VGC Cube Drafting

Hello Hat Lovers!

Mark and I have been working on a VGC draft format over the last year, and recently we held our first draft tournament.

Last year before Nationals I built a deck of TCG cards that featured all the common Pokemon from the VGC 2014 metagame. At Nationals I would hand out six random cards to people and tell them that was their team. We would look at what everyone got and see who had the most legitimate looking team to try and play with.

We later tried to make a game out of this where everyone is given their team at random and everyone tries to argue why their team is better than the rest. These attempts often collapsed into a black hole of biased theory-mon and didn’t end up being satisfying. The was no accounting for player skill or RNG so it was impossible to determine which team would win. We decided that the only way to salvage this game was to make the players make their team after getting the cards and actually playing a game.

At long last we finally made a format for VGC drafting. Here are the steps for drafting:

  • Gather all players in a circle and give them each eight random cards from the deck
  • Each player takes one card for themselves and passes the remaining cards to the player on the left
  • Repeat the last step with the cards passed to you until everyone has eight cards
  • Every player is given twenty minutes to build their team on Showdown using the six of the eight Pokemon they drafted.

As an example of what you can expect, here’s what I drafted:

The cards I picked (in the order I got them) were Rotom-W, Raichu, Cresselia, Blastoise, Aggron, Whimsicott, Pachirisu and Nidoking. I picked Rotom-W because I figured it could fit onto any team. Raichu allowed me to make a scrub-chu team at worst. Picking Cresselia stopped others from having it and gave me more speed control options. Blastoise was my last chance to get a decent mega. Aggron and Whimsicott were both poor choices but they were still the best from their respective piles. Pachirisu was the only redirection option that I saw. Nidoking was the last card handed to me.

Once I had my eight cards I decided scrub-chu was the best way to go. Blastoise was my mega and I had Pachirisu for Follow Me. Nidoking rounded out coverage and Cresselia gave me speed control for games where I didn’t want to bring scrub-chu. The team looked like something you’d face when you were really low on the Showdown ladder, but no one else would have an optimal team either so I hoped it would be fine.

Rotom-Wash @ Choice Scarf
Rotom-WashAbility: Levitate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Discharge
– Hydro Pump
– Hidden Power [Ice]
– Thunderbolt

Raichu @ Focus Sash
RaichuAbility: Lightning Rod
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 12 Def / 236 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Thunderbolt
– Grass Knot
– Feint
– Fake Out

Cresselia @ Leftovers
CresseliaAbility: Levitate
Level: 50
EVs: 220 HP / 172 Def / 4 SpA / 92 SpD / 20 Spe
Calm Nature
– Psychic
– Icy Wind
– Calm Mind
– Moonlight

Blastoise-Mega @ Blastoisinite
Blastoise-MegaAbility: Mega Launcher
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Water Spout
– Aura Sphere
– Ice Beam
– Protect

Pachirisu @ Sitrus Berry
PachirisuAbility: Volt Absorb
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Bold Nature
– Nuzzle
– Super Fang
– Follow Me
– Protect

Nidoking @ Life Orb
NidokingAbility: Sheer Force
Level: 50
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Earth Power
– Ice Beam
– Flamethrower
– Protect

I went 3-0 with the team. My team obviously had a lot of flaws but it had synergy and I was familiar using similar strategies. Everyone else was using spaghetti teams as well, so I wasn’t at a disadvantage. Getting to play Blastoise (and have it be good) was a fun experience that I wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere.

Overall I think we finally found the right way to draft VGC. The only issues are building the deck (we used to play TCG so this was easy for us) and having a computer for everyone playing. I recommend trying it out because it was a lot of fun and a nice change of pace.

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