be the upgraded version of me
Ever since ADV, doubles has steadily gained headway into the competitive Pokemon scene. Every generation GameFreak has refined the Doubles metagame and by the fifth generation it has ripened considerably. It's a shame that the only widely supported version of this format (VGC) is one over which the players have no control! However, with the awesome Pokemon Showdown! now supporting Doubles format, we now have all the tools necessary to mold our own version of the format that made VGC so popular and help shape our own Standard Doubles metagame!
Note that, rather than following many of the conventions which Nintendo and VGC have laid out, we will be experimenting and setting new rules and bans, so many things are slightly different. Here are some noteworthy difference from the ruleset of current VGC 2013:Moderator's Note: Do not use this thread to directly compare Smogon Doubles to VGC. You can certainly talk about VGC strategies and how they can be applied to Smogon Doubles, but do not use this thread to bicker about the differences between the two metagames.
1) 6 vs 6 instead of 4 vs 4
2) Pokemon default level 100 instead of level 50
3) Sleep Clause ON
4) Item Clause OFF
5) OHKO Clause ON
6) Evasion Clause ON
7) Soul Dew Clause ON
8) Moody Clause ON
9) The following moves are banned from play
- Dark Void
- Sky Drop
- Giratina, Giratina-O
The true gem of Doubles does not lie in such minute differences in rulesets - it's the various strategies that are born and made viable by the virtue of having an additional partner and an extra opponent on the battle field simultaneously. Such battle setting results in a fast and furious play unimaginable in Singles play. If you think you have time to dilly dally with setting up hazards and some brainless volt-turn spam, think again! Since so much happens in a span of a single turn, on-the-spot decision making and intuition are tested heavily in Doubles. A thrilling new challenge unfounded in Singles!
Another major appeal of Doubles is the increased viability and deeper nuances of Pokemon moves. Here are some quick overview of such moves:
Protect - Undoubtedly the most important move in Doubles; it shields whatever moves targeted at the user and without the need to blindly switch out and let another one of your Pokemon to take a hit, too! A well-executed Protect means wasted turns for the opponent, whose attacks utterly fail to do anything while your other Pokemon can ideally take the attacker out. Protect also shield your Pokemon against Fake Out flinches, a devastating move in Double. Stalling out Tailwind or TR turns serve as another purpose for using Protect.
Feint - With Protect being such a pivotal move in Doubles, it's no wonder that a counter-move in Feint would see some use! It comes in handy when you need to connect with the target Pokemon on that turn NO MATTER WHAT.
Fake Out - This is another prevalent move in Doubles, and it's a game-breaking one, too. A super-priority flinch move renders one of the opponent's Pokemon immobile and vulnerable to assaults. Just like in Singles, Fake Out can be seen from a mile away, but the Fake Out user can actually take advantage of this, forcing the opponent to use Protect. Fake Out's greater utility in Doubles in turn increases the value of Inner Focus.
Spread Moves - These moves target multiple Pokemon - some only affect both enemies while other spread moves also catches your ally, too. Such distinctions make otherwise obscure moves in Singles, such as Heat Wave and Rock Slide, to have a specific niche in Doubles!
All spread moves's base power is reduced by 75% (so Earthquake is a 75 bp Ground type move, while Blizzard is a 90 bp Ice type move), but this power reduction is more than compensated by hitting more than one target.
[box]Notable Spread Moves that Targets Only Enemies
- Blizzard & Icy Wind
- Rock Slide
- Heat Wave & Eruption
- Muddy Water & Water Spout
- Dark Void (banned)
[box]Notable Spread Moves that Target Enemies and Ally alike
- Explosion & Selfdestruct
- Lava Plume
Wide Guard / Quick Guard - BW has added new protection moves to doubles. Unlike Protect, these Guard moves protect both the user AND the ally from spread moves and priority moves, respectively. This means that one Pokemon can guard for Earthquake or Fake Outs, thereby wasting the opponent's turn, while its partner can go on the offensive.
Helping Hand - A move designed specifically for Doubles, this move boosts the power of the user's ally by 50% for one turn, which can change a 2HKO into a OHKO. Such a difference is significant in Doubles, as knocking out the opponent effectively means cutting down on the opponent's offense by half for that turn. Thus, Helping Hand user pairs nicely with a fast Sweeper like Thundurus or Latios. Helping Hand has +5 priority, so the helper can be a bulky supporter like Cresselia.
Follow Me / Rage Powder - Another move tailored for Doubles, but this time all non-spread moves are re-directed to the user of Follow Me or Rage Powder, thereby keeping its partner untouched. Spread moves like Blizzard and Earthquake still hits both users, though. This move comes in handy when you are trying to set up with your other Pokemon. This support move has +3 priority, so this user can even redirect fast priorities barring faster Fake Outs to itself!
Tailwind / Icy Wind / Trick Room - Similarly to Singles, having the first move is almost always more advantageous than attacking second. Tailwind, Icy Wind, and Trick Room are prevalent moves to control Speed and attack first. Even though 4-5 turns go awfully quick in Singles to do anything productive, in Doubles it is usally half the game or more! Icy Wind is also an amazing utility move, a spread move that drops both enemies' Speed by one stage.
Offensive Moves Benefiting Partners - Most of the times your Pokemon will be throwing moves at the two enemy Pokemon, but moves exist that benefit the partner instead, similarly to the previously mentioned Helping Hand
- Swagger aimed at Partner holding Persim/Lum Berry
- Beat Up used at Justified partner
- Surf hitting Storm Drain/Water Absorb/Dry Skin partner
- Discharge hitting Lightningrod/Volt Absorb partner
- Gastro Acid aimed at Truant partner
Start participating in projects that we will be creating in the very near future, and discuss / share / theorymon some cool double sets, combo, or strategy with the rest of us! We would have some other additional interesting projects and challenges, too, to help make this metagame-carving process a fun one! We will keep track of those significant contributors who offer amazing feedback and increase competition of this tier through a leaderboard!
Also we have a channel on irc for the very purpose of discussing doubles and organizing challenges - go join #doubles!
Now let the birth of a potentially new official smogon metagame commence!