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!
Your Pokemon must be EV Trained with good IVs and Nature
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.
If you are just going to stick to Normal, then you will have a level advantage, but in Super mode the only advantage you have is how you build your Pokemon and your ability to strategize.
Luckily for you, we have a section, Advanced Knowledge, which covers all of the bases and should get you started.
Many opponents in the Battle Tree have EV trained Pokemon with compatible natures and, if you work your way up there, perfect 31 IVs across the board. Don’t let them have even a single IV difference advantage over you! You only need to be one point down to go second in battle.
Make sure you experiment around with different EV spreads and natures. 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!
You must compress a full team into half a 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. And for Doubles, if you lose one Pokemon, you no longer have two pairs and you could very well end up in a one versus two match.
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 and that no two Pokemon share a common type weakness (unless you know you pack a move to counter it).
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.
Having only Physical or Special attackers will spell out a loss for you if your opponent has a wall on their team.
Learn to 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. They have been getting smarter over the ages but at the end of the day, they are not human and if you battle enough you will discover that their behavior tends to be consistent. So here’s a few things to keep in mind.
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.
If you put up a Substitute, the NPC will no longer use status moves on you.
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. This also means that sometimes they will have a great moveset…only to be hindered by having the wrong ability (don’t count on this to help you win, though).
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. There are many damage calculation tools online you can use, and the more you battle, the more experienced you will become.
And finally, some tips regarding the Pokemon the NPCs use.
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 again and again.
The Pokemon in the Battle Tree, especially in the Super mode, will have fully EV’d spreads and have perfect IVs. Don’t let their perfect IV advantage usurp you…learn to breed for perfect IVs!
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 because not every NPC can use all of the thousands of Pokemon coded into the game.
The abridged list of recommended Pokemon
Generally speaking you can use whatever you want, but some Pokemon certainly stand heads and shoulders above others. With the expanded Alolan dex, your options are even greater than in Sun & Moon, but if you don’t know where to start, here’s a short list of great Pokemon to use. None of these require Pokemon Bank and previous Pokemon games to obtain.
|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. Tapu Koko is extremely fast and in doubles can have Drizzle Pelipper as a teammate and spam Thunder.|
|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 due to its ability to deal with many types of Pokemon.|
|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|
|Blacephalon||Similar to Pheromosa, Blacephalon has great offenses at the expensive of fragility and is very fast, letting it hit hard before the opponent even knew what hit them|
|Naganadel||Fast with godly Special Attack and unqiue type combination lets it get wide coverage while still exploiting its STAB. Great lead|
|Garchomp||Fast, powerful physical attacker with a lot of built-in bulk. Operates as a great lead and can also make great use of Choice Band. Ground typing leaves it immune to paralysis|
|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.|
|Salamence||Probably the best candidate for your Mega Stone, Aerialate means it hits like a truck with Return. It similarly has overinflated stats when Mega Evolved and can use Dragon Dance to wipe teams.|
|Mimikyu||Fast, powerful Physical attacker capable of setting up with Swords Dance. Disguise gives it a free turn to set up because it cannot die. Carrying a Lum Berry basically means it is guaranteed to get one Swords Dance up. Unique type combination means its STAB moves can hit almost every type for at least neutral damage.|
|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.|
|Aegislash||Able to switch between two forms, one that is defensive and one that is offensive, will keep the opponent one step behind you. King’s Shield will sharply drop the opponent Pokemon’s Attack if they use a contact move, and Aegislash’s type combination gives it nearly unresisted STAB and great resistances.|
|Metagross||Another amazing Mega candidate, Tough Claws boosts the power of moves like Bullet Punch and it overall has very high base stats in or out of Mega mode.|
|Toxapex||While having fairly passive offensive stats, its defenses are monstrous and it can learn Recover to heal. It also has access to Regenerator as its Hidden Ability. It can just Toxic the opponent and sit there alternating between Protect and Recover. Toxapex can also learn Scald for a 1/3rd chance of Burning an otherwise pesky opponent.|
Recommended Hold 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 minimize your chance of having RNG play its cards against 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 Types of 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.
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.
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. You can exploit them especially on Pokemon that also have Technician as their Ability.
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. It is almost mandatory you carry priority somewhere, especially in Doubles.
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, to the point of being almost mandatory.
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. If the Pokemon is poisoned, it is automatically on a timer. If you can survive, you win. 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.