Earlier, we covered the basics of Pokemon battles, which is enough to get you started on the road to becoming a respected Pokémon trainer. However Pokémon battling is a lot more complicated than just that. If you want to excel above the rest, here are some tips from the Pokémon veterans among us.
Same Type Attack Bonus
Commonly abbreviated to STAB, what this means if that 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.
The point of STAB is to encourage Pokémon to use moves of their Type. Because otherwise, you could have, for example, a Dragon-type Pokémon and a Fire-type Pokémon using Fire type moves that deal the same damage. But the Dragon-type has a lot more Type resistances, making it a lot more attractive.
If a Pokémon has two Types, it gains STAB from both Types. As a general rule of thumb, Pokémon should always carry at least one move with STAB; one from each Type if they’re dual-type. Although that’s not to say they shouldn’t carry other moves, as we’ll explain next…
Variety is the Spice of Life
Unless you’re purposely challenging yourself, you should aim to make your Pokémon party as diverse as possible. Even if love Fire-types, for instance, it’s not smart to fill your party with Fire-types only, as you’ll come a cropper against Water, Rock and Ground-types and potentially ones that resist Fire.
Since you can field up to 6 Pokémon and Pokémon can have up to two Types, you can represent 12 of the 18 Types with just your Pokémon alone. For the missing types, you can teach your Pokémon moves from that Type, via TMs or other means.
Although your Pokémon won’t gain STAB from using moves not of their Type, if you’re up against a Pokémon that’s weak to those moves, you’ll still inflict 2 times damage (or 4 times if they’re double-weak), which is better than neutral damage with STAB.
Avoid Being Empty-Handed
Each Pokémon in your party can hold onto one item and you should ideally give them something beneficial to hold onto, rather than nothing. This could be a berry that automatically cures an status condition or an item such as the Silk Scarf that boosts the power of a particular Type of move.
You can give Pokémon items to hold onto via the Pokémon menu or Bag menu. Be sure to select the "Held Item" option for the former and "Give to Pokémon" option for the latter. Berries are consumed when used, but most other items will remain unless you use a move like Fling to chuck it away.
Not all items can be used by Pokémon though. Man-made items such as Potions and Poké Balls will do nothing in a Pokémon’s hands. If in doubt, consult the item’s description and look to see if it has an effect "when held by a Pokémon".
Keeping your Priorities Straight
You may notice some moves claim they "go first in battle" or perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end of such a move. What this means is that when this move is used, it will go first regardless of the Pokémon’s Speed stat. These moves are known as "Priority Moves". For example, Quick Attack.
Priority Moves normally inflict less damage compared to other moves learned later on, but they can be immensely useful–and should not be overlooked if an opponent may have one.
Here’s a common scenario. Your Pokémon is faster than the opponent’s and both your Pokémon are at critical health. You may think it’s safe to take out the opposing Pokémon before healing or switching out, but suddenly the opposing Pokémon uses a Priority Move to go first and give you a surprise KO.
When both Pokémon use a Priority Move, the Pokémon with the higher Speed stat goes first like normal. Also, some moves have a higher priority than others. At the high end of the spectrum are moves like Protect and Endure, which normally always go first. Moves can even have negative priority, making the user go last.
Out with a Bang!
We don’t want to jinx it, but sometimes things… happen. Perhaps you were fooled into a bad match up or the opposing Pokémon is tougher than you imagined. During situations like these, you may wish to consider sacrificing your current Pokémon for the cause.
For instance, perhaps your Pokémon is at critical health and the opposing Pokémon is faster or your Pokémon isn’t going to do much damage anyway. If your Pokémon’s going to faint regardless, rather than waste a turn attacking, you could do something else and let your Pokémon faint.
Perhaps you could heal or revive another Pokémon that’s got a better chance. If your Pokémon is able to inflict a status condition, you could try that. Better yet, there are actual moves that sacrifice your Pokémon, like Self-Destruct and Explosion or the intriguing Memento.