Pokémon is fun am I right? For many Pokémon fans the gaming series is about the collecting, the battling, and the storyline that unfolds along the journey. Some go as far as to take different mechanics from the games and chose to master those aspects such as breeding, completing the pokedex, team building, and for those seeking glory Competitive Battling which encompasses for the most part many if not all of these aspects mentioned to become the best there ever was!
In this piece you will find helpful tips, strategies, and some great tools that most Competitive Battlers use to up their battling skills. Many of the things that I will be mentioning are free to use and to no surprise easy even for the most novice battler looking to improve. And just so you know, some of these sites are even used by those many professional competitive battlers like Aaron Zheng and Ray Rizzo, so why not use what the pros are using to give you a better shot at reaching the top if not among the best.
Pokemon Showdown in short is an online Battle Simulator where a player can build pokemon teams in minutes, battle live with others in a variety of rulesets, and even communicate with others in the competitive battling community.
Why use Pokemon Showdown? Well, it cuts down on the time it would take for a player to grind, breed, and apply strategies through the actual pokemon game. By using Pokemon Showdown you can efficiently speed up the process to see what types of results your battling style is producing. It would be pretty daunting to create a team through your game cartridge with the expectation that your strategy will reign supreme to later find that your team has too many weakness and that your strategy just doesn’t produce results with the Pokémon you worked so diligently to breed, EV train, and level up.
This platform allows players to practice those strategies in mind, make changes to teams, and try playing in simulated rulesets like that of actual official competitions to see how your teams hold up against the current meta.
How will this simulator help me become a better player? Well after much practice, advice from the community, and testing your team you can then save and record those teams, then use the data that you feel is giving you results to then actually create legit pokemon teams on your game cartridges to enter official tournaments.
The bonus of Pokemon Showdown is that it’s directly connected to our next tool; SMOGON.
Smogon “University” is an “online community dedicated to the art of competitive battling” and like the Smogon website claims, they have the data, forums, and largest amount of resources in relation to competitive battling to back it up. Before going any further, it is important to note that Smogon apart from playing by official battle regulations also has its own competitive battling community that operates and plays under different rulesets by what is known as “TIERS”, which is signified by such terms as OU, UBERS, NU, RU, and so forth. Now before you run for the hills!!! These rules are just a different way to play pokemon to make competitive battling more balanced and at times challenging for the betterment of competitive play. The “tier” system is not an official pokemon ruleset, however, “tiers” are important in the sense that a lot of research, analysis, application, and hard work has gone into grouping pokemon by how well they are played and used in the current meta. With that said, using the information in the tiering system can definitely help a player make educated choices when building teams and executing strategies.
The database is broken down by generations and gives you in-depth analysis, IV/EV spreads, item usage, move pools, suggested move-sets, and strategies of any pokemon and its competitive viability. This is definitely a critical resource to make you more knowledgeable about a pokemon’s potential to play well. Although the website has wealth of knowledge, it is always changing with new strategies used and the introduction of new generations as they are released. As a player, try and experiment different moves and strategies that have not been exercised. A great example is the 2014 VGC Champion, Se Jun Park who won World’s using unpopular strategies to weather down players to reach the top. He has become a notable player because of how he plays and chooses to use pokemon. One of the most popular matches was his strategic use of Pachurisu in the finals which garnered him the World VGC title. It was not till then that players took a closer look at Pachurisu to examine its viability. Perhaps in your team building efforts, there is an overlooked pokemon or strategy not yet used; waiting for you to bring it to light?
Now that you know where to research, build teams, practice and apply your strategies, we can move onto more advanced skills. Looking at what is popular of course. I believe that looking into what pokemon teams and strategies are giving positive results can highly inform a player of what they will encounter in battles. With this knowledge at hand, they can surmise how their team can counter those inevitable challenges.
To aid with this, there are Pokemon Usage Stats websites like Smogon and others* that give you a breakdown of the most common move sets and pokemon. Taking a look at what you will face can inform and tune-up your battle strategy. Perhaps you can use an unconventional move set on pokemon that counters some of the most prevalent pokemon teams. Catching your opponent by surprise might just give you the edge you need to secure a match when they are not used to facing unpopular or new strategies. There are a myriad of changes and strategies that a player can incorporate, but only knowing the competition will assist you in winning matches more often.
The need for speed! Well, actually who goes first and who goes last is something a player should always be tracking! Nugget Bridge speed tier is very helpful site when looking at your teams speed. Many matches are many times decided by the person who opted in for a boost in speed, attack, defense, etc. I have found that speed control is one of the challenges that I myself till this day struggle with because I am constantly thinking about whether or not my team has the necessary power to take out my opponent. With attacks like tailwind which boost an entire team’s speed by 2 or Icy Wind which can cause speed reduction, it’s important to stay vigilant when deciding what move to take in order to control stat boost or negate them with one of your own team members. Other popular stat challenges are abilities like Intimidate and prankster. Furthermore, don’t forget about priority moves like protect, fake-out, quick attack, etc. These attack will be given priority usage even though a pokemon is up against a speed tier out of their league. Learn about the most predominant stat boosting and reduction moves; gaining knowledge about how these moves work will give you an upper hand when deciding your next move.
Inevitably like many games, it comes down to the MATH!! Simply put it, there are a max number stats a pokemon gains and each move has a potential power it can deal to an opponent pokemon. I would consider using damage calculators a highly advance tool because you would want to establish a good foundation of battling knowledge before using a calculator to infer your next move during battle. There are a couple of calculators but I have found that Smogon’s set up, has everything in a single interface where it you can play around with “hypothetical” situations in which you can see the chances of how much damage you will receive from an opponent and vice versa. It features the ability to input natures, moves, boost and reductions. It is a helpful tool when playing battle spot online during competitions to help track pokemon during matches.
With all these things in mind. In the end, practice makes perfect as there is no perfect team to counter all weaknesses. Even the most competitive pokemon have their weak points. These tools will definitely make you a better player and with constant usage you will see results.
Lastly, here are all the links and couple of other tools to check out that give you a breakdown of your team’s weaknesses and EV distribution.
- Pokemon Showdown
- Pokemon Usage Stats
- Stat Boost/Reduction & Priority Moves
- Damage Calculation & Calculator
- Pokemon Team Builder
- Serebii IV Calculator
As always, this Politoed is out!!!!!