This page outlines the basics of Pokémon battling, which is a key element of the series.
How to Start a Battle
There are two ways to begin a Pokémon battle.
Wild Pokémon Battles: When you’re traveling through tall grass or inside a cavern, you may encounter a random wild Pokémon native to that area. (There are other ways to encounter wild Pokémon too, such as by fishing or spreading Honey on certain trees.)
Trainer Battles: You can enter a battle with certain NPCs (non-player characters), typically by entering their line of sight. (There are some NPCs, such as Gym Leaders, who are more polite and will only battle when you directly speak with them.)
No matter if your foe is a wild Pokémon or trainer, the battle mechanics are the same.
When a battle begins, the opposing Pokémon or trainer will appear before you; if it’s an opposing trainer, they’ll send out one of their Pokémon.
Next, you’ll automatically send out the first Pokémon in your party–the one in the top-most position. But if that Pokémon has fainted, you’ll send out the next available one.
The battles themselves are turn-based. Each turn, you and your opponent must select a single action to perform. You’ve got all the time in the world, so don’t rush and consider your options carefully.
(Note that during multiplayer battles, there will be a time limit in place. Although when you reach that stage, you should have plenty of battling experience.)
During a battle, the following options will be available:
Fight: This will display your current Pokémon’s moves. Each Pokémon can learn up to 4 moves; the number next to a move (its PP value) indicates how many times that move can be used. If you’re unsure about what a move does, press the Y Button to view its description.
Pokémon: Choose this to view your Pokémon party. From here, you can check the stats of your Pokémon or switch out your current Pokémon for a new one. If your current Pokémon has taken heavy damage or is at a disadvantage, switching may be beneficial. But keep in mind that your opponent will get a free turn.
Bag: This lets you access your items to use healing potions etc. If your Pokémon has low HP or is suffering from a nasty status condition, you may want to fix them up. Likewise, you could use battle items to give your Pokémon an edge in battle. Just make sure it’s safe to do so!
Run: If things are looking grim, escape is a valid tactic. Like they say, live to fight another day! That said, you can’t run from battles with NPC trainers–only wild battles and multiplayer battles. Also, if your Pokémon’s Speed is too low, your escape attempt may fail.
After both sides have selected an action, the Pokémon with the higher Speed stat will usually go first, followed by the other Pokémon. However, some moves like Quick Attack have increased priority, so be cautious–especially when your Pokémon are weak. If switching or using an item, that action will always have priority over a Pokémon’s moves.
If a Pokémon is hit by a move, their HP may decrease. Once a Pokémon’s HP falls to 0, it will faint and leave the battle. During a trainer battle, the owner of a fainted Pokémon must send out another Pokémon from their party; if they have no more, they lose the battle. Meanwhile, when a wild Pokémon is defeated (or captured), the battle ends.
When you knock out (KO) or capture a Pokémon, all of your Pokémon will earn experience points, although Pokémon that didn’t contribute to the fight earn less. Once a Pokémon has gained enough experience, they’ll Level Up, increasing their stats. Additionally, they may learn new moves or even evolve into a stronger form. Defeating a trainer will also reward you with money.