Rare Article: 3 Common Mistakes of New Competitive Players

File:260Swampert.pngMany of us in the PKMNCast community have been recently decided to start getting a little more in depth in the battling scene now that we have a community of nice people to battle. Heck, even I wasn't really into battling until I became a fan of the show. That means that we have many fans that are new to the game. And that means that we make a ton of mistakes. I'm going to focus on some of those mistakes that are based on team building, because to learn prediction and some of the other in-battle techniques require practice, not me blabbering to you. So, without further ado, three common mistakes of players new to the competitive scene:

Chapter 1: Overly Offensive, Or: The phrase is "The best offense is a good defense," not the other way around.

People new to competitive battling tend to think that the majority of their team needs to be sweepers. They know the difference between sweepers and walls, most likely, and think that they would enjoy sweepers more. Honestly, running a wall does sound boring. You're supposed to just sit there while your opponent slowly dies? Sounds like a drag.

You know what else is a drag? Losing every match because your defenses are worse than Sunkern's. If you have a team full of sweepers you are going to run into some trouble. Let a Gyarados get one Dragon Dance off and your whole team is going to get OHKO'd without doing any damage. Alternatively, you end up playing right into the hands of a wall like Blissey or Vaporeon and you watch as your special sweeper dies a slow, painful, death.

Additionally, you are going to lose a Pokemon every time you switch out, because none of your monsters have the defenses to take a big hit. This is a dangerous trend, because you can lose some of your best Pokemon before they have a chance to do anything.

How to fix it: Just put a wall on your team, or if not a wall than something with a little bit of bulk. We've established that you like to use sweepers, so why not use something like Swampert? It's powerful, no doubt about that, but it's also got considerable bulk. The best of both worlds! (It is a little slow, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.)

Chapter 2: Lack of Teamwork, Or: The Ballhogs of Pokemon

We talked a few weeks ago about the concept I call "team synergy," or the extent to which your team works together. If your team works well together, you will be able to cover your own weaknesses. However, if you just throw in a bunch of "the best" Pokemon, you are bound to lose.

I'm not saying you have to do an obvious strategy like Baton Pass or weather, but at least consider weaknesses before putting your team together. Sure, a team of all dragons would be really powerful, but it would be destroyed by a single Vanilluxe.


Sorry. That got out of hand. Anyway, you are going to want at least some amount of teamwork on your team, whether that means type coverage or Pokemon that take advantage of their teammates moves, abilities, or typing.

How to fix it: Think before you make your team. It's that simple. Instead of just throwing a team together, think of how you want your team to run and make that. Keep in mind your weaknesses and add Pokemon to cover those weaknesses.

Chapter 3: Using Only Favorites, Or: The Vanilluxe Syndrome

It's easy to make a team of your favorite six Pokemon. You love them so much why not make a team out of them? However, that doesn't mean it's going to work. You will end up hurting yourself, as you inadvertently make weather with monsters like Tyranitar or Politoed, and then take a hit from it when you need to switch out. Alternatively, you might find that many of your favorites are weak to the same thing. My team used to consist of many favorites, until I realized I couldn't do anything against Fighting type.

Now keep in mind that I'm not telling you that you can't use Pokemon you like. You know we encourage that here. All I'm saying is that sometimes you need to support a Pokemon you like with one you don't like as much. 

How to fix it: Make a sacrifice. You'd be surprised how much better you perform if you just replace the weakest link on your team and replace it with something to cover a common weakness of your team.

And with that I bid you adieu, as you venture out on your tenth birthday to become a Pokemon trainer. I'll see you at the Indigo Plateau.