The World Cup of Pokémon 2020 - Quarterfinals

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Finchinator

We'll be a fine line
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BW Circuit Champion
Upon request:

Germany (6) vs Greece (2) - Favor Germany comfortably


Gefährlicher Random (55) vs (45) the pharoah - Both players impress me for newer players and I think that is one of the best parts of this WCOP. Lesser known players thriving in this tournament makes it amazing as a spectator and I cannot wait to see the lasting impact they have on other tournaments like Snake, SPL, and the big individuals. With this said, I favor Gefährlicher Random because he went 2-1 in a strong group, featuring SPL level players like z0mOG and Quaze. His loss to Snowy was a game that lasted forever and I did not watch, but I do not recall a ton of horrible plays or anything. I also really like his playstyle: solid defensive backbones with the right offensive fillers for the opponent. It almost feels like he is mature beyond his experience in a sense that he is not trying to do too much with his preparation, which I really value in a newer player. The crazy thing is that despite all of this, it is very hard to favor him against pharoah. If I recall, pharoah is 5-0 or 6-0 thus far including the qualifiers. He has won every game he has played and played particularly well piloting some unconventional things. His playstyle is a bit erratic, playing teams like Sun and Galar-Slowbro Rain (which I do not think is remotely optimal), which make me a bit less confident in his piloting and more in his ability to pinpoint what opponents use, but this is a valuable skill regardless. I think that these two are on similar levels, but the Gef. Random is more likely to bring a team that gives him a chance to win the game no matter what and he seems a little stronger as a player, so I favor him.

Lord_Enz (60) vs (40) BluBirD252 - Quietly, Lord_Enz went positive in round 1, piloting a diverse assortment of teams ranging from stall to bulky-offense. His loss against Feliburn was not handled optimally perhaps, but he did get a Focus Punch off into a Roost Mandibuzz, so props for that. BluBird looked a bit less effective in his 1-2 R1, but he did beat Friso at least, who is a very solid competitor. I gotta say that the loss to Xiri rubbed me the wrong way though. I think BluBird needs to work on optimizing his odds later in games and they he will be a very good player. Until then, I favor Lord_Enz a bit just because he has a more complete game and his team choices seem stronger to me.

xray (65) vs (35) Mysterious M - xray has been one of the better SS players thus far. I think his SPL run was fortunate, but he had two absolutely dominant wins in r1 and there are no signs of him slowing down. I find xray to be one of the most motivated players in the tier right now as well. I think all of this is easily enough to overtake Mysterious M, who is by no means a slouch himself. MM is mainly an Ubers player, but he has some nice performances in OU. I just do not think he has the competency or experience to overtake xray unfortunately.

Ewin (55) vs (45) CBU - Ewin went 3-0, but I still feel he is a bit raw. He needs to continue working on optimizing end games and avoiding falling into exploitable sequences in the long haul. However, his instincts are great for a newer player and his teambuilding seems good enough. I quite like how he made use of interesting picks like the Kyu/Azu bulky team, Talonflame, and Gengar, so his outside the box thinking could help crack the Greece code here. CBU is obviously a good player, but I think his performance has been lackluster and this is perhaps due to using some subpar teams. His choice against Twixtry was especially lackluster. I also feel like he did not handle the tiebreak game well, but a win is a win, be it due to RNG or not. Ultimately, it's close and CBU is a bit more experienced, but I favor Ewin ever-so-slightly. Looking forward to seeing the teams both bring to see if we'll see more of the same or a departure from previously established norms.

Relous (45) vs (55) Astamatitos - Both are pretty strong this generation, but I think I favor Astamatitos due to his overall legacy as a player being far stronger. He is no stranger to the big stage and has performed at an amazing level in ADV. I do not view Astamatitos as crust at all either. He did not look amazing in R1 and yesterday he used Slowbro over Toxapex for a reason that is beyond my personal comprehension, but most of his plays check out and I feel like he is one to rise to the occasion. I have the utmost confidence in Asta as a player and am just curious about the team decision process. As for Relous, all three of his r1 games were lopsided and he finished 2-1, getting 6-0d once and 6-0ing his opponent another time. I cannot get a great grasp on him overall due to this -- I don't think he had to do anything too amazing, but he also did not do much that was bad. I think his teams have the leg up on Asta, but I still trust Asta a bit more in the game that I have to give him the edge. I will say I liked what Relous used vs MarcoP a bit and his Togekiss pick vs xImRaptor was pretty smart. Overall, should be a closer game than most.

mind gaming (55) vs (45) Ace-11 - mind gaming is someone I don't know too well, but he looked strong throughout r1, only losing to 3-0 reiku's godly Trick Room strategy. I think that his gameplay is great and his team choices were all sound. I feel like he is similar to Gef. Random in a lot of regards, bringing a lot of promise to Team Germany in the present and future. Ace-11 is weird as I think his ceiling is higher than that of Mind Gaming, but he tends to have some subpar performances as well. His teams are mostly fine, so if he is able to play at his best, then I think he has a good chance, but that's up in the air and I feel a little more confident in mind gaming in the meantime, especially if he brings broken Amunguss.

Steve Angello (49) vs (51) roudolf13 - Steve Angello is a close match for anyone. You can be the best player of all time or a newer player and he will play you close. His team choices get more crazy with time, his plays get more aggressive with time, and overall I really cannot pinpoint him. He is one of the most dangerous players out there and I have so much respect for Steve as it stands. With this all said, roudolf is 3-0 (4-0 if you include the qualifying round) and honestly has been one of the most impressive performers to me thus far. He clearly knows what he is doing this generation and has used a nice variety of teams thus far ranging from Sun to different balances. Normally, I would favor Steve in modern generations, but after seeing his games, I will give roudolf the slight edge as he has impressed. Probably one of my lowkey highlights.

AdvanceShip (60) vs (40) Laz - I know very little about Laz aside from his gatekeeping US Central back in the day in ORAS. On the other hand, AdvanceShip has transitioned from ladder lord to 3-0 WCOP player, iirc. He really impresses me and I think the new wave of German players deserve all of the credit in the world. I also really liked his Encore Azumarill and Rock Slide Excadrill picks thus far. I think AdvanceShip is well on his way to being a tournament regular and I believe he will win here against a player I am a lot less sure about.


Italy (5) vs Latin America (3) - Favor Italy comfortably


H.M.N.I.P (45) vs (55) Gtcha - Gtcha is another newer player who really impressed me thus far. I think he is a great instinctual player, but needs some work with teambuilding and I do not know that the support is there. HMNIP I still cannot fully be sure of as a player as I have not seen much, but he did win his game leading up to this. I think I favor Gtcha as a player just because I liked his R! play, but Italy can cook something nasty up and potentially take away his chances to win or HMNIP can potentially continue his winning ways, so I cannot give this one as much confidence as other predictions. I am very curious to see what HMNIP brings here though.

Tricking (60) vs (40) Gondra - This is a rough pairing for LA as I would favor Gondra vs most of the Team Italy line-up. Thing is that Tricking is their best player aside from Empo and honestly one of the best all-around players nowadays. He has found a way to be consistent in putting up positive results across just about every tournament in countless metagames. His team choices may be chaotic, but Tricking always finds a way to make them work and I admire that a ton. I think Gondra is a strong player and he will find the right team to use, but it will still be an uphill climb to defeat Tricking in the middle of his prime. I think this would be an interesting game to see Gondra use something more cheesy like a fatter build with Blissey or Sun in order to try to switch it up and countereact whatever WoF and Tricking have in the lab right now. This would be different from his normal stuff, but also given how common these builds are right now, perhaps the Italians will come ready for this. So it does become a bit of a mind game seeing how volatile the tier is. I still gotta favor Tricking, but will not entirely count Gondra out.

Lopunny Kicks (55) vs (45) beatiful - Lop Kicks managed to go 2-0 r1, salvaging his performance after a rough loss to nuzlocke champion robjr. With this said, I noticed he relied on some bulkier structures that can be abused with preparation and beautiful is a pretty dangerous player, so all bets are off here. I am interested to see if Punny can change it up a bit and what beatiful prepares. I think this is one of the cloest match-ups as beatiful is a really underrated player who is not afraid to make aggressive reads, but I gotta side with the more experienced and proven player in Lopunny Kicks.

Raiza (60) vs (40) Feliburn - We have the PU BW player against the RU player in SS, so that's always fun to see how they will adapt. Raiza has been ok in SS, making STour playoff tiebreak and at least netting a couple of wins in the initial round. Feliburn went 3-0, but he was quite fortunate and I did not view his group as overly impressive. I think Raiza's showed more strong play in his time playing officials thus far, but Feliburn may have some more confidence after the 3-0, so it should be close. Looking at teams, Italy has had a knack for using builds that match-up really nicely and deviating to bulkier builds that can exploit specific offensive combinations whereas Feliburn is not much of an OU builder to my knowledge and I am unsure who the primary supporter on LA is. Given all of this, I think Raiza will win in a closer game just because he is a slightly better player with more proven team support and probably more experience in the metagame.

Santu (55) vs (45) Leo - Santu is so handsome -somgong on SmogTours as he played Insult. Jokes aside, I find Santu's recent play to be impressive. He has strung together some nice performances in officials over various tiers and I think that he is just better than Leo right now. Leo had a good showing against Asta, but otherwise was not able to do as much as he would have liked in R1. I believe he brings good teams and plays just fine, but he is going to need to take some more risks in the builder and perhaps earlier in games in the battle in order to gain the upper hand against a strong opponent like Santu. I know Leo is capable of pulling the trigger given some prior performances, so he really just has to be at his best and mistake-free. I am not convinced he can maintain that as much as I am convinced that Santu will play a solid game, so I favor Santu. There is also the chance that Italy cooks up nonsense and it comes down to match-up, too, so I won't go too lopsided here, but it will be interesting to say the least.

Kebab mlml (49) vs (51) Raichy - I'm still salty that Kebab got lucky against me in ROAPL and then won because he used no SR on a team with a random Substitute Celebi when that was the only possible way he could win, so I'm predicting Raichy to win a close game despite not having much actual analysis because I am not overly familiar with either this generation. Yes, I'm still salty. Raichy is versatile, so I'm sure he can adapt, especially seeing as he did beat M Dragon in their game. Kebab is a wild card to me regardless, but he has some good wins under his belt, so I'm sure he will make it a close contest.

Empo (70) vs (30) ZDen - Empo is the real deal. He brings mostly solid teams and plays super aggressively when he needs to. I think he is the best SS player to this point and arguing otherwise is a big stretch. I do not want to beat this to death. ZDen is solid from what I have seen, but nowhere near Empo's level of competency and dominance.

Rexus (40) vs (60) xImRaptor - Raptor is super impressive to me. He came out of nowhere and started winning a lot of games over various tours. I think he is a very promising and underrated player. His teambuilding is cool, showing initiative in any metagame he finds himself in, and his play is free of any horrible errors in my experience. Rexus is a fine player, but I don't recall him having many extraordinary showings, even struggling in PU once. Two of the teams Rexus used in R1 were pretty cheesy, so he will always have a chance to win on match-up and it's not like he is incompetent, but it would be hard to favor him against a very strong player like Raptor unless he gets the match-up right I feel.


US West (5) vs France (3) - Entire series is going to be exciting, both teams are without some of the faces of their history and making use of newer prospects to try to recreate past success


lax (55) vs (45) Kickasser - This is a really powerful match-up. lax has established himself as one of the strongest players on the site, dominating most tournaments he touches, especially in the team tournament arena. I think that he has grown to the point where he is a lot less afraid and the confidence he shows in making some risky plays continues to impress me. I also think that his team choices are a bit less chaotic than some of his peers, which goes a long way with someone as standard-centric as myself. Kickasser, on the other hand, is a great and even underrated player. He consistently puts up good performances and when he is active, I regard him as one of the best players on France, even if Ojama or McMeghan were to be around he would still be within the top half tbh. I think I have to go with lax because he has such a history for clutch performances in WCOP and I see no signs of this stopping anytime soon, but a lot will come down to the crucial predictions: who can make the most of their openings in the game, which player can find the most comfortable midgrounds, and who is more likely to bring the right team for the match-up. This can go either way and it will be a really exciting match.

z0mOG (51) vs (49) Cdumas - Prime Cdu has a higher ceiling than z0mOG, but I think both of these guys have seen better days in other generations, leaving them both away from their peaks. I favor z0mOG just because I view him as a bit more adaptable and versatile, making newer environments a bit more friendly to him. R1 did not impress me from either, but z0mOG is really active in trying to improve this generation and I think those efforts will be rewarded. I do really like Cdu as a player and I think he is smart enough to make anything work with enough time and sample size, but his only win R1 was against a BW main from years ago playing a weird stall team (no offense Ryan I love you my dude), so I'm going to have to give the nod to z0mOG, who had decent odds to be 2-1 and shows a lot of promise in the teams department so long as he avoids the crazy HO energy that he sometimes puts out. Another highlight for me regardless.

Valentine (51) vs (49) RedEmption - Step down from the first two games, but I feel both are at a similar level. I do not know if Valentine plays or builds on his own and I think commenting on that from the outside is pretty pointless, so I will focus on RedEmption. Red had a couple of really impressive wins in R1, but he also forfeited at 6-6 vs Eeveeto and that alone turned me off a lot. I get that there was a 99% chance he was losing from that position if all was handled optimally, but you lose nothing in playing it out and hoping that you run into some fortune or mistakes from the opponent. I match with RedEmption on occasion on the ladder and some games he is masterful while other games he is really subpar. I think his range is kind of all over the place and I do not know what to expect, but I am confident Valentine will be equipped with the best fisherman technology known to mankind and is less likely to forfeit the game prematurely or do something crazy bad, so I guess I favor him? Really hazy overall here because I think RedEmption has a higher chance of beating strong players, but also a higher chance of losing to worse players whereas Valentine is just established as kind of average with a sketchy background, so yea your guess is as good as mine at this point. Going to be a weirder game than most probably.

rozes (55) vs (45) Fairy Peak - Fairy Peak seems cool, but the team he used vs Star was so weird. Like there were 6, seemingly random win conditions thrown together without any SR or removal. This is going to work on occasion given the sheer match-up element some more polarizing win conditions may have, but you cannot possibly claim it is calculated or a worthwhile risk as compared to various forms of HO unless you expect yourself to use when using...anything else, including other forms of "cheese". Maybe it's a philosophical difference, but this alone turns me off personally. I'm probably going to get people disagreeing with me about this, but that is fine: the beauty of predictions is we are all entitled to disagree and debate who we think is best. That's part of why I write posts like this, anyway. Regardless of this, Fairy Peak looked solid in his other games, but pharoah game was lame and Gama used...something equally ungodly to the prior team I mentioned against Fairy Peak himself. Overall, I think Fairy Peak is ok, but team choices here leave me desiring a larger sample size to be sure. rozes, on the other hand, is someone I saw as average for a long time until recently. I think this year rozes has gotten noticeably better and I also notice him actively trying to play and build in the metagame. Perhaps it is due to my friendship with him, but I definitely think rozes is stepping it up and I think now is his time to shine in officials. I will give him a small edge here, but I need to see more positive results from both sides in order to be able to give much more confidence in one direction or another.

Vaboh (49) vs (51) BIHI - Vaboh is legit good. I've played him in some tournaments and he is not one to shy down from making the necessary plays, even when he is behind. This guy should have been starting from day 1 in my eyes and I am glad he is in now. Jake is obviously a good player and a friend, but Vaboh seemed a bit better in SS OU in particular. Anyway, unfortunately for West, Vaboh's playoff debut comes against BIHI, who is a superb player in my eyes. He has done well in numerous generations and seems to have transitioned very well to SS OU. I am looking forward to seeing him continue this success and find him to be a very underrated option overall. Very cool seeing old generation mains like BIHI and roudolf do so well in the new generation, one of my favorite parts of this new format. Very close game between two capable players, but I will give the edge to the Frenchman.

ima (49) vs (51) Welli0u - Call me crazy, but these two are basically top players right now. Maybe they are soft spoken relative to other names or lack the same depth of individual results, but both have been on killing streaks in team tournaments that deserve the utmost respect. ima is a very unique player, working hard to improve his craft in the builder especially. I find him to be one of the top 10 or so SS players right now and I think he can give everyone a run for their money. I do worry he sometimes is a bit overly ambitious, but he can make most things work due to sheer in-game abilities. Welli0u, on the other hand, is one of the most strong team tournament players over the last couple of years. After a shaky start and perhap getting on the wrong side of the Kingpin, barring him from a few WCOPs worth of experience, he is finally on the right track and making the most of his every opportunity. Welli0u has improved a lot over the years and seeing him continue to put up consistently strong numbers impresses me a lot. In under 60 games, Welli0u is +13 on the sheet and has pretty amazing company to say the least. This is with a pretty average start, too. In his last two big tours, Welli0u has finished a combined 16-4, which is absolutely insane. I do not care if he is some metagame innovator or active community voice or not, the guy is clearly very good at the game and I expect him to be just a hair better than ima here. I am very excited about this game and seeing both players play now and in the future!

Sjneider (51) vs (49) Sacri' - I love Sacri' -- the dude competes as hard as anyone out there. You cannot question where his heart is at. Sacri's R1 performance was really underwhelming though, finishing 0-3 after years of consistent showings. I think he can and will bounce back, but going 0-3 into getting someone who has been surging upward over the last year is a pretty tough draw. Sjneider is a really good player and he has continued to establish himself time and time again, be it in OU or NU. Sjneider only lost 4 Pokemon over the entire course of R1 and he honestly has shown signs of breaking out ever since last Snake. I think this is a rough match-up for Sacri' given the timing of everything and all signs point to Sjneider taking it for me, but I will say that I still view Sacri' as the slightly better player and if he can get it together, then he has a great shot of proving me wrong here. Will be a great game either way, love seeing both succeed.

Hockey1 (35) vs (65) Corazan - Corazan is a really impressive player usually. I think he did really well in R1, going 3-0 and showing signs of his level of playing being where it was when he played last SSD. I am really confident in him here as he has a lot of momentum and seems to do well in this metagame. Hockey1 is entirely unproven. He seems like a very nice guy and I like seeing new players thrive, but it is going to be a tall task for him to take down a developed player who is reaching his peak as a player. I favor Corazan, but I am interested to see what Hockey uses and how he plays in his debut!


Europe (5) vs US Midwest (3) - Probably the closest series


Pohjis (45) vs (55) Tace - Pohjis is a great player all around, but Tace has stepped up big in both of the WCOPs he has been in and I view him as one of the stronger SS OU options right now. He gets the tier, he is not afraid to make aggressive plays, and he uses strong teams consistently. I really think Tace is the perfect addition to Midwest; players him Tace and John W developing honestly are what helped make them a playoff team this time around. I think Pohjis getting SmogonTour finals and solidifying himself as a great OU option is impressive and I was honestly on the verge of favoring him here, but Tace beat bro fist and managed to go 3-0 for the second year in a row, so I'm just going to go with my gut and pick him here. This is one of the better games of the round for sure though.

TonyFlygon (45) vs (55) John W - John W is really passionate about SS OU and he is coming off of a 3-0. His win against Axel was pretty meh, but I still view him as a great competitor and I think he has a leg up on Tony in terms of time he can dedicate to the metagame and preparation. I think that both are at a similar overall level and Tony's versatility as a player impresses me, but much like the above pairing I lean towards the up-and-coming CG OU specialist who has impressed me recently a bit more. Should be tight though.

Twixtry (51) vs (49) Luthier - Single hardest prediction for me. Luthier can play insanely well, but also fuck around sometimes. Twixtry is more consistently average, but I think he can do a bit better in OU settings than Luthier given what I've seen thus far. It all really boils down to experience and I just have not seen much of Luthier in OU. Twix has made it to SmogonTour and put up a positive record before. Luthier had a nice win vs Pohjis, but his resume in OU just is not there. My gut says Luthier will find a way to overwhelm Twixtry with aggresisve plays, but my reasoning says Twixtry, so I'll go with him for now in a nail-biter.

Mana (60) vs (40) Loki - Loki is absolutely crazy and I love it. His style, dating back to pre-WCOP when I saw him load up some HOs in live tours, is really cool. Mana is a great player though. His recent classic run was superb, his grasp on every metagame he tries impresses me, and I think he will be ready for what Loki tends to use. A lot will come down to preparation here because of that. Will Loki branch out and if so, will he do so while maintaining his competency? Will Mana prepare for HO while still being able to account for the alternatives? These are important questions that the game will surely answer, but Mana seems more capable of handling these things in the modern day than Loki. Perhaps I have some recency bias, but I just view Mana as a very strong and versatile competitor whereas Loki's working off of a small modern sample size.

Quaze (60) vs (40) Nails - Nails did not look super impressive in SS during R1, but he's a great overall player, so giving him no chance against anyone in any tier ain't it. With that said, Quaze is doing a good job making a name for himself and I do favor him here. Creative teambuilding -- when kept in check by his boomer teammates -- and a smart idea of what's what in the tier go a long way here. I expect him to edge Nails out with a creative, perhaps more offensive team. Avoiding getting into a stalemate type game where Nails can make the most use of his experience and strategic mind is probably best for him here.

frisoeva (70) vs (30) Groudon - Groudon has been my boy since the IRC days when the man beat my ass with Scarf Starmie and sent me into one of my little tilt-meltdowns in the middle of my team chat. This was back when Smogon was the wild west and CasedVictory was seen as a respectable tournament player, to give you guys some perspective. Over the years, he has become a nice option in DPP and maybe some other old generations, but I do not rate him too highly in CG tiers. He will try his best and he is actively following the tour, so not all hope is lost, but he is just what I labeled him as in the WCOP article: a utility player. friso is the real deal, on the other hand. He's competent and experienced in SS OU and I expect him to take this one handily so long as he does not fuck around.

Eeveeto (45) vs (55) dice = Trying to predict this game is impossible. Both can use virtually anything and succeed. dice is the better player and dice is more likely to have his techs land. I am very excited to see team preview, but it could get ugly.

Bloody alfa (65) vs (35) UltraBallz - Bloody alfa is quietly making a name for himself with a nice run in STour and a 2-1 R1. He probably is just above average, having fallen to a strong player like FMG and taken care of the others. Beating Cdu was a great showing though. UltraBallz has cooled off over the last year or so, but I know there was some promise there. I'm hoping he can show it here, but I have my doubts after a rough R1. I think he has to try to approach the game a bit more aggressively and go outside his comfort zone to hope something works out. Until then, I favor Bloody here for sure.

e: Apparently Bloody alfa went 3-0 in R1. My post was wrong, that's actually impressive considering how hard of a group that was. Still predict him to win by the same margin, but all the credit to him! mb

GL all
 
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I had some things to say about Greece, but im so disappointed right now that it doesnt matter to be totally honest. You arent going too far anyway LOL not worthy my lifetime.

To my friends on baril, you already know what happened and its actually pathetic missing playoffs the way we did, even more for it being against such a cancer sack of horseshit players in which they call a team. Hax fest into timeout while playing amazing in both losses is really really really frustrating, and we didnt have an easy time during the first round either, the luck was def not by our side in almost all the games. Just leaves us the oportunity to learn a bit with our own mistakes for the next year, but im def happy with the fucking good atmosphere we had in our chat. The chemistry was surely there, prob a result of the amount of time we have spent together by playing so many tours in the last few months LOLOLOLO. Always a pleasure and im already looking forward to have some of your alongside me on my next tournaments.

I personally think Italy is gonna win, and while i hate all of em and think they should get hit by an australian flaming orphanage together, i also love em and would be happy to see the rings under their names for this time around. The competition has been hot though, props everyone.
Better luck in your next tournaments brother, same for the whole brazilian team even tho probably out of frustration talked so much shit about our team and our honest work and attempt to be competent, be challenging and reach as high as we can in this tour (with all the luck in the world like jesus christ :'D)
Nonetheless i hope you guys do excellent next year!
 
shoutout to team france. major respect, it seems like after the regime change that the team seems happier and more free. people seem to be playing for each other and the sky could be the limit.

major respect to team greece, hax or no hax this team has overcome a lot. i feel like at this point they no longer even see themselves as underdogs. coming from all the way out of qualifiers, not to mention their unique team choices make them an exciting team for me.

where is blarghskkdblargh on team US west?? He is one of my favorite players to watch. Maby US West is trying some sort of substitution strategy? That would be interesting.

Germany has quietly been very strong with a lot of players i aint never seen before! They are shrouded in mystery which could be the key to success.

Love to US Midwest! Also major love to Italy. Rooting for HNIMP, my bro is cold!

Keep it up teams! Don't be afraid to be different and be yourself! Feel free to reach out if you ever need a friend to talk to -Jsaok
 

Adaam

Light Machoke
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis the 8th Grand Slam Winner
Upon request:

Germany (6) vs Greece (2) - Favor Germany comfortably


Gefährlicher Random (55) vs (45) the pharoah - Both players impress me for newer players and I think that is one of the best parts of this WCOP. Lesser known players thriving in this tournament makes it amazing as a spectator and I cannot wait to see the lasting impact they have on other tournaments like Snake, SPL, and the big individuals. With this said, I favor Gefährlicher Random because he went 2-1 in a strong group, featuring SPL level players like z0mOG and Quaze. His loss to Snowy was a game that lasted forever and I did not watch, but I do not recall a ton of horrible plays or anything. I also really like his playstyle: solid defensive backbones with the right offensive fillers for the opponent. It almost feels like he is mature beyond his experience in a sense that he is not trying to do too much with his preparation, which I really value in a newer player. The crazy thing is that despite all of this, it is very hard to favor him against pharoah. If I recall, pharoah is 5-0 or 6-0 thus far including the qualifiers. He has won every game he has played and played particularly well piloting some unconventional things. His playstyle is a bit erratic, playing teams like Sun and Galar-Slowbro Rain (which I do not think is remotely optimal), which make me a bit less confident in his piloting and more in his ability to pinpoint what opponents use, but this is a valuable skill regardless. I think that these two are on similar levels, but the Gef. Random is more likely to bring a team that gives him a chance to win the game no matter what and he seems a little stronger as a player, so I favor him.

Lord_Enz (60) vs (40) BluBirD252 - Quietly, Lord_Enz went positive in round 1, piloting a diverse assortment of teams ranging from stall to bulky-offense. His loss against Feliburn was not handled optimally perhaps, but he did get a Focus Punch off into a Roost Mandibuzz, so props for that. BluBird looked a bit less effective in his 1-2 R1, but he did beat Friso at least, who is a very solid competitor. I gotta say that the loss to Xiri rubbed me the wrong way though. I think BluBird needs to work on optimizing his odds later in games and they he will be a very good player. Until then, I favor Lord_Enz a bit just because he has a more complete game and his team choices seem stronger to me.

xray (65) vs (35) Mysterious M - xray has been one of the better SS players thus far. I think his SPL run was fortunate, but he had two absolutely dominant wins in r1 and there are no signs of him slowing down. I find xray to be one of the most motivated players in the tier right now as well. I think all of this is easily enough to overtake Mysterious M, who is by no means a slouch himself. MM is mainly an Ubers player, but he has some nice performances in OU. I just do not think he has the competency or experience to overtake xray unfortunately.

Ewin (55) vs (45) CBU - Ewin went 3-0, but I still feel he is a bit raw. He needs to continue working on optimizing end games and avoiding falling into exploitable sequences in the long haul. However, his instincts are great for a newer player and his teambuilding seems good enough. I quite like how he made use of interesting picks like the Kyu/Azu bulky team, Talonflame, and Gengar, so his outside the box thinking could help crack the Greece code here. CBU is obviously a good player, but I think his performance has been lackluster and this is perhaps due to using some subpar teams. His choice against Twixtry was especially lackluster. I also feel like he did not handle the tiebreak game well, but a win is a win, be it due to RNG or not. Ultimately, it's close and CBU is a bit more experienced, but I favor Ewin ever-so-slightly. Looking forward to seeing the teams both bring to see if we'll see more of the same or a departure from previously established norms.

Relous (45) vs (55) Astamatitos - Both are pretty strong this generation, but I think I favor Astamatitos due to his overall legacy as a player being far stronger. He is no stranger to the big stage and has performed at an amazing level in ADV. I do not view Astamatitos as crust at all either. He did not look amazing in R1 and yesterday he used Slowbro over Toxapex for a reason that is beyond my personal comprehension, but most of his plays check out and I feel like he is one to rise to the occasion. I have the utmost confidence in Asta as a player and am just curious about the team decision process. As for Relous, all three of his r1 games were lopsided and he finished 2-1, getting 6-0d once and 6-0ing his opponent another time. I cannot get a great grasp on him overall due to this -- I don't think he had to do anything too amazing, but he also did not do much that was bad. I think his teams have the leg up on Asta, but I still trust Asta a bit more in the game that I have to give him the edge. I will say I liked what Relous used vs MarcoP a bit and his Togekiss pick vs xImRaptor was pretty smart. Overall, should be a closer game than most.

mind gaming (55) vs (45) Ace-11 - mind gaming is someone I don't know too well, but he looked strong throughout r1, only losing to 3-0 reiku's godly Trick Room strategy. I think that his gameplay is great and his team choices were all sound. I feel like he is similar to Gef. Random in a lot of regards, bringing a lot of promise to Team Germany in the present and future. Ace-11 is weird as I think his ceiling is higher than that of Mind Gaming, but he tends to have some subpar performances as well. His teams are mostly fine, so if he is able to play at his best, then I think he has a good chance, but that's up in the air and I feel a little more confident in mind gaming in the meantime, especially if he brings broken Amunguss.

Steve Angello (49) vs (51) roudolf13 - Steve Angello is a close match for anyone. You can be the best player of all time or a newer player and he will play you close. His team choices get more crazy with time, his plays get more aggressive with time, and overall I really cannot pinpoint him. He is one of the most dangerous players out there and I have so much respect for Steve as it stands. With this all said, roudolf is 3-0 (4-0 if you include the qualifying round) and honestly has been one of the most impressive performers to me thus far. He clearly knows what he is doing this generation and has used a nice variety of teams thus far ranging from Sun to different balances. Normally, I would favor Steve in modern generations, but after seeing his games, I will give roudolf the slight edge as he has impressed. Probably one of my lowkey highlights.

AdvanceShip (60) vs (40) Laz - I know very little about Laz aside from his gatekeeping US Central back in the day in ORAS. On the other hand, AdvanceShip has transitioned from ladder lord to 3-0 WCOP player, iirc. He really impresses me and I think the new wave of German players deserve all of the credit in the world. I also really liked his Encore Azumarill and Rock Slide Excadrill picks thus far. I think AdvanceShip is well on his way to being a tournament regular and I believe he will win here against a player I am a lot less sure about.


Italy (5) vs Latin America (3) - Favor Italy comfortably


H.M.N.I.P (45) vs (55) Gtcha - Gtcha is another newer player who really impressed me thus far. I think he is a great instinctual player, but needs some work with teambuilding and I do not know that the support is there. HMNIP I still cannot fully be sure of as a player as I have not seen much, but he did win his game leading up to this. I think I favor Gtcha as a player just because I liked his R! play, but Italy can cook something nasty up and potentially take away his chances to win or HMNIP can potentially continue his winning ways, so I cannot give this one as much confidence as other predictions. I am very curious to see what HMNIP brings here though.

Tricking (60) vs (40) Gondra - This is a rough pairing for LA as I would favor Gondra vs most of the Team Italy line-up. Thing is that Tricking is their best player aside from Empo and honestly one of the best all-around players nowadays. He has found a way to be consistent in putting up positive results across just about every tournament in countless metagames. His team choices may be chaotic, but Tricking always finds a way to make them work and I admire that a ton. I think Gondra is a strong player and he will find the right team to use, but it will still be an uphill climb to defeat Tricking in the middle of his prime. I think this would be an interesting game to see Gondra use something more cheesy like a fatter build with Blissey or Sun in order to try to switch it up and countereact whatever WoF and Tricking have in the lab right now. This would be different from his normal stuff, but also given how common these builds are right now, perhaps the Italians will come ready for this. So it does become a bit of a mind game seeing how volatile the tier is. I still gotta favor Tricking, but will not entirely count Gondra out.

Lopunny Kicks (55) vs (45) beatiful - Lop Kicks managed to go 2-0 r1, salvaging his performance after a rough loss to nuzlocke champion robjr. With this said, I noticed he relied on some bulkier structures that can be abused with preparation and beautiful is a pretty dangerous player, so all bets are off here. I am interested to see if Punny can change it up a bit and what beatiful prepares. I think this is one of the cloest match-ups as beatiful is a really underrated player who is not afraid to make aggressive reads, but I gotta side with the more experienced and proven player in Lopunny Kicks.

Raiza (60) vs (40) Feliburn - We have the PU BW player against the RU player in SS, so that's always fun to see how they will adapt. Raiza has been ok in SS, making STour playoff tiebreak and at least netting a couple of wins in the initial round. Feliburn went 3-0, but he was quite fortunate and I did not view his group as overly impressive. I think Raiza's showed more strong play in his time playing officials thus far, but Feliburn may have some more confidence after the 3-0, so it should be close. Looking at teams, Italy has had a knack for using builds that match-up really nicely and deviating to bulkier builds that can exploit specific offensive combinations whereas Feliburn is not much of an OU builder to my knowledge and I am unsure who the primary supporter on LA is. Given all of this, I think Raiza will win in a closer game just because he is a slightly better player with more proven team support and probably more experience in the metagame.

Santu (55) vs (45) Leo - Santu is so handsome -somgong on SmogTours as he played Insult. Jokes aside, I find Santu's recent play to be impressive. He has strung together some nice performances in officials over various tiers and I think that he is just better than Leo right now. Leo had a good showing against Asta, but otherwise was not able to do as much as he would have liked in R1. I believe he brings good teams and plays just fine, but he is going to need to take some more risks in the builder and perhaps earlier in games in the battle in order to gain the upper hand against a strong opponent like Santu. I know Leo is capable of pulling the trigger given some prior performances, so he really just has to be at his best and mistake-free. I am not convinced he can maintain that as much as I am convinced that Santu will play a solid game, so I favor Santu. There is also the chance that Italy cooks up nonsense and it comes down to match-up, too, so I won't go too lopsided here, but it will be interesting to say the least.

Kebab mlml (49) vs (51) Raichy - I'm still salty that Kebab got lucky against me in ROAPL and then won because he used no SR on a team with a random Substitute Celebi when that was the only possible way he could win, so I'm predicting Raichy to win a close game despite not having much actual analysis because I am not overly familiar with either this generation. Yes, I'm still salty. Raichy is versatile, so I'm sure he can adapt, especially seeing as he did beat M Dragon in their game. Kebab is a wild card to me regardless, but he has some good wins under his belt, so I'm sure he will make it a close contest.

Empo (70) vs (30) ZDen - Empo is the real deal. He brings mostly solid teams and plays super aggressively when he needs to. I think he is the best SS player to this point and arguing otherwise is a big stretch. I do not want to beat this to death. ZDen is solid from what I have seen, but nowhere near Empo's level of competency and dominance.

Rexus (40) vs (60) xImRaptor - Raptor is super impressive to me. He came out of nowhere and started winning a lot of games over various tours. I think he is a very promising and underrated player. His teambuilding is cool, showing initiative in any metagame he finds himself in, and his play is free of any horrible errors in my experience. Rexus is a fine player, but I don't recall him having many extraordinary showings, even struggling in PU once. Two of the teams Rexus used in R1 were pretty cheesy, so he will always have a chance to win on match-up and it's not like he is incompetent, but it would be hard to favor him against a very strong player like Raptor unless he gets the match-up right I feel.


US West (5) vs France (3) - Entire series is going to be exciting, both teams are without some of the faces of their history and making use of newer prospects to try to recreate past success


lax (55) vs (45) Kickasser - This is a really powerful match-up. lax has established himself as one of the strongest players on the site, dominating most tournaments he touches, especially in the team tournament arena. I think that he has grown to the point where he is a lot less afraid and the confidence he shows in making some risky plays continues to impress me. I also think that his team choices are a bit less chaotic than some of his peers, which goes a long way with someone as standard-centric as myself. Kickasser, on the other hand, is a great and even underrated player. He consistently puts up good performances and when he is active, I regard him as one of the best players on France, even if Ojama or McMeghan were to be around he would still be within the top half tbh. I think I have to go with lax because he has such a history for clutch performances in WCOP and I see no signs of this stopping anytime soon, but a lot will come down to the crucial predictions: who can make the most of their openings in the game, which player can find the most comfortable midgrounds, and who is more likely to bring the right team for the match-up. This can go either way and it will be a really exciting match.

z0mOG (51) vs (49) Cdumas - Prime Cdu has a higher ceiling than z0mOG, but I think both of these guys have seen better days in other generations, leaving them both away from their peaks. I favor z0mOG just because I view him as a bit more adaptable and versatile, making newer environments a bit more friendly to him. R1 did not impress me from either, but z0mOG is really active in trying to improve this generation and I think those efforts will be rewarded. I do really like Cdu as a player and I think he is smart enough to make anything work with enough time and sample size, but his only win R1 was against a BW main from years ago playing a weird stall team (no offense Ryan I love you my dude), so I'm going to have to give the nod to z0mOG, who had decent odds to be 2-1 and shows a lot of promise in the teams department so long as he avoids the crazy HO energy that he sometimes puts out. Another highlight for me regardless.

Valentine (51) vs (49) RedEmption - Step down from the first two games, but I feel both are at a similar level. I do not know if Valentine plays or builds on his own and I think commenting on that from the outside is pretty pointless, so I will focus on RedEmption. Red had a couple of really impressive wins in R1, but he also forfeited at 6-6 vs Eeveeto and that alone turned me off a lot. I get that there was a 99% chance he was losing from that position if all was handled optimally, but you lose nothing in playing it out and hoping that you run into some fortune or mistakes from the opponent. I match with RedEmption on occasion on the ladder and some games he is masterful while other games he is really subpar. I think his range is kind of all over the place and I do not know what to expect, but I am confident Valentine will be equipped with the best fisherman technology known to mankind and is less likely to forfeit the game prematurely or do something crazy bad, so I guess I favor him? Really hazy overall here because I think RedEmption has a higher chance of beating strong players, but also a higher chance of losing to worse players whereas Valentine is just established as kind of average with a sketchy background, so yea your guess is as good as mine at this point. Going to be a weirder game than most probably.

rozes (55) vs (45) Fairy Peak - Fairy Peak seems cool, but the team he used vs Star was so weird. Like there were 6, seemingly random win conditions thrown together without any SR or removal. This is going to work on occasion given the sheer match-up element some more polarizing win conditions may have, but you cannot possibly claim it is calculated or a worthwhile risk as compared to various forms of HO unless you expect yourself to use when using...anything else, including other forms of "cheese". Maybe it's a philosophical difference, but this alone turns me off personally. I'm probably going to get people disagreeing with me about this, but that is fine: the beauty of predictions is we are all entitled to disagree and debate who we think is best. That's part of why I write posts like this, anyway. Regardless of this, Fairy Peak looked solid in his other games, but pharoah game was lame and Gama used...something equally ungodly to the prior team I mentioned against Fairy Peak himself. Overall, I think Fairy Peak is ok, but team choices here leave me desiring a larger sample size to be sure. rozes, on the other hand, is someone I saw as average for a long time until recently. I think this year rozes has gotten noticeably better and I also notice him actively trying to play and build in the metagame. Perhaps it is due to my friendship with him, but I definitely think rozes is stepping it up and I think now is his time to shine in officials. I will give him a small edge here, but I need to see more positive results from both sides in order to be able to give much more confidence in one direction or another.

Vaboh (49) vs (51) BIHI - Vaboh is legit good. I've played him in some tournaments and he is not one to shy down from making the necessary plays, even when he is behind. This guy should have been starting from day 1 in my eyes and I am glad he is in now. Jake is obviously a good player and a friend, but Vaboh seemed a bit better in SS OU in particular. Anyway, unfortunately for West, Vaboh's playoff debut comes against BIHI, who is a superb player in my eyes. He has done well in numerous generations and seems to have transitioned very well to SS OU. I am looking forward to seeing him continue this success and find him to be a very underrated option overall. Very cool seeing old generation mains like BIHI and roudolf do so well in the new generation, one of my favorite parts of this new format. Very close game between two capable players, but I will give the edge to the Frenchman.

ima (49) vs (51) Welli0u - Call me crazy, but these two are basically top players right now. Maybe they are soft spoken relative to other names or lack the same depth of individual results, but both have been on killing streaks in team tournaments that deserve the utmost respect. ima is a very unique player, working hard to improve his craft in the builder especially. I find him to be one of the top 10 or so SS players right now and I think he can give everyone a run for their money. I do worry he sometimes is a bit overly ambitious, but he can make most things work due to sheer in-game abilities. Welli0u, on the other hand, is one of the most strong team tournament players over the last couple of years. After a shaky start and perhap getting on the wrong side of the Kingpin, barring him from a few WCOPs worth of experience, he is finally on the right track and making the most of his every opportunity. Welli0u has improved a lot over the years and seeing him continue to put up consistently strong numbers impresses me a lot. In under 60 games, Welli0u is +13 on the sheet and has pretty amazing company to say the least. This is with a pretty average start, too. In his last two big tours, Welli0u has finished a combined 16-4, which is absolutely insane. I do not care if he is some metagame innovator or active community voice or not, the guy is clearly very good at the game and I expect him to be just a hair better than ima here. I am very excited about this game and seeing both players play now and in the future!

Sjneider (51) vs (49) Sacri' - I love Sacri' -- the dude competes as hard as anyone out there. You cannot question where his heart is at. Sacri's R1 performance was really underwhelming though, finishing 0-3 after years of consistent showings. I think he can and will bounce back, but going 0-3 into getting someone who has been surging upward over the last year is a pretty tough draw. Sjneider is a really good player and he has continued to establish himself time and time again, be it in OU or NU. Sjneider only lost 4 Pokemon over the entire course of R1 and he honestly has shown signs of breaking out ever since last Snake. I think this is a rough match-up for Sacri' given the timing of everything and all signs point to Sjneider taking it for me, but I will say that I still view Sacri' as the slightly better player and if he can get it together, then he has a great shot of proving me wrong here. Will be a great game either way, love seeing both succeed.

Hockey1 (35) vs (65) Corazan - Corazan is a really impressive player usually. I think he did really well in R1, going 3-0 and showing signs of his level of playing being where it was when he played last SSD. I am really confident in him here as he has a lot of momentum and seems to do well in this metagame. Hockey1 is entirely unproven. He seems like a very nice guy and I like seeing new players thrive, but it is going to be a tall task for him to take down a developed player who is reaching his peak as a player. I favor Corazan, but I am interested to see what Hockey uses and how he plays in his debut!


Europe (5) vs US Midwest (3) - Probably the closest series


Pohjis (45) vs (55) Tace - Pohjis is a great player all around, but Tace has stepped up big in both of the WCOPs he has been in and I view him as one of the stronger SS OU options right now. He gets the tier, he is not afraid to make aggressive plays, and he uses strong teams consistently. I really think Tace is the perfect addition to Midwest; players him Tace and John W developing honestly are what helped make them a playoff team this time around. I think Pohjis getting SmogonTour finals and solidifying himself as a great OU option is impressive and I was honestly on the verge of favoring him here, but Tace beat bro fist and managed to go 3-0 for the second year in a row, so I'm just going to go with my gut and pick him here. This is one of the better games of the round for sure though.

TonyFlygon (45) vs (55) John W - John W is really passionate about SS OU and he is coming off of a 3-0. His win against Axel was pretty meh, but I still view him as a great competitor and I think he has a leg up on Tony in terms of time he can dedicate to the metagame and preparation. I think that both are at a similar overall level and Tony's versatility as a player impresses me, but much like the above pairing I lean towards the up-and-coming CG OU specialist who has impressed me recently a bit more. Should be tight though.

Twixtry (51) vs (49) Luthier - Single hardest prediction for me. Luthier can play insanely well, but also fuck around sometimes. Twixtry is more consistently average, but I think he can do a bit better in OU settings than Luthier given what I've seen thus far. It all really boils down to experience and I just have not seen much of Luthier in OU. Twix has made it to SmogonTour and put up a positive record before. Luthier had a nice win vs Pohjis, but his resume in OU just is not there. My gut says Luthier will find a way to overwhelm Twixtry with aggresisve plays, but my reasoning says Twixtry, so I'll go with him for now in a nail-biter.

Mana (60) vs (40) Loki - Loki is absolutely crazy and I love it. His style, dating back to pre-WCOP when I saw him load up some HOs in live tours, is really cool. Mana is a great player though. His recent classic run was superb, his grasp on every metagame he tries impresses me, and I think he will be ready for what Loki tends to use. A lot will come down to preparation here because of that. Will Loki branch out and if so, will he do so while maintaining his competency? Will Mana prepare for HO while still being able to account for the alternatives? These are important questions that the game will surely answer, but Mana seems more capable of handling these things in the modern day than Loki. Perhaps I have some recency bias, but I just view Mana as a very strong and versatile competitor whereas Loki's working off of a small modern sample size.

Quaze (60) vs (40) Nails - Nails did not look super impressive in SS during R1, but he's a great overall player, so giving him no chance against anyone in any tier ain't it. With that said, Quaze is doing a good job making a name for himself and I do favor him here. Creative teambuilding -- when kept in check by his boomer teammates -- and a smart idea of what's what in the tier go a long way here. I expect him to edge Nails out with a creative, perhaps more offensive team. Avoiding getting into a stalemate type game where Nails can make the most use of his experience and strategic mind is probably best for him here.

frisoeva (70) vs (30) Groudon - Groudon has been my boy since the IRC days when the man beat my ass with Scarf Starmie and sent me into one of my little tilt-meltdowns in the middle of my team chat. This was back when Smogon was the wild west and CasedVictory was seen as a respectable tournament player, to give you guys some perspective. Over the years, he has become a nice option in DPP and maybe some other old generations, but I do not rate him too highly in CG tiers. He will try his best and he is actively following the tour, so not all hope is lost, but he is just what I labeled him as in the WCOP article: a utility player. friso is the real deal, on the other hand. He's competent and experienced in SS OU and I expect him to take this one handily so long as he does not fuck around.

Eeveeto (45) vs (55) dice = Trying to predict this game is impossible. Both can use virtually anything and succeed. dice is the better player and dice is more likely to have his techs land. I am very excited to see team preview, but it could get ugly.

Bloody alfa (65) vs (35) UltraBallz - Bloody alfa is quietly making a name for himself with a nice run in STour and a 2-1 R1. He probably is just above average, having fallen to a strong player like FMG and taken care of the others. Beating Cdu was a great showing though. UltraBallz has cooled off over the last year or so, but I know there was some promise there. I'm hoping he can show it here, but I have my doubts after a rough R1. I think he has to try to approach the game a bit more aggressively and go outside his comfort zone to hope something works out. Until then, I favor Bloody here for sure.

e: Apparently Bloody alfa went 3-0 in R1. My post was wrong, that's actually impressive considering how hard of a group that was. Still predict him to win by the same margin, but all the credit to him! mb

GL all
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