A Beginner's Guide to Competitive Pokémon: Volume II - Still_Insane22 Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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A Beginner's Guide to Competitive Pokémon: Volume II

If you're here you probably read the first part of my guide. If you haven't, go read that first or some of this isn't gonna make any sense. As for everyone else, you know the drill so let's get started. This is where it gets kinda complicated, so buckle up.

 

SECTION I: EV Stats

 

EV (Effort Value) stats, or more officially Base Stats, have been a part of the game since Gen 1. These give bonuses to a Pokémon's stats depending on what kind of Pokémon it defeats. An example would be if your Pokémon fought, say, 100 Chansey. Along with the experience it gets to raise its level, its HP stat will significantly increase more than the other stats. This is because Chansey's naturally best stat is its monstrous HP stat. The same rules apply to fighting 100 Alakazam. Its best stat is Special Attack, so your Special Attack stat will get a boost as well as your level. Same goes for Defense, Attack, Speed, and Special Defense.

 

A Pokémon is only allowed 255 of these "effort points" per stat, and are only allowed 510 effort points total. Despite this, since stats are calculated by dividing effort by 4 leaving out the remainder, you only really need 252 points to maximize a stat. By default this leaves 4 points to spare on any other stat. You know Carbos, HP Up, Calcium, and the like? Those are vitamins that raise the effort value by 10, but they can't take them above 100.

 

When most people train a competitive Pokémon, they look at two stats that would most suit the role the Pokémon will fill, and max them. Sweepers, by definition, are required to be fast and to hit hard, so you would max out Speed and Attack or Special Attack. Where the last 4 end up is up to the trainer. Determine the best stats to maximize in a Pokémon by finding out what roles they fit the best and what stats are their natural best. Or, you could experiment and find out different ways your Pokémon can be a part of your team.

 

Section II: IV Stats

 

Alright then, this is the fun part. IV stats, or Individual Values, affect a Pokémon's stats the most, and makes the Pokémon unique. They're basically a Pokémon's genes. Say you have a Rhydon and your opponent has a Rhydon, both of which are the same level with the same natures and the same boosted EVs. You use Earthquake, which takes your opponent down to a little over half health. Your opponent also uses Earthquake, and it KOs your Rhydon. This is mainly because the opponent's Rhydon had better Attack and Defense IVs than yours did. IV values range from 0 to 31, 0 being the lowest and 31 being the highest. There's a very specific way you can manipulate those stats through breeding.

 

If that's not complicated enough, here's the equation you use to calculate IVs stats:

 

 

Believe me, if I was reading this for the first time I'd have second thoughts about training for competitive, too. But let me reassure you that at most this process of generating perfect IVs is just very time consuming. In X and Y version there's a person you can talk to that judges a Pokémon's IVs, which should give you a good idea on how to work with them.

 

There is a good way to make sure you have perfect IVs right out of the gate in the Friend Safari in X and Y version. Every Pokémon you catch will have at least 2 perfect IVs, so start there.

 

 

SECTION III: Abilities

 

Every Pokémon has at least one ability. They're perks Pokémon have that can give them the edge in a battle. They usually activate at the beginning of a battle or during one. There's many different types of abilities, like Overgrow, Blaze, and Static, but I'll mention a few ones you might recognize and some you might not.

 

I'll start with Blaze, Overgrow, and Torrent. These are abilities that are most commonly found in the starter Pokémon. The flavor text is "Powers up _____ type moves when the Pokémon is in trouble.", but not a lot of people know what that really means. It used to be more vague back in the day, but now it's a bit more understandable. It means that if a Pokémon's health is down to about 1/3 or less, so their health is in the red, the power of a certain type of move goes up by 1.5 times. Think of it as a STAB damage boost on top of another STAB damage boost. So, if a Treecko is down to about 1/3 health, Solarbeam's power would be at 3x, 1.5x for Overgrow, and 1.5x for the STAB damage.

 

Another one you see a lot, especially with legendaries, is Pressure. Pressure makes a Pokémon use more PP with an attack. The attack takes up 2 PP if a Pokémon attacks a Pressure-user, and one more is used up if the attack misses.

 

Technician is a newer ability that's also very effective. The gist is if a move does 40 or lower damage, that move is boosted by 1.5x. We can see this applied to the Pokémon Scizor. Most people that use Scizor probably have a move called Bullet Punch that goes with it. Bullet  Punch is kind of like Steel-type equivalent of Quick Attack, same attack power and everything. With Technician, not only is Bullet Punch a priority move (an move that's almost certain to go first), it's power is increased, allowing Scizor to do more damage.

 

The last one I'll cover is Mold Breaker, another new(ish) ability. Mold Breaker basically nulls any effect of another Pokémon's ability against an attack. That means Excadrill, for example, could use Earthquake on Gengar (A Pokémon with Levitate), and make it hit, or it could use Stealth Rock on a Pokémon with Magic Bounce (An ability that makes moves like that backfire). It's a great ability that only a select few Pokémon share.

 

Oh, and one more thing. Some Pokémon have Hidden Abilities, or Abilities that they don't normally have. They're more likely to have their Hidden Abilities if caught in the Friend Safari, so happy hunting!

 

 

SECTION IV: More Specific Roles

 

I've told you about the primary Pokémon roles: Sweeper, Cleric, Wall, Support, and Tank, but now I'm going to break down a couple more specific roles Pokémon can fill.

 

WALL BREAKERS:

 

Some sweepers don't have the stamina or the durability to KO an entire team if given the opportunity. That doesn't make them bad necessarily, it just limits what they can do. These sweepers can sometimes have the uncanny ability to DESTROY a Pokémon before fizzling out, so we find a role in the Wall Breaker. The Wall Breaker's sole purpose is to keep your opponent from stalling with a Wall and allowing another Pokémon on your team an opening to either start stalling themselves or take the offensive with the opening the Breaker just gave it. Pokémon like Heracross and Infernape find their edges in Wall breaking.

 

Wall Breakers: Concerning Charizard Y

 

If you've done any previous research on Smogon, my primary source, you'll know that time has not been good to Charizard. As popular as it is and despite appearances in other games like Smash Bros, competitively Charizard didn't have much to back up its ferocious disposition. With Pokémon X and Y and the introduction of Mega Stones, Charizard got not just one, but TWO Mega Evolutions, both of which gave our favorite flying fire breathing lizard some solid edges. The one that I'll highlight here is its Y form. Its Y form boosts Charizard's Special Attack significantly and boosts Fire type moves with Drought. With this, Charizard's signature Fire Blast is able to KO opponents in two turns, if not completely incinerate them. Add Solarbeam and a couple other moves like Roost or Focus Blast and you get one of the best Wall Breakers in the game.

 

RAPID SPINNERS/SPIN BLOCKERS:

Thought the move Rapid Spin was useless when you were younger? So did I, so don't feel too bad. Actually, RS started getting real recognition around the time Stealth Rock was introduced. Rapid Spin, despite being a low power move, removes entry hazards like Spikes and Stealth Rock from your side of the field. This makes it useful if your team could be crippled by hazards, and a detriment to Support Pokémon like Forretress whose niche lies within dropping hazards. There is one problem with Rapid Spin, though. It's a Normal type move. And what's a Normal type move not effective at all against? GHOSTS. This is why Ghost types are prime candidates for Spin Blockers, and should always be considered if your strategy depends on entry hazards on your opponent's side.

 

Rapid Spinners/Spin Blockers: Concerning Blastoise and Gengar

Speaking of Mega Evolutions, Blastoise was also among the Pokémon that received a Mega Form. While a solid bulky Rapid Spinner to begin with, Blastoise got even bulkier with Blastoisinite. In addition to this, it also received an ability called Mega Launcher, which increases the power of moves like Water Pulse, Dark Pulse, Dragon Pulse, and Aura Sphere. This nifty ability gives Blastoise a better edge in coverage, especially with the boost to Dark Pulse's power, to get rid of potential threats and spin blockers.

 

Like Blastoise, Gengar has always been a solid Pokémon. However, these past few gens have not been the best to our favorite Ghost type, as more and more threats have piled up to diminish its usefulness. Well, it's obvious that Game Freak picks favorites, as Gengar's Mega Evolution made it almost broken. While still holding its place as the best offensive spin blocker in the game, Gengar also rose up to be one of the best offensive trappers in the game as well, which I'll talk about in the next section.

 

 

REVENGE KILLERS/TRAPPERS

The name says it all. The purpose of a revenge killer is to eliminate or trap certain threats that the rest of your team isn't prepared to deal with. Revenge killers share the same characteristics as Sweepers: High Attack or Special Attack, high Speed, and relatively frail defenses.

 

Revenge Killers: Concerning Mamoswine

 

Mamoswine's typing alone seems like a death sentence, as Ice/Rock is one of the most easily countered combinations in the entire game. It's defensive spread isn't too great, either, so what gives? Mamoswine's Attack is actually impressive, and it has access to Ice Shard. Ice Shard is very much like Quick Attack or Bullet Punch, and behind Mamoswine it packs a large enough punch to effectively revenge kill a wide variety of Pokémon, most notably Dragons.

 

 

Trappers are a bit more sinister. Again, their name basically explains what they do, but trappers can be...crafty. Their methods of trapping Pokémon can range from using moves like Mean Look, Encore, or Taunt or having abilities like Shadow Tag or Arena Trap. The best ones can lock a Pokémon into an unfavorable situation to allow another Pokémon like a sweeper to set up and start going to town. For example, Mega Gengar is one of the most notorious trappers in the game because it has the luxury to be able to do both.

 

Trappers: Concerning Wobbuffett


We all know Wobbuffett, right? That goofy looking blue Pokémon that Team Rocket had for a long time in the cartoon? Yeah, that one. Surprisingly enough, Wobbuffett's usefulness is exactly what you'd expect it to be: It excels at one role but is just god awful at everything else. But how could it be good when its only redeeming quality is its abnormally large HP stat, you ask? If you look closer, it also holds the coveted Shadow Tag ability, allowing it to effectively wall and trap at the same time. Looking even deeper, you'll find that Wobbuffett has access to Mirror Coat and Counter, which allows Wobbs to effectively trap and kill a lot of Choice item users. My word of warning is to wait and use U-Turn or until your Pokémon faints to bring Wobbs out.

 

There are many other sub roles to be filled, such as Baton Passers, Dual Screeners, and Phazers, but I'll leave figuring out how those roles work up to you.

 

 

SECTION V: Consider the Following

 

With all this in mind, it's high time that you start building a team. You know the different roles and some of the sub roles, you know how EVs and IVs work, and you know the importance of carefully deciding which moves some Pokémon can use to be most potent. But there's some things to ponder first.

 

1) Will I need a pivot? If I do, who will it be?

 

Having a pivot Pokémon can be very important if things go sour for your battle. Your pivot can either rebuild lost momentum or help you further sharpen your edge against your opponent. Nowadays in Gen 6, pivots are more commonly found within Pokémon that received Mega Evolutions, so I would go there first if you want to find a pivot.

 

I wouldn't make your team solely around a pivot, but it's important when you're building the rest of your team to keep it in mind.

 

2) Should I follow a theme? Do my Pokémon fit that theme?

 

While it's perfectly normal to have a team that doesn't follow a distinct pattern, having a theme in mind when building a team is a good place to start. The most common themes are based around weather. For example, if you have a team that works the best in the sun, you'd have a team built around Pokémon with Drought or Sunny Day, and have Pokémon that are maybe Fire or Grass type. Or maybe you're a rain team (which is the most common), and have Pokémon that are Water or Electric type. While these teams aren't exclusive to those types, they're the ones that you should look out for when building that team.

 

 

3) Should I prepare for a certain threat?

 

When battling on places like Pokémon Showdown or X and Y online battles, it's very difficult to predict what Pokémon the opponent will have. If you're not prepared for a certain threat then you'll be in big trouble. But you can't build your team around a single threat, can you? Well, kinda. The most common threats are the Pokémon that are the most popular at the time, so preparing for that is a good strategy. It's nearly impossible to be prepared for every single threat to your team, so going with what works best for you should always be the main priority.

 

Remember, there are over 700 Pokémon, each with their own traits and quirks. Never settle for just the first six Pokémon you use for your team. Always be open to tweak and alter it as the metagame evolves.

 

 

 

So that concludes the second volume of my guide to competitive Pokémon! If you have anything you think I need to add or there's anything I might have misspoken about feel free to let me know! Thanks again for reading my guide, and happy battling, trainers!

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