The High Barriers to Entry in Competitive Pokémon

by Justin Berube - September 5, 2012, 5:33 pm PDT
Total comments: 37

The complexities of Pokémon never cease to amaze.

There are millions of Pokémon players in the world, but only a small percentage of those people truly take that hobby to the competitive level. I’ve tried several times over the years to create a Pokémon team that can stand up to the best of them. Unfortunately, I’ve found there are several high barriers to entry in the competitive world of Pokémon. With the official Pokémon Video Game Championships coming to a close a few weeks ago, and Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2 releasing this October, I feel now is a great time to inform people about the challenges current competitive players face.

I’ve identified six main barriers to entry in competitive Pokémon:

1. General Game Knowledge

Before even getting started with a competitive team a player needs to know a lot about the game of Pokémon. This includes knowledge of Pokémon types, moves, strengths, and weaknesses, to name a few. This first step may already seem overwhelming to some, but it gets worse: knowledge of how the Pokémon games calculate stats, damage, special effects and more is critical. To put it bluntly, a competitive Pokémon player needs to do a ton of homework and really know how the game works, even at the unseen level.

2. Metagame Knowledge

Once a competitor knows the intricacies of the game, he then needs to decide on what rule set he is going to play under. There are many unofficial, though surprisingly standard, tiers of play and rules the Pokémon community has agreed upon. There are also official rules the Pokémon Company International sets up for their yearly tournaments. After a player determines which rules he would like to play under, it becomes necessary to study the metagame to know what Pokémon, strategies, and techniques are successful.

3. Team Testing

With all that out of the way, it’s time to make a team, right? Well, sort of. Due to the time necessary to properly train and test a team in the actual Pokémon games, it’s best to test any team a player creates in an online battle simulator first. These battle simulators are fan-made tools for testing teams, strategies, and more, and are not found in the games themselves. There are a few of these unofficial simulators out there, and I’ve personally found them an invaluable tool in tweaking a possible team for true competitive play.

4. Pokémon Acquiring

So you have a team tested and ready to go. Great job, but now comes the most difficult step of the entire process. The player needs to catch each Pokémon for his team with the correct natures, abilities, and Individual Values (IVs). IVs, for those not in the know, are randomly assigned numbers between 0 and 31 given to each stat a Pokémon has. IVs are calculated when a Pokémon is encountered. Just think of IVs like rolling dice to create a new character in a pen-and-paper RPG. Just like characters of the same type in tabletop games, Pokémon of the same species can have different stats.

It should be noted that actually obtaining Pokémon with the wanted IVs can be an extremely difficult and time consuming task, especially for those trying it for the first time. Some Pokémon can be bred for the right stats, and some players do that. Others will manipulate the random number generator (RNG) in the games to give Pokémon the right stats. RNG manipulation is done with the aid of a computer program that can tell a player the exact date, time, and year to start the Pokémon game, since a creature captured at the exact right time will have the desired stats. This technique technically isn’t cheating since it can be done without using a cheating device that changes the game code, but I’ve personally found it extremely tedious and time consuming to pull off correctly.

One final way to obtain Pokémon with good IVs is to get in with a good competitive online community. I’ve found that cloning Pokémon has become an acceptable standard by most members of these communities, and as a result many good characters are out there for trade or barter. The only risk here is that Pokémon a player receives from a trade may be unknowingly hacked, and therefore banned, from an official tournament. No matter how you slice it, obtaining these great Pokémon is going to be a difficult task.

5. Pokémon Training

The final step in the entire team creation process is training a team properly. Doing so isn’t very difficult, but I’m sure many players don’t know the finer points. Every time a Pokémon defeats another Pokémon, until a certain point, they get a boost to a specific stat. These boosts are known as Effort Values (EVs). In fact, feeding Pokémon vitamins increases EVs as well. During this process, players have to know what Pokémon to defeat, and how many, to effectively spread the EV stat boots to the desired stats, as they have an upper limit.

6. Shifting Metagame

When all these steps are completed, a competitive team is ready to use. It’s a long process, however there is one ever-changing barrier to entry: the shifting metagame. Approximately every two years, a new main series Pokémon game is released that can add new moves, alter old moves, change old obtainable moves for characters, and introduce new Pokémon and Pokémon forms. These changes can, sadly, render an already existing team useless.

-

I’ve found these barriers to entry to be extremely frustrating, and I wish they weren’t as high because Pokémon can be an extremely fun game when playing against others. As I get older, I really don’t have the time necessary to play at a competitive level, but I have the utmost respect for those who go the extra miles necessary to win. With that said, I want to congratulate all the winners of the Pokémon Video Game Championships. You’ve all worked harder than most understand is necessary to succeed at Pokémon. I just wish the competitive side of the game were more easily accessible so more people can enjoy it.

Talkback

NbzSeptember 06, 2012

As someone who has played in the Competitive scene for over 4 years now, I can completely understand how difficult it is to even begin the learn about the Metagame and understand all the intricacies, let alone put aside time to dedicate towards it. The way the majority of players get around this is by using what one calls "Legal Hacks." Essentially, these are computer generated Pokemon made within the legal bounds of the game, for example, a Pokemon cannot have over 510 total EVs or more than 31 IVs in a given stat. It is a measure that all the top players use, and I can say without any doubt that 90% of people who competed in the VGCs and did well used Legal Hacks. I know for a fact that the American dude who has won on multiple occasions will have used PokeSav to generate his whole team, but has made them in such a way that they can easily pass all the hack checks given by the VGC staff. He isn't necessarily cheating by doing this, because the Pokemon are all legal within the constraints of the game, he just simply saved himself a lot of time, and instead was able to use that time to gain valuable Metagame experience. The sad fact of the matter is that if you want to compete on the world stage, training isn't the way to go.

Thanks for commenting Nbz. I know many players do use these legal hacks, but I for one don't like the idea of hacking at all. It's just upsetting that in order to compete in these games a player basically has to cheat in some way to be competitive.

roykoopa64September 06, 2012

Great article! This is exactly why I never even attempted to get into competitive battling, despite my love for all the Pokemon games (of which I have beaten the story mode for every generation). I think I would have more fun battling someone who plays the game at the same level as me.

TJ SpykeSeptember 06, 2012

You can consider it legal hacking, but it's still cheating. You can't call yourself a true competitor if you do it. At the bare minimum, it violates the spirit of the game.

OblivionSeptember 06, 2012

Then you would have to say that everyone is cheating because almost EVERYONE does it. Hell, I hone my skills on "Pokemon Online" and Smogon, both of which have programs that allow me to create a team with ease and use them in the program to fight people all over the world. That's how everyone plays. If you don't like it, deal with it. That's how the meta game has been since 2004. Perhaps even earlier.

TJ SpykeSeptember 06, 2012

Don't use hyperbole, it negates your whole argument. Those who do it are violating the spirit of the game and are purely lazy. If you don't want to put in the work to create your team, level them up the right way, etc., then find another game. I would love for Nintendo to find a way to detect people who did this, then ban them so the true competitors can have it.

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterSeptember 06, 2012

If anyone needs help breeding Pokemon with super high IV's just let me know.


I love the process of breeding a new pokemon to near perfection. It may take about 2-3 hours per pokemon but it's not so bad at all. I get all my Pokemon with their great IV's and nature through good old fashioned hard work. It doesn't bother me that most people don't do it that way, but i'll never stoop to that level. I enjoy the journey/rage inducing process.

OblivionSeptember 06, 2012

Quote from: TJ

Don't use hyperbole, it negates your whole argument. Those who do it are violating the spirit of the game and are purely lazy. If you don't want to put in the work to create your team, level them up the right way, etc., then find another game. I would love for Nintendo to find a way to detect people who did this, then ban them so the true competitors can have it.

You obviously didn't understand what I said. Read that website and educate yourself.
http://pokemon-online.eu/

S-U-P-E-RTy Shughart, Staff AlumnusSeptember 06, 2012

I'm on board with the no-grinding crew. I couldn't imagine having to level up in Street Fighter or StarCraft or something before being able to play the 'real' metagame. I think this would be a good opportunity for Nintendo to introduce something like a 'tournament' mode in Pokemon where you can just create max stat Pokemon willy-nilly for use in player matches only, instead of forcing competitive players to run or circumvent some hamster wheel grinding deathmarch.

Maybe a LoL player would like to comment? :faust:

Quote from: TJ

Don't use hyperbole

I'm not sure you know what hyperbole is

ejamerSeptember 06, 2012

... And that's why I take steroids non-banned and/or non-detectable performance enhancing drugs.


Not really a fan of the "it's not wrong if you don't get caught" morality, but it's pervasive in competitive culture (whether that means sports or video games or business). Props to anyone who competes the "old school" way by playing the game without hacks. What they accomplish by playing the game is far more impressive to me than people who play the system.

TJ SpykeSeptember 06, 2012

Quote from: S-U-P-E-R

I'm on board with the no-grinding crew. I couldn't imagine having to level up in Street Fighter or StarCraft or something before being able to play the 'real' metagame. I think this would be a good opportunity for Nintendo to introduce something like a 'tournament' mode in Pokemon where you can just create max stat Pokemon willy-nilly for use in player matches only, instead of forcing competitive players to run or circumvent some hamster wheel grinding deathmarch.

Maybe a LoL player would like to comment? :faust:

Quote from: TJ

Don't use hyperbole

I'm not sure you know what hyperbole is

RPGs and fighting games are different, thought I would point that out.

And I know what hyperbole is. And if even 1 person doesn't do this "legal hacking", then he is wrong in saying that everyone does it.

Oblivion, I understand what you said. It sounds like you did not say what you meant though

S-U-P-E-RTy Shughart, Staff AlumnusSeptember 06, 2012

Quote from: TJ

RPGs and fighting games are different, thought I would point that out.

Cool story, but the game stops being LevelQuest the second you step into a tournament and becomes a head to head strategy game. Unless there are some tournaments I don't know about, where people compete to see who grinds the best.

Consider this perspective: time spent grinding would be better spent developing strategies, playing practice games, and doing whatever it takes to actually get better at the game. If you don't, you're doing yourself a huge disservice. If you chain yourself to your own perceived "true" "spirit of the game" and spend all your time grinding or restricting yourself to gimped Pokemon, the competition is going to pass you by because they're playing by the actual rules and not some made-up self-imposed rules.

Quote from: Oblivion

That's how everyone plays. If you don't like it, deal with it.

OblivionSeptember 06, 2012

TJ, I don't want to get into an English usage argument with you. Sorry to let you down, but a high majority of competitive players use some sort of legal hacks for tourneys that require a game cartridge. If you find that to be "against the spirit of the game" more power to you. But you want to ban people who use it? Good luck, because then you'd have hardly anyone to play against. SUPER is totally right. PokeSav and programs like it were intended to cut down the time doing things that are a waste of time.


And when they aren't playing in tourneys, they use online simulators. Do you think that online simulators are "against the spirit of the game" too?

CericSeptember 06, 2012

I'm going to assume there is a catch and train style gameplay tournament as well.  Like Magic has the Sealed deck games.

OblivionSeptember 06, 2012

Nope. Not at all.

CericSeptember 06, 2012

Really, that's an honest shame.

Fiendlord_TimmaySeptember 06, 2012

I like the competitive scene, but I've only gone as far as #3. I made a brief foray into #4 and #5, but it was so soul crushingly tedious that I stopped. I suppose I'm more into "theorymoning." I like to understand the complex mechanics and strategies, and figure out what a balanced team might look like, what the advantages and disadvantages of movesets and builds are, etc.

But for some reason, the actual battling isn't that fun to me. Even on battle simulators like Shoddy Battle, where there's no busywork required, I don't find it all that stimulating.

And don't get me started on legit training. I have a life to live, I can't spend that much time hatching dozens of the same pokemon just to get good IVs. I have no problem with legal hacks. It's not as if it takes skill to ride up and down route 3 on a bike for a few hundred hours. Knowledge is the only differentiator between a good build and a bad one, and legal hacks just eliminate the RNG bullshit that you would otherwise have to endure.

Also, the analogy to steroids is really stupid. The whole reason it's a LEGAL hack is that it doesn't give you any advantage over your opponent. Steroids give an unfair advantage. They are not the same.

Also lol @ calling breeding "work." You know, the other day I spent hours flipping a coin until it landed on heads 100 times in a row. When I did it, I felt so accomplished because I worked so hard doing it!  ::)
Seriously, like SUPER said, the real "work" being done is formulating strategies and getting used to the flow of a battle, predicting an opponent's moves, etc. Both competitors are doing that regardless of where their pokemon came from or how long they spent creating them.

I don't like being preached at just because I don't want to spend the amount of time equivalent of a part time job doing repetitive, tedious shit. I play games to have fun. If you find the breeding/training process fun, then more power to you. But don't whine at other people who don't feel the same and tell them that they aren't allowed to play unless they slog through the same boring dreck.

ejamerSeptember 06, 2012

Quote from: Fiendlord_Timmay

...
Also, the analogy to steroids is really stupid. The whole reason it's a LEGAL hack is that it doesn't give you any advantage over your opponent. Steroids give an unfair advantage. They are not the same.
...

So if hacking doesn't give any advantage, why does it happen? Why do so many people who want to play and compete bother with hacking? The only reasonable answer I can see is that it does provide an advantage over people who don't hack their stats. (By your own admission, the time saved does matter to you. Heck. I could be in the Olympics for something if I picked and practised a sport for 3-5 hours every day. But I have a job and family and life so that doesn't happen - instead I play recreational sports and just have fun.)

You can try to throw away the steroids analogy if you want, but what is the difference between beefing up your Pokemon team through legal hacks and using the most advanced medicine currently available to beef up your body? They are both an attempt to reduce the amount of time spent preparing for battle, they both take place outside of the actual competition, and neither (directly) decides the result since skill is more important to winning than pure strength. Why do you draw such a strong distinction between the two? I'm asking seriously, not patronizing.


I'm also curious about this term: "legal hacking". What makes it legal? Are there rules in place explicitly saying that you are allowed to hack Pokemon as long as they meet expected limitations? Or is it just that there is no way to easily test the data and discover that hacking has occurred?  The term and descriptions provided so far certainly make it sound like a euphemism for "undetectable hacking" rather than being supported by any rules that condone or support hacking. Would you be ok to announce to the judges/organizers of a competition that you were playing with a team of hacked Pokemon? (Maybe people do that all the time, maybe not. I'm a complete noob to the topic so have to ask.)


And one final note: I'm not condemning anyone in this post or in my previous post. If you took offence, then maybe you'd better look at yourself to figure out why.

S-U-P-E-RTy Shughart, Staff AlumnusSeptember 06, 2012

Quote from: ejamer

So if hacking doesn't give any advantage, why does it happen? Why do so many people who want to play and compete bother with hacking?

It saves time. Lots and lots of time. That's the only reason.

Quote from: Ceric

I'm going to assume there is a catch and train style gameplay tournament as well.  Like Magic has the Sealed deck games.

I'm trying to imagine the logistics of running a tournament like this and my head exploded. It sounds like it would take tens of hours...

Fiendlord_TimmaySeptember 06, 2012

Let me just say off the bat that I'm sorry that my last post was so rude and angry. I get caught up in the debate and I get very belligerent. : / Thank you for responding calmly... if this were any other forum, my opponent would have exploded right back at me. Thanks for being the better man. :)

Anyway, SUPER covered your first question pretty well. Time is valuable.

As for the steroid analogy, think of it this way. Athletes who use steroids end up being able to perform better in a match of their sport. I'm not an expert on anabolic steroids and their biological effects, but from what I understand, they increase protein production and synthesis in your body. Protein is the building block of muscle, and after working out, your tired, broken down muscles are flooded with protein to rebuild them. Because of their effects, steroids allow athletes' muscles to rebuild more quickly, and to gain more muscle mass in less time. This means that steroid using athletes are simply stronger and more muscular than their peers. Also, as steroids are based on testosterone, they increase the agressiveness of the athletes (AKA roid rage), which is also beneficial in the context of a sports match.

In pokemon, both the (legal) hackers and the legit trainers' pokemon end up in the same place. They both have the same IVs, EVs, Nature, Moveset, etc. If these two pokemon were to face each other, the legit one has just as much of a chance against the hacked one as it would against a legit one. The ONLY difference is the amount of time spent on them. And that's completely irrelevant to the outcome of the match.

In short, the difference is that steroids enhance performance (which got them their apt name: performance enhancing drugs). Hacking does not enhance performance, it saves time. If I may try my hand at an analogy, hacking is like a sports team taking an airplane to their match, and breeding/training is taking the horse and buggy.

Ok, so let me define two terms here for clarity's sake:

A "legal" pokemon is one whose stats are allowed within the confines of a game. Serebii/Bulbapedia/Smogon etc. have charts that show the maximum stats a pokemon can achieve through in-game means. Any pokemon whose stats are within that range is legal.

A "legit" pokemon is one that was actually obtained within the confines of the game - no AR, no pokesav, etc.

All legit pokemon are legal, but not all legal pokemon are legit. The entire point of a legal pokemon is that it's supposed to be indistinguishable from a legal one. An ILLEGAL hack, on the other hand, is a pokemon that could not possibly be made within the limits of the game (ie an Arceus with 999 in all stats, or with moves it can't learn). I don't support illegal hacks, because that really is an unfair advantage.

As far as your last statement, I wasn't really aiming the "preaching" comment at you, but there's a few people in this thread, and many, many more elsewhere *COUGHGAMEFAQSCOUGH* who do that, and it does kinda piss me off when people get all high and mighty over the morals and ethics of A VIDEO GAME.

CericSeptember 07, 2012

Quote from: S-U-P-E-R

Quote from: ejamer

So if hacking doesn't give any advantage, why does it happen? Why do so many people who want to play and compete bother with hacking?

It saves time. Lots and lots of time. That's the only reason.

Quote from: Ceric

I'm going to assume there is a catch and train style gameplay tournament as well.  Like Magic has the Sealed deck games.

I'm trying to imagine the logistics of running a tournament like this and my head exploded. It sounds like it would take tens of hours...

You start it at the beginning of the event and finish last.  I guess in the current iteration this would work well because you really need special areas that where made with this in mind.

yoshi1001September 07, 2012

They could restrict everyone to rental Pokemon, but that would also limit customization, and personally I wouldn't want it to become the only form of competitive play.


One issue you could have mentioned (which ties into the others on various levels), is that unlike the Pokemon TCG, VG organized play has been limited to the upper levels (regionals and higher) for the most part. The lack of lower-level organized play is largely due to the technical hurdles (which have gotten smaller, but are still significant) involved in holding such events on a regular basis.

cannonballkuribohDecember 09, 2012

As a person interested in getting into competitive play, I stumbled onto this article which gave me a decent bit of information I was lacking (as the last time I had played was original Gold). However, as I read through the comments, I saw people attempting to legitimatize using external programs to create Pokemon so as to save time. While I can see and accept their point regarding the end result being the same, I feel that these people have failed to look at one very important paragraph in the Pokemon VG Rules:



2.1. External Devices
The use of external devices to modify or create items or Pokémon in a player’s party is expressly
forbidden. Players found to have Pokémon or items that have been tampered with will be disqualified
from competition, regardless of whether the Pokémon or items belong to that player or were traded for.
Players should only have Pokémon that they have raised themselves and items that they have received
through normal game play. It is always the player’s responsibility to have legal Pokémon and items
during the competition.


This information is publicly made available at Pokemon's official site. No matter how you swing it, using programs to create Pokemon (even within their statistical limits) is cheating, as defined in the rules of the game.

OblivionDecember 09, 2012

Guess what? Everyone does it. It's just like using performance enhancing drugs with baseball.

TJ SpykeDecember 09, 2012

Quote from: Oblivion

Guess what? Everyone does it. It's just like using performance enhancing drugs with baseball.

Which is BS. It's not true, though it is something cheaters like to say to justify it. Often they get caught and punished. I support cheaters getting punished, whether they kept it within reasons or not. Cheat in Pokemon, get banned from tournaments and online play.

OblivionDecember 09, 2012

The current champions all do it.

Mop it upDecember 10, 2012

Every competitive game has a high barrier of entry, my problem is that getting to the one in Pokémon just isn't fun. If it's something like, say, a fighting game, the practice simply involves playing the game, so it's fun. But with Pokémon, it's about managing stats and grinding, so it's rather boring and tedious to create a competent team.

TJ SpykeDecember 10, 2012

Quote from: Oblivion

The current champions all do it.

Again, that is something cheaters tell themselves to justify being scum. Either put in the hard work, or don't compete. Plain and simple. I hope Nintendo comes up with a way to detect people doing it, and gives them lifetime bans in tournaments (and bans them from online play too).

S-U-P-E-RTy Shughart, Staff AlumnusDecember 10, 2012

You heard it here first, giving yourself free time is an unfair advantage and makes you cheating scum. Kill all casuals pros. Plain and simple. Plain and simple. Plain and simple. Plain and simple.

ShayminDecember 10, 2012

Quote from: TJ

I hope Nintendo comes up with a way to detect people doing it, and gives them lifetime bans in tournaments (and bans them from online play too).

These capabilities exist. It's just the hackers know how to work around them.

Not to mention that they've moved from flatout GameSharking to simply manipulating the game's "random" number generator.

Shaby15January 23, 2013

Seeing the amount of people that cheat to get perfect pokemon makes me sad. It completely devalues the hard work that legitimate people spend a long amount of time doing. This is no-brainer logic, and this shouldn't even be a debate. I'm a Gen 4 battler. I don't have the patience to get perfect IVs and EVs, but guess what? I don't cheat. Instead, I use non-EV trained pokemon. And guess what? I still do pretty good if I play my cards right. I don't care if most people cheat. I'd rather know that I'm not part of the problem than be a cheater.

And for people who say "We don't have the time to raise pokemon properly. If I didn't hack then I'd be at a dissadvantage because I have less free time than most people.": In EVERY grinding game, free time is an advantage. That's just how it is. If you don't want to grind, then play Pokemon Online or another simulator that doesn't require effort. Pokemon, unlike other grinder games, HAS these simulator alternatives for people who don't want to train. But nooo, the cheaters have to play on the real Pokemon wifi and devalue everything we've worked for.

By the way, I don't like the fact that EVs and IVs exist. I don't support Nintendo's decision to include them, as it takes way too much time to perfect a pokemon.  But using hacking as an answer to this is stupid. Instead of popularizing a hacking metagame, we should have popularized a metagame where only non-EV trained pokemon are allowed. This would allow us to train rewarding teams in a reasonable amount of time without cheating.

Even if Nintendo got rid of EVs and IVs, people are now so used to cheating that they wouldn't stop. Therefore, there is no turning back. I would like to thank you all for permanently ruining the Pokemon metagame.

S-U-P-E-RTy Shughart, Staff AlumnusJanuary 23, 2013

Thanks for registering and welcome to the NWR forums! It seems to me that you think a sunk-cost fallacy is no brainer logic and grinding is a real and acceptable part of a competitive metagame. I'm sorry that you got bodied online or whatever. Please accept this image as a token of my esteem.

Sincerely,
A Smug Jerk

http://i.imgur.com/XEol51z.png

CanadaDadJanuary 27, 2013

Hi all,


This weekend's International Tournament was my first experience with an official Pokemon online competition.  I had a few thoughts to add to this discussion (one of the more rational and least name calling forums I found about this online).


A quick bit about me just to help anyone understand where my opinions are coming from.  I'm 48 years old and have been a computer gamer for about 4 decades now.  I worked at EA for a while managing a testing team.  I get gaming.  I stay away from the fast twitch online games since I suck at them now and hate the trash talk.  I started with the DS Pokemon games about a year ago when my kids got interested in them.  I've spent at least a couple hundred hours playing the DS games but with very few online battles.


I signed up for this tournament expecting to lose most of my battles since I'm a n00b to this.  But what I found was discouraging, to say the least.  I chose 6 pokemons that I had levelled up to between 80 and 100 in the game.  I did not work the EV levels - I just played.  These pokemon easily ripped through the final four and champion several times in several combinations in-game.  I understand combos and at least the base mechanics and strategy for a 2 on 2 battle.


I started with just a couple battles one afternoon.  I won one and lost one.  Cool.  Everything seemed pretty much what I expected.  Then that night I logged in and played at least 10 tournament games.  Due to the time, 9 out of the 10 games were against people from a single country (I don't know if that makes a difference).  I got my Pokenuts handed to me each and every battle.  My most effective attacks barely scratched my opponents. Yet their attacks would often rip through my guys doing far more damage than base (i.e. Earthquake once took me down by over 180 hps).  And these were opponents with rankings at 1500-ish.


I thought the first few battles were just against good competitors that had really great pokemon.  But after another 8 battles with similar issues, I'm rather sure that these Pokemon were lab created (on the PC). Possibly some of the players had bred them or did an immense amount of grinding but I find it hard to believe too many players do that after reading this discussion thread.


I would submit that the online competitions are an entirely different pokemon game only based loosely on any of the video games.  Essentially we're seeing familiar components (sprites, abilities, items) to the DS games.  If it is true that a majority of competitive players create their teams on a PC within "legal" boundaries, really all the competitions are doing is using the online engine of the DS games.  The combatants are created and/or tweaked on a PC or online service for specific strategies with all important stats maxed out.  Then the owner uses the online components of the DS games to import their teams and then battle.


If such a scenario is true, playing the actual video games has little impact on the competitive online tournaments (other than the obvious fun factor and it is one way to learn the capacities of the moves and abilities).  Just because my Join Avenue shops are at 10 doesn't mean squat in an online competition.  My n00b brain has a hard time thinking of anything in-game that would impact an online competition if the combatants are lab created.


So the way I view the online competitions is to use experience and knowledge to create a team of combatants that will address at least one winning strategy while still dealing with the metagame.  So why doesn't Nintendo just come out with a Pokemon competition editor that allows creation within the legal guidelines?  If they throw on the already developed online competition code to such a product, they take away the grey market, reap profits and allow competitive players to concentrate on the large time sink of strategy, metagaming, different attack/defense/ability possibilities, etc.  To answer my own question, they probably make more money forcing the purchase of DS games and it allows them to keep the moral high ground by not endorsing grey market editing.


So, if you've followed me all this way (thank you), what's my point?  As a n00b, getting schooled by custom created Pokemon even as my rating kept dropping just sucked.  I had hoped the rating system would at least allow me to compete at the sub-sub-sub basement level.  Nope.  So I would say my barrier to entry was not understanding that no matter how well my Pokemon did in-game, there seemed almost no way for me win or enjoy entering the competition.  I would need to invest a huge amount of time, effort and potentially cost to properly edit a decently researched team and enter them just not to have my head handed to me on a platter. Of course, that's what the good competitors do. After spending a couple hundred hours having fun on the DS games, I was just hoping to enjoy some casual competition with people around the world.  Nope.


In the above posts, someone mentioned just using all rental pokemon.  Since I imagine that at certain competitive levels, most players are using pokemon with maxed stats, this could potentially work if one could choose from a stable of pre-made pokemon.  For example, possibly I could choose from one of 6 Emolga (maxed attack, maxed defense, etc.) and then a drop down with available Abilities.  Complex - yes.  Doable - yes.  Just a thought...


And who knows... maybe I just really, really suck at competitive Pokemon and that would negate most of what I said above.


Thanks all.  Oh, and since I'm Canadian - Sorry.  ;)

OblivionJanuary 28, 2013

Well, the problem is that you didn't even EV train. Whether or not those Pokemon you fought were created on an editor and transfered over doesn't even matter at this point. EV training would've allowed to be much closer in stats to those you are fighting. Trust me, you may think EV training doesn't give a large difference in stats, but every little bit counts.


Try to make an EV trained team ("legit" or not legit, your choice) and then try your hand at it again.

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterJanuary 28, 2013

Quote from: Oblivion

Well, the problem is that you didn't even EV train. Whether or not those Pokemon you fought were created on an editor and transfered over doesn't even matter at this point. EV training would've allowed to be much closer in stats to those you are fighting. Trust me, you may think EV training doesn't give a large difference in stats, but every little bit counts.


Try to make an EV trained team ("legit" or not legit, your choice) and then try your hand at it again.

He's right. EV training makes a huge difference and its not hard or time consuming at all of you know what ur doing. Well unless you have loads and loads of pokemon to train.

I am one of the few that absolutely LOVES breeding a Pokemon to perfection! Not literally but IVs between 28-31 for every stat is very rewarding for me, and once I understood it, it wasn't difficult at all to accomplish. It does take time... Maybe 1 or 2 hours per Pokemon but when I am mindlessly watching tv its so easy to do.

When I battle people with artificially created Pokemon. It doesn't bother me at all, especially since I know they stay within the legal boundaries. If you have IVs between 16-31 it can make a difference in who goes first and how hard you can deal and take hits but that won't decide battles every time. But if you completely ignore EV training and natures 1HKOs become 3HKOs and that really decides battles. My brother hardly cares for near perfect IVs but knows its a fools battle to rush in without EVs. Yet him and his absolutely amazing Arbok constantly get the jump on me and other people. Even you had perfect IV Arbok, no one uses it like him, no one!

Don't get too discouraged from trying to breed or raise a Pokemon on the stronger end, its not that hard, and again I am glad to help anyone here in explaining or actually breeding them a high IV monster.

If a person feels strongly both ways I say just raise your Pokemon like normal, and use the simulators in the mean time.


Also it's ok you're Canadian, my wife is too so I don't dispise you that much.

CanadaDadFebruary 06, 2013

Hi all,


I wanted to do a follow-up to my previous post.  I'll make this one much shorter.


I ended up playing just under 30 games in the last tournament.  If I remember correctly:


I had only three wins
Three opponents disconnected on me, two when I was obviously winning.
After a while, I was able to tell with approx. 90% accuracy who had bred for combat (lab?) pokemon just by seeing their initial line-up.
I could tell within one turn if my opponent had "normal" or supercharged pokemon.


Despite losing, I enjoyed the matches with trainers with normal pokemon.  I felt like I had at least a chance to win.


Out of all the matches, I only saw one unique / interesting strategy (IMHO).  Someone had a level 1 Aron with sturdy.  They held Leftovers. They attacked using Endeavor.  The other Pokemon used Safeguard.  Ripped through my team.


Also, simply, I made bad choices which pokemon to enter and what moves they had.  They didn't support each other as well as I had planned.


I'll enter the upcoming friendly just to see what others use.


Also, I'm going to try to avoid playing at night Pacific time.  Bluntly, most of my opponents were Japanese and had supercharged Pokemon.  I had a much better chance of having an enjoyable game vs. non-Japanese opponents.  I hold no prejudice.  That was simply my experience.


And finally, could anyone direct me to where I could learn more about good strategies for different battle types?  For example, I'd like to learn some good two on two strategies for the future.


Thanks.


Caterkiller, at least you've shown good judgement in some things. ;) Obligatory: Sorry.

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterFebruary 06, 2013

Www.smogon.com or serebii.net, they can help you with strategies. Just be mindful so many of them are competitive to the point it becomes annoying. Either way you can get some fantastic info out of them.

And yeah that Aaron Endeavor is a lethal combination with sand storm up and left overs.  That's when double it moves are a god send.

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