How To Improve Your Best Of 1 Tournament Performance

The qualifier for PC4 just recently took place which was a high stress event for many people as the Best of 1 tournament scenario in series 8 is not an easy one to deal with. This is a common theme for most Best of 1 tournaments despite what format we’re playing as it promotes strategies that are meant to catch your opponent off guard netting you a quick and easy win. Best of 1 also makes the punishment for poor RNG much worse as you are unable to bounce back like you would in a best of 3 tournament set.

Throughout the 4 Players Cup qualifiers I have been able to maintain a decently high win rate to lock in my qualification slot. (I play on a second cartridge as well with a less serious team but I won’t count those as I just play them for fun) 

PC1: 26-6 (1718)

PC2: 19-6 (1664)

PC3: 22-10(1660)

PC4: 16-2 (1665)

Total: 83-24 77% win rate

And today I want to give some advice to help you be better prepared for a Best of 1 scenario such as ladder tours or Players Cup qualifiers. 

Quick note: Bo1 = Best of 1, Bo3 = Best of 3, IC = Players Cup Bo1 Qualifiers

I will be using these shortened versions frequently throughout this article!

Use Offensive Strategies

Ladder tournaments such as the IC have you playing a lot of games in a short period of time. When playing a large amount of games you want to spend as little energy to win each game as possible. This is why using an offensive team is a great idea in these tournaments because you don’t have to do as much predicting and pregame flowcharting. Using a more “braindead” strategy that has similar flowcharts no matter the matchup will save you a lot of mental energy, which will give you a much better chance at staying 100% through each game.

Offensive strategies also reduce the chances you will get poor RNG. If you can knock out your opponent’s Pokémon before they can move themselves then they do not have a chance at critting you, flinching you, putting you to sleep etc. Speed, and power are king in Bo1 when you don’t have a 2nd chance to win.

Defensive strategies are much more prone to RNG as critical hits will negate any damage reduction that you may have in place such as light screen/reflect, snarl, or iron defense to name a few. That doesn’t mean these strategies are bad, in fact they are usually very potent in the Bo3 scenario, but in a Bo1 tournament just one bad crit can lose you a game by ignoring your main game plan. 

Comfort Picks

You should always be using something you’re comfortable with in any tournament you wish to do well and Bo1 tournaments are no different.

Being comfortable with a team/core means you have played many games with it, you understand what good leads/pivots for the team are, you understand how to play matchups, you understand when you should play safe or take risks. Having this comfort and knowledge in a team drastically increases the chances of success by ensuring you have a base level of knowledge on how to beat any team you may come across. 

Without using a comfort pick and just using a team that is new to you, you are more likely to make mistakes, mess up flowcharts, or fumble an interaction you may not be familiar with.

In Bo1 you want to maximize your chances of winning, and using something you know how to use/win with is a no brainer for improving your odds.

“Surprise Tactics”

Best of 1 encourages and rewards surprise tactics. Unlike in Bo3 you only need your surprise tactic to work once for you to win the game and move on to your next opponent. 

There are different levels of “surprise tactics” the most common being things like trick/switcheroo with lagging tail or eject button, other surprises may be things like choice specs/band/scarf on a strong Pokémon that normally doesn’t use that item but provides you with advantageous calcs.

I’m not saying you should build a team around gimmicks or surprise factors, I think its better to naturally fit it in and have it be an option for you to pull out. 

The reason Whimsicott with an eject button is so common in Bo1 is because it’s easy for you to add Whimsicott onto a team while not forcing yourself to click switcheroo each game. Whimsicott can also use tailwind/taunt/helping hand etc and be a good Pokémon while also having the option of removing your opponents dynamax option when needed. 

But once again don’t build your team around a gimmick or rely solely on your surprise factors because your opponent may be on to your games and can create counter play, or the gimmick you have may just not be good vs an opponent’s strategy and if it’s all you rely on you are a fish out of water for that game.

Best/Worst Times To Play Your Games (For IC’s)

During the 3 day IC the times you play your games could play a role in your success. Through my own games, as well as talking with others I have come up with some of the good and bad times to play your games and I will break down what I think of each time to play

Day 1 First 5 Hours (good): I recommend playing within the first 5 hours if possible. During this time a lot of players will be playing, and you have a high chance to play opponents equal to or greater than your score which will give you a great boost to your record. During this time there are also a lot of “random” teams that have poor matchups versus meta Pokémon/teams. Be aware that during this time you may also run into players below the 1500 starting point who went 0-1/0-2 but there are much more players with 1500-1515 rating to play.

Day 1 Hour 6-24 (neutral/bad): This point it will be a 50/50 if you play against players above or below the 1500 start. This isn’t a bad time to play at all, but as far as maximizing your points I think this is the worst time to start your run.

Day 2 (best): I think day 2 is the best time to play and try and qualify. During day 2 you will have the opportunity to face players in the high 1500 – mid 1600s which if you win will give you a lot of rating points, and if you lose will be minimal points lost. A lot of the players who did poorly on day 1 and have less than a 1500 rating will not continue playing so you have a lot lower of a chance to face them and risk losing lots of points.

Day 3 Hours 1-12 (great): Day 3 can be a really good day for qualifying if you play during the early hours and this is the only time I would recommend playing on day 3. During this time you have a super high chance of playing against high rated opponents most games which will give you the most bang for your buck each game you play. 

Day 3 Hour 13-24 (neutral/bad): But day 3 is also the worst time to play as not only will you now be racing against the clock to get your games in, which could be even worse if you have a losing streak at some point or still have a lot of games that need to be played, but you will also be playing against players who are playing for their tournament lives and will be much tougher, more focused opponents. 

During Peak JP Hours (scary): Japanese players have proven time and time again to be extremely ready for Bo1. They also have a very tight knit community so many JP players will be using highly proven Bo1 teams and be comfortable with how to use them. These times are not the best to play in my opinion if you are looking to easily qualify as JP players will be very formidable opponents and be much harder to beat and increasing your chances of playing them will greatly increase the difficulty of your run. 

This isn’t saying that other regions are weak or anything like that, it’s just that JP has proven to be the best in Bo1 and avoiding them will likely increase your win %. On the flip side if you’re just looking to test a team/get better than playing during this time is recommended as you will be playing against very strong players and teams. (although be wary of potential Bo1 surprises/tricks)

Take Breaks And Have Something For Comfort

Playing in Bo1 is stressful enough, especially when there is some sort of qualification/prize for performing well. That means when playing in these tournaments it’s easy and common for players to feel negative emotions such as stress, tilt, or anger during their run. Playing while afflicted with these emotions is a recipe for disaster as it will cloud your thought process, make you play faster, and increase the chances of mistakes when playing.

To fight this I recommend you take short breaks frequently and have some things for comfort. 

When winning you may not need to take breaks as often as you will be motivated to keep playing, and will have more confidence when playing. Taking a break every 5-6 games (about an hour)  is very smart regardless if you’re winning as stepping away will reset your mental, get blood pumping, and give your eyes a small break which will allow you to continue playing your best.

When losing it’s much smarter to take breaks whenever any negative mindset or emotion may appear. I personally take a short break whenever I take 2 losses in a row during a Bo1 tournament. I usually am fine mentally after these 2 losses, but I know that if I don’t reset after losing some games I may start to lose more, or even worse, tilt. 

Also have something to comfort you for whenever you are feeling stressed. This could be some of your favorite snacks, a playlist, some friends to talk with, an activity you like to do like a sport of art, etc. Whatever you find that can help relieve some stress for you is perfect and will help you endure the Bo1 stress

Sign Up On Both Copies If Able

When it comes to the Players Cup qualifiers you are able to sign up with both sword and shield if you have the access to both games. Doing so is a great idea because it will allow you to play with more peace of mind. 

If you had a bad run on your sword copy, then you can switch to a different team and just start playing on your shield copy and better your odds of placing well. Having that access to a 2nd try will also help your mental state when playing as you know that you have a safety net in the 2nd game and you can play your first set of games with fewer nerves that each game makes or breaks your run and can just play the game.

Accept RNG Happens

Hax happens in VGC, although there are ways to mitigate these chances, the facts are during a tournament run you are going to be on the short end of the RNG stick from time to time. When this happens the worst thing you can do is wallow in it, get upset/tilted, and allow it to impact the rest of your games. 

Instead its best to accept that you are willingly playing VGC which means you are willingly putting yourself in games where you can have bad RNG. This is the game we play and getting upset over a mechanic in the game that you know can and will happen is a silly way to ruin your mood/day.

Also you need to recognize the times you get good RNG yourself that wins you games or puts you in advantageous positions. No player out there only gets bad RNG, there are only players who choose to focus on the bad RNG and ignore any good RNG that comes their way to have a “reason” as to why they performed poorly. 

Accepting that this will happen will allow you to move past hax easier, and faster. This will also keep your mindset in a better spot as you know that some games you just lose to RNG instances and the best thing to do is move on from it and continue to play your best for the rest of the run. This goes for both best of 1 and best of 3 tournaments although RNG plays much less of a role in the Bo3 scenario it’s still good to mitigate the unnecessary mental anguish.

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. I hope you enjoyed and I wish you a fantastic day!

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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