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Old 04-24-2018, 01:38 PM   #1
Talon87
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VGC 2018 - Mega Aerodactyl Taiwanese Invasion!

Source: Reddit thread
Parent source: The team's blog post (warning: SUDDENLY J-POP)
English-language Translation of the Team's Details: right here

Quoting straight from the Reddit thread (which you should really already have clicked the link for):
Last week, Mega Aerodactyl was one of the 10 Mega Evolutions in VGC 2018 that didn't hold a single CP to its name (championship point, awarded for tournament finishes). It would not stay this way for long though. The Taiwan Special Event this Saturday (think like a regional) was won by a never before seen Mega Aerodactyl team, catching players worldwide off guard. Aerodactyl, Tapu Fini, Landorus-T, Incineroar, Ferrothorn, and Xurkitree (another very uncommon Pokemon in VGC18). However, this wasn't the only appearance of Mega Aerodactyl at the tournament. The exact same team was also piloted by 2nd place. And 7th. And 8th, and 9th, and 10th. All six of these players coordinated to build a team with a Pokemon that was literally never used in VGC 2018, and they completely crushed the tournament, racking up an extremely impressive 720 CP in the process.
Stories like these always put a smile on my face. The world loves a good Pachirisu story. The world also loves a story of teamwork and camaraderie winning out in the face of intense competition and overwhelming odds. We get both here, and it's grand. Just look at that group photo of the team at the very end! They're self-styled Rangers! I love it.

It remains to be seen what impact this Pokémon team will have on the 2018 meta or just how far it can go. But major kudos to the human team for banding together, coming up with this team, and reaching for their dreams at their local Regionals. Here's to hoping that one or more of the teammates can make it to some overseas events, including this summer's North American International and of course Worlds 2018.

Some choice snippets from the Reddit discussion:I'm just starting to read an English-language article about the team here at Game Haus, so check this out too if you like.

You can find a YouTube stream of the event here. That Swinub plushie in between the commentators is adorable!

Last edited by Talon87; 04-24-2018 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 04-24-2018, 02:12 PM   #2
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Teams entering a tournament with the same build isn't uncommon in other games either. MTG teams test all decks and often times the entire team ends up playing the same decks with possibly one or two sideboard differences between the individual members, although sometimes a teammate may play a completely different deck if they don't feel comfortable with the team deck. They're playing the meta and using the deck with the highest win rate.

And it's not really collusion, because they haven't banded together to determine who will win the tournament, they merely decided to play the same team. Each team member still has to win against their opponents.

If Mega Aerodactyl is a strong creature and it's underutilized, it's likely a meta call to use it as players will be unfamiliar with fighting one and have trouble guessing what will happen and make mistakes, like leaving a Pokemon that's weak to it's attacks or swapping in the wrong Pokemon.
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Old 04-24-2018, 02:25 PM   #3
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I agree that there's no ethical problem with what the team did here. A, it's already happened in VGC's past. Most memorably and recently with Wolfe Glicke's Worlds 2016 win, where he, Markus Stadter, and Baris Ackos -- 1st, 3rd, and 8th respectively -- all ran the same exact team that Wolfe, Markus, and the Zhengs had built together. But B, as the one Redditor puts it:
A regional win is a regional win. While 6 of the players used Mega Aerodactyl, that means that 59 had established standard teams. That being said, all 6 of them performed incredibly well, and had to beat those standard teams multiple times throughout the day. I know what you’re getting at - if you’re fighting the same weird team every round then the tournament doesn’t seem very difficult. But when you look at the size of the tournament as a whole, it adds up to each Aerodactyl player only playing the mirror match 1 or 2 times out of 7 rounds (or 8, 9, or 10 rounds for the players who advanced to Top 8, 4, and finals).
Or as the other Redditor put it:
Collusion implies that there was some harmful/illegal intent behind all running the same team -- there is nothing wrong with teambuilding together. Some high level players would probably hate doing that in the first place as in doing so you've given away your entire team to a bunch of other people you are competing against and, potentially, anybody else they would be comfortable enough to share that info with.
Finally, point C: if no one has any problem with unrelated individuals running the exact same team, and if no one has problems with "teams" (i.e. friendly collaborators) running different teams, then I can't see how anyone could have a problem with teams running the exact same team. Like ... everyone (self included!) bitches and nags when CHALK dominates the meta, but no one's accusing CHALK users of colluding, cheating, being unsportsmanlike, etc. So if it's okay for people to take a copypasta off of the Internet and run with it, why is it not okay for friends to build a team together and each field it in a collaborative shot at the trophy?
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Old 04-24-2018, 03:02 PM   #4
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There was an incident in Smogon earlier this year like this, called the "Ambipom Fiasco", where a player won consistently with it, causing other players to copy his team and lead to Ambipom rising two tiers to UU by usage.

At least Mega Aerodactyl is an UU Pokemon, so it's not like using it in OU or VGC is out of the question. It's hitting above its weight class, but not outrageously so. The purpose of "the fiasco" was to illustrate a few things:

-the UU players are SO TERRIBLE they cannot adapt and/or win a 6x5 Pokemon match
-Ambipom is actually good/undervalued
-Pokemon is so linear and constrained a game it's impossible to win against rogue/maverick decks

The second and third dictums are false. Ambipom isn't good, and with the huge number of meme players the normal UU players should have been able to adapt, since the opponents basically were going in with 5 Pokemon. They couldn't.

These are not children or victims of surprise. They're toxically bad players getting high off of each other's secondhand smoke.

Long story short...it's kind of fun, but I don't think this does good things for Pokemon, as it either paints the game as bad or the players as worse. In a VGC setting it's more forgivable though, especially with a concentrated effort to make Aerodactyl play feasible.
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Last edited by Doppleganger; 04-24-2018 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 04-24-2018, 04:25 PM   #5
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I am unfamiliar with the Ambipom Fiasco, but your assertion seems to be that the player who popularized it was essentially winning matches while playing with a 1-mon handicap. I.e. Ambipom was such baggage that he was essentially entering fights 5-6 and still coming out on top in the end. You are ruling out the possibility of Ambipom being partly responsible for the player's good performance in UU.

Okay. So let's say you're right. While you probably are right re:Ambipom and the Ambipom Fiasco, I don't think that applies here with Mega Aerodactyl. We're not concerned with usage here but with results. Your example of one star player and a horde of eager newbs copycatting him doesn't really apply to what was seen in Taiwan this weekend. It isn't enough that we say, "Mega Aerodactyl showed up eight times in Taiwan this weekend." He showed up six times in the top 16. He showed up four times in the top 8. In a field of some 60 teams, literally 50% of the top 8-out-of-60 teams were these Mega Aerodactyl teams. We can't just say, "Well, Mega Aero is still bad but a good enough player can take him far." Because for that to be the case, all six of the M-Aero pilots who managed to make Top 16 would have to be your hypothetical player who is so good that he's winning VGC matches whilst playing with a handicap. It's certainly possible ... but improbable. It's more likely that Mega Aerodactly is just really good 1) on that specific team 2) in that specific meta 3) when utilized in that specific fashion.

Sejun Park didn't win in spite of Pachirisu -- Sejun Park won because of Pachirisu. A brilliant player piloting a brilliant team (for that particular time and place).

While I don't think Mega Aero has much mileage left in him for VGC 2018, I do think that the Taiwanese friends' accomplishment is closer to Sejun's with Pachirisu than it is to Anonymous's with Ambipom. The friends pooled their resources, including their smarts, and identified a team that would work well in their regional meta. And it absolutely did, given their results.
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Old 04-25-2018, 06:17 PM   #6
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It is my understanding the Ambipom thing was a jab at the UU "council" (ie the Smogon players who decide what is in the tier/banned/etc) and apparently how they were not using their position to accurately place Pokemon in their proper tier but being corrupt/entitled/whatever it was they were accusing them of.

So someone decided to take a Pokemon (Ambipom), who at the time I believe was NU or RU. They did such a good job with them that they were winning with 5 Pokemon and completely blasting apart everyone in UU. The council had to react.

Basically, a lot of people aren't too thrilled with the Smogon tier system they have now. OU is basically filled with legendaries, Ubers is a shitshow, and the lower tiers have weird Pokemon allowed/banned for seemingly no reason and are also unfun to play. These tiers nowadays have a lot of really weird and specific rules/bans like Baton Pass being allowed unless you use it for XYZ, etc.
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Old 04-25-2018, 09:33 PM   #7
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Re: Ambipom

Not the first time something like this has happened. Back in the BW era people were questioning the usage-based tiering system and a select few group of people brute forced their way into Metang meeting the usage requirements for RU when it had been PU before. There's still evidence of this in the Smogon dex, with Metang receiving a meme entry for RU. I guess this differs from the example that Dopple brought up because this was a small group of people doing something to be funny but it's still fun to bring up.
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Old 04-25-2018, 09:55 PM   #8
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Kuno's post intrigued me and led me to do more digging. It turns out that "the player" is none other than Pokeaim of YouTube channel pokeaimMD fame. Apparently what happened was, for his YouTube channel he decided to see if he could make the top of the UU ladder with Ambipom. Separately, he encouraged his followers to try their hand at it themselves. Quoting from the first in his video series:

Quote:
LOL the UU tier is gonna hate me but it's a new year so time to shake it up. Welcome to episode 1 of Ambipom to the top! A series where I will ladder daily with Ambipom teams in the UU tier as I am tired of the disrepect towards my monkey friend. I encourage you all to ladder as well and leave teams on my smogon profile! Enjoy friends, it's the month of the Monkey! :]
So, it is an amalgam of what everyone is saying. He is a good battler. He did essentially play with a 1-mon handicap. But there were times Ambipom pulled his weight. Did Ambipom become UU based on merit? No. Did Ambipom become UU based on usage? Yes. Why did Ambipom's usage spike? Because a popular PokéTuber called upon his 162,000 followers to copy him. Does that mean Ambipom is objectively shit? Not exactly -- whether it's 100% handicap or not remains to be determined, but the guy still managed to get 5th place on the UU ladder.

When Smogon admitted Ambipom to the UU tier, Pokeaim had this to say:

Quote:
Well, we did it. Ambipom has risen to the UU tier for the month of February. I legitimately believe the monkey has a niche in the tier and is judged to be way worse than what it actually is. Faster than latias and Serperior. Ghost immunity with pursuit and knock off. Technician fake out for Offense and set up Pokemon. Elemental punches for the likes of scizor and gliscor as well as a strong technician boosted Tail Slap when it hits. AmbipomTTT started as a meme but as I was playing and laddering, I legitimately believed it earned its place in the tier.
So he admits that it started as a joke (i.e. he had no confidence in Ambipom's UU merits), but whether to save public face or whether because he genuinely believes it, he claims on February 4, 2018 that he legitimately believes it belongs in UU. You can hear more of his thoughts here.

The controversy is a combination of different viewpoints or sentiments. Some people feel like Pokeaim has made a mockery of UU. Others feel he has exposed problems with usage-based tiers. Others are concerned about future, deliberate sabotage. And of course others hold opposite viewpoints to any of the three previously listed.

His next target was apparently Mamoswine, trying to get Mamoswine booted from UU into OU. What ever came of this? As a Mamoswine user in Gens 4, 5, and 6 OU, I'd like to know. I don't personally see Mamoswine as OU in Gen 5 (BL), 6 (UU), or 7 (UU or lower), but that's just me based on my own experiences and dissatisfaction with the "good but not good enough" lumbering mammoth in OU. He was low OU in my opinion in Gen 4 -- not borderline, but bonafide OU -- and even in Gens 5 and 6 he was definitely OU serviceable. Hence my use of the big guy. But I just don't see it being possible to reach Top 50 of the OU ladder whilst fielding a Mamoswine. It's a promised handicap, I feel like, especially in Gen 7.
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Old 04-25-2018, 11:44 PM   #9
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Mamoswine was indeed booted into OU, but unlike with Ambipom, almost nobody has a problem with Mamoswine because its merits are well-known and it has a long history of success in OU. It really isn't OU material in USUM - probably BL, but not because it's bad, but because this meta isn't kind to it and it needs a lot of team support.
The top of the OU tier (aside from Landorus) are all threats to Mamoswine, and its archnemesis Scizor (who got a Mega) is also well represented in the tier. It's just not a good time to swine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
So he admits that it started as a joke (i.e. he had no confidence in Ambipom's UU merits), but whether to save public face or whether because he genuinely believes it, he claims on February 4, 2018 that he legitimately believes it belongs in UU. You can hear more of his thoughts here.

The controversy is a combination of different viewpoints or sentiments. Some people feel like Pokeaim has made a mockery of UU. Others feel he has exposed problems with usage-based tiers. Others are concerned about future, deliberate sabotage. And of course others hold opposite viewpoints to any of the three previously listed.
Whoever the guy who has both the #1 and #2 rank in UU, I dunno who it is, but Pokeaim backed off his comments about Ambipom sucking when that guy spoke up. The problem is these people are trying to search for explanations on why Ambipom was successful, which is how Smogon operates: it analyzes strategies players have come up for on their own, it doesn't dictate the strategies and players follow suit. This approach looks away from Occam's Razor saying Gen VII UU has a shallow, inflexible player base.

Ambipom could pull its weight...but there is a high opportunity cost there, with pretty much any viable UU Pokemon and most anything from RU providing equal or greater utility. So there's no real argument there, except that UU's players are so bad, they cannot beat more skilled opponents even with a handicap.

I also did not know this guy was that famous. I thought he was just a dude. Now, I know he was highly ranked, since during the Ambipom fiasco he had something like top 10, but I know pretty much nothing about Smogon celebrity.
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Old 04-25-2018, 11:53 PM   #10
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Yeah aim is one of the most well-known battlers from Smogon for sure. I think he has one of, if not the largest YouTube followings from a person that came directly from Smogon, as well as being a talented battler as well. As far as being influential... he did win awards for being the most influential battler and most influential user on Smogon for 2017 as voted on by Smogon users. So yeah, people take this dude's word as law on a lot of things. Not a surprise that there'd be a lot of copycat battlers looking to follow the trends he sets.
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