Discussion on any aspect of competitive Pixelmon.
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By SimonFlash
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The Competitive Edge

Everything you need to know about competitive Pixelmon
Volume I, Issue 2

We're back again with another issue of the Competitive Edge! Things are going to be a bit different now that we're on a biweekly schedule, but hopefully that extra time will allow us to improve the quality of our features and keep things unique and interesting. I haven't figured out a full schedule yet, but expect 1-2 threads per week until I can get an official plan for us finalized. With no further delays, lets get started!

The Momentum of Battle

“Success is like a snowball... it takes momentum to build and the more you roll in the right direction the bigger it gets.”
- Steve Ferrante

In a Pokémon battle, momentum is very much similar to it's dictionary definition - "the impetus [force] gained by a moving object". In battle, keeping the momentum on your side can help to ensure a victory over the opponent. Lets start with an example first.

I have a Dragonite currently using a typical DD set (Dragon Dance, Outrage, ExtremeSpeed, Earthquake) that leads off against Heatran. Heatran, which is 4x weak to Earthquake, will switch out for another Pokémon that can take Ground attacks. Because this matchup forces a switch, my team now has the momentum of the battle because Dragonite has freely set up a Dragon Dance and will likely outspeed the opponent. Furthermore, because Multiscale is not broken, a priority move such as Ice Shard will not be a reliable OHKO.

However, my opponent now has what I define as counter-momentum, where the team is now in a position to determine who has the momentum for the next matchup. The goal of a team with counter-momentum is to trade it in for battle momentum, in this case through a switch in. In our example, Heatran is switched out for a defensive Skarmory (immune to Earthquake and resists both Outrage and ExtremeSpeed), and thus the momentum of the battle shifts to my opponent as I am now forced to switch Dragonite out. However, this provides me with the counter-momentum, and I can switch in a Pokémon that counters Skarmory, such as Rotom-H (if only!).

This pattern of momentum shifting goes between the teams until a 'stable' matchup is reached, which is where the team with counter-momentum has no possible switch-in that will give them the momentum of the battle. At this point, the team has forfited counter-momentum and has given the opposing team and advantage. However, this advantage doesn't necessarily mean that team will win the matchup, let alone the match. Momentum is only part of a battle, but has the potential to lead to a victory.

One way of defining how momentum helps a team is through answering the question, "Who moves first?". From one perspective, it's actually quite simple - the Pokémon with the higher speed stat. However, most competitive players know which Pokémon of a matchup will be faster, so this isn't always the most intuitive way of answering the question. Let's rephrase the question into "Who has the leading move?", and suddenly an answer starts to be clear - The team with the momentum of the battle makes the leading move, while the opposing team makes the response move. Though it may not be the easiest thing to understand, a similar way of wording this statement is, "The team with the prevailing strategy has the momentum of the battle". With this definition, having the momentum of the battle simply means that the team is winning that matchup at that specific point in time.

So, what can change the momentum of the battle? Truthfully, just about everything - but here's a list of the main points.

  • Switching
  • Missing Attacks
  • Critical Hits
  • Status Effects
  • Stat Changes
  • Predictions

Predictions is honestly a topic for another time, but lets touch on it briefly. A prediction is a move made based on what you believe the strategy of the opponent is. With our original example, I know that Heatran is 4x weak to Earthquake and doesn't want to take an Earthquake. If I know the opponent has a Skarmory on their team, I can predict that Skarmory will switch in with the intention to phaze out Dragonite. Understanding this, I choose to bring in Rotom-H instead of setting up Dragon Dance. If my opponent switches into Skarmory, I've made a successful prediction and have kept the momentum on my side of the field.

However, predictions is also an easy way to loose the momentum of the battle. If Heatran instead uses Toxic to break Dragonite's multiscale, I've made an incorrect prediction. Rotom-H actually matches up pretty well against Heatran, so while the opponent may not have the momentum of the battle I would still be in a worse position than if I can predicted Toxic and used Earthquake. Each time a prediction is made, there is always a risk involved, and the easiest way to get better at them is to practice.

Essentially, the key to understand momentum is recognizing that it's simply a measurement of who has control over the battlefield. As a last analogy, a sports team that seems to be one step ahead is consistantly besting their opponent and on a roll, and in other words, have the momentum of the game. Keep the flow of battle under your command, and you'll have a much easier time winning battles.


Pixelmon: Fact of the Week!

Here's some info on what Pokémon in Smogon's OU tier (GenVI) are actually available in Pixelmon, by type.

First, the only type that is not present in the OU tier is Fire. Interestingly enough, there is only one Fire-type available in Pixelmon if the BL tier is included - Volcarona. Moving on, Steel and Flying are both tied for the number of Pokémon missing at 6, each having 4 out of the 10 Pokémon in OU.

On the other end of the spectrum, Ghost and Dark are the only two types to have every OU Pokémon available in Pixelmon. Furthermore, Ghost only has one Pokémon (Gengar) while Dark has three (Bisharp, Tyranitar, and Weavile).

Most shockingly, however, is the ratio without types - 21/52 - meaning that only 40% of OU Pokémon are currently available in Pixelmon. So, if you're someone with modeling or animation skill, see what you can do to help out and raise that percentage!

(This recruitment message is not sponsored or endorsed by PixelmonMod or associated entities. The Competitive Edge is not a subsidiary of PixelmonMod and is not sponsored, endorsed, manufactured, developed, trademarked, sponsored, or affiliated with PixelmonMod or it's subsidiaries. The Competitive Edge is not responsible for any grievances caused by this ill-timed joke and any complaints may be registered to Competitive Edge, LLC, 2017, Gregorian Calendar, using the FAX number not provided above. Lorem ipsum dolor sir amet. Failure to abide by the terms, conditions, stipulations, $myAdjective, or provisions specified somewhere else will result in this contract still being void. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.)

If you'd like to see the full ratios (Available in Pixelmon / In OU Tier), click the spoiler below.

Type Ratios (SmOU) | Show
  • Bug -> 1/4
  • Dark -> 3/3
  • Dragon -> 3/6
  • Electric -> 3/6
  • Fairy -> 2/4
  • Fighting -> 1/5
  • Fire -> 0/5
  • Flying -> 4/10
  • Ghost -> 1/1
  • Grass -> 2/6
  • Ground -> 2/4
  • Ice -> 1/2
  • Normal -> 1/2
  • Poison -> 1/3
  • Psychic -> 5/10
  • Rock -> 1/2
  • Steel -> 4/10
  • Water -> 4/7

    Total: 21/52


Off the Deep End

Honestly, this one is so complicated mathematically I was hesitant to even consider it, but isn't that what this section's all about?

Capture rates are some of the most convoluted calculations in Pokemon, but let's see if we can break it down into something a bit more managable. Before we take a look at the formula, here's the factors involved in the calculation.

  • The Pokémon's catch rate
  • HP, current and maximum
  • Status conditions
  • Pokéball used

The catch rate is a specific number that each Pokémon has that determines how likely it is to be caught - the higher the catch rate, the easier to catch. Legendaries have a very low catch rate, which explains why they're much harder to catch. Everything else on there is pretty self-explanitory.

Now, here's the formula for the modified catch rate, a -

Everything here is fairly well annotated, but if you're not sure what a term means feel free to click the link down below and visit the Bulbapedia page on it. Furthermore, every division is rounded to the nearest multiple of 1/4096 (~0.00025).

First, we can quickly see from the formula that a higher value for a means a higher chance of being caught. The ball status multiplier is the increased chance for catches with whatever pokéball is being used - 1x for a pokéball, 2x for an ultraball, and so on. Status, on the other hand, follows a table - 2.5x for sleep and freeze, and 1.5 for paralyze, poison, or burn.

However, this formula describes the modified catch rate, so how is this number used to determine if a Pokémon is caught?

Answer: The shake probability formula, which describes (aptly enough) the shake probability, b -

As before, fractions and square roots are rounded to the nearest 1/4096.

Now that we have the shake probability b, we can perform a shake test. Lets generate a random number between 1 and 65535 (2^16 - 1). If our random number is greater than b, the shake test fails. After four successful shake tests are performed, the Pokémon is caught! Unless, that is, we have a critical capture...

Information on critical captures is fairly vague, and the chance of one happing is dependant on the percentage of the Pokédex completed, though extremely rare regardless. When a critical capture is performed, only one shake test is performed instead of the typical four. While it doesn't seem like much, a 5% chance of capture jumps to a 47% chance if it's a critical capture. Unfortunately, it is currently unknown if critical captures are in Pixelmon.

Before we conclude, how about we run through a quick calculation of catching a Sandile in a Fast Ball if it's frozen and has 42/104 Hp. Let's start by defining our variables -

  • Catch rate = 180 (Sandile)
  • Hp max = 104
  • Hp current = 42
  • Ball multiplier = 1x (4x if speed >= 100)
  • Status multiplier = 2.5x (frozen)



With that finished, we can now calculate b -

We could do all the calculations for our shake tests, but interestingly enough b is larger than 65535. In other words, this Sandile will always be caught under the conditions provided.

With that being said, there's a lot more information about catch rate calculation going on behind the scenes, so if you'd like to know more about the math behind Pokémon take a look at the link below which is where most of this information came from. May the shake tests be ever in your favor!


Ask the Audience

What's your thoughts on having NPC Gyms in new versions of Pokémon? Click the link below and place your vote!

In Other News...

I've been around the Minecraft community for years and I've seen some pretty amazing things created with such a simple game, but this one might just be the best out of all of them.

Enter Pokémon Cobalt and Amethyst, a custom-built Pokémon game completely in vanilla Minecraft. In the words of the developers,

"Pokémon Cobalt and Amethyst is a 1.8.8 single player vanilla Minecraft map that recreates the original Pokémon role-playing game in Minecraft. This includes battling, capturing, and training Pokémon, fighting trainers, and challenging Gym Leaders and, ultimately, the Pokémon League. Everything you love in Pokémon is now here as a vanilla adventure map, ready to play! Experience the open world and 3D sensation Minecraft offers!

The map places itself in a never-before-seen region, featuring a new set of 136 Pokémon and a new story dominated by an antagonist threatening to release a Legendary darkness that demands tribute. It is your task to seek the truth with the help of the region's Professor and your rival - either capture it before it's too late, or take Team Tempest down while saving the lives of those closest to you."

I haven't had the time to try out this map for myself, but (as much as I love Pixelmon) it's on the top of my to-do list. I absolutely admire the effort put in by this team to make this a reality, as it incorporates custom Pokémon, menus, mechanics, and more across 31 months of development time.

If you want to read more about the project or give it a try yourself, click the link below to go to the MCF post by the lead designer. Enjoy!



Interested in writing a feature for the Competitive Edge or have an idea for one? Send me a message and we'll look into adding it to next week's Competitive Edge! In the meantime, feel free to leave any constructive criticism you have below and we'll see you all next week for Issue 2 of the Competitive Edge!