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Originality in teams

Discussion in 'Pokémon Games Discussion' started by KoL, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. KoL

    KoL Expert FPS Player
    Staff Member Moderator

    I know a lot of people who prefer to face unique and original teams as opposed to the same old overused stuff you tend to see all the time, hell you reading this right now could very well be one of those people. I've always had my personal opinion of how valuable originality and "creativity" in team-building; I believe it's a good thing if it helps you win, but a few things got me thinking about originality in Pokemon choice and team building, and just how much people like to see original team choices as opposed to the same old stuff. You might want to make yourself comfortable because this is going to be a long read.

    Several months ago I went to the VGC13 regional in Birmingham, England. I decided instead of using my more "standard" and arguably superior team, I'd go for something a fair bit different to the norm, and my main strategy for VGC13 was a team revolving around Drifblim and Eelektross, with Amoonguss and Cresselia supporting them. Now, at a glance some of my opponents praised me for my use of Drifblim and Eelektross as unique and interesting choices to build my team around, but I was pretty certain that would all change the moment I revealed the strategy behind the team: Having Drifblim Baton Pass Minimize stacks to Eelektross and then have Cresselia Psych Up on Eelektross to get the Evasion stacks itself, resulting in two Pokemon you can't hit beating the crap out of you. I honestly went in expecting this strategy to piss off every person I used it on, but to my surprise my opponents more often than not praised my strategy purely because it was something wildly different to the norm, despite the fact that it had to be incredibly irritating to face and effectively removed all skill from the match and turned it into a game of luck that was quite stacked in my favour. This surprised me and got me thinking: are people so happy to see something unique in competitive Pokemon that they don't care how cheap the strategy behind it is? Would they be happier to play the luck game against a bunch of Pokemon they rarely, if ever faced rather than a game of skill against the overused crowd? It certainly seemed that way based on the reactions this team got.

    Then Worlds came along, and I'm willing to bet most of you expected these guys, as the best players in the entire world, to be using nothing but the overused 'Mons and caring nothing for "creativity" or "uniqueness" in their team-building, right? Well to be fair you'd be right on the latter part of that since these guys obviously don't care for creativity; they care about winning. This is the biggest stage to decide who the best player in the world is after all, you don't compete at Worlds for any reason other than winning the big one. Yet this didn't stop guys like Sejun Park bringing an Eviolite Magmar into the game, or Ben Gould taking 4th place at Worlds with a team containing Eviolite Rhydon. Even last year saw Wolfe Glick use a Harvest Exeggutor with Power Swap to dump the Sp.Attack drops from Leaf Storm onto the enemy Pokemon, a rather unorthodox strategy by a Pokemon that many would underestimate at a glance. So why would these guys choose these picks for Worlds? They're unique, yes, and they're unpredictable, and that's part of the key to their success. In a game with as many potential strategies, movesets etc. as Pokemon has, there's no way anyone can prepare for them all or make a team that can easily handle all potential strategies you could face, so using some of those strategies to catch people off-guard can give you the edge you need at the highest level of play; using nothing but overused 'Mons doing the same-old same-old they always do is only going to make you horribly predictable at that stage, and while Ray Rizzo may have won using a team of nothing but "standard" 'Mons in VGC12, the way he used them was nothing like the standard way your average player would have used them. So yeah, originality was big at Worlds, and I know players praised these guys for their unique Pokemon choices, despite the fact that they never used them for the sake of creativity, they used them to gain an extra edge over the competition. So player intent still doesn't seem to stop people from praising originality in team building either, which interested me further.

    So that's why I've made this thread: How do you feel about originality, and creativity in team building? Is seeing a Pokemon in a competitive match that you rarely ever see worth the praise when it's doing nothing but spamming Double Team/Minimize or OHKO moves? Does it still have the same merit when it's not being used for the sake of uniqueness, only as an extra edge to win? Discuss away.
    BlackoutSLM and baratron like this.
  2. Doctor Oak

    Staff Member Overlord

    I don't really think it's worth doing if you don't inject some of your own personality into your team. Just having what a website says is the "correct Pokemon" with the "correct moveset" is, well, boring. One of the nice things from Worlds was seeing one of the finalists win using Machamp - a Pokemon not really considered a common feature on competitive teams - and the reason for it was just "I've always used Machamp".

    I'd rather lose with a team of Pokemon that meant something to me than win with a meaningless set of numbers that I put together because it was the "right" thing to do in order to win.
    baratron, bioaura and PurpleTartan like this.
  3. Magpie

    Magpie Feathered Overseer
    Staff Member Moderator

    I've always liked a bit of originality, it keeps everything fun and lets face it, winning by using something your opponent has underestimated is a great feeling xD I think it's all about balance really, a bit of creativity and personal spin is beneficial, but originality for originalities sake isn't. My attitude towards Manectric is probably quite similar to the Machamp example, I use Manectric because I have done since discovering how much I like him, and any team I make would feel hollow without him. My VGC12 team was probably considered a bit standard in parts, but Murkrow added the 'me' element to my team and although she got laughed at on more than one occasion, she kicked some serious ass!

    In matches like VGC, being original can win you games purely on the basis that no one has seen it before and thus get thrown off their game. Because people set up their teams to counter the most common teams, Pokemon and strategies, a new element will throw them off their game and take them by surprise, possibly resulting in you gaining the upper hand. Winning with a team you have lovingly thought about and planned does feel that little bit nicer too, rather than just taking what everyone else has tried and tested and building off that success. So yeah, I think it's a balance. Some people will use a Pokemon just for the sake of trying to be original, and forced originality usually backfires because there's no purpose behind it, or synergy with the rest of the team. But originality done properly wins games!
  4. Demelza

    Demelza Eevee Tamer
    Staff Member Moderator

    Really, I completely agree with what Alex has said above.

    I don't play competitive Pokémon all that seriously though, and for me it seems pointless and not at all fun if I'm not using the Pokémon I want to be using. Playing with a team of Pokémon that are 'good' doesn't feel right because they don't mean a thing to me. It's much more fun to play and win or lose with a team of Pokémon that mean something to you, which is why my team is rarely without my fourth gen Lucario and my Jolteon from whichever game its been traded up from. However, a lot of the Pokémon I regard fondly are Pokémon that work well in competitive anyway so I guess maybe I'm lucky in that regard.

    Sometimes it isn't a bad thing to train up the Pokémon that are good too though, for example, I was never very fond of Swampert, but after training one up I became really fond of the thing and wouldn't dream of a team without old Smasher. When I start building a team I'll always consider which Pokémon I want without really thinking about the competitive usage of them too much, once I have an idea of two or three of them I'll start pondering which of the competitive Pokémon would best work around them.

    It's all about finding the balance really, a bit of originality is by no means a bad thing mixed with some of the more accepted competitive 'mons. I think Pokémon is one of the best games for making it easy to use something original too, because we have such a huge selection of Pokémon you can easily catch people off guard and pretty much any Pokémon can be useful one way or another. :)
    baratron likes this.
  5. I mostly agree with the sentiments shared here. I've always been the type of person who praised originality, but Magpie's right. Forced originality backfires and I also find it made me automatically prejudiced against so-called OU Pokemon even if they are a perfect fit for my team. That was something I had to reconsider majorly and now my teams are a healthy mix of strategy and originality.

    Also I still may or may not have nightmares about Magpie's Miltank

  6. I definitely agree with this. While I admit that I look at places like Smogon to help me think of movepools, when I plan a team I try to make sure that each and every pokémon is unique is original. I usually just pick my favorites or one that I haven't had a chance to use yet, & then I try to give them their own characteristics & personalities so that by the end of my journey, every one of my pokémon is special to me. I personally try to follow Ash's philosophy when raising pokémon:

    1. No matter how weak a pokémon may seem, they'll always get stronger the more you bond and train with them
    2. Having lots of powerful aren't what's important, it's the bonds and friendships you form with them

    I admit, I don't win many wifi battles using this technique, & I was so pissed that during the last Wifi tournament I was constantly losing to trainers using OUs, Ubers, & legendary pokémon, but I still love my teams for their uniqueness & I wouldn't change them for anything, & when I actually do win a battle (especially when battling a legendary pokémon) it gives an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction
    #6 Mr.Munchlax, Sep 7, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
  7. Magpie

    Magpie Feathered Overseer
    Staff Member Moderator

    If we get Mega Miltank, she'll be making a return >:D
    Demelza likes this.
  8. Like Mr. Munchlax, I follow Smogon rules and tiers, yet creativity needs to be added in teams sometimes. The presence of Aegislash and Talonflame has skyrocketed, being the staple of many teams. Yet people forget about the lesser-used Pokemon like Zangoose and Ursaring, which can wreck many OU teams if at their greatest potential.

    Also, about having feelings for Pokemon that are on your team, is a creative element as well. I've used Octillery many times since it was one of my favorite Pokemon. Not because of how it's used, but because he was fighting alongside my Blaziken in the RSE era, especially having a large role against Steven's Metagross. To this day, I still use Octillery, regardless of how him doesn't have Water Spout and wasted EVs all over the place; The fire-breathing octopus has reserved a place in my team, and in my heart.
  9. I really don't do competitive battling anymore to be honest because a lot of trainers like you said use the overused 'Mons. Usually I just love experimenting with Pokemon and figuring out how to use them my way in the main story. Pokemon like Accelgor I haven't used in competitive battling, but I still was able to have fun using it.
  10. Shiny Pyxis

    Shiny Pyxis 2016 Singles Football

    I couldn't answer this back in the day when the topic was more active because I wasn't a competitive battler then, but I've been battling for a couple months now and I think I can finally give my two cents here.

    I highly admire people who actually try out stuff that aren't in OU; far too many times I've faced a team consisting of any combination of Charizard Y, Wash Rotom, Greninja, Landorus, Gliscor, Talonflame, Heatran, Garchomp, and Azumarill, and seeing anything that breaks that mold makes me very happy. That isn't to say that having any of these Pokemon on your team makes your team automatically worse, but I do like facing teams with a factor of uncertainty. It makes the metagame more exciting. (See Also: Sejun Park and Pachirisu)

    As for myself, I've tried branching out and experimenting with various Pokemon I like for whatever reason, and some have come out to be more successful than others. I don't really have too much to add that hasn't already been said, so I'll just put down the quotes I agree with.

    Putting these two quotes together because yeah, I've found some of my favorites by using just common OU 'mons that fit in my team. It's how I came to fall in love with Clefable.

    I still struggle with this myself sometimes, if I'm perfectly honest x-x

    Alex puts this very nicely and I don't have anything to add on here, so I'll just end it like this. XD
  11. StellarWind Elsydeon

    StellarWind Elsydeon Armblades Ascendant
    Staff Member Administrator

    I've never been what anyone might call much of a competitive player - but I have dabbled in some battle simulators and honestly, I train species I like or find an interesting potential use for and happen to synergize together more or less well - and I don't give a (top percentage?) Rattata's rear end about whatever arbitrary tiers websites like Smogon attempt to force on Pokémon. Only exception is legendaries, which I adamantly refuse to use. Call it an unfair bias (especially because many legendaries, stat-ways, are not particularly powerful compared to non-legendaries) - but I tend to feel that every legendary has a non-legendary that can fill its role less "cheaply". That's just me, though.

    Some species I like using would fall under the 'generically overused species' umbrella, others don't - but I will not train a species I dislike because it might fit a niche or 'because it's powerful'.

    So yeah. I don't go out of my way to be original on purpose - I just do my thing and whatever, you know?

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