Battle of the Week Vol. 1: Weeks 1-3

By Eo Ut Mortus. Art by Nastyjungle.
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The second installment of the Battle of the Week has just come to a close. From week to week, we saw everything from clashes between RBY behemoths to BW OU grudge matches. Whether you're into intense, high-profile battles, or just tired of not being able to watch reyscarface get destroyed in his no spectators-matches, the Battle of the Week was a definite must-see. Did you miss out on the action? Here's a quick recap.

How does the Battle of the Week work?

The Battle of the Week is a tournament that consists of weekly exhibition matches where tiers and participants are decided by the Smogon community. It lasts until Earthworm gets too busy partying to run it.

Each week, Smogon users may nominate an unlimited number of metagames that they wish to see played. Practically anything can be nominated, including past generations (i.e. RBY OU), official non-OU tiers (i.e. BW Ubers), or even gimmick tiers (i.e. DPP Ubers without "Farceus"). The metagame that receives the most votes will be the one played for that week. There are no restrictions on how many times a metagame can be played, so it is possible, albeit unlikely, for a tier such as Standard BW OU to be played every week. In the same vein, a metagame does not have to be played at all if it never receives a majority vote in any week, so sorry to the five ADV Doubles players reading this.

After 24 hours, nominations will close, the most popular metagame will be selected, and battler nominations will commence. Users may nominate players they wish to see in battle. Users may nominate up to three people, none of whom can be themselves. Nominees must have shown activity on Smogon within the past week and must be willing to participate. Players who have participated in a previous Battle of the Week, such as the skilled user Eo Ut Mortus, can still be nominated, even if they just played last week. If the people demand it, who are we to deprive them?

After another 24 hours, the nominations will be tallied up, and the ten people with the most nominations will be placed into a public poll. Everyone will be able to vote for the player(s) they wish to see in the Battle of the Week. After 24 hours, the two people with the most votes will be selected as the participants in the week's battle. The battlers will then schedule a specific date and time for their match, which will be announced in the thread as soon as it is decided upon. The Battle of the Week is usually held on the Smogon University Pokemon Online Server. If the battle picked is an older generation (RBY OU, GSC OU, and sometimes ADV OU), it will be played on Netbattle Supremacy, likely on the ATQ server.

If you miss the battle or somehow cannot attend, fear not. The log of the match will be saved and added to the first post of the "Battle of the Week" thread (with spectator comments omitted, no less). The match will also be recorded and uploaded to Smogon's YouTube account, SmogonU.

Here's a brief summary of the first three BOTW matches:

Week 1: DPP OU: Earthworm vs. Gouki

Both prominent battlers with a history of important matches between them (see: World Cup of Pokemon tiebreaker), this was a very fitting pairing for the first Battle of the Week, a return to DPP OU.

Leading with Azelf, it was immediately apparent that Gouki's team style was offense. Not much about Earthworm's team could be gleaned from his lead Roserade; however, it soon became clear that it was a stall team. Gouki began by Tricking Roserade a Choice Scarf, surviving a Leaf Storm thanks to the Focus Sash it received in return only to be promptly finished off next turn by the now-faster Roserade. With Stealth Rock absent from Earthworm's side of the field, it was going to be tough for Gouki to penetrate Earthworm's defenses.

A series of well-executed predictions allowed Gouki to retake some lost ground; however, even as he brought Roserade to low health, the rest of Earthworm's team remained in pristine condition and it only got worse from there. Gouki's Aerodactyl, his biggest threat to Earthworm's team, was paralyzed by Blissey's Thunder Wave on a mistimed switch. His attempt to surprise Skarmory with a Magnezone switch-in was foiled by a well-timed double switch. Everything on Gouki's team was walled by something on Earthworm's, and without entry hazards, it was going to be really difficult to wear anything down.

As Earthworm brought out his Gyarados, Gouki revealed his final Pokemon, Dragonite. Unfortunately for Gouki, however, Gyarados proceeded to outrun its opponent and dispose of it with an Expert Belt-boosted Stone Edge. This was all but the final nail in the coffin: with a sleeping Infernape as Gouki's only remaining physical attacker, there was no getting past Blissey. Earthworm ended up corralling and eliminating Gouki's remaining Pokemon with relative ease for the win. The final score, 4-0, was closer than it looked—victory hinged on a few key turns that Earthworm utilized to his advantage.

Week 2: BW OU: locopoke vs. Kevin Garrett

The first ever BW OU Battle of the Week pitted five-star OU battler Kevin Garrett against "non-Arceus Ubers" specialist locopoke. This match-up looked as close as match-ups could be, with neither battler a clear favorite over his opponent.

With every successive generation comes a new addition to the battle system, and the fifth generation's contribution was Team Preview, a feature that enables both players to see the other's lineup. Team Preview certainly had an impact on the dynamic of this match: Kevin Garrett noticed that locopoke's team had a slight weakness to Latias, particularly Calm Mind / Refresh variants—and the one on KG's team happened to be just that. locopoke let it set up several Calm Minds before realizing the danger his team was in, and he ended up having to sacrifice three of his Pokemon just to force Latias out, albeit at low health.

The roles then completely reversed as locopoke sent out his Mew. Kevin Garrett's stall team had no hard counter to Mew; its best check, Chansey, falling to a combination of entry hazards and Nasty Plot-boosted Psycho Shocks. However, KG managed to Toxic it, cutting its sweep short just one Pokemon before a locopoke victory.

loco had the numerical advantage, but his Landorus and Conkeldurr were not enough to break through his opponent's defensive Gyarados, who survived their combined assaults to net a 1-0 victory for Kevin Garrett.

Week 3: ADV OU: goofball vs. G80

For the third Battle of the Week, the voters chose Gen 3 OU as the tier and illustrious Advance battlers goofball and G80 as the combatants. To make things even more interesting, both battlers brought with them the same team: "Superman," an ADV team created by two-time Smogon Tour winner Veteran In Love. With team advantage now a non-factor, this match looked to be extremely close.

While both players had the same six Pokemon, a few of the movesets between them were different. goofball's Flygon had nothing to damage its doppelganger short of a weak Fire Blast. On the other hand, G80's Flygon carried the sizably more powerful Hidden Power Bug, forcing goof to use Swampert against it. With all three layers of Spikes set up on both sides of the field, having the luxury of using the immune-to-Spikes Flygon as a switch-in to its counterpart gave G80 a distinct advantage over goofball.

On the other hand, goofball managed to land Toxic on both G80's Flygon and Tyranitar, severely reducing their lifespans, although at the expense of his Skarmory. At that point, the score was 6-5 to G80, and it seemed as though goofball had a slight advantage. Then Swampert was sent out against G80's Tyranitar, only to be promptly demolished by Hidden Power Grass. Flygon's biggest obstacle removed, the situation looked desolate for goofball.

G80 slowly but surely wore down goof's Tyranitar and Flygon, and his own Flygon did eventually succumb to poison. goofball's last lifeline lay in Aerodactyl: if it won the Speed tie against G80's, with a few key predictions and perhaps a little luck, it could actually salvage a win. 'Lo and behold, goof's Aerodactyl outpaced its opponent... only to miss Rock Slide and fall to its foe's. goofball's Zapdos was defeated in quick succession, leaving G80 the clear winner of this Battle of the Week.

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