Part 3 - Battling: A Longer Process Than You Think
Now that you have some basic knowledge about what competitive battling is, I’m sure you're just ready to get out there and battle. But there are a few things you need to do: learn the game mechanics and learn the rules. This kind of sounds like a drag to learn, but it's imperative to become a good battler.
The Mechanics Behind The Game
Every game has mechanics. This is no exception for Pokémon. Just throwing some Pokémon together and telling them to fight doesn't constitute much. So now you have to understand how battling actually works.
A competitive battle is pretty much the race to make the other team's Pokémon faint and make sure their Pokémon don’t do the same. This can be achieved through inflicting damage to the other Pokémon. But on the flip side, you need to learn how to not take damage from the opponent as well. Both of these things are reflected by Moves and Stats.
Move mechanics define how much damage is done. Moves, much like Pokémon themselves, have types. Now, as you probably know already, there are seventeen types. These being: Bug, Dark, Dragon, Electric, Fighting, Fire, Flying, Ghost, Grass, Ground, Ice, Normal, Poison, Psychic, Rock, Steel and Water. Each one has specific things it's "Super-Effective" against and "Not Very Effectieve" against. For example, Ground type moves are super effective against Electric-type Pokémon. I'm sure you already knew this though, if you have ever played Pokémon before.
Being able to hit a wide variety of types super-effectively means that your Pokémon has good type-coverage. Having a wide variety of moves at your disposal that allows you to hit as many types for super-effective or neutral damage really helps make a versatile Pokémon that will do well.
Another move mechanic is the difference between moves being "physical" or "special". Let's take for example the two moves Earthquake and Earth Power. Earthquake is a physical move, while Earth Power is a special move. The diffrence is that Earthquake bases it's power off of the Physical Stat and Earth Power bases it's power off of the Special Stat. Many moves are split this way and can have very profound results on specific Pokémon.
These are mechanics that affect the stats of a Pokémon, which directly effect how strong, bulky, and fast the Pokémon is. There are three main components that effect how stats are defined. These are Natures, Effort Values, and Individual Values.
Natures are key values that effect Pokémon in a positive and negative way. Natures usually affect two stats. They multiply one stat by 1.1, but multiply another stat by .9. Take, for example, a Modest natured Pokémon. The nature raises the Special Attack stat by 10%, but lowers the Attack stat by 10%. This would really help a Pokémon like Gengar, who has a vey high special attack and not much need for physical attacks.
However, there are natures that do not effect stats in any way. There are 5 of these, them being Hardy, Serious, Bashful, Quirky, and Docile. These natures should never be used in a competitive setting since they provide no beneficial stat boosts to the Pokémon. Other natures that are duds are Lax (+Def, -SpD) and Gentle (+SpD, -Def). You generally never
want to up one defensive stat and lower the other. These should also be disregarded for competitive play.
Effort Values (or EVs for short) are values that help raise the stats of a Pokémon. A Pokémon’s Effort values can total up to 510 points, but you can only put 255 points in one stat. Another interesting part of this is that every 4 EVs equals 1 point in that stat. But 255 is not divisible by 4, and so the max you can have in a stat without wasting points is 252. This will leave you with 6 points, which is also not divisible by 4. So you are free to put your leftover 4 points in any other stat. Sound kind of confusing? I’ll break it down again.
~ 510 EVs total, but only 255 max in any given stat.
~ 4 EVs is equivalent to one stat point.
~ 252 EVs is the highest value attainable that doesn’t waste any points.
~ 4 EVs are leftover if you use 252 in two different stats.
Individual Values (or IVs) are values between 0 and 31 that apply to Pokémon whether it has been breed or caught to specify such. It's the difference between the same Pokémon you would find in the wild that has the same nature, but different stats. 0 is the lowest value you can have, meaning it has the lowest stat possible, and 31 is the highest value, meaning it has the highest value. Every 1 IV point is equivalent to a stat point.
Unlike EVs, IVs are permanent and you cannot change them to what you would like. The only way to flourish with great IVs is through breeding in-game (Unless you're using Pokemon Online, where you can opt for perfect IVs). With this being said, when playing on wifi, it is nearly impossible to get good IVs. But that's a whole 'nother discussion for another guide.