A Beginner's Guide to Competitive Pokémon - Still_Insane22 Blog - www.GameInformer.com
Switch Lights

The lights are on

What's Happening

A Beginner's Guide to Competitive Pokémon

 

Pokémon X and Y have been out for a long time now. In the time it has been out, people have been working day and night trying to sort out how good these Pokémon are, taking into account the differences in move damage, the nerfing of weather moves, and a new Pokémon type: Fairy. Some of you might be interested in putting your brain power to work by taking six Pokémon against the world. What I hope to accomplish with this guide is to help others become successful in this venture, so let's start with some basics.

SECTION I: Knowing the Types

As it stands, there are currently 18 Pokémon types: Fire, Water, Grass, Electric, Normal, Rock, Dragon, Dark, Steel, Psychic, Ground, Poison, Ghost, Flying, Fighting, Bug, Ice, and Fairy. It's important to know what types are strong and weak against, so here's a handy dandy chart to help you out:




2 means it's Super Effective, 1/2 means it's not very effective, 0 means no damage is taken, and the blank spaces are just normal damage.

SECTION II: Learning the Right Moves

As you already know, a Pokémon gets four slots for moves. Some Pokémon only learn a few, while some can learn a whole bunch, but they still only get four slots. These moves range from attacks, to buffs, to debuffs, to weather controlling moves, to status moves. Buffs are moves that can increase your speed, accuracy, attack, etc. while debuffs can do the opposite to your opponent. Status moves are moves that cause Burns, Poisoning, Paralysis, Freezing, and Confusion. There are two types of attacks: Physical and Special. A physical attack means a Pokémon made contact with the other Pokémon to inflict damage, while a Special Attack is more of a ranged attack.

Weather moves do exactly what you'd expect: Alter the weather of the battlefield. The weather can range from Sunny (boosting Fire type moves and weakening Water moves), Rain (boosting Water type moves and weakening Fire type moves), Sand (Boosts the Special Defenses of Rock, Ground, and Steel types), and Hail (Something that's a general nuisance to anyone that isn't Ice type). It's also important to mention that Rain increases the accuracy of Thunder and Hurricane to 100% as opposed to their original 70% accuracy. The sun decreases their accuracy to an abysmal 50%, and allows Solarbeam to be used without having to wait a turn to charge.

Now that we know all that, let's go a little bit deeper.

Let's take a look at one of my favorite Pokémon, Forretress.



 

 

Giving it Flash Cannon or Bug Bite won't do you much good, on account of those meh attack stats, so maybe going offensive isn't the best approach. What it DOES have is an impressive defense and a handy ability: Sturdy. Sturdy makes sure Forretress can't be knocked out in one hit. With this in mind, imagine that Forretress had at least one move to do something. If you take a dive into its movepool, you'll find it holds three interesting moves: Stealth Rock, Spikes, and Rapid Spin.

Stealth Rock and Spikes are entry hazards, or moves that deploy obstacles that hurt an opponent's Pokémon when it enters the field. Damage from Stealth Rock is like taking damage from a Rock type attack, and Spikes is like a Ground type attack. Rapid Spin gets rid of those hazards if someone uses them on you. For simplicity's sake, let's just use Stealth Rock because it's a more potent and universal annoyance, and Rapid Spin in case someone tries to use Spikes or Stealth Rock on you. Now for the last two moves.

Two other interesting moves Forretress can use are Volt Switch and Gyro Ball. Gyro Ball takes advantage of Forretress's low speed and turns it into power, as Gyro Ball does more damage the slower you are. It also gets an added bonus for being a STAB move. A STAB is an attack that does a bit more damage if the user is the same type as the move being used. Volt Switch is a good option in case Forretress needs to make a quick getaway while still wanting to do at least some damage.

So now, our Forretress has used up all four move slots with Rapid Spin, Volt Switch, Gyro Ball, and Stealth Rock. With this moveset, Forretress fulfills its niche role: being a support Pokémon. I'll explain what that means later.

Remember, the more moves available to the Pokémon, the more able it is to handle different situations.

SECTION III: The Nature of Your Game

In the third generation of Pokémon (Ruby, Sapphire, FireRed, LeafGreen, and Emerald), Pokémon were given Natures. Natures can tell you in what stats your Pokémon excel at and which ones they won't. Here's another handy dandy chart that can help you sort out which nature does what.



Natures are important when it comes to trying to fulfill the role you have for your Pokémon. For example, I'll use Wobbuffet. Despite having awful stats besides HP, Wobbuffet fits in by being a wall, or a Pokémon that wears you opponent down by being able to take hits. Having access to both Counter and Mirror Coat, it can also hit back against physical and special attacks twice over. Now here comes the fork in the road.

Having a Wobbuffet with a Bold nature means it can take physical attacks more efficiently. Having a Calm nature allows it to take special attacks more efficiently. It all boils down to what you think would be a more prominent threat to Wobbuffet. Hopefully that gives you some insight on how you can use natures.



SECTION IV: Tools of Destruction

Now that you know the science behind types, moves, and natures, it's time to
learn about using ITEMS.

Items have always had a dominant hand in battles, whether it be berries or potions or healing items. Nowadays there are items tailored for battling. Items like the Choice Band, Choice Scarf, Lum Berry, White Herb, Assault Vest, and the list goes on and on. Let's take a look at some of these items.



The Choice Band is an item that raises a Pokémon's Attack by 50%, but only restricts the wearer to only using the first attack it makes. So, if a Tyranitar was wearing a Choice Band, and the first move it uses is Stone Edge, it's only allowed to use Stone Edge while it's on the field. This is negated when the Pokémon switches out.



A Lum Berry cures any status problem a Pokémon has. Is your Pokémon poisoned? Lum Berry's got you covered. Asleep? Lum Berry will wake it up. The only draw back is that it's single use, and it's a hold item so it's used automatically. Consider it a Get Out Of Jail Free card.



A White Herb is a more interesting item. If a Pokémon's stats were reduced by say Intimidate or Tail Whip, those stats are brought back to their normal state. This move works well in conjunction with the Pokémon Cloyster and here's why. Cloyster has access to a move called Shell Smash, a relatively new move that boosts Attack, Special Attack, and Speed and decreases Defense and Special Defense. When it holds a White Herb, its defensive stats are brought back to normal, but the boosted stats don't change. It's an interesting item to keep in mind if a Pokémon on your team has Shell Smash.


SECTION V (whew this is a long guide): Understanding Roles

So you have moves, natures, and items all picked out, now let's find a place for your Pokémon.

You have six slots for Pokémon, so every one counts. There are five basic roles for your team can fill: Sweeper, Cleric, Tank, Wall, and Support.



A sweeper is the Pokémon that will probably do the most KOing on your team. They come in two flavors: Physical, like Scizor, and Special, like Alakazam. They can be characterized by high offensive stats like Attack, Special Attack, and Speed. Unfortunately most of them lack excellent defensive stats, making them very fragile.



A cleric is the Pokémon that keeps your party alive. It can possess various healing moves as well as respectable defensive stats (mostly specially defensive). Keeping this Pokémon alive shouldn't be a problem, but there will be various hazards you'll need to keep in mind, depending on the Pokémon acting as the cleric. Sylveon here is a great example.



A tank is a Pokémon that can dish out as much punishment as it takes. This Pokémon can be characterized by high attack and defensive stats, like Aggron here. Despite being able to take hits like champs, it's very common that these tanks lack any recovery moves like Wish or Recover, as well as a lack of high speed.



A wall is a Pokémon whose sole purpose is to stop all if any momentum your opponent has. Walls can be characterized by monster HP stats and stellar defenses. Walls also come in Special and Physical flavors. You use them to disrupt your opponent and keep them from sweeping your team. However switching in can be very dangerous, so proceed with caution for the most effective use. As shocking as it may sound, Chansey is actually a notoriously stellar special wall as well as its evolved form Blissey.




The support has the job of making field conditions favorable for you and unfavorable for your opponent. This could include using entry hazards like Stealth Rock or Toxic Spikes, status moves like Toxic or Thunder Wave, or moves like Defog and Rapid Spin. Set em up so another Pokémon can knock them down.




So that's the guide! Let me know if you want me to make a more in depth guide or a sequel to this beginner's guide.

comments