This round can contribute to as much as 50% of your overall appeal during the Contest, so don’t neglect it! Of course, the main way to win is to feed your Pokémon the matching Pokéblocks, until they max the Contest stat (or get close enough, depending on the difficulty).
In addition to this, you can get Contest Scarves from the head of the Fan Club in Slateport City whenever a Pokémon has a maxed Contest stat and the Scarf given will correspond to that stat. And then, if you hold the Scarf during the Contest, your appeal during the Introduction Round is raised.
Talent Round - Moves
There’s quite a lot to cover here, but we’ll start with the basics - the moves.
Each move you use, for the most part, will have an appeal stat of some type; that is to say, it will give you a number of pink hearts associated with your appeal to the audience.
Thus, more pink hearts the better. Some moves will also have a Jamming effect. This is like startling the Pokémon, damaging their appeal to the audience. These are rarer, but denoted by black hearts.
Besides the appeal noted by the move itself, there there are various bonuses to one’s own appeal they can add. Firstly, you can get one extra heart by exciting the audience, and additional ones beyond that if you’re "pumped up"; this is by using moves of the same type as the Contest.
This will also add a star to the Excite meter in the top-left; when it hits five stars, the Pokémon having done that earns eight pink hearts, and even more if it is a Pokémon that can Mega Evolve. The Pokémon - Mega or not - will also showcase some kind of special move.
In any case, there are ways to manipulate the Excite meter, depending on the Contest:
|Contest Type||Excites (+1 Star)||Nothing Special (No Star)||Lowers Excitement (-1 Star)|
|Beauty||Beauty||Cool & Cute||Clever & Tough|
|Clever||Clever||Cute & Tough||Beauty & Cool|
|Cool||Cool||Beauty & Tough||Clever & Cute|
|Cute||Cute||Beauty & Clever||Cool & Tough|
|Tough||Tough||Cool & Clever||Beauty & Cute|
One thing especially to note: if you use the same move one after another, in most cases, the audience will get bored and you’ll lose one heart from your appeal for the first iteration, two for the second, and so on.
Talent Round - Strategy
The Talent Round is largely about timing; the order in which Pokémon move is used is exceptionally important. For that reason, not only is it important for your Pokémon to hopefully have three or four moves of the same Contest type, but also to have a variety of effects.
In particular, we would recommend - if at all possible - one standard 4-heart appealing move, one move that Jams everyone to move before you, and a move that works best when used first.
Certain moves, like Hyper Beam or Explosion, with great appeal and/or jamming are also great to have, though it’s only a fifth-turn thing. That, however, is only a personal recommendation for those dedicated to Contests but do as you will.
The order of the Pokémon’s moves are determined most often by their Contest appeal in the previous round: for the first turn, it’s about the Introduction Round, and the second turn is about the first, and so on. Some moves will scramble the order, but otherwise that’s how it works.
You can manipulate this to your advantage in a number of ways:
You can use a low-appealing move to move last , and then use an appropriate Jamming move or a move best when used last. You can also use moves that have high appeal but tend to make the Pokémon more suspectible to Jamming to avoid the possible Jamming altogether.
You can use a high-appealing move to move first , where you can then spam other best-when-first moves. In this instance in particular, the best-when-first move may in turn make you move first again.
When you do, consider the appeal of this move (with the bonus) in addition to the other moves’ appeal, but be sure that the best-when-first move’s appeal has one point subtracted from it. If this score still exceeds the others, you should still go for the repeat use.
In instances other than those, you should focus on several other things - below is more or less the summation of strategy on this topic.
In the middle of the turn order ? Then, in that case, you’ll usually want to use a basic appealing move that has no side-effects, to maximize your own score.
Another alternative is to use a move that Jams those before the user, particularly in cases when those Pokémon have hit that five-star-excitement bonus. You can also work on setting up combos if you want.
Nearing five-star-excitement ? (Consider this when at three stars against the AI, and two against people who know what they’re doing.) In that case, be careful to consider how the turn order looks.
Against the AI, if you’re at three stars and are second or third (oddly, usually third) in the order, you can easily assume that the Pokémon before you will be able to use their appeal to excite the audience just so that you are able to maximize that appeal and get some kind of bonus from it.
If you’re first in the order, using a move that unexcites the audience will be extremely effective since now only the 4th Pokémon in the order can maximize the appeal, and that’s only if everyone else uses an appealing move.
Particularly if you use a high-appealing move yourself, you can take advantage of this on the next turn. And if you’re last? In this instance, use your Jamming move to help lower the effect of the bonus.
Fifth turn ? This is the time to use your last-ditch move. This last-ditch move, if you choose to have one, is a move that would prevent the user from moving next turn or on all later turns, such as Hyper Beam (1 turn rest) or Explosion (no more moves).
Because it is the final turn, this loss of appealing time is minimized since you can’t lose time. Whether or not you wish to have a move slot dedicated to such a move is completely up to you: it does have the advantage of a lot of appealing or jamming, but it does decrease your flexibility.
Should you use various status moves ? There are certain moves that make the Pokémon ignore Jams (either one or all for a turn) and there are also those that can make the Pokémon more pumped up.
In terms of those that make the Pokémon oblivious to Jams, it is not particularly ideal to bother since most of these moves have low appeal and Jams are relatively rare. At the same time, you can use these low-appeal moves to attempt to set up a last-in-order move usage:
For example, you can use it on the fourth turn, likely force yourself to move last on the fifth turn, and then use Hyper Beam for a nasty Jam on the other Pokémon while also avoiding any fourth-turn Jams in the process (particularly if you’re leading the order).
As for moves that pump up the Pokémon? There’s not a ton of use for these. With one pumping up, you net an extra four hearts on average, and with two consecutive pumping-ups at the start you can average six extra.
However, keep in mind the lower appeal of these moves and the prone state you’ll be left into from Jams. Again, this is a personal choice, but we don’t really see a lot of validity in these.