Thanks to everyone who contributed to the creation of this article. It has been a fulfilling experience leading the way and I hope that everyone enjoys the read. As usual this would not be possible without a group of dedicated contributors; a special thanks goes to to The Dutch Plumberjack, Quite Quiet, Accelgor, Bouff, col49, deetah, Estronic, EviGaro, Feliburn, Kalalokki, Kingler, Kris, MajorBowman, Rabia, rozes, talkingtree, TonyFlygon, and Zracknel for their consistent assistance. It is an honor watching so many people across different parts of the community come together to make this possible.
Good luck to everyone participating and I hope that everyone spectating signs up next Snake enjoys as well. Let's go Astrotias, I am really excited for our run this season! Finally, results from the pre-draft predictions will be up in a separate post in the week 1 thread (perhaps alongside predictions) tomorrow.
The SSD IV team avatars are up! You can enable the avatar by typing /avatar ssdiv[teamname] in the lobby before playing your games. For example, if you're on the Cobras the command would be /avatar ssdivcobras. Without further ado, here are all the avatars for this year's tournament:
Finally I want to thank Kalalokki for helping me make these avatars and a special thank you to Zarel for making this all possible in the first place!
Hello all. Naturally, when an official draft such as this happens, players and spectators immediately flock to write power rankings based on whose team has the strongest roster. While this is a fine concept, it does not take the most important part of the competition into account - the aesthetics. In this post, I will rank each team's custom avatar in order so that the rest of you can revel in the beauty of the most well-dressed trainers this Snake has to offer.
Disclaimer: this is intended purely for fun and my goal is not to discredit the work of any of the artists who worked on these custom avatars. Despite any flaming I may do, I think that all of these avatars were excellently created and I have nothing but respect for those who managed to put them together.
Without further ado, let's get into the rankings.
1 - Black City Mambas
The Mambas knew exactly what they were doing when they chose this as their custom avatar. Jasmine's excellent recolour makes her match perfectly with her signature Steelix, ensuring that her typical teal dress doesn't blend poorly with the Iron Snake's shiny frame. In addition, her softer design contrasts Steelix's menacing expression. This duo is perfect through and through, both aesthetically and thematically given that Steelix is actually Jasmine's signature Pokemon in the games. A fantastic choice. Overall rating: 10/10
2 - Ambrette Astrotias
Milotic is one of the most beautiful Pokemon ever created, so it makes sense that it would rank quite high on this list. Pairing the Tender Pokemon with the fantastic Dawn (Platinum) was a phenomenal choice; their colour schemes match each other perfectly. Dawn's highly impractical outfit consisting of a scarf, winter boots, and a short skirt synergises well with Milotic's peculiar mermaid-like lower body, and both of them are naturally very pretty. While this avatar isn't quite the perfect pairing that the Mambas have concocted, it's still absolutely stellar, and the Astrotias members will look very stylish during their games this season. Overall rating: 9.5/10
3 - Berry Forest Bushmasters
A wise individual once said "there is beauty in simplicity", and a quick Google search didn't tell me who that was, but Leonardo da Vinci said something similar so I'm going to pretend it was him. Indeed, the Bushmasters have quite the standard combination as their avatar; the green-wearing Blue, which is hilariously ironic, and the regal Serperior. These two have an absolutely stunning combination of colour and attitude, with Serperior's smug expression matching Blue's perfectly. And let's just say, if you were on the team that was ranked #1 in the official Snake Draft IV Power Rankings, you'd probably be pretty smug too. Overall rating: 8.5/10
4 - Lanakila Nagas
The Bakers are back, once again using the wonderful Tapu Fini as a business model to sell off their homemade stock. One cannot understate the sheer importance of Tapu Fini's role in this avatar; its friendly and welcoming exterior makes us want to buy the bread the Bakers are selling, ensuring that the Nagas' franchise will have enough money to remain afloat in future editions of the Smogon Snake Draft. Beyond that, the stylish combination of Tapu Fini's cold water and the Baker's hot dough makes for a wonderful duo, and their colour coordination is excellent too. Just looking at this avatar makes me hungry. Overall rating: 7.5/10
5 - Sky Tower Lindworms
Rayquaza has long been touted as one of the most well-designed Shiny Pokemon available, in large part due to the excellent colour combination that is black and gold. Pairing up with that, we have Ethan, the male protagonist of Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver, who sports the same colour scheme in addition to an auburn jacket, matching the blood-red highlights streaking across Rayquaza's body. That alone makes this avatar incredibly appealing; indeed, one could almost rank this avatar as high as #1. The reason I have chosen not to do this, though, is the somewhat unfitting combination of Ethan and Rayquaza. While it is very easy to see Blue with a Serperior or Dawn with a Milotic, one cannot say the same for Ethan - while it is possible to catch Rayquaza in Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver, it is not something that one would associate the Johto protagonist with. The excellent aesthetics of this avatar still carry it to a respectable fifth place, though. Overall rating: 6.5/10
6 - Shinto Ruins Serpents
Let's get one thing straight; Giratina's Origin forme is downright terrifying. In this case, that's a good thing, since you're definitely going to want your opponent to fear you in these games. The Serpents elected to go all-in on this choice, using the similarly creepy Tate as a human base for this avatar. The recolouring of Tate's clothes makes this choice even better. However, this avatar is held back by one key thing; poor scaling. While this is also an issue for other avatars, it's exacerbated here because of the intimidating nature of the Serpents, and let's face it; a 22'08" Giratina is a lot more terrifying than one that barely cracks the 8' mark. They get some points for their colour scheme, though. Overall rating: 6/10
7 - Lake of Rage Leviathans
Drake's piercing gaze and Gyarados's powerful roar combine to make for one of the stronger trainer/Pokemon duos on this list. In addition, the subtle recolouring of Drake's outfit ensures it matches well with the Red Gyarados, and I can definitely appreciate the thematic approach here. Unfortunately, the good sort of ends there. In addition to awkward posing of both trainer and Pokemon, the scaling on this avatar, much like the Serpents, is quite poor; in fact, Gyarados is smaller than Drake in this one! Considering Gyarados is 21'04", I have my doubts that Drake can hope to accomplish such a feet. Combine that with good-but-not-great colour contrast, and you've got an avatar that's serviceable, but fairly mediocre. Overall rating: 5/10
8 - Terminus Taipans
This avatar isn't necessarily bad, but it's definitely a great example of wasted potential. Zygarde is one of the most powerful Pokemon ever made in-universe, possessing the power to influence the entire Kalos region's natural balance. This makes the choice of pairing Zygarde with a forgettable Poké Ranger quite an odd one; while it's true that they care for the environment, they are generally weak and would not stand much of a chance at wrangling Zygarde. A different more powerful trainer would improve this avatar tenfold. Beyond that, the standard issues apply; poor scaling and only decent colour options. Overall rating: 4/10
9 - Celadon City Cobras
It pains me to put my own team this low, but we unfortunately lack in the custom avatar department. Not only is Arbok by far the most forgettable snake in the tournament, it's also quite difficult to work with; while purple is personally my favourite colour, it's most definitely not an easy one to incorporate in design. Despite the good contrast between trainer and Pokemon in this avatar, it's unfortunately held back by the mediocrity of both; they combine decently together, but that doesn't matter if you're not good in the first place. While I will personally be rocking this avatar in every game I play (until week 4 when I inevitably forget to use it), I can't deny that we're out of our depth in the aesthetics department. Overall rating: 3/10
10 - Rumble Hall Rattlers
As stated in my last ranking, purple is not an easy colour to use. On top of that, Shiny Thundurus, in its Therian forme, doesn't even make great use of purple to begin with, on top of the fact that its general lack of serpentine attributes makes me question its eligibility in this tournament in the first place. This avatar is let down purely by its atrocious colour combination; if the Rattlers were to simply use a standard Thundurus colour scheme and make the basketball player's outfit match, they would soar in the rankings, and would also get to use a regular Spheal rather than a Shiny variant. That said, this avatar is somewhat saved by the aforementioned Spheal's appearance - however, being in the hands of a basketball player implies that this poor creature will be dunked, and I cannot condone animal abuse. Shame on you, TDK. Overall rating: 2/10
I hope you all enjoyed reading the most important power ranking post this thread is likely to see. To all of the teams at the top, excellent work, and to the less-than-great teams, hopefully you learn from this and improve upon your branding next Snake. With all this said, regardless of whether your team is aesthetically pleasing or not, or whether or not you're on a team to begin with, I hope you have an enjoyable time during this Snake!