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Pokemon Sun & Moon
Strategy Guide

Author(s): Vincent Lau, Cassie Sun
Editor(s): Vincent Lau, Cassie Sun
First Published: 12-12-2016 / 00:00 GMT
Last Updated: 23-04-2018 / 19:42 GMT
Version: 1.1 (????) 25-09-2018 / 10:10 GMT

Pokemon Sun & Moon Strategy Guide Download PDF

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The Battle Tree

The Battle Tree

Tips and Tricks

Going into the Battle Tree, especially without prior experience, or without any experience breeding and EV training, can be absolutely brutal, Thankfully, we’re here to help you step by step, so let’s jump straight into some tips that will help you make the most of the Battle Tree!

Learn and master IV breeding and EV training.

It's as they say: "No pain, no gain."

This is an absolute must, non-negotiation. Trainers in the Battle Tree will have Pokemon with EV spreads (252, 252, 6 being the most common) and the Pokemon you used to beat the Elite Four just aren’t going to cut it because their EVs will be all over the place.

Luckily for you, we have a section, Advanced Trainer Info , that covers all of the basics and should get you started.

Make sure you experiment around with different EV spreads. Certain Pokemon and movesets and EV spreads are considered "cookie cutter", in that they work so well there’s no reason to deviate from an established norm, but let your creativity run wild!

Remember, you are building a full team with a partial team.

Another huge biggie that many beginners will often forget. Especially relevant in Singles, you only have three or four Pokemon and you must build a coherent team around them.

All type weaknesses and strengths must be accounted for, as trainers will use all types of Pokemon against you and more often than not, chance is not on your side. A good rule of thumb is to make sure none of your Pokemon share a type with each other.

On that note, you will also want to diversify the types of offensive and (maybe) defensive Pokemon you have. A good defense in the Battle Tree is a solid offense, and it’s highly recommended you pack one Physical attacker and one Special attacker.

Physical moves run off of Attack and Special runs off of Special Attack. Since the Battle Tree is packed full of Pokemon with high Defense or Special Defense, and also moves that inflict Burn (which halves Attack), you will absolutely want a diverse approach so that you always have an answer.

Chance is not on your side

This was mentioned briefly but this gets its own reminder/tip thing. The RNG of the game is just not going to be kind to you. Especially as your streaks get higher, "improbable" events will become frustratingly common, such as Ice Beam freezes (and anything similar) activating way too often,

One-hit KO moves hitting despite their 30 accuracy, back to back crits, missing consecutively with a 90 accuracy move, and the list just goes on and on. Keep a cool head and don’t let your emotions get the best of you.

Be aware of the AIs tendencies.

It feels great when you outsmart the AI.

You’re not up against real people, you’re up against AI NPCs, and that means you can, to some degree, predict what they will do. So here’s a few things to keep in mind.

  1. If you use Trick or Switcharoo to give a Pokemon a Choice item, thus locking them into a useless move, or use Encore to the same effect, the Pokemon will be switched. Similarly, if they send in a Pokemon with a Choice item and the move they are locked into runs out of PP, they will switch instead of use Struggle.

  2. If you put up a Substitute, the NPC will no longer use status moves on you.

3. The NPCs can use Mega Evolution and Z-moves. These are not limited to the Battle Legends . Also, the NPCs Pokemon abilities and gender are randomized, meaning yes, they can even have Hidden Abilities. Including the ones that aren’t legal for players to have currently.

  1. NPC AI will always prioritize using a move that can OHKO you. Basically, this means that the NPCs magically know what can OHKO you and what can’t, but you don’t have that luxury since you are not superhuman.

And finally, some tips regarding the Pokemon the NPCs use.

  1. The sets are not randomized (except for ability and gender). There are over a thousand different movesets and Pokemon registered in the game’s code. If you play Battle Tree enough, you will start noticing the same Pokemon cropping up againd and again.

  2. The Pokemon in the Battle Tree, especially in the Super mode, will have fully EV’d spreads and have perfect IVs. And since abilities are randomized, they can have Hidden Abilities.

  3. Each named NPC only has a limited pool of Pokemon that is linked to them. If you really want to do your research and read into the datamines, it can greatly help reduce the surprise factor.

Recommended Pokemon

Be sure to Hyper Train Legendary Pokemon for best results.

Here’s a short list of Pokemon that are highly recommended and a brief reason for why they are so effective. Note that opinions on which Pokemon are the "best" in the Battle Tree is highly subjective so this is compiled from Pokemon commonly seen on streaks going 50 or more in Super mode.

Pokemon Why is it good?
Tapu Koko/Lele/Fini/Bulu Overall high stats and good movepools plus their terrain-inducing abilities make them great leads. Tapu Fini in particular works great as a "glue" for a team, operating as a third Pokemon to supplement a two-Pokemon core.
Kartana Ultra Beasts in general have very high stats, and Kartana's high speed and attack make it a great lead
Nihilego Similar to Kartana, but specially focused
Pheromosa Similar to Kartana and Nihilego but is faster and stronger in both attack and special attack at the cost of terrible defenses. Another good lead
Xurkitree Despite low Speed, if allowed to set up Tail Glow, Xurkitree can wipe teams
Celesteela An excellent defensive Ultra Beast, but it can also deal heavy damage, especially if using Heavy Slam. Also very versatile, so capable of handling a variety of threats
Pokemon Why is it good?
Golisopod Slow speed, but extremely durable with lots of attack. Emergency Exit lets it come in later to clean up
Alakazam Since you get an Alakazite for free, you can immediately take Mega Alakazam into the Battle Tree. Fast and powerful, Alakazam is a great lead.
Porygon-Z A beast with Z-Conversion, which boosts all of its stats by 1 stage, and Adaptability, which increases STAB damage to 2 times. Don't forget, you can get a Porygon from the Aether House and evolution items for free during the postgame or from the Battle Tree BP shops.
Aegislash Able to switch between Shield and Blade Form, and possessing a signature Protect move, King's Shield, Aegislash's typing also lets it wall most of the Mega Evolutions available in this game and also hit back hard. Honedge is available through use of Island Scan.
Dragonite Multiscale is available through SOS chaining. The Dragonite-Aegislash core is popular and rightly so. The two Pokemon synergize well with each other and even on its own, Dragonite is absolutely monstrous.

Recommended Items

Remember that there's almost no disadvantage in holding items.

Battle Tree can get very frustrating–and dangerous–when a battle drags on. There’s no shame in using a defensive wall to PP stall your enemy if it can be done, but shorter battles have less chance of having teeth-crushingly awful RNG happen to you.

You’ll want to have answers to things that aren’t always a worry in tournament play against in-life opponents. On top of that, you cannot have each Pokemon hold the same item. So here’s a list of items to strongly consider when building your team.

Item Why is it good?
Lum Berry A random status can be enough to ruin the battle, and your hard-earned streak. Equip a Lum Berry to an important team player
Focus Sash Nothing like a random critical hit ruining your day. Can also help an offensive Pokemon set up using a stat boosting move, and proceed to sweep
Choice items Popular in tournament play, and just as good in the Battle Tree, especially Choice Band/Specs.
Assault Vest You can only use damaging moves, but your defenses are both boosted by 50%. Excellent choice for tanks.
Life Orb A classic staple for any battle including tournament play, and no less awesome in the Battle Tree. Just make sure you're aware of the 10% health recoil you take every turn.
Z-Crystals Obviously goes without saying. It's at your disposal. Your enemies are using it. Use it too!
Mega Stones Once you get them, can be very helpful. Keep in mind that like Z-moves, you can only Mega evolve once.
Sitrus Berry Good for giving a frail Pokemon a second lease on life.
Leftovers Good only if you have a wall/defensive Pokemon that has a strategy designed around stalling effectively.

Recommended Moves

Thunderbolt and Ice Beam are two very commonly used moves.

Since you have to keep your win rate at 100% to keep your streak going, you’ll want to minimize risk. This sometimes means altering your moveset and choosing moves because of low accuracy or side effect activation chance. Here’s some recommended moves.

  1. 90 base power, 100 base accuracy special moves such as Flamethrower instead of their 110 BP, 85 accuracy counterparts, such as Fire Blast. This also includes Surf vs Hydro Pump and Thunderbolt vs Thunder. 90 bp might not OHKO everything you want, but hitting for some damage is better than none.

  2. Never-miss moves such as Aerial Ace. They have poor base power but can be good for securing a kill that just barely didn’t without risking lower accuracy.

  3. Priority moves. Great for getting extra damage and securing a kill. Priority bypasses speed tiers. Just beware of Pokemon whose abilities negate priority, such as Queenly Majesty on Tsareena, and terrains. An example of a good priority move is Bullet Punch on Scizor.

  4. Protect. Great for scouting, PP stalling, or just catching a breath. Lets Pokemon like Mega Sharpedo with Speed Boost have a free turn to boost speed. Protect is even more relevant in Doubles/Multi.

  5. Toxic. If using a defensive/stall strategy or a Pokemon on the team is a wall or staller, carrying Toxic enables you to deal damage. Thunder Wave and Will-o-Wisp are similarly good for crippling the team, just make sure you weigh the benefits of potentially OHKOing outright vs taking a turn to cripple.