Hello everyone and welcome to the next installment of Top Player Breakdown! This is a series in which I will interview top players about how they approach the game, their mindset, tips for players looking to improve, breakdown of the current meta game and more! Today’s guest is Aaron Traylor!
You have had a history of amazing performances in all levels of competition in VGC. What are the main factors that have allowed you to succeed over the years despite many rule and mechanic changes?
I love solving the problem of VGC. No matter what Pokémon or mechanics are available the problem of VGC stays the same, make the team with the best chances to win, and understanding how to win each game. I have played Pokémon since I was 3 so I love Pokémon, but that’s different than loving the problem of VGC and I just enjoy trying to solve this problem each year.
2020/2021 have been different from most previous years of VGC as it has a format change every few months. What are your thoughts on this constant rotation?
I think its good for some reasons, it keeps things fresh, keeps the meta interesting. Also, the less time that the community has to work on solving “the problem” of VGC, the more opportunities there are for players to perform well with undiscovered or overlooked strategies. However there are also some cons, new players consistently have to catch and breed new Pokémon, and staying up to date on what the current rule set even is can be a challenge for some new players who aren’t yet deep into the community. Something as simple as “what are the rules” can be a challenge for beginners to grasp with the circuit being in a state of ‘these are the rules this month but next month these are the rules’. In terms of a competitor I prefer having a whole year to work on a meta, gives you more time to test more things and refine the meta more.
How do you think this constant rotation would affect the live circuit if we were to stay in the same series cycle going forward?
It’s hard to say but I think that it would be better now than in the past because it’s so much easier to get access to good teams with things such as rental codes, or websites that provide teams. However, I think it changes too fast for the live circuit to really develop and I have faith it will be less frequent of a change going forward.
Now that we are getting a bit into series 9 what are your final thoughts about our first single restricted format we had with series 8?
It was interesting, but towards the end people seemed to figure out how the meta works and it became a bit rigid. When the format was first announced I thought one of two things were going to happen.
- Teams will be focused around the legendary and the rest of the team will be to support it by patching up its bad matchups.
- Or because of dynamax, teams were just going to be 5 good Pokémon + a legend.
I think we saw a bit of both in the meta but It was obvious thanks to dynamax and gigantamax some Pokémon were much stronger than others which really shifted the direction the meta went.
Players Cup 4 is about a month away meaning there is a lot of time for the meta to shift, but what do you think are the main front runners of the current meta that players should expect to potentially see during their PC4 run?
When it comes to s9 I’m not as much looking at compositions as much as I’m looking at individual pieces and how they are going to affect the meta such as Urshifu and its guaranteed critical hits, Regieleki with its strength and speed control. But there are some common meta trends right now we may see such as Grimmsnarl/Celesteela, Coalossal, and Togekiss stuff.
What would you say to newer players who have dreams to be a top level VGC player but feel they may have joined too late and don’t have a chance to make it to that level?
What’s awesome about VGC is that anyone can beat anyone else which makes it accessible to newer players, but the downside to this is that it makes it very hard to excel in VGC. VGC is all about learning, and as a beginner you have a lot to learn which can be daunting, but if you like to learn and like that challenge then there is a lot you can do and you shouldn’t feel behind at all. There has never been a better time to get involved in VGC with how much content we have online to help players grow.
If you could have 3 Pokémon in real life, what 3 would you choose and why?
Espurr because it would be a great thing to have, a weird cat like that.
Minccino/Cinccino I love them they’re super cute and squishy!
Lastly I would pick Lapras because I live 10 minutes away from the ocean and I could ride on it!
Please make sure to follow Aaron on twitter if you haven’t already and consider booking him for coaching through the metafy link!
Aaron’s 10 year VGC anniversary just happened and he made a write up all about his experience which you can/should check out here! https://attraylor.medium.com/now-i-am-older-5051f113c64a
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