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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.
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 now finished, but it will start up again eventually. The program produced a total of twelve matches between twenty-four different players.
Week 9 was the penultimate week of the season, and with zerowing and Huy chosen as the players, things were shaken up significantly. zerowing and Huy are both renowned for their prowess in Nintendo's official tournament format (VGC), 4v4 doubles, with zerowing making it to the USA Nationals and Huy making it to Worlds in 2009. (You can read more about VGC in this issue of the Smog.) With both players being evenly matched in a format unfamiliar to most viewers, it was anyone's guess who would win!
zerowing led with Togekiss and Bronzong, while Huy sent out Zapdos and Hippowdon. Zapdos hit both of zerowing's Pokémon with Discharge and Hippowdon Roared Shuca Empoleon into the field, while Bronzong set up Trick Room. zerowing Exploded next turn on Huy as Empoleon used Protect, doing significant damage to Hippowdon and obliterating Zapdos. Out came zerowing's Abomasnow and Huy's Metagross, then, later, Yanmega. Huy was able to stall the Trick Room turns with Detect and Protect on Yanmega and Metagross, but was unable to Explode his Metagross on Abomasnow due to Trick Room. In the end, he resorted to Bullet Punching Abomasnow instead. Yanmega carried Hidden Power Ground, taking out the weakened Empoleon, but Yanmega and Hippowdon could not take the Blizzards aimed at them, leaving zerowing the victor. The final score was 2-0.
The match was dominated by moves such as Blizzard, Discharge, and Earthquake, which target both of the opponent's Pokémon. According to Huy, Roar was aimed at Bronzong, but zerowing's Follow Me Togekiss allowed him to successfully execute his strategy. As Huy was unable to override Snow Warning with Sand Stream, due to the risk of his Yanmega taking Blizzards from both Empoleon and Abomasnow, zerowing maintained the upper hand until the end of the match.
Week 10 was a triple-header finale, featuring six battlers—two playing OU, two playing UU, and two playing Ubers. This would be the last chance for months that Smogonites could choose who they wanted to see battle, and none of the battles were disappointing.
The season finale's OU match consisted of two excellent players, panamaxis and Atticus. panamaxis consistently performs well in tournaments and is a dedicated ladderer. Atticus is well known for beating the Smogon Frontier, a feat previously thought impossible. It is easy to see why both were chosen, setting the stage for an epic battle.
The battle began to panamaxis's advantage, his Empoleon vs. Atticus's Heatran. Empoleon Surfed while Atticus switched to Latias. Both players exchanged switches, revealing answers to each other's sweepers: panamaxis's Tyranitar to Atticus's Latias, and Atticus's Heatran to panamaxis's Curse Tyranitar. Atticus then set up Stealth Rock as Tyranitar Cursed. However, he evened out the pace by bringing out Scizor and U-turning to Machamp, stripping a third of Empoleon's HP.
First blood was drawn as Machamp DynamicPunched Empoleon, albeit losing a lot of HP in the process. panamaxis then sent out Choice Scarf Rotom-W. Atticus sent out Latias to take the Thunderbolt, but a critical hit evened the score at 5-5. Atticus's own Choice Scarf Rotom-H came out, Will-O-Wisping to ward off Tyranitar, but panamaxis predicted him and Thunderbolted again. Atticus then tried to sacrifice Machamp in order to bring in Rotom, but luckily for him, panamaxis switched to Tyranitar at the same time. Not wanting to sacrifice his Tyranitar just yet, panamaxis switched back to his Rotom in anticipation of DynamicPunch. However, he was met with Machamp's Substitute, and was forced to sacrifice his Rotom to break it.
Machamp was finished off by a Jirachi Iron Head, leaving Atticus with no clues as to what item it carried. Eventually, he took the risk of Thunderbolt and switched to Gyarados. So far, the game had been even, neither player falling behind for long. Atticus once more gained momentum, KOing Latias with a Choice Banded Payback, only to be forced to switch with panamaxis's last Pokémon, Magnezone. A few switches later, Atticus sacrificed his Rotom-H to burn panamaxis's Tyranitar and send in his CB Gyarados once more. panamaxis chose to risk switching Jirachi into Gyarados and was met with a Choice Band Earthquake, a move that now hit panamaxis's whole team super effectively. Magnezone appeared once more and Atticus sacrificed his Scizor to bring in his Heatran, which cleaned up the rest of panamaxis's team with Earth Power. The final score was 2-0, Atticus victorious, in a fast-paced game full of prediction.
The second and final UU Battle of the Week was an intense match between two of the best-known UU players on Smogon, Eo Ut Mortus and LonelyNess, the winner and runner-up respectively of the Best UU Player in the Smog Awards. It should be noted that, prior to the battle, the competitors agreed that there would be 'no ducks'; that is, despite Cresselia and Porygon-Z dropping to UU due to their low usage in OU, neither player would use them.
The battle opened with Eo's Milotic against LonelyNess's Kabutops. Milotic packed Hidden Power Grass, but LN foresaw this and switched to Raikou. Knowing his opponent's defensive style well, he then made a pace-setting move by double switching to Hitmontop against Eo Ut Mortus's switch to Chansey. However, the advantage gained was then lost as he mispredicted, matching Kabutops up against Milotic yet again. Eo then predicted a switch and opted to use Surf as LonelyNess switched back to Raikou, an odd move as Raikou is generally stopped cold by Chansey. Eo perhaps thought LN was trying to double switch again and stayed in, only to be met by a Calm Mind. Eo then brought in Chansey again. After a couple of turns, it was revealed that Raikou carried Rest and Sleep Talk, a variant capable of toppling even Chansey.
Now Eo was in trouble, as only Chansey could take a hit. He had to hope that Sleep Talk did not select Thunderbolt even once. Over the two turns, the odds were just barely in LonelyNess's favor—he had about a 55% chance of choosing Thunderbolt, in which case he would almost certainly win. However, Eo was in luck, and Arcanine was able to switch in and Flare Blitz twice before death. Eo then sent out Drapion, having little choice but to attempt to outspeed and finish the slower, crippled, Raikou. LN switched out, opting to go to the staple UU Fire-type, Arcanine. LN used a well-predicted Toxic, only to miss against the incoming Omastar. Then, anticipating that Omastar would set up entry hazards, he brought his Raikou back. Unfortunately for him, Eo saw this coming and used Surf, finishing off LN's best chance at defeating his stall team. It wasn't over for LonelyNess yet, however. Out came Torterra, Eo responding with Weezing. Eo Ut Mortus then showed that he could take control of the pace too, by executing a double switch that allowed him to begin to lay down the entry hazards that would wear down LonelyNess's offensively-oriented team. Not long after, LonelyNess revealed another potential stall-breaker, Sceptile.
LonelyNess predicted Drapion would return and opened with Focus Blast. However, he was met with Chansey, which absorbed it handily. It then stayed in to Toxic Sceptile as it was rendered next to useless by a Life Orb-boosted Leaf Blade, leaving it at a mere 14% health. Eo chose to keep it as sacrifice fodder, and switched to Drapion in order to force Sceptile out. As Eo stalled with Protect, LonelyNess took his opportunity to switch to Torterra. The entry hazards that Eo had set up were starting to take their toll, however, and LonelyNess was forced to begin using recovery moves to make sure his sweepers didn't faint early. The battle started to become one-sided once Eo successfully predicted LonelyNess's Torterra switch, OHKOing with Ice Beam. LonelyNess then sacrificed his Kabutops to remove Eo's entry hazards, and Eo gave up Chansey to weaken Sceptile. LonelyNess chose to conserve it and brought out Hitmontop, a Pokémon walled by Eo's Weezing. LonelyNess tried to lure it out and attempted a double switch, but Eo used Protect instead of switching to his Weezing immediately. This didn't cost LonelyNess much, but after a few turns, Eo was still in control and Life Orb recoil began to wear Hitmontop down. LonelyNess took his chance to send out Sceptile, but it was met by Drapion and shut down, leaving the score at 4-2. Finally, thanks partially to a convenient poisoning by Weezing's Sludge Bomb, Eo's Milotic finished off LonelyNess's last two remaining Pokémon for a 4-0 victory.
The contestants for the Ubers Battle of the Week finale component were Ace Matador and Maniaclyrasist. Ace Matador is somewhat well known for his consistent production of solid Uber teams and his ladder prowess, and he reached the semifinals of the most recent Ubers Tournament on Smogon. Maniaclyrasist is a hardened veteran with numerous tournaments under his belt, who was, in his day, very well respected for his Ubers skill. Maniac returned from retirement to play in this spectacle match, and he was ready to show that he still had what it takes to be a very successful Ubers battler.
The battle begun with Maniaclyrasist's Tyranitar facing down Ace Matador's Forretress. Ace Matador chose not to risk his Forretress and switched to Palkia in anticipation of a Fire Blast, and was luckily Roared into Scizor, who U-turned back to Palkia, still fearing Fire Blast. Having seen sufficient moves to assume the Tyranitar did not have a Fire-type move, Ace Matador sent in his Forretress to begin setting up entry hazards, while Maniaclyrasist set up his own Stealth Rock. Tyranitar was able to spread damage and scout Ace Matador's team using Roar, so Ace Matador used Rapid Spin to prevent further damage. However, a critical hit with Tyranitar's Earthquake meant that Forretress was only able to set up Stealth Rock of the entry hazards available.
The battle then started to pick up the pace, with Mewtwo finishing off Tyranitar and revealing its Life Orb. Deoxys-S appeared and set up Light Screen and Reflect, possibly in preparation for a set up sweeper or Baton Passer. However, Ace was able to set up a Substitute with Giratina-O, forcing Maniac to go on the defensive and send out Lugia. Giratina-O was no threat to Lugia with dual screens up, and Giratina-O was forced out and replaced by Scizor. Ace Matador used Scizor to rack up damage against Lugia by hitting it with Pursuit. Since Stealth Rock was up, this would mean that the next time Lugia came in, it would be at 57%—not enough to wall many Ubers. Out came Maniac's Metagross, which immediately Exploded upon Scizor, knocking it straight from 100% to 0. The game was tied at 4-4, and the outcome was still unclear.
Maniaclyrasist revealed his Baton Passer, Mew, as Ace Matador sent out his Mewtwo, which immediately Selfdestructed, taking Mew with it thanks to the match's second critical hit. Ace's Palkia against Maniac's Lugia was the next match-up, Maniac perhaps trying to ensure that nothing could set up. Palkia's Thunder missed, allowing Lugia to Roost and Toxic Palkia. Both sides had had their fair share of luck, and now Ace took the lead, at 3-2, for the first time in what had been a very even match throughout. However, Toxic damage was quickly building up, and Palkia fainted as Deoxys-S set up Light Screen yet again. Giratina-O finished the weakened Deoxys-S with Shadow Sneak, and faced down Maniac's final Pokémon: Dialga. Not wanting to risk a Bulk Up variant, and perhaps hoping to outspeed, Ace Matador neglected to choose Shadow Sneak in favor of something more powerful, only to be knocked out by Dialga's Dragon Pulse.
The final showdown, at 1-1, was between Ace Matador's Latios and Maniaclyrasist's Dialga behind Light Screen. At this point, the match hinged on damage rolls and whether Ace chose to use Draco Meteor twice or Calm Mind and then Draco Meteor. Ace chose to Calm Mind, and Draco Meteor came up short by a mere 6%. This climax to a tense and even battle left Maniaclyrasist as the victor, 1-0.
The first Battle of the Week season was very successful and produced many great matches. We hope that everyone enjoyed watching all of the big name matchups they voted for! Remember that you can always check out the matches turn-by-turn on YouTube. Look out for the second season of the Battle of the Week, coming some time in 2010!
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