Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pokémon: Ways to Win

You may have gathered by now that I played the Pokémon games quite a lot in my day. However, I am not a competitive battler so I don’t fight actual players. With that in mind, here are some methods on how to do well at the Battle Frontier in-game.

Firstly, a simplified list of basic ways in which to defeat an opponent Pokémon:
  1. Death by Special Attack
  2. Death by Physical Attack
  3. Death by Toxic Stall
  4. Death by Burn Damage
  5. Death By Confusion Hits
  6. Death by One-Hit KO Move
  7. Death by Stat Booster
  8. Death by Priority Move
  9. Death by Spikes
  10. Death by Stealth Rock
Think about which of these methods you would like members of your Pokémon team to use, and train them accordingly. The beauty of confining your battles to within your game means that you can choose to raise all of your favourite Pokémon instead of being stuck choosing out of only the elite species.

Sleep and evasion moves may also be deemed too godly for use in competitive play between real people. But when you raise a team for use in-game, there are no such limitations and you can create any combination of beasts your heart desires.

Now on that hint of maniacal power, let’s look at some examples of each strategy from the list above. The first set for each individual Pokémon will be something that I use out of personal preference, and any later movesets will feature additional viable combinations you could think about using. Of course, you could also mix and match moves from all three to suit your own needs.
1. Special Sweepers

These are Pokémon with a high Special Attack and Speed stat.
Their role is to do as much HP damage as possible to the opponent team.



Energy Ball
Nasty Plot

The standard Nasty Plot Ninetales is an old favourite of mine. The general idea is to hit the enemy with Hypnosis to put it to sleep, and then use the free turns to increase Special Attack using Nasty Plot. Then you can proceed to sweep the rest of the opposing team using your powered up Flamethrower and Energy Ball.
Hypnosis does not have very high accuracy, so you might want to put Confuse Ray in the first slot instead. Ninetales can’t really afford to take a hit though, and Fire has numerous weaknesses.

EV Spread: 252 Special Attack, 252 Speed, 6 HP
2. Physical Sweepers

These are Pokémon with a high Attack and Speed stat.
Their role is to do as much HP damage as possible to the opponent team.


@Shell Bell/Leftovers

Ice Punch

This is a physical Swampert which I often used in the Battle Tower. Nothing really complicated, just attack as much as possible. Waterfall has a handy Flinch effect chance, which is nice. You can put any filler you like in the fourth slot, Rest will heal any damage or status off while Curse increases Attack and Defense stats at the cost of Speed. Stealth Rock can also be used here.

Swampert has one fatal weakness, which is Grass. Other than that, it is extremely resilient, and with some luck you might be able to Ice Punch any Grass types before they hit you.

EV Spread: 252 Attack, the rest depends on your moveset
3. Toxic Stall

These are Pokémon who use Toxic.
Their role is to stall for time while the poison effect of Toxic drains HP.


@ Leftovers

Seismic Toss

This particular Blissey has slaughtered thousands in battle. Just send it out, apply Toxic to your enemy and then Minimize away to up your evasion. This will both badly poison the foe and ensure that Blissey rarely gets hit. If you come across a Pokémon that can’t be poisoned, boost evasion and then just Seismic Toss until they faint. If you are taking a beating, use Softboiled to recover HP and do some extra damage with Seismic Toss.

This set is completely walled by Gengar. However, as long as you can keep Blissey alive you can stall almost anything else to death. Blissey has appalling Defense, so you may find yourself in trouble against Fighting moves. Other move options include Counter and Defense Curl.

EV Spread: 252 Defense, 252 HP, 6 Speed

*Skarmory is also an excellent Toxic user. I use one with the Brave Bird/Toxic/Double Team/Roost moveset.
4. Burn Damage

These are Pokémon who use moves which inflict the Burn status.
Their role is to inflict Burn on an opponent, which halves enemy Attack in addition to causing HP damage every turn.


@ Leftovers

Ice Beam

Vaporeon has gained an interesting STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus) move in B/W with a 30% chance of inflicting a burn on an enemy. Scald makes up for the lack of Defense on Vaporeon, while at the same time doing decent damage. You can use Scald to try and cripple the Attack of an opponent, or go with Ice Beam for more type coverage. Protect allows you to stall for time while the burn damage accumulates, and if used with Wish  creates a source of reliable HP recovery.

Scald has a 30% chance of inflicting burn, which is kind of low. There are other options you could be using to make up for the low Defense, such as Acid Armour. Scald and Ice Beam can also be replaced by Surf and Toxic to make Vaporeon a poison staller instead.

EV Spread: 252 Special Attack, 252 HP, 6 Speed
5. Confusion Hits

These are Pokémon who use Confuse Ray.
Their role is to inflict Confusion on an opponent, which gives the enemy a 50% chance to hurt itself instead of attacking you.


@ Leftovers

Confuse Ray
Payback/Double Team

Umbreon used to do a good job tanking, but now finds itself in trouble with the most recent DS generations. The first set is a Payback set, where you cause confusion and then Curse your Attack stat up. The second set causes both confusion and poison status to the opponent while increasing evasion with Double Team. Moonlight allows for instant HP recovery, while Wish provides more reliable recovery after time.

The Payback set can be used with Yawn or Double Team in the first slot instead of Confuse Ray. If Umbreon can stay alive long enough to use Curse, the Payback set can prove to be quite dangerous. The Toxic stall set relies almost entirely on poison damage and does nothing to Poison or Steel types, but decreases the chances of Umbreon being hit while draining enemy HP at the same time.

EV Spread: 252 HP, 252 Defense, 6 Special Defense
6. One-Hit KO Move

These are Pokémon who use OHKO moves.
Their role is to successfully use an OHKO move to reduce the opponent’s HP to 0 in one hit.


@ Leftovers/Focus Sash/Lum Berry

Ice Beam
Mind Reader
Sheer Cold

Sheer Cold Articuno was actually somewhat viable in generation III, but has more recently been running in the opposite direction due to the introduction of new Rock moves such as Stealth Rock. Ensure your accuracy with Mind Reader, and then OHKO with Sheer Cold the next turn. Ice Beam is there in case you come across something that can’t be hit by Sheer Cold, and it also provides a STAB attack. Roost off any damage taken to HP.

Articuno’s massive 4x weakness to Rock puts a big dent in survivability. Focus Sash allows you to survive one more turn so you might be able to pull off at least one OHKO before going down. Status afflictions also hamper Articuno a lot, hence why Lum Berry is an option. This Articuno can also be used well with Toxic, Double Team or Reflect if you prefer those over Ice Beam or Roost.

EV Spread: 252 HP, 252 Defense, 6 Special Defense
7. Stat Booster

These are Pokémon who use Attack or Special Attack booster moves to raise their stats.
Their role is to use a stat booster move to raise their attack power, in an attempt to sweep.

8. Priority Move

These are Pokémon who make up for low Speed by using moves that always hit first.
Their role is to do additional HP damage with Priority moves, usually done in combination with stat boosters to maximise base damage.


@Leftovers/Life Orb

Dragon Dance/Curse
Ice Shard

Lapras can be trained to be an equally good Special or Physical attacker. These sets are both Physical attack stat boosters which also carry a Priority move. Dragon Dance increases Attack and Speed for sweeping, while Curse increases Attack and Defense at the cost of Speed for some added bulk. Ice Shard is a STAB move with Priority to counter the lower Speed stat. Rest is there for when you have the opportunity to sleep off HP damage and status.

Lapras doesn’t really have a good way to heal itself, so sleeping away three turns using Rest is risky. Leftovers or another HP recovery item is probably a better choice over Life Orb.

EV Spread: 252 Attack, the rest depends on your moveset

*Other examples of Priority move Pokémon include those which carry Swords Dance, such as Bullet Punch Scizor and Mach Punch Breloom.
9. Spikes

These are Pokémon who layer Spikes on the field and then force opponent switching.
Their role is to layer Spikes on the field and then force switches in order to shuffle HP damage around the enemy team.


@Leftovers/Shed Shell

Brave Bird/Toxic

Skarmory pairs nicely as a Defense Wall with the ultimate Special Defense Wall that is Blissey. Switch in, layer on Spikes and then Whirlwind the opposing team around to sap HP. When you get tired of that, you can use either Brave Bird for additional damage or try to shuffle Toxic affliction around onto some enemy Pokémon. Roost off any HP damage to continue annoying your opponent.

Skarmory used to get stuck in battle if you switched into a Magnezone, but Shed Shell will fix that problem. Personally, I like to put EVs into Special Defense in case Skarmory has to put up with Thunderbolt or Flamethrower. But you could also put them all into Defense instead depending on your preferences. You definitely want the Sturdy ability though.

EV Spread: 252 HP, 252 Special Defense, 6 Defense
10. Stealth Rock

These are Pokémon who put Stealth Rock on the field.
This move causes rocks to hit every enemy Pokémon that switches in for the remainder of the battle. HP damage is calculated based on opponent type weaknesses.

Usually Stealth Rock is used by a bulky tank Pokémon who can afford to take a hit. Often it would be used by a lead Pokémon before switching out.

Aside from these methods, there are also other combinations which can work quite well. The extra example I will give here is this awesome Breloom:


@Toxic Orb

Brick Break
Seed Bomb

Breloom has access to the 100% accurate Sleep inducing move, Spore. This should be used on an enemy Pokémon immediately after Breloom is switched in. Follow with Substitute while the opponent is still sleeping, and then Brick Break or Seed Bomb away at their HP. The Poison Heal ability and Toxic Orb item will ensure a fast recovery from any Substitute damage.

It is important to note that while Breloom can indeed be a monster, it has poor defences and an average base Speed stat of 70. Breloom must be switched in on something slower than it, or else it will have a very high chance of being taken down in one hit. Once you have your Spore and Substitute combination going, Breloom is set to sweep whole teams. I recommend that a Substitute be up at all times, as Breloom really cannot afford to take any status or a hit. If an enemy wakes up and breaks the Substitute, immediately use Spore again and set up another one. This will also mean that if you defeat a slower opponent, you can still save Breloom from being hit first by a faster Pokémon due to the Substitute. Due to previously mentioned reasons, I prefer to keep attacks simple and avoid using Focus Punch.

EV Spread: 252 Attack, 252 Speed, 6 HP

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