Hey everyone! I’m glad I got to participate in this season of the pokemon league. I’ve not done very many competitive pokemon teams before but I am quite invested in pokemon and also have watched some VGC people on and off for the past 4 years, so I thought I would try my hand at this to see how it goes. I don’t think I did horrible, all things considered, but I had a long streak in the middle where I was just entirely winless.
Onto my draft, I didn’t have a specific plan going in and just drafted what I thought would be best. It wasn’t until a few picks in that I went for my very unique and established strategy of trick room. Definitely a tough one for a beginner, but I was here to learn, not necessarily to win, so I didn’t mind.
My first pick was Hatterene. As much as I’d love to say I picked it with the idea to go trick room, I simply picked it because a lot of Tier 1 fighting and dragon types were being picked up. In my very brief analysis of the situation, it seemed like a good idea to pick it up so that my “top tier” pokemon would have good matchups against the opponents. In hindsight, this was probably not a good idea and I could’ve gone for something else. I was highly debating Galarian Zapdos but didn’t end up going through with it. Hatterene ended up serving as the main focal point of the team along with Type: Null. Unfortunately, it was also the most awkward pokemon to bring out since it had middling bulk and my team didn’t cover its weaknesses to force switches. However, when Hatterene did come out, it went to town and very few pokemon were able to survive its damage output. I usually ran it with specs or life orb for even more power, but occasionally I ran sash if I felt like I had a dangerous matchup that could OHKO it before getting trick room off. Hatt’s coverage was surprisingly small, with only about 3 types of coverage aside from stabs, but it usually worked out just fine. I think if my team had a few different picks, I could’ve enabled Hatt a lot better.
My second pick was Arcanine. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do trick room until after my round 2 pick, so I just picked something safe. Arcanine was really useful, being able to pack 3 useful abilities (primarily intimidate), and being a quick revenge killer or wall breaker. Being able to hit from both physical and special stats was also a huge plus, and it was my primary fast pokemon for when trick room was too dangerous to set up. Scorching Sands saved me a couple of times which was a coverage move I definitely did not expect, and many KOs would’ve been impossible without extreme speed. It was a great all-around pokemon and was often the pokemon I fed to the wolves when I needed a turn to reset and get a free switch.
My third pick was Mespirit. This was when I decided to dedicate myself to trick room, as Mespirit seemed like the second-best trick room setter available (Cresselia was picked already). Mespirit has really balanced stats so I was able to run it in a variety of ways to fit what my team needed. Sometimes I had 0 attacking moves with full utility (trick room, stealth rock, reflect, toxic as an example), and sometimes I gave it scarf and let it go to town, and just about everything in between. I even ran a physical attacking Mespirit once so I could break Eiscue’s Ice Face if I needed to. Mespirt, along with Arcanine, were the mons that I would sack so that everyone else on the team could have free switches and trick room safely up. Occasionally Mespirit did not have as much impact as I wished it could though, and I’m sure a lot of it is down to my draft problems that I will talk about later and the fact that I had 2 psychic types.
My fourth pick was my legendary Type: Null. I really found a diamond in the rough that had a lot of the advantages of Silvally while taking up a tier 5 slot. Being slower was a benefit on this team, and eviolite allowed it to be a nice and thicc boi. Even an explosion from a Silvally dragon wasn’t able to do more than 40% of its health. 95 attack is no joke, especially with swords dance. Its move options are quite limited, which forced me to usually use double-edge as STAB, which is not ideal for something bulky. Its coverage was also not the greatest, a few times it did get a bit walled by certain pokemon. But overall it was an absolute tank that OHKO’d many pokemon with just a swords dance, and for a long time, it was among the highest in kills. It might still be up there, I don’t think the kill score has been updated for a few weeks. I also didn’t realize until halfway through the season that knock off hard countered eviolite. I knew it was a pretty meta move but forgot just how many pokemon can learn it and got screwed over a few times.
My Fifth pick was Spiritomb, and this is where my draft started having problems. In my head, Spiritomb was a decent pick since it only had 1 weakness and it had decent bulk, and it could harass with annoying utility moves like toxic, will-o-wisp, pain split, and confuse ray. In the end, I hardly ever used it since it just got 2 shot by most pokemon even with max HP and the desired defense stat. It also shot me in the foot a little bit because my team up until this point is REALLY lacking resistances. Hatt and Arcanine have a decent amount, but a ghost dark type has very few, as does mono psychic. And normal is just immune to ghost. I didn’t notice this until halfway through the season when I noticed that I just could not survive if I had to switch, and it hit me that I was never able to predict a move and switch accordingly because my main defensive typing also had the lowest defenses of the team (Arcanine). I wish I had noticed this earlier, but alas, it cost me many games. I used Spiritomb in maybe 2 series, but my next pick was usually the better of my 2 rotators.
My Sixth pick was Vileplume. Going into the points round, the 2 main pokemon I was eyeing was Stakataka and Vileplume. I took Vileplume first since there was a mono poison player, so I figured it would be gone before I got to it. Vileplume performed excellently most of the time, though many times I got surprised by a sap sipper switch in and proceeded to lose half my team in the process, which was pretty embarrassing. Especially when it happened THREE times this season. Just like my Mespirit and Arcanine, it was really flexible and I could put many combinations of status moves, healing, and damage on it. Not much else to say, it was a reliable all-around pokemon.
My Last pokemon was Conkelldurr. The plan was to get Stakataka since I thought nobody would pick it up, but Holo had other plans apparently. I was worried because I knew I needed another slow OU pokemon to give my team a chance. Luckily, big boi conk was still in the pool. Flame orb guts on a 140 attack pokemon is just so much damage. Priority, elemental punches, earthquake, and close combat usually rounded out its move pool as a solid wall breaker and revenge killer, usually more reliable than Arcanine. While conk did his job, it is definitely a worse wall than Stakataka, which would make my team better overall with a lot more resistances it can switch into.
I’m glad I decided to join the discord in time to join this season, and I learned a lot about team building and interactions between pokemon and a few quirky things about moves and abilities. I probably will take a season off since I’m trying to focus a lot on improving in dota and NOT failing my college classes, but I might come back in the summer because I had a lot of fun!