Teambuilding for PUCL Draft League Feat. Geo
I bet you are all wondering why I called you here today. It’s not because of the insane deal of 2 cases for the price of 1 of Corsola Cola. It’s not because of the attempted takeover of PUCL by Shadow President Zcron. It’s because we have more PDL news to talk about! As many of you know either from the weekly postings, podcasts, and/or the discord chat, the PDL Season 2 draft happened last Sunday and the hype is incredible. We are seeing coaches trading mons, and making deals behind closed doors to try and get the edge on their opponents this season. With this week being a prep week before the battles commence it is the perfect time to go over how to build your teams on a weekly basis for your opponent.
Team building in draft league is much different than building a team for Singles OU or VGC. The biggest difference is that both you and your opponent have a set roster. You have 10 Pokemon and they have 10 Pokemon, so you each know what could potentially show up. Not only that, but you can vary you team up week to week to better combat your opponent. The first thing I do each week is look at the weaknesses of each team. Is there a type that my opponent doesn’t have a good switch into to? I try and find the weaknesses within the team and the best way to abuse it. If I notice that the team has a weakness to rock, I’m 100% going to Stealth Rocks to try and break down his team.
The next thing of importance to look at is the speed tiers of your opponents and your teams. Let’s say your opponent has a couple of really fast mons and a couple of really slow mons. Then your pokemon in the middle can run a more offensive nature like, Adamant and Modest and still outspeed pokemon. Overall it is important to know what pokemon on your opponent’s team you can and cannot outspeed. If you are bringing the slowest mon between both teams, then there is almost no reason to invest in speed when it will always get outsped.
After looking at your match-up it is very important to determine what your Win-Con(s) is/are for that match and what your opponents can be. You want to build a team that supports your Win-Cons and gives them the best possible chance to beat your opponent, as well as, handle the potential mons your opponent can bring. A Win-Con can be an offensive sweeper or a defensive core that your opponent can’t break through. It is all about your style of play vs your opponents. There are several other things to consider when teambuilding but one of the best ways to understand this is to see it first hand. Geo and I will be going over our prep for our match against each other in the PDL Season 1 Quarterfinals
Clod9 Vs. Geo (PDL Season 1 Quarterfinals)
Kyurem-Black, Jirachi, Florges, Roserade, Darmanitan, Gligar, Quagsire, Swellow, M-Sableye, Tauros
Porygon 2, Suicune, Alolan Muk, Mamoswine, Yanmega, Hitmonlee, Delphox, Bisharp, Rotom, M-Aerodactyl
When preparing to battle Geo, or anyone in Season 1 of PDL, the first thing I looked at was how could Kyurem-B kill his entire team. Since Kyurem-B is one of, if not the best wall-breaker in the format i looked at it’s match up and noticed between Outrage and Fusion Bolt, I could hit everything neutrally and break down the walls. Geo had no Fairy type on his team. However my main concern was the wall core that Geo had drafted. P2, Suicune, and Alolan Muk caused my team a lot of problems especially Alolan-Muk and P2. Based off that, I was fairly certain he was bringing; P2, Suicune, A-Muk, Mamo, M-Aero, Bisharp. The dark types do really well against my team, and they fit Geo’s play style from that season. I knew if I was going to win the game, it would be on the back of breaking down his defensive core so Kyurem-B could come in and win the game late. In order to do that I needed to get rid of P2 so I purposely brought this Jirachi set:
Jirachi @ Colbur Berry
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 44 HP / 12 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 196 Spe
– Hidden Power [Fighting]
– Flash Cannon
Designed to trick away the Eviolite from P2, potentially an Assault Vest from Alolan Muk and worst case I get to eat a Dark type hit and do some damage back to his team. I also thought he would bring a pursuit trapping Bisharp to come in on the Jirachi and deal with it that way, so i packed Hidden power fighting that could take out most offensive variants of Bisharp. This spread also allows me to guarantee survive a Sucker Punch without colbur berry and revenge with HP Fighting. Other than the Jirachi set, everything else I was fairly standard. Scarf Darm to hit mons hard and revenge in the late game if I needed it. Defensive M-Sableye with taunt/knock off to stop the walls. Aromatherapy Florges to handle my team getting toxic’d. Defensive Quagsire for his set up mons. All of those mons had one goal in mind. Break down the enemy team so that the monster Kyurem-Black could come in and take down his team.
Kyurem-Black @ Dragonium Z
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 20 Def / 4 SpD / 228 Spe
– Fusion Bolt
– Dragon Claw
There were very few members of Geo’s team that could handle a Dragonium Z Outrage from KB and those that could would be taken down Fusion bolt. His best switch into Kyurem Black was the P2, so I packed Toxic with the intent that if I could weaken it and any form it would be helpful. During the week up to the battle I couldn’t find a good last move, I considered Rock Smash, Hidden power Fighting, Earth Power, Roost, Substitute, but went with Dragon Claw since I didn’t want to always be locked into Outrage. It was probably a mistake but that’s the point of draft league, to learn and improve for the next go around.
The first thing to do when looking at building a team is first deciding what mons they are likely to bring. So, when I look at his draft versus mine, What I see initially is a dual core of Jirachi and Kyurem-B. So, I know for sure that these are coming. Typically, I had been running toxic to wear teams down until I could set up a sweep, so the means M-Sableye is also likely coming. Now that is a scary tri-core. Now I need to figure out what to bring of mine to handle his team. I decided on Alolan Muk with poison fang to wear down the Sableye. This essentially would allow me to win the 1v1 and if he were to switch in to anything but the Jirachi it can get the toxic there too. Mamoswine was my next bring, as the ability to have stealth rocks up limits the amount of times that Kyurem-B can switch in, and his EQ threatens Jirachi. I decide to round off these two with my defensive core of P2 and Suicune. Both can essentially be run as either a special of physical tank. P2 also threatens Jirachi with foul play and recover. Now in order to play this toxic stall type of game, I need to be able to handle any clerics who could bring. On his roster that is both Florges and Roserade. To do this I brought the most niche Mega Aerodactyl set you may ever see
Aerodactyl-Mega @ Aerodactylite
Ability: Tough Claws
EVs: 252 HP / 160 Def / 28 SpA / 68 SpD
– Stealth Rock
– Ice Fang
– Hidden Power [Grass]
This is a super tanky set designed to survive while killing a cleric and getting rocks up. The first reaction is to use Aero to kill the Kyreum because stone edge can OHKO it. I decided against that because all he needs is a choice scarf and I lose that. In fact I was fairly certain that he was going to run a choice scarf, because As you may notice I do not have any fairies, and choice scarf outrage could just do a ton of damage to my team. The little bit of SpA is for Quagsire. This allowed me to guarantee the 2HKO. Ice fang lets me fight the Gligar and Roserade, while the lonely nature allows me to still get the Atk bonus to OHKO Gligar. I couldn’t necessarily beat the Florges 1v1 with this build but I could keep it from using aromatherapy. I have one more choice of mon, and I still need a way to kill the Kyreum. So I choose Bisharp. I went with a full defensive build:
Bisharp @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Def
– Iron Head
– Sucker Punch
– Grass Knot
Remember that I was convinced that Clod was going to run choice scarf on Kyreum. So, I could use protect to bait out the earth power. Then switch into Suicune and go for a burn with scald. Iron head with this build does something on the order of 75% so just needed some rocks up on the field. You may notice that I haven’t talked about what my answers were to Darmanitan and Tuaros were. Well with a defensive Suicune, I felt that covered me enough for Darmanitan. As for Tauros, didn’t really have answer to it. Just kind of figured he wasn’t going to bring as all 9 of his other mons could do what he could, but better against my team. So that is a quick look into what goes through my mind when building a team.
Geo and I had one of the closest games of the entire season. We fought back and forth exchanging toxic, knock offs, Earthquakes, and Moon blasts until it ended in a 1-0 in Geo’s favor. Looking back, I believe I misplayed the end of the game which would have given me a better chance to win, but we will never know. Geo played phenomenally that game and I look forward to playing again this season (if we get to play again this season). This is where I want to iterate, that you should always go back and rewatch your games. It gives you a different outlook on the game watching it rather than playing it because you can pick up on habits you may catch things that you missed when battling.
Interview with Geo
Since we already have Geo here with us, I thought it would be a good chance to get to know a little more about him.
C9: Thank you Geo for taking the time out of your busy day to answer these questions for the fans. To start off, You made a really deep run last year in PDL. Give us your overall impressions and thoughts of that Season.
GEO: Last season was really a learning experience for most people. The gap in competitors was pretty large in the beginning. By the end of the regular season that had shrunk a ton. A few of the ‘easy’ wins I had in the beginning of the season would have been a lot closer, if not gone against, if the people I played, played with skill they showed in the end of the season.
C9: Since we just drafted for Season 2, how do you think your draft went/ What was your strategy going into the draft?
GEO: I really like my draft. Being bias, I feel my draft is one of the stronger ones but only results will tell if that’s the case. I went into the draft with a few versatile cores I wanted. After the first few rounds then it became a matter a filling out the role players for the team.
C9: Did you get sniped at all during the draft?
GEO: Kinda? I had in mind a few S tier mons that I wanted. I didn’t really plan on drafting Tapu Koko by a few rounds in a realized there was a good chance I could get it. It depended on what the few other people drafted that didn’t have an S tier drafted. Once they drafted I knew what I wanted. I had a mon in each tier I could’ve used. By round 5 I was the only one who hadn’t drafted in S tier meaning I could wait until the last round to draft it.
C9: If you had to guess, what do you think your overall record will be at the end of the regular season.
GEO: Ideally I would like to better my record from season 1 so going 9-3 or better would feel real good possibly winning the whole thing.
C9: Well it looks like you have your work cut out for you this season. With several returning coaches and a bunch of new ones, the difficulty level has been raised this season. One might even say that it has been turned up to 11… Ok, back on track, lets learn about you as a pokemon Fan. When did you start listening to PUCL?
GEO: That’s a good question. I can’t say that I actually listen to PUCL. I know Thatch in real life and he got me into the community directly and showed me what competitive pokemon was all about. Other than a select few, podcasts aren’t really my thing.
C9: What pokemon generation did you start with?
GEO: Gen 1 where it all began. Picked it up when it first came out in the US.
C9: What is your favorite region?
C9: Who is your favorite pokemon?
GEO: Mega Gallade
C9: If you had to pick: Attack or Special Attack?
C9: What is your battle style: Stall/Hyper Offense/Bulky Offense/Balance?
GEO: Bulky offense.
C9: Do you prefer Speed or Trick Room?
GEO: Speed. I’m a singles player and thus trick room is bad!
C9: What is your favorite Weather; Hail/Sand/Rain or Sun?
C9: Electric/Misty/Grassy or Psychic Terrain?
C9: Favorite status to inflict: Sleep/Freeze/Paralysis/Burn or Poison?
C9: Have you watched the Pokemon anime? If yes, what is your favorite Theme song?
GEO: Ummm I haven’t watched since Ash went into Johto. So I would have to say the original.
C9: Thank you Geo, for joining us today, and shedding some light on how to prepare for battle in the PDL. Maybe we will hear from you again, but you will have to tune in to future articles to find out. Take care PUCL, and happy prepping.
Below is a video by TTM Jolt (One of the Best Draft League Players) and his process of Teambuilding. He goes in depth about his process and how he prepares for every match. If you are looking to improve your teambuilding in Draft League, check out this video.