A Beginner’s Guide to the PUCL Draft League
Are you tired of playing the same formats in pokemon? Tired of seeing a Lando on every team whether it be in VGC or in OU? Do you want to see M-Audino sweep teams and instill fear into its enemies? If you answered yes to any of these questions then PDL is right for you! Here at pucl we host a 24 person draft league that is all about fun and getting better at pokemon.
Why should you apply to be in the PDL?
In my opinion, the draft format is one of the most exciting and fun formats out there for pokemon battling. You get to show off your creativity with sets and the atmosphere that it brings is like no other, especially when you get 2 well known people in the community battling it out. This is what it felt like watching one of the most anticipated and exciting Draft league matches during Season 1 on the PUCL Stream.
*Announcer walks to the center of the ring as the mic descends from the ceiling*
“Ladies and Gentleman of PUCL! Thank you for coming out on this glorious day for another Draft League Battle. In this corner, the man who started it all, The hostest with the mostest, you know him, you love him it’s TRAINER THATCH! And in this corner, one of the Commissioners of the PDL, The Juggernaut himself , DefinitelyNotThatch!”
Most of the coaches also adopted the style of announcing their trades and transactions as if they were general managers of sports teams giving a press statement about their team. This added to the overall hype of the league and honestly it is just a lot of fun to do. If you are not sold on applying for the PDL, it is one of the best ways to improve at pokemon so why not take a chance!
Guide to Drafting in the PDL
As mentioned in my previous article, a draft league is format of pokemon where coaches draft one pokemon at a time in a snake style draft until they draft 10 pokemon. Snake draft means for Round 1 of drafting the order goes 1-24, then round 2 it goes in reverse order 24-1. So if you are the first pick in the draft your next pick is pick 48.
However there are special rules for the pokemon you draft. Every team must draft 1 mon from the following Tiers S,1,2,3,4,5 each team is also given 400 Free points which they can use draft pokemon from tiers 1-5. Each tier has their own point value corresponding to it. Tier 1 = 180 points, Pokemon in this tier are considered to be some of the best pokemon in the format. They either have great defensive/wall breaking potential or are extremely versatile. Tier 2 = 120 points, These pokemon are very good in draft league but have some downsides to them. Tier 3 = 100 points, Pokemon in this tier are middle of the pack mons for Draft league. They usually do 1-2 things wells or are budget versions of better mons in higher tiers. Tier 4 = 60 points, I like to call this the tier of niche pokemon. They usually can do 1 thing well or require an evil genius of a coach to bring out their full potential. Tier 5 = 40 points, these pokemon are not considered very useful in the draft format and are outclassed by other pokemon. The S tier is comprised of the Best pokemon in draft format and all of the Mega Pokemon, which is why it is further broken down into 3 tiers S1, S2, S3. S1 has the best pokemon and Mega Pokemon in the format, but they come at a price of -100 of your free points. So there is a catch to have some the best pokemon on your team. S2 pokemon are not as broken as S1 but still are very good and can cause quite a bit of damage in the right hands. S3 is comprised of the “Worst” megas in the format but you get an additional 40 free points for drafting one. How you choose to spend your Free points depends entirely on the S Tier pick that you make.
If you draft a S1 mon you have 300 points to Draft 4 pokemon. Some options are:
T1, T5, T5, T5
T2, T4, T4, T4
T2, T3, T5, T5
T3, T3, T4, T5
If you draft a S2 mon you have 400 points to Draft 4 pokemon. Some options are:
T1, T2 T4, T5
T1, T3, T4, T4
T2, T2, T3, T4
T2, T2, T2, T5
T3, T3, T3, T3
If you draft a S3 mon you have 440 points to Draft 4 pokemon. Some options are:
T1, T1, T5, T5
T1, T2, T3, T5
T1, T3, T3, T4
T2, T2, T2, T4
T2, T2, T3, T3
You also have the option to trade any of the free tiers above for one of a lower tier. Use this list when drafting so you know what you can do with your free points. You don’t want to draft a mon and realize that you couldn’t have drafted it.
So now that you know how to draft, and the different ways you can construct your team, I’m going to go over some things you might want to consider when drafting you team. You only get to draft 10 mons so you want to make sure every pokemon you draft fills a role in your team.
First and foremost draft at least 2 mons that can set up hazards. These do not have to be your first 2 picks but throughout your 10 you want to have at least 2 pokemon that can set them up. Stealth rocks are the best hazard in the game, so you want to make that a priority. They can be extremely useful in chipping away at a team for one of you offensive threats to break through. Following that, make sure you draft some form of hazard removal, whether that be defog or rapid spin. Having the ability to get rid of hazards is just as important as being able to set them up.
Most people also like to draft one of if not both of the prominent cores in pokemon, being Fire-Water-Grass and Fairy-Dragon-Steel. I think it is wise to make sure you pick up at least one of these in your draft but it is not necessary. The same is true for a defensive core. It really helps if you have 2-3 mons that check each other’s weaknesses and support each other defensively. It is also important to vary your speed tiers throughout your mons. By varying your speed tiers it can make easier for you to prep against your opponents while making it more difficult for your opponents to speed creep on you.
Personally I think it is very important to draft a ground type so your opponent can’t freely volt switch on your team all the time. The presence of a ground type means they have to think twice about going for electric type moves. You are also going to want to have a defensive core or two on your team that can help you pivot or to break enemy momentum. Having at least one pokemon that can set up and deal a lot of damage to a team is also something to consider. If you opponent does not prep for it they could just lose the game. In the PDL any mon on your team can use a Z crystal, so having a couple of mons that have a large move pool can be very useful in taking down your opponents with unexpected moves. There are a lot of other little things that you can prioritize but that all depends on your playstyle. A lot of the top tier mons fill several roles at the same time so use that to your advantage. You need to draft a win condition in order to actual win matches. You should be playing to win, not to just not lose.
- 2+ Stealth Rock Setters
- 1+ Hazard Remover
- 1+ Pokemon Core
- 1+ Ground Type
- 1+ Pokemon that can Set up
- 1+ Defensive Core
- 1+ Pokemon with wide movepool
If you want an idea of what is usually drafted in the first round I’ve analyzed several leagues and these are the 10 mons (available in most leagues) that get drafted the earliest on average:
- Tapu Koko
- Mega Lopunny
- Mega Diance
- Zygarde 50%
Just because these mons are drafted early on in most draft does not mean that they are the best pokemon for you.
That is all for my guide to drafting in the PDL (I don’t want to give away too many of my secrets). If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me (Clod9) in the PUCL Discord. Hopefully I’ll be seeing y’all on the battlefield.