Monday, October 31, 2016

CIL Post Season 2 Thoughts & Review

CIL Post Season 2 Thoughts & Review


Well CIL Season 2 is finally over after six months, then again we were laid-back about the the schedule, but not that it matters now. Like to start off by mention this is the first time the LA Nidokings (pretty sure someone else has this brand) has ventured into a different Draft-Style league without any connections to the PFA aside Mudkiplegend, and eventually Italiang62, who both joined. One of the reasons to "expand" to a different league was I wanted to maintain some practice in the Draft-League format as PFA Season 3 was somewhat dragging itself out. Not there was anything wrong with PFA S3, just I found myself "bored" and wanted to keep up with league battle experience. Did thought about joining other leagues like the IBL, but their season already commence. Did a bit of searching on Twitter, and found out the CIL was accepting new players / coaches into the league. 

Despite making jokes about this here and there, time / pace was a major factor when considering to join. The fact the CIL only took about two weeks for one battle to progress and was on Pokemon Showdown was reason enough to seriously consider entering, but obviously had to juggle this with PFA. Up until the end of Week 10 / CIL Playoffs Week 1, the two week limit allowed me to team build against my opponents with at a comfortable pace. Only then, nothing was out of the ordinary as I managed to complete the battle within that time frame. 

Alright going to get into specifics how my interactions with the CIL went except in the end, but will say this now. Out of all the Draft Leagues, or Seasons I've participated, the CIL is in contention of among my favorite. If anyone knows by now, well... we did manage to win the Season 2 Championship and record a perfect 12-0 record in the process. Essentially as mentioned before, didn't know what to expect in the CIL, but was eager to battling others. Not criticizing anyone's skill or experience, after all this is a laid-back. Note was seeking to battle new people and find new ways to improve myself over the course of the season. 

Pre-Season & Transactions

For the Pre-Season of the CIL, or the duration of the main draft, didn't knew what cores, or Pokemon to draft in the beginning. Being the last person to select their picks had its pros and cons like having a "double pick" in between the Snake-Style runs, while the opportunity cost of waiting for long periods of time to chose the next two. Going into the Draft, already had the mindset whatever mons I don't pickup, don't consider drafting it, unless it falls under the radar on my turn. In terms of dealing with "snipes", didn't even bother complaining about it as the mon was likely going to that person anyways. Just focus on my team, without worrying about counterpicks, which was mitigated. 

In order to make the draft "salvageable", decided to make use of my "double wheel-barrow" picks. Well by the time we finished the Draft, here's the team I've started with, along with the transactions I've made for each slot. 
  1. Round 1: Anne the Latias
  2. Round 2: Forge the Charizard X
  3. Round 3: Rogue the Suicune
  4. Round 4: Ryan the Weavile
  5. Round 5: Green Cockatail the Tornadus-Therian -- Traded for --> Nui Harime the Sylveon 
  6. Round 6: Bike the Doublade
  7. Round 7: Bryant Stitches the Nidoking
  8. Round 8: ???? (didn't have a Nickname for it) the Eelektross -- Dropped for --> Epiclolz the Galvantula
  9. Round 9: Reed the Chesnaught
  10. Round 10: Castle the Diancie - -Dropped for --> Mars the Empoleon
  11. Round 11: Seeker the Uxie -- Dropped for -->Abruptly the Celebi--> Dropped for --> Snowbat the Gliscor
In terms of the initial team, the first four picks were rather funny since didn't expect Latias, Charizard X, Suicune, and Weavile to fall within my selections, but did. Definitely these were the core members of the team, however like any teambuilding session, there needs to be a decent form of defensive synergy for the team. The way I'd was drafting for this season was balance-oriented as this was my preferred playstyle, however with the intention of making this team "flexible" with elements of Semi-Stall and Offense if used. Will admit the last seven Pokemon were a hit-or-miss for me given how most of my "core draft picks" were taken, however had to improvise on the spot. Only Nidoking, Doublade, and Chesnaught were the only mons that were relatively strong picks for my team while the others either didn't know if they could fit (Uxie, Diancie), or didn't have enough "experience" using (Tornadus-T, Eelektross). 

As in almost every league I've been in, transactions were made to ensure the team was far complete and synergistic than by the time Drafting ended. If there was one or two transactions which essentially "re-defined" the team, it was the Tornadus-T for Sylveon trade with Hank the Pidgey (when he was still there) and the Diancie for Empoleon drop/add. Without spoiling much, Tornadus-T was a capable member of the team initially, however never consistent played ORAS OU for two years, only battling in short burst during on-off months. Sylveon was a far better special wall / cleric for the team which definitely payed off long term. Empoleon for Diancie was an amazing pickup as it not only served as a decent special wall, but gave less pressure to Defog hazards, and maintain Rocks on my side of the field. 

If I had to say which Pokemon "surprised" me during the Season 2 regular season, it was definitely Sylveon and Chesnaught as they held the main defensive effort of the team. Both Pokemon were able to shrug off attacks, while net a total of 18 kills and 3 deaths combined, an impressive feat. Of the top four pick from my team, Weavile performed as expected with 11 kills individually, while Latias and Char X weren't far behind in terms of the team effort with 8 kills a piece. Most of the transactions weren't too great replacements, possibly except for the Celebi (which don't know why I dropped it), but they managed to perform well in the battles played. 

The Regular Season 
(Link to the CIL S2 Page)

There's no doubt the Los Angeles Nidoking, or the team were the most consistent throughout the entire league and always gave maximum effort when preparations, team building, and of course the battles themselves. If anything, the "weakest" point for the LA Nidokings actually came from the start of the season given the adjustments and opponents challenged at the time. Some of the "adjustments" were getting use to Level 100 showdown battles...again, team synergy/composition, potential transactions, and other crap which is probably important to list. Despite the moderate Draft League experience mostly from PFA, for CIL never battled most of the participates as frequently as those in my "first" league. Not saying the players on PFA were sub-par, just can't either over- and underestimate my opponents for the future battles. 

Definitely the best advantage going into this league was the amount of "time" to plan for league battles. Recall the CIL is only about two weeks mandatory to get in battles, before suffering a late penalty. Typically, Draft-Leagues give the opponents about a week to finish their battles, so essentially this was twice the allocated used to prepare and team build. Given I had to manage and partake in PFA battles as well, this mitigated some potential stress that might been uncalled for, though did show signs of potential cracks towards the last week ( then we were about done with the regular season).  On a final note, decided to test certain core members on my team on the Showdown ladder, but eventually dropped out of fear any coaches might see some tech moves on my end. 

Now we aren't going to review each "week" or battle individual, as this blogspot has all ten weeks, including the CIL Season 2 Playoffs. Instead going to highlight three battles from the regular season as they best reflect how the LA Nidokings performed throughout the regular season. For a comprehensive list, look down below:

  1. Week 1: Vs MightyMamoswine
  2. Week 2: Vs Sanyer
  3. Week 3: Vs MadMikeNibbia
  4. Week 4: Vs TheFlyingFiona
  5. Week 5: Vs Satoshi
  6. Week 6: Vs MarvoTrainer
  7. Week 7: Vs KantoCast Blue
  8. Week 8: Vs KevinVGC
  9. Week 9: Vs Iceolate
  10. Week 10: Vs ItalianG62

Week 1: Vs Mighy Mamoswine

Instantly knew had my work cut out for myself as soon as I learn MightyMamoswine, or "Baby Nick" as people call him in the chat was my Week 1 opponent. Funny enough, both of us didn't bring our Megas, but surely brought our "best" Pokemon to counteract them, like Nick bringing T-Tar, Talonflame, and Landorus-I to check Char X, and me bringing Latias and Tornadus-T to beat Mega Venusaur. If there was any battle on my end which had a "significant" amount of RNG involved, definitely this one as Tyranitar missed a crucial Fire Blast and was paralyzed on consecutive turns against my Chesnaught. Any Grass/Fighting-type STAB options on Chesnaught certainly can inflict heavy damage for Tyranitar, but figured Super Fang, Leech Seed, and Rock Slide was the better option. The main issue for this battle was the Talonflame as I realized it was now capable of "sweeping" my heavily-weaken team with Gale Wings Brave Bird / Acrobatics. Giving the potential bulky Talonflame set has a chance to setup either an Sword Dance or Bulk Up meant I'd definitely lose the battle, and most of my Pokemon were within range of a priority attack after rocks. If Talonflame was Choice Banded, then I've already lost, so had to assume here it was some kind of "bulky" setup version. 

Definitely any prior damage on Chesnaught from Tyranitar ensure the OHKO from Talonflame's Brave Bird, but got lucky miss/paralysis there. Might have been a better call to "sake" Tornadus-T, or Latias for Tyranitar as it would "save" Chesnaught against the eventual Talonflame matchup, though not so sure how the outcome came about. Even with max Attack, without any boosting item, Talonflame can't faint Chesnaught without a crit, which basically explains why Nick was forced to Sword Dance. The game was decided on that turn as Chesnaught connects with Rock Slide and OHKOs the Talonflame. Soon as the fire bird fainted, the battle shifted heavily in my favor as Chesnaught walled the defensive Gyarados and even took a HP ??? against a Landorus-I (don't know what "type" it was). With all the twist and turns, we managed to "steal" a battle against Nick as he setup for the late game great, but the secondary effects, or hax was in my favor there. 

This was one of those battles which "stings" on both sides as I knew there was a definite part of hax which decided the outcome, but can't really do much about it. Most of the battle Nick was able to weaken most of my Pokemon until it was only Chesnaught left to damage, but it happen. Without damage on Chesnaught and the Talonflame to sweep, Nick wouldn't have won the game, so I'll acknowledge that. At least I have to learn from my mistakes from the preparation and match itself and move on. Will say the 5-0 score doesn't implicate how "close" this battle was, but have to learn how to close out for the late game. End of the day, Nick played better than me, so I had to prepare harder for the upcoming matches and mitigate my Talonflame matchup if we ever battled again. 

Week 3: Vs MadMikeNibbia

Oh this battle. If there was a matchup I'd underestimated, it was against MadMikeNibbia, or Mike who had the one of the worse record by differential points. Thought this was going to be slightly easier than both MightyMamo and Sanyer, but the matchup proved more difficult than expected. For this battle, its not that I played terrible, but made a couple over predictions and some RNG rolls against me that swayed the game in Mike's favor most of the time. Regarding the "Tornadus" switch, didn't expect Mike to use Iron Tail on my Eviolite Doublade, yet he did and payed off tremendously. Then the critical hits on Latias and Doublade greatly reduced their effectiveness which forced me to play on the defensive. Weavile was honestly what saved this game on my end as well as netting immediate safe KOs against Mike's team. Early on, the matchup seem like in my favor, but at soon as we lost Tornadus-T, the matchup became far difficult to maintain. 

Honestly this was the one battle were I regret most of my "unique" team building options and questioned why the hell didn't Charizard X make an appearance. Most of Mike's team can't take a Tough Claws-boosted Flare Blitz aside the Mega Gyardos and Swampert, which then I still had Chesnaught and coverage options for those two. If I'd just used the Scared Sword on the Lucario instead of "protect" the Tornadus-T, it would have been extremely valuable as a late game finisher like Weavile. Mentioned this like 100 times in the Week 3 post, but this was one of those matches playing safe with my Pokemon was better than making seemingly reasonable switches. No doubt Mike had to be "unreadable" and creative to find options to beat me, thought the moderate RNG did help him.

Week 8: Vs KevinVGC

Week 8 was an interesting matchup against the commissioner of the CIL himself, KevinVGC. There wasn't too much to gather from KevinVGC, except he loves to play offense and go thru with his glass cannons. Some of KevinVGC's Pokemon were concerning such as the Thundurus, Manaphy, Celebi, and the Dragonite since all it takes is to have one of the four Pokemon setup and the sweep my team. Most of the preparation was literally slowing his offense down with Sticky Webs with Galvantula, Roar with Empoleon, and using my Gliscor/Sylveon to hold his team down. This was one of the weeks where Charzard X had to do "something", like maybe sweep Kevin's team as most of his mons weren't capable of taking Tough Claws-boosted Dragon Claw or Flare Blitz. In short, the way we had to approach this battle was shut down KevinVGC's offense without compromising any core members (Sylveon, Charizard X) while maintain obvious win conditions. 

The battle itself starts off favorable for KevinVGC as he gets vital chip damage on my Latias switch via U-Turn. The next few turns, the momentum shifts in my favor as managed to get a +2 CM Latias and 2HKO the Manaphy who threaten my entire team. Despite losing Latias due to a fuck up on my end, Sylveon actually picks up the pace and holds the team's defensive line to halt the offense. Mega Alakazam was the only major threat, but the lack of Focus Blast made it easy for Empoleon to take on, possibly thanks to the Scald burn. From there Sylveon essentially carried the team as Diancie didn't have Calm Mind to setup, or Excadrill can't revenge kill key Pokemon without risking itself or Thundurus's HP. 

Did notice this battle was rather rushed on my end as KevinVGC wanted to face me, but didn't have any other time aside the one allocated to our schedules. Find this battle rather ironic since the one way we manage to beat KevinVGC was to play aggressive ourselves and maintain offensive momentum. Take the sequence with Latias for example. Had we not went for the Calm Mind against the Diancie, we certainly wouldn't have been able to take on 1v1, and defeat the Manaphy. Same thing can be said about the Char X switch into Excadrill as I felt Kevin was forced to either Iron Head, or Rapid Spin the hazards for Thundurus. This matchup could have went either way for my opponents, just that I made the necessary plays to keep myself ahead. GG to KevinVGC as he definitely a great guy in both the CIL and for Pokemon talk when we chat.

Overall this game sorta reflects the nearly the entirety of the season given how strong of a performance we've played after the sluggish week 1. Most of the battles were won with overall better team preparation, offensive plays, not being prediction heavy/ readable for that matter, and control of the game. On that last note, that's my 100% goal in every game, develop a 100% win con to the point where I don't have to risk the game off of chance or predictions. Kind of  figured know most people might find this boring, but that's how I am in terms of battling. End of the day, it was in my best interest to maintain some kind of consistency before entering playoffs.  

Post Season 

Going into the post season 10-0 was a huge accomplishment as the Nidokings were essentially the "favorites" to win the season, though we had a some variable strong opponents to face in playoffs. The Round 1 Bye did help me prepare for the rematches of Iceolate or ItalianG62, both were my recent opponents. By the time  I'd battled Iceolate (the eventual winner between him and Italian), I'd already had a team and strategy planned out, even though it was the just the same team with different tech move or options. 

For Iceolate, I suspected he'd probably win against Kyle, though it seemed like he was preoccupied with other stuff such as other leagues and IRL things in mind. There were a couple questionable plays on Iceolate's end that were like weird such as the such as the Toxic on Sylveon with Mega Lopunny and the reluctance to bring Azumarill. Either way the preparation on my end was on point, though will admit didn't expect Heliolisk to be a problem as it was able to live a Poison Jab from Nidoking. In fact, pretty certain Heliolisk had some HP or Defense EVs to live such an attack as I only made it so Nidoking can OHKO a standard non-bulk variant.

 Definitely have to give props to Jonah on that considering he fainted both Char X and did over half to Chesnaught, which had he crit would have changed the game drastically. Honestly if Iceolate had the time to prepare and plan efficiently against me the battle might have been closer, though it was rushed. Despite my opponent's rather lack of enthusiasm, strongly feel Iceolate's mindset wasn't there. Perhaps the best way to sum the battle up was to "get it over with", though no disrespect to him as a player. Either way, Iceolate seems eager to partake in other leagues, so maybe I might matchup against him again. 

For Cbrangames, or Chase, this was the finals matchup almost everyone in the league predict would happen. If there was someone who I had plan prior to maybe several weeks in advance in terms of test builds and potential team, it was definitely Chase. Ok maybe the sets weren't "finalized", however the team itself was honestly well-crafted the night before we battled. If anything, Chase's team was similar to the one I ran, except with strong wall breakers / walls like Diggersby and Porygon2. Funny part was those two Pokemon were exact the main threats threats I'd prepared for alongside Mega Latios as Diggersby hits like a truck, while Porygon2 is incredibly defensive as hell. 

Team preparation for the CIL finals was rush given our schedules were fluctuate, though mostly on my end. If there was any help I received in this, it was from ItalianG62 as he help reference some attacks calculations which did lead me to bring things like Choice Band Weavile. Porygon2 was a one of the problematic Pokemon to prepare for as Chase has Florges to form decent defensive synergy, and cleric support to keep it healthy from status. Almost everyone of my Pokemon was specially defensive not only to take hits fromy P2, but to ensure download doesn't activate, as I've  how devastating it can be in League format. For Diggersby, all I did was basically hope that I can revenge kill it with one of my mons, and not let it setup. 

The rest of the team preparation was moderate at best given Chase's preference to use the same group of Pokemon for most of his battles, though just about anyone can say the same to me. When Chase and I finally battled, the match itself was rather odd, normally Chase has been on the offense while I've played semi balance, or even defensively the whole time, but it seemed to flip this one occasion. Main reasons for this change is the lack of Diggersby/Porygon2 hampering my progression, and moderately weak to Mega Charizard X

Being completely frank here, if I'd gone for a "third" Dragon Dance boost, well I'm fairly certain Charizard X might have actually swept the team in one go. If anyone notices from my CIL Team Report, the Char X was built to be a semi special pivot to give itself time to setup against either Florges or Starmie. What  was rather perplexing is why I didn't Dragon Dance? Guess I was getting too caught up with myself and wanted to keep at an optimal amount of HP as possible. In addition, the Florges switch into Dragon Claw actually bought Chase another turn as I was force to Dragon Dance up, not knowing if +1 Flare Blitz with my investment OHKOed. 

Such passiveness on my end costed the sweep, but it did result into a closer battle with Chase dodged a massive nuke. Despite the loss of Char X, both Skarmory and Florges were gone and Arcanine was severely weaken so it was essentially up to the rest of my team to pickup the slack. Ultimately, the unsung hero of the PFA Season 2 CIL finals was none other than Latias who managed to setup Calm Minds and wall break with Stored Power to which Weavile easily cleaned up the battle. Funny that Latias hasn't done anything major for most of my games, until the finals as it managed to beat Arcanine, Jolteon, and severerly weaken the Mega Latios after its setup. 

For Chase's prep,  I still think he somewhat of a mismatch, especially against my Charizard X given his lack of switches aside the Porygon2 and other makeshift checks. There's no disputing another key factor in this battle: time. Both Chase and I were moderately rushed for time, but then again we kinda went with the battle in the end. Of Course everyone was tired that night, but it was one of the few opportunities we had to matchup and have the battle streamed on twitch. Perhaps the main contributing reason I'd won against Chase was he wasn't sure about the exact team of Pokemon to bring. Almost every week I'd brought some Pokemon with tech options, new benchwarmers on the field, or new strategies which most have been fairly successful in achieving most of my wins. 

What's really interesting from Chase's end was before our match he admitted that I basically used most of my team to the fullest extent all season and be the most difficult matchup for him. Definitely the matchup was a major factor as most of my team threaten Chase's entire squad, though in terms of balance walls, we were somewhat evenly matched. Definitely my wall breakers in terms of Char X and Latias punched a massive hole to the point Chase was forced to keep up with my offense, which failed as a result of losing his own walls. Definitely if Chase brought Diggersby/Porygon2, well the matchup would be different, but we managed to pull thru and earn ourselves a major win. 


Well that about wraps up the review for the CIL Season 2. I'm glad that to meet all the new people in the CIL and had the chance to use the team I have to eventually win it all. In regards to who helped in this run, want to thank KevinVGC for running this league, Alec / Kyle from the PFA league, Rogue / Naitre from the PF Forums, KantoCastBlue for our talks, and anyone else I'm forgetting. Right now haven't decided whether I'd return to defend my title, however will give an official response to everyone in the CIL. Obviously we are all looking foward in the release of Pokemon Sun and Moon to launch in just a matter of weeks, so the Draft League. Hopefully in S/M, I can showcase my growth as a player in other formats. Going to still be active in the CIL community as best I can, so look forward to that. Guess I over extended this ending, so thanks everyone for this opportunity!