After making my Pokémon Black team for ACen and not using it, I decided to do the next best thing: enter it into the Battle Subway, which I apparently had not ever done except with friends. This is because I abhor the Battle Frontier/Subway for a few reasons: you can only use 3 Pokémon in singles and 4 Pokémon in doubles, the Species Clause is in effect, and the Item Clause is in effect. For those not familiar with the terms, they’re term used in competitive Pokémon; Item Clause prevents any two Pokémon from holding the same item, Species Clause prevents the same type of Pokémon (two Pikachu, for example) from being entered, and all Pokémon are set to level 50.
I think those four limits should be lifted in light of teams of x (where x can be 1-6 in singles and 2-6 in doubles) number of Pokémon being entered, no Item Clause and Species Clause in effect, and Pokémon are the level of the highest of your team. Why? I think it would make the Battle Subway more accessible and more fun to partake in, plus it gears itself toward competitive players, which the games have slowly been aiming towards since Generation 3 (Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald) with the introduction of the Battle Frontier in Emerald.
The limit on Pokémon being removed and replaced with a system where your opponent’s number of Pokémon equal yours would be an awesome idea – who wouldn’t want to take their prized Pokémon and see how far they last in singles, or take their favorite team and see how far they last in doubles? Battles would be quick and fast, where on the flip side going for higher numbers of Pokémon means the battles would be slower, but you get to use your whole team, which, in my mind, is way more rewarding to win with a limited number of your team, especially if you’re a competitive player and your team needs its other teammates to perform well. And if your team is 3 Pokémon, then more power to you – go and use those three in the Battle Subway. I would very much prefer to use my team of six.
I lost to a Dragonite the 30th battle of the Super Single Train because it 2 Hit KO’d (2HKO’d) my Slowbro, One Hit KO’d (OHKO’d) my Blissey, and then OHKO’d my Espeon with Outrage. If I had my Hippowdon and Aron/Sigilyph on my team, I could’ve easily dealt with Dragonite either with Hippowdon or Aron/Sigilyph, and it’s frustrating that I know my team would be able to take him and lose because I was limited to 3 Pokémon. Once I lost, I tried again and went up against a Mixed Sweeping Poliwrath whom I couldn’t take down after 3 Work Ups because I had no fast, hard-hitting Pokémon (I had chosen Slowbro, Blissey, and Tyranitar). I was swept by him, knowing I could’ve beaten him with Espeon or Aron/Sigilyph. It’s worse that I couldn’t put Leftovers on my Slowbro, so let’s talk about the Item Clause.
Let me put this out there – I HATE the Item Clause. Whoever thought of the Item Clause is dumb, because they probably thought people were going to use 6 Bright Powder or Leftovers, and while I understand Bright Powder, in competitive play an item like Bright Powder and moves like Double Team are banned, but that’s not the point; the point is that Bright Powder and Leftovers aren’t that good. You can’t just slap Bright Powder or Leftovers on a Pokémon and they suddenly become godlike. Yeah, you’ll miss a couple more moves against a Pokémon with Bright Powder, but that shouldn’t warrant the Item Clause, because I think anyone who slaps 6 Bright Powder onto their team is bad and will probably lose within the 20th battle anyway. A more stylized and thought-out item spread will do better. It should be any Pokémon can use any item they want, and if it happens to be 6 Leftovers or 6 Bright Powder, then so be it!
And for those who would argue that the Item Clause “forces you to be creative with items”, it also forces you to lose because some Pokémon work well with a certain item, and another may also work well with that item, and when two of your team uses the same item and the rest use different ones, I would hardly call that being uncreative. It’s a stupid rule and I don’t think it should even exist within any kind of battling in the games or in competitive play.
Speaking of Clauses, let’s talk about the Species Clause. I don’t know why the Species Clause is in effect, but I know I’d love to go into the Battle Subway with 6 Pikachu and see how far I get! That’d be fun to try, but I’ll never get to because the Species Clause is in effect. I also have a fun team that I call “The Ice Cream Team”, which is composed of Abomasnow, Heatran, and 4 Vanilluxe. It’s a really fun team to play with even though it’s really bad, but I bet I could make it to at least 40 battles in Super Singles. This isn’t really that big of a deal to me, but I’d definitely be playing Pokémon more if I could do this on the Battle Subway. It’d be fun to do! Most competitive scenes have the Species Clause in effect anyway, I’d just like to try out my fun teams sometimes and a Battle Subway without the SPecies Clause would allow me to do that.
The last thing I think needs to be changed are the forced levels. No matter what, all Pokémon are forced to be at level 50. I understand the logic behind this – there shouldn’t be any Pokémon at a different level because it would provide a disadvantage to the player. For those, like me, who use weird strategies (I use a level 1 Aron), however, I need that level cap to be gone, so there should be three options – one where every Pokémon is set to 50, one where every Pokémon is set to 100, or one where the level of the opponent’s Pokémon is that of the highest-leveled Pokémon on your team (so if your highest is 85, every Pokémon on the opponent’s team would be 85, and your Pokémon would all be at their respective levels, whatever they may be). This allows for level 50 play, level 100 play, and play where someone (like me) who uses a weird strategy that employs low-level Pokémon can utilize that strategy.
The Battle Subway is actually pretty limited in terms of what you can do with your teams when playing. If these four limitations were lifted then I think a lot more players would find themselves enjoying the Battle Subway more. It’d be more competitive, more fun, and I know I’d find myself coming back again and again to play it.
As a side note, the Infrared battles should also have those three level options, too, because it also sets every Pokémon to 50.