Sunday, 1 October 2017

How to Run a Pokemon League to Success

I've been in some Pokemon leagues recently, and I've found myself having to leave too many of them due to complications on the part of the league or league creator itself. So I'm making this post to try and help some people get passed these issues and keep their leagues going to the end of the season. Sometimes there is a lack of interest and the coaches themselves end up killing it, but there isn't much you can do about that except to make your league as enjoyable as possible. Now, let's start this thing.

1. Tiering

Probably the most important thing in a Pokemon league, is the Pokemon. Which Pokemon do you want to include? Some might be chosen to be excluded because of how hard they are to prepare for. This includes abilities like Shadow Tag and Arena Trap too perhaps. I have seen one and not the other allowed.

How many tiers will there be/Where will you place each Pokemon? I've seen differences in the number of tiers between singles leagues and doubles leagues. GBA's Season 5 tier list tends to be the standard for most leagues, built by the Smogon community. For singles, coaches teams were comprised of 5 different tiers of standard Pokemon, and one Mega Pokemon from their own separate tiers. The end result for teams required 10 different Pokemon using a points system to keep teams from becoming drastically better than another players'. Each tier would consume a certain amount of points. The higher the tier, the more points the Pokemon would take to draft. And the Mega evolution you choose can give you more points towards Free picks if you choose a lower tier Mega. Another thing to consider when forming tiers is whether a Mega pick has to Mega evolve the first turn they stay in. If not, Pokemon like Mega Sharpedo and Mega Slowbro really take a hit from this and would be more likely to be chosen as a lower pick than a higher pick.

This tends to be a more favourable way of drafting Pokemon, but some league organizers try a tier-less method of drafting and it can allow for some very powerful teams. The fewer the coaches, the better the odds of everyone walking away with a good team.

2. The Rules

Tiering does count as a rule of a league, but it's also kind of the first thing you would want to establish. Other rules would include items for Pokemon, abilities, which Pokemon are banned from the league, how many points you are allowed for the draft (if you are using a points system),  And having these rules posted is very important. The last league I was in didn't do this and fell apart on week 1. Behaviour in the league is good to monitor. You want to build a good reputation for your league so that people will be interested in joining whenever you choose to start back up. Of course, some players enjoy razzing each other, so some might just shit talk for fun rather than to actually put others down. How many transactions (trades/free agents) do you want to allow each coach to have? I find that around 4-6 of these total is quite reasonable. Allowing them to have too many changes might change the entire dynamic of their team. And allowing them too few might leave them feeling defeated if they feel like they made too many picks that don't quite mesh the way they thought they would with their team. A common thing I see with leagues is allowing coaches, who take over a team for one who has abandoned the league, to have more transactions to get their team into shape and encourage them to stay. I haven't seen any backlash for this practice yet.

3. Ownership

I feel like that last line segways perfectly into this topic. To be a good owner, you have to be able to make a decision when a problem arises that will satisfy most of the coaches in your league, if not all. To take an example from the last league I was in, the owner removed a coach that had an issue with the owner wanting to restart the season after already postponing the season by a week due to his own absence. He did this to give my team time to collect ourselves after changing a member (this was a multibattle league and my partner left because school was interfering with league). The owner did not speak to me of this. I was more than willing to just get the game out of the way. And if I had lost, would probably have made changes to the team the following week that could've benefited us greatly against our future opponents. Not being able to agree with the owner's decision and too impatient to wait another week on this, I left. It is very important to run a league properly and make it fun for those involved if you want to make it work.

4. Scheduling

It is quite important to get battles in, but make some exceptions for others who have a harder time getting them in due to their personal obligations like school or work. Depending on how eager the other coaches are, you might be able to extend weeks or move deadlines ahead to satisfy those with more difficulty getting matches done.

Most leagues tend to get their matches done on a weekly basis. Some leagues will opt for getting matches done whenever people are available to do so, but I find that there are always people on top of it with getting matches done who become impatient with others who are slower about it - once again, because of personal obligations. This method of scheduling may work better with those who have open schedules or younger people who are still in school.

5. Extras

You can give people a goal in league play and make it more fun by having awards like an MVP race (for best offensive and/or defensive pokemon), play of the season, best match, best joke Pokemon (a low tier threat that can make itself useless in some way, i.e. Koffing. Someone actually won a season of league with this), dark horse team, best coach, etc.


I hope you enjoyed and perhaps learned something. If you have anything to dispute or add or any feedback at all, you can certainly leave the comment on this. Have a good day and see you around!

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