once decided upon. The Battle of the Week is usually held on the Smogon University server.

If you miss the battle or somehow cannot attend, fear not! The log of the match will be saved and added to the first post of the "Battle of the Week" thread (with spectator comments omitted, no less). The match will generally also be recorded and uploaded to Smogon's YouTube account, SmogonU.

The Battle of the Week program has been running for three weeks, and it has produced three excellent matches between six stellar players.

Week 1: Earthworm vs. Gouki

The first two chosen combatants were Earthworm and Gouki, and those with acute memories might remember that these two were pitted against each other in the finals of the Season 6 Smogon Tour. Earthworm had ultimately won the whole Tour, but Gouki had prevailed in their OU match. It was anybody's game in this grudge match.

Earthworm started off with an early advantage, wrecking Gouki's suicide lead while still managing to set up Stealth Rock. Winning a Speed tie between opposing Taunt Skarmory stopped Gouki from immediately overwhelming him with entry hazards, although Earthworm eventually yielded some control and allowed three layers of Spikes to be set up on him.

Earthworm continued to exert dominance over the battle. Gouki's Latias and Rotom were both served quick deaths a la Pursuit after misfiring Tricks on Earthworm's Tyranitar. Winning 6-3, it looked like Earthworm was on the way to an easy victory, with Gouki's only notable advantage lying in all his entry hazards.

Unfortunately for Earthworm, that was exactly what Gouki needed to stage a comeback. Swampert, Earthworm's best answer to Gouki's Tyranitar, was 2HKOed by Crunch after switching into Spikes. Staving it off with Skarmory's Whirlwind was Earthworm's next best option, and he did so, but Tyranitar's parting Fire Blast shredded away almost all of Skarmory's health. Gouki's final Pokemon, hidden until then, was revealed to be Lucario, and Earthworm had little choice but to sacrifice two Pokemon to take it down.

Suddenly, the score was 2-1, Earthworm. Earthworm's Rotom was up against Gouki's Tyranitar. Anticipating Fire Blast, or perhaps Dark Pulse, Earthworm used Light Screen—only to be met with a very unexpected Dragon Dance. Tyranitar easily Crunched its way through Rotom and a weakened Jirachi to net Gouki a 1-0 victory.

Week 2: Loki vs. imperfectluck

Two more equally well-rounded players were the choices for the second Battle of the Week, in a match-up that could have happened during the Season 8 Smogon Tour Finals. Many predicted (some unhappily so) that imperfectluck would be using one of his infamous stall teams for this match, but he surprised the masses and instead opted for all-out offense. Loki matched imperfectluck's aggressive tempo with an offensive-oriented team of his own, and this match was therefore much, much more fast-paced than the one before it.

The battle was a bloodbath from the beginning. Thanks to a Draco Meteor miss, Loki started off with a slight advantage, setting up Stealth Rock and Exploding with Azelf on imperfectluck's lead Dragonite. The knockout-fest then began. KOs were traded in rapid succession: Loki's Suicune, then imperfectluck's Metagross, then both Kingdra and Heatran—each of them fell one after another. Misfortune struck once more—Loki's Gengar missed its Focus Blast, allowing imperfectluck's Lucario to decimate it with Crunch—only to be then, of course, revenge killed by Infernape. Gyarados dispatched of it with ease, and in turn, Loki disposed of it with his Raikou.

The score was tied at 1-1, and imperfectluck sent out Tyranitar. Tyranitar is usually a surefire answer to most Raikou, but this one happened to be a Life Orb variant with Hidden Power Fighting. However, there was no need for worry on imperfectluck's part—Tyranitar survived the hit with 23% to spare, squeezed in a Dragon Dance, and, as with the first Battle of the Week, finished the battle off with Crunch. One thing of note is that about 60% of the turns in the battle consisted of KOes—a stark contrast from the more stallish first Battle of the Week.

Week 3: Philip7086 vs. reachzero

A bit of friendly banter and competitiveness played a part in producing this battle. Between one of the most successful challenger to the Smogon Frontier and a regular victor of the Late Night Tournament, it was anybody's game.

The basis of each team involved gradually wearing down the opponent's team and sweeping with late game set-up sweepers. With less immediate offense exchanged for more potential power, every move could be make or break. One misplay could easily allow for a Pokemon to fortify itself and begin to sweep.

As the battle progressed, it became apparent that both teams had specific glaring, readily exploitable weaknesses (and in the case of reachzero's, eccentricities, notably naming all of his Pokemon after his opponent). Philip7086 was forced to rely on Whirlwind Skarmory to deal with Charge Beam Rotom—and had reachzero's possessed Thunderbolt or had Philip's lead Uxie not set up Light Screen, it likely would have been game over right then and there. Both teams were forced to deal with their opponent's Suicune by Tricking Choice Specs onto them with their Latias, both of whom were KOed immediately afterward.

In the end, Philip7086 took advantage of reachzero's battered team—most especially, his KOed Snorlax—to set up his Calm Mind Jirachi and sweep. The final score was 5-0, but the battle was closer than the score made it seem, as the nature of each team allowed anyone to sweep at a moment's notice.


So far, the Battle of the Week program is looking very prospective. Make sure you have your say in it, as anybody can nominate, vote for, or support their favorite battlers. Finally and most importantly, watch the battles!

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