Previously, we explained the basics of Pokémon battles, which should be plenty to start you on the road to becoming a skilled Pokémon trainer. However, there are a couple of additional things to keep in mind, for those of you who wish to rise above the rest!
Same Type Attack Bonus
Commonly abbreviated to STAB. When a Pokémon uses a move whose Type matches one of the Pokémon’s Types, that move will deal 50% more damage. Hence the term.
STAB exists to reward trainers for letting their Pokémon use moves of their Type. Because otherwise you’d have, for example, a Water-type Pokémon and an Ice-type Pokémon both using Ice-type moves that deal the same damage. But Ice-types are vulnerable to a lot more Types than Water-types. So it would be more favorable having a Water-type instead.
With regards to dual-Type Pokémon, they will gain STAB from moves of both Types. As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to have your Pokémon know at least one STAB move for each of its Types. That way, you can get the most back for your buck!
Variety is the Spice of Life
It’s good practice to try and diversify your Pokémon party as much as possible. Even if you’re a, say, Grass-type lover, you don’t want a full team of Grass-types, as you’ll be massively disadvantaged against opponents with Fire, Flying, Bug and Ice-types, etc. This logic is also why the Gym Leaders are fairly easy to beat.
Since you can have 6 Pokémon in your party and some Pokémon can have two Types, you can represent 12 of the 18 Types with just your Pokémon. But you needn’t exclusively use dual-Type Pokémon. To cover the remaining Types, you can teach your Pokémon moves via TMs or other means. In this regard, your Partner Pokémon has a lot of choice (especially Eevee).
Now your Pokémon won’t gain STAB from using moves that aren’t their Type(s). But if you’re facing a Pokémon weak to one of these moves, you’ll inflict super-effective damage (double damage, or quadruple if they’re doubly weak), which is better than dealing neutral damage with STAB.
Know Your Priorities
In most cases, Speed is the only determining factor for which Pokémon goes first in battle. However, there are some moves you’ve probably noticed that say “this move always goes first” or along those lines. A very common example is Quick Attack. There’a also Zippy Zap, which a partner Pikachu can learn. These moves are often referred to as “priority moves”.
Priority moves, like their name suggests, have increased priority in battle. As your Pokémon get stronger, priority moves will tend to fall off in terms of raw damage (besides Zippy Zap, which is simply overpowered). But they can be really useful to have if you’ve got the space. Also, be wary if your opponent has access to priority moves.
Here’s a scenario you’ll probably experience at least once during your career. Your Pokémon is faster than the opponent’s Pokémon and both of your Pokémon are at low health. You may think it’s safe to try and go for the KO, rather than healing your Pokémon or switching. But suddenly your opponent uses a priority move to KO your Pokémon instead.
When both Pokémon use a priority move, the game once again compares each Pokémon’s Speed stat. However, some priority moves have increased priority compared to others. Since we already mentioned them, Zippy Zap has a priority of +2, whereas Quick Attack has +1. So a Pikachu using Zippy Zap will always go first, even if their opponent uses Quick Attack and has higher Speed.
A Critical Opportunity
Critical hits are pretty rad. When one of these occur, the attack will deal 50% more damage than usual. By default, there’s a 1 in 24 chance of inflicting a critical hit with any attack. Some attacks like Slash, where it states “critical hits land more easily”, have a 1 in 8 chance instead.
If you want to further increase your chances of landing a critical hit, that’s where Dire Hit or Focus Energy comes in handy. You can buy Dire Hit from Poké Marts, while Focus Energy is a status move that some Pokémon can learn. Either one will increase the chance of a critical hit from 1 in 24 to 50%. Or if it’s a move like Slash, it will cause a guaranteed critical hit.
A lesser known feature of critical hits is that they ignore the defensive stat boosts on an opponent and the lowered attack stats on the Pokémon dealing the critical hit. So if your opponent has used Growl one too many times or spammed Harden, it means nothing in the face of a critical hit. That’s another reason why Pikachu’s Zippy Zap is so good, since it always criticals.
Sacrifice for the Future…
This shouldn’t happen often, but if you find yourself in a tricky sitation where your Pokémon is close to fainting during a battle, try to calmly analyze the situation before doing anything else. If you’re able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat or safely heal your Pokémon so you can continue the offensive, fantastic!
On the other hand, there may be situations where it doesn’t seem like your Pokémon can do much. For instance, when the opposing Pokémon is faster than your Pokémon or your Pokémon can’t do much damage with their moves. At times like this, it might be better to let your Pokémon faint. Assuming you still have Pokémon in the back.
Rather than waste a turn dealing little to no damage, there are often better uses of your time. Maybe you could heal or revive another Pokémon who has a better match-up against your foe. If your Pokémon is faster, you could try inflicting a status condition, to make it easier for your next Pokémon. Or you can literally sacrifice your Pokémon by using moves like Self-Destruct or Explosion.