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The CALLOUS Guide To Managing Team Tours

Discussion in 'Other Tours' started by CALLOUS, Jan 1, 2020.


    CALLOUS YouTube.com/CALLOUSnarrates Leader

    May 12, 2016
    Likes Received:
    For quite some time I've been outspoken with my frustration with things other managers do or don't do in major team tours, including SPL, and my firm belief that most of them are approaching the whole thing incorrectly. In every single draft I ever watch, including those I'm participating in, I find myself disagreeing with the majority of the decisions other managers are making and being baffled by the prices players end up going for. It definitely seems to me, after reviewing many different drafts over the course of several years, that there are several traps managers consistently fall into that are ultimately detrimental to their end product. Today I'd like to outline in detail my systematic approach to draft tours, what I think managers should be doing and not doing and why most managers that I've seen approach drafts with a fundamentally flawed strategy.

    For reference, in the past three years I've managed six team tours. I've made the playoffs in 6/6 of them, made the finals in 5/6 of them and won 3/6 of them. The team I'm managing has been the number one seed going into playoffs 5/6 times. My results have been the best and most consistent of any manager I am aware of during this time period.

    Those tours are-

    Pokemon Perfect League 2 (Finals)
    Good Saturdays Premier League 1 (Champions)
    Pokemon Online Champions League 2017 (Champions)
    Pokemon Online Champions League 2018 (Finals)
    Pokemon Online Champions League 2019 (Semifinals)
    Pokemon Online Grand Prix 2019 (Champions)

    I have never not made playoffs as a manager and I've only not made finals once. This consistency is not coincidental. I follow specific steps, and do so with strict self-discipline, in order to consistently achieve results. Here are my thoughts-


    Bias Because You Like Someone As A Person

    Whether consciously or subconsciously as humans we, by nature, think about people we particularly like differently than we think about people we don't particularly care for or maybe simply aren't familiar with. Someone we know we'd enjoy teaming with and have a few laughs with inherently feels more desirable to pick up in the draft than someone who we find kind of annoying. In reality, this kind of thinking is very limiting and you're putting self-inflicted restraints on that other managers are not bound by. A theme you'll see me harp on repeatedly in this article is neutrality and objectivity- something damn near every manager I've ever seen is severely lacking- and that is possibly the biggest reason I'm so consistently able to draft the best team. I'm not picking the players I like best. I'm picking the best players for the best prices, period, completely regardless of who I am friends with or whether or not I like someone.

    "Big Name"/Accomplishment X

    The fact that someone was good two years ago, or in many cases far longer ago than that, does not, at all, mean they're still good today. I take nothing away from anything anyone has achieved in the past, but quite frankly the fact that someone won a Smogon Tour three years ago or was one of the best players back in SPL 3 is absolutely, utterly irrelevant today. The only thing you as a manager should be caring about is what any given player has looked like in the past six months. MAYBE the past year, but I think even that is too far back to truly matter. Past accomplishments should not be factored in. The fact that someone is a "legend of the game" should not be factored in. It means absolutely nothing today. Focus solely on how good and how motivated the player is in the present. This is merely another form of lack of neutrality and objectivity.

    Not Doing Homework

    In my opinion most managers are either closed-minded or lazy. Why aren't you educating yourself about every single player in the pool? If you don't know who someone is, research them. If you can't find anything, reach out to them directly. Not talking to "randoms" or players you've never heard of is not only ridiculously snobby but it's an outright mistake. I can't tell you the number of times I've purchased some "random unknown" player and had them put up great results for me. Not only is a player who is not expecting to be known by the managers or drafted far more likely to be motivated and put in effort if you make a point to reach out to them and give them the time of day, but if it turns out they're actually good and you get them for 3K because no one else knows who they are you've added tremendously to your team's overall price to talent ratio, which is arguably the most important thing of all. Subs and bench players are absolutely invaluable in team tours and making a point to truly explore all your options is absolutely crucial.

    Overspending/Mega Buys

    I will forever stand by my position that no single player is ever worth 25% or more of a team's overall budget. Not BKC, not ABR, not Earthworm in his prime. No one. This concept is only even worth debating in SPL, and I still disagree with it. In literally every other tournament ever there is absolutely nothing to discuss here. Part of the argument to justify these absurd prices is that HUGENAMEPLAYERX will test/build/contribute to several tiers, not just the one they're actually playing, and therefore it's acceptable to spend whatever ridiculous amount on them. There are some psychological benefits to having a superstar on your team, such as having a "locker room leader", instilling confidence in younger/less experienced players and having a very strong player in a playoff tiebreaker situation, but ultimately, unless you're cheating, regardless of the amount of test games or advice the superstar gave the scrubzilla you're inevitably going to be stuck with because you spent ridiculous money on the superstar, it's still the scrubzilla that has to play the game, and I assure you with absolute certainty that having a really bad, almost certainly going to lose player hurts a team more than having a really good, almost certainly going to win player helps it. In non SPL tours these superstar players are highly unlikely to care enough to put in the time and effort to help other tiers beyond the bare minimum and are absolutely not worth their ludicrous price tag, ever. Also, hugely, spending big early on in the auction severely limits your options for the next several rounds, which is a really bad thing and a really big deal. More on that later.

    Fundamental Misunderstanding of Auction Strategy

    First of all, EVERY. SINGLE. ACTION. YOU TAKE. MATTERS. No bids or nominations should ever be without purpose or because you felt like it. Every single choice you make should be working towards a goal. Let's be very clear on exactly what the goal of the auction actually is- The goal of the auction is to get more value out of your money than the other managers. Understanding this concept is the key to understanding proper drafting. All managers start out the with same amount of money (before retains). The auction is, at its core, a resource management contest. Absolutely anyone, if they're stubborn enough, can brute force their way to a huge name player by throwing an ungodly amount of money at them. Yes, you've "won" that player, but that's very, very different from winning the auction as a whole. Doing this does not mean, and in fact most often is very detrimental to, your overall goal of getting more value out of your money than the other managers. My step by step auction strategy guide is below.



    1. Figure Out What You're Doing With Retains

    The very first order of business is figuring out exactly what your starting point is. How much money do you have? What tiers do you not need to worry about covering? My general advice regarding retains is to only retain a player if you're getting a good price. Do not retain a player if you're getting a fair price. In other words, the retain is only worthwhile if you're underpaying for the player. If you'd be paying approximately what the player is actually worth, don't. This should go without saying, but never attempt to retain a player without talking with them first. Make sure they are in the right place mentally to put in the time and effort necessary to succeed in the tournament. Make sure they aren't busy or unmotivated. Make sure they still care about the tournament. Just because they cared last time does not, at all, automatically mean they'll care this time. A lot can and does change in a year. Also, always announce your retains at the last allowable moment. Even if you know immediately what you want to do, there is absolutely no advantage whatsoever to giving the other managers free information. Keep the other managers guessing and give them as little time as possible to react to any changes to the player pool. In an ideal world you will buy exactly the minimum amount of subs for exactly the minimum price. In POCL that would be two subs for 3K each. Use this formula when calculating exactly how much money you'll actually have to work with in the auction. So if it's a tour where you'll have ten starters and you're starting with 120K, and you have no retains, assume you have 114K (120K -3K for Sub1 and another 3K for Sub2) with which to buy 10 players.

    2. Keep a Running List of All Signups

    From the moment signups go up you should be keeping your own private list, sorted by tier, of all the players you'd consider drafting. I order those players within each tier from best to worst and I put spaces in between the players within a tier to visually indicate where I believe there is a significant dropoff in talent.

    An example of this might look something like this-



    Eden's Embrace
    Cowboy Dan


    In this example list I'm indicating that I think Asta is the best player in this pool and I think Undisputed is the second best player in this pool, but that they're close enough in ability level to be grouped in the same "tier within a tier". I think there's then a dropoff to the next tier of guys, the Gacu/Eden/Zokuru/Sadlysius/Cowboy Dan kind of player, who I have in order of how good I personally rate them to be at this current moment in time, but I think they're all close enough/comparable enough to each other to where they belong in the same group. Then we drop off again to the Baddummy/Teclis/SamBest tier, who are still good enough to potentially be drafted (or I simply wouldn't have them on the list at all), but I think all players in this group are worse than all players in the groups above.

    Another example-




    Golden Gyarados

    In this example I'm indicating that, in my eyes, Troller, Lusch and Nails are the tier 1 RBY players in that order and they're all close enough in ability level to where they don't need to be placed in their own tier. I see the tier 2 RBY players in this pool as Alexander, Metalgross and Beds in that order and I see them all as "enough better" than Sceptross, Genesis, Caetano93 and Golden Gyarados to where I've noted the skill gap with a space.

    Sometimes my lists will have as many as half a dozen tiers within a tier, but that's mostly because I can be extremely thorough and OCD. Realistically, players below the second tier on your list are typically not where you want to be, but everything is relative. In this RBY example, it's not all that wild to think a Sceptross or a Genesis kind of guy could have a fine record and hold their own in this pool. In the ADV example I'd find it unlikely that, say, Teclis goes positive as a week-in, week-out starter against that pool.

    I list players in every tier I'd potentially play them in, even if they didn't list it in their signup post. This means I'd have Beds listed for both RBY and GSC. I'd have Alexander listed for all of RBY, ADV, BW and SM. I'd have Genesis7 listed for both RBY and ORAS. Only do this for tiers in which you'd actually want to play the player, however. Just because someone plays a tier doesn't mean you'd realistically want to play them there. Yeah, Eden's Embrace plays BW, but would you really truly want to put him in there in a non-emergency situation? I would not.

    Your list should contain literally every single player in the pool with the following exceptions-

    -You're positive they're really bad
    -They're toxic/bad for the team environment
    -They have a history of quitting/activity issues/unreliability

    Never consider buying a player who falls into any of those categories. Everyone else, get em on your list!

    I tend to keep two special sections of my lists near the bottom. The first is for subs- players I'd want to buy for exactly 3K, but not more, and the tiers they play in parentheses next to their name and the second is "bait noms"- players I don't overly want for whatever reason that I know are highly regarded by the community and are likely to fetch a good price in the auction. We use these bait noms as a tool to draw out money from the other managers. This is discussed in greater detail in the auction strategy section below.

    3. Talk With EVERYONE You'd Consider Drafting

    This is the "don't be lazy" part that most managers can't be bothered with. If they are on your list, talk to them, period. This includes reaching out to players you are unfamiliar with. Find out where they are mentally. Are they motivated and enjoying the game? Are they busy with real life or burnt out with mons and feeling like they need a break? Are they on a slide lately and feeling tilty? How much effort do they feel like putting into this tour? Are they going to prep and test? What tiers are they looking to play? Would they play other tiers if you asked them to? What about in playoffs? These are all questions you should be asking every. single. player. And you should then be adjusting your list accordingly. I'd recommend outright removing players who express a disinterest in the tour, an unwillingness to prep/test or a generally negative/defeated/discouraged attitude towards Pokemon in general. Only consider drafting people who actually give a shit. It should become apparent very quickly whether or not someone is in the right place mentally to contribute positively to a winning team environment.

    4. (As You Go, but ESPECIALLY After Signups Have Closed) Evaluate The Depth and Dropoff of Each Individual Pool To Determine Auction Priorities

    Invariably, in any given tour some tiers will have a lot more depth than others. In a tour where there are ten comparable, strong ADV players it's logical to think ADV would not be a particularly high priority or urgent need in this draft because, ultimately, whether you end up with the 3rd best ADV guy or the 7th best ADV guy you've still got a solid, acceptable ADV starter and there really isn't all that much of a gap between ADV3 and ADV7. Either guy winning in a heads up match would not be overly surprising. On the flip side of that, if there are only three truly good GSC players and then it drops off significantly there is a HUGE difference between the 3rd best GSC player and the 7th best GSC player. In that case, GSC is likely a tier that should be highly prioritized in this auction. Evaluate each tier in the tour on a case by case basis and establish where you may need to be a little more aggressive and ensure you end up with one of the top guys versus where you can be a bit more passive and reactionary and end up with whoever you end up with. Going into the draft you should have a clear understanding of which tiers are shallow and which tiers are deep and, assuming the other managers aren't complete invalids, you should assume they are aware of this information as well. This should, if you're assessing things accurately, give you a general sense as to who may have an abnormally inflated price.

    5. Add Prices to Your List

    We do not add prices before now because everything is relative. Eden's Embrace in a POCL where there are only three truly good ADV players and he's one of them might be worth 15K. Eden's Embrace in a POCL where there are a dozen truly good ADV players and he's one of half a dozen guys of a comparable skill level is probably worth half that. It is absolutely irrelevant what he is worth talent wise as a standalone product. You cannot simply look at him and him alone and not consider his surroundings. How he compares to the alternatives around him is the only thing that counts. The talent level and depth of each tier ultimately determines what a player is worth. What a player sold for in the last iteration of the tournament means absolutely nothing. What a player is theoretically worth in SPL, or PPL or any other tournament also means absolutely nothing. The only thing that matters is what the player is worth in this auction.

    So, with that in mind, at this point you should put on your list, in parentheses next to each player's name, your best estimation as to what the player is worth in this auction. Not the most you would pay for a player, but what they're worth. There is a huge difference there. Sometimes you have to pay what a player is actually worth in order to get them. Often times you shouldn't. Regardless, the point is that what you would pay and what a player is worth should be, and almost always is, a different number. Put down, based only on the depth and dropoff of the tier you want the player in, your best estimate as to what the player is actually worth. You can do a concrete number or a price range, depending on what you're comfortable with. Personally, I do both. For some players I can simply write 12K, period, and I feel confident that's the exact number they're worth, no more no less. In other cases I may write 11K-13.5K if I believe they're somewhere in that range but not entirely sure exactly where. Once you've done that for each and every player on your list you're finally ready for the auction.


    Before anything, let's be very clear on our goals-

    -Get more value out of your money than the other managers

    That's literally it. That is your sole purpose in this auction. Nothing else matters. The best team is the team that made the best use of its funds and ended up with the most overall talent for their money. Say it to yourself five times slowly. GET. THE. MOST. VALUE.

    How do we go about doing that?

    -Fair deals are bad deals.

    We want to be UNDERPAYING for players, not paying what they're actually worth. Paying what someone is actually worth does not add nor subtract to our overall price to talent ratio, which is the bottom line factor that wins drafts. Paying more than a player is actually worth hurts our price to talent ratio. We never, ever, ever, ever want to do this. If we're ever forced into a position where we are paying more than a player is actually worth because we "have to", we've made multiple mistakes leading up to that point to be in that position in the first place. It is sometimes, typically considerably later in the auction after you've already gotten value multiple times and are in a position to slightly overpay for a quality player if need be, acceptable to pay the top end of your listed price range for what you think a player is worth, but generally speaking those aren't the deals you're looking for. Value, value, value. Look for underpays!

    -Extreme Self-Discipline/Stick to the Plan

    I know it can be really tempting to go just one more bid on a player or go just .5 over what you wrote down their value to be, but don't. Just don't. If you're doing this you either lack the self-discipline needed to be a successful manager or you didn't prepare well enough in the first place, as the valuation you wrote down for the player clearly isn't in line with what you actually think they're worth. If you're honest with yourself when you're doing the valuations prior to the auction there's no reason not to stick to what you wrote. The second a deal is no longer a good deal- not a fair deal because fair deals are bad, but a good deal- stop bidding. In other words, once you hit a point where you'd be paying what the player is actually worth, stop. If it's not an underpay you don't want it. Do not make exceptions. Stick to your prep and have the self-discipline to back off, even if it's someone you would have liked to have drafted.

    -Be Willing to Draft ANY Player on Your List if the Price is Right

    Do not come into the auction bound and determined to pick up ANY player! Be flexible and reactionary. Your sole goal is to underpay and get value. Someone good, inevitably, will be available for less than they're worth. You don't know who it'll be yet, but they'll be there. Hold out for those buys. Be willing to pick up absolutely anyone on your list if the price is right. If you wouldn't buy them when they're available for a great price, why are they on your list at all? This once again goes back to doing the proper preparation and having self-discipline prior to the auction. If your list is right all you have to do is follow it.

    General Bidding and Nomination Strategy

    Obviously, every auction is a bit different and it's difficult to get into specifics, but on a base level this is the general strategy I follow in every single auction-

    First of all, upbidding is garbage. It's risky, it's not worth it and it does not follow our fundamental strategy. I never, ever upbid another manager just for the sake of trying to get them to pay more. If I'm bidding, I genuinely want the player at that price, period.

    As far as bidding is concerned, it's actually ridiculously simple. Dip your hand into the pot on virtually every single good player (in your eyes that is- don't bid on guys you see as a low tier 2 guy or worse, even if other managers evaluate the player differently) and stop bidding when you're no longer getting value. You're flexible and willing to take any good player if the price is right, so you always want to be in the mix, but the second it's not a good deal- a good deal, not a fair deal- you're no longer interested. Go with the flow and wait for value and maintain self-discipline. It really is that simple. If you've valued players correctly, you really can't lose with this approach.

    For noms, early on I highly recommend utilizing bait noms and extracting money from the other managers, because having a monetary advantage in the early and mid sections of the auction gives you incredible flexibility and dramatically increases your chances of getting value.

    Criteria For a Good Bait Nom

    -Someone You Don't Overly Actually Want

    You do not want to shoot yourself in the foot by dangling someone out there that you actually want on your team. This puts you in a no-win situation where you either don't get a player you want or you're forced to pony up and pay for the player early on, which is precisely the opposite of the goal of a bait nom. We're trying to get the other managers to drop money, not us. Of course, it should also be someone where if you happen to get stuck with them for an unexpectedly low price, such as 4.5K, that'd be acceptable too. Usually with bait noms I bid either one or zero times after the initial nomination.

    -Someone You Know is Friends With/Has A Good Relationship With Another Manager

    Basically, you know Manager X is going to be interested in Player Y, so it's extremely likely they'll bid, and possibly overbid, in order to get that guy you know they want. There are a million examples of this. In the video I'll be linking below you'll see me nom Raiza and specifically mention that I think Mysterious M will want him because M had him on his winning POCL team. And, lo and behold, M did indeed drop a ridiculous amount of money on Raiza and was locked out of the next several rounds of the draft. M, despite picking up a good player in Raiza, paid too much too early and was subsequently able to be bullied off players for the next several rounds of the auction. His team finished in last place.

    -Someone You Don't Rate as Highly as the General Community Does

    This is more or less a continuation of the previous two points. You don't overly want them because you don't think they're as good as other people think they are and you know that someone else wants the player and is willing to pay more for them than you would. You'll see in the video that guys like Altina and Taiga, both of whom I think are perfectly fine and solid, ended up going for prices that I wouldn't go anywhere near. The community, or at least the other managers, clearly think those guys are better than I think they are. There's not a lot to do in these instances other than trust your prep and hope your valuations of players are more accurate than those of other managers.

    -Someone NOT in an Incredibly Shallow Tier/Tier You're Concerned About

    If you really need one of the three good DPP players, one of those three players is not a bait nom! This is probably a player you actually want, which violates criteria number one. Stick to nominating players from deep tiers where there's minimal risk to you if someone else buys the player or the tier dries up a bit. If there's three good DPP players in the pool and you already have one of them, however, it is absolutely acceptable and in fact probably a great idea to nominate one of the two remaining players. The point is to never shoot yourself in the foot by putting yourself in a position where you have to pony up and actually buy someone that you nominated. In an ideal world, you don't want to end up with a single person you've nominated until much, much later in the draft. Until then it's bait, bait and more bait.

    In a nutshell, that's your basic strategy. Almost all of your noms until the very late stages of the auction should be bait, as extracting money from the other managers is always a good thing, and you want to be continuously getting involved in the early bidding for any and every truly good player and then dipping out when the price hits the point of no longer being an underpay.

    Tier Bleeding

    This is only applicable to smaller team tours, such as PPL or POCL, as SPL will always have enough depth and power to where this substrategy is not viable. In a smaller tour you may find yourself in a situation where, for example, there are only four genuinely good RBY players and then it drops off significantly. Let's say for this example those players are Alexander, Genesis7, Diegolh and Ebola and everyone else is way worse. I'd note in this scenario that two of those guys, Alexander and Genesis, are both very strong in other tiers too (ADV and ORAS respectively) and as such, the second you get one of those four guys, there is tremendous incentive to make a point to get another. If you end up with either Alexander or Genesis plus another one of those guys you've stripped two of the four very strong RBY players from the pool at no detriment to yourself. This severely hurts the other teams. This is not an RBY thing- it applies to any tier in which the pool is shallow and some of the guys at the top end are genuinely viable in other tiers. If the GSC pool were Conflict, Melle, Zokuru and then a bunch of far inferior players, I'd try hard to get two of those players. I'd be comfortable with any of those three guys in ADV and in Conflict's case he can play other things too, such as BW if need be. By taking two of those guys out of the pool onto one team, you're leaving only one premium GSC player for all the other teams combined, giving you an automatic advantage in that tier week-in and week-out.

    ***IT'S A TRAP!!!***

    One of the most difficult parts of an auction, and this is really something you only learn with experience as opposed to through anything I can say to you, is when to switch gears between reactive and aggressive. Early on I strongly prefer a reactive strategy. However, where this can backfire is if the overall talent level in the auction isn't overly high to begin with, such as in a smaller tour (a weaker POCL, 2019 POGP, old PP team tours) and you're overly passive and all of a sudden, even though you've been conservative with your money and can buy whoever you want, there simply aren't that many good players left to buy. It's extremely important to constantly identify where the auction is and how many truly top tier players, in any tier, are remaining. In weak auction pools you may be forced to be a bit more aggressive in getting top end talent than you'd like to be. This is extremely tricky and completely on a case by base basis, but it's one of the biggest things that can sink a draft. In normal auctions, stick to my conservative, reactive strategy outlined above. In particularly weak auctions it may be worth going hard for the top end guys, as I did with Insult in the video below, and going from there. Note, however, that even though I went hard for Insult (and he ended up being the most expensive player in the auction) I also repeatedly displayed self-discipline and dipped out on strong players that I genuinely wanted, holding out for value, which in turn enabled me to go a bit harder than I normally would on certain players.

    All this in action-

    I start out dipping in on huge players like BKC, Alexander and Conflict- all of whom I'd love to have- but dip out when the price becomes fair. Remember, we're looking for underpays.

    On my first nom I opt for bait in the form of Eden's Embrace, who you'll see I don't bother bidding on after the initial nomination. This extracts 12K from an opposing manager.

    Marcop comes up. I'd love to have him, but again, discipline. When the price gets beyond the point where I'd be getting value, I stop.

    Luck>Skill comes up and I dip in. Other managers stop bidding at a price I'm quite happy with. Luck>Skill goes to my team somewhere in the vicinity of 2K less than he probably should have been. As noted in the video, I now have either BW or GSC covered and can bait accordingly.

    Because of this, my bait nom for this round is Raiza. Again, M goes for it and drops a huge amount of money. This takes him out of the mix to fight for Insult- the player I actually want.

    Bushtush comes up. He's someone I genuinely want and one of the top 10 or so guys in an overall weak auction pool and I dip in. When it hits a point where it would no longer be an underpay I dip out.

    Odin comes up. I identify that ADV, his best tier, is very deep and I therefore do not need to spend too much money on this tier. I dip out pretty early because I know other managers will spend more than I'm willing to.

    Insult is next. This is where the scenario outlined in the "It's a Trap" section above comes into play. Because almost all other top ten players are already gone- BKC, Alexander, Conflict, Marcop, Bushtush- as well as other top 15 ish guys like Eden and Raiza- I identify that this is probably the last truly premium player in the pool and that I need to make an aggressive push for him or else, despite my mountain of money, there just won't be enough worthwhile talent to purchase with that money. He ends up being quite expensive but I get him. I needed to do this, given who was already gone.

    I spend the next several noms just dipping in and dipping out. Nothing wildly appealing here. Discipline. Zokuru and Gorgie are both solid players I wouldn't mind having but I stop when the prices aren't what I want them to be.

    Taiga comes up next for 14000. No idea...

    Raptor comes up next. I think he's worth roughly 11-12K as noted in the video. I dip in to see what happens. Somehow, ridiculously, I get him for 5.5K. This is a textbook example of the goal of my strategy. Dip in on everyone good, dip out when the price sucks and eventually someone good will come to you at a great price. In this case, it was Raptor. He proceeded to go undefeated...

    Genesis comes up. I make a push but M is willing to pay more than I am. Again, broken record, discipline... I think I can get Diego or Ebola in RBY for cheaper (and I am correct).

    My turn again. Bait nom Baddummy. ADV is very deep. This does not hurt me. HSOWA spends 8.5, which, admittedly, is a fair price for the player.

    Quaze comes up. I can't pay what he's worth, so, shrug. Altina goes for 18000. Good player, but that MUST be an overpay. This is M going too hard after a player he likes/has a relationship with, which is one of the warnings I talked about near the beginning of this article.

    Illegal Logic comes up and ends up being the buy of the tournament. He's a BW main and I have Luck>Skill so I don't go hard on him. He goes for 6K to HSOWA and goes undefeated.

    Hellpowna I want, and I have a good amount of money so I push to the top end of my range, but I stop when it gets beyond that point. He goes to HSOWA.

    Erzengel goes for more than I'd want to pay. When my turn rolls around I, once again, opt for a bait nom (making a point to nom someone I wouldn't mind getting stuck with if it went that way). Caetano93 ends up elsewhere for a fair price of 9.5K.

    A couple guys that I'm not overly interested in go by and on my next nom I bait yet again. Edna doesn't draw out as much money as I'd like, but, money is money.

    Akiko Yosano comes up and, because I've had discipline and have the most money, I get a ridiculous underpay. I think he's worth at least 10K given how shallow this DPP pool is and I grab him for 5.5K.

    There's not too much more to narrate from here. I have money because I held off and I get stupid buys like sub 5K Diego and 3K Melle which is beyond a joke. Melle also proceeds to go undefeated and 3K for him in any pool is a wild underpay, nevermind in such a shallow and mediocre GSC pool.

    At the end of the day I got some ridiculous value picks- 5.5 Raptor, 5.5 Akiko Yosano and 3K Melle being huge standouts- and my team went undefeated and was in 1st place wire to wire.


    Have an Organized, Sensible Team Discord Channel

    You should have a section for each individual tier, a main chat and a schedule section. There should be a role that anyone can @ for every tier. If BW players need test games or want to bounce ideas off each other they should be able to simply @BW in the appropriate channel in order to do so. Every player should be given every role they're knowledgeable about and able to contribute to, even if it's highly unlikely they'll ever actually play that tier in this tour.

    Welcome Your Players

    I recommend welcoming your players privately individually and then again as a full team once everyone has joined the Discord. Don't say anything that isn't true, of course, but let them know you're happy they're there, what you like about the team and that you're there for them and reachable if they need anything at all. Be present and active in the chat. Silence is the enemy. This does not mean talking for the sake of talking about nonsensical things, but a dead team chat absolutely crucifies your chances of winning the tour. Foster an environment of teamwork, communication and support.

    Scout For Your Players

    Every tier, every week, period. Don't be lazy. Use a replay scouter to check out what your opponents have been up to lately, point out any patterns you may see (he uses Pokemon X a lot, he brings Spikes on almost all his teams, he seems to only play offense and never brings stall, etc) and open the discussion up to other members of the team who are knowledgeable about the tier. A self scout is also highly recommended, as opposing players and managers will be looking at your guys with a replay scouter too and it can be very valuable to see what they see.

    Pin all the relevant information- recent replays from major tournaments, reconstructions of teams their opponent has used recently, a list of the Pokemon they use the most according to the replay scouter- in the appropriate channel. Make prep as easy as possible for your players.

    Win As a Team, Lose as a Team

    Never, ever flame a player or start pointing fingers. Make it clear from day one that everything you guys do- the scouting, the test games, the strategy decisions as to what to bring against any given opponent- is a team effort. You win and lose as a team and it's never the fault of any one individual. When you win, praise everybody and acknowledge their part in it, which absolutely includes players who lost their matches or players who didn't play that week. When you lose, take responsibility. It starts with you, the manager. Tell the guys what you could have done better and rally them forward to the next week where you, as a team, will do better. Own up to mistakes you made as a manager, such as not anticipating the opposing lineup correctly, sending one of your guys in with the wrong kind of team or not optimizing your own lineup for the matchup (maybe we could have moved people around and exploited the opposing weak GSC a little more, etc).

    Communicate Thoroughly

    Don't just do things. Let your players know on a week-in, week-out basis why you're submitting the lineup you're submitting. It could be as simple as "This lineup worked really well for us last week and I think we should stick to it" or it could be more complex such as " I don't want to risk one of our strongest players against their very strong DPP, so instead I'm going to do a three way swap to exploit their weak RBY and ORAS and gamble a bit against their DPP". Keep the team in the loop on your thought process. No one likes feeling like they're being thrown to the wolves or they're being moved out of a tier for no reason. Players start wondering why. Is it because they lost last week? What if they won last week? Why are you moving them? Did they do something wrong? Shouldn't they get to keep their spot? Players are far more likely to understand and cooperate when you make changes if you keep them in the loop and explain why you're doing the things you're doing. Frequently talk privately with your subs in particular. Let them know that they've been fantastic contributors and their testing and input has been invaluable. Let them know you're really glad you drafted them and they're making a huge difference for the team. Letting subs rot silently on the bench without being acknowledged or knowing when or if they're going to get to play is a surefire way to get someone to stop caring or helping. Every single member of the team genuinely matters and if you don't feel they're going to contribute, why did you draft them?

    Deal With Drama Immediately

    If you've followed my earlier advice and simply not drafted toxic players, period, this should not be a problem, but in the event that there is drama or someone is behaving negatively I'd recommend addressing it, probably privately, right away. Pokemon can be an emotional game but the team environment is absolutely paramount to your success. As the manager, step in and let someone know that they need to cool off. Extinguish fires before they spread. Always focus on the positive things and the future. Last week doesn't matter. Focus on this week.

    Approach Every New Week From Scratch, Objectively

    It does not matter if your lineup kicked ass and took names last week. Last week is over. Maybe you beat a weaker team. Maybe you matched up really well against them tier for tier. Maybe you got lucky. The point is, what happened last week doesn't matter this week. Do not get complacent or stagnant and continue to submit the same lineup over and over again mindlessly. Ask yourself on every single individual week if this is what's optimal against the team you're about to face. Do you really want to crash your strong GSCer into BKC? Can't you just move him to ADV to probably get a win and throw a lesser player at BKC? Does your opponent have a weak ORAS slot and you have xray? In that case, isn't that overkill? Can't you put your ORAS sub in and move xray to SM? Do you really want to waste such a strong player in xray on a mediocre opponent on the other side when one of your lesser players could beat that guy and xray could contribute elsewhere? These are the things you, as the manager, should be asking yourself every week. Always try to anticipate the opposing lineup and adjust your own accordingly. The name of the game is to set up as many favorable matchups as possible and crash as few of your good players as possible into great players while wasting as few of your great players as possible on mediocre players. Basically, you want to one up them whenever possible, but never more. You want your good but not great vs their mediocre. You want your great vs their good but not great. And you want your mediocre, if you have those on the team at all, against their best guy whenever possible. This kind of thinking sets up favorable matchups and minimizes the impact of superstar players on opposing lineups, as they're only beating one of your mediocre guys who easily could have lost anyway as opposed to taking one of your better, more reliable guys out of the mix.

    Hmmm... Four hours later I guess that's it! Let me know if you have any questions. I'll go back and edit this later if there's something else I want to add, but I think I covered most things pretty thoroughly... I hope this helped!

    professor tox, K3NIX, mikmer and 14 others like this.
  2. watermess

    watermess Member

    Nov 3, 2019
    Likes Received:
    I Read it all the way through, very interesting, I found some of your methods a bit stark for my liking but they seem to have produced some great results so far!

    The intricacies of drafting a solid team of your own and overall draft strategy including the philosophy on "tier bleeding" and "bait noms" I found particularly intriguing;)

    I also think that you have a great ethos on keeping team moral up and making every player feel valued

    Great and informative read!
    I think if by some mistake I ever end up managing a team tour then I'll be sure to refer back here to bathe my brain this knowledge once more :p
    Gacu likes this.
  3. Mysterious M

    Mysterious M Member

    Oct 23, 2015
    Likes Received:
    I will share my own bit. And break down the plan i had for this tournament. I did indeed win POCL but got last place in POGP, following same tactics and i wouldn't really change something.

    The plan was structuring a team with solid old gens + a few "bets" in usm/ss. The prices we had for Raiza,Eden,Genesis and Taiga were well within my limits, while we did indeed get to pay a lot for Altina. When a player dominates a pool in POCL, and POGP has a similar pool i believe that spending 16K is OK (talking about Raiza). We did get some cheap current gen buys in aqua and juan, two players with some notable results and playing capabilities despite not being huge names yet. DPP we got the ssnl finalist which was a bet that didnt come out.

    Most of the team had an average to bad season, with luck being mostly against us but there are no excuses, in pocl we took some similar bets which turned out to be good and we ended up winning the tour.

    I do admire the discipline and plan you have, i follow this to a point and i looking forward on battling you as a manager in future tours! I still have a a lot to learn, so will be interesting to see what i can win here in PP.

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