Saturday, May 21, 2016

CIL League (Draft Analysis, League Rules, Thoughts and More!)

(Krookodile is the Mascot...and for good reasons.)

Overview: The CIL League

During the second to last week of March, I came to the conclusion getting practice in another Draft-style leagues is beneficial for future successes in the format and try out new teams. Honestly went back and forth on this for a couple days until seeing a notice from the Casualness Intensifies League where they asked for new potential members to join via doing a survey. What changed my opinion about joining the CIL league was every "week" (maybe I'll refer to it as rounds)  were 2 full weeks and all the battle are on Showdown. Eventually the survey was done a couple days before the due date, however I had the impressions there was a good chance I wasn't going to be one of the new people picked for this season. Beforehand, I even told Mudkiplegend, the manager of the PFA about this and he joined for the same reasons to improve in draft league. 

 Later on the week, best case scenario happens we realized that both of us got accepted and learn the draft will be within a couple of days. The CIL draft was basically a snake-style format, however anyone can any tier and there was no limit to however amount of potential OU/RU/UU/NU mons in each team. What made  this draft a bit more interesting was it was an all-week draft given not everyone can draft on the a particular time.  On a final note, I found out our team had wheelbarrow picks so with the added time I could think of potential cores to draft for my team. 

Now here's a summary of the draft overall:

(Lots of Snipes... and yes I sniped this Gif from Kanto Cast Blue)

Ok honestly the way I see it, certain Pokemon like Manaphy or Victini weren't going to be pick late give most people have seen it in used by popular Youtubers before or notice a rise in any Pokemon viability in draft or Smogon. Again this was a long draft so everyone including myself included had sufficient time to chose any Pokemon to fit  for their team best. Afterward, nobody seemed too upset about their teams, rather everyone was curious how they work'd out in the upcoming weeks ahead. As for the LA Nidokings, well I feel really confident about this draft in particular given how much versatility I see in every Pokemon. Without any further delay, here's the LA Nidokings rooster for the CIL League.


With the LA Nidokings getting the back-to-back picks for every turn until the very last pick, I knew this was a good opportunity to draft around potential cores I was familiar with going into this draft. Again I'd already expected to get some of my "pre-draft idea" picks chosen ahead given how I have to wait like a certain amount of turns. For the first two picks, I knew immediately I wanted 2 OU Pokemon that had versatility and can be reliable in every match I bring when needed.  By the time it was my turn, I still struggled in my head which Pokemon was better to draft, however one thing was extremely obvious. For any good draft team, they need Defog support that can ensure hazards aren't an issue in each game. 

Latias was the first Pokemon selected for the LA Nidokings mainly for said reason above while being a overall great utility with offensive support. For sure, everyone mostly picks her brother, Latios or the improved Mega Latias (which I was close to picking) in competititve battles, but the female Eon Dragon stuck out to me more than any other Pokemon in the draft. Aside from Defog support, Latias can serve as a special wall, a CM sweeper, a suicide Duel Screens with Healing Wish, a Scarf user, and defensive pivot, etc. Again the only reason why Latias was selected over her Mega option because I didn't want to have my main mega be a Defogger or reduced to potential defensive roles.    Not many people know this, but Latias as has a vast movepool aside from STAB moves (Draco Meteor, Psychic/Psyshock) with attacks like Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Earthquake, Energy Ball, Grass Knot, Surf, Calm Mind, Shadow Ball, Stored Power, etc. The range of support Latias gets is great with moves like Thunder Wave, Charm, Icy Wind, Magic Coat, Psycho Shift, Reflect Type, Tailwind, Wish, and of course both Defog and Healing Wish. On that last note, I think Healing Wish is fantastic in league format as it can allow a weaken Pokemon new life in the late game after they have already soften up the team. Latias can sacrifice herself in such a scenario to fully recover the teammate without any harmful status. Course this is a late game decision I have to make if Latias is truly expendable, otherwise chances are she won't be such roles as often than not. Honestly could have went with Mega Latias, however I felt having one Defog user as the primary Mega Evolution was a wasted slot especially if its the only one with hazard control. Latias can still hold any other held item it chooses each week for any particular situations she finds herself in. Guess this is what I meant by reliable right?

Like I'd said earlier, the first picks were going to be reliable Pokemon, which one of them had to be a great Mega Evolution to use throughout the season. There were a couple of Megas in mind (especially the ones that I didn't expect to go early), however one stuck out to the team more: Mega Charizard X. Now before anyone screams at me for saying Charizard X is weak in league play since every opponent will bring Stealth Rocks...well no shit. Like seriously... I expect that from my opponents to have or attempt to maintain Stealth Rocks on the field on a daily basis so that won't change. There's a couple things I'll add regarding Charizard X since I personally believe this Mega Evolution is one of the best in Singles and even in Draft-style play. To start off, Charizard X is one of the fiercest wallbreakers in the OU tier without question thanks to having a base 130 Attack, Tough Claws, powerful STABs, and the potential make a sufficient wall if needed.  What made me chose this Mega Evolution in the first place was how versatile it can be with the sets as well as maintaining offensive pressure. Everyone is familiar with the standard Dragon Dance variants with Flare Blitz, Dragon Claw, Earthquake, and Roost. Charizard can also setup with Sword Dance to ensure it can wall-break, Tailwind to outspeed any potential scarfers, and even Belly Drum which... might win me the game if my opponent can't revenge kill it. Funny enough, Charizard X still has a great physical movepool with attacks like Thunder Punch for Electric-types, Brick Break for Rock-types, Iron Tail for bulky Fairy-types, and even Quick Attack for priority. Even a defensive Charizard X with Will-O-Wisp can stop most physical attackers in their tracks as it attacks with STAB options or even setup for a sweep. Finally I like point out Charizard X has a usable base 130 Special Attack as well so I won't remove any mixed variants out of the question. Overall, Charizard X is a powerful Mega Evolution that can both close out games, and/or soften the opposing team to the point where other teammates can clean up. 

The third Pokemon on this list is actually my fourth round pickup, however since I both back-to-back selections, might as well explain my thought process for this one first. The LA Nidokings had 2 extremely powerful Dragon-type Pokemon and already I can see the potential for random Dragon-types or Ice-types taking about this team. Automatically I knew the team was in need of a potential revenge killer that can act as a scarecrow of sorts while being relatively fast. Then I noticed something, Weavile wasn't selected at all. If I select Weavile, this can remove a potential bad matchup against Latias/Charizard X while serve as an excellent revenge killer. Weavile is an dangerous Pokemon to face in the OU environment and league format its no different with STAB options like Knock Off, Icicle Crash, Ice Shard, Pursuit, Ice Punch, and a ton of other coverage. I'll leave the rest up to you since everyone know how strong Weavile is as a revenge killer. 

The fourth main Pokemon for the LA Nidokings was a Water-type I'd wanted to test out in awhile especially in Draft-style format: Suicune. At the time, I felt Suicune paired extremely well as the primary bulky Water-type given its synergy support from the past three members to beat/check Grass/Electric-type Pokemon. Obviously the most commonly used set for Suicune is the infamous CM Rest Talk with Scald give it is an excellent end game Pokemon to abuse in this format. Suicune also gave the team a vital Water-type Pokemon and an impressive wall with its base 100/115/115 defenses to tank any hits aside from powerful Grass/Electric attacks. Probably the best part about Suicune on this team is it can help against potential setup sweepers with Roar in case I need an emergency phaze option.  There are some other interesting options Suicune can learn, however I'd probably leave it for the future match-ups to see how effective it can be. One thing is for I definitely want Suicune to be engaged with the match ups and round I intend to bring it. 

The fifth selection for the LA Nidokings was honestly a Pokemon I personally don't have too much experience with, except it being the best offensive pivot switch Pokemon in the game: the pure Flying-type Tornadus-T. At first, Tornadus-T wasn't on my radar until I found out the CIL Draft wasn't tier based so Tornadus-T was free to be chosen if I where to chose it. What intrigued me about using Tornadus-T was pairing it with potential defensive wall cores I can draft in the later stages of the draft and especially with Latias and Suicune who both appreciate having a special pivot to absorb hits. What "makes" Tornadus-T such a threat is the Regenerator as it can always  recover about a third of its HP and a fast U-Turn to abuse this ability. The most notable Tornadus-T set is the Assault Vest to tank special hits to better while being a decent special attacker.  I'd like to point out is Tornadus-T gives Weavile a bit of breathing room by a being another base 120+ speed Pokemon that can outspeed most things in the format and give my team a strong fast mode. In short, I expect Tornadus-T to be a great addition to the team as a great momentum switch Pokemon who can replenish health, take pressure away from my walls, while be a great offensive response for opposing teams. 

For the sixth pick, the infamous Ghost/Steel-type who won GBA S4, Doublade was chosen primarily for a couple decisions aside fulfilling my primary Ghost slot, or aka the Spinblocker. In my opinion, Eviolite Doublade is on par with a couple other Eviolite Pokemon like Chansey or Porygon2 as the best defensive NFE Pokemon with the potential to wall teams or setup in front of their faces. Ghost/Steel-typing alone is the second-best defensive typing in the game and Doublade can use is astronomically boosted defense stats (from 59 HP / 150 Def / 49 SpDef) paired with a base 110 Attack, and the potential setup sweep with Sword Dance - Shadow Sneak combo. What made Douablade "click" for my team was I needed a response for both Fairy-type Pokemon who threaten Latias, Weavile, and Charizard X for a bit, a decent spinblocker who can block Rapid Spin (potentially 1v1 them) and break down defensive cores if given the chance. What holds Doublade back is the reliance of the Eviolite item, however even Doublade can take a Knock Off from and Non-STAB Pokemon plus we got the best Knock Off user in the game in Weavile on the same team, so Doublade won't worry too much about this. Doublade has the potential to be a great assets for the LA Nidokings whether it is being a great offensive wall breaker or a semi decent defensive wall thanks to its unique traits. 

For the seventh pick of the CIL Draft, the team needed another wall breaker of sorts that can synergize well with our Charizard X and Suicune pickups. There were still some notable Pokemon to get on the team, however, I eventually settled with the team mascot himself, Nidoking! Ok what made Nidoking a potentially viable member of the our team was a number of assets like the wide array of physical / special moves, Sheer Force to boost literally its entire movepool, unpredictability in potential movesets, and finally access to both Toxic Spikes and Stealth Rocks. Nidoking also takes away from of the pressure from Electric-type, Grass-type, and Fairy-type Pokemon who don't want to face this monster in a 1 v 1 scenario. Even from personal experience, I still have problems figuring out if certain Pokemon are safe against Nidoking or not since it might pack Ice Beam for Dragons, Super Power for Normal-types, Poison Jab for defense-weak Fairy types, etc. The coverage this Pokemon gets alone will make Nidoking a difficult Pokemon to switch into which can ultimately result in a kill for Nidoking. 

In every draft I've ever done, I've always made it sorta a priority to get a rather decent Electric-type Pokemon who can form a part of a U-Turn or Volt Switch core for my team. By this time, most of the viably good Electric-types were snagged on both the OU/UU tiers with people already scrambling to get the other lower-tiered ones. When someone thinks of a generic Electric-type, surely Eelektross, the eighth member of the team, doesn't come to mind. While moderately bulky, Eelektross sports a passable 115/105 offensive stats with a low base speed of 50, not what most Electric-type Pokemon are thought of. What makes Eelektross standout from the remaining Pokemon was the fact it has no weakness with Levitate (aside Mold Breaker EQ I get it),  a rather suprising vast movepool with immense coverage/utility options, and finally the "slow pivot" of the team. Regarding that last point, Eelektross has a low base 50 speed to abuse volt-turning either on the switch or when my opponents already made their attacks to bring in a offensive Pokemon like Weavile or Nidoking safely. For sure the key of using Eelektross this season will be abusing the slow pivot switch options and taking full advantage of the plethora of sets this Electric-type can run.

By the ninth and tenth rounds of the draft, I was starting to become a bit concern about waiting a too long to get some defensive Pokemon that weren't selected primarily in the OU/UU tier and the lack of hazard options on my team. For the last picks, these Pokemon have to be essentially the glue to the teams that can pair well with my high tiered Pokemon. Now when I noticed that Chesnaught hadn't been drafted for this long, there was no reason to wait any longer. First off, the team needed a reliable Ground-, Dark-, and Rock-type switch in that can tank hits easily, recover off the damage, setup some hazards, and slowly wear down the opposing team with its bulk. Chesnaught sports an impressive 88 HP / 122 Def / 75 Sp.Def with access to Leech Seed, Drain Punch, Spikes, Taunt, and Synthesis to a it a formidable wall. Access to Spikes allows Chesnaught to pressure opposing teams as well as the combinations of Toxic Spikes from Nidoking and Stealth Rocks from it and my last couple picks to make a hazard stack team. Unlike most other Grass-type Pokemon, Chesnaught has a rather large physical movepool such as Hammer Arm, Drain Punch, Wood Hammer, Earthquake, Rock Slide, Payback, Super Fang, Poison Jab, Thunder Punch, Superpower, etc. Spikey Shield is Chesnaught's "unique move" that can punish physical attackers who make contact minus 1/8th of their health and an instant "better" protect. To end on this note, Chesnaught won't fail as a wall as I has the necessary components to make this Pokemon work with other team members for my team. 

Last Two Picks (...and they're gone)

Alright I have to stop and give an rather important update or stop in the CIL Draft for the LA Nidokings. The last Pokemon...hence the title were dropped in replacement of 2 other Pokemon in higher tiers I felt fit the team better in the long term. Now this doesn't mean I'll stop with the LA Nidokings Draft Analysis now. Keep in mind I'll explain what was my thought process for drafting these Pokemon on my team at the time and later I'll give a brief explanation of the new recruits. Now onto the final section. By  the time I chose Chesnaught, I feared that potential Flying-type Pokemon would take advantage of my Chesnaught so a Rock-type Pokemon can to mind such as Rhydon (Rhyperior was drafted beforehand). Then I notice my team was still missing a Fairy-type Pokemon and it might be time to get another one from the seemingly thin pool. Sooo.....

So I got a rather odd Pokemon or Mythical legend for this team, regular Diance. Unlike its highly used Mega Evolution counterpart, regular Diancie has a low base HP stat / speed stats, mediocre 100s offenses, incredibly high 150s defenses with access to strong STABs like Moonblast / Diamond Storm. As stated above, Diancie fulfilled most of the requirements I've mentioned about and has some decent tricks up its sleeves like Heal Bell, Gravity, Trick Room, Endeavor, and even Explosion. Honestly this was my least liked member of the team since by the time the draft ended, I'd realized the team was in need of another Defog and a reliable Stealth Rocks user (I'll explain later on.) In the end, Diancie was going to be traded for a free agent Pokemon that wasn't picked.

The last Pokemon of the CIL Draft was a Pokemon I personally felt was likely going to stay on the team than Diancie. There were a couple of Pokemon that were on my radar such as Lucario, Metagross, Rhydon, Empoleon, and Diggersby.  After a last review of the team, I realized there the team still needed another Stealth Rock user, and the walls weren't going to be enough in the long term. Finally, Uxie was chosen as the last major member of the team since it gave me another Ground-type immunity, strong utility options, a potent CM user, and the a mixed wall of any choosing. Out of all the Pokemon on the team, Uxie was the only Pokemon I had used from PFA Season 1 and 2 now likely this part of the CIL season...or so I thought. After the draft, I kinda doubted whether Uxie would stay on the team given the potential to grab another higher tier Pokemon instead of Uxie. While Uxie makes for a great budget or low tier wall, it certainly a Pokemon that can get exploited as setup fodder. Of cours,e this Psychic-type has a ton of utility options, the lack of reliable recovery is what ultimately made me chose another Pokemon. 

The First Two Free Agents

Empoleon is the first Pokemon that I chose as my free agent in replace of Diancie. Yes getting another Water-type is questionable at best, the fact I have two Dragon-types, a Ground-type, an Electric-type, and two-other Grass type Pokemon made me worry less about the Electric weaknesses compounding. Now after looking at the board, Empoleon was one of the last viable Defog users on the team while still setup Stealth Rocks for my team. This Water/Steel-type starter sports 10 resistances and 1 immunity including against the Dragon-, Ice-, Flying-, Steel, and Fairy-types which Chesnaught might need help in. Sporting a base 111 Special Attack, Empoleon has one of the strongest Scalds among Water-type Pokemon especially when considering the potential Torrent boost. Empoleon has a rather strong movepool for a Stealth Rock setter and a special wall with access to Flash Cannon, Ice Beam, Grass Knot, and etc. Even its physical movepool is large with both Sword Dance and Defiant to maybe even get a surprise sweep. If anyone compares or thinks of other reasons why I'd drop Diancie for Empoleon, for starters its a better Stealth Rock user that alleviates pressure from using Defog from my own Latias. By the time the CIL Draft ended, I realized the team only had only reliable way to remove hazards in Latias and having another reliable wall / rocker can be advantageous to keep hazards off from my field, while maintain my own rocks even. In my opinion, Empoleon won't be a detriment to the team because of these features and will be integral to my success. 

This latest free agent pick was rather a shock for me even, as Celebi was a Pokemon I'd originally considered on my team like Empoleon. Celebi was originally picked up by MarvoTrainer of the Poison Stings, though with his own reasoning, decided to drop Celebi and 4 other Pokemon from his team. Since no one else but myself claimed Celebi beforehand as a free agent, I knew if I didn't this Pokemon will likely be on another team to support. Honestly, Celebi was a Pokemon which I didn't sport any form of experience with, however there were several notable things this Pokemon has over Uxie. First off, Celebi's base stat total is around 100 all across the board, meaning it can be almost anything it wants either a special/physical sweeper, cleric, Baton Pass user, defensive pivot, scarfer, CM user, etc just like say Manaphy, Jirachi, or Victini. To add to what this Pokemon can do, Celebi makes for a efficient wall with access to Giga Drain, Stealth Rocks, Recover, Leech Seed, Baton Pass/U-Turn, and much more to stop any potential threats for the team. What set Celebi apart from Uxie was the fact it has self recovery options as listed, and the powerful Baton Pass capabilities to give to my team like Nasty Plot, Calm Mind, and even Sword Dance. Almost any one of my Pokemon on the LA Nidokings team could appreciate a quick Baton Pass from Celebi during the mid-to-late game once all the necessary threats are dealt with. There are so many options I can think of for Celebi, however I feel like I'd rather have everyone see who this pixie will perform on my hands. 

First Impressions

To be honest, this is going to be one interesting team to pilot given the rather unique amount of high OU/UU Pokemon we got from the wheelbarrow picks. There were other Pokemon I'd love to use or even get as my first or second round selections, but both Latias and Charizard X is a good Dragon-type core to begin with.  Getting both Weavile and Tornadus-T rather later in the rounds was a bit perplexing since usually people would get either or by the 1st / 2nd rounds. Weavile is a Pokemon I didn't want to deal with at all since it can easily beat my Dragons while I have another Pokemon who can revenge kill opposing Dragon-type Pokemon. My defensive cores consisting of Latias, Tornadus-T, Suicune, Chesnaught, Empoleon, Chesnaught, and Celebi seems like a great choices to build on. If there's one thing people have noted about my draft, the weakness to Ice is rather common, though I might only worry about Non-STAB Ice-Type attacks considering most of the LA Nidokings do have a good amount of bulk to take one. Ground-type and STABs are also rather concerning for the team given it four of the eleven Pokemon for super effective damage, however the combination of Chesnaught, Suicune, Celebi, Latias, and other Ground immune I have are likely responses. 

The only thing which to me doesn't "break" this team is the lack of a good Fairy-type Pokemon or response to them since some of my most offensive members of the team are checked by them easily. Of course Doublade, Empoleon, and other members of my wall cores can take them on, most of the Fairy-types typically carry coverage options for these incoming threats. Finally, this team would be so must stronger if it was able to complete the infamous Steel-Dragon-Fairy core, though I think our bulk will be capbale to compensate. If there are any Pokemon I'd love to have drafted, it was definitely Manaphy, Victini, or Mega Altaria since those mons I've used at some point in the PFA League I've been working on as well (there will be a future post regarding the PFA S3 Draft).

Overall, this draft is quite both offensive and rather balance at the same time to which I can tailor the team for any specific threats for every team and upcoming rounds. One point I wanted to make out is aside from doing VGC for the past year semi-casually (from taking a break from Smogon), I never did any other major Singles battles until I joined the PFA league and now this one. These are Pokemon used prior to the my eventual intrigue for VGC like Charizard X, Latias, Suicune Weavile, etc. Other selections like Tornadus-T and Celebi are rather new faces to utilize given there recognizable traits in the OU tier.  

Major CIL Rules

Not going to give my own thoughts any opinions, since most of the rules are reasonable enough and makes sense given everyone in this league has other obligations, whether its for work, school/college/uni, personal lives/issues, problems, etc. Again with all the battles going to be on showdown instead of the cartridges, I can at least prep a team with worrying about genning it (yes I admit this feature has to be done to use League Format). At least this gives me less issues getting the team legal, checked, and ready when anyone can just go on Showdown and do the battle there. I've already made my first two transactions for the team which I don't have any sorta remorse whatsoever about since both Empoleon and Celebi are amazing Pokemon in such a format. If I am going to make any sorta "free agency" post in the future to discuss the potential last three, then maybe I will at one point. 

Full LA Nidokings Schedule 

  • Week 1: vs Blazikens / Mighty Mamoswine 
  • Week 2: vs Pinsirs / Sanyer1124
  • Week 3 vs Net Balls / MadMikeNebbia
  • Week 4 vs Whirlwinds / TheFlyingFiona
  • Week 5 vs Gengar Knights / Satoshi_Red_Ash
  • Week 6 vs Poison Sting / MarvoTrainer
  • Week 7 vs Wynauts / KantoCast
  • Week 8 vs Kinglers / KevinVGC
  • Week 9 vs Bisharps / GatorJonah
  • Week 10 vs Aqua Jets / Hank the Pidgey

Closing Remarks

If there's any main takeaways from this, note I wanted to join this league to enjoy the game I play with other people who share the same interest. Having to do two league at the same time (and manage one) might sound a bit stressful, but this is definitely manageable with the dedication and time. Obviously the LA Nidokings are going to do their very best to reach that championship goal as a expansion team, but I believe its possible. Regardless of our placements, I do know the Nidokings will take aim surely make a mark on the league. 

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