Starting now, we'll be introducing a series of articles designed to get people into competitive battling. These will be posted and stickied here as a reference. If you have any suggestions as to how to improve these articles, ideas for further articles, or if you've written an article yourself which you think should be posted, then please, PM me or another of the Battle Center mods!
Without further ado, I give you:
Competitive Battling - A Dummy's Guide to Raising Pokémon
Written by Synthesis, revised by SharKing
Use CTRL + F with the asterisk and relevant number next to each section to find it.
Introduction - [*1]
Natures - [*2]
List of Natures - [*2.1]
IVs - [*3]
EVs - [*4]
EV-Related Items - [*4.1]
Ability - [*5]
Items - [*6]
Movesets - [*7]
Conclusion and Regards - [*8]
So, this is basically a guide I've written up to teach people the basics and fundamentals required to succeed at raising Pokémon to their optimum efficiency. I'm sure by this stage you're thinking you're fairly experienced with your Lv.100 Charizard that dominates everyone in-game... Think again!
First and foremost, you may be wondering: what exactly is raising your Pokémon? The answer is simple: it's carefully breeding the best Pokémon with the right natures, defeating specific Pokémon exclusively, stuffing them up with vitamins, and giving them the moves they need to succeed.
Now, I know that sounds like a real mouthful, but trust me, it really isn't all that bad when you get used to it. Let's start with the very basics of Pokémon in general even: raising your Pokémon. Most people would just catch any old Pokémon that appeals to them and simply battle their way through the game without paying attention to Natures, IVs, EVs, or proper movesets. But to raise your Pokémon properly, you need to break down each component of leveling them up.
There are 25 Natures in total; each raise one stat by 10% and lower another by 10%. These are vital for a Pokémon to reap the benefits with the stat it uses the most and the stat it uses the least. Each Nature has its merits except for Hardy, Serious, Bashful, Quirky, and Docile. These Natures should not be used since they provide no beneficial stat boosts to the Pokémon.
List of Natures [*2.1]
Nature Stat Raised Stat Lowered Lonely Attack Defense Adamant Attack Sp. Attack Naughty Attack Sp. Defense Brave Attack Speed Bold Defense Attack Impish Defense Sp. Attack Lax Defense Sp. Defense Relaxed Defense Speed Modest Sp. Attack Attack Mild Sp. Attack Defense Rash Sp. Attack Sp. Defense Quiet Sp. Attack Speed Calm Sp. Defense Attack Gentle Sp. Defense Defense Careful Sp. Defense Sp. Attack Sassy Sp. Defense Speed Timid Speed Attack Hasty Speed Defense Jolly Speed Sp. Attack Naive Speed Sp. Defense Bashful No Change Docile No Change Hardy No Change Quirky No Change Serious No Change
Looking at this, if one of the Pokémon we wanted to use was Alakazam, we would either go with Timid (to minimize its terrible Attack stat we don't use and to maximize its Speed stat) or Modest (to minimizes its terrible Attack stat and to maximize its Special Attack stat).
*This section can be skipped as it requires a LOT of time and patience for every Pokémon you wish to raise, if you are raising the Pokémon in-game yourself*
IVs, or Individual Values, are hidden values in the game that generate the random stats of your Pokémon and also affect the move Hidden Power. They are hidden numbers that range from 0 to 31 and tell you the quality of a Pokémon's stats. 0 means that particular Pokémon's stat is the lowest it can be, while 31 means that stat is at its best and is considered a perfect IV. When a Pokémon is encountered or taken from the old man at the Daycare Center, its IVs are produced and once produced, they are stuck with the Pokémon forever.
If you really want to get into this, I suggest looking here: Smogon's Breeding and IV Guide
EVs, or Effort Values, are probably the most important part of prepping your Pokémon for competitive battling. EVs, unlike IVs, are not already written into a Pokémon's make-up when you encounter them. They are additional values that you give them for defeating other Pokémon, whether you realize it or not. Every Pokémon can have a maximum of 510 EVs in total and no more than 255 in any one stat. 4 EVs equate to one point raised. For example, a Gyarados that gains 24 EVs in Attack when it's Lv.57 will have its Attack raised by 6 points when it levels up. EVs do become more apparent as your Pokémon gets to higher levels, so when that Gyarados was a Magikarp it might only get one- or two-point stat raises when it's Lv.20, but when it's a mighty Lv.99 Gyarados, it could have its stats raise by 20 points when it levels up.
Now, although 255 EVs can be put in one stat, no more than 252 should be put in any stat because that is the highest divisible number of 4 in 255, saving you 3 EVs for another stat. As you notice Pokémon's sets, you will find a lot of Pokémon go with 252 EVs in two stats and 4 in another, usually common in sweepers. If we look at Alakazam from earlier, we can see that the preferred amount of EVs would be 252 in Special Attack, 252 in Speed and 4 in a less important stat (HP, Defense or Special Defense).
Of course, by now you're wondering how the hell you can put EVs onto a Pokémon, but it really isn't too difficult if you can count or have a lot of money to burn (in-game, of course). Every Pokémon gives a certain amount of EVs. Here is a list of every Pokemon and their EV yield:
List of Pokémon by effort value yield - Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia
For our example Alakazam, we could battle 252 Bulbasaur to get our 252 EVs in Special Attack and 252 Charmander to get our 252 EVs in Speed, but that's really impractical, not to mention they don't really exist in the wild. Obviously, this depends on your location and each Pokémon's rarity, but if you check locations, which Bulbapedia is great for, you can find places like Altering Cave in Emerald which only has Zubat to battle, each giving one Speed EV.
Luckily for you, there are EV-related items. [*4.1]
Although battling for EVs is the most common way to obtain EVs, you can use vitamins to increase the stats of your Pokémon. Each vitamin gives ten points to a Pokémon's relevant stat, but a maximum of ten vitamins can be used per stat, so you can't rely on them for everything.
HP Up gives ten HP EVs
Protein gives 10 Attack EVs
Iron gives 10 Defense EVs
Calcium gives 10 Special Attack EVs
Zinc gives 10 Special Defense EVs
Carbos gives 10 Speed EVs
Macho Brace: Doubles any EVs given to the Pokémon holding it, but halves their Speed stat during those battles
Power Weight: Adds 4 HP EVs to the Pokémon after each battle, no matter what Pokémon they faced, but halves their Speed stat during those battles
Power Bracer: Adds 4 Attack EVs to the Pokémon after each battle, no matter what Pokémon they faced, but halves their Speed stat during those battles
Power Belt: Adds 4 Defense EVs to the Pokémon after each battle, no matter what Pokémon they faced, but halves their Speed stat during those battles
Power Lens: Adds 4 Special Attack EVs to the Pokémon after each battle, no matter what Pokémon they faced, but halves their Speed stat during those battles
Power Band: Adds 4 Special Defense EVs to the Pokémon after each battle, no matter what Pokémon they faced, but halves their Speed stat during those battles
Power Anklet: Adds 4 Speed EVs to the Pokémon after each battle, no matter what Pokémon they faced, but halves their Speed stat during those battles
If you want to reset your Pokémon's EVs, there are berries which do the exact opposite to vitamins.
Pomeg removes ten HP EVs
Kelpsy removes 10 Attack EVs
Qualot removes 10 Defense EVs
Hondew removes 10 Special Attack EVs
Grepa removes 10 Special Defense EVs
Tamato removes 10 Speed EVs
There is one very rare beneficial virus in Pokémon known as Pokérus; the chance to encounter it on a wild Pokemon is 3 out of 65,536. If you battle this Pokémon or catch it, you contract it and it spreads through your team like wildfire. This virus doubles the EVs an infected Pokémon receives, and once a Pokémon is infected, it can't be cured. The virus loses its ability to spread after two days, so either spread it as much as possible immediately or place a Pokémon with Pokérus in the PC, where the virus will remain frozen and still be infectious when it is taken out.
Most Pokémon have quite a few Abilities at their disposal, which is why it's best to use the one that benefits the Pokémon best. Alakazam gets both Inner Focus and Synchronize as Abilities, with Magic Guard as its Hidden Ability. Inner Focus isn't all too helpful; considering how fast it is, it's very unlikely to get outsped and flinched. Synchronize is quite situational too, but it's slightly better than Inner Focus, as it can put both you and your opponent in the same boat. Magic Guard, on the other hand, prevents Alakazam from taking damage from entry hazards, such as Spikes, or other forms of indirect damage, like Toxic, Sandstorm, Life Orb recoil, and so much more. Magic Guard would definitely be the preferred Ability here.
The Ability you choose to run can often be influenced by the set you wish to use.
A good battler always has the best suited items on his Pokémon, whether it is a Choice Scarf for the extra speed needed, Leftovers to take more hits, or even berries like Lum to grant the Pokémon temporary immunity to status moves, which is very handy for some sweepers. See here for more:
Held item - Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia
"Moveset" is basically a term given to the four moves your Pokémon can have. These can be level-up moves, breeding moves, Move Tutor moves, event-exclusive moves, or moves brought back by previous evolution(s) or Heart Scales. By now, I hope that you've come to realize that your Charizard's Ember, Flamethrower, Fly and Smokescreen may not be quite as good as you thought initially. It's important to choose moves that allow the Pokémon to perform at its peak by using moves that help your team (Heal Bell), hinder your opponent's (Stealth Rock), give you great coverage on your opponent's Pokémon, and utilize its moves to suit the particular EV spread and Nature you've chosen.
Until you've become quite experienced with team building, I suggest you use some of Smogon's sets, or those of other competitive battling sites. Let's take a look at Smogon's top-listed set for Charizard:
Set 1: Choice Scarfer
Ability: Solar Power / Blaze
Nature: Naive / Hasty
EVs: 72 Attack / 186 Sp Attack / 252 Speed
Item: Choice Scarf
~ Fire Blast / Flamethrower
~ Hidden Power Grass / Hidden Power Ice / Hidden Power Electric
~ Air Slash / Crunch / Outrage
This is fairly self-explanatory really. Now that we know about Natures, EVs, items, and moves, we should be able to make an ideal Charizard, one that trumps anyone else's who doesn't raise their Pokémon to their full potential.
Conclusion and Regards [*8]This Set takes advantage of Charizard's above-average attacking stats. 72 Attack EVs are there to ensure that Charizard OHKO's any set that Heatran runs (except Shuca Berry versions) and OHKO the standard Calm Mind Mismagius with a Crunch with SR in play 100% of the time. The other moves are there for coverage. Fire Blast/Flamethrower does good damage on everything which doesn't resist it, and the Hidden Power of your choice can nail Swampert/Dragons/Gyarados.
And that brings us to the end of this little guide. I think I could've went on about some other crap, but yeah, no one wants to read any more of it
First off, I'd like to thank you, the reader, for reading even bits of this and making it all worthwhile. I would love to hear some feedback on this, or if you guys feel I should add anything to this, or remove anything even. I would also like to thank Smogon University, Bulbapedia, and StrategyWiki.
Credits to Synthesis for this.