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Battle Tactics: Prediction (edited)

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  1. ==Battle Tactics: Prediction==
  2.  
  3. Good prediction is a valuable skill to become a successful Pokémon player. It can help you overcome a poor team match-up and can be a determining factor of the battle itself. For this reason, it is important to be able to predict effectively.
  4.  
  5. -What Are Predictions?-
  6.  
  7. Predictions are making educated guesses on your opponent's next move by analyzing what possible actions they may take. They are often game-changing, sometimes working in your favor and sometimes in your opponent's favor. It could be switching out your Pokémon, choosing a certain move, predicting what Pokémon they might switch in, etc.
  8.  
  9. -Learning more about Types / Movesets-
  10.  
  11. You're probably familiar with the old Grass-beats-Water type of thing and what moves to put on which Pokemon, right?
  12.  
  13. But it's really important to understand what kind of moves the OPPOSING Pokémon would have and the role of YOUR Pokémon. By knowing more about stats and type match-up, you gain more insight about what you should do in certain situations. Having a strong knowledge of what your moves do and when to use them can help you out a lot. Getting to know the metagame can and will be really helpful because it allows you to get a good idea about what moves certain Pokémon will likely have. It can also help you identify the standard sets for a Pokémon, and what EVs it may have to see if you can outspeed it or survive an attack, then act accordingly.
  14.  
  15. For example, let's say that a Talonflame revealed Taunt on its moveset. You can assume that this is probably a Defensive Talonflame set and would NOT carry something like Flare Blitz or Swords Dance. You then might guess that he would have Roost, Bulk Up, and Acrobatics as his other moves. This is where it is important to study the metagame so that you can deduce these details in an instant.
  16.  
  17. Here's another scenario: You send in your Special sweeper (one that focuses on the Special Attack stat) against a Gastrodon. You then use a STAB move that Gastrodon is neutral to, for example Focus Blast, and it only does around 20%. From this, you can assume that Gastrodon probably has invested heavily into its Sp. Def. With that knowledge, you can send in a Physical sweeper to target its lower Defense.
  18.  
  19. -Play Styles-
  20.  
  21. Knowing movesets are helpful... but it is important to understand play styles as well. Play styles are common team archetypes that you will come across when battling.
  22.  
  23. Stall teams generally want to play conservatively because they are on the defensive. The key to this playstyle is analyzing your opponent's moves and choices. Because of this, you need to know what variation of Pokémon your opponent is using. Try to avoid making unnecessary predictions when playing stall because this play style prefers to be in situations where there is a minimal amount of risk.
  24.  
  25. Offensive teams contrast greatly from stall. When using play styles such as Hyper Offense, your goal is to get your fast, yet frail sweepers to set up and then clean up or weaken your opponent's team. For this reason, you should play aggressively to get an advantage. Often, offensive teams rely heavily on predictions to be successful because a wrong move could result in the loss of a vital attacker.
  26.  
  27. For Balanced teams, they strike a balance (pun not intended) between offensive and defensive predictions and plays depending on when it is appropriate to do so, taking risk into account.
  28.  
  29. Armed with this knowledge, you can now react accordingly to different play styles when you see them.
  30.  
  31. -Analyzing Your Opponent-
  32.  
  33. It's probably not as important as the other two, but you have to understand what your opponent does. Even if it's as simple as analyzing why he sacrificed this Pokemon, it will help you gain a better understanding of what your opponent is planning. Maybe your opponent is planning to set up and sweep, or perhaps trying to stall. You can also see what predictions the player makes, which helps you determine what future actions they may take. For example, if the other player goes for a risky prediction meant to attack the Pokémon you switch in, you can assume that your opponent is an aggressive player. You might have to play carefully for the rest of the game.
  34.  
  35. -The Golden Rules of Predictions-
  36.  
  37. Here are the main three points:
  38.  
  39. 1) Avoiding unnecessary predictions when you have a significant advantage. (ex: You have four Pokemon and your opponent has two. Two of your Pokemon has full health and you have Stealth Rock set up on their side of the field. In this case, you would play conservatively, taking as little risks as possible to maintain your lead.)
  40. 2) Taking any risk to win when you are significantly behind. (ex: You have one left Pokemon and your opponent has three. You are guaranteed to lose if you don't take a risk. It's better in this case to take the chance.)
  41. 3) If both players are balanced in terms of advantage, analyze your risks and your rewards for a certain prediction. Make sure that your risks for a incorrect prediction are little to none.
  42.  
  43. -Test!-
  44.  
  45. Oh no! It's a pop quiz!
  46.  
  47. Don't worry, it won't take long! This will just help test your knowledge and how well you grasped the topics. I'll give you a series of battle replays. Before you start them, I will ask you to stop at a certain turn and guess what would be the right decision. Answers are in the replay. Explanations are at the bottom.
  48.  
  49. 1) I'll start off with an NU Battle:
  50. http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/pokemondatabase-nu-16761
  51. My Gurdurr has Bulk Up / Mach Punch / Drain Punch / Knock Off with Guts. My Klinklang has a Shift Gear set with Wild Charge / Gear Grind / Return, while Granbull is Choice Banded. Go to turn 23 and pause it.
  52. What should I do?
  53.  
  54.  
  55. 2) An interesting battle with Shining Yin, who is a great player at Monotype (HO Steel vs Balanced Normal).
  56. http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/pokemondatabase-monotype-418
  57. My Bisharp has Focus Sash and has an Offensive set with Swords Dance / Sucker Punch / Knock Off / Psycho Cut. My Jirachi is Scarfed with dual STABs. My Heatran has an offensive Air Balloon set, but it is NOT max speed. My Lucario is max speed and has Close Combat / Extreme Speed / Ice Punch / Swords Dance.
  58. Press Play and then Pause. Click Go to Turn and type in 14. You can go back to understand the situation, if you want to.
  59. What should I do?
  60.  
  61. Now Pause it again. Go to Turn 21.
  62. What should I do?
  63.  
  64. 3) Another Monotype Battle! Yay!
  65. This one was Offensive Bug vs Offense Fire: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/origin-monotype-135038
  66. Click Play. Then Pause.
  67. Look at the team match-up and pretend to be my opponent. Can you guess what my win-con (like a certain Pokemon that can help win the game) would be?
  68. Go to turn 9. Then Pause.
  69. What should I do?
  70.  
  71. 4) Here's another replay. This time it's my friend Faded Zulu against LTLC Oracle. This is around mid-ladder and both are good players.
  72. http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/monotype-323813149
  73. Click Play --> Pause. Then Go to Turn 2.
  74. What should Zulu do?
  75.  
  76. 5) Last, but not least: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/monotype-323662835
  77. Again, this is a mid-ladder battle, but Primal Exca is a strong Monotype player.
  78. Click Play --> Pause. Then Go to Turn 6.
  79. What should Primal Exca do?
  80. This time the answer will NOT be in the replay, so look at the Explanations.
  81.  
  82. -Explanations-
  83.  
  84. 1) Miltank was a real problem for me because it was heavily invested into Defense. I could continue to set up Shift Gear because Miltank can't do much too it, but it might have led to stall with Leech Seed + Milk Drink. Klinklang would've been beaten by Leech Seed before I could defeat Miltank. For that reason, I went into Gurdurr.
  85.  
  86. 2) Here I knew that Lopunny would be a Mega. I also knew that it would have Fake Out (as shown by turn 16). Now, Lucario can have Steadfast (to boost its speed from a flinch) and Inner Focus (to prevent flinching). Obviously, Lopunny would not want to use Fake Out. If I had Inner Focus, I could KO with Close Combat. If I had Steadfast, I could outspeed the next turn and KO with Close Combat. This is not a good situation, so Loppuny would either use Hi-Jump Kick or Return. I knew that Jirachi could survive an HJK or a Return, so I switched it in. I was really surprised by Power-Up Punch, though. I used Zen Headbutt because Jirachi has Scarf to outspeed Lopunny-Mega. I then revenge killed with Bisharp.
  87.  
  88. An interesting alternative would to be sacrifice Lucario and then go into Bisharp. From there, I could use Psycho Cut. However, I would lose my best check to Ditto / Chansey, leaving to a very different end-game.
  89.  
  90. At turn 21, I could have used Swords Dance because I know that Ditto is locked into Sucker Punch. But, if I did that, then Shining Yin could simply switch into Meloetta and sacrifice it. From there, he could go into Ditto, copy Lucario's stats and just spam Close Combat. He would be able to OHKO Heatran with Close Combat and outspeed Lucario with Choice Scarf. This would ensure that I would lose. Using Close Combat rather than Swords Dance is the safer decision.
  91.  
  92. 3) I knew that Volcarona could sweep the team if Heatran was gone. Armaldo could also sweep because it gets Rock STAB or even Heracross-Mega (which has Rock Blast) if I managed to get Speed Boosts from Scolipede on it.
  93.  
  94. But on Turn 9, Heatran used Lava Plume, instead of something like Stone Edge or even Toxic. It should be a priority for my opponent to quickly dispose Volcarona. I then realized that he wasn't well equipped to beat Volcarona, so I set up Quiver Dance and used Roost whenever I was low on health.
  95.  
  96. 4) Zulu made a great move by staying in against Sableye-Mega. Normally, you would send in some wall-breaker, like Garchomp or Diggersby to beat Sableye-Mega. But there's one catch: Oracle could just use Will-O-Wisp and cripple them. Instead, Zulu stayed in because Sableye-Mega can't do much to Hippowdon, except use Recover. This was a free switch-in to Diggersby. This then forced Oracle to switch out, which helped Zulu gain some momentum.
  97.  
  98. 5) This was really one of the turning points of the game. Because Staraptor already lowered Diggersby's attack with Intimidate, it was significantly weakened. Toxic also contributed to it. Here, Primal Exca should have switched into Porygon2 and Frustration would have done less than 50%. Then Zulu would have had to switch out because of the risk of Ice Beam Porygon2 as shown by these calcs:
  99.  
  100. -1 252 Atk Choice Band Huge Power Diggersby Frustration vs. 248 HP / 204 Def Eviolite Porygon2: 115-136 (30.8 - 36.4%) -- 62.1% chance to 3HKO
  101.  
  102. 0 SpA Porygon2 Ice Beam vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Diggersby: 168-198 (53.8 - 63.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
  103.  
  104. Primal Exca wouldn't have to sacrifice Staraptor and could gain momentum if he made this switch. This simple move might have also cost him the game.
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