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A Dummy's Guide to Pokémon Battling

Rocking the Lucario
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Hey guys.

Starting now, we'll be introducing a series of articles designed to get people into competitive battling. These will be posted and stickied here as a reference. If you have any suggestions as to how to improve these articles, ideas for further articles, or if you've written an article yourself which you think should be posted, then please, PM me or another of the Battle Center mods!

Without further ado, I give you:

Competitive Battling - A Dummy's Guide to Raising Pokémon
Written by Synthesis, revised by SharKing

Index
Use CTRL + F with the asterisk and relevant number next to each section to find it.

Introduction - [*1]
Natures - [*2]
List of Natures - [*2.1]
IVs - [*3]
EVs - [*4]
EV-Related Items - [*4.1]
Ability - [*5]
Items - [*6]
Movesets - [*7]
Conclusion and Regards - [*8]

-

Introduction [*1]

So, this is basically a guide I've written up to teach people the basics and fundamentals required to succeed at raising Pokémon to their optimum efficiency. I'm sure by this stage you're thinking you're fairly experienced with your Lv.100 Charizard that dominates everyone in-game... Think again!

First and foremost, you may be wondering: what exactly is raising your Pokémon? The answer is simple: it's carefully breeding the best Pokémon with the right natures, defeating specific Pokémon exclusively, stuffing them up with vitamins, and giving them the moves they need to succeed.

Now, I know that sounds like a real mouthful, but trust me, it really isn't all that bad when you get used to it. Let's start with the very basics of Pokémon in general even: raising your Pokémon. Most people would just catch any old Pokémon that appeals to them and simply battle their way through the game without paying attention to Natures, IVs, EVs, or proper movesets. But to raise your Pokémon properly, you need to break down each component of leveling them up.

Natures [*2]

There are 25 Natures in total; each raise one stat by 10% and lower another by 10%. These are vital for a Pokémon to reap the benefits with the stat it uses the most and the stat it uses the least. Each Nature has its merits except for Hardy, Serious, Bashful, Quirky, and Docile. These Natures should not be used since they provide no beneficial stat boosts to the Pokémon.

List of Natures [*2.1]

[TR]
[TD]Nature[/TD]
[TD]Stat Raised[/TD]
[TD]Stat Lowered[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Lonely[/TD]
[TD]Attack[/TD]
[TD]Defense[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Adamant[/TD]
[TD]Attack[/TD]
[TD]Sp.Attack[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Naughty[/TD]
[TD]Attack[/TD]
[TD]Sp.Def[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Brave[/TD]
[TD]Attack[/TD]
[TD]Speed[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Bold[/TD]
[TD]Def[/TD]
[TD]Attack[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Impish[/TD]
[TD]Def[/TD]
[TD]Attack[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Brave[/TD]
[TD]Def[/TD]
[TD]Sp.Def[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Relaxed[/TD]
[TD]Def[/TD]
[TD]Speed[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Modest[/TD]
[TD]Sp.Atk[/TD]
[TD]Attack[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Mild[/TD]
[TD]Sp.Atk[/TD]
[TD]Def[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Rash[/TD]
[TD]Sp.Atk[/TD]
[TD]Sp.Def[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Quiet[/TD]
[TD]Sp.Attack[/TD]
[TD]Speed[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Calm[/TD]
[TD]Sp.Def[/TD]
[TD]Attack[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Gentle[/TD]
[TD]Sp.Def[/TD]
[TD]Def[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Brave[/TD]
[TD]Sp.Def[/TD]
[TD]Sp.Atk[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Sassy[/TD]
[TD]Sp.Def[/TD]
[TD]Speed[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Timid[/TD]
[TD]Speed[/TD]
[TD]Attack[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Hasty[/TD]
[TD]Speed[/TD]
[TD]Def[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Jolly[/TD]
[TD]Speed[/TD]
[TD]Sp.Attack[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Naive[/TD]
[TD]Speed[/TD]
[TD]Sp.Def[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Bashful[/TD]
[TD]No Change[/TD]
[TD]No Change[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Docile[/TD]
[TD]No Change[/TD]
[TD]No Change[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Hardy[/TD]
[TD]No Change[/TD]
[TD]No Change[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Quirky[/TD]
[TD]No Change[/TD]
[TD]No Change[/TD][/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Serious[/TD]
[TD]No Change[/TD]
[TD]No Change[/TD][/TR]

Looking at this, if one of the Pokémon we wanted to use was Alakazam, we would either go with Timid (to minimize its terrible Attack stat we don't use and to maximize its Speed stat) or Modest (to minimizes its terrible Attack stat and to maximize its Special Attack stat).

IVs [*3]

*This section can be skipped as it requires a LOT of time and patience for every Pokémon you wish to raise, if you are raising the Pokémon in-game yourself*

IVs, or Individual Values, are hidden values in the game that generate the random stats of your Pokémon and also affect the move Hidden Power. They are hidden numbers that range from 0 to 31 and tell you the quality of a Pokémon's stats. 0 means that particular Pokémon's stat is the lowest it can be, while 31 means that stat is at its best and is considered a perfect IV. When a Pokémon is encountered or taken from the people in charge of the Daycare Center, its IVs are produced and once produced, they are stuck with the Pokémon forever.

If you really want to get into this, I suggest looking here: Smogon's Breeding and IV Guide

EVs [*4]

EVs, or Effort Values, are probably the most important part of prepping your Pokémon for competitive battling. EVs, unlike IVs, are not already written into a Pokémon's make-up when you encounter them. They are additional values that you give them for defeating other Pokémon, whether you realize it or not. Every Pokémon can have a maximum of 510 EVs in total and no more than 252 in any one stat. 4 EVs equate to one point raised. For example, a Gyarados that gains 24 EVs in Attack when it's Lv.57 will have its Attack raised by 6 points when it levels up. EVs do become more apparent as your Pokémon gets to higher levels, so when that Gyarados was a Magikarp it might only get one- or two-point stat raises when it's Lv.20, but when it's a mighty Lv.99 Gyarados, it could have its stats raise by 20 points when it levels up.



As you notice Pokémon's sets, you will find a lot of Pokémon go with 252 EVs in two stats and 4 in another, usually common in sweepers. If we look at Alakazam from earlier, we can see that the preferred amount of EVs would be 252 in Special Attack, 252 in Speed and 4 in a less important stat (HP, Defense or Special Defense).

Of course, by now you're wondering how the hell you can put EVs onto a Pokémon, but it really isn't too difficult if you can count or have a lot of money to burn (in-game, of course). Every Pokémon gives a certain amount of EVs. Here is a list of every Pokemon and their EV yield:
List of Pokémon by effort value yield - Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia

For our example Alakazam, we could battle 252 Bulbasaur to get our 252 EVs in Special Attack and 252 Charmander to get our 252 EVs in Speed, but that's really impractical, not to mention they don't really exist in the wild. Obviously, this depends on your location and each Pokémon's rarity, but if you check locations, which Bulbapedia is great for, you can find places like Altering Cave in Emerald which only has Zubat to battle, each giving one Speed EV.

Luckily for you, there are EV-related items [*4.1]

Vitamins



Although battling for EVs is the most common way to obtain EVs, you can use vitamins to increase the stats of your Pokémon. Each vitamin gives ten points to a Pokémon's relevant stat, but a maximum of ten vitamins can be used per stat, so you can't rely on them for everything.

HP Up gives 10 HP EVs
Protein gives 10 Attack EVs
Iron gives 10 Defense EVs
Calcium gives 10 Special Attack EVs
Zinc gives 10 Special Defense EVs
Carbos gives 10 Speed EVs

Held items:

Macho Brace: Doubles any EVs given to the Pokémon holding it, but halves their Speed during battle
Power Weight: Adds 8 HP EVs to the Pokémon after each battle, no matter what Pokémon they faced, but halves their Speed during battle
Power Bracer: Adds 8 Attack EVs to the Pokémon after each battle, no matter what Pokémon they faced, but halves their Speed during battle
Power Belt: Adds 8 Defense EVs to the Pokémon after each battle, no matter what Pokémon they faced, but halves their Speed during battle
Power Lens: Adds 8 Special Attack EVs to the Pokémon after each battle, no matter what Pokémon they faced, but halves their Speed during battle
Power Band: Adds 8 Special Defense EVs to the Pokémon after each battle, no matter what Pokémon they faced, but halves their Speed during battle
Power Anklet: Adds 8 Speed EVs to the Pokémon after each battle, no matter what Pokémon they faced, but halves their Speed during battle

*Note that these items all add 4 EVs prior to gen VII*

Berries



If you want to reset your Pokémon's EVs, there are berries which do the exact opposite to vitamins.

Pomeg removes 10 HP EVs
Kelpsy removes 10 Attack EVs
Qualot removes 10 Defense EVs
Hondew removes 10 Special Attack EVs
Grepa removes 10 Special Defense EVs
Tamato removes 10 Speed EVs

Other



There is one very rare beneficial virus in Pokémon known as Pokérus; the chance to encounter it on a wild Pokemon is 3 out of 65,536. If you battle this Pokémon or catch it, you contract it and it spreads through your team like wildfire. This virus doubles the EVs an infected Pokémon receives, and once a Pokémon is infected, it can't be cured. The virus loses its ability to spread after two days, so either spread it as much as possible immediately or place a Pokémon with Pokérus in the PC, where the virus will remain frozen and still be infectious when it is taken out.

Abilities [*5]

Most Pokémon have quite a few Abilities at their disposal, which is why it's best to use the one that benefits the Pokémon best. Alakazam gets both Inner Focus and Synchronize as Abilities, with Magic Guard as its Hidden Ability. Inner Focus isn't all too helpful; considering how fast it is, it's very unlikely to get outsped and flinched. Synchronize is quite situational too, but it's slightly better than Inner Focus, as it can put both you and your opponent in the same boat. Magic Guard, on the other hand, prevents Alakazam from taking damage from entry hazards, such as Spikes, or other forms of indirect damage, like Toxic, Sandstorm, Life Orb recoil, and so much more. Magic Guard would definitely be the preferred Ability here.

The Ability you choose to run can often be influenced by the set you wish to use.

Items [*6]

A good battler always has the best suited items on his Pokémon, whether it is a Choice Scarf for the extra speed needed, Leftovers to take more hits, or even berries like Lum to grant the Pokémon temporary immunity to status moves, which is very handy for some sweepers. See here for more:

Held item - Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia

Movesets [*7]

"Moveset" is basically a term given to the four moves your Pokémon can have. These can be level-up moves, breeding moves, Move Tutor moves, event-exclusive moves, or moves brought back by previous evolution(s) or Heart Scales. By now, I hope that you've come to realize that your Charizard's Ember, Flamethrower, Fly and Smokescreen may not be quite as good as you thought initially. It's important to choose moves that allow the Pokémon to perform at its peak by using moves that help your team (Heal Bell), hinder your opponent's (Stealth Rock), give you great coverage on your opponent's Pokémon, and utilize its moves to suit the particular EV spread and Nature you've chosen.

Until you've become quite experienced with team building, I suggest you use some of Smogon's sets, or those of other competitive battling sites. Let's take a look at Smogon's top-listed set for Charizard:

Set 1: Dragon Dance


Ability: Blaze
Nature: Jolly
EVs: 252 Attack / 4 Defense / 252 Speed
Item: Charizardite X
~ Dragon Dance
~ Dragon Claw
~ Flare Blitz
~ Roost

This is fairly self-explanatory really. Now that we know about Natures, EVs, items, and moves, we should be able to make an ideal Charizard, one that trumps anyone else's who doesn't raise their Pokémon to their full potential.
Set Details:
  • Full Attack and Speed investment maximizes Mega Charizard X's sweeping potential.
  • A Jolly nature is required to outrun Choice Scarf Tapu Lele and Landorus-T.
  • Some Bulk can be run if you just want to outspeed Choice Scarf Tapu Lele (40 HP / 252 Atk / 216 Spe), but it's otherwise undesirable to drop Speed for bulk because sweeping becomes harder.
  • Blaze is preferred over Solar Power on the off-chance that you switch in Charizard while sun is up to avoid taking extra damage for no reason.

Moves:

  • Dragon Dance boosts Mega Charizard X's Speed stat ahead of many common Choice Scarf users and makes it very powerful, allowing it to sweep once the few threats that can handle its sheer power are taken care of.
  • Dragon Claw is a reliable Dragon-type STAB attack with no drawbacks and fantastic neutral coverage.
  • Flare Blitz eviscerates the Steel- and Fairy-types that do not mind Dragon Claw and is absurdly strong in general, though the recoil is a notable drawback.
  • Roost keeps Mega Charizard X healthy to make setting up easier overall and the process of sweeping more reliable, mitigating revenge kills and Flare Blitz recoil.
  • Thunder Punch can replace Roost to hit Tapu Fini, Toxapex, and Mantine super effectively, even receiving a Tough Claws boost to make it especially powerful.
  • Earthquake covers Heatran, Tyranitar, and Toxapex in addition to OHKOing Alolan Marowak.
Conclusion and Regards [*8]

And that brings us to the end of this little guide. I think I could've went on about some other crap, but yeah, no one wants to read any more of it :p

First off, I'd like to thank you, the reader, for reading even bits of this and making it all worthwhile. I would love to hear some feedback on this, or if you guys feel I should add anything to this, or remove anything even. I would also like to thank Smogon University, Bulbapedia, and StrategyWiki.

Credits to Synthesis for this.​
 
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Hey uh, thanks! I knew about natures and stuff but I have a few questions. I got a Docile lucario but it's stats didn't distribute evenly

I feel like it's because I used the macho brace which raised its attack but it's def is real suspect/low. Any reason for that?

I've also learned/know about type coverage in movesets and so I've given my zoroark grass knot, flamethrower, focus blast and dark pulse ( I like the animation better than night slash) but now which item should I use to maximize his potential?

Currently he holds the wide lens for focus blast accuracy increase, however I'm considering a focus dash or life orb to use, what would be best in your opinion?


Uh typo at the end with"trumps anyone else you doesn't" who instead of you
 
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I'm not sure if we're supposed to be posting here or not, but oh well.

In regards to your question, @Typhlosionisafirebadger;, a neutral nature simply means that no stat gets that +/-10% applied to it. There are still other factors influencing stat distribution though. For example Lucario's basestats are 70/110/70/115/70/90. Logical reasoning means that it's HP, Def, and SpDef stats should be about the same. HP however has different, higher growth rates than the other stats so really only Def and SpDef should be similar. EV training would influence differences in those stats, but since you probably didn't EV it in Def/SpDef, the more likely reason for any difference is something called IV's. IV stands for Individual Values and is a number generated at capture/hatch that is between 0 and 31. At level 100, the IV's give a stat boost equal to the number of that stat; if your SpDef IV is 20, your SpDef will have +20 to it at lv. 100. As for the difference between Atk and Def, well, you EV'd it in Atk and Atk grows about 1.5 times faster than Lucario's Def stat. And of course IV difference might account for some difference too. Hope that makes sense.

And I'd suggest Life Orb on Zoroark.
 
PKM Trainer
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Woah ok I'm a little confused, " If we look at Alakazam from earlier, we can see that the preferred amount of EVs would be 252 in Special Attack, 252 in Speed..." wait if I divide 4 from the 252 EVs in the Special Attack then It would be 63 in Spacial Attack...... how is that any good???
 
Rocking the Lucario
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Guys, please do not post questions here specifically, those go in the Simple Questions and Answers Thread.
 
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