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Rate My Team is a concept that has been alive on Smogon for a long time, centered around the idea that we all could use a little help with our teams, and also in an attempt to chronicle the successful teams of a metagame as it evolves. Throughout the Rate My Team forum, many teams are posted on a day-to-day basis; however, the manner in which one presents a team varies from person to person. More often than not, the RMTs posted in the Rate My Team forum show a considerable lack of effort and tend to be presented in a mediocre fashion. Unfortunately, this moderate presentation is oftentimes the deciding factor between getting your team rated and having it be ignored. If an RMT is ignored simply because it lacks a successful presentation, it's likely that you may never get the help that you need. There is nothing to lose by improving the presentation of your RMT, whereas you have a lot to gain with the added effort. Ultimately, improving the quality of the presentation for your RMTs will reflect positively on both your feedback and the Rate My Team forum at large. It is the process by which one makes these improvements that is the primary topic of this article.
Arguably, the most troubling issue that the Rate My Team forum has to deal with since its creation is people neglecting to include a sufficient amount of information in their RMTs. In order for raters to successfully rate your team, it is essential that ample detail is provided as to how the team works and what threatens it. If you know what threatens your team when you post it, including a threat list will be of great assistance to raters. The majority of raters that frequent the Rate My Team forum are not going to and should not have to break their backs playtesting posted RMTs in an attempt to discover what is wrong with them. Tell us what niche each individual Pokemon has and your reasons for selecting them. Note that "it's my favorite" is not a legitimate reason; focus on competitiveness when explaining your choice. Furthermore, if you have chosen a Pokemon that differs from the bog standard, it's recommended that you explain your reasoning behind selecting it over another Pokemon that can perform a similar role.
For example, if you are using Feraligatr over Gyarados, you must have a reason for doing so, so why not explain that reason? Additionally, if you are using an obscure moveset or EV spread, it would be wise to state why you've decided upon using it to avoid bewilderment among the individuals that may rate your RMT. Bear in mind to include the goal of your team when creating a RMT. If you intend to set up a Raikou sweep, make sure to make note of that. This will increase the probability of a rater assisting you with your goal. If you wish to construct an adequate stall team, tell the reader so they know you want to win through stalling methods—a rater will be less likely to say "Use a Dragon Dance Salamence!" if you do so. Don't be redundant, though! Say what needs to be said and move on. Being terse with your logic makes it easier for the raters. Excessive paragraphing where it isn't necessary isn't helping the rater; in fact, it's just making their job that much harder.
The better you inform an audience about your team's imperfections and what you're looking for in a nice, succinct manner, the better raters can assist you. This is a rule for a reason! Refrain from using descriptions such as "standard X" or "special sweeper", as they don't tell the rater anything meaningful about your team and will reflect negatively on the rates you get—if you even get any. Furthermore, if your RMT lacks a considerable amount of useful information, expect to have it locked or deleted by a RMT moderator, such as the fascist Italian dictator under the alias Haunter, or your friendly neighborhood moderator, Bloo...
...You don't want that, do you?
No matter how good your team may be, it is your presentation that makes or breaks the way one perceives it. If your presentation is all over the place and lacks some sort of consistent theme, then the reception your team receives will be reflective of this. As one of the most effortless parts of creating a RMT, formatting is something you should appreciate, but overdoing it with gigantic pictures and a million multi-colored words is not the way you should be going about it. Besides, we don't want to be responsible for the cause of multiple epileptic fits, do we?
Keep your theme consistent and simplistic. Nobody likes a thread with pictures of Pokémon and many more of real life comparisons. Nor do people like to see threads with bullet points at every turn, fifteen different colors in one sentence, or random Jumpman16 emoticons just because of his TV-white grin. A simple sprite of a Pokémon works fine; so does a simple header for each possible chapter of your book. I mean, "Rate My Team".
A "Team at a Glance" section in the RMT takes little time to compile and instantly gives readers an idea of what sort of team they will be rating. It also gives raters the opportunity to swiftly identify any immediate and more potent threats more efficiently. Furthermore, it also looks good to those who are looking at your thread for the sake of it, as they are given direct access to how you see your own team before deployed into grievous combat.
Writing a ten-thousand word dissertation on how well your team works, how you nicknamed your Pokémon, and why you think it should be branded as "Smogon's greatest thread" may seem all well and good, but that is not the reason for why a RMT topic should be posted. In fact, to be quite frank, raters couldn't give a toss about why you think your thread should be Smogon's greatest; they don't care how you nicknamed your Pokémon as, more often than not, that information is completely irrelevant to them. Yes, please include information on how your team works, but do not forget that you are (or should be) hoping to have your team reviewed and changes suggested to improve its performance. Your thread should not be used as an extensive victory screech put into more words than "PWNAGE PKMNZ LOLOLOL".
It is because of this for why it is encouraged that users give further information to not only back up the pros of the team, but also the cons: i.e. what Pokémon pose a significant threat to the team and how do they do so? Never forget that raters aren't psychic; they do indeed require some direction in order to solve whatever dilemma you may face.
Dictating your differential on what Pokémon you think are troublesome is beneficial to all parties involved in the thread. You could write about your troubles in a brief message at the end of your presentation (but remember it is no "Dear Diary, I got my ass kicked by a Machamp, please help. Love, vashta" situation). Alternatively, you could compile a threat list if your problems are too comprehensive and would be better expressed in such a format. Either is fine; just remember to clearly state how and why certain Pokémon may be troublesome to you, and let the rater do the rest.
Before posting your team, make sure you actually play with it! As a community, nobody is remotely interested in rating a team that you made in five minutes. Raters look for teams that have been tested extensively so the obvious flaws within it are already remedied. If you playtest your team for a reasonable period of time, it's likely that you'll be able to discover what's wrong with it. From there, you can begin to experiment with various options you believe have the potential of improving your team. Once you reach the point where you can't figure out what to do, you should then seek the advice of others by posting a RMT. If you gravely need someone to do the aforementioned for you, you would be better off signing up for Battling 101 to learn the mechanics of team-building. Teams that have not been thoroughly tested aren't hard to spot out and are painstaking to deal with because the majority of them need an overhaul in order to become suitable for competitive play. Remember, we aren't here to rebuild your team—we're here to maximize its potential through recommendations.
Another pressing issue the forum faces involves the use of grammar. In the Rate My Team forum, there has been a tragic influx of people who seem to be fond of using gimmick slang, such as 'uhh', 'teh', 'pwnage', and so forth in their posts. The use of this internet slang is frowned upon. It's significantly easier to type like that on IRC or on other internet chats, but it negatively impacts your post in the Rate My Team forum (or any forum, for that matter). It often results in your post being difficult to read and understand, and inhibits its organization and meaningfulness. You don't want your RMT to be overlooked; rather, you want it to draw in as many readers as possible—the easiest way to do this is to spell out your words! You will increase your chance at receiving a meaningful and swift reply if you take the time to formulate your sentences coherently and use proper punctuation. Naturally, not everyone's first language is English, but really what counts is putting forth serious effort to make your posts readable. As long as you do that, no one will think less of you or your work for it.
In essence, you only need to remember four simple things when you are creating a RMT: the information, the grammar, the aesthetics, and a certainty that you have playtested your team beforehand. These are the essential components required when constructing a successful RMT thread. So, why not get involved? Nothing can go wrong if you have paid careful attention to the contents of this article, and you'll have raters flocking to your thread instantaneously in their masses!
Conversely, you may still be unsure about what a good RMT looks like. If so, then fear no more—the RMT archive is the place to go. The RMT archive hosts a careful selection of well-presented, excellent teams which are not only well-constructed and successful in their own right, but are also portrayed in a cogent and visually-pleasing manner. Teams located here are can be used as excellent models for any future RMT.
Have fun writing!
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