Szymoninho's Strategy Corner

Competitive VGC player's blog.

And What If He's An Idiot? - VGC Players' Biggest Sin

Hello everyone! I'm finally back from Germany Nationals and since I don't have as much time as I had last year, I won't be attending any other Nationals, so the season is pretty much over for me. Because I know that at least one of my friends will be using a very similar team to the one that I used in Stuttgart, I won't be posting it until EuroNats are over. The topic that I'd like to discuss today is something new to my blog - making plays.

I've always heard people complaining about bad luck, especially this year, in a format of Prankster Thunder Wave and Scarf Rock Slide. I'm not sure whether I'm okay with it or simply used to it but either way I consider this perfectly normal and somewhat reasonable, mostly for newbies. What I however cannot understand are complaints addressed to player's opponents about their "questionable" plays and blaming their unpredictability or sometimes even inexperience for complainer's loss.

"Overprediction" is a term that exists with the Pokemon community since its very beginning. It's got very popular among Pokemon Showdown! players and frequent-but-recent Nugget Bridge posters and, to be perfectly honest, it makes me cringe every time I read it. Saying that you overpredicted insinuates that you made the correct play but it's your opponent's fault that you lost. Should he have made a different play, so that you could've won? Obviously not! So if you lose, whose fault is it? Never the winners, given that rules of the game are respected. After taking this into consideration "overprediction" becomes a "misprediction".

This is the moment when we ask ourselves the question: how do I know what play is my opponent going to make? Which "prediction level" should I start the game on when we face each other in the first round of swiss at Nationals? The answer can be suggested by asking another question: do you need to predict on the first turn of any game? I don't think you do. One of the worst choices you can make is to risk losing when you don't need to. Going for a double target onto a Pokemon that can Protect while its partner threatens at least one of your 'mons is an example of plays to avoid. I think the best way to win a game is to keep progressing your board position turn by turn by making moves that, in worst case scenario, give you the lowest odds of losing. For example, if someone stays in with their Ferrothorn in the face of your Heatran (which is not threatened directly by anything) just to KO your Gardevoir and they manage to do it because you get greedy and use Substitute while attacking with Gardevoir, you're the only one to blame; saying that you "overpredicted" won't make you a winner. Taking into account that your opponent can make bad and stupid plays is the key to consistency.

I hope that these few words will help some people become more consistent and less arrogant towards their opponents. What you have just read is not simply my opinion - it's an observation that can be made by watching most consistent players in the world chose their moves. Blaming only yourself for your loses and learning from them is the key to constantly improve your playing abilities. I decided to write this post after hearing multiple complaints at Nationals regarding the plays that some people's opponents have made. I think that noone should say things like "I lost because he didn't protect when he should have" or "He went for the Terrakion speed tie while he wasn't Scarfed". If your opponent "should've" made a different move, why did he win?

Until the next time!