Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Captain Dreykopff's Treasures, Piece 1: These 'Mons Are Poisoned

Alola friends. At the end of last year, I announced on Twitter that I'd go back to doing some nice little YouTube stuff, and now here it is. Actually, it's not just YouTube stuff but rather YouTube and blog stuff combined -- first thing you'll see every time is the link to the video (or, the embedded video) and below you'll find my turn-by-turn analysis of the game shown. I'll explain a bit more about this series and its purpose at the end of this post, but first let's just have a look at the first piece of my treasures!

The Matchup

Teams used: Toby's and mine. Thanks to their creators for releasing them.

What you're watching is game 1 of the semifinal at a local December Premier Challenge between Tobias K. (@TobySxE), who at that time was ranked #1 in Europe by Championship Points, and yours truly. We had already played in Swiss before, so none of us went into this blindly. (Naturally, it was the very first round -- stupid program has a habit to always give me the strongest opponent in the first round and then only the worst afterwards, RIP my opponents' win%, bubbles were created and popped.) As you can probably imagine, it didn't go so well for me. I made a bunch of wrong calls, it felt like I missed more Rock Slides and Toxics than I hit and obviously Toby is also pretty fucking good at this game, so I got completely destroyed. All I got from the match was Porygon's full moveset and the info that my Gyarados was slower than his Arcalele pair. Anyway, I dropped no more game in the following rounds and was lucky enough to not have the tournament end with 5 guys at 3-1 or higher, so I made it into top cut and that rematch.

So, what can we actually expect to happen here... First, he has little reason to change plans, because obviously it worked really well before. Braviary being not too hot in this matchup seems obvious. Kartana can definitely be considered because I have no easy ways to deal with it and my Gigalith can't Protect, but probably it was Sashed and then I'd have an easy time 2HKOing it with Porygon or most of my fast mode...the fast mode that is actually really bad against this team otherwise. Anyway, spoilers: he didn't bring Kartana ever, so full slow mode it was on his end. And for me, this means: my only way to stand a chance is to go for the Gigalith Porygon mirror -- both teams are, if you will, weak to their own TR mode --, get better RNG than last time, and hope to get into a position such that my faster mons can sweep the endgame. Also, remember that bit about Gyarados's Speed, it's important, too. But still, this is hard as hell. There's just a single thing that has to go wrong and I might be in big trouble again.

The Game


Best I could have hoped for. Raichu threatens Terrain-boosted Shattered Psyche and my Porygon is the first on the field in a matchup where I want to use my TR mode for the early game.

But there is something quite ironic to it: Today, I wouldn't feel good about this board at all. There is normally no way that there's no Taunt or Roar somewhere in that Arcalele combination anymore. In this case, I knew Arcanine's full moveset from Swiss and I think I also knew Lele's, but my notes aren't comfirming that I saw Thunderbolt. I have no idea if my notes have been taken sloppily or if I really hadn't seen/inferred Lele's full moveset. But the thing that absolutely is certain is that I wouldn't have expected Taunt on that day in a metagame quite earlier than now.

Turn 1 (0:31)

Perfect. Momentum is all with me and there will be no threat of Shattered Psyche in the late game.

But it was closer than it looked, because he knew. He did in fact consider clicking Will-O-Wisp into Raichu's slot, and this could have been very bad for me. Anyway, just because Rock Slide still doesn't get OHKOs, I'm still putting my Gigalith at risk of being Burned. It's a risk I have to take and there's also a chance I get a flinch to nullify it. And even if it gets Burned...that means it still had a guaranteed turn of unweakened Rock Slide and could stay around for a while as flinchbot or switch fodder after that.

Psychic Terrain, sandstorm, Trick Room: 4 turns left

Turn 2 (1:33)

Well, so much about that free Rock Slide, Gigalith you fucking drunkass shitsack of a blindworm. It's almost like Swiss all over again...but there's one difference to that, which still makes it workable: WOW also missed. I'm not entirely sure if I like that outcome more than the expected one (as in, everything hitting on both sides), but anyway, this essentially was a dead turn in Trick Room without any Protects played.

Psychic Terrain, sandstorm, Trick Room: 3 turns left

Turn 3 (2:10)

That's interesting. None of us committed to the original play. It's a good turn for both, I wanna say. He keeps his Arcanine healthy, I get free damage and the Toxic mirror begins, evenly. (Come to think of it, I actually still don't know for sure how much Stone Edge would do to Arcanine. It's something I need to look up when I build my own team with a Gigalith in it.)

Psychic Terrain, sandstorm, Trick Room: 2 turns left

Turn 4 (2:59)

Yay, Rock Slide doing more Rock Slide things. Toby gets to even out the board entirely after playing the whole early game from behind, which may not be what I wanted to see at that moment but it's absolutely not the worst thing that could have happened. Time to play out that last turn of TR and see what happens.

Psychic Terrain, sandstorm, Trick Room: 1 turn left

Turn 5 (3:53)

Hmm. I don't remember if I clicked Recover or something else, but not getting a Recover of is useful in so far that I might get a free switch soon. The actual problem here now is that the opposing Porygon did get the Recover, so a second Trick Room from that end is a possibility. Raichu doesn't like that at all, but Gyarados would be fine with it. I just have to do it without Gigalith somehow. The only thing that' certain is that we will very soon break out of that silly P2/Giga mirror. Who will get the better end of it?

Turn 6 (4:41)

Oh shit. Good play by him to reset that Toxic counter, now that he got the health advantage. Absolutely disgusting that his Gigalith is still around. I was very torn between clicking Rock Slide to cover for Gigalith having too much health and Stone Edge to get more meaningful damage on a single target in. I picked the wrong one! And, about that Trick Room I set myself there...similar dilemma. Gyarados appreciates it against his other mons, but not at all against Gigalith. I must have known Lele's last move that's missing in my notes, because I simply wouldn't want Trick Room if it's a harmless one.

Trick Room: 4 turns left

Turn 7 (5:41)

Ouch. I'm not entirely sure why I decided to let Gyarados try to attack here -- it's way too much damage with that Hard Stone and a flinch could have been game over. Fortunately, I did get that damage on the other slot in, but still... I'm now sitting here with a useless Raichu and my most important mon is weakened while also staring down a Porygon that got the good Download and Arcanine got the Intimidate reset. I need some real creativity to get out of this one.

Trick Room: 3 turns left
Psychic Terrain: 5 turns left

Turn 8 (6:36)

Toby goes for the safe play and it works out in my favor...ish. Still, this looks extremely dire. Actually, from how I understand it, now that I'm reviewing it, he maybe actually has to make a mistake in order for me to turn this around!? The play that I fear the most is to Protect Lele and Ice Beam Gyarados. Moment of truth coming up!

Trick Room: 2 turns left
Psychic Terrain: 4 turns left

Turn 9 (7:02)

HYDRO VORTEX!!!!!!!!!!! Unbelievable. He made the mistake. That's rare! But why did that happen? Looking at the TR count, I can only imagine that he was afraid of me getting a Dragon Dance in, predicting he would cover the Hydro Vortex, but...then what? Especially if he decided to Ice Beam the Gyarados like I described, I'm sitting there with a moribund fish that has to go for an obvious Protect next turn, an equally moribund Raichu that's just blown its Protect, and then what would for a 67% chance be a fatal 1-2 endgame. But well, there's also the possibility that Raichu would have attacked again this turn, and then that would have meant that it can Protect next turn and thus get a free attack moving first later. If that had happened, Dragon Dance would indeed have been a threat.

Trick Room: 1 turn left
Psychic Terrain: 3 turns left

Turn 10 (7:56)

He had to deal with Raichu in one way or another, he couldn't allow it to get a Psychic off out of Trick Room or it would be over. The way he did it wasn't the one I expected to see (Recover + Flamethrower in order to get a 2-1 situation), but didn't work out to my disadvantage anyway. No Waterfall flinch still keeps this game open, as he gets the dreaded Burn in.

Turn 11 (8:44)

I wasn't sure at all about Waterfall's damage in this situation and chances are he would Protect at some point, so it made sense for me to cancel Intimidate. Didn't quite get it right here, but still it's better than attacking, not killing, and thus staying slower. I just don't know what would have happened if I went for the attack. Now to pray to RNGesus...again.

Turn 12 (9:05)

Again doesn't go for the Protect, probably expecting me to go for another DD to punish it. It may have been hard to believe that Waterfall wouldn't kill from this range now, but it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong. And that, my friends, was the game.


Game 2 was more of the same plans, except I replaced Gyarados with Kartana. This time, I was the first to get Toxic onto the other Porygon, then his Porygon also flinched in a very bad turn and then I brought it home with either Raichu or Kartana taking knockouts in the endgame while my Porygon still wasn't Poisoned and would stall out whatever was left. Thus, I moved on to the final thanks to what felt like a small miracle. And how did that go? Find out next time in Captain Dreykopff's Treasures!

Bonus: About Captain Dreykopff's Treasures

For those who followed me back when I blogged in German during the BW era, you might remember some game analyses I did on there. It was pretty much the same setup: potato camera to film a cherry-picked replay, put it on my YouTube and then go through it turn by turn. It was a fun thing to do, and for what it's worth, I actually find it more interesting than this Battle Spot live stuff. Battle Spot live episodes are very lengthy, since they have a lot of downtime between moves/games, and it's random what kind of games you're gonna get. Now with this thing that I do, there's much less time wasted for the viewer and I can guarantee you a decent match every single time. It wouldn't be a treasure otherwise, you know. ツ

While it's not 100% sure, I wanna say it's like 99% that it will always be me playing, never other people against each other. I enjoy this game and format, so yeah, even after quitting the competitive circuit, I wanna play and am looking to get some nice memories from it. And since I also like to win, it's only natural that you'll see me win most of the time -- not exclusively though. Usually, there's more to learn from losses, and with this whole analytical aspect, I am very interested in featuring losses that have more value than just me being inexcusably bad. Also, just as I'm writing this, I'm getting started on my own team building, so you can (hopefully) look forward to that as well.

So, with that out of the way, I'll be back with the second piece next Wednesday or the one after that. I would like to do this weekly, but time is a limited resource and this isn't exactly less time-consuming to do than just live-record 14 random games in a fancy overlay and be done with it. Alola!

(Bonus points to those who get that little nostalgic reference in the title.)

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