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 Battle Basics 
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Pokemon Master
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Since shinashu has been trying to draw attention to the Battle Tower again, I decided to give a hand. This thread is meant to help anyone who is new to competitive battling or feels unsure about his/her abilities. Here, you'll get information on the basics of teambuilding and battling as well as on some key strategies and threats on the current metagame. You may also ask questions if there is anything you don't understand or feel uneasy with.

So, to business!

First, a brief description of tiers. These are NU (neverused), RU (rarelyused), UU(underused) and OU (overused). NU, RU and UU have their own banlist, BL (borderline)1,2 and 3. OU has a much bigger banlist called Ubers, which includes the most powerful Pokemon. An additional tier is VGC (video game championships) which uses the Nintendo banlist.
Pokemon get classified depending on their usage rate. The higher the rate, the higher the tier. Currently, the site which calculates the usage rates is Smogon. The lists of each site are made based on these calculations.
Note that being on a lower tier doesn't mean a Pokemon is bad. It usually means that it can't adapt to the current metagame or there are other Pokemon that fill its position better (e.g. Flygon gets outclassed by Garchomp, but this doesn't mean Flygon sucks).

1.Teambuilding Basics

This is perhaps the most important part in battling. A well-prepared team is neccessary if you want to pose a threat to your opponents. The things that define a good team, however, are not always the same. The following tips include the basis of teambuilding.

I. Strategy. Every team must have one. Whether it's setup offense, status stalling, weather or some other tricks of your own, it's the core of every team. While strategy is a personal matter and I cannot tell you which one to use, allow me to say this: know what strategy you play. Many people just copy a team from the net or some other player, but in truth they can't utilize their potential and end up losing. So if you wanna use a specific strategy, make sure to learn as many things as possible about it. Run your own tests and modify it to suit your battle style better. Don't just run wild with a rip-off team.

II. Balance in Pokemon. It's neccessary in every good team. Nobody can run a team full of sweepers or tanks. They will easily be countered. So make sure you've got balance. Don't run too many Pokemon of the same type, and try to have good coverage in typings, both offensively and defensively. A team focused around only one type might be great until a counter-type Pokemon either walls you or sweeps you. Make sure to be prepared. Plus, don't run a team based only on offense or defense. Even the most offensive teams require a tank to take some hits and vice-versa. So think carefully about your team's counters and prepare accordingly.

III. Test your team. It's important to do so. You can play Random Matchup Free Mode, with your friends, or over simulators like Pokemon Online. Through the tests, you'll see the pros and cons of your team, and you'll adjust your strategy and style accordingly in order to make the perfect team.

2. Battling Techniques
Preparation is always important. However, in a real battle, things are different. Preparation ends, and its time to show what you know. Often, things might not go to plan and you'll need to be prepared. Here are some tips.

I. Switching. You targeted your opponent with your super-powerful Hydro Pump. Your Keldeo is sure to exterminate his pathetic Gliscor. But, oh the horror! Your opponent switched into Gastrodon! Storm Drain took the Attack, and now Gastrodon is ready to annihilate your team.
To avoid such situations, think carefully about your opponents switching capabilities. In most matches, you'll probably have Team Preview, so you'll know your opponent's team. Try to predict his movements based on that knowledge and switch your own Pokemon or change your attack dependently. This can often make the difference between victory and defeat.

II. Opposing strategy-team. Through Team Preview, you'll have the chance to see your opponent's Pokemon. This won't only help in switching, but it will also allow you to change your style so that you can fight at your best advantage. Try to guess the opposing strategy. In some cases, it's blatantly obvious (e.g. a Politoed is 99% guarantee of a Drizzle team). In some other cases, it might be harder (e.g. Bronzong can mean either Trick Room or Explosion). As you evolve, you'll be able to understand such things more easily and use them to your best advantage. Thus, you'll be able to cancel enemy strategies and win.

3. The Metagame
No matter what you do, how you build your team or how you'll battle, you must base it off the current metagame. Being original is good, but you need to know what you're facing. So even if you don't build a team using a common strategy, you won't use a useless gameplay either. Here is some basic information on some things you need to know about.

I. Weather. Arguably the definition of Gen V metagame. Weather had always been famous, but in Gen V, with the introduction of the Dream World, weather climbed to new heights.
Almost all weather teams run their weather inducer, namely Politoed, Ninetales, Tyranitar/Hippowdon and Abomasnow. The only exception to that are teams which use Swift Swimmers, since Drizzle+Swift Swim isn't allowed from certain sites. Official Nintendo battling (VGC) isn't affected by that.
Next to the inducer, the team will usually run a Double Speed Ability Pokemon, namely a Swift Swimmer (unless it's banned), Sand Rusher or Chlorophyller. Hail doesn't have such a Pokemon yet.
The rest of the team is consisted either of Pokemon that benefit well from the weather, for example a strong Water or Electric-type in Rain, a strong Fire or Grass in Sun etc. Also, each team will potentially run a Pokemon to counter its possible enemies (e.g. a Rain team might use a Ferrothorn).
Weather teams are strong and hard to counter, but remember, there are always ways. Your best shot is to use your own weather inducer to cancel opposing weather.

II. The Power Creep. Or, in common language, the high offensive stats. This metagame is dominated by Pokemon with a really high offensive level which can practically sweep through whole teams if left to run wild. Such raw power makes it hard for stall teams to function or for slower Pokemon to setup since there's a good possibilty they'll be annihilated before you know it. Be very careful when facing powerhouses or you'll get burned bad.

III. Specialization. There's a little to no room for Pokemon with even stat spreads or multiple roles. In this metagame, you either fill one, the most two, roles well, or you do nothing. There are very few Pokemon which serve multiple roles at the same time; so you must figure each Pokemon's role, or you'll find yourself in major trouble.

I hope the above were helpful to you. If there's anything you don't understand, just ask.
Good luck in your way to the top!

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I'm a competitive battler, ask me if you have any questions on competitive battling or want advice on Ubers teambuilding.
Credit to DragoBoy for the banner!
The only ones who should kill are those who are prepared to be killed!


Last edited by ChillBill on Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:45 am
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Pokemon Master
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Cooould you may do an explanation of how the Pokemon are put into the tiers? That is pretty much the one thing I still dont understand. Is it based on popularity? Stats? Ability? The movesets? A combination??

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Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:43 am
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Pokemon Master
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Pokemon that their usage is above a certain percent of all teams. Typically around 3.4% are OU. If a pokemon is considered overpowered or overcentralizing to the OU tier, it is voted to Ubers.
Pokes that are below OU's usage percent are placed in UU, and those who's usage here is above 3.4% here are considered UU, likewise if a poke is to powerful here it's banned to BL.
Repeat for RU, NU/LU With BL2 and BL3 as ban lists.

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Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:12 am
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Pokemon Master
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I will say that the meta game for most of the lower tiers is quite different than the OU meta game. It is usually dominated by higher defense and tanky mons, relying more or less on stall wars.

Also here are some vocabulary words for the what a mon is classified as.

Tank-A Pokemon that can take a lot of punishment and doll out just as much. Mostly seen in Pokemon like Slowbro and the like.
Wall-A Pokemon that can take a lot of punishment but unable to deal a whole lot of damage itself. (Both tanks and walls go into either physical or special) These Pokemon are usually your clerics and status dealers.
Sweeper-Pokemon with a high offensive stats and high speeds able to outspeed and deal a whole lot of damage.
Hazer-A Pokemon that is designed to switch out your opponents Pokemon with moves like Roar, and Whirlwind to take advantage of residual damage from Spikes and Stealth Rocks.
Revenge Killer-Usually a Pokemon with a Choice Scarf and the Arena Trap ability.
Cleric-Pokemon that take away statuses from your own Pokemon.

I am probably missing a few lesser known roles and if I am just add them on.

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Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:18 pm
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Pokemon Master
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I added a tier description, tell me what you think. Also, if I am to write things on lower tier metagame, I'll need some help, since I don't know many stuff about it.
About the Pokemon roles, I was debating if I should add them or just post a link to Frost's competitive battling glossary. What should I do?

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The chill of death, the heart of a metalhead. A lone rebel.
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I'm a competitive battler, ask me if you have any questions on competitive battling or want advice on Ubers teambuilding.
Credit to DragoBoy for the banner!
The only ones who should kill are those who are prepared to be killed!


Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:58 pm
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Pokemon Master
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Frost's competitive battle glossary should be fine, there may or may not be certain roles that are covered, can't remember haven't read it in a long time. I'm not as familiar with the lower tier meta-game right now, it has been a week or two since I took a look at it so a few things may or may not have changed.

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Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:24 pm
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