Back to the Lab: Essential Teambuilding Tools

Howzit! It’s the human Volcanion himself, Aero, and we’re back in the lab again to deliver some heat. Yes, I’ll be dropping some knowledge bombs as I continue my ongoing discussion about competitive team building. This time we’re going to be taking a look at the visual resources competitive players have used when brainstorming, particularly check lists, compendiums, and coverage charts. Along with the metagame knowledge you bring to the table, these resources are simple ways to cross your I’s and dots your T’s, and makes the whole process of putting your team together a lot smoother. Let’s start with the coverage charts

Charts for Maximum Coverage 


This is a helpful tool for visually representing what types your team is vulnerable too, and what types they’re strong against offensively. This becomes especially valuable with the knowledge of the tier you’re playing in, and naturally following the series I’ve been doing we’ll continue with an example in OU. Let’s take a quick look at this rain team via the chart.
I use the website Pokemon Team Builder, but you can use whichever one you prefer, provided it is updated to Sun/Moon and has access to type weaknesses, resistance, and coverage. Generally speaking, I make sure to have a 1 to 1 ratio of weaknesses to a resistances. So if I have at least one fairy weakness on, say, Kingdra, I expect a Pokemon like Magearna to compensate for that vulnerability.


Type coverage will show you what your team deals super effective damage to based on the moves you filled in. In my case, although we don’t have any coverage for bug types, that isn’t a huge concern since there are a grand total of 4 bug types in the tier, and they all don’t appreciate taking stealth rock damage. This is a great compliment to the team building process, but should be used best in combination with what you already know about the tier, and what a type chart can’t tell you.


Competitive Compendium to Compete with the Competitors


To be completely honest, this is a resource that has really already been fleshed out for us eager theorycrafters. The compendiums provided by Smogon’s subforums host a plethora of helpful information, from OU’s speed tiers to check-and-counter resources. To take merely one example, let’s say you’re making a team that has a nice balanced core to it, but your lack of damage output means you’re struggling against stall teams, especially with Mega-Sableye on them. Perusing the stallbreakers available in OU, courtesy of the Role Compendium, we can see plenty of options:




Since Mega-Sableye’s magic bounce ability deflects taunt, a more set-up based sweeper like Zygarde can be especially good here. Blocking status with Substitute and setting up a Coil or Dragon Dance can easily tear through most of what stall brings to the table. What ingredients are missing for you may differ,  so I encourage you to search through the role compendium to get a firmer grasp on how best to spice up your squad.


Make a List and Checking it Twice 


Arguably the most essential tool, checklists are a way to prepare your future concoctions based on all the metagame knowledge you’ve accumulated in your testing. It’s a way to centralize what you’ve learned from playing with previous teams, distilling it into a reminder of what you should be aware of with every team you make going forward. Let’s take a look at one I made.
Now I want to emphasize this list is far from complete (In fact I’ll drop a link to a much more extensive list too). But a list such as this is a very simple way to recall all of the major threats/common strategies in the tier, possibly including common ways to stop said threats as well. Coupled with the type charts and compendium resources I’ve shown you earlier, in combination this is a surefire way to double and triple check your teams, really allowing you to feel prepared before you ever bring your team into its first battle. Checklists tend to be very fluid, so what is prevalent and what is still considered a threat can vary with progression. But getting into the routine of making one can be a great way to test your knowledge of not only team building but the tier you’re working within.
Wrapping Up


Hopefully you guys have appreciated this more visually oriented article, as I’ve wanted to make a general catchall source for a lot of the helpful projects many Pokemon faithful have worked on to make this whole competitive endeavor a lot more streamlined. I also want to give a special recognition to a discord user by the name of LL, who created the original OU checklist and flowchart that inspired this idea, as well as council member p2, who is largely in charge of the compendiums you see on the subforum. Let me know down below what resources you like to use when building a team! Next time we’ll be whipping up everything we’ve learned up to this point into one pot, dishing out a lean mean OU team, and testing its mettle on the Showdown Ladder.


Flying for now,
It’s Aero


Fuck yo couch

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