Project Player Spotlight: Kick-off Tournament Top Eight


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We're launching a new initiative to spotlight the players who perform well in each of the Draft League Forum's many planned upcoming Tournaments. This player spotlight will highlight the top eight individuals headed into the last few rounds of bracket up until the Championship. We've come up with eight questions to pose to each individual and their responses will be catalogued here for the forum's consideration and discussion.
:wo: Question 1: What was the plan with your draft and how did it turn out? :wo:
100percentpureheat - My plan for this draft was the same as my draft plans always are: I love Pokémon that are both threatening offensively (especially setup spammers) and defensively useful. I would never touch something like Chi-yu, Iron Valiant, or Chien-pao in the first few rounds. I wasn’t sure what would be good as a first overall pick, but from what I’d seen from Great Tusk I knew it couldn’t possibly be a bad pick since there were lots of great tera options. I did underestimate Dragonite though. I knew it was a top 5 mon but I didn’t realize it would be as incredibly broken as it is. I figured Baxcalibur couldn't be walled and gets lots of set-up opportunities due to its bulk and defensive tera, and so far I think I was right. I didn’t anticipate how much I’d just be spamming tera dragon glaive. Iron Moth is terrifying in the builder with insane coverage and 2 viable booster energy sets, but in practice is kind of mid since it just folds to ground moves. I was really worried about the potential set-up spam in this new format, so I wanted lots of hedges against offense- Hawlucha for speed and a Great Tusk counter, Arcanine to blanket wall physical attackers and strong priority, cheap unaware Dondozo for raw bulk, prankster Sableye for spinblocking and general purpose setup prevention. I think it’s worked out fairly well, though Copperajah was in hindsight a trash pick. I thought it got custap berry, power whip and heat crash, it’s not even worth 3 points as is.
Atha - I had no draft plan. I signed up for this tournament on a whim. Tried to just make reasonable choices.
CrashinBoomBang - I think this is a pretty general thing, but checking stuff offensively tends to work a lot better than checking it defensively. If a Pokemon can't come in for free, gets outsped by 2/3 of your team, and doesn't straight up sweep you, it's really not that big of a threat. By that logic, I made sure to get my team to a reasonably fast speed stat. Speed is the most important stat in Pokemon in my opinion, and this is really amplified by Pokemon such as Chi-Yu running around which you aren't realistically switching into. While people were drafting their Dachsbun and stuff trying to check Chi-Yu defensively (I think Dachsbun is terrible by the way, actually so bad), I made sure to have plenty of speed on hand to not run into a scenario where I'd have to swap into all the crazy strong Gen 9 Pokemon repeatedly. This is augmented by my Skeledirge pick, which I envisioned would do great here. Picking an offensive captin is super fine and probably even the way to go in a lot of scenarios, but my team really felt like it could use the defensive anchor - nevermind the fact that Tera Skeledirge can be tailored to shut down your opponent's biggest offensive threat a lot of the time while you execute your own offense. Apart from that, I got like everything else I wanted - SR, Spikes, two forms of removal, resists to every type, except for a grounded poison type. I've been making due, but it really feels like that's been the big question mark since the beginning of the tour, especially seeing how I've never brought Braviary.
GeniusX - My initial plan was to draft around tera Chien-Pao, but then Dragonite lasted to me at round 2 and I couldn't not pick up tera Dragonite in round 2. After that I knew I really wanted to try Ting-Lu and it fortunately lasted to me r3. Then I wanted to try out Gengar because it has a insane amount of utility moves like Toxic Spike, Will-O-Wisp, Trick, Encore which makes it extremely versatile in prep. My other Pokemon are all quite 1-dimensional and as someone who thrives off of out-prepping I wanted to use Gengar. The next 2 mons i was debating between 2/3 of Azumarill, Talonflame, and Bronzong. Each had their own benefits but I decided to go with Azumarill and Talonflame which gave me removal and a water fairy to cover defensive holes but no steel and no secondary rocker. After that Paldean Tauros and Gogoat were just fillng since I wanted something to deter Palafin and a physical wall. I do regret not getting 4 point houndstone over tauros though.
Star - I wanted Dragonite round 1 from the start because of its versatility especially with tera. After that, Gholdengo was just by far the best mon available in r2 and felt too good to pass up, plus it obviously covers a lot defensively. For my next two, I really wanted a ground and a water. For a ground, my choices were basically Clodsire and Iron Treads. I went with Clodsire because it was cheaper and fit better typing-wise. For the water, I had a few options but I didn't want to get too passive and Rotom-W is a mon that can pretty much never be useless.
Sylvi - I looked through the pool of available Pokémon and spotted Palafin there. It is the best Pokémon with the ability to tera in my opinion. The other Pokémon should follow the motive of just being good Pokémon. Lower priced Pokémon are not good in my opinion, especially in a format where there only 8 Pokémon to bring. They are just not good on paper and require too many variables to make them work. On the other hand I valued flexibility a lot, so I can bring more than the same six Pokémon every game. The plan was set: Palafin as my Tera Captain and good, well-rounded Pokémon. Meowscarada and Iron Moth are the offensive threats for my team. While Hippodown, Tinkaton, Slowking and Noivern as a potential pivot form my defensive line. Even though I said earlier that I disliked cheap Pokémon due to the said reasons, I decided to draft Glaceon because of two reasons. First, it synergizes well with Slowking. Secondly, Ice is known for having good offensive coverage and SV doesn't have the best steel types, so there are matchups where Glaceon can come in handy where Ice's resistances are nonexistent. I am pretty happy with my team, and I think I could pilot it well.
TinyBomby - Really just to try new Pokémon. This was my first experience with the new gen almost entirely and I was kinda just winging it, as bad as that may sound. A few fast attackers and some bulky walls that pivot: that’s my usual play style. I’m not really happy with Armarouge and Lycanroc though. They’ve done nearly nothing and I could’ve had actually useful Pokémon in those slots. On the other hand, Rotom-Fan is actually so much better than the points it cost me, such an amazing Pokémon. I will swear by Rotom-Fan.
yerdunc - I would say I became much better over the course of the tour, so at the beginning when I was drafting I didn't really keep the draft format in mind but rather OU. My monkey brain was like Palafin is banned so it must be a good pick, and Corviknight is like a fat wall that I used a lot. That's around when King L5 accidentally found out that I was in this draft tournament, and he's a prominent draft player that I also happened to know from a previous community, and he helped me with a lot of the versatile options on my team like Noivern and Amoonguss. So given that I came in with a bad plan, it's nice that my draft ended up being something I was quite satisfied with.
:woo: Question 2: What was your MVP Pokemon on your team? :woo:
100percentpureheat - Easily Baxcalibur, there is absolutely no team it can’t break. Saying your tera user is cheating though, so I’ll say Sableye, it’s actually won me several games despite being a 4 point meme pick. Iron Moth and Copperajah get joint LVP.
Atha - Frankly I don't really have an MVP, my Pokémon work well together. Dragonite is obviously broken with tera. I want to shoutout Muk though, which has been key to some of my wins.
CrashinBoomBang - Hard one to answer. I think I've had multiple MVPs for different games, but it's really hard to not recognize just how hard Skeledirge carried pretty much every week. Chien-Pao and Iron Treads were both amazing and in every game, but Skeledirge and Sandy Shocks have probably been the most consistently good overall.
GeniusX - Probably Dragonite. It's a very broken Pokemon. But honestly Gengar might be the secret MVP. Its amount of utility allows me to not lose to any cheese which is very useful in single elimination tours. Scarf Trick/Encore can always stop opposing Dragonites at least temporarily and Will-O-Wisp can always be a problem. It was the most enjoyable Pokémon to use in prep as well. Shoutouts to Gogoat as well I think I bought it more than Talonflame.
Star - It was Gholdengo by a mile. I actually calculated my mons K/D throughout the tour so far. Gholdengo was 29-2 before not getting a kill and dying in my 2 most recent games lol…
Dragonite 15-1
Gholdengo 29-4
Clodsire 3-3
Rotom-Wash 3-0
Scream Tail 0-5
Hawlucha 2-3
Mimikyu 2-1
Sylvi - My MVP was Palafin, without a doubt. It carried many games on its own with the bulk up set, while also being a good breaker and revenger with band sets. The key to Palafin's success was the possibility to tera. The flexibility of Tera allowed Palafin to rise to its full potential.
TinyBomby - As much as I should probably say Chien-Pao, and Chien-Pao has likely carried me the most, I have to say Annihilape. That mon is far better than I expected. Amazing variety of sets it can bring along with the ability to just win the game if the opponent isn’t well prepped for it makes it an amazing threat and can be quite unexpected.
yerdunc - I think it has to be a combined effort between Great Tusk and Palafin, who have both had their time in the spotlight. An underdog Pokémon of mine has to be Toedscruel, who was my last pick yet put in so much work.
:woop: Question 3: What was your most memorable match? :woop:
100percentpureheat - I was really pleased with myself after beating Cureja, that game really had everything for me. A well defined gameplan that I executed perfectly, aggressive reads early in the game, a meme mon doing way more than it should, and a funny Baxcalibur set. I do have the feeling this CBB game will replace that whichever way it ends up going though.
Atha - My top16 match against Jesse504 was particularly confusing. Like a lot of my games in this tournament, it started very well but then got dicey due to their broken Pokémon (in this case terastalized Chien-Pao), and I barely managed to survive.
CrashinBoomBang - So far, I think it's my game against MrScare, just because it actually pretty much went according to plan. I saw that my Sandy Shocks set would put in huge amounts of work, and that's pretty much exactly what happened. Also a lot happier about how I played it compared to my Top 16 game in particular... <>
GeniusX - vs Luthier. That match was the most memorable draft game for me in a while. While there was unfortunate hax on both sides it's part of what made it memorable. Body slam paras into numerous full paras put me in a dire situation that I was only able to get out with a critical hit, and the endgame of Gengar vs Ursaring and Sylveon also came down to a lot of chance with sleep talk rolls and sludge poisons.
Star - Probably my very first game vs aagarocks. I was a complete dumbass and consciously decided to ignore Air Balloon Gholdengo because "lol no way he uses it with tera + it'd be so easy to tech for". He did, in fact, bring balloon Gholdengo and I brought both Clodsire and Dragonite that couldn't touch it. The resulting game was completely insane and tbh I only won because he choked at the end and clicked the wrong move vs my Rotom letting me break the balloon.
Sylvi - My game against DugZa in Round 2 The Matchup looked not great and thought multiple times in the match this is where I am gonna drop out. But I was happy to pull it off and proceed until this point.
TinyBomby - Feels a bit bad to say, but this was the literal first game I ever brought Armarouge because it felt wrong to use in every prior match-up. It had a really good showing here though… VERY good showing. I wouldn’t say it’s the match I’m most proud of or anything, but definitely the most memorable to me. <>
yerdunc - My most memorable match has to be the one from round five, where I won from sacking all my mons into his Great Tusk counters so that it could get a clean sweep with headlong rush. I also liked my Palafin set from my previous game where Boomburst and Ice Beam covered his whole team.

:sphearical: Question 4: Which drafts in this top eight do you like most? :sphearical:
100percentpureheat - I’d say my own, that’s why I drafted it. I would also use Sylvi and CBB’s teams.
Atha - None of them stand out to me as particularly impressive. I like the goofiness of TinyBomby's. I was a fan of Trogba's draft but they barely missed Top 8. If I remember correctly, Xray's draft looked very good too.
CrashinBoomBang - I think GeniusX has a pretty fucking insane draft, god knows how you get Chien-Pao R1 Dragonite R2 Ting Lu R3... Well played by him, although this really shouldn't realistically be happening. Just look at all the Pao and Dragonite in the Top 8, they clearly should both be Top 5 picks, so it's definitely a little annoying that he'd get both of them. Then again, I know people have complained about me getting Iron Treads late R2, so I definitely got my own luck of the draw I think. Same kinda reasoning I like Atha's draft, Great Tusk R1 Dragonite R2 really shouldn't even happen, ever, but I think that's a little bit less egregious at least. Apart from that, all the drafts seem quite competent, somewhat jealous of Atha's Muk because I almost picked it myself, really quite a steal for 2 points imo.
GeniusX - It would probably be CBB's or Sylvis. I mocked 100P with CBB's draft and it was quite fun to use in prep. I enjoy drafts that can have a some creativity behind them so I would enjoy using mons like Sandy Shocks and Iron Treads. Sylvi's is cool as well because I've never used tera Palafin and I will probably never get the chance to since it'll always be banned but the Slowking and Hippowdown throws me off. Not a fan of those Pokémon at all.
Star - I'm friends with CBB so I've seen most of his games and think his draft is really good. He has a very offensive but still versatile draft and it looks fun to play with. His opponent, 100p, also has a cool draft. Tera Baxcalibur looks really dangerous and Copperajah and Sableye seem like really good cheap picks.
Sylvi - I really like CBB's Team as it fits in my theory of "good stuff". Really well balanced while having an excellent choice of Tera Captain. I think this has the potential to win the the whole thing.
TinyBomby - If I had to pick a draft to play as, it would be probably CrashinBoomBang’s, though that may be a bit obvious since he has the two most expensive mons shared with my team. I would least want to face up against GeniusX’s draft. I strongly dislike tera Dragonite.
yerdunc - I like Starmaster's draft a lot and was actually really hoping I didn't get it this round, which fortunately didn't happen.
:quagchamppogsire: Question 5: How do you feel about how you played your games? Certain games you could have done better? :quagchamppogsire:
100percentpureheat - I think my quality of play has been very high overall, except against ash Mars. I was pretty much completely clicking in that one. I also made a few misplays against Odin that turned a 100% win mu/prep combo into a lucky, tight win.
Atha - I'd say I played well most of the time but got also lucky overall (especially one round where my opponent had me cooked with his Volcarona but choked badly). No game where I felt like I should've played differently. I think some luck is needed to beat some of the threats that are allowed in this format.
CrashinBoomBang - Really not happy with my latest game, feels like my prep was fine but then I made two crucial errors. For the entire week I was literally telling myself to lead Chien-Pao no matter what and go from there but instead led Sandy Shocks on a hunch... right into Garchomp. Letting him get up free Spikes. Lovely. Also, not Torch Songing the Palafin over Hex definitely feels like it cost me the game, and it would have if I didn't get unreasonably lucky with my Shocks. Really well prepped and played by Kurpie, he definitely should have won that. Also, I think we both may have forgotten that Klefki can't actually Switcheroo Chien-Pao, unless he wasn't Prankster, so oops! Just felt really sloppy, especially compared to my other games. Liked my matchup more than the two rounds before as well.
GeniusX -I think I've played fine. I pride myself in having better prep than a lot of people and I think that's been shown in my games. I can't say i've been playing phenomenally but my prep usually carries even if I play slightly subpar to my standards. Probably could have done better in the Luthier game as that was the only game I was close to losing in brackets but it was quite hard to stay composed after the initial barrage of paras so I would say I did decent.
Star - I think I've played pretty well overall, nothing really memorable in terms of stuff I might have fucked up actually playing. Did make some awful builder decisions (ignoring Balloon Gholdengo as explained above) but yeah.
Sylvi - I mean I got 6-0d by Volcarona in my 1st Match LOL. I could have for sure played better in the group stage, for example, in my game against Choptch. After a rough group stage, I stepped up and started to play better. So I am looking to play to my best abilities in the remaining games!
TinyBomby - Oh absolutely, I don’t think I’m a very good player really and could have played a lot of them better. A lot of my early games once the single elims started were won due to hax and good luck or such. My most recent game for example against DOOR MONEY, could have been played a lot better, despite the fact I won it. Losing a Pokémon on the first turn never feels good. <>
yerdunc - A lot of my early games left much to be desired, even my round six game had some pretty poor plays in the early game like clicking draco meteor turn 1 into an obvious Hatterene and switching out from Toedscruel to Amoonguss into an expert belt Palafin that was likely gonna click ice punch.
:boi: Question 6: What was your most anticipated set that you wanted to use during this entire tournament? :boi:
100percentpureheat - Of all the sets I was positive were going to win, I was most sure that this one would win against Odin. It did end up winning on the spot, but only because I dodged Azumarill play rough. Fuck it though we ball.
  1. Great Tusk @ Booster Energy
  2. Ability: Protosynthesis
  3. Tera Type: Ground
  4. EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Spe
  5. Jolly Nature
  6. - Earthquake
  7. - Body Press
  8. - Rock Slide
  9. - Bulk Up
Atha - Nothing in particular.
CrashinBoomBang - I was really aiming to face another Skeledirge captain so I can run Speed EVs + Imprison, but with every other captain Dirge eliminated that never transpired. Apart from that, I still think the Sandy Shocks set is really cool, so it'd probably have to be that. Gonna be cooking for the last 3 rounds though, so who knows..
GeniusX - I really wanted to face a tera Volcarona because I wanted to bring Mirror Herb Encore, Clear Smog, Shadow Ball, Nasty Plot Gengar. It allows me to get +3 +1 +1 on switch and would only lose if they are tera steel for some reason. Unfortunately I didn't face any and Trick, Encore, Choice Scarf Gengar is just better vs other set up mons like Dragonite.
Star - Hard to choose one but probably this: Dragonite @ Heavy-Duty Boots Ability: Multiscale Tera Type: Dragon EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD Modest Nature IVs: 0 Atk - Draco Meteor - Surf - Agility - Roost I was facing a draft that had double unaware (Skeledirge + Dondozo) and was trying to figure out how to get the most use out of Dragonite. I realized that I could use Tera Dragon Draco to really punish unaware and let myself spam a ridiculously strong move for free. The set went in hard (even though he dropped the Dondozo) and won the game: <>
Sylvi - I think the Clear Amulett Hippowdown was the spiciest set I brought so far. I brought it once to the group stage, but it flopped there. In the Top 32, it overperformed, which made me happy. The upcoming VGC Champion Michaelderbeste2 suggested me this idea to block parting shot from grimmsnarl. This way it cannot switch out, and you trap it with Sand Tomb. This way you stall screens and and get rid of grimmsnarl in general.
TinyBomby - I really just wanted to have some fun with the banded Chien-Pao. Click buttons and kill, no thinking involved, makes sure I don’t mess something up. I also was quite excited to see how good Chilly Reception would be with Chien-Pao, but the defense boost has not come up at all I don’t believe. Still good for pivoting of course though.
yerdunc - Gen 9 was the first gen I seriously played Pokémon, and this was my first tournament as well, so I was naive enough to just pick Palafin and try to run the tera water choice band set that blows everything up, but a lot of my matchups just had opposing fat water resists so i had to actually play around those.
:pikuh: Question 7: What players are you interested in playing in the Top 8? :pikuh:
100percentpureheat - I want the easiest matchups possible. They know who they are.
Atha - No one in particular.
CrashinBoomBang - I think everyone's capable for being here, and I'm always down to face the best of the best. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best after all. I'll say that I kinda don't want to face GeniusX because, like I said, his first three picks transpiring the way they did disgust me just a little bit. I also think his matchup is pretty decent, but prep > actual draft, so I'm confident in taking down whoever I face going forward.
GeniusX - Probably 100P or CBB. I've known Craig (100P) for a while and haven't fought him in a while and I know he's a good player. I also never fought CBB before so want to face off against him if given the chance.
Star - CBB is a good friend and we don't play much in tours so that'd be fun, although I don't think my matchup is great vs his team so maybe not ideal LOL.
Sylvi - I really like CBB's Team as it fits in my theory of "good stuff". Really well balanced while having an excellent choice of Tera Captain. I think this has the potential to win the the whole thing.
TinyBomby - My apologies, but I don’t really know anybody left in the top 8. I suppose by draft alone, I’d love to see how well I can fare against the tera skeledirge which I’ve yet to face because I know it’s a real threat. That team is CrashinBoomBang’s.
yerdunc - Interested to play CBB cause his tera skeledirge has somehow been doing really well with the likes of tera palas and tera dnites swarming the top 8.
:row: Question 8: Any shoutouts you want to give to those who may have assisted you? :row:
100percentpureheat - Thank you to Nick, Theo, Ves, and bird, my devoted mock and ball torture enthusiasts.
Atha - I prepped on my own until now. Will seek some help for top 8 though. Some French compatriots as well as my man @dj breloominat.
CrashinBoomBang - This was mostly a 1 man operation, I think I have to build for myself to really understand how I want the team/game to flow and what I want for what part of my offense/defense. I don't really believe in mocks all that much, either, so it's not like I played an abundance of games... If anything, I feel like mocks can make you paranoid of stuff you had no reason to ever be worried of, so I avoid them if at all possible. A lot of interactions you can figure out without even playing, anyway. Shoutouts to Reje for talking that one build over with me for like 30 minutes and making me realize Azumarill is better in my Top32(?) game and McMeghan for being my go-to person to dump teams to that I think are really cool, not just for this tour but in general. But yeah, I wouldn't say I've had very much assistance at all in this tournament, small chats with friends but nothing huge. I work best when I mostly work for myself and at my own pace, I think.
GeniusX - Shoutouts to Kcric/Kynan for giving me mocks for a few bracket games and Craig for giving me mock for Atha.
Star - TDK/watashi/rozes - I've tagged them a bunch to bounce ideas off of (even if they only reply half the time lol.....)
Sylvi - First of all, I would like to thank cripwalk on sunday, Michaelderbeste2, mind gaming, Glurakaiser, Achimoo, not to forget Mr. Mosti. The whole road2goat gang basically. They have supported me through all of the Smogon Draft so far. They cheered me up and reminded me to never stop believing in myself. I also want to give special thanks to mind gaming, especially MichaelderBeste2 assisting me with Teambuilding and providing me with techs and some niche Ev Spreads. In general I thank all the people who believe in me, despite having some off days and my downs. I will repay their trust and I will not disappoint myself. After the biggest flop, comes the greatest serve after all!
TinyBomby - I was working completely alone up until the round of 32, but after I beat my good friend HJ5ean in that round, he promised to help me with prep for the rest of the tournament, so shoutouts to him, he should’ve been in my place probably.
yerdunc - King L5 definitely deserves a shoutout cause i'd always make my team then check it over with him, but there's also an unknown player in the community named urhere that i think is very good and helped me with useful mock games.

With top 8 matches wrapping up between today and tomorrow, be on the look out for Final Four and then our finalists before we crown the sub-forum's first Champion! Remember that a Custom Avatar for Pokemon Showdown! is on the line, as well as a prize pool totaling $500! Best of luck to all our final competitors!
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