Introduction to the Smogon Classic

By Celica.
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Snorlax & Tyranitar

Art by LifeisDANK.

Introduction

Even if the Smogon Classic is one of the most recent official tournament of the website, it is the only one that focuses itself only on the past generations. It gives a chance not only to the most experienced players of Smogon to compete in their first OverUsed tier, but also to the newcomers to discover seasoned tiers, with their own mechanics and particularities. The players fight in open tournaments, collecting points in order to reach the playoffs and perhaps get the Classic Trophy trophy.


A bit of history...

Two years ago, Jorgen noticed that though past generations were featured in team tournaments such as World Cup and Smogon Premier League, there was not any official tournament for old-gens players. He wanted to introduce a Smogon Tour-like tournament in which players would battle in the three generations that were not featured in the official Smogon Tour—RBY, GSC, and ADV at that time—but some issues (such as problematic GSC battles in live tournaments, or the fact that with a seventh generation, DPP would have been snubbed by both tournaments) were raised. However, BKC proposed another idea.

BKC

Basically everyone was really bummed about ADV leaving tour when XY came out because ADV was (and still is) such a beloved format, so Jorgen suggested an old gen tour for the first three generations. But then Ciele had the idea to extend it to the five first generations, from RBY to BW, using the Grand Slam format. Pokémon Online was also doing an old gen tournament (although theirs was simply one gens 1-5 bo5 tournament), which I joined, and I really wanted it to happen. I pitched it in Inside Scoop and the Tournament Directors were on board. But Ciele really deserves the credit (Celica's note: and is too modest for accepting an interview about it :p). I would advise this tournament even to newcomers, because each generation's OverUsed tier is, in my opinion, excellent and interesting and it is well worth your while to learn it. They're all fun to play; you don't have to become an RBY genius overnight: it's just enjoyable.


Format

As mentioned, each of the past generations are featured in an individual tournament following the classic best-of-three, single elimination format called "Cup". Based on the number of sign-ups and your performance in a Cup, you will be awarded a certain number of points using the same system as in Smogon Tour. Once the five Cups are finished, the 12 players at the top of the ranking fight in best-of-five single elimination playoffs. Notice that this iteration of the tournament won't include ORAS OU, and that it will be frozen into the same format as the previous editions.


The past generations at a glance

Chansey RBY OU is the first generation, and despite its restricted metagame, no one would call it "simple". There are actually no IVs, no EVs (which means that the stats of the Pokémon are maximized), no entry hazards, and no items. As with most of the old generations, there is no Team Preview either. However, this does not make much of a difference, since most teams have at least the top-tier Pokémon we call the Big 4: Chansey, Snorlax, Exeggutor, and the infamous Tauros. These Pokémon are so dominating that you can hardly play without them. However, there is an existing, albeit small, place for anti-meta teambuilding, which can surprise your opponent (for example, Snorlax can use multiple sets, or rare Pokémon such as Persian can be threatening). Finally, having almost the same team as your opponent means you will have to play smart: each turn can potentially be decisive and the matches are often very close.

Snorlax GSC OU is a unique tier, and while many people find it slow, it is the OverUsed generation that requires the highest amount of experience and knowledge. The second generation saw the appearance of items, and Leftovers is GSC's bread and butter: 99% of the Pokémon, bar Marowak, which has its Thick Club, use Leftovers (which has led some Pokémon to use Thief). With all stats maximized, it is quite hard to kill a Pokémon, which means that having a long-term plan is very important: this fashion of improving your position turn-by-turn is similar to chess.

GSC squads are separated into three categories: stall, offense, which are the teams that have a chance to break through stall (Explosion is the #1 move to use on offense), and Baton Pass, which, though not used regularly, actually requires a decent amount of skill. In both cases, Snorlax is the GSC based lord, and the most dominating Pokémon in the tier: it has almost everything needed in the metagame, and is a jack-of-all-trades (and master of most). Paralysis is also used by both stall and offense, since it allows the stall teams to set up a Belly Drum Snorlax, which is their main source of damage, and offense teams to break through tough walls. Spikes were introduced with one layer and have high usage: they are a central point of the metagame, and Spikes and Rapid Spin users have their own fight inside the battle itself. That is the beginning of entry hazard domination through the generations.

Celebi ADV OU, also known as Advance, is a middle ground of DPP and GSC: it is more calm than the first but still faster than the second. ADV is often considered as the golden age of the strategy: the coming of IVs and EVs was an important change, but Advance is also known as one of the—if not the—most balanced metagames in competitive Pokémon. Plenty of new moves were also introduced during this generation, such as Calm Mind, Dragon Dance, and Will-O-Wisp. The lack of the super-strong moves (which only came in DPP) makes bulky sweepers more viable, and most of the teams are what you would call "balance" in the most recent generations, with a couple of sweepers and one or two defensive Pokémon. Trappers such as Magneton and Dugtrio are also very common and can quickly remove Skarmory, Forretress, Blissey, etc., forcing players to make compromises in teambuilding. Finally, Spikes stacking to three layers is an important component of the games, and each team must have a way to deal with them. Tyranitar and permanent sand are also a dominating force on this tier, which is very popular among new players.

While the third generation brought IVs and EVs and therefore changed the face of competitive Pokémon, DPP OU continued this trend and added many new mechanics. The most important one is probably the physical / special split. In the previous generations, an attack was either physical or special depending on its type. Now, each move has a defined category; as a result, many old Pokémon had brand new movepools and sets. But two of the most dominant moves were also released in Stealth Rock and U-turn, and many other powerful attacks, such as Draco Meteor, Close Combat, Outrage, Stone Edge, etc., appeared at the same time. Finally, Choice Specs, Choice Scarf, and Life Orb gave to the offensive teams new toys to use; DPP OU is a very aggressive metagame in which predicting right and keeping the momentum is more important than ever. However, defensive teams can still work, and they enjoy the multitude of hazards (Toxic Spikes also appeared during this generation) and spinblockers (Rotom being good on both stall and offense as a jack-of-all-trades) to slowly shut down the opposing team. There is also a whole "lead metagame" in DPP, and Pokémon such as Azelf and Machamp made their names in it. For inexperienced players, the main challenge is to guess the last hidden Pokémon of the opponent's team, which is crucial in late-game.

BW OU is the last generation in which weather is permanent, with Drizzle Politoed and Drought Ninetales keeping Tyranitar company. Despite the general nerf of weather sweepers (Stoutland and Venusaur most notably) in the later stages of the metagame, weather is still a very important and unique aspect of BW OU. That said, weatherless teams are also a perfectly viable option: Pokémon such as Volcarona, Dragonite, Latios, and Breloom don't need weather to clean a team, and DragMag teams (Magnezone plus a bunch of dragons such as Dragonite, Garchomp, and the like) are more than good. Entry hazards are also very prevalent in this metagame due to the limited choice of Rapid Spin users (Starmie, Tentacruel, Donphan, Forretress, and Excadrill), the strength of spinblockers (Jellicent is able to spinblock and is a good way to deal with rain), and the way Defog used to work. If you are facing a bulky team, Spikes and Stealth Rock will often be on the field. Despite the sheer power of the hyper offensive teams, rain and sand stall or semi-stall aren't too uncommon (see the famous Spikes + Magic Guard cores). The metagame revolves around classic teams, mostly sand balance teams, cookie cutter rain, weatherless bulky, and very agressive hyper offense. Despite sand being the most dominant playstyle, sun still has some tricks, with Cresselia, and can counter Tyranitar's very high usage with Dugtrio. Another big change is the introduction of Team Preview (Ojama describes its effect below).

Celica

Hello Ojama! You are the first Smogon Classic winner. Does this tournament have a special meaning for you?

Ojama

It does, mainly because I feel like this tournament became the most prestigious tournament even though a lot of people seem to disagree with that; being consistent in five tiers requires a big amount of work and since I'm an old gens fan it meant a lot to win this tournament. I personally think the top 12 of the first edition was the strongest, or one of the strongest, top, ever.

Celica

You also won the other official tournament that features old gens, the Smogon Tour. Would you compare those two tournaments?

Ojama

Nah, those two are radically different. The preparation for both tournaments can not be comparable. The Smogon Tour can be divided into two tournaments, the regular season and the playoffs: the regular season can be compared with a marathon (it is even more true now with replays being available right after the games are done), so you gotta have a ton of teams and pick the right one to make sure you dont get counterteamed the round after; you don't really prepare a specific team for one tour, you just bring standard ones and hope to amass as many points as possible. On the other side, tour playoffs can be compared to the Smogon Classic as a whole. You gotta prepare for one opponent every round, from r1 of every cup to playoffs finals, and on a personal level, my preparation is very different depending on the tournament im playing in (live tour or not). I also feel like the Smogon Classic playoffs are much harder to reach for someone "unknown". Newcomers may see it as rude but that's kinda the case here: new gens players can make the Smogon Tour playoffs any day now that DPP and ADV are gone, but that is not really the case with the Smogon Classic because of RBY + GSC being mastered by great players (GSC being in my opinion the one tier in which you can win 99.9% of the case against a random if you know the tier well). Also if I may add, the Smogon Tours McMeghan, BKC (his first one), and myself won are radically different from the new one.

Celica

But you would still advise the new players to learn old gens.

Ojama

Yes, because those are the best and the most competitive ones. ADV is close to being a perfect metagame (fuck Spikes), and DPP is a fantastic tier although it has been kinda ruined by new gen players lately. GSC is a very interesting one and is far from being the boring tier everybody claims it is; RBY is RBY and like GSC is not just pure luck and clicking buttons hoping to get a crit/freeze/para. It is indeed a tier that can not be compared with any others, but it's a very interesting one and probably one of the funniest ones to play, with a lot of mind games etc. But unfortunately Pokémon turned into a "get the matchup at all cost" game, with only a few standard teams being used by everybody, and that mentality even reached the DPP metagame, which in my opinion is very sad. So yeah, I would obviously suggest new players to learn old gens but I would certainly advise them to make their own teams: you can't master a tier if you just steal teams.

Oh also, playing with no Team Preview is also a very good reason to learn and play old gens. This is kinda related to what I said regarding "getting the matchup at all cost" because Team Preview kinda forced that in new generations, while in old gens you could play a lot on the surprise factor, which adds a lot of mind games and thought between turns. It has a huge impact on the teambuilding and the way of playing, obviously. You could get into a game with a team that could seem frail on paper and weak to certain threats but because of the surprise factor and lead matchup (it's the key of most of DPP games) you could end up winning, because of your opponents locking themselves on a certain move, allowing you to set up with your late-game sweeper (Swords Dance Lucario is the best example). With Team Preview and the choice of your lead turn 1 that really changed everything.

Celica

Well, it was very informative. Thank you for the time, and good luck for your future tournaments!

Ojama

Thanks, no problem.


Conclusion

The Smogon Classic is one of the most prestigious tournaments of the website, and it is easy to understand why; only those who master five generations will be able to reach to the playoffs and win. However, it is also the best way to discover brand new metagames, so don't hesitate! The Ruins of Alph forum compiles everything you need to become the champion tomorrow.

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Puzzle Page

Alakazam art by Bummer

Art by Bummer.

Welcome to the eleventh edition of the Flying Press's Puzzle Page! Thanks to all of those who sent in their answers. Congratulations to Bartimaeus, who has once again earned the most points last time for the previous set of puzzles! As usual, anyone who submitted correct answers has earned points on the leaderboard at the bottom of the page.

Thanks to all of the members of the puzzle team who helped out with the puzzles in this edition, including Conni, Mr. Perry, and SparksBlade!


Parameters

By using the /dexsearch command on Pokémon Showdown, find out which parameters match only the Pokémon listed. For example, say you are given these Pokémon: Bibarel, Bidoof, Pachirisu, Patrat, Raticate, Rattata, Smeargle, and Watchog. Even though all of them learn both Protect and Substitute, there are many other Pokémon that can as well, so the trick is to try to narrow down your options as much as possible. Parameters may include moves, abilities, tiers, generations, colors, and so on.

  1. Banette, Kecleon, Misdreavus, Mismagius, Shedinja, Shuppet, Smeargle (2 Parameters)
  2. Donphan, Phanpy, Piloswine, Politoed, Slowking, Smeargle, Steelix, Swinub (2 Parameters)
  3. Avalugg, Bergmite, Carbink, Magnemite, Magneton, Magnezone, Shuckle (3 Parameters)

Portmanteaus

Portmanteaus comprise several Pokémon-related terms, each of which is in a set of [brackets]. Each term and its preceding and succeeding terms must "overlap" with each other with two or more of their letters. All of the overlapping terms, when combined, will form one large amalgam of terms, which is your answer! For example, [Gen V Dark-type][Gen III Water-type][Gen II Ground-type] would form the term bisharpedonphan (a combination of Bisharp, Sharpedo, and Donphan).

  1. [Gen V Flying-type][Gen III Poison-type][Gen VII Poison-type][Gen I Psychic-type][Gen IV Ground-type][Gen I Fire-type]
  2. [Gen V Rock-type][Gen I Psychic-type Move][Gen I Psychic-type Move][Berry Species (including the word "Berry")][Gen III NPC][Gen V Held Item][Gen IV Dark-type Move][Gen VII Bug-type][Gen I Grass-type][Gen III Ability][Gen VI Psychic-type]
  3. [Gen I Electric-type][Gen VII Bug-type][Gen VII Grass-type Move][Gen VI Held Item][Gen III Normal-type Move][Gen VI Normal-type Move][Gen VII Held Item][Gen III Fire-type Move][Gen VI Electric-type Move][Gen VII Steel-type Move][Gen III Normal-type Move][Gen IV Dragon-type Move][Gen IV Normal-type Move][Berry Species]

Cryptogram

In a cryptogram, every letter used in a message is replaced with a different letter. In order to solve it, you must determine what the original message is. The following phrase is a quote from a character in the main series Pokémon games. For example, a cryptogram of "VDWXQFR REBU AFRSUBKYTCA!" would unscramble to "Pikachu used Thunderbolt!", as each U in the original sentence is swapped for R, each E is swapped for B, and so on.

  1. TJN GUD BUT OCURIEIZ TJN OUDR. U HJMIXJD, IEID AK AR'B ZIEIZIV UB U VIART, AB BRAFF LNBR U HJMIXJD.

What's that sprite?

These images have been zoomed in from the sprites of several Pokémon-related images. Your aim here is to find out what the original picture is. For example, this:

Sample Sprite

is a cropped-out version of:

Bulbasaur

Sprites may include items, Trainer classes, and Pokémon and their formes.

1 2 3
Sprite 1 Sprite 2 Sprite 3

Pokémon Link

In this puzzle, you must create a path from one Pokémon to the other identical Pokémon by drawing a continuous line. Each line must be either horizontal or vertical but can change directions wherever applicable. Every square in the grid must be filled, and lines cannot pass through other filled boxes or boxes with icons in them. Keep in mind that lines may not be created diagonally nor can boxes be filled without being part of the continuous line.


Conclusion

The answers to the previous issue's puzzles will be posted here, and answers for this issue will be posted with the next issue. As usual, once you've completed one, some, or even all of the puzzles that this page has to offer, send your answers via a private message to Smogon's Flying Press on the forums (a Smogon account is required), with its title as "Puzzle Page: Volume 11". Good luck to all who dare to participate, and we'll see you again in a few weeks!

Leaderboard

  1. Bartimaeus & Yellow Paint: 45 points
  2. 6Infernapes: 40 points
  3. Calm: 35 points
  4. Someoneelse: 23 points
  5. AWailOfATail: 22 points
  6. Axel Rouche: 21 points
  7. Max. Optimizer: 19 points
  8. Mowtom: 13 points
  9. Saywhaat: 13 points
  10. HikozaruYes: 12 points
  11. Seito Hakari: 10 points
  12. Robotjam2: 9 points
  13. EnemyJurist: 7 points
  14. baconbagon: 6 points
  15. {Pokemon_Vigilante}: 4 points
  16. flygonfanatic: 4 points
  17. Aragorn the King: 3 points
  18. Martin: 3 points
  19. SovereignC2: 3 points
  20. Vanillish Wafer: 2 points

Answers

Answers to the previous puzzles:

Parameters

  1. Brutal Swing, Frost Breath
  2. Psych Up, Technician
  3. Pink, Refresh, Surf

Pokémon Countdown

  1. Eterna City, Resort Area, Storm Drain (10), Acid Armor, Air Cutter, Constric, Manectite, Manectrite, Rare Candy, Red Nectar, Tyranitar, Tyrantrum (9)
  2. Thousand Waves (13), Thunder Wave (11)
  3. Plasma Card (10), Ampharos, Archeops, Sharpedo (8)

Cryptogram

  1. I'm absolutely perfect! I am perfection! I am the perfect ruler of a perfect new world!

What's that sprite?

1 2 3
Barboach Krokorok Razz Berry

Pokémon Link

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