Note: Before I start, it is likely that you are somewhat new to this section if you are reading this guide. If this is the case, then I strongly encourage you to read both the In-Game Team Rate Rules and the In-Game Team Rate Format Rules. Reading these two will help you enjoy IGRMT more, and you will get more out of it. This guide is not intended to help you build a Battle Tower team. A guide for this was made by Vaporeon4evr, and can be found here. If you are planning to rate or create a team, I suggest you also familiarize yourself with these guidelines, courtesy of Chaotic Tyrant. Anyway, with that out of the way...
In-Game Team Building
Many people come to Serebiiforums to request help with building a successful team for in-game use. While the general opinion is that an in-game team simply only requires high levels, a good one will need far more than this. It is important for someone who is seeking to create an excellent team to look into the workings of a game. They must carefully decide on moveset choices, Natures, Items, and EVs if they wish to use them.
I often see in IGRMT many people asking for help on where to begin with a team. They want to do well, but don't know what to look for or why to use one option over another. In this guide, I hope to create a tool which the less experienced may use to help them get started in building good teams. I will be addressing the main points of team building, as well as exploring some game mechanics. So, here we go.
What Am I Up Against?
All of the in-game battles in Pokémon games have two players; one human player, yourself, and one computer controlled AI. As you may expect, the AI does not behave like a human player. You must keep the following points in mind when building your team. The main differences between a human player and the AI are as follows:
• The AI will not switch in many cases.
While a human player will switch Pokémon as they need to, whether it be to bring in a Pokémon that can resist an opponent's attack, or bring in one to handle a tough situation, the AI will not identify these situations and so will not take advantage of their ability to switch out of them. You should try to exploit this by using a "safe" opponent to set up attacks, heal the remainder of your team, etc.
• The AI uses Hax to its advantage.
For those of you who don't know, Hax refers to the unfair ability that the AI has to activate the secondary effects of moves. For example, Water Pulse's 20% confuse rate may seem more like 40% or even 50% for the AI. Additionally, moves like Double Team will seem to work for the opponent but not your and OHKO moves will seem far too accurate where the opposition is concerned. Moves like Substitute are excellent remedies for this issue, as they will block the added effects of moves so that you can't be affected by them. Alternatively, fast and powerful Sweepers can outspeed and KO the opposition before they can begin haxing you to death. Remember that moves like Aerial Ace are also far more viable in-game thanks to evasion modifiers.
Which Moves Should I Be Using?
Perhaps the most important part of any Pokémon is the moveset that you give it. Even the best Pokémon can play very poorly if you give it a moveset that doesn't work. Offensive movesets are more popular in-game because of how they can easily sweep through many opponents, so my main focus will be on them. Here are a number of things that you should do when deciding on an appropriate moveset for your Pokémon:
• Play with your Pokémon's best offensive stat.
Look at your Pokémon's Base Stats on Serebii's Pokédex, or another location of your choice. You will notice that the majority of Pokémon have one stat that is superior to the other, and you should try to use this stat the most when you are choosing a moveset. A Breloom, for example, will benefit much more from using Seed Bomb, a physical move, than it will from Energy Ball which is Special. However, some Pokémon have multiple usable Base Stats, which are generally considered to be above Base 90. These Pokémon can add moves from both sides of the attacking spectrum to allow them to combat walls, which are Pokémon generally designed to take hits from one side of the spectrum, much more effectively.
• Get good coverage from your moves.
No matter how powerful the moves in an offensive moveset, it will not work well unless you can hit many types for good damage. Here is an example of a moveset with poor coverage. The Pokémon used is an Electivire.
As you can see, this moveset contains four Electric type moves. This is a very bad idea for multiple reasons. Firstly, you are completely incapable of hitting Ground Types for any damage, meaning that they will almost always beat you. Secondly, you are only capable of hitting Water and Flying for Super Effective damage, meaning that your usefulness all-round is greatly reduced. And finally, all of the moves do the same thing; attempt to Paralyze the opponent. As you can see, it would be very easy to improve on this moveset with something like the following.
• Cross Chop
• Ice Punch
These four moves together provide brilliant coverage, hitting 13/17 types for Super Effective damage. The moves serve a variety of purposes, and can handle multiple threats easily.
• Utilise your STAB.
STAB is an acronym for Same Type Attack Bonus. Simply put, this is a mechanic that boosts an attack by 50% if it is of the type as the Pokémon using it. For example, take Earthquake. It is a Base 100 move, but if a Ground type was to use it, this would be elevated to Base 150. It is clear that it will benefit you in almost all cases to use one STAB move on each of your Pokémon.
• Setup moves.
By this, I mean moves that will boost your stats over time to make you into a very potent threat. For example, Dragon Dance is a common used move because it boosts both your Speed and your Attack simultaneously, making you into a very dangerous Sweeper. You should remember that these moves exist, rather than just using four attacks on one set.
• Status inducing moves.
Moves such as Thunder Wave and Will-o-Wisp will force Status Effects to be induced on your opponent. This will help you because it disadvantages your opponent massively, giving you an easier time setting up. On a more defensive moveset, you should consider using these sort of moves carefully, as they can massively benefit you or hinder you, depending on how appropriate your choice. Be aware that a very viable tactic in-game, however, is to simply destroy your opponent quickly. For this reason, it is generally recommended that you use very few Status-Inducing moves on your team, and on the bulkiest members if possible when there are few better options available.
• What not to use.
While there are a great number of moves that are usable, some should be avoided as much as possible. They are as follows.
Hyper Beam and Hyper Beam-esque moves.
These moves are incredibly powerful, but they leave you completely immobile next turn. You cannot use items, you cannot switch, and you cannot attack during this time. In virtually every case, you can use two turns more productively, and so these moves should always be avoided. The moves are Hyper Beam, Giga Impact, Frenzy Plant, Blast Burn, Hydro Cannon, Rock Wrecker, and Roar of Time. Additionally, First Turn charge moves should be avoided for the same reason. They are Dive, Dig, Fly, Razor Wind, Sky Attack, Skull Bash, Solarbeam, and Shadow Force. Focus Punch is not one of these moves.
Their accuracy is simply too low when the AI's Hax is factored in. You can use these moveslots with much more reliable moves. The OHKO moves are Horn Drill, Guillotine, Fissure, and Sheer Cold.
Certain HM Moves
With the exception of Surf and Waterfall, the HM moves are either extremely poor or outclassed. Avoid them for this simple reason, and get what is referred to as an "HM Slave" instead, which is a Pokémon that knows four HM moves for field use only.
Which Natures Should I use?
Natures have a great bearing on what your Pokémon is good or bad at. They can boost one of your stats and reduce another by 10% each, or leave them alone completely.
• Commonly used Natures
Here are some commonly used Natures and reasons why they are used often.
Jolly ~ This is a very good Nature for a Physical Sweeper. It boosts your Spe, but lowers your SpAtk. Timid ~ This is a very good Nature for a Special Sweeper. It boosts your Spe, but lowers your Atk. Adamant ~ This is a very good Nature for a powerful Physical Attacker. It boosts your Atk, but lowers your SpAtk. Modest ~ This is a very good Nature for a powerful Special Attacker. It boosts your SpAtk, but lowers your Atk. Bold ~ This is a very good Nature for a Pokémon that focuses on its Def alongside Special Attack moves. It boosts your Def, but lowers your Atk. Impish ~ This is a very good Nature for a Pokémon that focuses on its Def alongside Physical Attack moves. It boosts your Def, but lowers your SpAtk. Calm ~ This is a very good Nature for a Pokémon that focuses on its SpDef alongside Special Attack moves. It boosts your SpDef, but lowers your Atk. Careful ~ This is a very good Nature for a Pokémon that focuses on its SpDef alongside Physical Attack moves. It boosts your SpDef, but lowers your SpAtk.
Which Items Should I Use?
In the Pokémon games, there is a large variety of items available to you. They can serve many different purposes and are useful in many different situations. It is important to be able to recognize when an item is appropriate for use, and when it will hinder your Pokémon.
• Offensive Items.
Some items will boost your attacking power, accuracy, or speed. These are offensive items. They are commonly used on Pokémon that are designed to attack well rather than ones that need more defense. Such items include:
This is an item that boosts the power of all of your moves by an impressive 30%. However, you will lose 10% of your health every turn. It is a popular item for Pokémon that were designed to hit extremely fast and hard, or were perhaps lacking originally in attacking prowess. AgiliPoleon, which is simply an Empoleon that uses Agility, uses this item often to boost its sweeping potential greatly.
Choice Band / Specs.
These two item boost Physical and Special attacks respectively by 50%. However, only one move out of four may be used. For this reason, it is clear why you should avoid using more than one of these in general on a single team, although you can get away with two if you have a good backup plan. Many people prefer not to use them at all due to how important it is to beat the opponent quickly, which is made difficult by Choice Items.
Like the Band and Specs, this item allows only one move to be used until switching out. However, this item applies to Speed rather than Atk or SpAtk. It is a common sight on Pokémon with great attacking abilities, but lacking in Speed. Heatran is an excellent example of how to use the item. As with the other Choice Items, be very cautious about using this one and only do so if you feel it fits your team very well.
Muscle Band / Wise Glasses.
These are two far more straightforward items. They boost the power of Physical and Special attacks respectively by 10%, but do not hinder you in any way. They are often used on Pokémon that want to deal out good damage, but do not need the Life Orb's full 30% boost or can't handle its recoil and prefer the flexibility of not being Choiced. Alakazam, for example, is a good Wise Glasses user because of its frailty.
• Defensive Items.
Like with offensive items, there are also a variety of Defensive times that complement their holders. They often provide steady recovery, or add in effects that wouldn't normally be present, such as resistance to attacks.
Perhaps the most commonly used item, many teams will have three or even four uses of this excellent item. It simply recovers 6% of your total health every turn. While this may not seem like very much at first glance, it will take your Pokémon only four turns to recover the amount of health lost when creating a Substitute (± 1 HP), and around 17 turns to completely recover all of your health. It is an extremely valuable item for setting up and stalling, making your Pokémon much harder to take out.
A much less common sight, this item will immediately restore you should your Pokémon go to sleep. It works great with Pokémon that rely on Rest to recover all of their health, especially if they lack Sleep Talk, such as certain Swampert variants (Rest / Curse / Return / Waterfall is the one that I had in mind). However, be sure not to use this on a Sleep Talk set because that stops your set from functioning correctly. Be aware that this item is a one-time use under normal battle conditions.
Another common item, and for very good reason. When holding this item, your Pokémon cannot be beaten by a single move. This basically guarantees that you will be able to make at least one move yourself, be it crippling the opponent with status, inducing weather, or boosting your stats for a short sweep. Be aware that this item is a one-time use under normal battle conditions.
These special berries reduce the damage taken from a super effective move. They are commonly seen on Pokémon that are extremely threatened by a particular type. Salamence holding a Yache berry, which reduces Ice Damage for example, is a very common choice because it allows it to tackle Ice Types more efficiently. Be aware that these items are one-time uses under normal battle conditions.
Spoiler:- List of "Resistance" Berries:
Occa = Fire
Passho = Water
Wacan = Electric
Rindo = Grass
Yache = Ice
Chople = Fighting
Keiba = Poison
Shuca = Ground
Coba = Flying
Papaya = Psychic
Tanga = Bug
Charti = Rock
Kasib = Ghost
Haban = Dragon
Colbur = Dark
Babri = Steel
Clilan = Normal