RU Sure About That? Advising Opponents on the RU Ladder

By Mack the Knife. Art by Bummer
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Whenever you start a new run on the RU ladder on Pokémon Showdown!, you will always run into some pretty bad teams, sets, or Pokémon at the beginning. These can range from teams full of odd gimmicks to just plain old bad ones. Also, many of these players make some terrible moves and are quite predictable. Your first instinct is to just beat the team as quickly as possible and completely forget about the opponent. However, there is another option! Yes, you can inform them of better Pokémon or sets to use and lead them to Smogon. What do you have to gain from this? Well, a sense of accomplishment and knowledge that you have helped some players become better players and teambuilders. In this article you will learn suitable ways to advise them on their teams while in-battle or after battle! Let's get into it, shall we?

The Munchlax Incident or: What not to Do

Readers, let me share with you a story of shame and self-loathing. One day when I was working my way past the lower part of the RU ladder, I ran into a player using a Munchlax. I immediately laughed to myself and realized that this was a battle that would be quite easy, and it was. While I was in the battle I tried to convince my opponent that Munchlax was a terrible Pokémon that shouldn't ever be used. Unfortunately, I was unable to shed my snarky persona while battling, so most of my comments were along the lines of "lol munchlax", "munchlax sucks", and "no seriously, don't use munchlax." After a while, my opponent got frustrated and told me to stop making fun of him, and actually suggest something to replace Munchlax. At that moment a lightbulb flashed in my mind as I realized I wasn't being helpful in the slightest. So I spurted out three Pokémon that would suit his team better (I think they were Slowking, Lanturn, and Uxie). He didn't reply and left immediately after the battle, which led me to wonder if he hadn't listened to my idea because of my snarky attitude at the beginning and continued to use Munchlax. It haunts me to this day. Please don't make the same mistake I did, reader. Please.

The 3 Golden Rules

In this article you shall learn the 3 Golden Rules. These are rules you should almost always follow. So, the three rules are...

Rule #1: Don't Start with Criticism

When you first notice that an opponent is probably using a crappy team, Pokémon, or set, don't jump straight into criticism. Start with a little conversation and then ease yourself into critiquing the opponent's team. A reliable way to start an in-battle conversation is to start the battle with "gl" (good luck) and start talking from there, eventually easing into criticisms. Here is a fake chat log that is a good example of this:

Mack the Knife: gl
FireDragon1001: thanks and gl to you
Mack the Knife: thanks
Mack the Knife: how long have you played RU?
FireDragon1001: I'm kinda new
FireDragon1001: but I like it here
Mack the Knife: Im glad you do
Mack the Knife: Your team seems to be solid but I think you shouldn't use Hitmonlee as a rapid spinner
FireDragon1001: Really?
Mack the Knife: yeah, I think Kabutops would suit your team better. /bw/pokemon/kabutops
FireDragon1001: Thanks!
Mack the Knife: np

See, if theoretical me didn't start with a nice gl, he might have taken the criticisms the wrong way.

Rule #2: Win

Yes, winning the battle is key to convincing the opponent to change. If you focus too much on the conversation and end up losing the battle, chances are that the opponent won't be too keen on taking advice from a "loser." If you have trouble doing two things at once, ask the opponent to stick around after the battle. Then, after you have won and gathered a few ladder points that will be meaningless when XY comes along, discuss and critique the opponent about the ideas after the battle. Winning the battle is very important when trying to advise ladder opponents; don't forget that, mate. Also, it'd be pretty embarrassing to lose to a team with a Munchlax / Sandslash / Dusknoir combo or something of that sort.

Rule #3: Be Polite

This is arguably the most important rule. If you aren't polite, chances are a lot of new players will simply ignore your critiques. The only exceptions are the self-doubting players who will always listen to you. You may notice this section is comically short, but honestly this rule is so true in its simplicity that I don't feel the need to add anything more.

The Link of Truth


When you've tried everything and the opponent still won't listen, show them this link. It'll open their eyes to what's good and what's crap in RU. This is possibly the most useful tool you can use when trying to advise an opponent. This link is your trump card. Use it wisely. It's usually best to use it after the battle if possible, since you don't want to interrupt the battle. You will be using this link a lot. This link is also good for showing your opponent the social aspects of RU. If your opponent decides to join the forums, then you've helped even more. Now he can post an RMT (usually the first thing somebody does when they join) and get even more help from RU's finest team raters! Even if he doesn't join, he can read over comments in different sections, and slowly but surely learn more and more about battling in RU!

What if they don't listen?

A lot of people won't. If they don't seem to respond to your first few messages, then they are either focused on the battle or just don't care about your critiques. Sometimes, more hostile users say something along the lines of "don't tell me what to do." So what you should you do? Give up. They won't listen, so just let them learn the hard way. It's rough out there on the RU ladder, and they'll learn eventually.


Now you've learned about what to do, what not to do, and when to give up when advising ladder opponents. At least I hope so. Oh well, have fun on the RU ladder!

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