Smogon Premier League XI - Week 2

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OU & NU Leader

Pearl (65) vs (35) Zokuru - Pearl had a streaky showing last week; he came out of the gates with a hot hand, demonstrating his grasp on the metagame and his ability to outplay even the strongest of opponents. However, he slowed his pace down the stretch and perhaps compromised his odds of winning with a greedy Stealth Rock setting that only his manager ABR could truly appreciate. With everything taken into consideration, Pearl was still knocking on the door of a complete performance against the best BW player out there right now, which is simultaneously impressive for someone making their SPL debut in the tier and surprising for someone who predominantly played lower tiers over the years. Because of this, the strong support network Pearl has at his disposal, and his motivation to prove himself in an OU setting once more, I expect a strong showing here from Pearl. On the other side, Zokuru showed some promise in his week one performance, nailing a surprise (to those who did not open the damage calculator earlier on in the game) HP Fly kill on a Breloom as part of a strong mid-game. Unfortunately, the crafty Frenchman crumbled down the stretch, which a lot of people believe would be a worry for him, especially relative to the rest of this challenging BW OU field. Zokuru is going to have to show improvements both in the builder and in the battle in order to compete with someone like Pearl, who is at a higher level across the board than Zokuru's prior opponent who he already fell to last week. I think Pearl has a decisive edge because of this.

SoulWind (60) vs (40) zf - SoulWind picked up where he left off with a win week 1, to the surprise of absolutely nobody. While it was a close game, he played a strong opponent and was able to keep it together until he gained some leverage and mounted an impressive display during the closing stretch, which ultimately led to a close victory. His team was solid and his play was not too shabby either. SoulWind is essentially the golden standard in terms of BW OU players right now; any knowledgeable spectator will struggle to predict against him during the early stages of this tournament, if only because he came in as the clear-cut favorite and there is no reason to trust any other competitor to outdo him in this tier until we see significant evidence from this specific SPL to sway us in the other direction. That evidence simply is not there for anyone yet, zf included. zf is no slouch though. He has a knack for using interesting team structures, straying from previously established conventions in order to integrate unique cores or sets that may help him in any given match-up. Perhaps this gives him more of a chance than most against SoulWind, who has mostly been two-dimensional in recent months -- with those two dimensions being predominantly defined by Breloom+Jirachi Rain and Reuniclus+Latios Sand. Of course, SoulWind is capable of branching out, zf's risks are capable of being punished, and SoulWind has a noteworthy edge in the in-game execution department, so I still give him a sizable advantage here in what should be an interesting match.

dice (60) vs (40) Caetano93 - The doctor clicked his way to a Pokemon disadvantage through not calculating an early Hidden Power on Ferrothorn, causing him to lose his Breloom to a HP Fly that he mistook as an HP Ice, presumably. This minor embarrassment aside, he had a strong debut, outperforming Zokuru and bringing a pretty good team along the way. Unfortunately, I feel like his pacing is a bit rushed relative to more experienced players such as dice and I also feel like his builds have a tendency to be overly ambitious, which can lead to inconsistency or outright struggles depending on where they go wrong. dice, on the other hand, is far more polished. He, too, is likely to bring builds that are on the daring side of the spectrum, but dice is a bit more justified in his usage of techs and niche Pokemon, as shown by his consistency. dice had an uncharacteristic showing week 1 while using characteristic Pokemon such as Milotic and Latias. I think that this time around he will deviate from that path a little bit, be a bit more aggressive, and take control of the game against a less experienced and understanding opponent. The doctor can for sure keep it close due to how dangerous he is -- be it in the builder or in the battle -- but he is also quite likely to make a timely mistake or oversight, so I cannot invest much confidence in him here.

Raiza (51) vs (49) John W - This one is the closest BW game of the week for me and it also is the clear highlight in my eyes. While neither player is a household name yet and neither player is particularly flashy, I quite like both of them. Raiza is the epitome of solid; you will never catch him using a poor team and he rarely will struggle during the closing stretch of games, which is something most less experienced tournament players struggle with. John W is similarly strong, demonstrating impressive competency in the builder and execution in the battle week 1 while dethroning a top tier opponent in dice. I give the slight edge to Raiza here. I think that he is a bit more proven in BW and he also is an entity that I am simply more familiar with than I am John W. John W can definitely win this game and going off of week 1 alone, he performed better without a doubt. I just find it hard to put much more confidence in him than Raiza due to my unequal levels of familiarity. I am probably higher on Raiza than most, but I genuinely think he knows the tier inside-and-out and is capable of using that to his advantage, so here's hoping that this will show this week after a close call not going his way last week against me. As for John W, I expect another solid showing, but he will still have his hands full with Raiza and I am interested to see how he handles that. Definitely a highlight for me.

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