PokéPrep #5 Breaking Down Best of Three Note Taking For The Dynamax Era of VGC

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, actionable tips that can be applied to improve your VGC gameplay but don’t involve actual in-game tips! Today I will be breaking down Best of Three note taking for the Dynamax era of VGC!

I have spent a lot of time working on learning the best formats for taking notes, and I have had lots of conversations with players about their note taking structure and habits. And over the years I have been working to find what are the information points that are crucial for you to take note on during your matches. Today I plan on providing you with the most basic clean cut, yet most effective way to take notes during the Dynamax Era. 

Today’s article will be focused for beginners or players who don’t currently have note taking habits. Therefore if you have a note taking structure you already enjoy that works effectively then switching formats may not be the best for you, I still hope you find a bit of info that will help you improve your notes.  As the title suggests these are tips for taking notes in a Best of Three tournament scenario.

Notes are a very important tool to utilize when trying to find better success in most esports, and general activities in life as it gives you information points about your current performance, as well as leaves you a paper trail of your progression over time. A 2014 study at UCLA showed physically writing down notes opposed to typing them on an electronic device is going to greatly improve your ability to recall the information noted. Taking notes will give you a place inside and outside of a match to record and analyze information about your team/personal performance which is by far one of, if not the best tool a player can use to help them improve. Taking these notes will give you access to lots of valuable information about your team and even your play style that you may currently be blind to but will now have more concrete evidence of its existence.

First let me give a quick explanation on why taking poor notes can be detrimental to your gameplay. Notes give you the option to be able to check data in the middle of a set like your opponents potential switch in, the type of berry their Incineroar ate game 1, or the Pokémon they brought as leads last game. It also allows you to go back for a post-game review where you can think about if the decisions you made in game and in the team building process were correct or not. With proper notes you should be able to easily identify flaws you may have missed as well as the areas in team building and matchups you excelled in. If you are taking improper notes that don’t supply you with the sufficient information needed to make improvements after you play the games, then you are rapidly halting your progression as a player by staying blind to flaws that you could easily fix over time from being aware of their existence.

There will be a picture showing what my current notebook for matches looks like which includes all of these tips given today so you can have a visual representation.

Team Preview:

This is the most obvious one to note but also the most important, this section allows you to swiftly go back and check your opponents 6 Pokémon which will consistently save you time by not having to open up the in game menu. This will also give you the freedom to think about your plays while animations take place, or in between the games as you set up the next one. This information will also be extremely helpful for you during post-tournament reflection by providing you with the matchups you faced without having to take a chance at potentially misremembering some of the Pokémon you faced each round. Correctly noting what you played against and what you performed well or poor against is going to directly help you in the team building aspect. By learning about the potential flaws in your current team you are allowed to either work on improving that team or use the information gained to avoid those flaws when making another team with a similar core or strategy in the future.

The Four Pokemon Brought:

Noting the 4 Pokémon both you and your opponent brought will allow you to go back and remember what they have in the back as well as what they brought previous games. Having this data available during animations or in between games will help you decide which Pokémon to consider for the following games as well as the potential predictions you could make in following turns. In review this is one of the most important pieces of information you can acquire as it will show you which Pokémon are actually being brought vs your team. For example if you play vs sun teams and notice that 9/10 times your opponents brings/leads Venusaur and only 1/10 opponents opt to go the Charizard game plan, than from that info you can plan to target the Venusaur side of the team and not worry as much as the Charizard side. Another good data point from this is you can see what Pokémon you bring the most or least and what matchups they are used best in. After Dallas regionals earlier this year I went through and tallied up each time I brought each member of my team to a game during the swiss rounds. After doing this I realized there was one member of that team that was only brought to a total of 5 games through the entire 10 round Bo3 swiss tournament. After figuring out which matchup this Pokémon operated in and what role I truly needed filled there I began working to find a replacement. After lots of testing and help from friends I was able to find a better Pokémon that worked equally if not better than the old Pokémon while also adding to other matchups giving me more options than I had previously.

The Moves, Items, and Abilities:

Alongside the 6 Pokémon your opponent brought you should also leave yourself room to note their 4 moves, their item, and their ability if you face a Pokémon with multiple viable abilities. Noting the item as you discover them can help you in the review stage by showing anything that could have unexpected influence on the matchup such as, safety goggles and lum berry. Although outside of this step the moves and abilities of the Pokémon usually aren’t as impactful for you in the review stage and are much more important for during the set that you are playing. If your opponent’s Conkeldurr reveals all 4 of its moves and shows it has thunderpunch over ice punch then you have security in knowing you can safely switch in your Venusaur vs it. This step is the one people may read this and think it’s unnecessary as you’ll just remember the moves your opponents have, right? Well you need to not underestimate emotions and nerves and the effects they can have on your thought process. During these events that we spend many hours training for it can be very nerve wracking and even the most experienced players can succumb to their emotions and have a clouded thought process. This isn’t pokemonshowdown and you can’t just go back and check what your opponent did 4 turns ago, and you should take notes with this in mind so you can guarantee you don’t forget anything in the heat of the moment. You might also find a new set you enjoy on a Pokémon you haven’t considered before!

The Dynamax:

Noting the dynamax is not something that will be not crucial during that match as you will most likely just need to look at the giant Pokémon on your opponent’s side of the field if you somehow forget. However keeping records of this is crucial for reviewing how you play the game fundamentally. This small detail will help you a lot in understanding how to approach top tier matchups with your team by noting which Pokémon are the most common to dmax vs your team allowing you better position yourself and set yourself up for the end game during team preview. I do say top tier matchups for a reason because when playing a team not inspired by a popular core the dmax of that team will most likely depend on the player and how they built the team to play. So when in the review stage use this bit of information when working on bettering your matchups vs popular cores. Noting your own dynamax can have a benefit by noticing if you dmax the same mon’s regardless of matchup. For an example in early 2020 during series 1-2 I used TED (Togekiss, Excadrill, Dragapult) a lot, and one day I decided to note who I dmax each game alongside tracking which Pokémon I brought to each game. What I noticed from this information was that I was dynamaxing my Togekiss nearly every game, even against matchups I know I should be dmaxing other members of the party. After doing this review I was able to look back at some key matchups and realize I was depending on Togekiss’ airstream too much in each matchup. In these matchups I could have  likely been using Dragapult’s fly to also do the same job with different type coverage as well as give me the ability to hinder my opponents stats with max phantasm and max wyrmwind. Noting if you’re falling into traps like this can save you a lot of time and frustration when working on a team and with it being such a simple and quick thing to track you should be able to incorporate this into your notes easily.

The Post Set Notes:

After a big tournament set I usually use the back of the paper I took notes on to note anything about the matchup that may assist me in the later review stages. Personally I use a smaller notebook so if you’re using a medium/regular sized notebook then you can probably write this on the bottom of the page underneath the notes you just took instead. Things you will want to note here would be crucial points such as, a Pokémon/core that gave your team an issue, how you could have led better, any potential misplays, predictions you got right, how a tech move you chose saved you, etc. This can be decently short, 2-3 sentences should be enough to get the info out of your head and onto paper so you have better memory of this match for review later. 

Here’s an example of a match sheet for me. Sorry for the poor handwriting, I’m sure you can see why I type these out. Regardless I hope this helps you in improving your note taking habits and review habits!

  • Name of Pokémon + 4 dots for their moves
  • Room for item and ability next to the Pokémon’s name as it become available (Note most sets you won’t find out all the information about each Pokémon)
  • Bracket in lower page to separate games 1, 2, and 3 and the Pokémon each player brought
  • Circle a Pokémon’s name to signify it dynamax’d that game
  • Back page/bottom of page blank for post set notes to be jotted down
  • Clean and simple making it easy to come back to for review

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!

If you have any suggestions for future PokéPrep articles please leave them!

Published by Primitive

My name is Michael, but if you know my from competitive gaming you probably know me as Primitive. I'm a life long competitor in various card games, and turn based games who still has the burn to compete and work to be my best. I have been on a health and fitness journey since February 2018 and it is now one of my burning passions, making one of my new major goals to become a personal trainer to help others see the benefits exercise and nutrition can bring!

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