Friday, March 28, 2014

The Struggle - Out of Moves and Hitting Myself in Recoil

With the latest generation of Pokémon out for a solid 5 months, the online battling scene has evolved into a harsh environment. The days that you can take your in-game team comprised of your starter, HM slave, and random assortment of creatures into battle are over. Thanks to the release of Pokémon Bank and breeding shortcuts, it's now easier to quickly prepare a team of battle-ready Pokémon. But with these new tools comes a more developed competitive scene, something I failed to keep up with.

After preparing a team I was comfortable with, I hopped online to challenge trainers from around the world. In 2 days, I had about 20 battles. I lost none. I even had trainers ragequit (meaning I was doing something right). I was so confident, I recorded live gameplay and posted it on YouTube. You can tell by the optimism in my voice that I haven't touched the cruel world of rated battles yet.

Spent 200 battle points to change it's ability...
So after my romp in free battles, I took my "skill" to rated battles. First match, I get wrecked. Second match? Equally bad. Third? I manage a win, and then get crushed in the fourth. I quickly realize that my strategy is not very effective and go back to the drawing board. I get back online and still can't manage to pull a winning record. Frustration gets the best of me and I continue to play recklessly. Simple prediction errors cause my team to struggle with me on the losing side. Bitter at my online experience (and Cloyster, whose lousy Twineedle only hits twice!), I took a small break and reflected on how to improve my game.

In doubles, Kangaskhan, Talonflame and Meowstic all pose a considerable threat. While I've successfully played around Talonflame, I still can't manage to break through Meowstic and Kangaskhan. While I hate to admit it, my team can't possibly be competitively viable if I don't have answers to deal with common threats. To improve my team structure, I've watched a good amount of battles online. I am by no means a Pokémon Master, so getting new perspective from trainers better than myself helped me come back with renewed strength. I got some new tricks up my sleeves, but I don't want to spoil them just yet. ;)
Don't let that baby fool you, it's a menace!
An important lesson I've learned time and time again is that Pokémon is a game. Victory Road is filled with hours of struggle, training and Exploding Gravelers. It's a mental game that requires you to outwit your foe to emerge triumphant. I've made stupid mistakes and will continue to make stupid mistakes. It should have been obvious that Twineedle only hits two times, especially with "twin" in its name! But regardless, I will learn from them and grow. Being a Pokémon Master doesn't mean you win from every battle, it means you learn from them.
A tough road ahead, but I'll emerge victorious

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