Gen 5 SPL XI - BW Discussion Thread

phosphor

it was just wish fulfillment
is a Tutor
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SPL XI is gonna happen soon, so let's discuss players/ matches/ metagame trends/ predictions/ etc. Format lovingly ripped off from DKM's post here.

I'll try to update this weekly, I'll likely be commentating every single BW game on my Youtube channel anyway.

SPL INTRODUCTION


schedule

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NOTE:
the trades that happen
here will be taken into account

Potential BWers:
(I tried to take into account what they signed up for, so even if they are known BWers if they implied they won't BW I didn't list them. Vice-versa is also true, some guys are just so known for BW that even if they didn't sign up for it might as well throw their name on here.)

Alpha Ruiners - Empo, FLCL, Hyogafodex, Caetano93
Dragonspiral Tyrants - Gilbert arenas, blunder, The Grand Babido, TDK, John W, CTC
Indie Scooters - zf, Kevin Garrett, ZoroDark, Leo
Wi-Fi Wolfpack - BKC, Pearl
Ever Grande BIGS - ima, Mannat, jacob, GaryTheGengar
Circus Maximus Tigers - McMeghan, Zokuru, Luigi
Congregation of the Classiest - Insult, Raiza
Stark Sharks - Conflict, SoulWind
Cryonicles - Finchinator, Eo Ut Mortus, obii, z0mOG, shawyu 1313, Jirachee
Team Raiders - dice, Posho, Vulpix03


tell me if I missed someone obvious

power rankings aren't here yet but feel free to rank each team's estimated BW level in the comments!

player standings will be in this section
 
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My rankings based off the BW starters I predict:
1. Sharks- Soulwind
2. Raiders- Dice
3. Cryos- Finch
4. Scoots- zf
5. Classiest- Raiza
6. BIGs- Fakes
7. Wolfpack- Pearl
8. Tyrants- John W
9. Tigers- Zokuro
10. Ruiners- Caetano

Not 100% sure these will be the BW players so list would change if say FLCL or mcmeghan end playing instead. Lots of new players im excited to watch against the top players. Very close top 4 out of the players listed imo.

GL everyone!

edit: updated ranks since bans and stuff
 
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McMeghan

Dreamcatcher
is a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis an Administrator Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnusis the 5th Smogon Classic Winneris the Smogon Tour Season 14 Championis a Past SPL Champion
Week 1 thoughts:

Stats:
  • Ferrothorn used 90% of the game, need I say more? Not surprising, but also something that can be abused/adjusted pretty effectively and I wonder if we'll see changes as soon as the second week.
  • Tyranitar/Rotom-W/Latios/Lando has been featured 5 times this week. Not surprising either, this core is very strong and flexible and proven to be strong vs just about anything.
  • The first victim of the sleep ban was Amoonguss, completely disappearing off the usage stats (lul ace11). Until next time.
  • zf graced us with a nice showing from the old warrior Scizor, while dice had to use his trademark Milotic, to a much worse result.
Games:
  • Caetano had a very cool Breloom set, and it did a lot of work vs Zokuru. Sub to ease prediction + Passive recovery + strong hits and good coverage hits all my personal marks, and I will remember it for the future.
  • John W kept his Smogon Tour form and gave us a solid game vs dice's...questionnable team. I think Milotic isn't good personally, although it was used quite well in that team with Skarmory and Gothitelle, but the latter is no more. Milotic can only do well when the hazards are off, and I don't think Scarf Drill is a particulary good spinner. As a result, we got John W laying them down and just winning through LandoT/Latios. I think the Latias is terrible but maybe I'll be proven wrong one day. Can't imagine giving free reign to Ferro with that team, and you probably don't wanna paralyze it bc then it abuses Milotic freely all day. I respect dice's creativity though, and I'm sure he'll give us some both interesting & good teams later on.
  • Big fan of zf's team vs Fakes. Outside of the Scarf Toed, which is sadly sometimes the only speed control option you can fit on those rains, it featured interesting sets and structure, with Scizor to give the team the Pursuit factor, which would help Toxicroak or Thundurus in some matchups. I do gotta say that Rain is already the weakest playstyle against Dragmag, and using two steels that are Magnezone bait is quite a risk in my opinion, especially Toad as fastest mon but it worked here and it tackled on the more popular core mentionned above quite well, thanks to the ever popular and trendy Thundurus, sporting the custom spread made to tank Ferro's Power Whip with Substitute. Also nice on zf to forego the ground spot but making up for it with Volt Absorb Thund.
  • SW vs Pearl was a very cool game! Close 'till the end with both players having their moments and doing their best to control the board state while attempting to make progress / preventing their opponent from doing so. I rewatcehd that game carefully and I feel like SW's standing as a player showed here, as he ended up making less mistakes and ended up taking the game for him. Turn 34 for example had Pearl waste a turn HP Icing Keldeo when it was safe to expect Scarf SR Lando from SW at this point. I could tell from Wcop that Pearl had a good understanding of the tier's dynamics and I'm looking forward his future games. He might not be the most eccentric builder but he makes up for it with his calculated choices and plays.
 

Mannat

is a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
Won SPL Predictions
Caetano had a very cool Breloom set, and it did a lot of work vs Zokuru. Sub to ease prediction + Passive recovery + strong hits and good coverage hits all my personal marks, and I will remember it for the future.
Another note about this breloom set for a niche but still really nice use is that it lets you avoid getting screwed over by Worry Seed from Ferrothorn and friends, which has been gaining usage lately with the absurdly high Magnezone usage by certain users.
Nice on zf to forego the ground spot but making up for it with Volt Absorb Thund.
Expanding upon this, it offers a great volt deterrent and is more than enough to discourage volt spam when paired with good elec pivots like torb loom or ferro, even moreso than ferro lando since washer's pump doesn't ohko. I think fat sub is super cool and it's surprisingly powerful and can abuse the hell out of the ferro/ttar/lati type sand balances that are infesting the metagame right now.

Seeing as you didn't mention it in your post, I'd like to talk about Finchinator vs Raiza for a bit. Finch's team featured Scarf Tyranitar much to Jayde's chagrin, and I can't say that I'm a fan myself. Scarf Tyranitar really shouldn't be used without fairly consistent Alakazam counterplay, like Jirachi, or even the significantly less common Scizor, otherwise it's much too easy to get overwhelmed with it, even with spdef Ferrothorn or Heatran. Even in this game that he managed to win, Finch needed to win an Alakazam speed tie or dodge a Focus Blast to be able to escape the game alive.

Roro covered it pretty well, but SW vs Pearl was definitely the BW OU game of the week, being a closely contested contest between two veteran players that went to the man that basically made no mistakes down the stretch.

My main takeaway this week is that we saw a lot of people trying to push the envelope, with some teams/techs being successful like Caetano's SubPunch PH Loom and zf's cool Scizor team, whereas others like dice's Milotic ended up being less useful. It's good to see people trying to innovate and come up with creative teams and techs to stop the metagame from stagnating. I look forward to seeing what people come up with in future weeks and hope to see more of the same kind of innovation.
 

Finchinator

IT'S FINK DUMBASS
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OU & NU Leader
Seeing as you didn't mention it in your post, I'd like to talk about Finchinator vs Raiza for a bit. Finch's team featured Scarf Tyranitar much to Jayde's chagrin, and I can't say that I'm a fan myself. Scarf Tyranitar really shouldn't be used without fairly consistent Alakazam counterplay, like Jirachi, or even the significantly less common Scizor, otherwise it's much too easy to get overwhelmed with it, even with spdef Ferrothorn or Heatran. Even in this game that he managed to win, Finch needed to win an Alakazam speed tie or dodge a Focus Blast to be able to escape the game alive.
Every single team brought in SPL in BW, or any other tier for that matter, requires trade-offs. A trade-off I elected to make was having a hard answer to Alakazam*** in return for a better MU against Latios and Rain offense (most notably teams with Thundurus/Tornadus) by using Scarf Tyranitar. It is also worth noting that this improved the synergy of my team greatly as I was using Toxic+Protect Keldeo, which is fantastic in the post-sleep metagame and only really struggles with Latios, which is handled phenomenally by Protect+Scarf Tyranitar.

I made this trade-off after scouting Raiza and looking through my historical building patterns. As many of you know, I use Chople Tyranitar more than just about anyone else in this tier and in addition to that I have recently used Jirachi Rain vs Raiza in multiple tournament games. Raiza also was not a big Alakazam user himself compared to some others, which made this trade-off seem like a wise one with Alakazam usage being at an all-time low in late 2019 throughout the metagame in general (see: WCOP 2019, where it was under 5% in usage and did not win a single game, and ST 28, where it barely cracked the top 20[/URL]). Couple this with the fact that, as I explain in the hide tags and show throughout the battle, I can still win games vs Alakazam, and you honestly just get another calculated risk being taken in a competitive atmosphere which mandates them.

I find it quite hypocritical for you to attack this, but praise the SoulWind vs. Pearl game and not comment on Pearl's team. Pearl's team was one I quite liked personally, but it took essentially the same calculated risk I did by using Scarf Tyranitar and being vulnerable to Alakazam. His main answer was keeping Rotom-Wash healthy and then either preserving Latios above SBall/HP Ice range or dodging a Focus Blast with Excadrill/Ferrothorn. This is fine because it is manageable -- you can legitimately set-up that scenario if you play a careful game, much like I did against Raiza -- and SoulWind rarely uses Alakazam, but it is quite literally the same teambuilding convention as the one I employed and you are mindlessly praising him despite calling out the same thing in the paragraph above.

Finally, to give examples of other trade-offs that you also completely glossed over just to put it in perspective...while I love zf and his creative flares that make every game of his a spectacle, his Scizor Rain team had no spinner, 4 Pokemon vulnerable to Spikes, and 3-4 Pokemon that let them up. This is obviously cause for concern against bulkier Ferrothorn/Skarmory Sand teams. He took a calculated risk knowing Fakes would likely refrain from that, which turned out to be correct as Fakes used a more offensive team and did not get the necessary openings to exploit this vulnerability. While I respect Fakes and his whole cartel of support, his team pretty much lost on team preview vs BU Loom + Pursuit, which is as common as ever lately. It's likely that his team is 1-2+ years old, which is why this is the case, but this is still a great cause for concern, but he knew zf was unlikely to bring it as his style is more flashy than standardized and it worked out. I can go on and on with countless more examples, but I hope you get my point: no team will ever be without vulnerabilities and every game requires calculated risks, be it in the battle or in the builder. Nitpicking individual ones of them without accounting for the other side is just poor.

Alakazam was still manageable (which I showed throughout the game) because I had SDef Ferrothorn (need to hit 2 Focus Blasts + not roll min to beat), max SDef Gliscor (need to be HP Ice to be able to 2HKO and I still almost always live HP Ice after SR, which is enough considering other measures I had and the fact that HP Ice dropped a ton in usage ever since the Reuniclus surge last year when more people began using Encore/Sball/Signal/TWave), my own Alakazam with Thunder Wave (this essentially limits Alakazam and prevents it from ever sweeping, which has been used as a historic anti-Alakazam measure on Alakazam teams as well), and Latios to live any hit to break sash.
 

Triangles

That wasn't very dynamaxed of you
is a Pre-Contributoris a Past SPL Champion
Every single team brought in SPL in BW, or any other tier for that matter, requires trade-offs. A trade-off I elected to make was having a hard answer to Alakazam*** in return for a better MU against Latios and Rain offense (most notably teams with Thundurus/Tornadus) by using Scarf Tyranitar. It is also worth noting that this improved the synergy of my team greatly as I was using Toxic+Protect Keldeo, which is fantastic in the post-sleep metagame and only really struggles with Latios, which is handled phenomenally by Protect+Scarf Tyranitar.

I made this trade-off after scouting Raiza and looking through my historical building patterns. As many of you know, I use Chople Tyranitar more than just about anyone else in this tier and in addition to that I have recently used Jirachi Rain vs Raiza in multiple tournament games. Raiza also was not a big Alakazam user himself compared to some others, which made this trade-off seem like a wise one with Alakazam usage being at an all-time low in late 2019 throughout the metagame in general (see: WCOP 2019, where it was under 5% in usage and did not win a single game, and ST 28, where it barely cracked the top 20[/URL]). Couple this with the fact that, as I explain in the hide tags and show throughout the battle, I can still win games vs Alakazam, and you honestly just get another calculated risk being taken in a competitive atmosphere which mandates them.

I find it quite hypocritical for you to attack this, but praise the SoulWind vs. Pearl game and not comment on Pearl's team. Pearl's team was one I quite liked personally, but it took essentially the same calculated risk I did by using Scarf Tyranitar and being vulnerable to Alakazam. His main answer was keeping Rotom-Wash healthy and then either preserving Latios above SBall/HP Ice range or dodging a Focus Blast with Excadrill/Ferrothorn. This is fine because it is manageable -- you can legitimately set-up that scenario if you play a careful game, much like I did against Raiza -- and SoulWind rarely uses Alakazam, but it is quite literally the same teambuilding convention as the one I employed and you are mindlessly praising him despite calling out the same thing in the paragraph above.

Finally, to give examples of other trade-offs that you also completely glossed over just to put it in perspective...while I love zf and his creative flares that make every game of his a spectacle, his Scizor Rain team had no spinner, 4 Pokemon vulnerable to Spikes, and 3-4 Pokemon that let them up. This is obviously cause for concern against bulkier Ferrothorn/Skarmory Sand teams. He took a calculated risk knowing Fakes would likely refrain from that, which turned out to be correct as Fakes used a more offensive team and did not get the necessary openings to exploit this vulnerability. While I respect Fakes and his whole cartel of support, his team pretty much lost on team preview vs BU Loom + Pursuit, which is as common as ever lately. It's likely that his team is 1-2+ years old, which is why this is the case, but this is still a great cause for concern, but he knew zf was unlikely to bring it as his style is more flashy than standardized and it worked out. I can go on and on with countless more examples, but I hope you get my point: no team will ever be without vulnerabilities and every game requires calculated risks, be it in the battle or in the builder. Nitpicking individual ones of them without accounting for the other side is just poor.

Alakazam was still manageable (which I showed throughout the game) because I had SDef Ferrothorn (need to hit 2 Focus Blasts + not roll min to beat), max SDef Gliscor (need to be HP Ice to be able to 2HKO and I still almost always live HP Ice after SR, which is enough considering other measures I had and the fact that HP Ice dropped a ton in usage ever since the Reuniclus surge last year when more people began using Encore/Sball/Signal/TWave), my own Alakazam with Thunder Wave (this essentially limits Alakazam and prevents it from ever sweeping, which has been used as a historic anti-Alakazam measure on Alakazam teams as well), and Latios to live any hit to break sash.
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McMeghan

Dreamcatcher
is a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis an Administrator Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnusis the 5th Smogon Classic Winneris the Smogon Tour Season 14 Championis a Past SPL Champion
Week 2 thoughts:

Stats:
  • First this week and first overall, we find Landorus-T, which is deserved imo. I think it's the best Pokemon in the tier offensively and it showed in the games as well. More on this later.
  • People keep loving Breloom, used 5 times this week. I honestly think it's overrated but whatever, especially without the threat of Spore, you know what you're facing and if you don't get too complacent, it's not the end of the world to deal with.
Games:
  • Fakes had an interesting offense against Finch's standard Rain. However, the latter had a pretty unusual Thundurus-T set that came up big time. I feel like Fakes had better ways to finish this game but after rewatching it many times, I can't really picture what he should have done. Finch set up the field quite well and he did get slightly lucky with the para dodge + Thunder hit. If anyone wanna explain how it should have been played I'm interested.
  • Why Landorus-T is amazing, part1: Pearl vs Zokuru. Ground + Ice is amazing offensively, especially when paired with Uturn to pivot off the would-be checks. Add to that immunity to Spikes, sand and no Rock Weakness and you have a momentum machine that fiends off slow builds and many metagame staples like Tyranitar or Heatran. Also Breloom is NOT a Landorus-t answer, especially in Sand, it takes way too much chip damages and can't heal that well in Sand, especially compared to Landorus. Anyway beside that, Pearl played better and didn't let Zokuru get anything out of Heatran despite the superb matchup.
  • Part2: SoulWdind vs zf. The game was already looking over on turn 2 honestly. I've seen and used that team from zf (made by dice) and its horrendously weak to standard Landot, and it showed. Amoonguss lack of Spore also showed its limits here, not threatening Ferro and letting it get a Spikes to further let Landorus do its thing later. Breloom also showed its limits in Sand and couldn't heal enough to come or setup or kill anything.
  • dice's teambuilding eccentricity landed much better than in the first week against Caetano. FerroCent doing its job against RainOffense here, with Zapdos and Encore Alakazam patching up the holes. Props to dice for not playing this too safely as otherwise Thundurs could have left a bigger mark on the battle. From what I gathered, Caetano had a Hurricane Dnite ft Superpower, which is a pretty sound idea to catch the flying resists of the tier, at least Excadrill and Tyranitar, but dice doesn't obey the rules and brought Zapdos! Despite being unpopular compared to its hayday, Jellicent can be disgusting to face for Rain, pretty much netting the win by itself here. Maybe we'll see more of it in the future with Breloom being easier to account for and Amoonguss role as a regenerator + sleep absorber gone?
 
kind of a throwback to the finals of BW cup last year where Dice brought Ferrothorn + Excadrill to all 3 games. BKC made a great video on the finals here. Dice's team is pretty interesting, but I also feel he got pretty lucky (or scouted well) with the matchup. Ferrocent against Keldeo rain is amazing, Zapdos against Hurricane dnite, and he's a little lucky there was no Jirachi on the rain for Alakazam. I feel like his team could struggle against some more standard sand balance, with shaky Reuniclus checks and such. Zam makes a lot of sense, checking a lot of stuff the team is somewhat vaguely weak to, but it's a one time check to these things. Jellicent is a really interesting pick that I think is trending up - people are straight up not running grass moves on Breloom, and toxic Keldeo seems to be trending down as a wave of Reuniclus and bulky Breloom has come up to counter it. The big play of this game was Dice switching Zam into focus blast from Thundurus. Rather than saving Zam as long as possible, he found an opportunity to entirely shift the momentum and put himself in the driver's seat. Given that he got the focus blast prediction correct, there was a 30% chance of no punishment for the switch at all.

We'll see if people continue to bring the Politoed Keldeo Loom Jirachi Tentacruel Landorus/Thundurus team. It's a really good team but it's not perfect, and running something like sub Thundurus (like the set zf used in week 1, or even without focus blast like Finchinator's set) could go up in usage as it's something that team could easily struggle with.
 

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