Pokémon: 10 Tips For Building A Competitive Team

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Even if there is no intention to participate in a competition, training up a competitive team of Pokémon can be a rewarding experience. It takes a long time to build from scratch, even longer if the intention is to get a shiny. It’s a fun post-game sort of personal challenge that includes a lot of breeding, training, and trading to get just the right combination of moves, stats, and abilities in the perfect Pokémon, not to mention a whole team’s worth.

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While there are a few essential things to consider, the choice of Pokémon is up to the player. Some have a good reputation for being competitive, but any Pokémon can be built to be the best it can be and used in unexpected ways. Yes, including that prized shiny Furret.

10 Make Sure All Types Are Accounted For

Pokemon Type Matchup Chart

The secret to a well-rounded team is making sure that all twelve of the types are accounted for. Memorizing a type matchup chart is first and foremost one of the most important things to consider as it can help ensure that no matter what Pokémon is sent out by the opponent, that there will always be something super effective to use against it.

It should be a skill that the base game itself teaches and will give a good, easy trial run to test out combinations against.

9 Understand Individual Values

Pokemon SwSh IV Checker

Individual Values (IVs) are stats that are unchangeable for a Pokémon and assigned at the time of generation. Since Ruby and Sapphire, there is always an NPC or a function somewhere that will give a cryptic message about how good a particular Pokémon is, and they are referencing the IVs it has.

They run on a scale of 0-31 and provide the baseline for all stats, eventually adding the value at level 100 to each score. That said, a perfect 6 is incredibly difficult to achieve with most players opting for a much easier to obtain 5IV spread with the 6th being for a stat that is not going to be as relevant.

8 Effort Values & The Pokémon Virus

HGSS Wild Encounter Abra

Effort Values (EVs) are hidden values that judge how a Pokémon’s stats will increase and can be directly manipulated by the player. Depending on the Pokémon battled there will be a different yield of these values given within the experience, so incredibly intense players will grind on specific Pokémon only in order to maximize the values received for only the ones they want. It’s important to remember that unlike IVs, not every single EV can be maximized. Also, items such as Carbos and HP Ups will directly affect these values as well, so they finally have a use.

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Pokérus is a random virus that can spread quickly between party members and is way scarier sounding than it is. For a short while, the virus exponentially increases the rate in which stats are increased in a Pokémon and therefore is highly prized while training up a competitive team. Once a Pokémon catches it, they can never catch it again so be sure to box the infected until it’s time to use it to its full effect.

7 Don’t Forget Egg Moves

It’s tempting to just shove a Ditto in a daycare with the Pokémon the player is actually trying to breed, but there is one fundamental thing that a Ditto can’t do: pass on Egg Moves.

A secret weapon in the competitive field is letting a Pokémon have a move that they don’t normally learn. Some can only get specific moves if they have gotten them through crossbreeding specific Pokémon with specific moves sets. Remember that the Pokémon that hatches from the egg will always be the same as the mother, but it can have moves from both.

6 Destiny Knot Is A Breeder’s Best Friend

Shiny Ditto Destiny Knot

Ditto holding a Destiny Knot is the golden combination for serious breeders. A Ditto can breed with anything that can be bred, while a Pokémon holding a Destiny Knot in the Daycare will guarantee that three of the six IVs will be passed down. The other three will always be randomly generated with the egg.

So ideally, getting ahold of a perfect IV Ditto in a foreign language and have it hold a Destiny Knot will maximize the chances of the offspring having good stats while also giving the chance of a Masuda Method shiny.

5 Know The Difference Between Legit & Legal

Pokemon Officer Jenny

A hacked Pokémon is barred from competitive matchups and usually will not even pass the legitimacy detectors in cloud storage services such as Home. However, any serious traders will come across the terms “Legitimate” and “Legal” in their rendezvous across various websites and it’s important to know the difference.

A Legitimate Pokémon is one that was obtained through proper means such as personally catching them or receiving from an event. Legal refers to a Pokémon that was technically obtained properly, but also through illegitimate means such as using a hacked 6IV Shiny Ditto as the breeding stock. By all means and coding a Legal Pokémon is a real Pokémon and valid to use in competitions, it was just obtained through some sketchy means. Some players only want Legitimate Pokémon, while others are fine as long as it goes into the Home box.

4 Abilities Are Important

Game Pokemon Type Null Battle Ready

Sometimes a Pokémon has a pretty useless ability normally, but then also can have an awesome ability hidden away. These Hidden Abilities can only show up through exorbitantly difficult means, usually requiring careful breeding or catching a ton of them under special circumstances until one has it. Some do not have multiple abilities, but they can tip the balance in the favor of whichever trainer knows how to utilize it the best.

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There are also items out there, generally hidden in Battle Towers and the like, that can swap a Pokémon’s ability if it just didn’t quite make it. The Hidden Abilities can be passed down 60% of the time either by breeding a male in the same Egg Group, or just by breeding a Ditto to a mother with their Hidden Ability.

3 Natures Are More Than Flavor Text

Happy Pokemon

Natures, like IVs, are randomly given at the generation of the Pokémon. Like IVs and EVs, they affect stats, so they are incredibly important. Each nature will buff one stat and debuff another, so making sure that the nature matches up with the perfect IV, EV, Ability spread is sometimes a pain.

The good news is that if one of the Pokémon being bred is holding an Everstone it will pass down the nature to every single one of their offspring, making it a little bit easier.

2 Do Not Disregard Traps & Weather

Pokemon Larvitar Sandstorm

Weather Effects and Field Traps are part of the game when it comes to competitive battles. Often times a player will lead with a Pokémon that is capable of setting up hazards and other effects to cause a lot of passive damage or status effects, or to try and force a player into a particular means of battling.

In the base games both of these methods are not really needed but in a competition? They can really turn the tables if done well.

1 Held Items Add Another Layer Of Danger

Snorlax With Pecha Berries

Held items don’t often become much of an issue within the base game but they can really turn the tables in a competitive setting. There’s a reason that even simple Pokémon such as Rattata and Aaron will scare players and why certain items have been banned from competitions.

That berry, that pack of Leftovers, that Focus Sash, or that Rocky Helmet can all help turn the tides in a pinch and can make for some complex strategies. So get out that Red Card and go!

NEXT: Pokémon: 10 Challenges For Players Who Have Done It All

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