The Battle Subway (and why its rules should be changed)

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.

Just sayin’.

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Be Kappy LoL

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Kappy. A rather peculiar soul, he seemed to influence a certain kind of hellish laughter upon many by ending all of his sentences with the acronym ‘LOL’. LOL. After years of of LOL’ing amongst his friends and acquaintances, a certain air for trolling and being-well, bad, to put it bluntly-began to swirl and hover about his person. OK, so this isn’t really about Kappy. It’s about what he thought about a certain LoL-that is, League of Legends. You see, boys and girls, Kappy thought LoL was a bad game. He hadn’t really played the game, but he had seen it being played and thought it was ridiculous that so many in the Smash community hopped on as time went by and played it competitively.

OK, it’s not really about him thinking it was bad. It’s about him being convinced to download it last fall when school started and not touching it until two weeks later and finding out that it’s actually pretty damn fun. That’s right, after months of bashing League of Legends, I picked it up a couple weeks ago, and now that I’ve gotten to play it a little more, I’m starting to really enjoy it.

It’s not even that I enjoy it as a game. I think the teamwork aspect and playing amongst my friends is really what’s fun to me. I had heard so much about the horrible community it had, and since I’m not really a fan of elitist pricks (which is what I heard many were), so even after downloading the game, I didn’t touch it.

Finally, I spent a night talking to two of my friends and they helped me explain the game, and I said, “Hell, why not?” I had already finished my work for the day, so I made an account quick-like, sat down, and began playing.

Honestly, it’s fun. Really fun. But it’s definitely NOT fun unless I’m playing with my friends, and I think that’s important to note. A lot of my feedback came from people playing pick-me-up style games with random teammates. There was no synergy, and if you didn’t follow someone’s specific style you weren’t received warmly by them.

But when I started playing against real people with my friends, there was an air of knowing what was going on. Lots of talking back and forth without a lot of silence, like a real team would during a match of Halo at MLG. I’m not saying the games stack up competitively, but I think the similarity of constant talking is what’s important, here. Most newcomers (like myself) look at a game like LoL and think, “how can this be fun? It’s long, it looks boring, and it looks really confusing.”

I remember specifically myself watching a game and asking, “what are you doing?” My friend said he was farming for gold, and I replied with, “farming? How can you enjoy this game? Why don’t you go kill someone?”

He told me that people farmed before they went and attacked, and that that can take around 10 minutes. Really? Talk about slow-paced.

Then I played a real game, and I died within the first minute. Yes, I was stomped on and my friends LOL’d at me, and I asked, “isn’t there an unwritten rule for farming?” They explained that it depends on the characters and what lane you’re in, and I began to really understand how the game worked on a social level. THere’s a lot that goes into when you should push or fall back.

As I got better (which isn’t that much, by the way LOL), I got to the point where I did farm, and here’s where I became hooked. If you’re with a teammate you’re constantly talking to them (and your other teammates) about what’s going on. Who needs help, when you’re going back and buying an item, what items to buy, when you get your ult and have it; really, there’s a lot to talk about, and I think that’s why I find this game so attractive. There’s a real sense of team that I never saw until I had a chance to play it myself.

There’s a little lesson to be learned here. While word of mouth and watching can be two excellent methods of computing content within a game and deciding whether or not you, personally, want to play it, it’s a good idea to get a little hands-on with it in different ways, especially if it’s multiplayer.

I’ll always advise offline multiplayer first over online (unless it’s a fighting game, but that’s for another blog entry) because playing with your friends is generally a better experience (unless you’re playing with a friend online LOL).

Just sayin’ LOL