I like to think that teambuilding is 75% of what makes or breaks a match. Sure, you can play with technical perfection, but if your team isn't up to snuff, that win will continue to elude you. You can breed six perfect Pokémon, but if they don't work together, you're hosed. So, today I bring you three helpful tips for making a team.
Chapter 1: Planning, Or: Future Sight
Have you ever thrown a team together for an impromptu match? It doesn't generally work. That's because good teambuilding requires a ton of thinking. You need to think about what you are going to be up against and plan accordingly.
First, you should decide if you want some sort of over-arching strategy, like weather, trick room, or baton pass, or if you simply want to make a team of powerfull Pokémon that work well together. Whichever you choose, you shoud begin to think about what makes those sorts of teams work, and what makes them fall apart. When you have that figured out, play to your strengths and try to cover up your weaknesses. Think of what Pokémon you will be up against, and prepare for those. There is no point in putting in a counter for Vanilluxe if you aren't ever going to see one.
Chapter 2: Playtesting, Or: Practice Makes Persian
A ton of teams look good on paper. You've got it all figured out, and you think it's going to be flawless. Unfortunately, as they say, the devil is in the details. You didn't account for how fragile Alakazam is. You didn't realize that you have no counter to Conkeldurr.
But, hey. It's no big deal. No matter how much planning you do you are bound to miss something. That's why you should test your team out before busting it out in a big match. Playtesting will help you realize where the holes in your team are. Sometimes the fix is as simple as booting up a TM for some more type coverage or changing the order so you lead with a different Pokémon.
Other times, however, you will have to make more drastic changes. You may find that some strategy that your entire teams is predicated on doesn't end up working like it should, and no amount of tweaking is going to change that. Unfortunately, you are probably going to have to start over from scratch.
That's why I recommend using battle simulators like Pokemon Online. You can build a team in 10 minutes, and test it out without having to commit hours to breeding and training. Once you find that your team works, power up your DS and start making your team. You already know it works, so you don't have to worry about much.
Just as a final tip, though, make sure that you are not basing your team off of threats that you are only going to see on Pokémon Online, and not in the cartridge game. For example, the Pokémon Online VGC community is using Heatran with Eruption a lot, because it works wonders. However, the only way to get your hands on a Heatran that knows Eruption is if you have a copy of Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs. Chances are, hardly any of these people have Pokémon Ranger, so when playtesting a team for your cartridge, don't worry too much about threats like that.
Chapter 3: Using Pokémon You Like, Or: Picking The Ones You Luv(disc)
Tentacruel makes a great Rapid Spin user, and he is buky enough to set up Toxic Spikes like a boss. However, I'll never use Tentacruel. Why? Because I don't like the look of his ugly mug. Perhaps it's caused by his ubiquitous presence in the surfing routes of 90% of the Pokémon world, but whatever the cause, I can't stand Tentacruel. Because of this, I should never put Tentacruel on my team.
"Why not?" You ask, as if you have the right to ask ME questions. Simply put, even if he filled a niche on my team perfectly, if I didn't like him, I'd inevitably remove him. That's why you should never plan around using a Pokémon you don't like. There's a large chance you will get sick of it, and you'll find that replacing that Pokémon is tough.
So, use Pokémon you like. Vanilluxe is on my VGC team, even though Cryogonal might make a better counter to Lati@s because of his sweet Sp. Def., but I just like Vanilluxe more. I wouldn't go as far as to say that you should base your team only on Pokémon you like, because then you'll probably lose every match. I would just recommend, if given a choice, making a team solely Pokémon that you can at least appreciate, if not love.
Did you enjoy that article? I did. Feel free to comment if you have any suggestions that I didn't cover. See you all next week!