Competitive Pokemon Community Looks to Fix Timer Issues

Published: November 25, 2020 7:14 PM /


Pokemon Sword and Shield Battle

The competitive Pokemon scene is often unsung when it comes to sanctioned tournament play, though the past five years have slowly changed that aspect. Official tournament formats like the Video Game Championships (VGC) have been streamed in the past, and the chronicling of the competitive scenes for official and unofficial formats is something of a hobby for hardcore Pokémon battlers. 

Unfortunately, Pokemon Sword and Shield suffers from a major flaw, at least according to some prominent Pokemon Youtubers and competitive players. That flaw is the in-game timer, which has been shortened in Sword and Shield to only 20-minutes, after being 60-minutes previously in Generation VII. 

 YouTuber PokeaimMD has taken to social media a new campaign to raise awareness of this issue, branded as #BringBackTimer. He also would get several prominent competitive players, such as Aaron 'Cybertron' Zheng, Wolfe 'WolfeyVGC' Glick, and several key influencers such as False Swipe Gaming and aDrive.

The complaints put forth by PokeaimMD is specifically against the 20-minute timer ruining certain formats of competitive play, specifically 6 v 6 single battles and draft play. Simply put, the timer is too short for those battles to finish properly, often ending in timeouts where a definitive winner is not determined.

It should be noted that official VGC rules have a different structure than the 6 v 6 formats. Official tournament play is often 4 v 4, and in doubles format with a 15-minute time limit. That time limit also includes a 'chess clock' situation where players would have 7 total minutes to select their moves for their Pokemon. Another issue is the amount of time animation takes up on the short clock, exasperated by dynamaxing this generation. The issues with the time clock mostly affect casual competitive formats and casual play, specifically from unofficial formats such as Smogon

However, because of the popularity of 6 v 6 formats and single competitive play, despite being unofficial, the timer issue is prominent enough to see players abandoning playing Pokemon Sword and Shield officially, and instead focusing their efforts on simulators like Pokemon Showdown

Pokemon Showdown has been a simulation and competitive tool for over 12 years now, rising to prominence in the late 2000's. Today, it is often used as the official online tournament tool for sanctioned Smogon tournaments, following Smogon rules of competitive play and tiering, as well as a tool for VGC competitors to check stats and team composition for themselves. 

It is unknown if Game Freak or The Pokemon Company will made an update to the 20-minute timer at all, as the timer doesn't really effect official competitive play or standard singles and doubles formats. However, any alterations to the timer, even giving players an option for customizable times for their formats, would be a marked improvement to competitive battles in Sword and Shield. We shall see if #BringBackTimer has any affect for a future update to Sword and Shield

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| Staff Writer

A longtime player of games, creator of worlds, and teacher of minds. Robert has worked many positions over the years, from college professor to education… More about Robert

More Info About This Game
Learn more about Pokémon Sword and Shield
Game Freak
Nintendo Switch
Release Date
November 15, 2019 (Calendar)
Open World, RPG
Purchase (Some links may be affiliated)