Retrospection on first Greek Wi-Fi championship
This retrospection aims to draw some conclusions from the first Greek Pokémon Championship, which ran via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection from April 21st to July 16th 2009. It was organized by Nintendo of Greece, with the support and cooperation of the site Legendary Pokémon.
The tournament had 62 participants, of which ten failed to show up in either the first or the second round. Estimated age range was 10 to 24 years old - the author is familiar with most of the participants through the Nintendo of Greece forums. Only two girls were among the total. The tournament format was single elimination, which resulted in six rounds of battles.
Our sample consists of 58 teams, made up of six Pokémon each, 41 of them complete with movesets, of which seven had no items attached, apparently consciously; a few only had a couple of items. There were at least nine shiny Pokémon participating in the tournaments, as participants voluntarily declared.
The above sample is not sizable enough to draw any conclusions about a possible distinct metagame in Greece. It is, however, indicative as to what proportion of the participants can be described as knowledgeable about competitive battling or casual. The statistic data gathered also allows people to spot some trends among usage of Pokémon, attacks and items.
Before moving further, a quick review of the tournament rules as designated by the Legendary Pokémon crew:
- The following Pokémon were banned: Arceus, Darkrai, Deoxys (all Formes), Dialga, Giratina, Groudon, Ho-Oh, Kyogre, Lugia, Manaphy, Mew, Mewtwo, Palkia, Rayquaza, Wobbuffet, Celebi and Shaymin. All participating Pokémon had to be legitimate and not hacked.
Latias and Latios were allowed only without holding the item Soul Dew, yet a team could not include both of them. Garchomp could only be used without a held item and not in the same team with either Tyranitar or Hippowdon.
- All moves were allowed. The only exceptions were Explosion or Destiny Bond at the end of battle. The player using such moves at the end of battle resulting in a draw, would be eliminated.
- No single item can be held by more than one Pokémon (Item Clause).
- Battles were run at Level 100 forced single.
- All participants had to declare six different Pokémon (Species Clause). In addition they were not allowed to change their team in-between the battles, with the exception of rematch battles due to technical difficulties.
- Players had to agree on a date for their match during a flexible time period and publicly disclose their arrangement on the Nintendo.gr forums.
- If either player happened to disconnect during a match (up to two times), then a rematch was in order. Cases of multiple disconnections were to be examined individually.
- After a particular match was over, the participants had to send a report describing the opponent's team and could also request a hack check if they doubted the legitimacy of their opponent's Pokémon.
- Participants that revealed an opponent's Pokémon publicly were to be eliminated. A hack check included inspection of Pokémon's statistics and related available information via Wi-Fi or photographs.
Comments on the Rules
As expected, the rules caused some stir among the participants. Some complained about most legendaries (ubers) being prohibited. Mostly casual players, apparently, yet even more had complains about forcing set solid teams. The latter dispute was quite easy to settle since that's the norm in all official tournaments. Perhaps in the next tournament seventh or eighth slot could be opened up to prohibit use of additional Pokémon during rematches.
What proved to be problematic was not having strict time limits on each round's duration, thus the tournament was slow paced and lasted 3 months. That will be a thing to remember when organizing similar events in the future.
Multiple disconnections was another issue that caused frustration to the judges. Due to the nature of a Wi-Fi tournament, a lot of connectivity problems are bound to appear. What is more, it's tough to accurately determine whose fault it is. Through endless email back-and-forths, requests were made to the players to capture a video of their battle to see who was the first to disconnect. Preferably, the participants in dispute were asked to peacefully decide, if possible, on which had the advantage and should therefore move forward. A fair and objective solution to this problem is yet to be found.
Wi-Fi tournaments require less to no resources since there's no need for conference halls or people to set things up and moderate the event. It is also more convenient for players in remote locations to participate. There are, however, serious shortcomings: dealing with disconnects is problematic, legality checks are harder, plus it's also a fact that such tournaments, no matter how flexible they are, should eventually finish in a timely manner, hence why double-battles or all-play-all formats are not suitable.
Last but not least, a mistake that should never repeat was not having a strictly formatted team submission template. This not only brought a chain of emails that could be avoided, but also made the data procession that precedes this very article slow and tedious.
Since the sample was relatively small, the author believes that bar charts and percentages are unsuitable for the purpose of this article, thus word frequency clouds are used instead.
In the following cloud, one can clearly see which species were the most popular among the participants. The results are rather predictable considering the Soul Dew clause and the fact that Tyranitar and an itemless Garchomp could not co-exist. The usual suspects are also among the top ten, along with mostly Fire-type starters, which are traditionally popular.
If one is willing to participate in the next championship, which is going to be sometime around Christmas, these findings could be put to good use.
Moving over to the attacks, where Earthquake seems to be overly preferred, followed by Thunderbolt, Ice Beam, Psychic, Shadow Ball, Flamethrower, Hyper Beam and Surf. Obviously predominant species affect which moves are more popular than others. There is however a distinct lack of Grass-type moves.
In the following graph are the attacks of preference for Metagross and Tyranitar, the top duo. Movesets vary, yet one can spot the trends clearly.
A particular statistic that sets expert players apart from the casual ones is apparently usage of held items. A lot of inexperienced players seem to unknowingly underestimate this feature. Perhaps Pokémon game designers should better underline its potential in the future. Everybody else seems to understand the value of Leftovers, however, with Life Orb and Focus Sash following far behind.
And this is pretty much all that could be analyzed and visualized from the limited data that was available.
Given the opportunity while running the forthcoming tournament, more detailed information from the participants will be required, including Level 100 stats and natures. A proper team registration template will be implemented this time around. It will be interesting to see what's the impact (if any) of this article on team strategies and movesets used during the next championship.