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[GUIDE] Basics to Competitive Battling

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Just added a base stat chart for Excel. I know it looks complicated, but it somewhat helped me while I made it out of boredom

I know this guide is mostly from Gen IV era, but I will try to make it as relevant to modern battling as possible. Maybe I will change the Pokemon examples. Also images are fixed and uses HTML tags so that board updates do not kill the images.

scizor.pngBasics of Competitive Battlingheracross.png

Singles Edition

ninetales.pngIntroduction

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Okay, recently, there has been a huge influx of people writing up their teams in the Rate-My-Team section only to have their threads closed by randomspot because "anything works in-game". Tired of that phrase? You bet. All you wanted were people to rate your awesome Giga Drain/Solarbeam/Razor Leaf/Petal Dance Venusaur and friends but it just keeps getting shut down for some dumb reason. You want to know why? Things like what you posted is often confused as an in-game Pokemon team, which you can share and post here. The Pokemon, the movesets, and everything you write are dead giveaways that what you are posting is something more apt for in-game, which competitive players tend to denounce as "everything works in-game", which I don't agree with, but I digress.

So I felt the need to write up a guide for competitive battling. What people fail to realise sometimes is that competitive battling is a COMPLETELY different world from regular in-game battling because you are actually battling REAL people, not computer AI who know nothing better for AI trainers do not generally switch Pokemon when at a disadvantage, use weird movesets, and has no effort values in their Pokemon. Other people, however, will be brutal, as they want to win and make you cry, HARD. In competitive battling, you have NO TIME to fool around. You cannot expect an epic AIM FOR THE HORN battle or anything of that sort because if you make a mistake, that mistake probably cost you the game. In competitive battling, we use Pokemon at their HIGHEST potential possible which can work well enough to support a team into what they want to do. There is no Pokemon development, there is no time to go casual, it is all brains and brawns in the battlefield of a Pokemon battle.

I thought it was weird that some people did not know the basics to competitive battling and would post their in-game teams, naively thinking that it would work just as well out there as in-game. Unfortunately, that is not true, but I want to help you build a competitive team of your own because it is a difficult task, but doable. To defeat the competitive bullies, you will have to know your enemy, and this is how you do it.

I'll try to keep this guide as short and concise as possible, as I do not wish to unnecessarily elongate it as I am now, but if you have any questions or if something appears unclear please ask me.

NOTE: This guide for now is about Singles battle, 6v6. Doubles is a completely different metagame, and when Gamefreak wants everyone to play doubles after a singleplayer singles battle campaign, it is like training people on checkers and expecting them to play chess. I will write about doubles later and how to EV things, but for now, this will be for singles battle, which most people are used to from their singleplayer experience, but also has the downside of making some niche moves and abilities useless. Keep in mind such moves, such as Ally Switch or Quash or Follow Me, has uses in modes that is not single.

ninetales_(alolan).pngRule #1: Your team needs a goal (aside from "winning")

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When I ask people on what their goal is, they always go "to win". Blah, forget that. I want to know the HOW not the WHAT. How will you achieve victory? How can each of your Pokemon play a specific role to help you achieve that goal of winning? Will you go offensive and try to sweep with powerful Pokemon? Or will you stall your opponent with evil defensive Pokemon and force them to cry on residual damage? Will you have a concrete team that passes stat boosts to partner Pokemon so that they can sweep? Whatever it is, you cannot just mesh six Pokemon and call it a competitive team. A team of six Unowns which spell U R A F A G will not help you win, for example (it could however leave you with a bloody nose should your opponent be at close proximity). They also need to cover each others' weaknesses to be truly effective. For example, an Empoleon and Gliscor works well because Gliscor can take the Electric/Ground/Fighting moves Empoleon is afraid of while Empoleon can wall Water/Ice moves Gliscor hates and hurt bulky waters with a Grass Knot. Remember that team synergy is important! A team must function as a team, not a group of six different Pokemon working individually, to be successful!!

ninetales.pngRule #2: Know your Pokemon

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Pokemon have something we call stats. In order to use a Pokemon effectively, you have to see which of its stats are the best and how to take advantage of it. For example, you can see Gyarados has a high Attack power and decent speed and defenses but low Special Attack, so it is best to take advantage of its raw ATTACK power. It also learns physical attack moves to back it up, such as WATERFALL or EARTHQUAKE. Despite how it learns a plethora of SPECIAL ATTACKS like HYDRO PUMP or FIRE BLAST, I would not recommend teaching it that because Gyarados is far better using physical attacks than special. A Bronzong has mediocre attack power but high defenses. That means Bronzong was intended to be a WALL. It can take advantage of status moves such as TOXIC or HYPNOSIS or CONFUSE RAY and support your team with wallish moves like REFLECT or LIGHT SCREEN. Of course, it needs some form of attack, so something like EARTHQUAKE or GYRO BALL will help. Some Pokemon are more versatile than others. For example, Lucario has great ATTACK and SPECIAL ATTACK and SPEED, so one can use him as either a physical attacker, a special attacker, or a mixed attacker even. The choice is entirely up to the trainer and what kind of a role this Pokemon will perform in the team.

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But stats are not everything. There's a lot of things that make up a Pokemon, such as ABILITY and TYPING. For example, Articuno has great stats to be a wall but it is not a good wall because its typing (ICE/FLYING) gives it very common weaknesses and very little resistances and a pitifully small movepool (shame on Gamefreak). Gengar would be weak to Ground because it is part Poison, but don't forget about that ability Levitate. Because Gengar Levitates, it cannot be hit by Ground attacks at all unless special conditions are met (we'll get to that later). Infernape has the FIRE/FIGHTING typing and can take advantage of two 120 base power STAB moves, Fire Blast and Close Combat. What is STAB? Same Type Attack Boost... which means a move with the same type as the Pokemon itself will receive a 1.5x boost. That means Infernape's Fire Blast (assuming neutrality on opponent's Pokemon), has 165 base power. Let's not forget its ability Blaze, which activates when a Pokemon has 1/3 of its HP or lower. With Blaze activated, Infernape's Fire Blast will be a lot stronger, hitting 165 * 1.5 = 247.5 base power attack, which is very scary. Take advantage of a Pokemon's typing and ability; they really help!

(Note: Since Sun/Moon has released Gengar lost Levitate, because Gamefreak is a stupid troll)

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We all know that not all Pokemon were created equal. Unfortunately, some Pokemon are better than others. For example, a Staraptor is an amazing Normal/Flying bird who completely outclasses things like Pidgeot and Fearow as it has access to Intimidate and Close Combat. But how do we use Staraptor? Let's look at its stats. 120 Attack... 100 Speed... 50 SpA and not so great defenses. Okay, so we should probably try using PHYSICAL attacks on it, right? Hmmm... Brave Bird, Aerial Ace, Steel Wing, Return, there's quite a few good options for Staraptor. What about Heat Wave? Should I teach that to Staraptor? Unless you want to lose out on Staraptor's real potential, I would advise against teaching it Heat Wave as it runs on its paltry 50 Special Attack. Take advantage of that beast 120 attack power.

(Note: Since ORAS Pidgeot has a Mega, which has completely different role from either of the physical birds, use that form instead)

One thing I should note to you is that although there are gazillions of inferior versions of whatever Pokemon (let's say Gyarados... and its inferior cousin Seaking), you can still use the inferior Pokemon IF you can make it play its intended role. For example, on a rain dance team, a Seaking can very well outspeed a lot of Pokemon and hit hard with STAB Waterfall + Rain boost and Megahorn stuff like Celebi to KO them. However, to do that, you will require a lot of support. But please, don't try this with stuff like Unown unless you really know what you are doing! Do remember that you CAN make Caterpie sweep, provided you have the right support. Keep in mind some of the weaker Pokemon take more support to pull off than others. Yes, this means a fully properly trained team of legendaries will most often than not win against a fully properly trained team of Lumineons and the likes, but remember that this can be mitigated with SMART PLAY. Play smartly and tides will turn to your favour. (Note: do not put the same kind of Pokemon in one team. A team of six Garchomps is likely to be swept by something like Cryogonal).

So get to know your Pokemon. Check its base stats, ability, movepool, and everything else you need to know in a website database or something and the moves it learn. Before you battle with them, you have to get to know them. Who are they? Why were they made? What does it like to do? What does it hate? I would suggest looking in Serebii or Smogon for some help.

ninetales_(alolan).pngRule #3: Know Your Moves

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I'm going to break this down to a few sections because there is a lot to say about this...

Before that though, I hope you know what physical and special moves are. If you cannot tell... click on your move in the stats menu and check out what it is.

> A Physical move has a Red Background with a Yellow Star on it.

> A Special move has a Purple Background with a swirl on it.

> A Black/White yin yang thing indicates a SUPPORT move, which normally does no direct damage.

Generally, a Pokemon specialises in one or the other. We generally look at the stat and see which attack stat is stronger. Some Pokemon, like Swampert, can attack from both sides or mix. There are some specific Pokemon, like Nidoqueen and Nidoking, who has higher attack than special attack, but would prefer attacking specially because their ability and movepool caters towards that. So, please get to know your Pokemon!

Try to never have more than one of the same type moves in one moveset

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Hi guys! Here's my Charizard! It has Fire Blast, Flamethrower, Ember, and Blast Burn! It's the ultimate Pokemon! *faints from Blastoise* Hey what happened? How did Charizard lose? No! I don't believe it!

That Charizard was following all the rules. It was using special attacks to take advantage of its base 109 Special attack and filled with STAB Fire attacks. What went wrong? NO Coverage! This is a common mistake that new battlers have, as they like seeing a Pokemon with a lot of fire moves, let's say. It's okay in game, as I am guilty of doing that to my Flareon in game (Quick Attack, Fire Fang, Flamethrower, Fire Blast), but for competitive battling? No, you cannot do that. This Charizard will have a lot of trouble. Let's say you switched into a Venusaur to threaten it with Charizard, and you launch a Fire Blast, only to have Blastoise come in the way. How are you going to fight it? You just wasted a turn and you need to switch to a proper counter. But that Blastoise has Earthquake and Ice Beam, as it probably knows you are going to switch to an Electric Pokemon or something, he launches an Earthquake and hits that Pikachu who switched in for super effective damage, fainting it.

As of Gen VI, Gamefreak showed blatant favouritism to Charizard, so either of the two Mega forms it gets can take down Blastoise with relative ease. Until Blastoise learns Shell Smash, it will be irrelevant. Of course, you can still use Mega Launcher boosted Dragon Pulse to take Edgezard down once and for all to satisfy your needs. Mega Venusaur can also handily take down Mega Charizard Y, if played right.

This is why coverage is necessary. If something switches in, you want to be able to hit it for at least neutral damage (meaning 1x effective), or else you will suffer. And say you wanted "backup" fire moves because you're afraid you'll run out of PP. Good thought, but tell me, WHEN are you using Ember? You probably never will! You want to hit as hard as you can so you'll probably use Fire Blast or Flamethrower or that. What you want instead for this kind of set is to use Charizard's special attack, right? Let's give it Fire Blast, Air Slash, Focus Blast, and Dragon Pulse instead. If you want, you can replace Fire Blast with Flamethrower if you're afraid Fire Blast will miss. All right, so with this, you have a secondary STAB in Air Slash, and two extra coverage special moves. Dragon Pulse will hit dragon type Pokemon for super effective damage as they resist Fire Blast, and Focus Blast, while being a shaky move, can at least hit those scary Tyranitars and outright KO them if it hits. You see a Tyranitar switch in, don't expect that Ember you had previously to do any better than what your Fire Blast did.

There are exceptions to this rule however. You can stick Quick Attack and Return on Staraptor, let's say. But Quick Attack is weak! Yeah, but it has that good effect of going first, so you can finish off weakened Pokemon with it, because it has other practicalities, though it is not Staraptor's main attack. Also, if you stick Overheat and Flare Blitz on Charizard, that CAN work if you are going mixed, as Flare Blitz will take care of physically frail Pokemon like Alakazam while Overheat will snuff those Specially frail Pokemon like Skarmory and Tangrowth. Fake Out + Return can also work as well, as Fake Out is NOT your main attack, but there to annoy. Flame Charge + Fire move works too, as Flame Charge is primarily used to raise the user's speed while its other fire move (perhaps Fire Blast) is its main attack. Just remember what you are trying to accomplish though... but for the most part, unless they're support moves, do NOT stick two of the same type moves in one moveset.

Avoid Hyper Beam and friends

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But Hyper Beam rocks! It rocks in game, it rocked in RBY, but it won't rock competitively anymore. Why is that? Well, after you KOd that Steelix with a Blast Burn, you are overjoyed as the iron snake melts under the fierce power of your Charizard. But out comes that scary Tyranitar who will eat you in your face. You want to recall Charizard, but... "Charizard must recharge". What?! *Enemy Tyranitar uses Stone Edge*. You watch in terror as Tyranitar's mighty stones devour your flaming lizard quickly before anyone can say "Charizard dodge it!". See, if you use those Hyper Beam moves, you will have that huge problem of being wide open right after the initial blast, which is never a good thing. The only time you want to use Hyper Beam-esque move is if your opponent is in their last Pokemon and you want a grand finale finisher. But is that one move really worth a moveslot? A Pokemon has four moveslots... and they should ALL be spent wisely. Charizard has tons of options and shouldn't ever waste one slot for a Blast Burn. Period. Just use Fire Blast for your burning needs, as it is powerful enough to OHKO most Fire weak Pokemon anyhow. You shouldn't worry about using Blast Burn. That goes for you Hydro Cannon and Frenzy Plant fans too. And Rock Wrecker. And Roar of Time. And the original Hyper Beam... just don't do it. You'll be sorry for using that unless your opponent does not know what to do afterwards. It is mostly a liability than a boon.

There are other moves that have some very negative effects or require heavy support to use. Moves such as Razor Wind (80 base power move with a charging turn... not worth it) or Sky Attack (140 base power move with a charging turn) are generally not used. However, there are items to mitigate that, such as Power Herb, which allows for using a charge up move WITHOUT charging up for a single turn. We will discuss items' effects later.

Support moves are amazing

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No no no. Those non damaging moves SUCK! I mean, you want to damage your opponent right? But in competitive battling, support moves are very helpful. You can set up a normally "average speed" Gyarados to become a fearsome and a terrifying guest with one move called Dragon Dance. He switches in, raises his attack and speed in just one turn, becomes faster than most Pokemon and a lot stronger than before, and hit his foes hard with STAB Waterfall and other coverage moves like Earthquake, Stone Edge, Ice Fang, or others.

A move like Toxic can cripple an otherwise very formidable wall such as Milotic, who may not possess the necessary moves to recover from slowly accumulating damage in Toxic (that is unless it was a Resttalker). Using Thunder Wave can cripple speedy threats like Lucario or Infernape trying to eat up your otherwise slow team. Will-o-Wisp can hinder physical attackers like Metagross who will otherwise hit hard without a burn. An Agility can help the otherwise slow Empoleon to become a monstrously fast sweeper. Wish from Vaporeon can keep herself and her teammates alive.

Stealth Rocks are very crucial to the metagame, as that one turn you set it up can lay a permanent layer of rocks which damage almost any Pokemon that come in so you can have an easier time OHKOing-2HKOing some Pokemon. Rapid Spin can get rid of any Stealth Rock or Spike layers that would impede YOUR teammates. Substitute can help scout for opponent's moves and block other detrimental attacks like Toxic. Support moves make up a LOT of this metagame, and you should be familiar with many of them to maximize your competitive strategies.

Do Not Settle for Less

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In competitive battling, expect people to use the best move possible because they are looking to win! They will not relent when your Empoleon uses Steel Wing while their Empoleon has the powerful Flash Cannon to deal with your Pokemon a lot better. If you have a choice between Thundershock and Thunderbolt, which would you choose? Just settle for the one with a high enough base power (such as Thunderbolt's 95 base power*) and something with a reliable accuracy. 100% is always good and you should normally choose the 100% accurate moves.

However, there are times where you may settle for a lower accuracy move, such as Fire Blast over Flamethrower as 85% accuracy is usually enough, and Fire Blast can secure KOs on crucial threats that Flamethrower cannot offer. Some people do choose Flamethrower over Fire Blast because of more PP and reliable accuracy. Again, it is entirely up to the Pokemon, as more offensive Pokemon love Fire Blast while the defensive stallish Pokemon would normally settle for Flamethrower, or even Lava Plume because of its relatively high burn chance of 30%. Power is not everything as you can see, as some people prefer Body Slam on Snorlax over Return because of the paralysis chance Body Slam offers. Look into the effects of a move too!

Of course, there are times when there are no 100% accurate moves and you would rather take something powerful but still "relatively" accurate. I would try to avoid moves that are like 70% or less accurate, because they miss a lot. However, there are times one has no choice, such as Gengar running Focus Blast, or Bronzong who wants Hypnosis to put its foes to sleep. Just try to find the ones that are "just right". Unless you have a specific need for a low accuracy move (such as Thunder in the rain, as rain allows Thunder to bypass the accuracy check), I would not settle for attacks with TOO high of a power and low accuracy or moves with very little power (something like 60 base power or lower), even with high accuracy. Of course, there are exceptions such as priority moves or something, but generally, try to not settle for less.

Keep in mind lower accuracy moves with high power is also better in some circumstances than an accurate yet moderately high power move. If a Thunder guarantees 2HKO but has 70% accuracy, while Thunderbolt is 100% accurate yet is a shaky 3HKO, which one would be better? Or using Focus Blast with Gardevoir, which is 70% accuracy, which gives you a 70% chance to win vs a Steel Pokemon than a 0% to win when not using it at all. Pick your weapons carefully!

*As of Generation VI Thunderbolt and its equivalents got nerfed to 90 BP, while Fire Blast and its equivalents got nerfed to 110 BP. Gamefreak does not know what they are doing.

ninetales.pngRule #4: Build Comprehensive EV Spreads and a Beneficial Nature

Effort Values

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You want to maximize at what that Pokemon does best. Having a random spread of random places do not work. EVs can add up to 0-63 stats into a Pokemon, which can make a CRUCIAL DIFFERENCE. 4 EVs add 1 extra stat point. A Pokemon can have a max of 510 EVs, but every individual stat can have a maximum of 255. Therefore, it is only possible to "max out" two stats. Every Pokemon gives out experience points as you know, but they also give out a specific effort value. In fact, some can give out multiples! Look into sites like Serebii or something to see which Pokemon gives what EVs when defeated.

For Pokemon XY owners, I will explain Horde Battling and Super Training later. Pokemon Sun/Moon has a tedious system called chaining for this.

Pokemon Natures

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As for natures, try NOT to have neutral natures (Serious, Hardy, Quirky, Bashful, Docile). It neither helps your Pokemon nor hinder it, but at most times, you want to boost up a stat and reduce the one stat you don't use. Skarmory does not ever use its Special attack, so you can boost up its other stats like Defense or Speed with Impish or Jolly, respectively. If you have a mixed sweeper with both physical and special attacks, you will want to reduce another stat without risking either of its attacks. But this depends for some Pokemon. For example, Infernape will NOT want to reduce its speed, as its speed is essential. You can reduce either its defense or special defense. A Swampert, though, will not want to compromise its amazing defensive capabilities so you can reduce its speed as it is not too fast anyhow. So for natures, make sure you use something beneficial and try not having neutral ones. It is hard getting the desired natures on legendaries, but soft resetting a lot can get you something desired, I'm sure. So far, I haven't found any use with Gentle (+ Def - SpDef) or Lax (+ SpDef - Def) natures.

Which natures are which? Look at this guide provided by Greencat.

Individual Values

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No, not Ideal Values, Individual Values. What are they? They are randomly assorted values of 0-31, which can add up to 0-31 stat points into a Pokemon at level 100. This is pretty much what can make a Pokemon better than another, and it is NOT CONTROLLABLE by the player. It is an invisible value, but it CAN be influenced by players through breeding, as parents of the baby each give 3 random IVs (was it 3?) to the offspring. The type of Hidden Power is also affected by this. 31 IVs across the board gives you Hidden Power Dark, while 0 IVs across the board gives you Hidden Power Fighting. It is now always fixed at base power of 60 (starting from Pokemon XY). Before it fluctuated between base power of 30 to 70. I will write a breeding guide to get perfect Pokemon later.

Generally, since Speed and more arguably HP are ABSOLUTE stats, it is a VERY good idea to know what your IVs are for those two stats so you can EV your Pokemon properly. Unless you are aiming for a crucial Hidden Power (like Fire), try to get MAX IV for speed for offensive Pokemon as SPEED is crucial and can make a difference between a win or a loss of a Pokemon in a battle. To get the best of the best, multiple breeding may be necessary and it will take a long time just to do so.

Simulators such as Pokemon Online tend to play Pokemon at their "best", so unless they are running a specific Hidden Power that is not Dark typed, expect them to all be at 31/31/31/31/31/31.

Again, more information here and here.

NOTE: Breeding got a LOT easier in Pokemon XY and above. There is no need to RNG or hack for nice IVs anymore, but still may take, depending on your luck, a minute to days for the right spread.

ninetales_(alolan).pngRule #5: Know your items

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Yeah, certain items benefit a Pokemon more than others. The universal Leftovers works on wallish Pokemon like Swampert or Milotic, while the dangerous Life Orb can help with sweepers like Lucario or Infernape. Choice items, while tricky, can come in use. Choice items boost a stat but in price of locking the user in ONE attack until it switches out. A Choice Banded Heracross, for example, can eat through anything that doesn't resist its scary Megahorn or Close Combat. But if a resister like Gyarados comes in, it will have to switch out if it did not use the right attack. A Choice Scarf'd Heracross can outspeed its natural threats like Infernape and OHKO them with its STAB Close Combat. Choice items are tricky, but can well be worth it. Choice items are normally put on Pokemon that use four attack moves without any form of support (or a Trick user). It really won't matter too much anyways, as you will be bound to switch out sooner or later.

If you want versatility, go with Life Orb. Life Orb, however, saps 10% of the user every time it uses a damaging attack (unless you attack a Substitute or someone immune to the move). If you hate that price, you can go with the weaker Expert Belt, which boosts 20% with super effective moves (as opposed to Life Orb's 30% and Choice item's 50%). Muscle Band boosts 10% on physical moves and Wise Glasses boosts 10% on special moves. Again, it really depends on what you favour.

Certain berries can help change the tide of the battle. For example, Salac Berry can raise the user's speed when 25% HP or below. A Wacan Berry on Gyarados can help him take one Thunderbolt by weakening its power in half for one turn. Use stuff like that to your advantage. Lum Berry would save a Pokemon from an otherwise dangerous status condition once. There are many berries one can use, so if none of the other items seem appealing, try a berry!

A detailed list of what certain items do for competitive battling will come later.

ninetales.pngCreating a Moveset

Now that I've explained the basics, let us go through an example with a simple Pokemon with a simple purpose: Fearow.

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Fearow has nice attack power and speed, but poor defenses and special attack. Remember, we have to KNOW our Pokemon. So what do we do? Do the logical thing: max out its Attack and Speed! Since 1 stat is gained per 4 EVs, instead of using the maximum 255 (which isn't divisible by 4) we use 252 as our max, and 252 should go in Fearow's attack, 252 should go in Fearow's speed, and the remaining 6 EVs... meh, just stick it into defense. Doesn't really matter too much for Fearow. Those defenses are not worth investing in anyhow.

Now we have a Fearow complete with maximized attack, maximized speed, but wait? What do we want from a Fearow? We want a nature that allows Fearow to hit hard or outpace its foes without compromising either of its attack or speed stat. A Fearow would instead want to get rid of that one stat it will NEVER use: its Special attack. So let's try Adamant (+ Attack - SpA) or Jolly (+ Speed - SpA). In this speed oriented metagame, I would normally pick + speed natures, but if that extra bit of power is important to you, go ahead and settle for Adamant. This applies for all Pokemon: natures should benefit one important stat and lower the one that is usually not needed.

And now with an Adamant/Jolly (choice is yours, but most people favor extra speed) Fearow, you have a beast who can launch Drill Peck, Return, Drill Run, Steel Wing, and Quick Attack to assault his foes. The first two moves are obviously there because Drill Peck and Return are STAB options (remember what STAB is), and the other two moves have their own utility. Drill Run helps hit Rock Pokemon super effectively, while Quick Attack can finish off a weakened foe. There are also other options. For example, U-turn is a good way to scout for what the foe does. If the foe stays in, switch to a counter. If the foe switches, switch to a counter! U-turn is always a handy move to have.

What about its item? Well, there are many things we can do. Remember, Fearow is a FRAGILE attack Pokemon, and those defences are rather hopeless to capitalise on. With that 90 attack power, it can hit hard enough, but usually not hard enough. So the most logical thing? Get an item that boosts Fearow's power as much as possible! Competitively, we have Choice Band and Life Orb that can provide the best boost. But which one? Choice Band raises attack by 1.5x, while Life Orb raises attack by 1.3x. Wouldn't Choice Band be a better choice then? (har har I am punny). Well, Choice Band locks the user in one move (hence CHOICE) until the user switches out, while Life Orb does no such thing but instead cuts user's HP by 10% per use. Life Orb provides great versatility, and even though the HP penalty is unappealing, fragile attackers like Fearow does not mind anyways as it is usually OHKOd by super effective attacks anyhow. So the choice is between more power or power with versatility.

There is also another option! What if Fearow is not fast enough to deal with some threats? We know Fearow is fast, but not fast enough to deal with faster threats like Infernape. Choice Scarf, though it locks the user into one move, is another item to consider so it can actually stand a chance against normally faster threats. Watch the Infernape stare in horror as it takes a STAB super effective Drill Peck from a faster Fearow. If you are thinking about Leftovers, it probably is not a good idea because Fearow is not the bulkiest thing out there. So Choice Band, Life Orb, or Choice Scarf? It is all up to you and how you feel you can have Fearow play for your TEAM.

So now we have...

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Fearow @ Choice Band / Choice Scarf / Life Orb

Nature: Adamant / Jolly

EVs: 252 Atk / 6 Def / 252 Speed

Ability: Keen Eyes

- Drill Peck

- Return

- U-turn

- Drill Run

Congratulations! We have built a competitively viable Fearow! Fearow is a simple Pokemon with a simple build, but it gets more complex with other Pokemon, like wallish Pokemon like Skarmory. You can go ahead and maximize its HP and defense, but sometimes, you may want to invest a little into attack so its Brave Bird can OHKO/2HKO something and its speed to outspeed certain Pokemon. This will become more apparent as you go through the metagame and meet a lot of new Pokemon and new strategies, and remember that NOT EVERY POKEMON likes to have the usual 6/252/252 spreads seen nearly everywhere. There are times EVing can become very specific, such as the Skarmory mentioned, so be wary of that.

Remember that this Fearow is just one Pokemon in a team, and it is NOT to be doing everything by itself. You need to use it to support a team, and have the team support the Fearow itself.

So... who do you think would make a good teammate for Fearow? We do know Fearow detests Rock, Ice, and Electric moves. So who could switch into such Pokemon? How about a Quagsire? It has a resistance to Rock and is immune to Electric moves, though it is neutral to Ice moves, but that is workable. It can threaten Rock Pokemon with STAB Water or Ground attacks and Electric Pokemon will generally hate Earthquake. However, Quagsire hates Grass moves and is more often than not fatal to it. Does Fearow provide an adequate check to Grass Pokemon? Well it certainly resists Grass attacks and has STAB Drill Peck to dispatch them! There. With just a bit of thinking we were able to get a Pokemon that can help Fearow do its job. Remember you have the other 4 slots to fill, and a goal for the team to fulfill, so this will take some careful planning.

ninetales_(alolan).pngExample Team

Well, I should show you a well thought out team while I am here right? Here is a team made by Tbird, called "Danger; don't enter". This is his team, except I edited out some swear words (as usual) just to keep it safe for children and whatnot. Though it is a general team, it works very well because each one of his team members support each other very well and cover each other's weaknesses while being able to constantly keep check on their foes. (NOTE: This was Gen V)

 

Lead

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Nova @ Expert Belt

Trait: Serene Grace

EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SAtk / 252 Spd

Naive Nature (+Spd, -SDef)

- Iron Head

- Fire Punch

- Hidden Power [ice]

- U-turn

So this is my lead. It aims to 2HKO most every lead or scout the opposition. With an expert belt and U-turn I can feint a scarf Set. With Expert belt and iron head/Fire punch I can feint a CB set. Hidden power ice is the clincher here, though, As Gliscor would love to switch in on fire punches/Iron heads and then I smack it with The HP ice. These moves do net 2HKOs on most things I have come across, the only thing that really gives me difficulty is Gross and Heatran. But I U-turn on those and as far as the opponent is away, It's the old Scarf lead Jirachi.

Fire Weakness Covered by Tentacruel

Ground Weakness Covered by Zapdos, Skarmory

Spike Stacker And Phazer

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Styx @ Leftovers

Trait: Sturdy

EVs: 248 HP / 100 Def / 160 SDef

Impish Nature (+Def, -SAtk)

- Whirlwind

- Roost

- Spikes

- Drill Peck

After the first turn, which ironically is usually a U-Turn, a flow-chart comes into play... Is this physical/Special/Set up bait. Physical in comes Skarm, special In comes Blissey, set up bait in comes Tentacruel. It's a flawless tactic :P. So here's my skarm, it's pretty much the standard Skarm with a little special bulk thrown in to take some neutral low power, high power resisted special attacks. The aim is simple... set up set up set up. I've gone the drill peck route over Brave bird for longevity. I can drill peck then Phaze Conk repeatedly so I don't need to worry too much about the power drop. Unprepared teams can actually be swept by Skarm alone. Which is always cool.

Fire Weakness Covered by Tentacruel

Electric weakness Covered by Blissey.

Special Wall

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Flur @ Leftovers

Trait: Natural Cure

EVs: 88 HP / 252 Def / 164 SDef / 4 Spd

Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk)

- Wish

- Ice Beam

- Thunder Wave

- Stealth Rock

So the opponent is sick of my Phazing shenanigans, they finally find themselves with Jolteon against my skarm. With trolololol I bring in my trusty Blissey. I'll give you this is a bit different than some Blisseys, but this is what works with my team. Wish Ensures that Spiritomb is at full health after a passed wish and that everything else gets 3/4 back. Ice beam is beautiful, though it takes prediction. This is basically for nailing Chomp switch ins. Most people after seeing me Twave one thing will then bring in chomp later, with some spikes down and SR out, it's bye bye chomp. It also reliably breaks Gengar's sub, and we know how much of a pain subsplit gar can be. SR is SR... and it also comes in handy when PP stalling. Twave is to cripple those that refuse to be poisoned.

Fighting Weakness Covered by Spiritomb, Tentacruel

Utility

073.png

Kurage @ Black Sludge

Trait: Liquid Ooze

EVs: 252 HP / 120 Def / 136 SDef

Calm Nature (+SDef, -Atk)

- Rapid Spin

- Toxic Spikes

- Surf

- Hex/Toxic/Hidden Power Electric/ice beam

Standard Utility Tentacruel that has perfect synergy with my other two walls. I run surf over Scald because I don't actually want to burn Conkeldurr, and surf out right OHKOs Infernape/Blaziken, and poisoning hurts other things more than a burn will. Spin support is a given as are toxic spikes, given the nature of my team. The last slot I having difficulty with presently. Hex is great for hurting Jellicent, whilst HP Electric kills gyara, and toxic can destroy other bulky waters. Currently I'm running Hex, however. The EVs ensure as much bulk as possible. I am toying with the idea of running more speed, however. Don't forget, Tentacruel can function beautifully with speed, as it can out speed Gliscor and OHKO with Ice beam. I believe a set could be tailored to nail a choice locked Chomp.

Electric weakness Covered by Blissey.

Ground Weakness Covered by Zapdos, Skarmory

Psychic Weakness Covered by Spiritomb, Skarmory

Lure/ Starmie Killer

442.png

DoZo @ Expert Belt

Trait: Pressure

EVs: 248 HP / 152 Atk / 108 SAtk

Brave Nature (+Atk, -Spd)

- Will-O-Wisp

- Pursuit

- Hidden Power [Fighting]

- Sucker Punch

So I've spent the past 15 turns setting up all of my hazards and who rolls into town? Gary Oak! Starmie. It was the bane of my team, eating all of my hazards and making me start all over again, which sometimes just isn't possible. So I switch in on the rapid spin and OHKO with sucker punch. The expert belt allows me to feint a CB Set. So who switches in now? Excadrill/Tyranitar. I 2HKO tar with HP fighting, and the same is true of Excadrill. However, they can't do the same when they are burnt ;D. Excadrill will expect the switch and take the burn as does some tars. Pursuit is useful for nailing standard latias too, after SR Latias is OHKO, and Reuniclus takes a hell of a beating too. To show you how awesome spiritomb is, in the rain it can counter Mewtwo

Stallin'

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Zeus @ Leftovers

Trait: Pressure

EVs: 196 HP / 60 Def / 252 Spd

Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk)

- Substitute

- Roost

- Thunderbolt

- Heat Wave

Zapdos is the Pokémon all of this set up is for. Once everything has been set up I can just sub roost everyone in existence as their HP slowly gets whittled away. With subroost I can sub on a brelooms spore and stall all of its Focus punch away with 7/8 subs and roosts left, respectively. If you have ever faced this, you will know that it just does not die. Dying is not part of its repertoire.

The speed ensures it's outspeeding/tying with all base 100s and less, the bulk ensures it doesn't die. Tbolt is standard STAB whilst Heatwave is for coverage over Ferrothorn/Lucario/Scizor.

Ice weakness Covered by Jirachi, Tentacruel.

Rock Weakness Covered by Jirachi, Skarmory

ninetales.pngGeneral Rules in Battling (Western Audience)

NOTE: Not all rules are applied in all forms of battling. In official Nintendo rules, they prefer double battling with the players choosing 4 out of 6 Pokemon, with all Pokemon being set to Level 50. The Level 50 rules also applies to general Wifi battles nowadays. Keep in mind Eastern players like me in general circumstances do not adhere to most of these rules, asides from super legendaries ban, so specify rules before challenging people to battle.

talonflame.gifazumarill.gifgarchomp.gif

  • Species Clause
    Having more than one of the same species Pokemon in one team is not allowed. Same species is if the Pokemon shares the same National Dex numbers. Even alternate forms, such as having two kinds of Rotom forms, is not allowed. This kind of rule is set forth in many places.
  • DO NOT PUT MORE THAN ONE POKEMON TO SLEEP:
    This is what you call the Sleep Clause. Other than self-inflicted sleep in the form of Rest, usually a battle allows only ONE Pokemon... ONE, to be put to sleep at a time. Don't go cheap and break this widely accepted rule by having your Darkrai put everybody to sleep while you eat away all their health and whatnot. Okay, I know you cannot control this in Double battles when Darkrai uses Dark Void and puts both foes to sleep, but generally, do not put more than one Pokemon to sleep at a time! Actually, VGC doesn't have this kind of rule, which is rather lame. In Wifi Battle Spot, generally anything goes and nobody follows this rules it seems. (As of Gen VI, only Darkrai can use Dark Void, and it has become 50% accuracy. Lame nerf!)
  • Double Team/Minimize Ban:
    These moves are cheap as they shift the game into a game of skills into a game of luck. There already is a bit of chance involved such as critical hits or accuracy or the chance of added effects taking place, but these only add more to the roulette. People get around this by spamming Sand Attack or Mud Bomb. Those who do not adhere to this rule can utilise things like Eviolite Chansey with Mud Bomb and Minimise. Be aware that such strategies do exist!
  • OHKO Ban:
    Guillotine / Fissure / Horn Drill / Sheer Cold are banned... generally. Battle Spot people tend to use Articuno with Sheer Cold, however, who is bulky enough to take multiple hits, recover off health with Roost, and OHKO most mons with Sheer Cold (if it connects), and defeat most Sturdy mons who happen to be weak to Ice. So be aware those do exist. Sturdy negates all OHKO moves, and each attack still follows type chart, so Ghost mons are still immune to Guillotine and Horn Drill, while Levitate (RIP GENGAR) or Flying mons are immune to Fissure. As of Gen VI, Ice mons are immune to Sheer Cold (finally!) and non-Ice mons who use Sheer Cold (namely Suicune) has their accuracy reduced when using it.
  • Moody Ban:
    Your Pokemon are not allowed to have an attitude. Your Pokemon cannot contain the ability Moody... in simulators. Nobody cares in Wifi unless you find Smogon people.
  • Baton Pass Ban:
    I think Smogon banned Baton Pass or something for singles very recently (2017 May). I do not know how many people will adhere to that to be honest. They claim it is broken. I will not be surprised though due to the lack of extant balance in this game.
  • There are Pokemon Too Strong for Competitive Battling:
    Aside from "Uber" battling, where ANYTHING is allowed, generally there are a few Pokemon that are banned from standard play. But more on that later...

ninetales_(alolan).pngBanned Pokemon

These Pokemon are generally not allowed in standard battles and are frowned upon when used. NO, being legendary does not necessarily mean they are banned, but those who have stats and movepool beyond anything a "normal" Pokemon would be able to take. Basically, they are Pokemon who overcentralise the metagame and would require more than one counters on a team to even deal with... or something. Note in Nintendo rules a banlist is mostly secret legendaries like Mew or Genesect or legendaries with base stat total over 600 (like Mewtwo or Rayquaza). Minor legendaries (like Articuno or Suicune) are all free to use.

In Gen VI: keep in mind a lot of people frown upon the use of certain Mega Pokemon, such as Mega Kangaskhan, in single battles. Mega Gengar is also terribly overpowered when used properly. However, you will almost always encounter them in Battle Spot on XY Wifi Rated Battles: it is disgusting but something you have to deal with.

A revamped list will come later.

ninetales.pngMega Evolutions: To Mega or Not to Mega

gardevoir-mega.gifgardevoir-mega.gif

Pokemon XY introduced Mega evolutions, which are basically champion type monsters that you can only have one of in a team. It's a great incentive for one to build a team around one, or have a Mega support your favourite Pokemon if you don't have a favourite Mega. But, it is not completely necessary to have a Mega Pokemon. Mega Pokemon are for fun, and yes, some are incredibly overpowered, but remember one is playing this game for fun and not strictly to win... unless you're a "Don't have fun" guy. A lot of Mega Pokemon have lots to offer, some being enhanced versions of their base forms while others offering a completely different playstyle from their original form, enhancing gameplay. I do recommend trying out a Mega Pokemon if you want to try out competitive battling, because they can make the game a lot more fun (or a lot more dreadful if you face the likes of Mega Kangaskhan), so this depends on your personal playstyle.

The Gardevoir above is one of my favourite Pokemon, for instance, so I try to use her in battles. Her role is to break through walls and destroy defensive styled foes, especially ones that use Substitute, but suffers from frail physical defence and average speed (relatively), and weakness to Steel Pokemon. Here is a sample set which you can try out, but have a team which can deal with the Pokemon she has trouble fighting, such as Ghosts, Steels, and fast hard physical hitters that litter the metagame.

gardevoir.gifgardevoir-mega.gif

Gardevoir @ Gardevoirite

Nature: Modest (+ SpA - Atk) / Timid (+ Spe - Atk)

EVs: 36 Def / 220 SpA / 252 Speed

Ability: Trace --> Pixilate

- Hyper Voice / Moonblast

- Psyshock / Psychic

- Focus Blast / Calm Mind / Taunt

- Substitute / Will-O-Wisp / Thunder Wave / Shadow Sneak

 

The Defence EVs are really set for Level 50 battles so Gardevoir can survive two Life Orb Psyshocks from Latios and a single Return from Mega Lopunny. Hyper Voice takes advantage of the ability Pixilate and hits through Substitute, and becomes a very powerful Faerie type STAB move. Be aware that without her Mega form Gardevoir's Hyper Voice will just be a normal Hyper Voice and so she must become Mega to take full advantage of it. Mega or not, it will not hit Soundproof mons, so if you are that concerned, use Moonblast instead, but keep in mind Moonblast is not as strong as Pixilated Hyper Voice and will not hit through Substitutes. It is still good to have otherwise. Good thing about Gardevoir is her secondary STAB in Psychic attacks to hit Poison Pokemon. Usually such mons and others can be hit on their weaker physical defence, but if you meet physical walls like Weezing, Psychic is better than Psyshock. I find Psyshock generally more useful. Focus Blast may miss often, but to take on some Steels and Darks that may not be weak to Faerie attacks can be useful, as certainly 70% chance to win is better than 0%. Other moves such as Calm Mind can help fight against Chansey, Taunt shuts down status moves, as well as Substitute, and prevents things like Chansey from recovering. Other status moves are helpful for other situations. In Battle Spot 3v3, I found Shadow Sneak to be useful vs things like Sash'd Garchomp or things that tend to survive with a sliver of HP, however weak it is running off of uninvested Attack power of Gardevoir. 

 

For more information click here.

ninetales_(alolan).pngCompetitive Battling Dictionary

noctowl.gifprimarina.gif

Our wonderful member Tbird has provided us with a Competitive Battling Dictionary so feel free to check it out.

ninetales.pngKnow Your Pokemon: What to Expect From Different Pokemon

torterra.gifsamurott.gif

 

Will Be Updated. Gin or whoever feel free to add dangerous and prominent Pokemon seen throughout Wifi and Simulators.

I will try to add at least one new Pokemon every day. Keep your eyes on this section as I may start addressing new threats all the time. I will be addressing Pokemon that can either provide serious threats or are generally unexpected. These are written by Wraith89 unless otherwise stated.

Update: Sorry, I had to take these away as it was taking up mass space. I think I will, however, place them in a different thread altogether.

Update 2: Link is HERE.

ninetales_(alolan).pngPosting an RMT

Now that you know what to expect and how competitive battling works, you can now create your own team! Once you do so, try to follow THIS GUIDE in order to produce a successful RMT. If that is not satisfactory, there are PLENTY of examples of RMTs everywhere in that forums, so you are not short of resources.

ninetales.pngThe Ugly Malthusian World of the Pokemon Metagame

serperior.gifpinsir-mega.gif

Getting out to battle others? Keep practicing! But remember, there are some things to be wary about the metagame; it constantly changes. As randomspot555 puts it:

randomspot555 said:
As someone who hasn't been on a battle simulator in months, I can't answer about the current game. But what I can say is the metagame and competitive environment are constantly evolving. You'll need to make tweaks to your team constantly if a new threat rises up, and even completely overhaul it if something goes and gets banned to ubers, like Speed Boost Blaziken did.

Some Pokemon will end up getting banned because it proves too strong, or some newcomer becomes more prevalent, etc. You must keep adapting to the shifting metagame.

ninetales_(alolan).pngClosing Words

meganium.giftyphlosion.gifferaligatr.gif

Well, I hope I have at least aided you into how to develop a great working team for the harsh world of competitive battling. Some objections include the opposition of standardization, some Pokemon being more useful than others, and the discouragement of using favourites who are not as competitively apt as others. Yes, I know very well what you mean, and I too pretty much agree with that. In fact, I OFTEN goof around and do use "competitively inept" Pokemon in a competitive team, BUT the difference is, I try to use it in an attempt to actually pose an unexpected threat to "standard" foes and know where my limits are. If I use my Articuno (my favourite Pokemon), I would have other Pokemon being able to support its weaknesses while Articuno can fulfill its role as an annoying staller, especially against enemy bulky waters. That is just an example. I do not discourage you from using your favourites, but if you want to play that game, try to think competitively. See what works to your advantage, and if you see where you can grasp the opportunity, do so. Foes will not relent in pity if they see their favourite Pokemon because winning seems to be more important than seeing their favourite get creamed by what they are using. But most of all, have fun. This should not be a stressful experience, but rather something one does to, well, kill time or to improve their strategic mind or something. I don't know...

ninetales.pngTo Do List

emboar.gifincineroar.gif

 

Know Your Pokemon (in progress)

Strategies

Pokemon Roles

ninetales_(alolan).pngResources

1. Aragornbird's Guide for Competitive Battling- This guide is simple, clean, and easy to read through, so beginners can try reading this.

2. Smogon- Meh... moveset dex, yeah yeah. This is a great competitive battling resource and many competitive players go here. Note that not everybody follows Smogon rules and depending on your region, rules may vary. Some common rules do exist, however.

3. Bulbapedia - Great place to look up almost anything about Pokemon. The format is a lot like Wikipedia's, so it should be easy to learn.

4. Pokemon Online - This is a simulator where people can test out a team to see if it works well or to see what to fix before putting it into Wifi. It is a great way to get started in building your team if you can see what it can actually do.

5. Project Pokemon - Heh, you can ask some of us here and we can try to help you. Try people like Gin, Tbird, randomspot555, heck, even me and we can see if we can do anything to help, though I may not be around often.

BaseStatChart..zip

BaseStatChart..zip

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Quick note, Bright Powder did just get banned, I believe :D.

This is a great thread, hopefully we can get mass people reading :D.

Some common guys to look out for

Excadrill

Type: Ground / Steel

Ability: Sand throw / Sand Power

Stats: 110/ 130/ 60/ 50/ 65/ 88

With sand throw and that gargantuan attack stack, coupled with swords, instant threatability and mass resistances to switch in on Excadrill is one of the scariest pokémon in the game. Commonly seen holding a balloon to give itself yet another immunity, it can switch in nearly any pokemon and set up, then proceed to sweep unprepared teams. Whilst balloon sets give Excadrill more chance to switch in, a more prevalent life orb set is beginning to emerge as the novelty of balloon is beginning to wear off. With Life orb it is now able to 2HKO some Skarmory after SR with +2 attack... which is just ridiculous. Whilst not uncounterable, it does prove to be a big problem to a lot of teams. Some of the best ways to deal with this behemoth are using pokemon that can abuse high powered priority attacks, such as Azumarill, Nasty Plot infernape and Bulk up Conkeldurr. The unreleased Mischievous Heart Sableye also has the added bonus of Priority Will o Wisp to all but render it useless.

Volcarona

Type: Bug / Fire

Ability: Flame Body

Stats: 85 / 60 / 65 / 135 / 105 / 100

Volcarona is a demon. I'm dubbing it the Ho-Oh of OU. With the abilty to +1 all of its best stats with Quiver dance, a special attack to make you cry and a good enough speed (not to mention reasonable bulk) This thing was meant for killing. Its two stabs have great coverage together, just missing out on a few things like heatran and empoleon (who still takes neutral from Fire blast anyway!) The bane of this pokemon is undoubtedly Stealth rock, however given its speed, access to morning sun and alright bulk, this isn't too much of a problem. Pack it on a sun team with a hitmontop rapid spinner and you've got a demon on your hands. Again this thing is far from unbeatable, however, While it can over come SR weakness with a spinner and Morning Sun, It still can't beat everything. Azumarill, IMO, is the best counter to this thing. It can switch in on a resisted Fire Blast (with its amazing bulk) and Aqua jet it for an OHKO. Blissey/ Chansey can toxic stall it out... however, it won't take long for Volcarona to get to + 6 and even get passed those formidable foes. Scarfed Garchomp can do a number on it with Strong stab'ed physical attacks, too. Basically, don't let it set up!

Some combos to look out for:

SkarmTar

The old standard of Skarmbliss is now becoming a pretty rare sight, with so many mixed sweepers being able to bust through them, so the new combo has become Skarm Tar. Skarmory and Tyranitar, between them, can take out a whole host of the big hitters in the current OU metagame. Specially defensive Ttar can kill most Lati@s and other special orientated folk, while skarm sets its old standard of wearing down the more physically inclined pokemon. Throw in something like Wish passing Vaporeon, and you'll try have some problems on your hands! The old standard wall breaker, infernape, is probably your best bet at getting rid of these two. Though, people using SkarmTar will probably have starmie, vaporeon or tentacruel prepared for Infernape.

JelliThorn

Not sure if that's what people are calling it, but that's what I'm a call it. Between the two of them they have an obscene amount of resistances and are able to systematically whittle down most any pokemon that they face. Aside from the odd Infernape with Thunderpunch, nothing is really get passed this dynamic Duo. Between the two of them they pack a whole host of utility moves designed to generally ruin your day. Thorn with Twave, Jellicent with Wisp... Nothing is really safe. Throw in Recover on one, leech seed on the other and you're definitely in for a rough time. Whilst they can't really do a whole lot to harm you, the passive damage they can rack up between them is truly scary. Your best bet at getting between these two? Raw power. Try and get in on a recover, or while thorn is setting up spikes, and start repeatedly smacking them about. Reuniclus has a great time with these two, being able to switch in on either with complete ease, set up and destroy them both. If you are running Jellithorn, it might be suggested that you pack either a Bisharp/ Scizor/ Spiritomb to dstroy reuniclus.

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As someone who hasn't been on a battle simulator in months, I can't answer about the current game. But what I can say is the metagame and competitive environment are constantly evolving. You'll need to make tweaks to your team constantly if a new threat rises up, and even completely overhaul it if something goes and gets banned to ubers, like Speed Boost Blaziken did.

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Thanks for the link Waith, though to be honest a moveset of "Giga Drain/Solarbeam/Razor Leaf/Petal Dance" would be completely idiotic, even I know that. At least I understand I need to have a varied moveset that can work under many conditions. I also understand the importance of the corret nature and with the additional 'positive' increase matching up with the pokemon's stat strengths and moveset. Even items I can do okay in, though there are times I am unsure on such.

My problems come with EVs as, which I do not understand their working of much as it has never been of great importance when playing the games as will as how it is a new mechanic in the last couple of generation games. Two, having everything complement and mix well with the rest of the team, which is why I had been asking for advice as will as possible changes yet still keeping the basic team idea, as in mindset I am still more of a ones on one battler and know with work one can play with one favorites (though I admit it is more difficult). That and I am far more of an attacker, with mostly a bit of defensive support. I'm not good at getting complicated with movesets and strategy. Heck I have not even actually had much of chance to battle real people.

Understand what I am saying are my problems? I know the basics, but have never been able to let my battle strategy evolve nor practice in actual competitive battles.

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Teddy, the perfect thing for your problems would be to play on Pokémon Online. If you know the basics everything else purely experience upon experience. You'll learn the need of a strong defensive backbone, and you'll better learn when to take your shots, and what shots to take. Honestly, I fully recommend that you download the simulator @www.pokemon-online.eu.

EVs have been around from the get go, by the way, however they went by a different name. Experience values, or something like that.

The thing with items is that you've got to understand what your pokemon needs that it is currently missing, whilst not being too gimmicky (I.E Snorlax with Quick Claw). If you do some battle calculations and Realise that you are just missing the OHKO on X,Y,Z, chances are that you're going to need to run life orb. It's all about knowing what's capable of what.

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Teddy, the perfect thing for your problems would be to play on Pokémon Online. If you know the basics everything else purely experience upon experience. You'll learn the need of a strong defensive backbone, and you'll better learn when to take your shots, and what shots to take. Honestly, I fully recommend that you download the simulator @www.pokemon-online.eu.

EVs have been around from the get go, by the way, however they went by a different name. Experience values, or something like that.

The thing with items is that you've got to understand what your pokemon needs that it is currently missing, whilst not being too gimmicky (I.E Snorlax with Quick Claw). If you do some battle calculations and Realise that you are just missing the OHKO on X,Y,Z, chances are that you're going to need to run life orb. It's all about knowing what's capable of what.

Thank you for the information and help, I will try Pokemon Online out. Also, I'm not sure if my character Theodore Daconus would like being call Teddy, because of his personality and mindset. Though you can call me that as I find the very idea of it funny.

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This thread is now Tbird

I'm going ahead and updating the threats list little by little. Anyone who wishes to contribute small analyses like the ones I've posted, feel free to post them here.

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Gunna do some more analysis's... Feel free to fix my grammar and spellings xD

Feraligatr

Type: Water

Abilities: Torrent / Sheer Force

Stats: 85 / 105 / 100 / 79 / 83 / 78

Feraligatr is often seen as the mini gyara for the underused community, however, being a pure water type and having more defence (pre intimidate) it has an easy time switching in and staying in. Though the 105 base Attack may seem somewhat lack lustre, with access to moves such as Dragon Dance, Swords Dance and Aqua jet, its shortcomings are easily bypassed. With the advent of the 5th generation, Feraligatr got scary. With access to Dragon dance to boost its speed and attack to outpace its speed passed most of the unboosted Metagame and scarfed <75s, coupled with the new Ability Sheer Force it's truly a force to be reckoned with. The main reason being, its relied upon stab is waterfall... which given the nature of sheer force, turns the already quite potent attack into a base 170 brute of an attack. Put it in a rain team and let it do 210 damage per turn; scary stuff. Oh and did I mention that sheer force negates LO recoil? Of course it's beatable, it wouldn't still be UU if it wasn't, Anything that can tank its hard attack, phaze it, or out pace it should do the job. Just be careful, however, as it does have quite some bulk to it, and if you can't OHKO it, expect to lose. Things like Starmie, Skarmory, Ferothorn and Slowbro shouldn't have too much problems, but just be weary of its coverage moves.

Latios

Type: Dragon / Psychic

Ability: Levitate

Stats: 80 / 90 / 80 / 130 / 110 / 110

Latios is one scary son of a bitch. If you see it, run away. It has always been a top tier pokemon, and in Gen V, the flood gates have been opened and Latios has allowed to come and molest the OU environment. It has all but perfect Stat distribution, the move pool of a legend, and a couple awesome resistances to switch in on. So I'll tackle the stats side of things first, 130 Special attack and 110 Speed. This is perfect for the current metagame. There are many pokemon sitting on base 100, 101, 108 and 109, being able to outpace these pokemon without a scarf means that it can use Choice Specs safely and hit incredibly hard. Now onto the moves. It has access to a whole arsenal of painful moves that should make you weep at the mere thought of them. Calm mind means it can raise its survivabilty and already beast special attack to sky-rocketing proportions, whilst having the ability to switch attacks remains in tact. It also has access to Dragon dance, allowing it to beat most of the Scarfed metagame and function as a mixed sweeper if that's what you so desire. As for its actual attacking options... Draco meteor, Surf, Psycho Shock means that nothing is really safe. Scared of Ferrothorn or scizor? Well slap Hidden power fire into the mix and you are good to go. It can also utilise Recover, substitute and refresh to keep itself nice and healthy while it's murdering your team. It is a truly scary pokemon and you should be well prepared for it. Again, it isn't uncounterable, but it is certainly hard to counter, and you must look at what set it is running to be able to safely counter it. If it lacks Psycho Shock, Blissey and chansey can counter it, if it lacks Hidden power Fire Ferrothorn can counter it, and if it lacks Surf Tyranitar can counter it. Tyranitar is especially good at countering it, as with a specially defencive set it can take most of its moves and OHKO it, whilst scarftar can outright OHKO it with crunch. Bisharp can sucker punch it to death, and Spiritomb (if switched in on the right move) can kill it with Sucker Punch. Know the set, and you should be able to work around it.

Skarmory

Type: Steel / Flying

Ability: Keen Eye / Sturdy / Weak Armour

Stats: 65 / 80 / 140 / 40 / 70 / 70

Skarmory has been a staple pokemon ever since it was created all the way back in GSC. Its typing and stats allow it to tank physical threats all day long and generally screw up the opponent. There is only really one way to run Skarmory, and that's as a physically defencive phaser; anything else is just illogical as it is so good at what it does. A simple move-set of spikes / Stealth rocks, Roost, Whirlwind, Brave Bird / Drill peck basically means your ass. Having Key immunities and resistances to toxic, dragon, ground, grass, steel, bug and dark means that it can switch in on that annoying scizor, or that outraged locked Garchomp, or even that damned Excadrill and start setting up; thus saving you being swept by these problem pokemon. Sturdy means that if you happen to have let excadrill get to + 6, you can phaze it 100% of the time, roost means you can then heal off that damage taken, and drill peck screws with Virizon and breloom. Your best bet at beating it is either having a lucky phaze bringing in any capable special attacker, or switching in a special attacker on the roost. Skarm hates anything that carries Thunderbolt or Fireblast, so starmie and infernape make for great counters, though Infernape has to beware of a sturdy Brave Bird flying its way. Infernape gets a special mention as not only does it kill Skarmory, it happens to also kill most of skarms partners like Ferrothorn, Heatran, Tyranitar and Blissey.

Zapdos

Type: Flying / Electric

Ability: Pressure / Lightning Rod

Stats: 90 / 90 / 85 / 125 / 90 / 100

Zapdos has been overused since the beginning of time, and for a good reason Gamefreak loves it it's got the stats and moves that most pokemon would die for. Zapdos is a premium staller, a premium scouter, a premium Utility and a premium attacker. The famous Sub/Roost set just does not die, and though it has minimal attacking investment, that base 125 Special Attack means it doesn't care and will hit you hard regardless. Place it on a team with Toxic spikes and watch the opponent cry. Its main use is to counter the hard hitters of the game, it can take on Gyarados and Lucario like a God damned pro. In Gen V it can also somewhat be used to break stall, also, as its stab Thunderbolt and coverage move Heatwave Destroys the JelliThorn Core. Its ability Pressure also means that it can Sub away all of Machamp's Dynamic punches, Heatran's Fire Blasts, Tyranitar's Stone Edges... well anyone's Stone Edges. It can also Out stall all of Breloom's focus punches and be left with 7 and 8 Substitutes and Roosts... Phenomenal. Pressure and subroost also mean that late game 1 vs 1 it will generally come out on top, making the opponent struggle to death before Zapdos Even breaks into a sweat. Blissey is your best bet at beating it, as it can break Zapdos' subs with Ice beam/ Seismic toss and toxic/ Twave it to remove its usefulness, all the while wishing off the damage. If zapdos lacks heatwave for hidden power grass or ice, ferrothorn can win out on it. If all else fails, predict your opponent's rhythm, switch in on an unsubbed roost and smack the crap out of it with a speedy SE attack.

Gengar

Type: Ghost / Poison

Ability: Levitate

Stats: 60 / 65 / 60 / 130 / 75 / 110

"That unpredictable beast is you in Pokemon form" ~ Wraith

Gengar is another pokemon that has been OU from the very start, and rightfully so. It is unpredictable and a beast, it has the stats and movepool to make you cry. his stats may look subpar... until you reach that 130 special attack and 110 speed. This basically means you better be ready for something to take a hurting. Gengar sees so much usage due to the aforementioned beast stats, and due to its mass immunities. It can outright wall chansey, it can switch in pretty much whenever it likes, and it can destroy most things... and if its offencive movepool doesn't allow it to destroy the opponent it has several great support moves to mess with the opponent. In Gen IV it was used to remove Scizor, Tyranitar, heatran, Starmie and other problem pokes with a protect set that allowed it to scout the opponent and act accordingly, most the time netting Gengar's team one less threat. It can now be seen taking out blissey and other walls with a Sub Split set, The idea is to sub down as much as possible, hit painsplit and then smack the opponent with the relevent move. A new set of sub disable is also immerging now, too, which generally allows gengar to act as a check to so many pokemon in the metagame that it is unreal. Say bulk up Conkledurr is being a pain, switch in on the mach punch/ drain punch, hit substitute as it uses payback, then disable pay back and leave it thinking "wtf just happened." Gengar's unpredictability is what makes it a true beast, if you can't figure out its set early on, expect it to screw with your team for a good while. Beating it is all about knowing what you're up against, If it's a general special attacker, then Ice Beam Blissey can take it down, if it's the sub split set, your best bet is using a fast priority abuse like Scizor or Azumarill, depending on the coverage move. If you can get in on it when it doesn't have a substitute up, then anything that outspeeds it can wreck it, If you can get Scarf Chomp, starmie, ScarfTran or Scarftar in on a resisted move they will tend to come out on top. TR Reuniclus can generally come out on top, too, as it can set up TR as Gengar uses Shadow ball, then OHKO the next turn with Psycho shock and recover off the damage the turn after. Spiritomb puts gengar in an awful position, too, as it can Pursuit it or Sucker punch it, depending on the set.

Jirachi

Type: Steel / Psychic

Ability: Serene Grace

Stats: 100 / 100 / 100 / 100 / 100 / 100

If you've ever seen anyone ranting "RQ!" you can guarantee that Jirachi probably had something to do with it. Jirachi is know first and foremost for its hax ability, it can flinch you within an inch of your life, and then flinch you into utter despair. However, that isn't all it can do, it is versatile as hell and you should be prepared to take an unexpected beating whenever you see it. 100s across the board coupled with its movepool pretty much means it can do whatever the hell it likes. It can act as an effective wish passer, a twaver, a haxer, a lead, an annoyance and a sweeper. With access to wish and CM it can pull of a brilliant defencive sweeping set that can't be crippled by blissey's toxic, doesn't mind burn and can fight through Paralysis due to its bulk. With Access to Body Slam/Twave and Iron head it can about out hax any threat in the game for a cheap yet successful win. With Access to Stealth Rock, Trick and U-turn it can function as a hell of a disruptive lead and scouter. Not only the aforementioned, but it can pull of a mean lure/ mixed attacking set that can often take 3 pokes off of an opponent's team in one sitting. Let's say your opponent is running a sand storm team, you switch in on Ttar and Flinch it to death whilst it furiously tries to earthquake your jirachi, once Ttar is down they send in the Scizor thinking you are choice locked, you nail it with a fire punch, so now they come to thinking your a physical attacker and send in their Gliscor, only to realise you'd planned this all along and your opponent must watch in horror as you OHKO their Gliscor with Hidden Power Ice. Its typing allows it to be a pretty successful dragon check, so long as they are locked into a dragon typed move; there is nothing more satisfying than body slamming an outraged locked Garchomp, for instance. Jirachi is very much beatable if you a) know its set and b) outspeed it. If its a choice scarf set, Garchomp can take it out with STAB earthquake, or Skarmory can wall it no end. If it's Body slam set then Jellicent Can burn and outstall it, if it's a twave set Landolus and Garchomp can both take it out, landolus being able to set up in the process. If you suspect it might be a lure, double switch on it and you'll then be able to devise a way to beat it by manipulating it to fire off moves that you can set up on.

Thread is now officially Tbird!

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Reserving Garchomp and Flygon, this post will have them in about 15 mins.

Flygon

Type: Dragon / Ground

Ability: Levitate

Stats: 80 / 100 / 80 / 80 / 80 / 100

Flygon was a staple pokemon in the later stages of Gen IV. While it was always compared to it's dragon brethren, Salamence and Garchomp, it found its own little niche when they were eventually banned. Flygon is one of those pokemon with middling stats but all the right tools to pull it off. The 100 speed tier in 4th Gen OU was the most popular, and Flygon sat snuggly in there with the likes of Jirachi, so it always had at least 50% chance of taking something out. With a workable base 100 Attack stat and very strong dual STABs in Earthquake and Outrage, It made for both a strong revenge killer and great late game cleaner. With a respectable base 80 Special Attack, it could afford to run Fire blast to dispatch of its would be counters in the form of Forretress and Skarmory, while U turn allowed it to take out its number one counter; Starmie. With All moves and stats considered, the scarf set all but tore through the metagame and was generally head hunted if seen in battle. With stats and a move-pool akin to zapdos, it could also pull off a great stalling set with access to the moves, substitute, toxic, roost, earthquake, dragon claw, dragon tail and fly. Its speed ensured that it would be stalling for a while, often beating most folk to the punch and being able to stall out there strong attacks with a combination of roost and substitute, and possibly Protect, too! In Generation five, with its former competitors allowed back in, it struggles to find room on a team a being locked into either or its stab moves means that either Salamence will set up on it or Garchomp will Out speed and OHKO it. That being said, if you look at all of Flygon's positives, and feel it is something your team needs then by all means use it. It resists ground, which a whole heap of the metagame is weak to, and also resists Electric which another portion of the metagame is weak to, couple in its scouting and revenging capabilities and you'll have a great team player for your team, should you need it. He works especially well with Starmie and Heatran, so if your team already has those two guys in it, why not try a Flygon out.

Garchomp

Type: Dragon / Ground

Ability: Sand Veil / Rough Skin

Stats: 108 / 130 / 95 / 80 / 85 / 103

Garchomp is the bigger, meaner and for all intents and most purposes better Flygon. Same typing, better stats, an ability that when used correctly is on par with flygon's, and a possibly better movepool, too. Garchomp got banned from OU due to its sheer lack of counters and speed. While 103 might seem quite slow, all things considered, its bulk allows it to take hits from the faster folks and OHKO with deathly effect. The Yache Swords dance set was completely uncounterable. What are you supposed to do when a pokemon sets up SD off of a base 130 attack... and its main weakness is covered? 103 Speed meant that the whole 100 speed metagame was outsped without the need for a choice item, allowing Garchomp to run SD with impunity. 108/95 physical defence means that it's going to take a strong strong stab SE physical attack to hurt it... the point to make here is that Flygon's outrage doesn't have a 100% chance to OHKO, while Garchomp can shrug off Dragon claw any day of the week, and if Garchomp opts for a bulky set, Flygon's outrage (360BP!!!) won't even OHKO... Scary, right? Not to mention, if it was on a sand team, you might not even hit it anyway. Moving on to generation V. Garchomp is still the beast it always was, however with the power creep and speed creep, Garchomp can't really afford to run its SD yache set, as now things can outspeed it and OHKO it without being choice locked. However, its scarf set is what sets it apart from the rest of its dragons. With a trollish 103 Base speed, it is always outspeeding its dragon brethren at +1, sans Lati@s, and with a huge 130 Atk it's going to either OHKO the dragon infront of it, or leave a hell of a dent in what ever switches in. With Scarf sets in mind, it can pull of a surprise Choice Band set to truly unleash the rage of a generation in which it was banned from. To show you what sets the CB set apart from the CS set I'll put you in two scenarios.

CS scenario:

Switch in Garchomp on MixMence

Starmie Switches in to take the dragon claw, takes SR damage too (12.5% + 57 - 67%)

Starmie while dented OHKOs Garchomp with Ice beam

CB Scenario:

Switch in Garchomp on MixMence

Starmie Switches in to take the dragon claw, takes SR damage too (12.5% + 93%+)

Starmie's annihilated, Infernape can now set up safely and sweep the rest of the opponent's team.

The best way to beat Garchomp is to know the set it's running. The SD set is countered by Skarmory, if Chomp isn't running Fire blast, The scarf set is countered by the Lati twins (if they switch in on EQ) and the CB set is countered outright by Skarmory. Bulk Gyarados works as a good counter too, sans the CB set, as it can Intimidate the land shark taking 35 - 45% from a choice scarf outrage and set up on it, and still only taking 50% from Stone Edge at max. Gliscor can shut it down with any toxic set, but again must be weary of the CB set, as it has the chance to 2HKO the Poison heal set with Outrage after SR damage.

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Birdy, Chomp is 102, not 103 o_o

Give me a few moments, I'll, er... post them up in a bit.

EDIT: Posted Tbird's Flygon and Garchomp. Again, if anyone wants to contribute, please let me know, or if you want me or Gin or Tbird to analyse a Pokemon that you want to know how to use or are having trouble fighting against, feel free to respond!

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I'll do one of my favourite pokes now, because I feel it's really quite anti meta (currently) :B

Spiritomb

Type: Ghost / Dark

Ability: Pressure / Slip through

Stats: 50 / 92 / 108 / 92 /108 / 35

Spiritomb is a generally awesome Pokemon. A lot of people do scoff at it, however it does have a fair few niches in which it excels. Firstly it is unexpected as hell, and most people once they see it aren't quite sure what to do. The reason being it has a great movepool and its stats allow for a lot of versatility. One of the main reasons to use it ia its spinblocking ability. With its typing bulk and access to sucker punch/ pursuit it can trap and destroy starmie; one of the metagame's premium spinners. Not only that, but spinning Excadrill also hates it due to Will-o-wisp and Hidden Power Fighting; so right there are two premium spinners in the game that get ruined by Spiritomb. Its offences, all though slightly on the low side, are very usable, with a huge attacking movepool it can remove Pokemon like Reuniclus, conkeldurr, Bisharp, Jellicent, tyranitar and the aforementioned spinners.

Generation V didn't really bring it any new tricks, however the metagame shift made spiritomb a lot more viable with plenty of psychic and fighting typed pokemon to ruin. Spiritomb will find little use for the Slip through ability, as it can also enjoy pressure stalling with Rest Talk sets, or even a super mean Spite set. Spiritomb has the whole freaking magician's box of tricks up its sleave, so don't under estimate it or you may find half of your team wondering "what the hell just happened!?"

The best way to beat it is switch in something with bulky stats that resists Spiritomb's moves and doesn't mind being burnt. Things with Taunt and or torment will absolutely ruin Spiritomb, so Poison heal Gliscor and Torment tran are great candidates. While spiritomb loves burning things, it generally hates being burnt itself, and toxic will wear it down also. Don't both Paralysing it, as with 35 base... it really doesn't care.

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Reuniclus

type: psychic

ability: Overcoat / Magic guard / Regenerator (DW)

stats: 110 / 65 / 75 / 125 / 85 / 30

Reuniclus is a monster in the over used tier. With bulk similar to swampert, an ability that makes it impervious to all passive damage and move pool enough to sweep the entire metagame - unless you have luck akin to the devil - if you aren't prepared for it, it will sweep you. its main role is being a bulky sweeper and will most often times be found on weather teams, where it can set up happily and not find its health being chipped away by the hail or sand. With that monster Special attack stat, it need not invest in it at all to be a reliable sweeper, with access to calm mind and having no speed at all that leaves only the HP stat and Defence stat to invest in, making it close to unbeatable. The poor speed, however, isn't even a bad thing as it has access to trick room, so now it has all of this bulk, all of this attack and speed enough to sweep you before you get the chance to sweep. But that's not all, it also has access to reliable recovery in form of recover. So, to sum up; enough special attack to make you cry, enough bulk to never cry ... and a move to remove any damage you manage to inflict on it. Why to go game freak.

Having said all of the above it isn't unbeatable, but finding a non-niche or gimmick mon to beat it can be an arduous task. The point to play off of is that it often suffers from 4ms (4 move syndrome). Most of the time it will run psychic stab + best coverage, usually in the form of focus blast and as such this leaves it susceptible to being walled by pokemon like spiritomb and other psychics such as mew or cresselia. Reuniclus can even over come these threats, however by running trick with toxic orb / flame orb / choice specs. The trick set is less common as Reuniclus really doesn't want to go mono attack, and it wants to have reliable recovery, so most often you will see the trick set merely running Specs. Aside from the above, your best bets at halting Reuniclus is going to be hazing with pokemon like Skarmory or bulky suicune. A special mention goes to Gengar who can successfully wall Reuniclus with its sub disable set. If you're not fond of running these sets, then Bisharp, Absol and Scizor can go a long way in denting Reuniclus, however the former two and to a certain degree the latter must watch out for boosted Focus blasts.

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"and not how the game was supposed to be played like in the first place. "

I have a small qualm with this line. Typically, opinion should be avoided in any sort of guide, and your little Smogon bit was deep-fried in your abhorrition for the standardization of Smogon. Perhaps nit-picky, I would prefer if it was purely factual, like "A "movedex" for various pokemon sets and Ev spreads" yadda yadda.

Otherwise stuffs be cool.

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Yeah I get it. I suppose I should change the tone of that line.

I won't give like sets because I guess that's what Smogon's for, but I'll give the general idea of how a Pokemon plays and what moves are available for grabs. You are welcome to contribute if you want Sabeta... I've left out some standard Pokemon out so people can try to cover it or something.

Re-reading what I wrote... I just want to make it clear that IVs stand for Individual Values, not Ideal Values. I don't believe every Pokemon was made to be played in that standards or anything.

Added Tbird's Reuniclus analysis. All these new guys are incredibly broken -_-

Edited by wraith89

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That little section where you can see Tbird and I are analysing Pokemon and stuff (it's in a spoilers "Know Your Pokemon"). Well, I was waiting for Gin to do some and all, but the kid went AFK...

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Oho, you have made what took me 2 Spartan training weeks to learn in 2 min. I knew all of this already and was thinking of doing something like this but I am too lazy to write something as detailed as this. I respect you for taking the time in doing this and wish to contribute something small/ some tips from a fellow competitive battler. I'm just gonna say some stuff from the top of my head here...um I guess I'll start with some example leads such as the ever popular Spiker, which basically sets up so that the opponent will face difficulty when switching in taking either damage or being poisoned however an easy way to get rid of spikes/toxic spikes/ stealth rock is rapid spin, so I like to keep a ghost type such as frosslass or jellicent which is also an amazing tank. (Forretress can learn all of these moves) and this is great when partnered with pokes that induce status effects or other effects that may want the opponent to switch but they will have to face the spikes or continue handicapped. Many counters to spikes include Magic Coat which will bounce the spikes back, it also works with status inducing effects and the new DW ability which in a nutshell is magic coat as an ability. This ability is known as Magic Bounce (creative huh?) there are also the lead sweepers who like to dragon dance right away which my friend has a habit of doing with his metagross. so yea...theres also the leadape(infernape) and all that as well as subseeder, brellomurderers, weather pokes, flinchaxes(which rather than jirachi I'm seeing more togekisses now) and yea but I have hw to do, might add more later so yea...thats all from me!

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Leads don't exist in the 5th gen metagame thanks to Blind-Pick.

You just now have various forms of Set-uppers and various forms of stopping it.

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Ah, when I meant lead I meant lead pokes as in first poke to start in the battle which are spikers and such idk, i just use the term lead like that... lol

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Aye, he knows what you mean :P But spiking leads and such are quite hard to use now, as the opponent will just switch in a counter to your lead (due to team preview) so your lead won't be able to do its job. It's best now to just run a scouting lead or some form of disruptive lead. Things like Thundurus and Machamp are prime examples of such.

700th post like a boss.

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I agree, lots of people have HP fire or something with fire to switch into with the popular forretress and scizor but its definitaly died down.

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I must confess that up until about a year ago, I was very guilty of the "STAB spamming" you've covered here.

This guide really helped me weed out the remaining problems I had with my team, thank you for writing it.

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