DOU SCL II Discussion Thread

Actuarily

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Thanks to Emma for thread format
Welcome to the Smogon Champions League II Discussion Thread -- Doubles edition! This thread will be used to discuss Doubles OU in SCL II related topics, whether it’s about the players, general metagame trends, matches, predictions and so on.
Auction Results:
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Price List
DOU Players and Teams
Arena Spartans - Animus, Akaru Kokuyo
Circuit Breakers - Toxigen, Tenzai
Indigo Platoon - Z Strats, zee
Mt. Silver Foxes - qsns, dnagerbdager
Orange Islanders - JRL, Paraplegic
Power Plant Dynamos - Spurrific, emma, Enzonana
Showdown Shoguns - Ninja, Grandmas Cookin
Studio Gible - Frania, Shadowmonstr7
Technical Machines - Joeux9, Memoric
Uncharted Terrors - Nails, Lunar.​

17k - Nails
15.5k - Spurrific
12k - Joeux9, Z Strats (retained)
11.5k - Animus
10k - JRL
8k - qsns
7k - Lunar
6k - emma, Memoric
5.5k - zee
5k - dnagerbdager
4k - Ninja
3k - Akaru Kokuyo, Frania, Grandmas Cookin, Paraplgeic, Shadowmonstr7, Tenzai, Toxigen, Enzonana

Links:
Commencement Thread
Schedule
Predictions Thread
DOU Replays
DOU Usage Stats

Here’s to a great SCL!
 
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Crunchman

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The most interesting teams to look out for are always the make or break teams. This year, these are IMO the teams (presumably) starting established VGC players with little to no DOU experience and the Three-k-Threats.
- Spartans and TMs: Joe is making his OTT debut, apparently Animus has played in teamtours before; both went for pretty hefty price tags which just about solidifies their positions as starters. I think both of them going for so much may have shaken up some managers' draft plans and ended up with more good, potential starter quality players on the board than managers anticipated. This would explain things like zee and Paraplegic, both starters from last year, going for 3k and presumably benching behind more expensive players.

Anyway, the VGC -> DOU player pipeline is pretty tried and true; Animus has had respectable showings in OSDT (might be 9-1 if I wasn't lucky ;)) and Joe has been grinding in the past week, and should be able to hold their own in the playing department.

- Animus' has Akaru Kokuyo behind him, who has really been popping off lately; however I'm not sure how much building Akaru does on his own and I'd imagine they'll need outside support for prep and teambuilding help. Projected regular season record: 3-6

- Joe is paired with Memo, a very experienced player who is definitely a semi-prolific builder. Based on my brief interactions with Joe in DOUcord, and my more prolonged interactions with Memo this year, I expect to see a lot of fat balance/goodstuffy teams. Neither of them seem to be too shy with taking risks in the builder and bringing heat, so I won't be too surprised if I see a few unorthodox picks hit the field throughout the season (somewhere in between Shedinja and Magmar, most likely). Projected regular season record: 4-5

Three-k-Threats:

- Circuit Breakers: Toxigen and Tenzai are an interesting combo, both are longtime DOU veterans with OTT experience. I think their prep-work and building is going to be solid; I rate both's building highly, and both are quite solid fundamentally. Either of the two should be able to hold their own against the rest of the field, although I'm not sure they will dominate. If you were going to pick two 3ks to fill your DOU slot, these are two very valuable 3k players to do so with. Projected regular season record: 3-6

- Studio Gible: The most expensive DOU player on this team (aim) probably isn't even playing DOU, lmao. Anyway, both of these players are veterans; however, Frania hasn't looked particularly sharp lately and I think this is Shadowmonstr's first OTT experience as a player. Also, neither of these players are really known for their building, and thus will need to find somebody to supplement that weakness. Perhaps this is where fespy comes in, as he's worked with Shadowmonstr quite a bit in the past. Anyway, if Frania can find his step again, or if Shadowmonstr can play at a high level like he did in DPL 7, they should be able to manage. Projected regular season record: 1-8

- Showdown Shoguns: The last of the three Three-k-Threat slots finds Ninja and Gmas Cookin' teaming together. It's as of yet unclear whether Ninja will be starting in SS DOU, or if Gma will be taking the helm. Both have proven themselves to have respectable playing abilities, but in order to succeed will really need to turn their prep and play up to the next level. Projected regular season record: 3-6

I expect the following more established slots to be going positive.

- Indigo Platoon: Z Strats good at game, zee good at game. zee especially I think has a lot of creative ideas and should spice up Z Strats' team repertoire a bit. I expect this team to do well. Projected regular season record: 7-2

- Mt. Silver Foxes: I'm not sure how long it's been since qsns last played the tier, but they were able to pick it up relatively quickly during DWCOP and especially with dnagerbdager support should have a good time. This is another more uncertain slot solely because its not clear how much qsns has rusted; if they can return to form promptly they should field a strong record. Projected regular season record: 6-3

- Orange Islanders: Despite JRLs apparently poor record in Snake, he is still a very fundamentally sound and formidable player. Admittedly it's been a while since I saw him play SS, but this slot should have no issues performing. Paraplegic could also be a legitimate starter, but I'd guess JRL is starting because of his higher price tag. Projected regular season record: 5-4

- Power Plant Dynamos: This is a very strong squadron. Spurrific is an excellent pilot; Emma and Enzo should keep this slot well prepped. Really not too much to say here. Projected regular season record: 7-2

- Uncharted Terrors: I think this is the most expensive Doubles slot, excluding aim. Lunar has been a longtime staple in OTTs as support and Nails has been traditionally very strong. Projected regular season record: 7-2
 

zee

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I'll have a lot more thoughts over the course of the week between PRs and a potential smogcast/emmacast but quick thoughts:

Actuarily gonna miss u friend

Will be cool to see kyle and joe go at it after some pretty good seasons of VGC from both. Obviously joe had the hotter VGC season but kyle's played in SPL before and is coming off an OSDT playoffs run so both are doing pretty well for themselves! As far as I know though neither are too familiar with their supports.

Ninja is gonna have to prove he can hang with the best. I think it's either them or Joe for this year's biggest question mark.

Happy to see JRL back in after being the biggest snub of last year, and I'm also happy to see qsns back after taking a season off.

Rip stax :(

Z Strats / Nails / Spurrific are likely going to be almost everyone's top 3 in terms of PRs, and their supports (wink) are all really good for them too. Hard to bet against them in this preseason. This also means ray v burns is def the w1 highlight.

Toxigen starter is very deserved, happy for my boy

Frania good.
 

emma

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Tier 1

1. Indigo Platoon - Z Strats, zee

Z Strats is the best SS Doubles OU player and excellent in preparation. zee is good support.

2. Uncharted Terrors - Nails, Lunar.

6-4 in SSD III, 6-3 in SSD IV, 6-3 in SCL I; Nails constantly shows up and plays at an elite level. Lunar. is excellent support and will make sure Nails is caught up.

Tier 2

3. Orange Islanders - JRL, Paraplegic

JRL is the best player left and I'm very glad he's back in the spotlight. It's a bit of an awkward pairing since Paraplegic does not speak Spanish and they have mismatching timezones so they'll have to make it work. This pairing also relies on Paraplegic building well.

4. Mt. Silver Foxes - qsns, dnagerbdager

This ranking is based on the fact that I suspect a certain someone will be in their teamchat which boosts their ranking a bit. The mysterious sponsor and dnagerbdager should keep qsns motivated and catch them up. 15-14 all time and helping last SCL outweighs qsns' recent inactivity and struggles to me.

5. Technical Machines - Joeux9, Memoric

Wildcard. If Joeux9 put his full effort into this tournament I'm fairly confident he would end up in the Top 3-4 overall but it seems like he'll be busy at Pokemon Go regionals and it might just be another tournament to him. I think Memoric is an excellent partner who will have to carry the building.

6. Circuit Breakers - Toxigen, Tenzai

Glad Toxigen gets to start and Tenzai makes his return to make probably the strongest 6k pairing you could find. I think their chemistry is great but on the weaker end playing and preparation wise overall.

7. Arena Spartans - Animus, Akaru Kokuyo

Animus has been pretty active in the past few weeks and seems to legitimately want to get better and compete. However, another weird support pairing and Animus' overall break from the tier and 4-7 overall brings them to the bottom of Tier 2.

Tier 3

8. Studio Gible - Frania, Shadowmonstr7

Frania also hasn't been around much lately and needs significant building and metagame support that I do not think Shadowmonstr7 can provide. Great player though and wouldn't be surprised if he scrapes by to 4-5 once more.

9. Showdown Shoguns - Ninja, Grandmas Cookin

Ninja is not someone who I would have picked to start in the pool despite their 10-0 OSDT run. I do not think Grandmas Cookin will be able to hard carry in preparation and might have to substitute in later on.
 
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Actuarily

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Looks like a few vgc players with minimal dou experience were taken this year. Which I’m not sure how well that will work out seeing as with dynamax being such a lynchpin of the VGC metagame, but banned in DOU, dou and VGC have never been more different. But mons is mons I guess. Anyway here’s my PRs, and as always, if you don’t like where you get projected, prove me wrong:

1.Indigo Platoon - Z Strats, zee
Projected record: 7-2
Z Strats will be quick to remind you they went 7-2 last year, so I expect big things from them this year again. Zee is an excellent partner, so this pairing gets the #1 slot.

2. Orange Islanders - JRL, Paraplegic
Projected record: 6-3
JRL was last years biggest snub, and Paraplegic did well last SCL. I’m not sure who the starter will be, but both could work. I think they have a great mix of experienced building and playing. My only concern is language barrier & timezones.

3. Power Plant Dynamos - Spurrific, emma, Enzonana
Projected record: 6-3
Spurrific is a fantastic player, and they’re supported by the two best supports in the tournament. I think this is a perfect pairing, as Spurrific’s focus can sometimes be elsewhere, but with Emma and Enzo in support I know they’ll be ready for every matchup.

4. Uncharted Terrors - Nails, Lunar.
Projected record: 5-4
Nails always performs well in these official team tournaments, and Lunar has been around the block in these tournaments as well. There’s excellent playing ability on this team, but my only concern is the building.

5. Circuit Breakers - Toxigen, Tenzai
Projected record: 5-4
Two capable players and builders, but I don’t know who will start, either could work. The only concern is lack of official team tour wins on their record, but both have been around before and should do admirably.

6. Showdown Shoguns - Ninja, Grandmas Cookin
Projected record: 5-4
Ninja has been dominant so far in OSDT, and will look to continue that here. They’ve had the most respectable showing recently, but are fairly new to the tier, and might be heavily reliant on Grandmas Cookin’s solid support.

7. Arena Spartans - Animus, Akaru Kokuyo
Projected record: 4-5
This one is a little confusing to me, if you told me these two were the drafted players for a team, I would say Akaru is the starter, but Animus got drafted for way more. So I could definitely see a rotation here if things don’t start off well. Akaru’s been playing extremely well, and Animus did top cut osdt, but my concern is neither are known for building their own teams (but at this point you could definitely skate by from bringing known solid teams, so building isn’t necessarily required)

8. Studio Gible - Frania, Shadowmonstr7
Projected record: 3-6
Two good players that have been around, but I do worry about activity, and both are known for bringing some eccentric teams. They both do just know how to win games, so it’s definitely possible they do better than expected.

9. Mt. Silver Foxes - qsns, dnagerbdager
Projected record: 2-7
This team’s fate is going to be decided by teamwork, as qsns is a very capable player when focused, but hasn’t been on mons recently. Dnager is the perfect partner however, as they’re a great teammate who is constantly active and tries hard, plus the two have a good relationship. So this could very easily go the other way and we could see qsns back in form.

10. Technical Machines - Joeux9, Memoric
Projected record: 2-7
If Memoric was the starter here I’d probably have them higher, but as Memoric has stated they want to support, and Joeux9 is an unknown quantity, they come in last. Memoric is a very capable builder, but they’ve made their disdain for SS known. Joeux’s only experience as of right know is one losing seasonal set, so this team will be the test of whether VGC results truly translate to DOU.
 
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My prs. This is what I ranked everyone for the official prs tbh I don't really know if I completely agree with all of these spots anymore since there's a lot of toss ups.

1. Powerplant Dynamos - Spurrific, emma, Enzonana

Justin is an insanely good player who is usually busy with VGC stuff as well, but for the entire duration of SCL there is essentially no VGC which makes this a really good time to get VGCers. As for support emma is a top tier support as long as she likes the person shes with and her top two players she wanted was me or Justin so this is also a great fit for emma, this combo should be quite active and should try super hard and a tryhard Justin with one of the best supports can very well beat anyone in the pool.

2. Uncharted Terrors - Nails, Lunar

If anyone is worried about the fact that Nails hasn't really played much in a year they probably aren't used to these tours or Nails as a player because this is barely anything new. Nails has gotten 6 wins everytime he's started dou and I don't think there's ever been a time he's been super active in dou playing in circuit and stuff. Lunar is another person known to these tours as a really good support that's been around for years. This time Lunar is not supporting his bestie stax but this should hardly be an issue as Lunar will still try really hard, test a ton of games and provide good team building support. Maybe you could see a slow start but Nails first games aren't against any top players which is really good for him to get back into the meta fully without dropping a game. This team could easily be ranked first and it would be super surprising to see them flop.

3. Orange Islanders - JRL, Paraplegic

If there's any team I overrated and put too high it is probably this one. JRL was notably snubbed from playing last year but I do understand where managers were coming from being scared of someone who went 2-5 when starting with mishi support last time. He was however super new to DOU when he got his starting spot and probably should've had a year of support first. JRL is definitely a better player now and despite going negative he at least has official team tour experience now which could help him prove to everyone that he is one of the better players now, but SCL is also a different beast compared to circuit and there's always people that do well in other tours and just can't do well when it comes to the big stage so it will be interesting to see how JRL fares. For support JRL has Para who is also no stranger to these tours starting in the past two and being an unofficial support long before that. It is a bit of a strange pairing and there are rumours that Para was a failed nom by the manager and that he expected people to bid on Para which could explain it but nonetheless I think some of the concerns regarding this duo is a tiny bit overblown. I don't expect timezone to be much of an issue like a lot of mons players Para is more than capable of having a degen sleep schedule if needed and I think the building styles not matching up is pretty fine as Para has built a wide variety of teams and JRL is a completely capable builder on his own. The language barrier could be a slight issue and there's probably better fits for JRL but I think the pairing is capable of making any initial awkwardness work and overall end up a positive slot. Para could also slot in if JRL does bad but he's also negative in both of his tours so hard to say if it will make much of a difference.

4. Mt. Silver Foxes - qsns, dnagerbdager

qsns is once again getting a starting spot after taking a break last year. While rust and motivation could be a concern for qsns they are a good mons player currently 15-14 in dou for officials and they also got their first choice in support and probably one of the better support options for them, dnagerbdager. I've put them 4th because despite lack of success in recent tours they have joined qsns seems like they will be motivated for this and actually want to play mons a bit (something that I don't think was the case for the other tours) so I'll put some stock into that being enough for qsns to get back to good form. There's no doubt dnager will be super active and while not the best builder they can definitely build a bit for qsns until they pick up the meta enough to start building more themselves too. The biggest concern I have with this pairing is I don't think qsns is flop proof and they could end up having a bad season and at that point dnager as a player is nowhere near the level of play to really sub in so it could just become doomed for the foxes compared to other teams with supports that have better playing abilities.

5. Technical Machines - JoeUX9, Memoric

Lets be honest Joe is a complete wildcard and nobody at all knows how well he will do or what key factors from him will be like. Joe is a really good VGCer, he has no real DOU experience but being a really good VGCer has time and time again shown that you can become a top DOUer but there are also concerns of SS DOU being a lot more different from VGC this year due to no dynamax so again who knows. He's supported by Memoric who with Joe I also think is a huge wildcard. Memoric can be a really good builder but can kind of go off the rails sometimes without someone to keep him in check and I don't know if Joe will keep him in check. People point to Memo being really good support for Crunchman helping him become a good player but Memo also helped YoBuddy to an 0-4 record in SCL last year after he himself went 2-3. I think 18k for this pairing is pretty insane considering they could very well end up bottom of the pool if things go wrong, but if they end up top of the pool which could very well happen too then good for them. Memo also isnt the strongest playing sub as he would be very against playing and has one of the worst dou official team tour records so you're really relying on Joe to do well with memos support.

6. Arena Spartans - Animus, Akaru Kokuyo

If there's any team I underrated it would probably be this one. For the DOU players confused about why Animus is starting over Akaru since Akaru is having a breakout season and popping off in circuit, doing well in circuit usually doesn't get you a starting spot (see: YoBuddy last year) while Animus has been a good VGCer that has played DOU pretty well for years and has started in an official team tour before. While his start did end up being negative with a 4-6 record it was one of the better pools for DOU and his wins included being Ezraels only regular season loss. Combine this with the fact that as I said earlier this is the best time to draft VGCers due to no VGC, Animus could quickly prove himself to be a big threat. The support Akaru is definitely someone who deserved to be drafted and I honestly don't know how much they build or how they are in team chats but with the strong first few matchups on the schedule this team has, Akarus more high variance team choices could end up letting Animus steal a couple wins or if Animus ever gets discouraged from a slow start, Akaru is one of the best subs when it comes to playing ability and could put up a respectable record.

7. Circuit Breakers - Toxigen, Tenzai

With one of the two 6k combined pairings the Breakers elected to get their support from last year as a cheap starter and drafted a good support option for them that can also back up pretty well. Toxigen has been in DOU for a while and is finally getting his chance to start after helping support the Breakers DOU to the second best record last year with Justin going 6-3 and Toxigen himself going 1-0. He is supported by Tenzai who seems to be someone who would be a good support for Toxigen being in a similar timezone and being a pairing that should have decent synergy. Tenzai himself is also not a stranger to these official tours as he's been drafted before and has gone 2-2 as a sub to Memoric. Overall though I just don't rank these two the same playing wise as I do the upper half of this pool, while they are both capable of being good players they both don't have any amazing achievements and both can be quite inconsistent with their results. One thing the Breakers do have going for them is I think the pairing can work well together and they will have two different players to try out in a starting spot if Toxigen can't solidify himself as a starter.

8. Studio Gible - Frania, Shadowmonstr7

Now this is what I'd call one of the bigger mismatch pairings. Aurella has once again drafted Frania but this time not round 2 of a snake draft and unlike the last two years Frania has started he finally gets support. I don't know how I feel about Shadowmonstr support with Frania though, Frania is someone who really likes having a dedicated builder when it comes to SS and needs quite a bit of teambuilding support, Shadow is someone whose play I'd rate higher than building as their builds tend to be quite wack. There is also apparently concerns about how busy Shadow is which makes sense to me as he's seemed a lot less involved in mons and dou this year compared to last. Frania is a good player though and despite seeming less and less involved every year including this year they have only gone 4-5 the past two years so maybe Shadow support and a weaker pool is enough to bump that to a positive record, I'm just not sure if I'd be betting on it.

9. Showdown Shoguns - Ninja, Grandmas Cookin

For anyone who doesn't know the Shoguns draft plan was to get someone who wasn't a mainer in every slot, so once Joe went for 12k the next best option is Ninja. I do not see Ninja doing that well however, yes he had the 10-0 osdt swiss run but when watching the games nothing seemed too impressive and his best win was against a Paraplegic that brought Corsola-G to 2 out of the 3 games. Other than osdt Ninja has no experience in DOU and not only is it his first time with DOU in an official it's his first official period and it's in a tier he is not experienced or confident in considering when me and at least one other manager contacted him he said he should only be drafted for NU and he wouldn't be that valuable in DOU. The Shoguns did not fully commit to the bit however and did draft DOUer Grandmas Cookin for support. GMA is a fine support but he's definitely not top tier just fine, Every once in a while he can build a good team but he will have to be at the top of his teambuilding game for Ninja as Ninja has only built one dou team ever. I also think as far as playing ability of the subs go GMA has not been the best as of late he lost his one game last scl and went 0-4 in dpl. It's not all dire for this slot though being ranked last in DOU usually works out pretty well for whoever is ranked last and he's against the wildcard Joe w1 so maybe Ninja can get a win there and get the confidence needed to help him perform well.
 

zee

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Time for my w1 predictions!
  • [SHO] Ninja vs JoeUX9 [TMS] - 45/55
I think this is probably the best possible pairing for both of these players going into the tour, as both have been called "wildcards" for this side of the tournament. Ninja's in really good form, currently being OSDT quarterfinals. If you're on the outside looking in you'd probably think this would be a blowout for him. However, I think his teams and plays still need some leveling up. Not impossible though of course, but rough, nonetheless. Joe on the other hand is honestly dominating every VGC tournament he can get his hands on, and I do understand the skepticism with the disparity between the metagames, but Joe was solid before VGC had Dynamax (mind you his only official circuit major win was a gen 7 regional) and he will likely be solid after it too. Two things lie question for me regarding Joe: can he get familiar with the metagame, and is he going to actually care? Joe can 0-6 this tournament, be subbed out, and it'd still never bother him for a second because of his VGC focus and platform. And no one really knows what his motivation his because he's been dead silent since the draft. Still, I'm pulling for someone with stronger fundamentals who will likely be able to call out Ninja's mistakes.
  • [SPA] Animus vs nails [TER] - 40/60
Kyle is without a doubt one of my best friends in VGC. We've ran up multiple tournaments with the same teams, practiced together, the whole nine yards. I know more than anyone else he's capable of defeating the dragon on the bridge he has to cross week 1. But there's so many question marks again. He didn't get to play an OSDT top cut set, and made much of his swiss run off of teams from my 2021 builder. He's gotta get acquainted with the tier again and build smart: this is where the Akaru support is gonna have to come into overdrive. Nails on the other hand, the coupon for a free 6 wins, is likely going to take the most glaring lead in predictions this round. He's Nails, he doesn't make mistakes, is a teambuilding genius, and he thinks more than you do. He's got umbry support for building reinforcement and Lunar support for playing reinforcement. Until we see any evidence that this well oiled machine is starting to break down, it's entirely safest to go with Nick.
  • [GIB] Frania vs Toxigen [BRE] - 45/55
Both projected to be towards the lower end of the pool, this is another situation similar to Joe and Ninja. Frania is looking to finally go positive this season and Toxigen has a lot to prove with his debut starter season. It's important to note that this team we're actually seeing fran being supported with Shadowmonster in his corner. I'm sure this will be helpful, but I think I have to go with Toxigen here. He's the more active of the two starters, even if I rate Shadow a bit higher than Tenzai, and I think Passa is way more hungry for a win than Fran. Both are 6k cores which means there's minimal pressure overall, but this is one win that each team is expecting their starters to pick up, so I'm not sure that'll be the case here. But yeah, I'm just generally a bigger fan of Passa's motivation/teams/activity at the moment, gonna give it to him on a 5% edge.
  • [DYN] Spurrific vs Z Strats [PLA]
zee strats
  • [ISL] jrl vs qsns [FOX] - 45/55
I love qsns so much. I rate them a few spots higher than the PRs did, and I just really think they're awesome. When it comes to building they're probably one of my more favorite starters in the pool and I think that will be challenging for the hyper offense personality JRL has built up to overcome. Neither is no slouch in raw playing ability, in fact, I think I'd rather give that to JRL. But good teams win games. This isn't to say that JRL and Para are incapable of building solid squads, but rather I think the styles we'll see from the Islanders' core are more likely to matchup less favorably into whatever qsns can come up with. I unfortunately don't rate dnager high in building but badger's going to be extremely active in creating prep materials and just keeping qsns motivated and on track.

Quite honestly these are 5 games that you really don't wanna miss. If there's a game I particularly like I might do a turn by turn breakdown of it in review.

Go Platoon
 
You guys know the drill, if its a prediction tour I'm in it. We are spoiled this SCL with all the week 1 games being fairly close. I could see most of these going either way! My biggest hope for this SCL is diversity in teams and pushing the meta the next level. OSDT proved people are coasting by into SV, abusing the same builds from months ago and praying they don't run into bad match ups. Lets hope this tournament can be a breath of fresh air into what feels like a stale format. Also since its week 1 and I didn't do a tier list of the teams, this will be predictions and some thoughts on the pairs!
  • [SHO] Ninja vs JoeUX9 [TMS]
The battle of the wild cards. Ninja has had a fairly impressive run in OSDT, winning their top 16 match to give themselves an 11-0 record overall. Despite this several sources have claimed Ninja didn't want to start for DOU, feeling uncomfortable with their play and has only built one team for DOU ever. I do feel Ninja has the ability to play a good game, but there are still clear errors in their play. As for support, Ninja will definitely need teams built for them and GMA is claiming to have "fire" in the builder already set. They did just use Zarude vs Memoric though so.. we will just have to wait and see. Speaking of Memoric, they are supporting the biggest wild card JoeUX9! The fact that Joe went for 12k is just insane. Joe is a solid player but some players have different strengths, Joe's is grinding out a team until he knows every single match up. Joe is also known to not care about being secretive with teams, laddering in the open and testing with basically anyone possible. This all on top of Joe being busy and not showing much care for this tournament, its hard for me to predict for him here. Memoric is good support but Joe definitely has a specific way to play the game that I don't know if Memoric can replicate over and over. This is the ultimate wild card slot for me. Joe could be amazing and win this game, as well as top the pool, or could fall flat and not care because its just another tournament to pass time until VGC comes back in January. For now, until I get proof Joe is dedicated I will go with Ninja who is at least a little more proven and definitely dedicated to DOU at the moment.
  • [SPA] Animus vs Nails [TER]
misty head v2.png

  • [GIB] Frania vs Toxigen [BRE]
Frania is the most unfortunate player when it comes to SCL/Snake. Dedicated support is very important in these tournaments, especially for Doubles. I am glad managers have finally realized this, but it was at the cost of Frania having to go through supportless SCLs twice. Frania does thankfully have support this time, but its a very odd mix with Shadowmonstr7. Shadow does build but not very frequently, and all their builds are fairly similar. On top of that Shadow has been very busy causing them to be less active in the DOU scene. I do not think these players have had many interactions either, and both seem more on the quiet side. Frania is also known to take hiatuses but this one has felt extra long. This slot definitely has a lot of issues on paper. Where the Gibles DOU struggles with activity, the Breakers excel. Toxigen has been working towards being a starter since last SCL. Every team tournament they prepped as hard as they could, trying to put up the best record they can to prove they deserve this spot. The hard work paid off, and it proved they are going to put everything into this tournament. Tenzai is extremely active as well, joining most DOU tournaments, building, and constantly laddering too. This pairing has a lot of synergy, being good friends with similar time zones. The only downside for me is their abilities aren't proven like Frania, who has been taking games off top players in official team tournaments for years. Normally I'd bold Frania here, all the variables are pointing towards it being a rough season for them. Toxigen will win unless Frania and Shadow can figure things out fast and get Frania into form before this first game, or if Toxigen's nerves of their first official team tournament game as a starter gets to them.
  • [DYN] Spurrific vs Z Strats [PLA]
This match is so close it actually hurts. These two players had amazing runs last SCL and are two of the three best starters in the pool. Z Strats specifically is coming off the best record last SCL and is one of the worst players to run into for these kind of tournaments. He will use anything as long as it works. There is some exploitable tendencies, but typically the builds will catch you off guard just before you can catch them. This on top of having solid support with Zee, a great builder and player herself, its hard to predict against Z Strats vs most of this pool. If there is one person you could predict to overcome this hurdle though, it would be Spurrific. Spurrific's had great showings in basically every team tournament he joins. He's definitely one of the best Pokemon players out there, being able to find a path and force it no matter how hard you try to stop him. The only downside to Spurrific I could see is building, as he definitely brought some of the more interesting team choices last SCL. This is not an issue this SCL, as emma found herself supporting Spurrific this time around. Emma was a big factor in Z Strat's success last year, being great at analyzing data and finding tendencies and flaws in her opponent's teams. These two are a power duo that seem almost unstoppable in both building and prep. Two amazing slots, why am I going with Z Strats? Well Z Strats is eager to make the runback for best record, proving it was not a fluke. He has been testing a lot already, prepping his play and builds for this specific game. This is not to say Spurrific isn't also driven and going to start prepping hard now that the week is up, but I think Z Strats is more driven by just a smidgen.
  • [ISL] JRL vs qsns [FOX]
This is the prediction I feel will come back to bite me. JRL is a very active player, joining most tournaments and performing well in all of them. I'd argue out of every starting player JRL is the true "mainer". I rate JRL's play high and there will definitely be a drive to prove their self after not getting drafted last year. There are definitely some fears to this slot though. JRL's last team tournament ended in a negative record, giving managers a bad overall impression on JRL's ability. That tournament was JRL's first team tournament though, and I think a lot of people agree it was too soon for JRL to start. I believe that tournament does not reflect on JRL's playing ability. JRL is also definitely not a builder, reusing the same teams through OST and even bringing the same team 3 times in one BO3. This would be fine with good support, which funny enough he got probably the best support play wise in Paraplegic, but the question lies in how strong the starter now support's prep and building will be. Paraplegic needs to carry his weight in those spots for this duo to pull out wins. Prepping wont be easy either as they find themselves against qsns, a strong player who took a long break. Qsns has a lot of team tournament experience, however their records tend to flop around a bit from great to average. Their knowledge on the meta is limited from the long break, and there is definitely some rust to shake off. They do have a great support in dnagerbdager though, who can build solid teams for them and help catch them up on the meta. I still think JRL got qsns at the best time, as qsns may need another week or two in order to get back to the level they once were.

[SHO] Ninja vs JoeUX9 [TMS] - Both wildcards but Joe is more of a wildcard. Joe can win if he cares and puts in effort but unproven and unlikely.

[SPA] Animus vs Nails [TER] - :goat:

[GIB] Frania vs Toxigen [BRE] - Frania has been afk for a while and the support synergy looks shaky. Toxigen will try hard and probably win unless nerves get to him.

[DYN] Spurrific vs Z Strats [PLA] - Both amazing players, super close and can go either way. Z Strats has been practicing already and may be just slightly more hungry for the win. Literally whoever gets better match up though.

[ISL] JRL vs qsns [FOX] - Both good players but qsns has been afk while JRL has been grinding all season. Qsns can win if rust is shaken off and match up is good but I think they need another week or 2 before that happens.
 
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It was confirmed by one of his managers on stream :worrywhirl:

W1 predicts! Lots of really fun and close matches week 1 might be the best week we get already.
  • [SHO] Ninja vs JoeUX9 [TMS] - This could really go either way, if you go with the mons is mons philosophy you bold Joe but I think week 1 you give it to Ninja based on him knowing the tier more than Joe does and with a Thursday game that favours Ninja even more. Would not surprise me to see it go either way though.
  • [SPA] Animus vs nails [TER] - Probably what's considered the most lopsided match of the week, Nails just has a lot more dou success than animus and both are re learning the meta so you can't even give animus bonus points for knowing the meta more to take advantage of nails biggest weakness week 1.
  • [GIB] Frania vs Toxigen [BRE] - Super interesting match between two players ranked bottom half of pr. Frania has a leg up in being in these tours a lot and knowing how to handle the pressure better than Toxigen probably does, however in SS I think Toxigen is slightly better when he's on his game and I think Toxigen has been pretty tryhard for most of SS and knows a lot more than Frania who has been a lot more relaxed and not involved with mons does.
  • [DYN] Spurrific vs Z Strats [PLA] - Won this matchup last year.
  • [ISL] jrl vs qsns [FOX] - Probably the only matchup where I'm going against most people, my brain says JRL wins this but my gut says qsns does. I think qsns and their support especially is actually trying quite a bit for this tour and will really tryhard to get the edge on JRL and what I assume will either be a more comfort pick or way to wild based on support. Yes JRL has the meta knowledge but I think qsns is more likely to have spent the two weeks they've had to close the gap the meta knowledge creates moreso than Joe and Frania have and think they have the slight edge if they can get a somewhat favourable matchup
 
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[SHO] Ninja vs JoeUX9 [TMS] - Ninja is coming off an 11-0 streak in osdt, so his confidence should be quite good going into this game. Compared to Joe, he has more knowledge surrounding the format. It's not unheard of to see good players that main other formats perform well in DOU. However the most I've seen of Joe is him losing swiftly to SMB in ssnl, and losing a money match to Blunder in a format he has the advantage in. I'm sure Joe is a fine player and I can see him tearing up later weeks because he is quite invested in practicing, but I don't see him doing that right now.

[SPA] Animus vs Nails [TER] - I don't know as much about these players due to my recent involvement with the tier. However I have watched numerous tournament matches dating back to last year's SCL and I am able to tell that Nails is consistent in these team tours. He doesn't seem to participate much in individual tours, but I think given a bit of time he can quickly catch up on current meta trends. The last time I saw Animus mentioned in dou stuff was back in sm. Maybe I'm missing something but it seems that he's only recently been getting back into it. Comparing the success of the two players would imply Nails has the higher chance at winning.

[GIB] Frania vs Toxigen [BRE] - Frania is another name that I only recognize through watching old tournament replays. As far as I know they haven't been playing a whole lot of ss outside of team tournaments they're drafted for. Meta knowledge is important as playing ability can only get you so far. In prior tournaments Frania didn't have support. Having support this time around should be good for them, but support coming in the form of Shadowmonstr can be dicey. Toxigen on the otherhand has been consistently strong in ss dou and has more overall ss knowledge. Pair that with support in the form of Tenzai and I think the likeliness of winning goes up.

[DYN] Spurrific vs Z Strats [PLA] - Z Strats should win this barring he doesn't decide to meme. One of the best builders in ss paired with Zee who is a phenomenal builder in their own right looks very scary. However Zee can be known for building some very whack stuff, and example being accelgor psyspam. While that can work out in some games, if these two get carried away we might see accelgor-articuno offense. All jokes aside I think these two have the ability to build some great stuff and paired with Ray's playing ability should be able to beat Spurrific despite him having great support in Emma and Enzonana.

[ISL] JRL vs qsns [FOX] - JRL is a player that I feel is a bit slept on. He has been consistently strong throughout ss and is currently ranked at 16th of all time, and 10th for the year based on tournament placements. Paired with support like Paraplegic, I can see this duo doing quite well. Qsns is a formidable player however most recent ss standings are 1-3 in Dwcop 2 and 1-4 in DPL 8. Those numbers are shaky looking. Dnager doesn't have nearly as much building expertise as Para has, so I am not sure that Qsns will have the necessary preparation to beat the opposing duo.
 
W2 predicts.

[FOX] qsns vs Animus [SPA] - This is a really scary matchup based on the fact that both players are 0-1 and I think both players could end up pretty susceptible to tilting pretty hard if they keep losing which makes this a really important game for both. I think this is a really close game both players didn't bring anything too inspiring in the builder last week and qsns ended up running into an awful matchup where they didn't get to play a game meanwhile Animus lost their game due to small misplays being punished hard and getting a bit unlucky with dragon tail rng. I think the osdt games have helped animus learn the meta a bit more than qsns and he has the slight advantage in this game but if qsns is able to get a good matchup this time I would not be surprised to see this swing the other way.

[PLA] Z Strats vs Ninja [SHO] - didn't lose in his most recent dou game

[BRE] Toxigen vs Spurrific [DYN] - Both of these players had games they wish they could take back last week but Justin is good at bouncing back and is just overall more solid and a better player than toxigen is most of the time.

[TER] Nails vs Frania [GIB] - Both coming off impressive wins and usually Frans win last week would make me more wanting to bold him but he ran into nails this week. There's really not much to say here other than Nails historically is just better than Fran both playing and teambuilding wise and if nothing crazy happens I'd be surprised to see Nails lose this.

[TMS] JoeUX9 vs JRL [ISL] - JRL brought a solid team and ended up getting a perfect matchup with it and played well enough to get his free win. Joe didn't have too bad of a showing last week but he went for an unnecessary roll that essentially cost him the game. I think if Joe learns the differences between vgc and dou better then he could become a lot scarier but until I see it happen it's hard to bold him.
 
Week 1 definitely delivered! We had short games, we had long games, we had JoeUX9 bring Venucoal, basically everything you could've asked for! On top of it all we had some very exciting team choices, giving us a good idea of where the meta is headed to end off SS DOU. I would argue there weren't any real upsets last week, and with this week having the top 5 in the PR vs the bottom 5 in the PR its pretty fair to assume this week will go the same.

  • [FOX] qsns vs Animus [SPA]
Definitely the closest game this week. Both are coming off a loss, with Animus playing suboptimal in a good match up while qsns got swept by grassy horse. I was originally going to go with qsns here as I felt their loss didn't actually give them a chance to play, but animus is grinding outside of SCL too, coming off a win vs Zee in SSNLs. I also liked Animus' team choice slightly more than qsns last week. With all this said its a really close game that could go either way, I just have the slightest more faith in Animus here.
  • [PLA] Z Strats vs Ninja [SHO]
Both won last week, but in very different ways. Both had bad match ups but Ninja lucked their way out of it while Z Strats played a lot more optimal, even if it was helped by Spurrific miss playing. Getting a win over a top 3 player also makes Z Strats even harder to predict against, and with Ninja losing in OSDT they don't look as invincible anymore. I think the turn 1 of Ninja's game was proof that their understanding of doubles isn't quite there yet, and if there is one thing Z Strats is good at its taking advantage of newer players. Pretty confident in this pick.
  • [BRE] Toxigen vs Spurrific [DYN]
Both coming off a loss last week. Spurrific didn't look like his usual self, making some uncharacteristic miss steps in his game to lose a fairly good match up vs Z Strats. Toxigen brought a more unique team and oddly enough fell apart while having good position early game. Frania got some good reads which caused Toxigen to play overly cautious as opposed to capitalizing on those positions. I want to chalk this up to nerves and say Toxigen will bounce back this week, but this is a rough pull. Spurrific does not tilt in these tournaments, and as a top 3 player in the pool I have to predict him to pull out the 1-1 this week.
  • [TER] Nails vs Frania [GIB]
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  • [TMS] JoeUX9 vs JRL [ISL]
This pick may look crazy.. because it is. I have no clue why I am predicting this. Joe would have won last week if one of the 5 rolls went his way, but there were miss plays that caused Joe to end up in those positions. I think part of it is Joe being too used to the 4v4 format where its much faster paced and conserving isn't always as optimal when it comes to more offense teams. JRL on the other hand outplayed qsns in both the builder and in game, looking dominant in every way for their first game back. JRL has the play, the builds, the achievements.. so why predict Joe to win? Honestly.. I still don't know. I'm going with my gut and may regret it later, but in the end we are all winners for getting to see this match anyway.
 

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Since predictions are hard, I’m doing some quick recaps for the weeks while I’m not on vacation:

Week 1 was the week of the… Ghost Horse? Who would have seen that coming. I think everyone was trying to bust out something they thought their opponents wouldn’t be prepared for, it’s just funny that so many people landed on the same novel idea.

It definitely worked out for JRL, as it was a clean sweep. Spurrific had an interesting idea, going with a ghost overload team. I think that concept works better in singles though, as there’s just too much you have to check defensively in doubles, and ghost types really don’t check any of the boxes, so it’s hard to check everything with your 4 remaining Pokémon.

Some other quick thoughts:

Seems as if Nails brought a “will never lose to psyspam in a million games” team, which makes sense as their last replays were losing to psyspam 2x. Worked out as the team was able to win even vs an opposing balance squad.

VenuKoal matched up against a couple of DOU eligible mons that previously haven’t been allowed in VGC, and they showed why sun isn’t as popular. Zygarde and Mew both put in good work (aided by a vital sleep powder dodge I will add).

I thought Frania brought a really cool Moltres-g team, on heatran/Urshifu/naga squads it’s important to have that lando switchin, and the team also needed a quality psyspam check, so you see how they arrived there. (I’m also assuming Fake Tears Whimsicott to add to Moltres-G’s sweeping capabilities).
 
[FOX] qsns vs Animus [SPA] - Animus is looking a little shaky to me right now. While they did pick up a win vs Zee in ssnl, Zee was borderline meming game one and then proceeded to get haxxed game 2. Ssnl aside, Animus also lost last week. However when comparing to Qsns they are looking stronger. As mentioned before, Qsns has a rough record in the past two team tournaments they've played. They also lost week one due to overpredicting a lot and allowing jrl to walk all over them. However, I think if they can bring a better matchup this game will be interesting.

[PLA] Z Strats vs Ninja [SHO] - If were to use prior tournament results as reference points again, I would highlight that while Ninja did outperform Ray in osdt, Ray was clearly meming in his games vs Joey and I think he could have done better given he tried. When it comes to this tour, Ninja didn't win his week one game as convincingly as Ray did. When comparing support, the combination of Ray and Zee is one of the best here, compared to Ninja and Gma which to my knowledge, both aren't super prolific builders. I think this is a game that "Zee Strats" can win on prep alone.

[BRE] Toxigen vs Spurrific [DYN] - Toxigen did not look too impressive in their game vs Fran. Spurrific at least put up a fight last week. Not much to say here.


[TER] Nails vs Frania [GIB] - I'm going to break off from the crowd and bold Fran here. I bolded Toxigen last week and Fran made quick work of him. Nails is going to be a whole other beast to tackle but I need to root for the underdog sometimes. Coming off a win where most people bolded against you can be empowering, I can see Fran riding that high and snagging a win.


[TMS] JoeUX9 vs JRL [ISL] - I wasn't all too impressed with Joe's play or team decision last week. Compare that to Jrl who managed to play well and bring an amazing matchup on top of that, it seems like a no brainer to bold jrl here. I think this game is going to be the game that determines if whether or not I'll be a Joe believer. If Joe can play solidly enough to keep up, even if losing my doubts may diminish. If things go poorly for him though, at least him and memo can kickstart their Valorant career together after all is said and done.
 

Memoric

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If JoeUX9 has a million fans, then I am one of them. If JoeUX9 has ten fans, then I am one of them. If JoeUX9 has only one fan then that is me. If JoeUX9 has no fans, then that means I am no longer on earth. If the world is against JoeUX9, then I am against the world.
 

zee

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we're two weeks into SCL, gonna talk a little bit about the meta and some of the cool things we've seen

:ss/spectrier:

Week 1 saw Spectrier with 30% usage and an unfortunate 67% winrate as two of them were mirrored in Z Strats vs Spurrific. The meta really only has three super present Ghost resists in Incineroar, Porygon2, and Tyranitar, which makes things pretty favorable for Ghost-types at the moment, especially when pairing it with something like Urshifu that matches up well naturally against the aforementioned checks. The interesting thing here is that all three Spectriers used in week 1 were different sets: Z Strats used a utility set with Taunt, Spurrific used Choice Specs, and JRL used Grassy Seed Nasty Plot. All three of them also got some insane value out of their respective sets.

Z Strats vs Spurrific
JRL vs qsns

:ss/genesect:

Choice Band Genesect has had a quiet rise back onto the scene in the past two weeks, first used by Nails in week 1 against Animus, but CB went unrevealed as his Genesect had relatively little impact on the game. The big showing for Genesect came from week 2 in Z Strats vs Ninja, where Z Strats opted to reuse Nails's week 1 team and cleaned house with CBGene's Extreme Speed hitting Zapdos for an unreal 71%. Nails also brought it back himself in his game vs Frania.

Nails vs Animus
Nails vs Frania
Z Strats vs Ninja

:ss/whimsicott:

Whimsicott's only had 3 uses so far out of 20 games but I think most people would agree with me that's higher than expected, and it's been really impactful in all the games it's been used in. Surprisingly though, the advantages of Prankster Tailwind seem to be playing second fiddle to the immense pressure of Encore in the games it's been used in. Encore's been really good at disrupting slower teams and forcing them to take unfavorable lines. Be it Tailwind or Encore though, it's working great for the Whimsicott users, as it currently sports a 100% winrate

Animus vs qsns
Nails vs Frania
Frania vs Toxigen

:ss/pheromosa:

I'm gonna mention Pheromosa really quick, it's sort of the opposite of Spectrier: 0 uses week 1 into tying Mew and Volcanion for being the most used Pokemon in week 2. It's worth noting that all 3 are only sporting a 50% winrate, but that is kind of high nonetheless. Sporting uses from Ninja, Spurrific, JRL, and Toxigen, it saw play on 4 different team archetypes: sun, sand, psyspam, and balance, showing it can be incredibly versatile in how you apply it. It's good for explosive damage but does surprisingly miss some KOs like bulky Zeraora and 252/4 Mew which can make it a little frustrating at times. Still, its offensive toolkit is loaded. I would expect to see nonzero usage from it in most weeks moving forward.

JRL vs JoeUX9
Spurrific vs Toxigen
 
Okay I lied last week. It looked like the meta was becoming much more bulky centered, with the fini/incine/rilla core making a lot of appearances and winning all of them. If week 1 was the balance week, last week was the hyper offense week. We saw a lot of teams rely on heavy speed control and hard hitters to get the job done. It felt like everyone tried to take advantage of the slower teams last week and blow them up. With such diverse team choices so far I'm excited to see what this week has to offer!
  • [SHO] Ninja vs Toxigen [BRE]
Both players are coming off a loss. Ninja had a crazy lead vs Z Strats but rushed out the Zapdos just a little too early and with the help of hazards got reverse swept in a 6-3 position. I will say Ninja had an insanely good match up though, and I feel played it safe in situations that should've been played aggressively and vice versa. Their win is also vs Joe so we don't have the best indication on how strong they are yet so this week is very important for the shogun's season. Toxigen played a close game vs Spurrific where I'd argue he had a better match up and much better opening which is very important in HO mirrors. Toxigen slowed down after the start however, giving up good positioning and eventually Spored a Blastoise which typically run Safety Goggles which gave up a lot of momentum. Both players had good starts but played a little sloppy to eventually lose to two of the top players in the pool. With that said, I have faith in Toxigen to bounce back here and prove he is worthy of starting.
  • [GIB] Frania vs qsns [FOX]
Both players again are coming off a loss here. Frania lost in very convincing fashion last week to Nails, playing too passive in a good lead scenario which allowed Nails to take over the game completely. There was a little hope towards the middle but Frania allowed his Excadrill to get Encored into Substitute while there was a Tsareena that could've came in. Qsns on the other hand played a very solid early game and was in a demanding position for most of it. However, they eventually let Whimsicott come in on a Protect and Fake out turn, getting Encored into both and allowing Zygarde to freely dwindle their team down with Thousand Arrows. I feel with slightly better midgame planning this game is a complete win for qsns, but they aren't completely back to form yet it seems. I'm going to go with Frania since they have a win under their belt already but this can go either way.
  • [DYN] Spurrific vs Nails [TER]
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  • [ISL] JRL vs Animus [SPA]
There isn't too much to say here. JRL has looked super dominant so far being 2-0 in very convincing games. On top of that he brought Venukoal into Joe which was just hilarious. Maybe you can make an argument that reusing means prep could be iffy but I don't think that is the case at all here. Animus is coming off a win but it did feel a little more gifted after the early game. Animus did play a great mid and late game though so its not like this is totally one sided, but I'd bet on JRL 9 times out of 10.
  • [TMS] JoeUX9 vs Z Strats [PLA]
Joe I swear I'm putting it all on the line here for you do not let me down.. Z Strats got one of the worst match ups possible but CB Genesect is so busted it did 70% to a Zapdos with Extermespeed LOL how did it take us so long to find this Pokemon. Ninja could've played a bit differently, getting Zapdos in for free instead of tanking so much damage but that's all hindsight since how were they supposed to know it was band as it was never revealed. Z Strats played a good game, playing for their outs in a very dire match up and with a little help was able to win. With Z Strats being in great form you'd have to be crazy to not bold him haha... Joe is 0-2 and has been making similar mistakes the past two weeks. His timer never went below 270 meaning there was most likely no calcing, game planning, or anything of that nature during the game. In a 6v6 bo1 format the timer is there to be able to plan ahead. There is no scouting for next game here so time is important to set yourself up for as many ways to win as possible. You can argue Joe has gotten unlucky but I still think there are better overall game plans Joe could go if he just took some time to consider them. So if Z Strats is on top of his game and Joe needs time to grow.. why predict it to go this way.........?

Should be a fun week!
 
W3 predicts! I think this weeks matchups are a lot more similar to W1 than W2 and I could see a lot of these matchups going either way.

[SHO] Ninja vs Toxigen [BRE] - I think this one should be a close match and could see it go either way. Both players had losses last week but both players were also against people ranked top 3 in prs, however with that said I disliked Toxigens team choice more. Reusing in SCL especially when it's your own team is a huge risk compared to any other tournament and you really need to know when to do it and bringing something you've used before against a team with emma on it is just not the play. There is a really good chance that Justin/emma tested that exact matchup and Justin did end up taking the game. I think there were some slight problems with ninjas team but overall it was a better bring than what Toxigen brought. Play wise both have had their shaky moments and appear to be a bit inconsistent at the moment so it really just comes down to team choice for me.

[GIB] Frania vs qsns [FOX] - Pretty tough decision here qsns hasn't looked great and Frania had a great w1 followed by an awful w2. It's pretty much a must win for qsns as going 0-3 would be dire I haven't hated their teams/play it just hasn't been up to the quality needed to consistently do well. Frania is always hit or miss and their teambuilding with shadow support is looking to be abusable as shown by Nails and they will need to be able to successfully switch it up if they want to copy what happened w1. With qsns showing a better performance last week and really needing this win I'll take them continuously improving and finally getting a win over Frania.

[DYN] Spurrific vs Nails [TER] - Super great matchup between two of the best players in the pool. Nails has looked really good this tour bringing creative teams and winning with them being 2-0. Justin is 1-1 but has had a bit of a harder schedule. This game is a hard one for me while I think Nails playing has been more impressive this tour, Justin also has had Nails number recently winning the last 3 times these two have played in a tournament. Where I am giving Nails the edge is the fact that his teambuilding has been quite innovative and it feels like it would be a little harder to take advantage of so far since his teambuilding choices are pretty different from last year, whereas Justin has just been using what I consider more standard type of team structures.

[ISL] JRL vs Animus [SPA] - Another close match but despite being 1-1 instead of 2-0 I think animus has looked a bit more impressive than JRL has. JRL w1 was able to load an essentially auto win matchup and pick up the win and w2 while his teambuilding choice of bringing venukoal vs Joe was funny I don't know if I love it and he had some shaky moments and probably would've lost if snarl hit (or if Joe pressed the right move at the end). Animus on the other hand definitely could've beaten Nails w1 if some dragon tails went in his favour but ultimately fell short, but he picked it up week 2 vs qsns bringing another team I think was fine and able to play pretty well and pick up the win which I think he will do again this week.

[TMS] JoeUX9 vs Z Strats [PLA] - 0-2 vs 2-0
 

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A little late on the Week 2 recap, but I’m still getting it in before any week 3 games. Only time I’m happy everyone is playing on the weekend.

Week 2 saw a lot of re-used teams, which I don’t think is a bad thing. At this point in the metagame, there’s been a lot of good teams already built, and expecting to build a new banger every week just isn’t gonna happen.

Z Strats brought Nails’ hazard stack team with cm fini, and as we learned this week the Genesect is choice band with e-speed, which is a really cool set that works great with hazards and Calm Mind Tapu Fini. E-speed is a great cleaner late game, and you can even go before Rilla’s Grassy Glide to snipe it before it can hit your Fini. Cool team.

We also saw Encore Whimsicott put in work for both Animus and Nails… it seems ladder may have been ahead on this development. Whimsicott has been getting more and more tournament play as of late, but for a long time it’s been known as a “ladder hero” mon, seeing way higher usage there than in tours. I’m a big advocate of ladder, there’s a lot of cool sets/ideas you can learn, (such as wisp snarl mew last scl was taken from ladder) so it’s nice to see how it also affects metagame development.

Lastly I thought Spurrific brought a really interesting team, taking a common core of Volcanion + Diancie, but supplementing it with Blastoise, Pheromosa, and Mew. It looked like the team was built around setting hazards and pivoting, with the spread attacks of Diancie and Volcanion able to pick up kos after hazards wear opponents down. We’ve been seeing a lot of hazards usage lately, it’ll be interesting to see how the meta adjusts.
 
Some things to note from last week:
Thinking and using your time is strong!
Grassy horse looking like the best horse??
CB Genesect is the best bug??
JRL reusing offense and still destroying!
Teams without Steel types lost.. Best type??
This season has three 3-0s and 0-3s so far, it'll be interesting to see how things shape up as the tour goes on.
  • [TER] Nails vs Ninja [SHO]
:shay:
  • [BRE] Tenzai vs JoeUX9 [TMS]
I want to believe in Joe but I can't anymore.. I could argue not using your time is fine for someone with a good understanding for DOU but Joe didn't show that this week. Joe made clumsy plays after starting off amazing, allowing for whimsy to Encore mons into moves they didn't want to be locked in and even more importantly not managing their position well enough to stop the Beat Up from happening. Until I see Joe either outright destroy an opponent or his timer at least dip under 270 I will not be able to bold him. Subbing in for Toxigen this week we have Tenzai, a pretty solid player and builder who has been mia since the beginning of this tournament. Tenzai has had good results in these style of tournaments and despite being inactive this is the perfect opponent to get back into the swing of it.
  • [PLA] Z Strats vs JRL [ISL]
Battle of the 3-0s. JRL has looked absolutely dominate this tournament, bringing slightly altered reuse HO the last two weeks and winning so dominantly its almost a question of if someone can give him a challenge. Z Strats started worse vs Joe last week but played aggressively and managed to find chokes and eventually seal it with Beat Up Terrakion. Z Strats is definitely the most hyped player this tournament but his 3-0 has been shaky and hard fought while JRL has been cleaning everyone up with ease. Despite how it looks on paper I feel that JRL wont get such a good match up this time around and Z Strats will force a straight up game of mons. This is a very exciting game with two of the best aggressive players going at it, definitely the highlight and either can win!
  • [FOX] qsns vs Spurrific [DYN]
Spurrific has had the roughest early run having to go up vs both Nails and Z Strats right away. Emma and him cooked up a real cool counter team for Nails but ultimately fell short to what seemed like an unexpected Psychic from Mew. I think there may have been a play or two where Spurrific could have positioned a little better, but overall his play looks solid and with emma's support his teams look very solid too. Qsns on the other hand has had teams that have felt a little dated. It seems like the Foxes core are a step behind the meta which is making it harder for qsns to bounce back. I do have faith in qsns' abilities but Spurrific is not someone you want to face when trying to start that comeback. I think Spurrific wins most games from here on out with Z Strats and Nails out of the way.
  • [SPA] Animus vs Frania [GIB]
This one is hard tbh. Animus is a good player but I haven't seen too much of him recently and last week it felt like he made misplays to make a bad match up unwinnable. With that said Animus has been bringing unique yet solid teams each week and even though he is 1-2 his losses are both 3-0s, but his one win is an 0-3 so its a weird argument. Frania has been bringing less unique teams but has looked a little more solid so far. Frania is 2-1 but his wins are vs two 0-3s.. but his loss is a 3-0 so.. Idk I don't like using records its such a weird tour record wise so far. This match is close but I'm going to give Frania the slightest edge for being positive right now and looking slightly better play-wise, but it can definitely go either way.
 

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