Way of Battling: The Team-Building Process!

Team-Building Process


As everybody would know, before one can get into any battles, one must have a team first. A team consists of 6 Pokemon, each have synergy with each other and complement each other's weakness. To have a good team, all 6 Pokemons must be able to cover each other's weakness, as well as checking the top threats in the metagame. Putting a good team isn't all that easy. You could slap 6 Dragons into a team, will that work out? Probably. But a good team and take whatever you throw at him. That being said, no team is perfect. A team, no matter how good it is, cannot check EVERYTHING in the meta. Yes, it can check the top threats but there will always be some threats left out. That must then rely on the player's skill, the ability to play around a certain threat, thus, emerging as a victor in the end. To name a few of the better Team-Builders: ginganinja, Smith(I guess) and the likes.


Type of Teams


Of course, there are different type of Teams and will ultimately result in a different playstyle. The different type of teams being: Balanced, Bulky Offense, Hyper Offense, Stall. The less obvious ones are: Baton Pass teams, Weather team and etc. To have a brief understanding of the different type of teams, here is a short analysis on each type of team.

The Balanced type of Team doesn't concentrate solely on Offense. It incoporates the defensive, as well as offensive Pokemon to strike a balance, so that it wouldn't be too offensive, nor too defensive. These teams usually can handle both Offensive and Defensive forces well, as they are generally very balanced, and not afraid of the Stall, as they have offensive Pokemon that can break stall(or even defensive Pokemon that can counter stall, sometimes, like Mew) and will not get too worried about the offenses fired by the opponent's team as they have a good defensive core to back them up.


These type of teams are very similar to Balanced teams, but the difference is that Bulky Offense are generally more defensive, as the name would suggest. They utilize on entry hazards, such as Stealth Rocks and Spikes. They sometimes even go as far as using Toxic Spikes to prevent that Dragonite from setting up. They concentrate on wearing down the opponent's team and bringing out a sweeper and clean up late-game. These teams can also be called Semi-Stall to an extent, but yet not as "stallish" as them.

The traits about these type of teams, is that they will almost, always utilize a defensive core that is capable of tanking hits, phazing, and setting up hazards to wear down the opponent. They also have reliable recovery to constantly replenish their health after taking blows from Sweepers at the opposite team.


Commonly known as "5 Drag 1 Mag." No? These teams are extremely offensive and they are known to break stall. It involves sending out Pokemon that are extremely strong and can break through the opposite team's defensive cores. One of the traits for this team, is that you can hardly see any defensive Pokemon inside as they are so heavily concentrated on Offense. The main goal of these teams is to overwhelm the opponent with powerful moves coming from either their extremely high SpA or Atk points. Although it might seem impossible to break through Hyper Offense, it is still very possible by careful switching and outplaying them and wear them down either by LO recoil or other forms of damage such as Sandstorm damage. Which is why sometimes, they might run a Dual Screener to let their sweepers have a longer life and survive longer to dish out more damage without taking too much from the opponent's team.


The sole reason why people will ragequit. The famed 100 turns per battle type of team. This is the most defensive team you can ever find in Pokemon. They utilize heavily on hazards damage and wear their opponent down by statuses and in the end, letting them faint without really doing much attack. Stall teams might incoporate Weathers such as Hail / Sandstorm as they do secondary damage(6% per turn to a Pokemon weak to the respective weathers), and although they might take damage themselves, they don't really care as they will have a reliable recovery move and can just recover them all back. These teams are just so hard to break through without a good plan or a good offensive force.


All of these analysis are made by me, and my own personal opinion. Do feel free to correct me if you think that any of these information are wrong / inaccurate.

How to go about it?

That's right. After the introduction to different teams, how do one go about making a team? To go about making one, I believe he/she should have a goal as to how the team is going to work out. The most commonly used method is basing around a core. Although people will base it around just one sweeper sometimes, but generally, it's better to build around a core as it works as two / three Pokemon at once, not just that one Pokemon trying to sweep. If it fails, it's usually GG for a team like that. Not saying this is always true, it's a personal opinion and hope nobody would read too much into that.

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Questions for you to discuss about(courtesy of Karpman as I stole this format, not sure if you get what I mean but w/e):

-How do you guys usually make a team? By a core? Basing around a sweeper?

-Whenever you make a team, how do you ensure it's a successful one? What is going through your head as you build those things?

-Do you have a small checklist in your head whenever you build a team?

So go out there, and make a perfect team for you and begin your road to victory!

Btw, I would appreciate if you guys contribute some teams(via pastebin) and explain why that team is good etc and I can place it in appropriate section.

 
You should add the following:

Semi-Stall Team

Trick Room Team

Scarf Team (Volt-Turn)

Gravity Team

Weather Teams (all four weathers including their variants, brief mention of duo weathers and such)

Baton Pass Team

Anyone who would like to define the above based on their expertise is welcome I suppose.

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Each play style is different and it's hard to say what exactly MUST be in every team, but this is a good list:

1) Priority: Lest you want to be swept 6-0 by any sash, boosting pokemon (example Sash Cloyster).

2) Rapid Spin

3) There mustn't be more than 3 pokemon that are weak to a single type, synergy in other words is vital
 
Just a nitpick:

They sometimes even go as far as using Toxic Spikes to prevent that Dragonite from setting up.
Toxic Spikes don't do anything to Dragonite, because its Flying type makes it immune to them (unless under Gravity, but I disgress).

Other than that, this thread looks good!
 

Lamppost

I put the milk in first
is a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnus
To go about making one, I believe he/she should have a goal as to how the team is going to work out. The most commonly used method is basing around a core. Although people will base it around just one sweeper sometimes, but generally, it's better to build around a core as it works as two / three Pokemon at once, not just that one Pokemon trying to sweep. If it fails, it's usually GG for a team like that. Not saying this is always true, it's a personal opinion and hope nobody would read too much into that.
I agree with you on your point about a team needing a goal to work effectively. If your team is just 6 Pokemon that are just stuck together to check all the threats in the metagame with no synergy or strategy, that team will probably fail. IMO it's more important for a team to have a strategy when you're making it. It also makes battling a lot easier since you're battling with purpose trying to execute said strategy. This is just my opinion though and it's probably why i never run Stall teams lol.
 
Each play style is different and it's hard to say what exactly MUST be in every team, but this is a good list:

1) Priority: Lest you want to be swept 6-0 by any sash, boosting pokemon (example Sash Cloyster).

2) Rapid Spin

3) There mustn't be more than 3 pokemon that are weak to a single type, synergy in other words is vital
I wouldn't say Rapid Spin is a staple unless you're running Volcarona or something else with a 4x weak, or the majority of your team is weak to it. I'd say Stealth Rock is a staple on any team, it breaks sashes and limits the opponent with switch-ins of certain pokemon.
 
I wouldn't say Rapid Spin is a staple unless you're running Volcarona or something else with a 4x weak, or the majority of your team is weak to it. I'd say Stealth Rock is a staple on any team, it breaks sashes and limits the opponent with switch-ins of certain pokemon.
Or more generally, hazards to promote offensive synergy.
 

Nova

snitches get stitches
is a Site Staff Alumnusis a Team Rater Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus
Add Smash Pass Teams and Weather teams that do not rely on instant weather (Rain Dance+Swift Swim)
 
Just saying what other people would say. But this is a great thread this can help a great deal of people (like me). Also you should extend on also how you build a team by knowing what it can counter and what counters the team.
 
I think with the prevalence of Scizor, Rotom-W and scarf'd Landorus, Volt-Turn should be considered a viable play style.

Volt-Turn teams keep the offensive pressure on your opponent with the constant switching, slowly racking up damage on the opponent while preserving momentum. Set up rocks and possibly a layer of spikes or 2 and the opponent is put in a sticky situation really quickly. Volt-Turn teams used effectively makes it extremely difficult for your opponent to set up their own hazards.

Im still fairly new to competitive pokemon and I'm not entirely great, but I have seen alot of Volt-Turn teams in the 5th generation so far to know that they are a potent enough of a threat to be considered up there with other team styles.
 
I think Stealth Rock is far more important than any other hazard for the simple fact that it hits everything. Unbelievably dangerous Pokemon such as Dragonite practically necessitate rocks either because it prevents them from coming in-and-out to gradually weaken counters or because they get such huge advantages from coming in unscathed. Dragonite is particular is almost impossible to revenge kill at full health - even strong Super-Effective attacks will fail to KO it. Additionally, Focus Sashes can be gamechanging if they are not neutralised by hazards.


Generally speaking, when I teambuild I prefer to start from a core rather than basing a team around a single Pokemon, because it is far too easy to become over-reliant on certain team members, and not necessarily the focal point. If your team is based around a Volcorona sweep and Starmie is killed off before it can rapid spin, for example, you gameplan is severly hampered. The great thing about building around a core is that because your team is based around a flexible goal, it is very difficult to be put in a position where victory is literally impossible. In the former example, if Volcorona and Starmie were the only real offensive Pokemon on your team, you'd be stuck trying to stall the opponent out without much hope of victory. Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule - and indeed some teams built around a single Pokemon are very successful even without them. I just find it's a problem that I have when teambuilding.

I do agree that a team goal is absolutely crucial. Even stall teams have a mission in the end - it may be as simple as putting a certain Pokemon in a position to stack hazards and therefore neutralise particularly threatening Pokemon or something more flexible like determine and eliminate wallbreakers, but there's definately still a purpose. For a more offensive team, the goal tends to be even more flexible because a lot of the time the team has five or six options for an endgame sweep and you're only deciding which to utilise in a particular game from the team preview window. To elaborate, if you're using a dual screener and 5 setup Pokemon, you will usually want to establish which of your Pokemon you plan to have sweep in the edngame early on. Note that I deliberately used the word "plan", because at the end of the day, it's impossible to be certain how a game will go - especially in generation five, because there are so many options available to the other player.

For this reason, I think building a team with flexibility is absolutely key, and this is where teams such as smashpass tend to suffer. No matter how well it is built, no team can put all of the support it wants into place 100% of the time, and every Pokemon is going to need support to sweep a competent opponent. I'm not going to try to list rules or anything like that, because there are always exceptions and everything I write here is still my own opinion. I think lures are an interesting example of this, because many inexpereinced users will pick lures that are extremely effective at removing the one or two Pokemon they are intended to kill, but that lack particular usefulness outside of this role. In this situation, if the opponent plays very cautiously or simply doesn't have the Pokemon you're trying to lure, the team as a hwole suffers. This is why I think it's crucial to use lures that are very threatening in their own right beyond being able to lure specific Pokemon. In reality, this will often also increase the effectiveness of the lure overall - the opponent cannot afford to switch out of a threatening Pokemon "just in case" it's a lure, so it's much easier to successfuly KO them.

Now, one of the most crucial parts of teambuilding but also one of the most difficult parts for new players to grasp is functional synergy. I'm going to use Solum's Core as an example here because I think it shows how one can weave functional synergy into a core primarily designed to handle threats. Jirachi, Rotom-W and Sigilyph all carry the primary responsibility of checking as many Pokemon as possible; however, KG has selected them for the role not only for their ability to defeat threats but also because they do an exceptional job of spreading status, in turn supporting a sweep for Garchomp, Sigilyph and Gliscor. Not only that, but the status also helps them perform their own job better. This kind of tangible cooperation between team members is a theme in almost every great team; it doesn't have to be complicated, indeed, it can be as simple as a hazard layer working with a phazer so that the phazer causes more damage while it does it's job.

A similar kind of thing can be applied to moves like Wish or Heal Bell/Aromatherapy, and to a move I personally find incredibly useful, Healing Wish. It's a shame that Healing Wish has such mediocre distribution because it can be gamechanging. this is particularly true when playing a team that relies on weather - I know a lot of teams like to use Entry Hazards to wear opposing inducers down, but with Healing wish said inducer essentially has a second life, and this is a great boon is a fiercly contested weather war. If you manage to wearing the opposing Tyranitar down to a point where it only has 2 switch-ins left, while they wear your politoed down until it can only switch-in once, and then you pass Politoed a Healing Wish and completely restore it's hp, you will often find that they are simply not prepared to kill Politoed "again" before Tyranitar is beaten. In this situation, it is a lot easier to win the game. Of course, a similar sort of strategy is possible with wish as well, but the wish-recipient must actually switch-in, usually into an attack, and also takes hazard damage before HP is restored. Additionally, Healing Wish is brilliant on a defensive team especially as a backup plan in case of lures. Most people will having no qualms with allowing a lure to die once it has sufficiently weakened the intended target - if you are then able to fully restore the weakened Pokemon later in the match you can often completely fuck up the oppoents endgame plan.

I mentioned flexibility a little bit further up this post and I think it ties in very well to redundancy. Black/White has a huge number of threats, but when everything is considered there are often only a few that it is fully necessary to consider. When playing a defensive or balanced team especially, my preference is to carry at least two Pokemon capable of dealing with Dragonite/Terrakion/Strong Water Moves/Lucario/Volcorona and other, similar, extremely potent threats. It might seem like this leaves you more vulnerable to less-used but still effective Pokemon, but in reality it is often quite the opposite - by covering all of the important Pokemon, you end up covering most uncommon threats too - expecially if you build in redundancy, because the main niche of uncommon Pokemon is usually their ability to get past one of the counters of checks of other, similar Pokemon. If you're carrying two checks to said similar Pokemon, you can often just go to the other check that still works. Of course, this doesn't work for everything, and niether will every team be able to fit 2 checks to all the top Pokemon, but it's something interseting to bear in mind.



This kind of turned out as more of a attributes of a great team post than a temabuilding post so I'll probably post again tommorow with more of a focus on that sort of thing. Again, this is just my opinion and as always you should never blindly follow advice that someone gives you - I don't claim to be the greatest teambuilder in the world, hell, I'm probably above avergae at best, but I think I still made some interesting points.
 
How long did it take you to type all that?

Anyway, cores are important for any team. The move effective offencive core is Rotom-W and Scizor, which must be why i've seen so many Bulk Up looms lately. The best defencive core is probably Ferrocent, and Loom breaks through that too. It's important for any team to also be able to beat cores, so an offencive team should be able to beat the common defencive cores. toed, nite and ferro is beaten by strong SD users, FerroCent is taken out by strong Super Effective attacks, SkarmBliss is beaten by mixed sweepers, and Gastro, Skarm and tran is beaten by HP Grass tran :) for examples, A strong SD user is Terrakion, to beat the rain core, Infernape beats Skarmbliss, loom beats Ferrocent, and Mixmence beats the anti-weather core. It's important for an offencive team to be able to beat all of these cores, even if it's one mon to beat one half of the core and another mon to beat the other half.

To build an offencive team, I look through the usage stats, find the most used defencive mons, and try to deal with all of them using the least amount of pokemon possible. Then I add a supporter (or wall) and add sweepers around that (and sometimes add another wall). I'm not the greatest at making Stall or balanced teams so i just stick to offence, and this is how i make the majority of my teams.
 
I mentioned flexibility a little bit further up this post and I think it ties in very well to redundancy. Black/White has a huge number of threats, but when everything is considered there are often only a few that it is fully necessary to consider. When playing a defensive or balanced team especially, my preference is to carry at least two Pokemon capable of dealing with Dragonite/Terrakion/Strong Water Moves/Lucario/Volcorona and other, similar, extremely potent threats. It might seem like this leaves you more vulnerable to less-used but still effective Pokemon, but in reality it is often quite the opposite - by covering all of the important Pokemon, you end up covering most uncommon threats too - expecially if you build in redundancy, because the main niche of uncommon Pokemon is usually their ability to get past one of the counters of checks of other, similar Pokemon. If you're carrying two checks to said similar Pokemon, you can often just go to the other check that still works. Of course, this doesn't work for everything, and niether will every team be able to fit 2 checks to all the top Pokemon, but it's something interseting to bear in mind.
I've found this exact idea to be extremely important in the team-building process. I've been playing NU, so I can't speak for the OU threats, but when I started, I had a large weakness to Braviary, Swellow, and Tauros. I fixed it by adding a Magneton, but once that Magneton died, they still destroyed me. So I added something else to deal with them. Once they were covered though, it opened up a Sawk weakness. So I had to develop a few ways of dealing with Sawk, while not making myself vulnerable to the threats I just got done protecting myself from. It can be a long process, but it's great once you find a combination that allows multiple ways to deal with multiple threats. Also, once you have multiple ways to deal with multiple threats, it makes it less devastating when you lose any one Pokemon, as another can just pick up the slack. It allows for some more aggressive plays and even a few mistakes, so long as you know how your other members can do the job of the Pokemon that just went down.

That's the other thing about team-building: it's something that's EXTREMELY difficult, if not impossible, to do without actually using the team. You can come up with all kinds of great ideas on paper (Gyarados + Electivire comes to mind), but a lot of people won't fall for things you think they'll fall for, and some will fall for things you don't think they will. By playing with it, you know which common threats your team is weak to and can adjust according, possibly with your own sets/spreads. An example pertaining to my team is hidden below.

I'm running a Scarf Cinccino with just enough Speed EVs to outspeed the fastest Sawk instead of the more common Life Orb one as one measure against Sawk. It was the first time I made my own EV spread (other than max out two stats), and I understood why I needed the EVs I needed. While it may not be the "best" Cinccino set in a vacuum, it was something that my team needed. It's also not completely useless when the other team doesn't have a Sawk, and can net a few surprise KOs because everyone assumes the most common set.


I'm not saying pick the first 6 Pokemon that pop into your head and adjust from there. I think the key to team-building is to find a few Pokemon that you like that match your natural play-style, think about what kind of support they need to take out the things that stop them, and then start playing and adjusting.

Again, I have an NU team, so make sure the Pokemon you want to use are viable in the tier you're playing. I wanted to make a team around Mothim, as I like the Pokemon, and I love set-up sweepers. To base a team around Mothim, the very first thing to consider is that he needs Spin support. I tried out most of the spinners in the tier, but I just started with Wartortle and adjusted from there. At one point, I even thought I didn't need a Spinner anymore, as I could usually keep Rocks off the field with Magic Coat or get Mothim in before the Rocks crippled him. Other things to consider were a Pokemon to take care of specially defensive walls, Pokemon to hit hard without the need to set up, and ways to work around other teams and strategies. Only through experimentation can you find what strikes a nice balance between everything you're looking for, and you should never quite be done tinkering with a team.
 
Ok so I said I was going to write something up with more of a focus on the actual teambuilding aspect yesterday but I didn't want to double post so I waited a bit. I guess I'll just reply to you guys here as part of my ramble.

@Aeromence: I'd say in total it probably took me like one and a half hours I guess but I was chatting with people on steam so it went by pretty fast.

It's kind of interesting that you should mention handling popular cores because that was sort of something I was going to mention here. This is one of the areas where I think innovation is most important in Pokemon because people very quickly adapt to new threats to their core with external tweaks. What I mean by this is that say your team is built around FerroCent, you probably already know that mons like Virizion, Hydreigon, Scrafty and such are going to be a problem. That means you can easily look for a third member to help deal with these. If you come up with a new set like the aformentioned BU Breloom (which people are finally starting to preapre for) you're much more likely to successfully break open the core. This doesn't mean that classic stallbreakers are bad, just that you shouldn't expect them to effortlessly beat even the cores they are designed to handle.

I also found your note about specifically beating popular defensive Pokemon interesting because that kind of different to how I usually build an offensive team (but no less valid than my own method). Some of my best teams on the offensive front have been very simply 6 extremely potent setup sweepers that are exceptionally difficult to wall with type synergy deliberately chosen so that I am able to setup on every common revenge-killing move. I used Virizion and Taunt+Dragon Dance Gyarados on the last team I built of this style as handy checks to popular defensive combinations, but running so many heavy sweepers (I was using Haxorus/Virizion/Gyarados/Durant/Tyranitar/Dragonite) means that even vs a core you're not specifically built to handle, it's not particularly difficult to smash though one member with sheer power. From this point, the effectiveness of the core as a whole is severely compromised - in the example of a team utilising Skarmbliss, once I broke through Skarmory (and I don't recall a single game in which I failed to do this. Skarmory is good, but it's not winning 6v1 in a million years.) I was basically laughing at Blissey. The most it would do to me was take a single hit and status something before it too was dead. This is an ultimate example of redundancy too, since I had 6 Pokemon that were all able to wreck a team even while defensive Pokemon were healthy.

Anyway I kind of started talking about offense there rather than teambuilding as a whole but it's important to note that temabuilding IS going to vary between teamstyles. Balance is the kind of team that focusses most around a core, though every kind of team will utilise one to some degree. Stall is kind of an interesting example, since stall usually has less of a focus on covering everything possible in the core, and more of a focus on haivng the tangible synergy I mentioned before so that they are able to beat almost anything with sufficiently skilled play. An example of this would be defensive Gyarados ustilsing intimidate on sweepers it cannot actually handle itself in order to give other team members an easier time with heavy physical attackers. Since a stall team is using 6 defensive Pokemon rather than the three you are most likely to see on balance, they can afford to pack fairly niche Pokemon that are capable of dealing with well-know stallbreaking Pokemon, such as Infernape or Reuniclus. On a balanced team you don't really have room to devote slots for this, though it's not usually an issue since the vast majority of stallbreakers are going to be mediocre at best against the offensive half of your team. (I feel like I should write more about stall here but I don't have too much epxerience with it in Gen V so there are probably better people to do that.)

So I mentioned that balance is the type of team that relies most heavily on it's core because they are usually handling the bulk of the defensive responsibility on the team. Note that I don't specifically mean this in terms of defensive Pokemon but rather the act of checking the opponent and defeat their strategies rather than the other half of the team, which is generally more focussed on achieving the actual goal of the team. Obviously this isn't a rule and doesn't apply to every team by any stretch of the imagination, and you're never going to see a really great team where half of the members don't actually contribute anything to the overall goal, but I'm talking more about the overall bias within each Pokemon here. Sometimes you will crack a core that checks everything you need it to while supporting the overall team goal to a significant degree - if that's the case, brilliant. Most of the time I find I have to compromise on certain things, but if the team goal is sound I still usually end up with something solid.

@Anchormon92: You make a brilliant point which I forgot to bring up in my last post and that is how much of the teambuilding process should be completed during testing. It's very easy to put way too much effort into thinking about a team and nowhere near enough into actually realizing the base concept. You can theorymon a core as much as you like but it's no substitute for actually using it and discovering whether passing wish between them really is as easy as you thought or whether or not those 2 members work in tandem to check things as you thought they would. Sometimes, during testing, you'll find that the team isn't that great even when it achieves it's goal because the goal you set isn't actually that great. Obviously this only applies to certain team goals since if you're running offense and you're soley intending to smash everything you're probably going to win every time you achieve said goal, but if you're trying to setup for a single mon (and this is another reason I often dislike teams build around a single Pokemon) and then it turns out that even when you put all the support into place that Pokemon sort of sucks you're in a tight spot as far as the team is concerned. This isn't always a disaster, however, since if you can identify some elemtns of the team that did work really well (Like, Jirachi and Gyarados did an amazing job of spreading paralysis or something like that) this is often transferable knowledge to another team that might be similar in appreciating the paralysis support and more able to abuse it once you put it into place.


I know a lot of people like to try to be unique to a certain degree when they build a team, because obviously you don't want to end up with something which is very similar to what a lot of People are using, and this is one of the hardest aspects of teambuilding to get right, because it is very, very easy indeed to end up with a team built around a single Pokemon that then becomes reliant on it to win most of it's games. Often, using an underated set or simply a Pokemon that is OU but not seen very often such as Scrafty is better than picking a complete wildcard and trying to mould an entire team around it. Occasionally, though, you'll find that rather than being supported by your team to allow it to achive something, you find an underated Pokemon that actually manages to support your other team mebers instead in a way that no common Pokemon could quite achieve - in this situation you are basically golden since you're going to end up with an awesome team if you put the effort in to tweak it. This is a much better way of including something unusual because you're not reliant on it to abuse your team support - there is no point in laying out a banquet of hazards and paralysis for a particular sweeper if that sweeper is going to be killed before it can achieve much. In the same situation, if the Pokemon is killed before it can finish laying support, you're not in great shape but at the same time you still have a decent chance of winning if you play the remaining team members well - especially if you built in redundancy ^^.


If I had to break my own team building process down, and I'll reiterate here that my own teambuilding is not necessarily the best and there are probably much better ways to do it (I know a lot of top-tier players have formulae that they like to use when they teambuild so they can quickly create something pretty good ready for tweaking) but it's worked for me.
So since I'm one of the aformentioned individuals who likes to be a bit different, I usually start by thinking of a basis for the team. This is honestly the bit that's going to vary the most between teams because sometimes you'll be looking at an interesting set and sometimes you just want to try something out and see how it fares, whether tha be a set, a Pokemon or even a strategy or teamstyle you've never really used before. Eventually when I'm finished wasting time and getting distracted I end up with an intial two-or-three-mon core. This might be as basic as an Inducer+Abuser+Benefactor that doesn't really "abuse" on a weather team or it might just be three Pokemon you think have really awesome potential for offensive synergy.
Once you have a core you have to turn it into a team. This is often the longest step since I'm lumping everything togehter here but the basic elements are identifying problems for the core and eliminating them, while also making sure you have a method of beating top threats and that everything works together towards supporting victory. After you have an initial lineup of 6, the essential thing here is to test, test and test again. Some of my teams have around 60 or 70 battles clocked up before I decide on a lineup I'm happy with - it really just depends on how well the theory you worked out for the initial six translates into reality. If it turn out the core Idea you thought of doesn't really work, that's OK. Try to find elements of the team that did work well, so that you can potentially utilise them on another team. Once you have a group that you're satisfied with, it's as simple as palying lots of games and making tweaks to suit metagame trends or to close up holes that might of escaped you during initial testing because you didn't see the problem Pokemon or were able to outplay the opponent so you didn't have trouble with it.

Ok so that ended up a lot longer than I orginally intended because I rambled about my own crap rather than just being objective but I'm too lazy to prune it right now so I'll just leave a TL;DR warning here or something. If you actually bothered to read all of it, thanks.
 
There is a God, as he has allowed me to find this thread. However, as much good advice as there is in this thread, I have an additional problem.

I have huge self-confidence issues, issues that have developed from months upon months of angst and "lol 1200 is easy" when Carcharodon Megalodon, which took Agamemnon all the way to the top, could only get me to 1170-ish. It might be my asperger's, but in general, specific examples work better than simply mentioning "do this, that and the other thing and you should be okay."

My eyes also tend to glaze over the nitty-gritty of even mid-level analysis (for example, it did NOT occur to me that Ferrothorn/Jellicent is shattered by Virizion et al until it was mentioned in the last post), as such detail is generated by and for advanced players. Perhaps the Smogon University syllabus is too much for a semi-casual player like me, who only joined up to enhance his in-game experience. Just looking at the hoops I have to jump through to gain the attention of a tutor is seriously daunting. 3rd place in an RMT Cup, where it's a different tier every night? /pityparty
 
There is a God, as he has allowed me to find this thread. However, as much good advice as there is in this thread, I have an additional problem.

I have huge self-confidence issues, issues that have developed from months upon months of angst and "lol 1200 is easy" when Carcharodon Megalodon, which took Agamemnon all the way to the top, could only get me to 1170-ish. It might be my asperger's, but in general, specific examples work better than simply mentioning "do this, that and the other thing and you should be okay."

My eyes also tend to glaze over the nitty-gritty of even mid-level analysis (for example, it did NOT occur to me that Ferrothorn/Jellicent is shattered by Virizion et al until it was mentioned in the last post), as such detail is generated by and for advanced players. Perhaps the Smogon University syllabus is too much for a semi-casual player like me, who only joined up to enhance his in-game experience. Just looking at the hoops I have to jump through to gain the attention of a tutor is seriously daunting. 3rd place in an RMT Cup, where it's a different tier every night? /pityparty
I have felt like this too, geniuses and hard core battlers at the top sometimes forget how hard it is for the rest of us, take this from a man who can never seem to make it past 1350. What it takes is a lot of time and a lot of effort. Its all about the way you play, and the way you make your team, both of which are hard to master. Probably the best thing you can do is focus on a specific kind of play-style, from the past I can tell you rain hyper offense is probably the easiest to get decent at, and will give you a bit of an ego boost on the way. Generally offensive teams are easier to build as long as they are not hyper offense, but more of balanced.

The irony is you posted this in the team building thread, which is probably the most important thing about pokemon. I know this might be a novice approach to some serious battlers, but when I build a team I start with something I want to use, and then skip away to the on site analyses and look for suggested teamates. Then I choose one, and repeat the last step until I have 6 pokemon, the last of which matched up with the first one. From there I might edit the team a bit more so that it fits together better, with small pokemon changes like changing a bulky water like Slowbro to Vaporeon if my team would like a Vaporeon better. Then finally I skim the OU list and see if there is any major problem, if there is, then I edit more until its gone, if not, then its off to battle.

That should get you to stay over 1200 consistently.
 
I've found this exact idea to be extremely important in the team-building process. I've been playing NU, so I can't speak for the OU threats, but when I started, I had a large weakness to Braviary, Swellow, and Tauros. I fixed it by adding a Magneton, but once that Magneton died, they still destroyed me. So I added something else to deal with them. Once they were covered though, it opened up a Sawk weakness. So I had to develop a few ways of dealing with Sawk, while not making myself vulnerable to the threats I just got done protecting myself from. It can be a long process, but it's great once you find a combination that allows multiple ways to deal with multiple threats. Also, once you have multiple ways to deal with multiple threats, it makes it less devastating when you lose any one Pokemon, as another can just pick up the slack. It allows for some more aggressive plays and even a few mistakes, so long as you know how your other members can do the job of the Pokemon that just went down.

That's the other thing about team-building: it's something that's EXTREMELY difficult, if not impossible, to do without actually using the team. You can come up with all kinds of great ideas on paper (Gyarados + Electivire comes to mind), but a lot of people won't fall for things you think they'll fall for, and some will fall for things you don't think they will. By playing with it, you know which common threats your team is weak to and can adjust according, possibly with your own sets/spreads.

I'm not saying pick the first 6 Pokemon that pop into your head and adjust from there. I think the key to team-building is to find a few Pokemon that you like that match your natural play-style, think about what kind of support they need to take out the things that stop them, and then start playing and adjusting.
What I bolded is (to me) the most important part of team building. I spend a lot of time team rating, and I hate it when people post teams they obviously haven't used. Theoreymoning can give you a solid starting point, but will never get you an elite team. I tried to use a DualScreen/Memento Uxie and a Babri Berry DDTar...didn't work as flawlessly as I thought, to say the least. It wasn't until I changed around the other four team members a couple times that I started to find success.

I also love that you mentioned custom EV spreads, since they can really take a team to the next level; why replace a pokemon (opening yourself up to entirely new weaknesses) when you can just tweak some EVs? In Gen IV, I had a stall/bulky offense hybrid team that had some special bulk problems, but instead of replacing something with Blissey I just gave my Rotom and Tentacruel heavily-Specially defensive EV spreads. All of a sudden, Rotom could live a LO Gengar's Shadow Ball and OHKO back, and Tentacruel used Heatran's Earth Powers and Gengar's Thunderbolts as free setup. Were they weird? Yes. Would I recommend those EV spreads to most teams? Absolutely not. However, they were perfect for my team, and really propelled it to a status it never attained when running standard sets.

On an unrelated note, I think that if you want to make a truly elite team, it's important to experiment with all the different play styles, and then pick a favorite and stick to it. I'm partial to stall myself, but I dabble in balanced, Weather, and offense so I know how they work. If you know how opponents using different play styles approach battles, it's a huge boon when you build your team and when you make predictions.
 
@FastFlygon and 2sly4u: Thank you for supporting some of my ideas there. I'm actually quite new to actually battling (couldn't get it to work for a long time), so I just read stuff on the forums and played around with my in-game team. I've only gotten into battling the past couple weeks, and while it's pretty different from how I imagined it, it's a lot more fun too. I'm far from being great at this, so take all my advice with a grain of salt, but I hope to make some positive contributions here. If something I say is wrong, I hope people correct me lol.

@Unbreakable: I'm not entirely sure what you're talking about, as your join date and post count seem to imply that you have quite a bit of experience. Something that I found extremely helpful though was talking to my opponents during and after battles. Most people are surprisingly willing to help out, and while they don't know your team as well as you do, they can get a feel of what worked on your team against them and what didn't. Even if they don't give you the answers, they can help give ideas that maybe you didn't think of before. Even with my limited experience, a lot of people were willing to help me, and I was even able to help them too. I don't know anything about the tutoring program, but at the end of the day, everyone's playing because we all have fun doing it (I think lol). Unless somebody's acting like an idiot (in which case, you don't want their advice anyway), people aren't gonna be making fun of each other for being bad and they'll be willing to help out if you ask. I might've missed the point of your post entirely, and a lot of this has nothing to do with teambuilding, but I just thought I'd share my experiences there.

I guess I can actually contribute to the topic with that. It goes along with the "trial and error" point I brought up earlier, but don't be afraid to ask for ideas from other people. While it isn't quite "team-building", it is something that a lot of people neglect while battling. I told myself I'd always play every battle to the end (even during embarrassing sweeps), and it has paid dividends. Too often people ragequit if something goes wrong or if it's very obvious that they're going to lose. I've found that if you get in that losing position yourself, it helps to ask the other player what you did wrong. Maybe you made a misplay wrongly assuming something's speed or power or defense. Maybe there's something missing from your team like a phazer or priority. Maybe your core has a weak link. Like I said before, people are usually willing to offer at least a small piece of advice, especially when they're winning. The RMT section on this site is great as well, but like theorymonning, it's sometimes better to get advice from people actually playing against the team rather than just reading about it.
 
I don't time to post anything big but I'll just cobble something small together here.

So it's interesting that you bring up the 1350 threshold since I would say that for me personally, that's around where I start to have a lot of trouble. The only team I've taken past 1350 was built with the assistance of my tutor during battling 101. What I think is important to note, though, is that as far as teams I have built myself go, I am, slowly but surely, getting better, and for me this is the best way to dod it. I tried simply aspiring for #1, but I never got anywhere because it seemed impossibly far away. At the moment, I simply test ideas and try to get a little higher with each consecutive team, and for the most part, I'm successful, since I'm aiming for something achievable.

Speaking about myself, my biggest problems generally are twofold - being intimidated by an opponent I recognise, and finding a good concept for teambuilding. I also have a problem with ending up using the same Pokemon all the time (Terrakion comes to mind because the scarf set is such a good revenge killer) and getting bored with certain teams. This isn't the thread for that, though, so I guess I'll talk about the whole self-confidence/battling big names you recognise thing.

As I mentioned, I still have some problems with this, especially when I'm not controlling momentum, but I think there are things you can do even in the teambuilding stage to aleviate this issue. The first big thing is tweaking a team until it fits you. Everyone has different preferences and often in teambuilding there's a tossup between two desirable factors. Finding the exact build, even of a team that has seen huge sucess with the original creator, is an interesting challenge.

Whatever you do, it's important to try to find a team you both really enjoy playing and see a reasonable amount of success with - though the two factors really go hand in hand. Nobody is going to reach a good position on the ladder with a team they don't like, because at the end of the day, at that high a level, you have to play near-flawlessly and you can onyl do that with a team you know inside out.
Also Anchormon92 has 9 posts and they're better than the first 200 of mine :(. Keep it up, some awesome points ^^.
Finally, this thread inspired me to try another 6 sweeper team. The last one was good, probably the best the team I ever built on my own, but it had problems with fast LOrbed mons and lead matchup so hopefully this one will be better in those areas.
 
To build a good team, i generally steal another team first, preferrably a easy to abuse team usually rain or sand balanced. I also like some of the more creative strategies too, since they're interesting to abuse. Using them, you find out what makes a good team, like momentum, status spamming, and compare them to yours, and you could find out what problems you have. You can also learn from the pokemon and playstyles that beat that team, so when you know how to counter certain playstyles. Recently I found out that some teams are easier to play than others. The more harder teams including hyper offence and sun because they require heavy prediction and experience.
I will agree with everyone that a team needs to have a goal to succeed, whether its based around a certain sweeper, or a certain abuser of hazards, or just a simple status like paralysis, burn, or toxic. It also needs capabilities of switching in on many threats and getting the momentum. Hazards will be a problem unless you can fit a spinner on your team or don't let it set up too much hazards and make sure your team isn't hazard weak. Also make sure that you look at the threatlist too.
 
It's interesting that you should mention both Hyper Offense and and the ability to switch into threats, since convential 6 sweeper or ds+5 sweeper HO shouldn't have to switch into threats much at all. Similarly, hyper offense of the convential definition ie these types of teams don't really have to predict at all. If we talk about a more loose hyper offense with lots of strong choiced Pokemon (some People like to call this Heavy Offense, honestly I just prefer to call it Offense since you'll often also see setup sweepers, fast LO Pokemon etxc on the types of teams too) then yes, you do have to do a lot of predicting, and "conventional HO" does require long-term planning skills since you can often decide on a plan for the endgame within the first couple of turns, but running 6 setup sweepers is pretty much the only example where you don't have to predict, except in a situation where the opponent is attempting to stall you out of LO recoil by playing to resistances. Even then, it's going to take one prediction at msot. I don't think one prediction to win a game is too much to ask any player, particularly since in a situation like that your opponent is basically making a prediction every single turn.

Said teams do, however, require a lot of work in the teambuilding phase to ensure that you have exceptional type synergy and the ability to setup on effectively anything. I guess metagame knowledge/experience also comes into play a lot here, since you really ought to know what the common revenge killes are and what moves they use so you can fit Pokemon able to set-up on something locked into said moves. For example if you're running like DD Nite you probably want to run something like Lucario that can setup on Rock and Ice-typed moves. Likewise, Dragonite can setup on the Fighting and Ground-type moves Lucario is commonly revenged with. Heh I just noticed that if you added something else to help deal with fast Mons that resist Extremespeed that's a pretty cool little core ^^. (also I use that face lots and lots all of a sudden not sure why oh well.)

Anyway a little bit more about offense since I'm supposed to be teambuilding right now but wth it's christmas!
 
Also Anchormon92 has 9 posts and they're better than the first 200 of mine :(. Keep it up, some awesome points ^^.
I will take awesome points all day lol. Thanks for that! :)

To maybe take this topic in a slightly different direction, I was wondering how everyone handles tier shifts/bans immediately after they happen (especially in regards to the lower tiers, as unless something gets banned, OU changes more slowly than the other tiers from month to month). I know how my team functions in the current metagame, but with a lot of important threats leaving, including possibly some of my own members, and a few more dropping down, is there any way to "predict" the threats of the new metagame and build around that, or is it just trial and error until the new threats are more defined? It also seems that it may be better to start from scratch immediately after tier shifts to avoid playing with wasteful EV spreads or playing with a style that fit the prior metagame but not the new one. I have no idea though, as I haven't gone through a major tier shift (as it seems NU will be undergoing in a week).

I guess the shortened form of the question is when playing immediately after a tier shift, do you play with your old team replacing banned members or do you start from scratch on a new team? And is there any way to prepare for threats when you don't know what they are yet?
 
For me personally that's kind of an interesting question to try and answer since it all depens on the team I'm using at the end of the round. After the end of UU round 1, I totally scrapped my UU team, since 1/3rd of it was banned and another 1/6th was semi-usless in the new meta (I was running antisun Drifblim and Drought got banned) but for most other tier shifts I just play a few battles with my old team (since I rarely end up actually using the suspects...) to get a feel for what's working and what isn't and then make a team from scratch. I rarely retain a team for any significant period into the new round since I'm yet to find a team I enjoy playing enough for it to be worth that much effort; that might just be me getting bored with a team easily, though.

I can't say how I'd react to a tiershift as big as the predicted NU one, but tbh I'd probably just end up starting from scratch. I tmight be prudent to check out the suspect thread and see what people think will be good in the new meta, possibly try out some of the dropdowns. The first few days of a new meta is ripe testing material, so make a couple of alts and see if you can find some cool combinations!
 
I have felt like this too, geniuses and hard core battlers at the top sometimes forget how hard it is for the rest of us, take this from a man who can never seem to make it past 1350. What it takes is a lot of time and a lot of effort. Its all about the way you play, and the way you make your team, both of which are hard to master. Probably the best thing you can do is focus on a specific kind of play-style, from the past I can tell you rain hyper offense is probably the easiest to get decent at, and will give you a bit of an ego boost on the way. Generally offensive teams are easier to build as long as they are not hyper offense, but more of balanced.

The irony is you posted this in the team building thread, which is probably the most important thing about pokemon. I know this might be a novice approach to some serious battlers, but when I build a team I start with something I want to use, and then skip away to the on site analyses and look for suggested teamates. Then I choose one, and repeat the last step until I have 6 pokemon, the last of which matched up with the first one. From there I might edit the team a bit more so that it fits together better, with small pokemon changes like changing a bulky water like Slowbro to Vaporeon if my team would like a Vaporeon better. Then finally I skim the OU list and see if there is any major problem, if there is, then I edit more until its gone, if not, then its off to battle.

That should get you to stay over 1200 consistently.
Three beefs with this post after following the advice:

1) You say you feel my pain when you can't break 1350. Yeah, I'm all the way down here around 900 on the OU ladder--try again. Only reason I speak of 1200 is because I flirted with doing so with Agammemnon's Carcharodon Megalodon.

2) Rain offense would be the fast track to success on the ladder...if everyone was suddenly struck dumb and forgot that rain offense is such a gigantic threat.

3) I ended up with a team of Specstoed, Superachi, TR Reuniclus (but instead of running TR, running an additional coverage move to try to make it counter TR), NP Infernape, SD Virizion and Rotom-W. (Progress: At least I knew the Lati twins would be huge threats going in, but I had TWave on R-W for exactly that reason.) I proceeded to lose six battles in a row, dropping me below 900 before managing to set up Virizion and sweep to get to 901. Tears of frustration were shed after battles like this one:
http://pokemon.aesoft.org/replay-Unbreakable-vs-Niewbe--2011-12-25
 
K so this isn't really a rmt thread but since the aformentioned sweeperspam team is doing well on the ladder for me, I'll see if I can help you. First, I'm not really sure what Reuniclus is doing for you, since while it can beat opposing TR Reuni who is a problem for HO, you already have Jirachi for him and Reuni is useless otherwise. I recommend trying Specs Tornadus over him - you maintain a fighting resist but gain super high speed and the ability to spam specs hurricane, which is IMO the best attack in the entire game. 30% confusion is incredible, since vs chansey/blissey you only need a couple of bad turns to 4HKO it. it also gives you a more solid check to the Lati@s, since it's fast and can smash them with a superpowered Hurricane - this should OHKO Latios with a little prior damage, such as a single Volt Switch, while you'll 2HKO Latias and it can't do much back without a ton of CM boosts - since Hurricane is doing about 66% and you're faster, you'll kill it wayyy before it accumulates any decent number of boosts. Focus Miss can hit Tyranitar if you're lucky or you can just U-turn out of it to get rain back up and immediately force it out with the threat of rain Hydro Pump. Lastly, I'm not sure what exactly 'nape does for the team, so you could try running some sort of Cloyster with a little bit of bulk to beat +1 Dragonite. He doesn't have many opportunities to set up, but he might on Toed locked into the wrong move. Alternatively, if Cloyster doesn't work for you, you could try Jolteon instead. Jolteon is faster than +1 Dragonite without boosts thanks to it's awesome 130 base speed and can OHKO with HP Ice provided Multiscale is broken - just make sure you have a decent amount of health left so you can live +1 Extremespeed.
Hopefully you can at least break 1050 with these changes. GL and if i spot you I might watch you on the ladder, depends on how fun playign sweeperspam is.
 

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