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Competitive Trainer School ep.3: Teambuilding

Last episode.

Hi guys, girls and everything in-between! Now that you know what tier you are building your team into and you are finally familiar with the rules, let’s go to the next step: Teambuilding :joy:. This is my speciality. I realized that I will have difficulty entering into details without using competitive terminology and I apologize. I should have talked about vocabulary first but I promised you team build.

Sorry again. Open your books folks, school is on.


  • Offense
    – Your goal when playing
    – Team structure
    – Common variants
    – Pros/Cons
  • Stall
    – Your goal when playing
    – Team structure
    – Cpmmpn variants
    – Pros/Cons
  • Balanced
    – Your goal when playing
    – Team structure
    – Common variants
    – Pros/Cons

I am not a professional competitive trainer. I do not pretends to hold the holy sacred Truth and in no mean replace experts and experienced players. I simply think I have strong enough bases to share my knowledge with less experienced players.

What are the archetypes :question:?

Archetype means this:

For those who are more into RPG, you already familiar with a kinda of archetype. You know, the Wizard, the Warrior and the Assassin. These three all have subclasses like Barbarian and Paladin for the Warrior, Magician and Cleric for the Wizard and Theif and Spy for the Assassin.

Pokémon teams works exactly the same way. Unlike RPG, the archetypes are Balanced, Offense and Stall. All three have subdivisions and regroups other styles within them. But they are generally the three biggest guidelines inside a given metagame.

We could argue they fonction a bit lofe Fire/Water/Grass in a sens that one win against one but looses to the other, but honestly, I don’t really feel that way. What I mean is that Offense often wins against Stall, Stall wins against Balanced and Balanced wins against Offense. However, this is not always the case. As an example, a good balanced player can easily defeat a Stall team and most Stall players know how to make a Offense player ragequit so hard it starts playing Bakugan instead.

In VGC, however, archetypes are totally different. Since I do not know much, I cannot explain it here. I have some basics, but trust me, there are better people than me and I really recommend to look by yourself.

Let’s start with the most basic to the more complex.

Offense :joy:

Offense is the most intuitive and simple play style. Due to being easy to understand, it offers a lot of flexibility and creativity to the teambuilding. It is also the one with the most variants. Since games are generally short, often 20/25 turns, you gain experience quickly are you become good faster. Offense teams are those who takes the first step into the aggression and who strike hard.

Your goal when playing

When playing offense, your goal is simple. Punch until it cannot move. It does not means stauts moves are useless, quite the contrary. Offensive team will require support Pokémon to function correctly.

Team structure

Offensive teams are composed of 4-5 offensive Pokémon and 1-2 support Pokémon. They often carry pivot Pokémon since they sometimes lack bulk to switch into attacks. Offensive teams carry one sweeper who’s role is to set up (sometimes) and knocking out the rest of the opposing team.

Common Pokémon found are Garchomp, Mega Diancie or Tapu Koko.

Variants

  • Bulky Offense

Bulky Offense, or abridged as Bulky-O, is the absolute best team style for beginner. It combine Offense with Pokémon that share great type synergy and are somewhat bulk enough to take few hits. I cannot recommend this more to begeiner and people who want to get familiar with a given metagame.

  • Hyper Offense

Often call HO, Hyper Offense says no to defence and decide to go all out. The first Pokémon sent is always a suicide lead, most of the time the only support Pokémon of the team and who’s goal is to set up hazards and other team specific options, faint and let its teammate wreak havoc. Pokémon here are fast, strong and it is not rare to see 1 suicide lead, 1 wallbreaker and 4 sweepers.

  • Weather based

These teams use weather in Rain, Sandstorm, Hail, Harsh Sunlight or New Moon to get the advantage over the opponent. While weather based team can sometimes get to balanced, they more often then not are offensive of Bulky-O teams. These team always carry a Pokémon that can setup weather reliably, AKA when it enter the field (or a Prankster user IN LAST RESORT) and a Pokémon who get double speed under given weather. Keep in mind, in Gen 5, since weather were permanent, weather based were dominant and also had Stall varient of themselves. Weather have the advantage of being superior under its weather but is often inferior without it.

Pros/Cons

  • Intuitive playstyle.
  • Quick Match.

But

  • Hyper Offense is hard to master, as it require to know when to sacrifice what Pokémon.
  • Teambuilding sometimes complex as it is often hard to adapt to a wider metagame.

Stall :angry:

There are two types of people. People who love stall too much and those who prefer swallow a gallon of Polonium 210 by their butt then seeing a Chansey on the opposing team. In both case, intense reactions in both sides. Other comparison people do is those who play stall and those who have a soul.

Stall is a fully defensive plastyle who’s defence is ment to be unbreakable.

I don’t like stall, but I respect people playing it. This is a legitimate strategy no matter what people says. If you decide playing stall, you might feel like in Among Us because you will soon discover all your friends wants to kill you.

Your goal while playing

When playing stall, the goal is not to win, but to not loose. This might sounds similar, but it is very much different.

How do you win? You make all of your opponent Pokémon faint.
How do you loose? All of your Pokémon faint.

If your defence is so strong that your Pokémon cannot be knocked out, then you just won’t loose. You won’t win either, but you can manage if your opponent decide to give up! And that’s the secret. Stall teams will play on your nerves to make you loose your patience and makes mistakes or forfeit. That’s why Pokémon is one of the game that breaks the most friendship, behind Monopoly and Mario Kart. Chansey, Quagsire and Mega Sableye are all staple Stall Pokémon and what makes it infuriating to fight.

This team goal makes it a very common sight in smogon tournament.

Team structure

As previously mentioned, Stall teams does not carry offensive Pokémon. Well, except if Arena Trap and Shadow Tag are allowed. In that case, Dugtrio become a staple for Stall teams as it can safely remove dangerous threats its teammate like Swords Dance Mega Mawile (who can 6-0 most stall by itself) or Mega Metagross. Since Stall will very often switch back and forth, hazard removal or prevention mesure are mandatory. That often take the form of Magik Bounce users and defensive Rapid Spin/Defog support.

Stall teams also rely on passive damage in Toxic, burns, hazards and sometimes sandstorm to deal damages. Most Stall games ends without a single Pokémon fainting.

Variants

  • Semi Stall

If you still want to have some kind of friends while also being a jerk, you can opt for a semi-stall. In that case, you follow regular stall core and structure but adding one offensive Pokémon who generally aren’t there normally. It can be Mega Medichamp, Garchomp or any strong wallbreaker/sweeper.

  • Hard Stall

You gave up your humanity and decided to be the ultimate piece of :poop:. Exact opposite of HO, you have absolutely 0 intention on doing damages or even attacking, you just look down on your opponent with a demonic smile and nourish yourself from its anger. If you loose, its karma.

Pros/Cons

  • If your team is build correctly, you have an answer for every single metagame threat. You name a Pokémon to a good Stall player and he say “Nope, I can handle it with […]”.
  • Victory rate vey high in ladder.

But

  • Very predictable
  • Matches that are most of the time 50+ turns long. If two stall team face each other, then turns are counted by the hundreds.There was one in the last Smogon Official Ladder Tournament that lasted around 720 turn (ABR vs Ayk). Very few people are patient enough to play Hard Stall.

Balanced :love:

The jack of all traits, the most fun way to play Pokémon in my mind. Balance is my predilection play style. It is simple, I have an option for every situation. Combining offense and defence in the perfect… balance, they are very versatile teams that can adapt with ease. If you look at my teams, you will see I do about 20% Bulky-O and 80% Balanced.

Your goal when playing

When playing balance, your goal is to control the tempo of the match, either by accelerating it with your offense or slowing it down with your defensive core. One you setup the rhythm, you then break it to take the momentum. As you can see, it is radically different from the other two. Balanced team till adapt themselves to every situation.

Team structure

Balance have one universal rule: 3/3. 3 Offensive Pokémon, 3 defensive Pokémon. All of this must be combined with tight synergy between each Pokémon to cover most threats of in the metagame.

Very popular Pokémon featured in balanced are Ferrothorn, Tapu Fini and Mega Metagross.

Variants

  • Stack Hazards

Stack Hazards team… stacks hazards. Big surprise. They will function by stacking both Stealth Rocks and either Spikes or Toxic Spikes (sometimes all three) to weaken the opponent faster and force the opponent to use defog and capitalize on that turn to break the rhythm of the match.

  • Volt-Turn

Volt turn is a prediction and momentum based team style. Its simple, add to much pivot in your team and you are good to go! People tends to limit it as just a bunch of guys spamming U-Turn and Volt Switch, but it is a little more complex than that. With cores like Mega Scizor + Rotom-W + Tornadus-T that cover each other’s checks, playing around it makes it very hard. It has good momentum grabbing tools and a great advantage state. Volt-Turn works great with Stack Hazards. It could be better, if Ferrothorn, Banefull Bunker and Tankchomp weren’t as popular.

Pros/Cons

  • Extreme flexibility.
  • Great general matchup. Both defensive and offensive core allow to be ready for any situation.

But

  • Even if rarer, bad matchup are almost impossible. Balanced does not excels at anything.
  • Teambuilding FREAKING HARD.

Those three are the main team archetypes. Tell me, what team style suits you best?

8 Likes

Offense. Definitely.

2 Likes

All 3. I enjoy playing all 3, and I’m decent at offense. Another variant of offense is screens offense, with a lead, a screens setter, and 4 sweepers/wallbreakers. Due to Hydration, Rain Balance works well, so things like Goodra can spam Sludge Waves and Thunders and Rest with no drawbacks.

One last small archetype you forgot to mention under balance, is Volt(FlipShot)Turn. It’s a highly momentum and prediction based playstyle, that emphasizes good matchups and constant switching. It loves Regenerator, and always carries Rapid Spin or Defog or mostly HDB. Some fun and important mons include Parting Shot Silvally(Quite useful), Fogturn Corvi, and Pex(Eject Button is so much fun.)

1 Like

For me offense just gives a thrill for the first 3 battles or so, then I need to make a new team or it getes boring, as it’s an easy playstyle. Balance doesn’t get boring as fast, but still, after 20 or so wins, I just change my team or metagame. Stall is fun, mostly in trapping sets but still, lots of ragequits and waiting makes it not as much fun to play, unless you going offensive stall, like Venoshock/Hex Merciless Pex. Or Offensive Chansey, (Ferro too, but he already is pretty offensive.) just don’t forget the TR!

1 Like

I usually go for balanced teams, playing balanced is just safer than playing hyper Defense/ offense, also, it is rly fun choosing mons for a balanced team cause of how many mons u can use.

2 Likes

balanced is pretty hard to make but is worth it stall is STUPID!!! Offense you need to take a few turns to set up… The best one is probably balanced because well, stall has counters plus you need patience and offense if your sweeper dies you probably died…

2 Likes

Screen offense and Aurora Veil are all variants of Hyper Offense, so I don’t think adding them is much of a deal. I am adding VoltTurn teams though.

I play balanced so much that is became second nature to me (just like hitting sweet spot on Zelda moves in Smash Ultimate). I almost feel insecure when building Bulky-O now. At least, I am good when building Weather Based team. I love those too.

2 Likes

Yo, let’s play Bakugan

2 Likes

I mean, it is a hard trauma to force someone sapient to play bakugan…

1 Like

More seriously, do you want me to make some sample teams for Ins. OU and explaining the teambuilding process after the terminology guide?

  • Shure, why not?
  • TF would you do that?

0 voters

You know what, that’s exactly why I said it
And the first reason I read your article

2 Likes

do people actually quit in tournaments when facing a stall(or is it banned, i think there was a pokemon that was banned because it created an infinite match)?

2 Likes

stalling and create an infinite match is kinda different tho. And yes create an infinite match is against the rules as Peter said here

3 Likes

oh ok…

2 Likes

i prefer weather ho, since its rly easy to learn and master and I hate stall with every cell of my being

5 Likes

Stall is 100% legal in tournament as it is a legit battle style.

4 Likes

Yep, and I love it.

1 Like

Oh, btw I suggest you to put the link to one episode before on each article, just like Jojoboss do with his If -npc- use all delta team articles. Because it will link all your aticles and seems legit ngl

3 Likes

You monster

3 Likes

Hey, I get bored, so I play weird things like stall Haunter and Stall Durant. I don’t usually play Hard Stall, or even normal stall, just weird stall or Semi stall, which is more like bulky balance.

3 Likes