Hello Reddit, I’m Primitive and today I am here to present you with the next article of the PokéPrep series! This will (hopefully) be a weekly series of articles focused on providing simple and accessible tips that can be applied to improve your VGC gameplay but don’t involve actual in-game tips! Today’s topic will be effectively using live streams such as Twitch.tv and pre-recorded content like YouTube videos to help you learn.
Live streams and YouTube videos have been a great source of content for the growth of competitive gaming. With VGC being no different, we now have a large number of great content creators working every day to bring us amazing content. This content can not only be used for general entertainment but it can be an amazing way to get ground level information about a matchup without actually playing the game. In today’s article I plan on giving you a few active tips to more effectively use this freely available content to grow your play. I will be separating the article into tips for Live Streams like Twitch, and pre recorded content like YouTube videos and past stream recordings.
Live Stream Tips:
- Be active in chat/Ask questions:
Most streamers will consistently be reading chat and interacting, which will cause the chat to be more active. You can use this to your advantage by simply joining in on the conversation and asking whatever questions/comments you wish to be answered or considered as well as interacting with other stream viewers. This allows you to:
A) Ask the streamer a question directly
- An opportunity for you to get an answer directly from the user as well as ask follow up questions.
B) Learn from other’s questions
- Different people have different thoughts/views on situational game states or even the whole game in general meaning that most likely, more people will be asking questions or making comments you didn’t consider and you get that information for free!
- If you have a bit of nervousness when interacting with chat then right after someone else asks a question you will have an opportunity to get your question in without feeling like you’re standing out
C) Meet new friends to talk/practice with
- Many people in streams are also there to learn, meaning if you find people who share similar thoughts to you or are working on a team you are also working on/want to work on, then you can use the opportunity to find new practice partners or a new group of friends to talk about the game with.
- There are a lot of VGC streams now hitting 100-200+ viewers consistently so there will be a large portion of players in the chat who may be lurking. If you’re looking for help on a specific topic and voice it in the chat you open yourself up to getting DM’s from stream lurkers or other viewers who have been thinking similar thoughts.
D) Be more engaged which causes less outside distractions
- Simply put, if you spend more time focusing on what’s happening on the stream, you avoid losing focus during this time with distractions like social media which will inevitably bring you better results in the long run.
Stream activity will not only be helpful for you, but it will help keep the streamers’ interaction numbers up! I used to be quite the stream lurker myself, I would have streams open in the background a large amount of time but I would never interact. Although there is nothing wrong with doing this and if this is how you prefer to enjoy a stream then more power to you, but allowing yourself to be more active within the chat is going to give you a lot more opportunity to grow then when you’re only half engaged.
- Use Pikalytics overlay to copy and practice current team
Pikalytics has been a great tool for VGC players with them releasing new great features almost every week. They recently released their pikalytics stream overlay which allows for the viewers to easily see all the details of the team being demonstrated on stream. If the streamer you’re watching is using this overlay, I would use this to your full advantage by copy and pasting the team into Pokémon showdown and playing games while watching the stream or later after the stream. Doing this will give you a new and more in-depth perspective on the team in question, and will allow you to ask better questions or analyze more effectively the next time that the streamer may use that team.
If you don’t wish to play games with it on Pokémon showdown then you can use the overlay to great effect by getting the full details of the team and asking questions from the information provided. For example you could ask questions like
“Why do you run X move on Y Pokémon?”
“Why does X Pokémon have Max speed?”
“Do you think it would be better to use move X over move Y on Pokémon Z to help this matchup?”
- Have a notebook to take short notes
A great way to better learn any topic is to physically write it down. VGC is no different. Next to my desk I keep a small notebook labeled “General Pokémon Notes” and in there I will mark down quick notes whenever watching a stream, YouTube video or reading an article and I come across a bit of information I didn’t know but want to have somewhere to easily go back and review it. This can be information about a matchup you learned, a Pokémon set/item you want to try later, mindset information given by the streamer, the name of a discord channel to join or noting which Pokémon they bring vs specific matchups, etc. These are just a few examples of information you can take note of while watching. What you note should be any bit of information you believe will help you improve in any sort of way. I highly recommend putting time aside each week to review your notes but even if you decide not to set aside the time for review, just writing it down the first time will greatly improve the chances of you remembering that data later down the line when it can be applied to a new scenario.
A 2014 study done at the University of California, Los Angeles had a group of students split into two groups, the pen and paper group and the electronics group and then had them take notes on a lecture using their designated method, followed by an exam on the teachings 30 minutes later. In that study it showed that the students who took notes on pen and paper had an easier time recalling the information which resulted in higher scores than the electronics group. The point of me adding this is to give you information on why I think you should take these notes by physically writing them instead of typing the notes onto your electronic devices.
Pre Recorded Tips:
- Pausing and Predicting
Pausing and predicting is exactly as it sounds, pausing the current video at the beginning of a turn while you quickly predict how you expect this turn to go and determine why you predict this. This will be much more effective during this type of content because unlike live streams the content creator isn’t focused on a chat and as such will provide more of an insight to their plays. This practice is mostly for newer players as the purpose of this habit is to compare your thought process to that of the content creators, not the actual plays. For example, you predict the player you’re watching to dmax and play aggressive but they opt to make defensive switches and preserve that max, this can show that you are not thinking about the matchup the same way a veteran player would. You should carefully listen to what the player says about the match up and their decisions, this won’t give you perfect knowledge of how to play vs certain matchups but it will slowly grow your knowledge of how to approach popular matchups and apply that to your team and games. When doing this, keep in mind that no player is perfect and this means the play they make isn’t always the most optimal play, and as such you should be comparing the thought process between your play and theirs not the actual play by play of the turn.
- Review with a friend
This tip is a mostly an extension to tip #4 but can be applied to any content you watch. Most Pokémon players will have slightly differing opinions/views about how a matchup should be played, some may play the same matchup aggressively while others defensively, some may want one lead and some want to lead a different way. So when watching a specific matchup be played that you are not a part of, watching that content with a friend(s) will allow you both to view the current situation with your own lens and come together to decide what you believe their best choices would be. As I stated before no player is perfect and just because they made a play different to yours doesn’t mean their play is better or your play is worse. The purpose is really just to talk it out and get better at assessing situations by learning from multiple thought processes when looking at one non changing scenario and comparing it to a seasoned player, which in turn will make you better at assessing your own situations from multiple lenses during the heat of the moment in a tournament set.
If you are new to the VGC scene and don’t have any friends to participate in this step with, I recommend you use tip #1 to find new friends in twitch chats, and comment sections or make a post in the VGC Reddit looking for other like minded players.
Video version of today’s article: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiu5IE4f9lc
Thank you for reading today’s article! If you enjoyed please give this post a share, or consider checking out my social media for more VGC improvement content. You can find my Twitter here, YouTube here and my Twitch channel here. If you have any topic suggestions for future PokéPrep articles please feel free to DM on twitter! I hope you enjoyed and I wish you a fantastic day!
*Shoutout to @YardstickVGC for being my editor. You’re the grammar gladiator