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|How to Rate a Team; Written by Kingdrom|
|Topic Started: Oct 3 2009, 08:09 PM (164 Views)|
|Salavoir55||Oct 3 2009, 08:09 PM Post #1|
Official Team Rater
How To Rate
At Sppf, there have been issues with rating teams. To be honest, the quality of rates has been poor from the average Serebii user. This is not due to incompetence, but because of effort. An in-depth knowledge of the metagame and game mechanics does not necessarily make one a good battler, although it helps. Conversely, it is possible to be extraordinarily gifted at battling without thorough knowledge of game mechanics. However, effective rating does require knowledge of the current metagame and the general shifts that occur. There are a couple of steps to follow when posting a rate, listed below for simplicity's sake. Other methods are valid and effective, but only as long as the original poster can understand.
1) Find and fix inefficiencies within the team. When the team poster uses a Pokemon in a way that is completely outclassed by another, suggest a replacement, or if they are adamant on keeping it, suggest a spread that allows it to fill a niche. This mistake can usually be attributed to newer or less competitive players, but even the best players can succumb to these mistakes. For example, in OU, Infernape is always better than Blaziken when Blaziken is not used for a Baton Pass set. Furthermore, if a unique Pokemon is used in a way that has worse synergy than if the standard counterpart had been used, suggest the standard.
Likewise, Ev spreads can be replaced if they are inefficient and can be completely outclassed. However, if the Ev's are most efficient in achieving the set purpose, then there is no need to change them. Here are a couple tell-tale signs that Ev's could be managed better:
2) Search the team for weaknesses. It is a test of the metagame knowledge of the rater as well as they pick the team apart slowly and carefully. Threat lists may be used for assistance in discovering these threats, but if so, then this step can be skimmed over. When searching a team for possible offensive threats, do not just think of Pokemon like Lucario. Common combinations, such as Mixmence + SD Lucario, Metagross + Salamence, and Pursuit weak + Steel set-up can rip holes in unprepared teams, even if the team can deal with both individually. Emphasis should be placed on the most common sets- making up threats does not endear oneself to the team poster.
Similarly, search the team for possible issues with common defensive combinations. If two or less Pokemon cannot get past Skarmory, for example, then they will easily get walled with the addition of Blissey and Rotom, common Pokemon found on stall teams. Issues with being walled are not seen quite as often, since most teams with offensive-based Pokemon have the capability to break through walls. There is one exception to this- suicidal offense teams. They are characterized by five fast sweepers and an SR lead. Their objective is to be walled by the same walls so that a combination of two or three sweepers can break it down, then sweep the rest of the team.
The weakness need not be a Pokemon in particular. A team can be weak to Stealth Rock or Toxic Spikes. It is not uncommon for the average player to have a very status-weak team. This is where checking the typing of the team members is important. The Marriland Team Builder application can help if one does not immediately see these potential issues. However, the most common weaknesses are to individual and combinations of Pokemon, which will be focused on later.
Finally, themed teams should be taken into account, albeit with less urgency. Check to see if the team in question fares well against the standard Rain Dance strategies as well as Hail. Others can be taken into account, such as Trick Room, but they are insignificant and have nothing to rationalize changes in moveset or Pokemon.
3) See how the weakness can be circumvented. This means that the rater should check for opportunities that the supposed weakness has to be exploited. For example, let's assume that a member posted a team of DD Gyarados / Sleep Powder Roserade / Brick Break Mixmence / LO Gengar / DD Kingdra with an Infernape lead (not a solid team, by the way). At first glance, nothing comes in easily on Tyranitar. However, since none of the six Pokemon can be locked into a move, and every single one can outspeed and defeat Tyranitar with ease even without prior set-up. This makes the team not Tyranitar weak. An extreme example, but this is the case for some suicidal offense teams.
Pursuiters such as Scizor, Weavile, and Tyranitar are a different kind of offensive threat and should be accounted for here. Any possible switch-in will be taken advantage of and means the death of said Pokemon. These Pokemon will usually switch in on an ineffective choiced move or on a revenge kill, so their ability to come in is outweighted by potential damage caused. In addition, one should consider the set-up opportunities the poster has for setting up on a potential Pursuit, as it is possible that being able to set up on a Choiced Pursuit is more beneficial than the death of one Pokemon.
Fast, offensive threats with frail defenses are likely not to directly switch in unless it is on an immunity or 4x ineffective move. In general, defensive teams will have outright counters for faster offensive threats, while offensive teams will switch using resistances until they can get a Pokemon in that can outspeed and OHKO. Bulkier threats should be beaten outright- offensive teams may resort to switching based on resistances, but this is hardly an ideal way to deal with it. Phazing, residual damage, and entry hazards are also effective to getting around a threat. For example, a team may not have a proper Mixmence counter (only Cresselia comes close). However, if the team can set up Stealth Rock and Sandstorm early and can pack a powerful priority move, Salamence can be dealt with. However, this is only viable for select threats that are practically uncounterable.
4) If a weakness is easily exploited, make the necessary suggestions to fix the weakness. Pokemon may be swapped out for another, or the set may simply change. In some circumstances, the Ev's are simply the problem. Often times, there are several ways to fix a weakness. For this reason, proper judgment and experience (don't confuse experience with bias) are used to figure out the most effective changes. After suggesting the changes, explain how this helps the weakness and the trade-offs. This makes the argument balanced and forces the rater to logically agree what they are saying, making sure that the team is actually being improved.
If the Ev's are the problem, go through the process of creating Ev's. For this, first recall what is needed for the Ev's- to cover up a certain weakness and more adequately check threats or carry out the team strategy. Invest enough in the proper stat to allow said Pokemon to perform its purpose in the team strategy. The excess Ev's, if any, should be placed in a stat that takes advantage of them the most.
In some cases, a good team will already be synergeous. Therefore, it is prudent to make the smallest changes possible to preserve what is already viable. However, the rater must respect that most teams are not like this, at least on Sppf, and may require more work than originally expected. Simplicity is desired, but not a rule that must be explicitly adhered to. The main objective is to keep the original strategy if it is viable or adapt it until it reaches this characteristic, then to make the proper changes to ensure effective support. In case the initial strategy is not salvagable in any way, one must explain why it is so. Often times, a knowledgeable rater will cite certain prevalent threats that stop the strategy completely, or the risk to reward ratio that makes such a strategy unreasonably difficult to execute with intervention from the opponent.
The Ethics Behind Posting
While the content of a rate is the main priority, the way it is presented is an overlooked section of rating teams. Posting in a derogatory manner or in a way that flames other posters is in most cases a bad idea. Conversely, you still must convey your ideas and why they are correct with logic. This is not an opportunity to try to explain ideas and concepts beyond one's reach, as it comes off in a condescending way. Sarcasm should generally be avoided unless it is completely obvious and used in a humorous way.
Aside from being informative, a proper rate should be presented in a professional manner. It is not that hard to avoid using chatspeak, which conveys a sense of being casual. Posting coherently also means in a way that can be seen easily despite the choice of forum theme. Using the default size and color is not only decent but recommended- it is the default because it is, if nothing else, convenient for others to see. Furthermore, split up paragraphs into relevant points and details. On the internet, other posters cannot be expected to have long attention spans due to differences in user demographics. Following the ethics code when posting is likely to keep the attention of readers and naturally make the rater appear more informed. Ultimately, it's about showing the OP that you put some time into the rate rather than giving them a reason to ignore said comments.
At Serebii and other forums, there is always a time where a more arrogant user will post a team. The rater must put his or her personal preferences and opinions aside when posting, more so than ever. Such users will often use sarcasm or ridicule as methods to proving advice incorrect. Instead of becoming defensive or offensive, maintain a neutral stance and state the facts in a more complete way. If it has not been done before, reconsider a more viable option, especially if the original suggestion was not in line with the team type. This means that Blissey is not a proper recommendation for an offensive team, while lead Azelf is questionable for a stall team. If an argument breaks out, take the high road. This also applies if another rater disagrees with your advice, even if their criticism has no validity. Remember, you can't win when fighting against an idiot, since they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
However, the effort put into the original post should be an indicator of how well proper advice will be recieved. Essentially, if the proper format is used with little variation along with some pictures (easier on the eyes), the thread is worthy of a rate. Mutual effort should occur at the top level only; it is best to ignore threads that show a lack of effort, since the OP will not learn if an exception is made for them. Everywhere, including Smogon, is cluttered with threads that were made without effort- by weeding through to find the best threads, the general intellect of the forum will be increased.
The Thought Process
The best way to show how a proper replacement is done is by example. A poster may have a team consisting of the following, accompanied by explanations. At the end, a rough process of rating will be explained through a classroom style process.
Aerodactyl @ Focus Sash
Ability: Rock Head
Ev's: 4 HP / 252 ATK / 252 Spe
Nature: Jolly (+Spe -SAtk)
This is my lead. It gains an advantage and can set up Stealth Rock against most other leads, including Azelf and Swampert. However, it often ends up sacrificing itself for this. Stone Edge helps me hit flying types while Earthquake hits Metagross leads.
Starmie @ Leftovers
Ability: Natural Cure
Ev's: 236 HP / 72 Def / 200 Spe
Nature: Timid (+Spe -Atk)
Starmie is my Rapid Spinner. In case Aerodactyl cannot prevent the opponent from setting up SR or Spikes, Starmie can fix that. He needs to switch in a lot against stuff like Infernape, Gyarados, and Heatran, so Recover was a must. Surf and Thunderbolt helps me to best these threats.
Machamp @ Leftovers
Ability: No Guard
Ev's: 128 Hp / 252 Atk / 128 Spe
Nature: Adamant (+Atk -Satk)
My main sweeper of the team. Machamp is great for coming in on a choiced Pursuit from Tyranitar or Scizor and setting up. After a couple Bulk Ups, he is hard to beat on the physical side. Encore can help Machamp set up on a wall using recovery. Then I wreck the opposition with Dynamicpunch. Stone Edge hits Zapdos and Gyarados switch-ins. Even if I can't beat them outright, confusion hax helps me more often than not.
Celebi @ Leftovers
Ability: Natural Cure
Ev's: 252 HP / 76 SAtk / 180 Spe
Nature: Modest (+SAtk -Atk)
Celebi helps me more against Gyarados in case Starmie is not at full health. It also a Lucario check with Earth Power. Grass Knot gives Swampert problems as well while Psychic is exclusively used for dealing with Breloom. With Recover, Celebi stays around for a long time.
Gyarados @ Leftovers
Ev's: 4 Hp / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Nature: Jolly (+Spe -SAtk)
Gyarados is another helper sweeper to help Machamp against stuff like Lucario and Scizor. The offensive spread is to help it sweep, while Dragon Dance and Taunt lets it set up against myriad defensive threats.
Steelix @ Leftovers
Ev's: 252 HP / 240 Atk / 16 Def
Nature: Impish (+Def -SAtk)
Steelix is a great absorber of physical dragon attacks and is content to phaze and Poison the opponent while its defenses protect it from attacks. Gyro Ball hits fast Pokemon such as Weavile and Aerodactyl while Earthquake hits switch-ins hard and is another nice STAB move. Steelix does well against Tyranitar too even without a Reflect up, with massive defense allowing it to weather Earthquakes.
At a first glance, the team is based around Machamp, who causes switches due to the fear of Dynamicpunch. Upon this, the team creator added Toxic and Stealth Rock as a means of hurting potential counters. With a Phazing opportunity, solid physical defenses, and a low likeliness of Stealth Rock being used against it, this team has a solid core strategy requiring little in the way of change.
Despite the great coverage of several threats like Infernape and Lucario, the lack of special defensive presence on such a slow team is bad in dealing with certain threats. In particular, Scarf Rotom and any Gengar run over the team, while Celebi is able to wall the whole team with ease. In addition, the team has no good switch-ins to Mixmence, Flygon, and Latias, while those three have many opportunities to come in. This cannot be ignored. As a side note, Aerodactyl is a rather lackluster lead in this stage of DPPt OU, but it is mostly irrelevant, as it does its purpose rather well for this team.
The easiest way to deal with this is to replace Steelix with Substitute Heatran. Heatran is an effective lure for dragon types, especially Latias. Additionally, it can utilize Toxic to perform a similar job as Steelix. With Fire Blast, it is able to deal a swift OHKO to Gengar. At this point, the rater has a moveset- Substitute / Toxic / FIre Blast / Dragon Pulse. The only issue is to find a proper Ev spread and nature. For this, we examine what exactly Heatran must do to patch up the weakness and function well. It should be able to take hits from the special side especially well, since Rotom and Gengar can hit very hard. A good point to hit is one that allows Heatran to survive LO Focus Blast from Gengar, preferrably after SR. Since Heatran's physical defense needs to be above par (to take Outrages and Scizor U-Turn like Steelix would have), investing in HP until the highest Leftovers number is a given. This yields 244 HP Evs. Next, we aim to survive said hit from Gengar, and after a few calculations, it is seen to need 156 Ev's in SDef without a boosting nature. Next, we consider the special attack power that Heatran needs to perform its purpose. All that Heatran needs to OHKO Gengar with Fire Blast and SR is a Modest nature. However, what if Heatran was able to OHKO Salamence with Dragon Pulse after SR? This requires 374 SAtk and is less important, so no sacrifices should be made in this circumstance. Since Heatran is supposed to counter Rotom, it would be optimal if it could at least 2HKO Rotom with Fire Blast. Against 252 Hp / 136 SDef Bold Rotom, the most heavily special defensive Rotom likely to be seen, 32 Ev's and a Modest Nature can ensure this. Putting the other 76 Ev's in Speed gives Heatran 209 speed, allowing it to outspeed no-speed Rotom, Suicune, and Cresselia, getting a crucial first hit in against each.
Finally, the Heatran spread should be this:
Heatran @ Leftovers
Ability: Flash Fire
Ev's: 244 HP / 32 SAtk / 156 SDef / 76 Spe
Nature: Modest (+SAtk -Atk)
This does a good job at luring in Dragons and leaving them weakened, but it does nothing to stop them once they have started boosting stats. This requires a revenge killer. Starmie does quite well due to its natural speed advantage. Running Scarf Starmie allows a safer revenge kill for DD Salamence, Scarf Flygon, and DD Gyarados with Ice Beam and Thunderbolt, respectively. Since it can outspeed Scarf Heatran, it wouldn't hurt to be able to OHKO, which requires the use of Hydro Pump. Finally, for the last moveslot, Rapid Spin is useless as it leaves Starmie as set-up bait. Using Trick in the last slot is great for forcing switches or stopping many powerful Life Orb equipped threats. Luckily, Starmie is very threatening with Life Orb due to its coverage.
With most set changes, the rater should explain how it could be played differently and is more versatile. For example, they could mention how Starmie focuses as a revenge killer more than anything else, so Celebi should be the first, immediate Gyarados counter. Trick and Ice Beam help to get past opposing Celebi.
As for the Ev's, outrunning base 100's (most dragons are at or below this) after a speed boost is what is needed. From here, special attack should be maxed. This yields the set below:
Starmie @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Natural Cure
Ev's: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spe
Nature: Modest (+SAtk -Atk)
These changes fix the aforementioned weaknesses without creating new weaknesses themselves. This is an occasional case and generally is found when only outclassed Pokemon (such as Steelix) are replaced. However, now would be where the new weakness as a result of the change is mentioned. Ideally, the rater should explain why it is insignificant or how it is easily dealt with. Now that the team support has been scrutinized, the core will be more closely examined. With Stone Edge as a supporting move to complement Dynamicpunch, Machamp has an easy time with Zapdos and Gyarados who switch in. However, with Stealth Rock down, the extra damage done by Stone Edge is overkill, since Dynamicpunch gives issues to both. Conversely, Gengar and Rotom are more threatening due to their immunity to Dynamicpunch and stronger attacks. Payback over Stone Edge would be the acceptable alternative. Payback gives Machamp the upper hand against Latias, the dragon that Heatran has the most trouble beating (and weathers Dynamicpunch the most effectively).
By combining the above steps, the general process can be applied to great effectiveness. More than likely, continual rates in this style will endear raters to the community as helpful. These steps are not explicitly required; they can be blended together somewhat. Finally, if nothing else, the rater should stay attuned to the wishes of the original poster. A rating career based off of these principles cannot help but be successful.
Note that this is purely an example team, not one that I have used before. I would hate the example rate to not be comprehensive- I tried to make the team with a few specific weaknesses (it's hard!). If you have any suggestions here, please mention them- I wrote this part all last night. By the way, the 128 Speed Ev's do have a purpose on Machamp- it allows it to beat Skarmory.
Credit to Rezon for the banner.
|Salavoir55||Oct 3 2009, 08:12 PM Post #2|
Official Team Rater
|Discussion goes here: http://s1.zetaboards.com/Brock/topic/2355921/1/#new|
Credit to Rezon for the banner.
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