It’s easy to forget–or not even realize–but Pokémon is a RPG (role-playing game) at heart. You can tell because there’s a lot of number crunching, starting with your Pokémon’s stats. Veteran trainers will be familiar with these stats, but they can be slightly daunting for beginners.
|Stat||Affects||What it Does|
|HP||Health||Short for “Hit Points”. This is a measure of your Pokémon’s health.|
|Attack||Physical moves||The higher this stat, the more damage your Pokémon will inflict when using physical moves.|
|Defense||Physical moves||The higher this stat, the less damage your Pokémon will receive from physical moves.|
|Sp. Atk||Special moves||Short for “Special Attack”. The higher this stat, the more damage your Pokémon will inflict when using special moves.|
|Sp. Def||Special moves||Short for “Special Defense”. The higher this stat, the less damage your Pokémon will receive from special moves.|
|Speed||Priority in battle||The Pokémon with the higher value will act first during battle.|
You can view your Pokémon’s key stats via the Party menu or when selecting a Pokémon during battle. These can be increased when you Level Up, evolve or use certain items, like vitamins or candy.
Physical or Special?
Hopefully that all makes sense so far. But what determines if a move is physical or special? Well, when you view the information of a move (by inspecting your Pokémon in the party menu or by pressing the Y button during battle), you can see a category icon next to the move.
A red crash icon indicates that the move is physical-based. It basically looks like the result of a punch, right? Meanwhile, a blue spiral means that the move is special-based. It looks somewhat like an energy wave, doesn’t it? There’s also a grey yin-yang icon for status moves.
With this knowledge, you can now decide whether to use a physical or special move during battle. Generally, you use physical moves if your Pokémon has a higher Attack stat, or special moves if their Special Attack is higher. If both of these stats are about the same, you can use both!
You may also want to consider your opponent when selecting a move. Just as your Pokémon may have a higher Attack or Special Attack stat, your opponent may have a higher Defense or Special Defense stat. The biggest ones to watch out for are Rock-types that generally have high Defense, and Chansey, which has obscene Special Defense.