Battle Spot — The Wild West of Pokémon Showdown!

By A10theHero. Art by asgdf.
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Battle Spot. There is nothing else like it on Pokémon Showdown! Based on the battle type from the phenomenal games, Pokémon X and Y, Battle Spot is free from Smogon's restrictions (except for the Species and Item Clauses for obvious reasons). Because it lacks these boundaries, many people would expect Battle Spot to be a lawless place where everyone uses Swagger and Moody excessively. However, this is not the case.

Unlike what you would expect in standard tiers, Aegislash, Mega Gengar, and Mega Kangaskhan—among other powerful Pokémon—are not very common. "It's as chaotic as any tier," says Feliburn, a room Owner of the Battle Spot chat room. "The fact that we allow certain things that other metagames ban just makes it more interesting in my opinion." From my own personal experience with Battle Spot, I can say with confidence that he is right—this is a fascinating place where creativity flourishes. There are many more possibilities here than anywhere else, albeit there are some people who use teams that are annoying and require no skill (*cough* *cough* Moody Smeargle), but they are not representative of the players here. I've had a large variety of opponents, ranging from the most gimmicky teams ever (Electric-type rodents) to the next VGC champions (Greninja is the way to go). Honestly, there is no single defining team of Battle Spot.

You might be wondering why Battle Spot is like this. So there is a lack of restrictions, which makes it seem like the entire situation would be hectic and anarchic, yet it somehow remains orderly. What is going on here? According to the room Moderator Montsegur, this should be expected. "Battle Spot has as much structure as any of the other tiers," he told me. Feliburn said something similar, telling me that "not many people take advantage of Battle Spot's freedom." They explained to me that Pokémon—even the ones that are banned by Smogon but not by Battle Spot—cannot cause much chaos because of the vast number of options that are available to check their power. Those Pokémon are more balanced because more counters exist here.

As an example, Montsegur talked about Mega Kangaskhan, which "is probably one of the biggest threats in the game." Rocky Helmet Ferrothorn and Rocky Helmet Cresselia are excellent counters to this Pokémon, he told me. "You just have to be creative and think of things to beat top threats."

Like Montsegur, Feliburn gave an example with a similar justification. "There are some users who think that spamming evasion moves is fun," he said. But of course, evasion-boosting moves such as Minimize and Double Team have their flaws. Stomp, Steamroller, Body Slam, Dragon Rush, Flying Press, and Phantom Force are all moves that can hit a Pokémon that used Minimize without failure (and with double the damage). Along with that, Feint Attack, Aerial Ace, Shadow Punch, Magnet Bomb, Swift, Magical Leaf, and Shock Wave never check accuracy. "I've even seen people carry Taunt users just for that," he added. Although they appear to be threatening, Evasion-boosting moves are not impossible to overcome—they have their flaws. This just serves as another example of the fact that threats are not as indomitable as they may seem to be. There is a plethora of checks available for every possible threat.

In addition, Montsegur told me that, because luck-based and unskilled teams cannot dominate Battle Spot, they are uncommon. "I don't see luck-based teams in higher level games," he said. This is because that type of strategy is too unreliable. In battles that are lower on the ladder, people are "trying to run them to get that one good battle where they pull off their strategy. They might lose twenty-five games and win that one, but that one battle means all the world to them. So if someone is trying to be consistent, they aren't using luck-based teams," he explained. Driver of the Battle Spot chat room, Noved, concurs. "I think most players choose to go with more reliable strategies instead of rolling the dice." Thus, these teams are a rare sight. For North American players, the only time they'll ever really encounter these teams is at night (for European players it's around midday, and for Asian players, it is during the day). These types of teams are more accepted by the Japanese metagame, and so mainly Japanese players will use them. This information underscores the fact that Battle Spot is not dominated by such teams. There are only certain times when people will see them. The creativity and freedom that players have here can produce much better teams than those based solely on luck.

Battle Spot has an extremely fun and unique playstyle that everyone should participate in. If you haven't already tried it, make a team today! And if you have no idea how to get started, the first place you should visit is the Battle Spot chat room. New players are always welcome there. According to Noved, "The Battle Spot chat room is nice, always filled with good people", and based on my experiences, he is right. The people there are great, and they'll be willing to help you learn about one of the best metagames on Pokémon Showdown!

Many of the people in the chat room have a lot of experience with Battle Spot. They can answer almost any Battle Spot-related questions. And, when making a team, you can always go to them for assistance. They can help you create a team that has good synergy or find a moveset for your Pokémon that works best for your strategy. I remember that when I was designing a new Battle Spot Doubles team that revolved around using Tailwind and changing the weather, the Moderators helped me choose some of the members of my team as well as the moveset of my Whimsicott. And I have to say, it worked out pretty well! With such an extensive knowledge of Battle Spot, the people in the Battle Spot chat room can help you design a team for any strategy that you can come up with!

But don't just take my word for it! Fellow regular of the chat room and Battle Spot Singles extraordinaire, Dark Ashes, detailed his own experiences for me. He first told me about the helpfulness of the members there and the various questions they answer for him. "The people in this chat room are very helpful and chill. I routinely ask people questions regarding different opinions on movesets, the metagame here, and different viable options you can use for the different Pokémon that I inquire about. I also ask the highly-rated players about any iconic patterns or Pokémon and strategies used in high-ladder play." When I asked him to recall a specific instance that was particularly useful, Dark Ashes told me an interesting story. "So I asked CoolStoryBrobat, a room Owner here, about any movesets he noticed becoming more apparent as he went higher up the ladder in Battle Spot Singles. He recalled a Special Kangaskhan with Fire Blast, Ice Beam, Seismic Toss, and Shadow Ball being a thing. It deals with the common Rocky Helmet, Iron Barbs Ferrothorn and Rough Skin Garchomp and 2HKOs a majority of the metagame with Seismic Toss (and Shadow Ball for Gengar)." This information helped Dark Ashes prepare for the Kangaskhan and perform well in Battle Spot Singles. He and I agree that the people in the Battle Spot chat room are knowledgeable about the metagame, and they can help you succeed!

However, the best part about the chat room is not the help available, but the round-robin tournaments hosted there. Not only are they fun, but also they are good places to practice with new teams. Because the results of these tournaments have no effect on your position on the ladder, they provide ample opportunities to be creative and try new things. After a tournament, you can have people critique your team and analyze its performance. I participated in several tournaments with my Tailwind/weather team, and doing so helped me identify the specific strategies that were strong against my team (teams that used Fake Out and status conditions) and weak against my team (teams that used Trick Room or the weather). This, in turn, improved my teams greatly.

In a way, the Battle Spot chat room is one of the reasons why Battle Spot remains so orderly. The people there promote creativity by providing players with ample resources to perfect their strategies, and this provides a constant supply of various unique teams that can check one another in battle. Battle Spot is a great form of battling with a great community. Despite the large amount of freedom, people use it relatively responsibly, and there is plenty of self-regulation in the community. It is definitely worth trying out.

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