I've been looking forward to making this post because I just love the teambuilding process for Pokemon leagues. I find it so exciting. However, I wasn't always so good at drafting or battling for them. Looking back, I was pretty bad actually. There aren't too many resources for getting into it though. It's just, experience and seeing what others do in some popular leagues like GBA.
I'm actually doing this post over unfortunately. I felt like I left some things out, and didn't keep up with the number of mons in my mock draft example >.> It was a bit of a failure. But you learn from your mistakes. Anyway, let's start this thing.
Step 1: Planning
First of all, I will be using GBA's Season 6 ruleset as a base for this example. That way you won't be wondering why I'm not choosing certain Pokemon. You definitely want to evaluate the rules for a league you enter so that you can try and build the strongest team you can with the options you are given.
So, your application has been accepted for a Pokemon league? Congratulations! But wait! What kind of team are you going to use for it? Draft day is right around the corner. Fear not. I will help give you the tools you need, young grasshopper, to get you on par with your opposition.
A draft plan can be very useful. If you are interested in using a certain Pokemon, maybe one that you are quite comfortable with, you can list on your draft plan. Then, you can start adding Pokemon that help that one do it's job better. Pokemon that can fill the role of a wallbreaker, a cleric, hazard control, sweeper, etc.
There are lots of roles like there are lots of types. Having different types of Pokemon can be very useful too. Gives you a way of dealing with the most Pokemon you possibly can. A common weakness people leave open in competitive Pokemon I find, are Ghost types. A Dark type can do you wonders when drafting your team.
Let's say you've been given your draft order and you are 7th to draft out of 8. This isn't actually a bad thing in terms of getting the Pokemon you want to support your team. But this does lose you out on getting some of the more ideal picks like Landorus-T, Keldeo, Mew, etc. Being an 8-man draft also makes it pretty easy for everyone to have stacked teams, unlike a 12-man or 16-man.
For our example, I will go with trying to build a team with Mega Venusaur. A strong Pokemon like a Mega evolution, or something very versatile like Jirachi (which has a ridiculously good movepool), is a great focal point on a draft team. It is a Pokemon we may be able to get when our first pick rolls around since there are other, more sought after picks that are likely to go first.
Multiple roles and types should be checked on a mental or physical checklist (like on a notepad program on your computer). My source for team roles comes from Pyrotoz 's teambuilder at https://pyrotoz.com/ . There, you will find a Team Checklist for various roles such as Spinners/Defoggers, Boosters/Sweepers, Knock Off users, Clerics, Hazard Setters, etc. You can also keep track of weaknesses for the first 6 Pokemon. Remember: Every new Pokemon you add can patch a hole in your team, but it will always make you a little weaker to some other type. It's just a matter of finding a good balance. Like 3 Fire resists for 3 Fire weaknesses. That sort of thing.
For Mega Venusaur, we must think about what it offers us and what it doesn't. On the plus side, it doesn't have very many weaknesses once it is Mega evolved. It has a great form of recovery in Synthesis. It tends to run a special set with moves such as Sludge Bomb and Giga Drain in singles, but can also be a physical sweeper with Swords Dance and access to good physical moves like Earthquake and Power Whip. It can use Knock Off too, which can also be great coverage against Psychic types. On the downside, it has weaknesses to Psychic and Flying. It can't deal with bulky Steel types very well. It doesn't like coming in on Stealth Rock or layers of Spikes. Sure it can heal that damage off, but if it's already coming in weakened, it might not get the chance before it is taken out.
So we will want Pokemon that can help us fill others roles. A good place to look to find out which Pokemon work best together are the summaries for Pokemon on Smogon. Something like an A tier pick in Tyranitar could help us deal with both Psychic and Flying types. Arcanine can lend itself to help us deal with most bulky Steel types. Latios or Mandibuzz could be used a Defogger. You can even find a lot of Pokemon that do similar things while being a lower tier choice. Just because you might not be able to get an awesome core of Mega Manectric and Landorus-T, doesn't mean that you can't find similar success in Mega Manectric and Flygon paired together. Both Landorus-T and Flygon are Ground types, are immune to Ground type moves, have access to U-turn for momentum, and are around the same speed tier.
Step 2: Drafting
Already? That was fast. Alright. Let's go in with the same plan of using Mega Venusaur. You can, of course, choose to draft something else that you feel is more threatening if the option is still there when your turn comes around.
Strong picks right off the bat from your lovely opponents. I'm still gonna stick to my guns and go for Mega Venusaur, even though there are certainly some big threats up for grabs.
Oof. Powerful picks from Stevie Nicks. Both beat Mega Venusaur, since Kyurem-B's ability breaks through Thick Fat. Drafting something that can beat the threats already present that beat our mega is a good drafting strategy. Tyranitar could be worth it. Mega Venusaur and Tyranitar cover each other nicely, but a good Steel type would be really good against Kyurem-B and Jirachi since those two don't have the strongest options for dealing with one. Something like Skarmory or Registeel. I'll choose Tyranitar because I believe that it would be more likely to go first than all the good Steel options. Tyranitar can function as a strong attacker, and even a sweeper with Dragon Dance. It can Pursuit trap Psychic and Ghost types too. This allows Mega Venusaur to have a much easier time in battles.
As you can see from these teams, the other coaches are trying to fill some roles and typings. And the Pokemon they've been picking are all higher tier picks. This is common practice for getting the most out of your top picks. Sometimes it pays to scoop up better end low tier picks too, like Jellicent and Hitmontop. That way you don't get stuck with picks that you probably wouldn't dream of using. Of course, choosing the perfect time to break the low tier ice is important.
Alright. So the teams are pretty stacked at the moment. There is a Landorus-T and we have no Earthquake switch-ins. That is a problem. I would suggest a Flying/Levitate mon. Good examples are the aforementioned Skarmory, as well as Rotom-Wash, Gengar, and gen 6 Talonflame. RIP gen 7 Talonflame by the way. I could take Talonflame to make sure that it can't be used against me, but I have a pretty solid Rock type in Tyranitar, which stops it dead in it's tracks. I think I will choose Skarmory. We could use a form of hazard control, as well as a hazard setter itself.
It appears that Stevie Nicks has taken 3 Tier 1 picks and now has a really powerful looking Dragon Fairy Steel core (fantasy core). However, now she has sacrificed a Tier 1 mega choice in the process. At the end of this draft, everyone must have 11 Pokemon on their team. No more, no less. And the least expensive tier there is is Tier 5, which costs 40 points for a Free pick. Therefore, she needs 80 points between her two final Free picks to do this. This is a good example of managing your budget.
Moving on, we can see there are still some roles we could use on our team. Another form of hazard control, like a Rapid Spinner, takes the pressure off of us to bring Skarmory every single game. And a benefit to Rapid Spin over Defog is that it only removes our opponent's hazards instead of both of ours. I think Donphan could work out here. It also gives us an Electric immunity. No Thunder Wave paralysis for us! It is also another Knock Off user and hazard setter. It's nice to be able to stack some roles sometimes so that you aren't left using a certain Pokemon in a certain way all season. Like when I had to run defensive Clefable in PFA because I didn't have any other clerics or Wish users. I wanted the option to use a Calm Mind sweeper or Life Orb Magic Guard attacker set too :'(
I have two Pokemon in mind at this point. I would like a Fire type and a Fairy type. I can only choose one right now. Since the next coach picking already has a Fairy type, but no Fire type, I will choose the Fire type. I choose Rotom-Heat. It has access to status moves in Will o Wisp and Thunder Wave that I can use to cripple my opponent's Pokemon, it is a Ground immunity against anything without Mold Breaker, and can be a nice Choice item attacker.
I would love to abuse the last two choices Stevie Nicks made my drafting Milotic. With Competitive, it would continuously gain boosts off of Intimidate. It might just scare them off from bringing it in general. However, I feel like good Fairy types, of the tiers I can afford, are dwindling out. I'm going to take Florges. It gets access to Calm Mind, Heal Bell, Wish. Like Clefable, it is very good at supporting the team and taking hits.
I'm noticing a striking Water type weakness on my team. All I really have for them is Mega Venusaur, which is good but not a perfect answer. Milotic wasn't sniped from me, but I've decided on another Water type option. Vaporeon. This way, I can stack Wish/Cleric users, and a phazer. Milotic has the ability to phaze too, but with Dragon Tail. Personally, I prefer Roar since it never misses, affects Fairys, and bypasses Substitute. The downside is that it is affected by Taunt and Magic Bounce, but I am fine with this. Come to papa!
We don't have a Fighting type yet, and I would also like to have a VoltTurn core. I think the addition of Primeape would be fantastic. It can even take a Rock type hit for Rotom-Heat so that I may spam Volt Switch and U-turn. A Fighting is also very important against powerful and bulky Normal type threats like Chansey or Snorlax.
To close things out, I'm not expecting much in these last picks. I will try and cover the typings I've missed. The team is missing a Psychic type. I don't see the best options in Tier 4. Mesprit stands out as a pure Psychic type with decent stats. It gets access to U-turn and Stealth Rock. So that is pretty cool. Pretty handy.
We're still missing a Ghost type. Defensively, some teams don't prepare well enough for those. And they can work as a spinblocker against hazard removal. To make the most of the points we have left, the best we can do are two Tier D picks. You better believe I'm gonna go with that. A good Ghost in Tier D is Cofagrigus. It can be a passive and offensive threat. And it has access to Trick Room. That could be useful in matchup against a generally fast team. Options! We got 'em!
Last pick. Huzzah! Two types I can think of that aren't on the team are Ice and Normal. There is no combination of the two. Which is probably a good thing. I think I will finish off the draft by choosing Cinccino. Maybe I could even go back later and make a couple transactions to Froslass and a normal type by getting rid of Cinccino and Cofagrigus. Cinccino is a tough Pokemon, but does tend to be a little gimmicky in it's most feared set. King's Rock Skill Link. Flinch City.
Were you satisfied with my tips and examples? I hope so. But if not, let me know what you think I could do to fix or clarify any problems you've noticed. I'm really tired right now. I have typing this up for hours now. And my thoughts were a little all over the place. I think that's basically my style of writing in a nutshell though. Anyway, have a great day and I will see you next time!
Also, I would like to know which draft you preferred out of the mock teams I made up.