Top Player Breakdown #1 Feat. TheBattleRoom & Adi Subramanian

Hello everyone and welcome to the first installment of Top Player Breakdown! This is a new series in which I will interview top players and creators about how they approach the game, their mindset, tips for players looking to improve, breakdown of the current meta game and more! Today’s guests are Adi Subramanian (ck49) and TheBattleRoom, both of which are extremely high level players who recently finished 5th/6th in the Players Cup 3 NA regional qualifier bracket! 

As a player who has performed at a high level in both the live circuit and the online circuit do you feel that you have to take a different approach to succeed in the new double elimination style bracket that the Players Cup has been using opposed to the swiss format that the live circuit used?

Adi: I don’t believe the preparation aspect has changed as I’m always going to try and build the best team and win most matchups. There are some other things to consider like the qualification aspect I push to get as high of a ranking as I can to get the first round bye. Having to play 1 less game gets you that much closer to the next stage of the tournament.

TBR: I don’t believe that the double elimination bracket changes how you approach the tournament, but I do believe the big difference is the open team sheets. With closed team sheets it changes how you go about team building and you have to gain the skill of assessing situations and using the information you learned from each game about your opponents team to your advantage. As to where with open team sheets it’s less about how you build your team and more about how you play knowing all of your opponents options.

The VGC community has seen a lot of new players join the scene who have only experienced the online circuit, what advice would you give those players to best prepare them for the live circuit when it returns?

Adi: The live circuit is different from online in the fact that it’s not always all X-2 cut which makes each match matters more and you want to maintain composure when playing. Also you will be sitting across from your opponent which allows you to read body language and talk to your opponents which helps build relationships. All of the live events are closed team sheets and you should keep that in mind when team building as well as when playing and thinking about information preservations in your sets.

TBR: Don’t be afraid to lose. In online tournaments if you lose out you just move on with your day, but with the live circuit you are paying $200+ to travel and if you are too nervous about losing you are going to really hurt your mental. Most people aren’t going to win their first regional and you should be making the most out of your experience. I’m not saying to not have high hopes for yourself or to not prepare as much as you can, but going in with an open mind to meeting new people, enjoying the atmosphere and experience will bring you a lot more joy if you don’t allow potentially losing to suck all the fun out of the trip.

What are your top tip(s) you would give players about approaching team building in a best of 3 tournament scenario?

Adi: You can’t get away with as many gimmicks in best of 3. When analyzing your best of 1 games you should be able to identify if you opponent will be able to win if they know what your gimmick is. If you can’t get away with it again it won’t work in best of 3. It’s also important to understand when you need to adjust in between games 1,2&3 and when you should put the pressure on your opponent to adjust to your game plan. Lastly is concealing information, its important to understand when you should reveal information about your moves, or items and when you should save it for a more crucial moment in a later game.

TBR: Don’t try to abuse gimmick strategies such as choice scarf Tapu Fini with soak and Regieleki that may have higher success on best of 1 ladder, and more so try find a team that has options while remaining consistent. You want as many modes and options as possible so you can adapt to what your opponent is using and be able to change up how you approach the matchup in games 2&3 if needed.

What are your top tip(s) you would give players about mindset when competing in/preparing for a tournament?

Adi: Keeping a level head and using all the time you have available to think is super important. You don’t have to concede as soon as a game looks like it’s over, you can play it out to get information out of your opponent. Taking time in between games to think about your game plans for games 2 or 3 is a great idea so you don’t have to figure it out with only the time team preview gives you. Lastly keep in mind you are playing a best of three so you want to have different strategies you can use as well as potentially having a mode on your team that is more straightforward that doesn’t require planning and prediction to use.

TBR: Don’t mindlessly play on showdown. So many players play just to say they had 500 practice games which just builds bad habits and makes them fail to absorb any information that is actually going to help them once the tournament begins. Whenever you can review your games so you can gain as much confidence as you can in your team. In my top 4 worlds performance I had never used those 6 together, but I had played so many games with the core and its partners that I already knew all the calcs, and flowcharts which allowed me to confidently play each matchup.

Would you like to see open team sheets at irl events? If so at what capacity?

Adi: We should have open team sheets during top cut only. It’s not practical or worthwhile to have then during swiss. How these tournaments work is after you make top cut you spend the rest of the day trying to gather information about your opponents and then play test matchups. If you are a newer player with less connections then you may be at a severe disadvantage going into your match if your opponent knows all the information about your team. Having open team sheets during top cut alleviates this and levels the playing field.

TBR: Yes but only in top cut. If you don’t have a lot of connections then its a lot harder to get information about your opponents team, or if you played on stream and your opponent didn’t then they have information on you while you have none on them. With top cut being a whole different atmosphere I think open team sheets will even out the playing field and not give an advantage to those who have more connections within the community.

With the end of series 8 coming to a close what is your opinion on the first single restricted format we have had?

Adi: Series 8 was very interesting for a little while but then became very degenerate very quickly. The metagame and the end of the format was that your Gmax Volcaliths and Gmax Vine lash type of damage were so powerful especially when you have the restricteds to clean up the game. This was really the only way to play the game unless your game plan was to take knock outs so quickly that the vine lash damage didn’t matter such as Calyrex-Shadow teams where you don’t trade damage, you trade knock outs so it didn’t matter if your Pokémon were at 30% health or 80% health.

TBR: I really liked it, it was my favorite series so far but it did get to be a little much towards the end. Sun became such a powerful and consistent strategy that it felt like if you weren’t using sun you were throwing which kind of ruined it for me at the end. But I really enjoyed single restricted because it didn’t make the teams and archetypes as telegraphed as they were in dual restricted formats making more Pokémon viable.

Do you think dynamax positively or negatively affected how this format played out considering that restricted Pokémon had such high base stats that it promoted dynamaxing them?

Adi: It is really hard to say how the format would turn out if you couldn’t dynamax/gmax. The teams we saw day 1 of the format were much different than the teams we saw towards the end of the format. I could take a good guess at what day 1 teams would look like without dynamax but I have no idea how it would turn out over time. The game is also balanced around dynamax, such Pokémon like fake out Gothitelle would be extremely powerful but it balances out since dynamax is immune to fake out, similarly Urshifu is not ok without dynamax. I think dynamax has to be in the format if you’re not going to ban a lot of Pokémon that would very quickly be broken in a format without dynamax.

TBR: I think it helped it and hurt it. Zacian teams felt like they had 2 legendaries because you would have it next to Coalossal/Venusaur and have insane damage outputs while being able to do double damage with Zacian. But it also allowed for flexibility in your play, with my PC3 sun team I would go in with the intent to max Venusaur but due to how it played out I would max Groudon as it was better for the situation which made it feel like games weren’t as straightforward as they may have seemed.

Do you think the way series 8 played out with its archetypes and team building styles impact how players approach early series 9 or do you expect the meta to stay primarily as it was towards the end of series 7?

Adi: I think it’s a combination of both, people are going to default back to what they used in late series 7 but series 8 has had a lasting impact in that we didn’t fully appreciate how strong things like vine lash were and how powerful screens are. I think because series 8 centralized so much around these bulky, residual damage types of teams players understand how to build those teams better as well as the counterplay to those styles of teams.

TBR: I expect to pick up where we left off with a additions such as prankster Thundurus as its not as explored but very powerful vs sun, as well as Tornadus may go up in usage but it won’t be as powerful without its 100% accurate hurricane that Kyogre gave it. I do think the meta will progress really fast and be more refined for PC4.

What’s your take on the 1 billion lions vs 1 of each Pokémon debate?

Adi: I think Pokémon are really stupid if they don’t have a trainer. If they can’t manage to kill a bunch of kids then there is no way they can work in a coordinated fashion to beat 1 billion lions. If they had a competitive trainer managing them then they may have a chance but lions are natural predators and I have seen too many Pokémon who fail to survive against even team rocket.

TBR: 1 of each Pokémon. Some of them are so broken and so massive in size that the lions don’t stand a chance.

Please make sure to follow our guests on all their social platforms if you haven’t already as they are great players, content creators and humans and you won’t regret checking out their content!

Adi’s Socials:




TheBattleRoom’s Socials:




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. Please reach out to me on twitter and let me know who you want me to interview next/question suggestions! 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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