So you've delved into the world of Pokemon, and are having fun utilizing the pokemon's skills and traits to defeat other opponents. Then you learn about the many possible ways to increase your stats. Individual Values of your Mewtwo are high and you've trained it for more Speed and Special Attack Effort Values, and brag about the awesomeness of it to your friends, who battle it. As for the moveset on it, you have 4 moves that you consider uber powerful. Thunder, Fire Blast, Blizzard, and Hyper Beam. If you have any sort of knowledge on moveset making, that Mewtwo translates to a very overpowered moveset that needs no skill at all to use. Yet, because of that, it's so easy to counter. I'll explain why later.
First and foremost, this Mewtwo can definetly be called a sweeper. Sweepers generally have the strategy of dishing out as much damage as fast as possible. Normally, their movesets are based upon which attack stat is higher; Special Attack, or Attack. Based upon that, sweepers generally have attacks that correspond to their stat.
For Special Attack:
Just by looking at this, you could make a speculation about that Mewtwo from earlier. Why does it have Hyper Beam, a Normal attack, if it doesn't get as much of a bonus as the other three moves? Anyway, sweepers are very widely used, which is probably because they're so easy to use. Usually, sweepers have some sort of move that helps boost their stats a little bit before attacking, or something to help them out incase they get into a tough spot. An Alakazam can have its Special Attack boosted and have more of a chance surviving against a Dark type attack if it uses Calm Mind. To immediately slow the opponent down and have a chance of them not moving for a turn, a Raichu can use Thunder Wave. There's a lot of possibilities. Sweepers however, have weaknesses. Defense is usually not their key stat, which leads to the next topic.
Tanks, as the name suggests, are pokemon that are able to withstand sweepers long enough to defeat them. The key stats for these pokemon are HP, Defense, and Special Defense. General strategy for these pokemon are to do two things: waste as much time as possible, and pound the opposing pokemon with various attacks. Generally, Tanks should face pokemon that specialize in attack, and depending on what kind of attack they specialize in, use a tank that specializes against that kind of attack. If that made no sense to you, basically if your Tank is good in Defense, send it out against pokemon that use their Attack stat most often, and the same thing for Special Attack basically. So going back to the Mewtwo, if I sent out a Shuckle, what could that Mewtwo do against it? Thunder and Hyper Beam are cancelled out to use simply because they are not type-effective, and the other two moves are cancelled out as well since Shuckle can aquire a lot more special defense than Mewtwo can for Special Attack. As for moves on Tanks, they vary because of their differences in attack. Shuckle has virtually no attack power at all, but pokemon like Registeel have a decent enough Attack power to utilize moves like Earthquake well. There's usually a move to make Tanks even more effective at staying, for example Registeel can use Curse to boost its defense and attack at the price of speed. Meganium can use Ingrain and Leech Seed to help keep its health at a high level. Now because of their staying power, Tanks normally can't be taken down by a Sweeper pokemon, which leads to the next thing.
Some pokemon are just built for annoying your opponent as much as possible. The prime example here is Ludicolo, since it has a few things: a type combination that is hard to get a super effective hit on, very balanced stats, and an assortment of strategies you can use for it. They are very flexible within movesets. Just because you can counter the standard of it doesn't mean that you can counter every single Ludicolo. Normally, moves are based around a strategy when in the annoyer department. If you want to prolong the battle, stick Dive on Ludicolo. Say you wanted to keep a steady flow of health. Stick Leftovers, Rain Dance if you have Ludicolo's Rain Dish ability, and Leech Seed on. Say you wanted to get rid of any stat changes that the enemy pokemon might have, Roar them away. Of course, there's many other moveset possibilities, but I think you get the point by now. Annoyer movesets are based around what will annoy the opponent. Since these pokemon generally don't have the HP or defense to survive sweepers, this makes a nifty triangle of effectiveness.
There are a couple of pokemon that don't fall into these groups very well though, because their strategies consist of different things. Ditto uses on-the-spot strategies with Transform and then proceeds to battle like that. Smeargle can virtually use any moveset due to Sketch. Wobbuffet is one of the best pokemon to counter sweepers because of its high HP amount and the fact that it can only learn moves that counter. Shedinja is a pokemon thats useful only because of its ability; pit this thing against a Kyogre without Ancientpower and you win because it can't land super effective hits on you.
Then come your own, unique battle strategies. A very well designed team can handle legendaries, standard movesets, and more. Say you have a Houndoom, which is easily classified as a Sweeper. The possibilities for this pokemon are limited, but you can still find amazing techniques and strategies for it. Sunny Day and Solarbeam on a Special Sweeper makes a nice attacking strategy plus Flamethrower since it gets Same Type Attack Bonus (or STAB). And sure, you can put Crunch on, but your opponent will probably anticipate something like that and switch for a Heracross to Megahorn you. So, this is where you make your own rules. You need to anticipate something like this to become even better. Those moves that you suddenly thought were useless become useful. Pursuit would fit this job, but not as a sweeping move. If you anticipate when they switch and use Pursuit to hit them while they switch out, you'll have taken down another obstacle. Every single pokemon can do something like this, you just need to think of how to make it possible.
And there's actually more on this, but I'll write about it some other time. :P
Strategic Battling: Moves
In the Battling Basics guide, I explained the roles that pokemon could obtain in a battle. Sweepers, Tanks, and Annoyers are very widely used, and one of the strategies is better to use against another, forming a nice little triangle. But that's not all of the types of battling pokemon there can be. Some pokemon can be out there to support other pokemon and help other pokemon win with their movesets. So, this guide spotlights certain pokemon moves that will do very well at supporting other pokemon.
But first, on the topic of moves, let me explain why people choose Thunderbolt, Flamethrower, Ice Beam, and Surf over the more powerful Thunder, Fire Blast, Blizzard, and Hydro pump. While the other moves are more powerful, you don't lose very much power if you use the other moves, you have more Power Points on the other moves, and they are going to hit 99% of the time. In a battle between Salamence and Dragonite, if Dragonite uses Blizzard and misses, it will have to deal with a potential KO of itself if Salamence uses Dragon Claw. However, if Dragonite uses Ice Beam, it will be sure to hit, and it will do just a bit less damage but still enough to defeat Salamence. You simply just don't need all the power that Thunder and the other moves can dish out.
Also worthy to note is that there should only be one attacking move of the same type per pokemon. Why? Let's stick a scenario in here then. You have a Jolteon that knows Thunderbolt and Thunder and it's your last pokemon. Suddenly, your opponent switches to Steelix, a Steel/Ground type pokemon. Realizing that Thunderbolt and Thunder are your only attacking moves, you're cornered because Electric attacks are totally nullified by the Ground type. What if you had a move like Hidden Power Ice/Water? Then you'd have a chance to survive a bit longer.
Now for the other moves. Let me start with the widely known TM06; Toxic. What Toxic does is poison with a greater effect each turn. It starts with a little portion of your health, but in a few turns you'll find it sapping half of your health off each turn if you survive long enough. Now if Toxic is used with other moves, it can be very dangerous. Take for example Roar, or the non-Soundproof-resistant version Whirlwind. If you survive switching and poisoning most of your enemy team, they'll have to deal with a poison effect for the rest of the game unless they have moves to counter a threat like this, such as Refresh, or Rest, or they have the ability Soundproof or Suction Cups, or are just a Poison type or Steel type pokemon. So generally, this is a fine move to put on those pokemon with low attack, just as long as you don't battle any pokemon with the above things mentioned. (Steel types are commonly used.)
The next move will help any pokemon with stat increasement, but it isn't a TM. Baton Pass can effectively transfer stat changes from one pokemon to another. For example, if Celebi was to use Ancient Power and that 10% chance to raise all stats kicks in, then it can use Baton Pass to give those stat changes to another pokemon more suited for those particular stats. As you might be able to tell, this comes in handy for a lot of pokemon. Of course, these pokemon that have Baton Pass don't usually have the best defense. Ninjask, while effective at raising speed and attack, is not going to last long at all against pokemon like Zangoose, who have high attack. There are a few good Baton Passers out there still however that can survive a fight. Scyther has average defenses and can pass over Speed and Attack, but not as well as Ninjask can since Ninjask's Speed boosting technique is infact its own ability. Mentioned before, Celebi can use Baton Pass to pass over stat changes from Ancient Power, use Calm Mind to pass over Special Attack and Special Defense, and use Swords Dance, but it's banned from most tournaments and isn't even obtainable yet. Gorebyss can use it's own stat changes to help it survive since it learns Iron Defense, Amnesia, and Agility and pass any of those stat changes over, but I would only suggest passing over two of those moves since you could be stuck with a Baton Passer that knows no attacking moves when you're out of other pokemon. There are easy ways to get rid of any stat changes as well, no matter if it knows Baton Pass or not. Just use Haze to eliminate all stat changes, or use Whirlwind or Roar and make the opponent switch.
There's another element of the playing field you can change besides your own stats, and that's the weather. It can play a very important role in deciding who wins and who loses. Sunny Day will offer a lot of help to all kinds of different pokemon, because of it's doubling of fire attacks and halving of water attacks. Besides that, it will cancel the charge-up phase of Solarbeam, and put the accuracy of Thunder at a low 50%. You also get auto-defrosting. This as you may be able to tell, is very helpful on a lot of special sweepers, especially Fire pokemon. Not many people may like to put Sunny day on a grass pokemon though as it doubles the power of one of their weaknesses. There's an opposite to Sunny Day of course, and that's Rain Dance. Rain Dance will cut the effectiveness of Fire moves in half, as well as double the effectiveness of Water moves. Thunder gets a 100% hit ratio, making Thunder useful suddenly for pokemon using Rain Dance. Jirachi could use this move effectively, since Rain Dance will cut one of its weaknesses in half, as well as give it another powerful move to dispose of enemies. Catch is that you would still have to be wary of any pokemon using Earthquake.
Of course, that's not all the types of weather. There's two other weather moves, that do very similar things. Hail and Sandstorm will both chip away at the enemy's health over time, and combined with some moves, this can be very annoying, making these moves useful, but only towards the types that the weather won't hit. Sandstorm will not hit Ground, Rock, and Steel types, and Hail will not hit Ice types. Now, the problem with using Hail is that you don't have as much flexebility to use it as you do with Sandstorm. There's only a few combined Ice types, and only a handful can survive both Hail and their most common weakness; Fire. There's a good number of pokemon that can withstand a Sandstorm, and it's possible to base a team around it that's flexible.
There's also other moves you could use to defend yourself immediately. Reflect and Light Screen will cut away half of the damage that they defend against for five turns. Reflect will defend you against physical attacks like Rock and Ground, and Light Screen will defend you against special attacks like Psychic and Dark. This can be very useful to help you charge up power to hit your opponent with. Safeguard is another move worthy to note in this paragraph since it protects you against all status conditions like Paralyzation, Poisoning, Frozen, Sleeping, ect for five turns. Now this can be useful in more than one way. Say you have a lovely Dragonair with Safeguard and Outrage. If you use Safeguard then Outrage, the Dragonair will pull its 2-3 attacks and then not get confused. This is because you have the Safeguard up. Neat, huh?
Speaking of Confusion, there's a few status conditions that a pokemon can have more than one time, but will lose effectiveness upon switching out. Moves like Attract, Confuse Ray, Leech Seed, Curse(if used by a ghost type), and even Nightmare will leave your opponent with a nasty condition that can be more annoying than the main ones. Since you can combine a bunch of these moves together, most seen being Attract and Confuse Ray, your opponent will get very annoyed if you use these moves correctly. By that, I mean using them with an actual status condition, like Paralyzed. If you Paralyze someone then attract it and it switches, you'll gain a turn towards your advantage if you fight the same pokemon again rather than if you had done an attract/confuse combination.
Now to talk about some lovely moves that replenish health. If you have no idea how to use these moves, you probably have Rest or Recover or Softboiled on every pokemon you have. Problem is however that they're only useful on pokemon with high HP or Tanks. Why's that? Think of it like this. If a pokemon can wipe all your HP out in one move, then what's the use of having a recovery move? It's just taking up a slot that you could have used for a different move, like Protect.
Speaking of Protect (and Detect), they're also quite useful moves as well. If you suddenly go up against a pokemon that you have no idea how to combat, Protect so you can see what move comes to your pokemon. It helps a lot for those pokemon who use moves like Counter, and Mirror Coat, which do double damage after being hit depending on the move they used. Counter will always deal back double damage if hit with a physical move, and Mirror Coat will deal back double damage if hit with a special move. Don't expect Counter to work on Ghost types though, or Mirror Coat to work on Dark types.
Now I'm sure you can think of a bunch of other moves that I could explain here. But that would ruin the fun of figuring them out for yourself. :P Anyway, I'll finish up this guide with the most common and most balanced moves of each type, meaning their power is good enough to be used by a bunch of pokemon and near perfect accuracy is present as well.
Grass - Solarbeam
BTW, before you go off saying "WTF Y IS SOLARBEAM THERE INSTEAD OF MAGICAL LEAF", the reason is basically that there's not as many pokemon that can learn Magical Leaf as Solarbeam. Plus the chargeup is cancelled out with Sunny Day.
Well now you have your moveset all figured out for whichever pokemon you're going to use. There's still some things you need to know about the other parts of strategic battling though. For example, how to use certain abilities effectively. Or maybe you're selecting an item to use for your pokemon. Or maybe you're reading this guide out of complete boredom.
Well first and foremost, there are many, many types of helpful items for your pokemon. Some are actually pokemon specific. The Thick Club for Cubone and Marowak double their attack power. The Light Ball does the same thing for Pikachu. Soul Dew increases Latios/Latias's special attack and special defense as well. Very common items for those pokemon to be using, as it fits in with their usual strategies.
Then there's a key favorite among many individuals: Leftovers. Lefties heal you a tad each turn, and can even be used for long strategies. Say we have a Meganium with Leech Seed and Ingrain on it. Meganium has lots of staying power as it is, and healing itself continuously is a pretty good strategy for it. Leftovers would aid to this Meganium's main strategy to continuously heal. Leftovers is pretty useful even without strategy. Ingame however, it's hard to obtain if you're no good at the Battle Tower. But the counterpart to Lefties is useful too (not as however).
The Shell Bell is infinitely obtainable, and also provide minor healing effects. As a more detailed description, it gives 1/8th of the damage you do to your enemy with an attacking move back to you as HP. So with that said, it's quite useful for sweeping Pokemon that can benefit from the HP gain. This is also a common object to see attatched to a pokemon during a battle. For those people though that care nothing for HP gains on their sweeping Pokemon, there's an item that helps the cause for more damage too.
Loads of Slaking's use it too. The elusive Choice Band will only let you use one move during the battle that can be reset when you switch, but it gives all moves a 1.5 increase in damage. This is very helpful for the Pokemon that have absolutely no strategy at all except to use moves that the other pokemon are weak against. Which is mainly Slaking. Note that when you're using the Choice Band on a Pokemon, you should have ALL attacking moves. Whats the use of powering up Thunder Wave by 1.5? And being able to only use that move through the rest of the battle?
Now I'm going to say this deep from the heart: DO NOT USE TYPE SPECIFIC MOVE ITEMS. By that I mean Miracle Seed, Charcoal, Mystic Water, ect. Why? Cause it's not worth it. They only give you a 10% bonus to your damage. And only for the specific type that it boosts. You could easily get better items to use.
Now I'm going to say the complete opposite for berries: USE BERRIES. They have a wide variety of effects. Lemmie list the useful ones for battling:
Cheri: Removes the Paralyzed condition
Granted some of those berries are only obtainable through e-card/the Jirachi bonus disk/mirage island/emerald (the ones that raise stats anyway), but they're still useful for battling. Porygon2's recycle comes to mind for those particular berries. As for the other berries, there are a ton of things you could do with them. Chesto Berry cures Sleep, so put it on a Pokemon with Rest for a quick Chesto Rest. Persim Berries get rid of confusion, so put it on a Nidoking with Thrash. Lum is good for those pokemon that try to start up a strategy, like Ninjask's Baton Passing. I'm sure you can think of others.
Then there are some items that boost the unseen ratios. Brightpowder and Lax Insence reduces the chance of an enemy pokemon to hit your pokemon. So what if you put an item like that on a Pokemon with Double Team? Extra annoyance for your opponent not being able to hit you. There's also the Scope Lens, which ups the critical hit ratio. Combine an item like that with Focus Energy for a pretty large ratio to get a critical hit.
By the way, another unreliable item is the Quick Claw. While its effect is very useful (go first during a battle), it only works 10% of the time which immediately renders it useless for strategy.
But Item's are only half the battle. :P Or a fourth. Or whatever. You get the point. Abilities are also very useful in discerning what strategies a Pokemon has. Granted, most of them protect a pokemon against something, but some do have strategic uses. Now as you'd imagine, there are a lot of abilities that do a variety of different things. So, the setup of this next part'll be the main trait of the group of abilities. Observe.
Useless for Battle Abilities
Includes: Run Away, Pickup, Stench, Illuminate
You give me a use for these moves in battle, and I'll dig a hole to the other side of the Earth. Picking up items AFTER battle and being able to run away from battle a lot better does not help at all in battle.
Defend Against ____ Abilities
Includes: Shield Dust, Shed Skin, Early Bird, Keen Eye, Vital Spirit, Wonder Guard, Soundproof, Water Veil, Thick Fat, Sturdy, Rock Head, Inner Focus, Clear Body, Sticky Hold, Hyper Cutter, Oblivious, Nature Cure, Magma Armor, White Smoke, Levitate, Own Tempo, Immunity, Shell Armor, Insomnia, Damp, Limber
Told you there was a lot of em. :P
Anyway, these abilities do have somewhat of a strategic use for them if you simply use them to counter the effects of certain moves. Like, if your Pokemon has Shed Skin and uses Rest, then Rest will come off in one turn. Or if your Pokemon had Own Tempo and Thrash, Thrash wouldn't make your pokemon confused at all. Thats the basic use of these abilities.
Weather Abilities Includes: Cloud Nine, Drizzle, Drought, Air Lock, Sand Stream, Swift Swim, Chlorophyll
Granted that three out of the seven here are legendary exclusive, these can be very useful abilities at times. Especially Sand Stream. It makes Tyranitar the most anti-Shedinja pokemon out there. Switch with Tyranitar, a sandstorm appears, and Shedinja faints at the end of the turn. :P Having an extra speed boost isn't too shabby either.
Status Inducing Abilities (Your Pokemon)
Includes: Overgrow, Blaze, Torrent, Swarm, Guts, Compoundeyes, Speed Boost, Huge Power, Pure Power, Hustle, Sand Veil, Marvel Scale, Colour Change, Flash Fire
These are the abilities that affect your pokemon in a good-for-you way. Some of these are actually vital to strategies. Guts will increase attack as long as it has a status condition on it. If a Pokemon had this and used a move that is almost like this (Facade), you'll be doing a heck of a lot of damage to an enemy Pokemon. Compoundeyes makes Butterfree's Sleep Powder around as effective as another Pokemon's Spore is in hitting ratio. Pure Power makes Medicham one of the biggest hitting Pokemon around as it increases its attack quite a bit.
Status Inducing Abilities (Opponent Pokemon)
Includes: Intimidate, Effect Spore, Cute Charm, Liquid Ooze, Static, Poison Point, Rough Skin, Flame Body, Pressure
These abilities affect your opponent's Pokemon in a good-for-you way as well. Cute Charm can be used to subsitute Attract, granted that the enemy pokemon uses a move that physically hits your Pokemon. Pressure is good at wasting PP on a Dusclops. Static and Poison Point are useful for putting an effect on your enemy Pokemon for the duration of the battle without having to use a move to do it (granted that they don't have Rest/Heal Bell/Aromatherapy/an ability or item that blocks it).
Now you can probably name items or abilities I missed explaining to you, like FOcus Band or Magnet Pull, but I leave it to you to use those in ways you come up with.
Thanks to Dragonair for writing this for us
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