Gen 2 SPL XI - GSC Discussion Thread

Diophantine

慈陰
is a Tutor
Permission from Earthworm

With SPL XI underway, this thread will be used to discuss GSC related topics, whether it's about the players, general metagame trends, matches, predictions and so on. This thread will be updated frequently with each new week, player standings, and replays.
Please refrain from trolling or any form of toxicity.

Season Schedule


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

Likely GSCers (starters in bold):
Alpha Ruiners
- FriendOfMrGolem120, Hyogafodex
Circus Maximus Tigers
- McMeghan, Raichy, Zokuru
Congregation of the Classiest
- KratosMana, Excal
Cryonicles
- Mr. E, HML am
Dragonspiral Tyrants
- gorgie, Gilbert Arenas
Ever Grande BIGS
- idiotfrommars, Descending, Diophantine
Indie Scooters
- Fear, Bedschibaer
Stark Sharks
- Blightbringer, Conflict
Team Raiders
- Earthworm, Dice
Wi-Fi Wolfpack
- BKC, Sulcata, Charmflash

Power Rankings:
Screenshot 2020-01-04 at 22.53.02.png

 
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mad dawg

formerly elpresidento
Scooters- Fear
Raiders- Earthworm
Wolfpack- Sulcata
Ruiners- fomg
Cryos- Mr. E
Tigers- McMeghan
Sharks- blightbringer
Classiest- KratosMana
Tyrants- gorgie
BIGS- descending

Conflict joins that top 4 group if sharks swap him to GSC. Not seeing lavos play is a shame but still the pool looks quite good, nice mix of gsc vets, returning vets and players playing gsc in spl for the first time.
GL every1!
 

Century Express

melodies of life
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a former Tournament Circuit Champion
McMeghan vs FriendOfMrGolem120 | My favorite match-up of this week, FOMG improved a lot these months, while I find Roro's aggresive playstyle really enjoyable to watch, regardless of the metagame choice. Almost a 50/50 IMO, but i'll favor FOMG by a small margin
Blightbringer vs sulcata
Descending vs Fear | I'll root for the underdog, but it's hard to see Fear losing this match-up
Mr.E vs KratosMannat
gorgie vs Earthworm

I hope Conflict ends up GSC'ing in the future, it would be hella interesting. GL&HF to everyone
 

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:

  • Golem keeps rising in the ranks, netting a top spot after the the usual top 3 for this week of SPL. The biggest metagame rise since Jynx in the recent years.
  • Gengar being there too is probably worth mentionning, it's been one of the most used Pokemon after the usual big guns for the past year and it was already showcased in the latest VR update. On the other hand, Exeggutor keeps being left behind.
Games:
  • In a result that surprised many, gorgie clutched a tie for his team by beating Earthworm. Don't wanna beat a dead horse, but EW played this endgame terribly here, nobody's immune to some brain blackout.
  • Fear's win vs IFM was fantastic. It showcased his abilities as a builder in this tier and a lot of techs hit the field that match. The Zapdos set in particular deserves a mention. I don't think I've seen it before. Protect/WW/Tbolt and presumably HP Water. Protect on a spikes immune Pokemon can go a long way to heal with Leftovers, as it's often seen in later generations. I believe it's a move that deserves more exploration and it makes a lot of sense on Zapdos. Immune to spikes and a common target for Explosions users, it's definitely worthy of consideration. Fear complimented it well in his build by going with a STLax + SpinGolem as it can take a lot of hits usually aimed at Zapdos (Nidoking, Egg, other Electrics) as well as the status that go with them.
  • In Anti's win vs Mr.E, I gotta say I think Smeargle was a bad choice for such a defensive team on Mr.E's part. Smeargle shines in more offensive teams where it can threaten more stuff with its Baton Pass sets. It's also severely lacking in defensive utility and longetivity, which is something you need in a defensive team, effectively lowering the amount of Pokemons you're checking. It is also a problem when you're using passive mons like Skarmory that invite big threats or don't actively threaten the things it's supposed to check. Mr.E has shown much better things in the past, and I hope his future games will be more challenging.
 
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Century Express

melodies of life
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a former Tournament Circuit Champion
Also i'd like to give a small emphasis on Jynx's performance against offensive teams... this plague is definitely one of the most massive headaches in the teambuilder whenever you try to build with Offense, and it was a smart pick from Fear's part, since IFM is known for being a being a big Offense enthusiast (a trend that was moderately abused against him in SPL IX), if I recall correctly.

Also Gengar + Jynx shared a very cohesive (offensive) sinergy, with the former covering the ST Lax issue and providing a good amount of opportunities to Thief / Boom (definitely a welcome support for Zapdos or Jynx), while the latter have a natural match-up advantage against the majority of non-ST Lax Offensive team structures. Hell, sometimes even a STer won't be enough, because there's always a random freeze / crit / bad sequence of ST rolls to screw up your whole momentum. Add this with the GSC's Sleep mechs and now you have a monster whenever you LK a non-Sleep absorber (see: McM's Eggy sort of forcing FOMG to play a 5v6 due to a very unfortunate sequence of Sleep turns).

I'm too lazy too keep doing these writeups so:

Week 2 Predicts

Earthworm vs FriendOfMrGolem120
McMeghan
vs sulcata
Blightbringer vs Fear
Descending
vs Mr.E
gorgie vs KratosMannat
 
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Mr.E

unban me from Discord
is a Past SPL Champion
tbh I just needed explosion from forry/cloy, the Smeargle set was poorly equipped for the matchup

My thought was that Cloyster is redundant with Suicune and Forretress is not actually a very good Pokémon anyway, so I would use Smeargle instead of Forry. What is Forry's defensive utility? It has a Normal resist but it can't do anything to beat Snorlax anyway, it generally doesn't do much except try its damndest to win the Spikes subgame. Granted it can switch in easier to lay its Spikes because it isn't 2HKOed by everything, its long-term defensive utility doesn't extend much beyond having Explosion in its back pocket for Snorlax or like +1 Machamp. So I was just trying something with Smeargle in that slot and it didn't work very well, I had a set that just didn't work well against a really fast team.
 
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Jorgen

World's Strongest Fairy
is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Past SPL Champion
The madmen actually did it. They played a 1000+ turn GSC game.

That game was a miserable PP stall since before turn 100. That the game was cut short is not the problem imho. That it took 1000 turns to be put out of its misery is the real crime.

Technically winnable or not, pp stalls are just not fun. "Just part of the game" or not, pp stalls are pure agony. Legitimate strategy or not, pp stalls make me want to die. Just kill them. Make the turn limit stricter if you have to. Say, 300 turns. That's more than enough to reach a decisive result should one be possible before the inevitable heat death of the universe, right? Clearly, simply "not using stall" isn't enough, as evidenced by FOMG's team in that match.

Maybe there's a smarter way to determine when an auto-draw should occur (e.g., 5 straight turns of nothing but switching in the absence of spikes, 100 straight turns without a kill on either side). Maybe this is a community tiering thing rather than a TD thing because a change to prevent these sorts of matches (e.g., a hard turn limit) would likely have strategic implications (critics may well call it "stall ban", which, honestly, I don't hate). Whatever needs to happen better happen, though. A match lasting 1000+ turns / 4+ hours is just inherently not okay.

And yes, I realize other communities have struggled with a similar problem. But, as far as I know, they wanted to curtail a specific behavior (users maliciously forcing endless battles on ladder) while constraining their changes to have no strategic effects. I propose we change something and simply accept that it'll affect strategy to some degree.

Anyway hi yeah I'm following SPL and also not dead. I just had real life stuff to tend to so didn't check in much before now. At the same time, I also realized I actually dislike playing this game because of the misery-stall potential, hence why I didn't make more of an effort to play the matches I was involved with before ghosting y'all. My hatred of misery-stall is also why I decided to break my lurk and soapbox for auto-draws in GSC.

As an aside, I'm starting a hobby project where I apply advanced stats to GSC games. Think of it like GSC sabermetrics. As part of that, maybe I determine what the real turn limit / auto-draw condition should be, rather than pulling 300 turns out of my butt ;)
 
I actually enjoyed watching it and it's a crying shame the game was cut short, I always considered GSC to be the most competitive OU metagame, and these fringe tactics are exquisite. I'd support a 2000+ forced tie in order to allow such games to happen, after all people are playing GSC, and they can agree for a tie before the inevitable end if needed.

Saying that stalled games are not fun is purely subjective, I myself find it thoroughly enjoyable, also most games wouldn't last until turn 1000 anyway.
 
I've seen legitimate games go to 300-350 using up PP of a specific, strategic move (e.g. heal bell). I agree with slashing the turn limit even lower though, 500 seems like a safe bet imo and probably at the upper limit of what people's browsers can tolerate now anyway (not that the turn limit should be higher if they could handle it).

I think people are really missing the human factor when they say 1000+ (or even 600+) turn games are fine. Nobody has that much time and these games need to be able to be scheduled reasonably (I shouldn't need to account for 2h match windows).
 

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
:
  • This week saw a lot of diversity with a total of 24 different Pokemons being used. I think the most notable things are the two Houndoom, which is probably an alright metagame call given Jynx's popularity on top of its already established niche, and the one Articuno from Earthworm.
Games:
  • Mr.E beat Descending very convincingly, hopefully showing that his first game was just a fluke and that he's still got it. His team was pretty solid defensively and he pivoted around Descending's options masterfully, never giving him any edge to work with despite the very offensive nature of his team. Descending had a pretty uncommon Lax set, rocking both Rest and SD. Didn't quite work out for him this game. This team is known and usually uses Body Slam/Lovely Kiss Lax to open the gates for Marowak and itself, which woud have probably been better in this match. On the other hand, Mr.E also had an uncommon Lax set, with all of Normal/Ground coverage and Lovely Kiss, which is frankly quite good vs those offensive teams which rely on a Rock-type as their Normal resist.
  • Fear vs Blightbringer brought us a really cool game with some unusual options and a thrilling ending. Blight was the first player using Houndoom this week and it was a pretty good pick in that team, patching up Jynx's weakness for Egg Offenses and providing Pursuit support for the Lax set probably. Reflect Zapdos was also a good call to avoid Machamp or EQ Lax getting out of hand. On the other side, Fear worked some more magic with a Rest-less Zapdos yet again, this time supported by Miltank to cure a would-be status. Much like a Raikou would do, this Zapdos was equipped with Whirlwind to shuffle and rack up spikes damages. Marowak gave the team some much needed offense in this game, and it was supported by a Spin Cloyster to make up for its lack of Leftovers. Although Fear didn't have a Normal resist, he made up for it by playing very aggressively, which is something he probably knew he had to do as he can't get complacent with that kind of build. There are probably more things to say about the team compositions but I'll stop here.
  • The first game of EW vs FOMG made us see the much talked about Articuno, from Earthworm. After talking about it and its possible niche for quite a while on Discord, EW joined practice to the theory. Featuring on a very defensively oriented build, it did its job walling FOMG's offensive options to a 1000 turns tie. EW's only true sweeper was BDLax, which FOMG removed from the game with minimal lasting damages thanks to a clutch Pursuit from his Tyranitar.
  • Anti vs Floppy was a rollercoaster of a game. Anti got off a huge lead with a killer Snorlax set that got out of control real quick thanks to a good lead matchup and the power of Curse & Lovely Kiss. Floppy had to make a sacrifice for it and played the game without Spikes by immediately booming Cloyster on Snorlax to keep it under control. Afterwards, some very well timed Nidoking predictions allowed him to come back in the game by killing Zapdos and putting Anti's own Cloyster to sleep. After a Gengar x Lax trade, which is what both players needed to enable their finishers, Espeon and Vaporeon, the two Growthers went head to head and Floppy's Vaporeon got the 2KO it needed to win the game. Very cool and pacy game that I enjoyed, with both players tech allowing them to take the lead/coming back to an even position.
 
I'm gonna talk a little bit about my game

I didn't prepare anything too specific for this week. I knew gorgie is an offense fella, so the snorlax set coupled with espeon's natural good speed tier sounded like a good plan, the rest of the team just glued around it. lax ends up not doing anywhere nearly as good as i'd have hoped thanks to the t2 miss coupled with the rock slide crit, when it would have probably killed 1/2 more mons instead. gorg follows up with vaporeon after blowing out cloy, which I thought could only mean he'd be hydro pump seeing as surf doesn't kill lax from that range, so i end up going zapdos expecting some sort of sub hydro set which made me fear getting cloy in. He brings out nidoking, and i thought Thunder to be the most optimal play possible, seeing as it both nails out the pivot to Snorlax and scouts out for Counter. Never expected Ice beam to be an option, but i was clearly wrong. Turns out after all that it still actually was counter and i end up throwing out zapdos early on just like that.

At this point my mentality was very bad, I was still really tilted by vaporeon being brought out without having Hydro("did he think vap's HP was worth trading at that point, did he not know how leftovers mechanics work, or did he think Zapdos was such a strong pokémon for this matchup that he thought it was not worth trying to hit a thunder with?"), and I had just lost probably one of the strongest mons in an offense vs offense game. I bring out cloy hoping for to get a spike up, but kiss ends up connecting and i don't get the boom off vs zap. I switch into lix and get a lucky para off with body slam which was probably luckier than the crit considering how good waterzap was vs this team, and end up going for the panic explosion, which i regret a lot.

I still knew espeon had a very good shot, thankfully his nidoking was chipped to the point of 2 Ips from gar while it doesn't get ohko by eq, so I could possibly force in snorlax to get an explosion off and try to win with it. I end up freezing the snorlax and trying to beat it through dynamicpunch, until i almost run out of pp of it and decide to just boom and try to win with espeon instead. gorgie correctly follows up with vaporeon and gets 2 good enough surf rolls that end my chances in probably the most frustating loss i've had in years.

There's a lot of things I regret about this game. I overthought a lot of things, and rushed out about all of it. I never even had to realistically play the Zapdos vs Nidoking game, i could have went with a pivot route with espeon or cloyster to scout out nidoking better. It may sound stupid, but the surf from vaporeon just ended up haunting my mentality throughout the whole thing. I just couldn't help but wish I had stayed with the snorlax instead of trying to save a fodder for later. The endgame was an absolute mess as well, seeing as I should have 100% switched in espeon on the frozen lax and growth spammed hoping it woudn't thaw.

Overall it was definitely the most pathetic/frustating display i've had in this game in years, but regardless, props to gorgie for having his techs work out for him and having a good season start in general, always been a chill guy. I hope to have a better game with FOMG this week, always thought he was an absolute monster in the tier, very excited to get a chance to play him and the players in this year's pool in general.
 
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gorgie

formerly Floppy, now Rock hard
At this point my mentality was very bad, I was still really tilted by vaporeon being brought out without having Hydro("did he think vap's HP was worth trading at that point, did he not know how leftovers mechanics work, or did he think Zapdos was such a strong pokémon for this matchup that he thought it was not worth trying to hit a thunder with?"), and I had just lost probably one of the strongest mons in an offense vs offense game.
it was actually a mix of "Zapdos with restless boomless Lax pretty much dead is an absolute gem not worth risking over a Restalk Vap who, at the end of this staredown will have ~34% HP at worst and a chance of recovering and potentially sweeping later in the game" and "let me force his hand here by baiting him to attack so we can rid lax and get the rest of my team to go crazy (best case). if he switches thats cool too and i get more information and go from there."

Then there is the potential overthinking of Hydro on your end as you mentioned (which i glanced over tbh) as well as the crit chance.

In retrospect if i had thought of Espeon when i was running through the different remaining mons combos you could have that could give Zap and friends trouble i wouldve said fuck it and went hard for the Thunder.

it really is the prettiest ones that are the most dangerous. take notes loverboys

edit: oh yeh, i know how leftovers mechs work. im not that new. huehuehuheuhehe
 
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FOMG lost vs KratosMana. I did not understand FOMG choice of staying with blissey on snorlax's double edge. Why not switch into Misdreavus? It's not like it had no hp to tank a thunder. It was also a pretty lucky crit on Kratos' side, but still no reason to stay with blissey, right?
 
FOMG lost vs KratosMana. I did not understand FOMG choice of staying with blissey on snorlax's double edge. Why not switch into Misdreavus? It's not like it had no hp to tank a thunder. It was also a pretty lucky crit on Kratos' side, but still no reason to stay with blissey, right?
My best guess is on turn 73, FOMG tried to make a hard callout and tried to catch kratosmana's Forretress with Flamethrower (he predicted an aggressive double on the incoming Missy and spikes would put kratosmana back in the driver's seat). It was a risky play with high reward, although it's hard to say if kratosmana would ever go to Forre vs an unrevealed last move Blissey since spikes are so integral to him winning this game. Beyond that, Bliss + Rest Cloy should be able to outlast Forre (kratosmana would have to play aggressively for leftovers recovery on Forre or pressure intensely when he has spikes down), so FOMG has a good chance of winning the long game. Not sure it was his best move.

As to why FOMG stayed in after the Flamethrower, it's most likely to keep Blissey at high HP to prevent to be cheesed from electric Thunders, especially if spikes go back up (very important to maintain a healthy Bliss in this matchup). After Lax throws out a few Double Edges, it'll be forced to Rest or click Curse, at which point Blissey will have gained a free turn to heal back up to ~80-90% and Missy would still be a very safe switch-in. Basically, using Flamethrower put him in a spot where he needed to either risk 3-4 potential Double Edge crits from Lax or crits/para/rolls from electric's Thunders with potential spikes up or play aggressively to generate a free turn to heal Blissey again. The first option of risking crits is generally the "safest" because it doesn't give FOMG any chance of being outplayed and doesn't require FOMG to outplay to heal up his integral Blissey; it has a set chance to succeed or fail and FOMG got the short end of the stick this time around (the odds only become ~50/50 for a crit happening when tanking the 11th Double Edge; for tanking ~4-5 Double Edges, FOMG should have around a 75-80% chance of not getting crit)
 

FriendOfMrGolem120

aka. FOMG
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Battle Simulator Moderatoris a defending SPL Champion
Moderator
Staying in with Blissey was a huge misplay. I indeed tried to catch the Forretress and then decided to stay in because I feared letting my electric counters become too low (there's the risk of Thunder crits+para+full para stuff). I had an extremely good matchup though and should have just played it as safe as possible. This was probably my worst throw ever.
 

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