That’s right kids. We’re going old school today; it’s time to learn about Pokemon. But I don’t care how many times you’ve beaten the Elite Four. That’s child’s play. I’m afraid your level 100 Blastoise won’t help you here. We’re talking about hardcore shit: Competitive. Pokemon. Battles. I’m talking about playing to win. I’m talking about being the very best. Like no one ever was.* So let’s find out what you need to understand about the concepts of the game. Because after all, Pokemon isn’t just cramming four moves on something and picking whichever is most effective. It’s serious business.
Baby I Love the Way You Move
If you’ve played for more than five minutes, you know that certain types of moves are better against certain types of Pokemon than others. For example, your Squirtle’s water attacks do double damage against that Charizard. Your Bulbasaur’s vine whip will whip that Squirtle so hard it won’t know what hit it. And that Charmander… Dude, the first two gym’s are rock and water, what the hell are you thinking?** Type effectiveness is the single biggest factor in how much damage you’re capable of dealing. So your team that knows nothing but Normal type moves is fucked. You’ll want to have as much type coverage as possible.
In addition, every move is classified as either physical or special. If you’re playing Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald or earlier, whether a move is physical or special is dependent upon its type. All Bug, Flying, Fighting, Ground, Normal, Poison, Rock, Ghost, and Steel moves are physical. All Dark, Dragon, Electric, Fire, Grass, Ice, Psychic, and Water moves are special. Diamond/Pearl or later, however, individually classifies each move. Since you’re capable of reading and (hopefully) are not a complete moron, I assume you’ve realized that physical moves are affected by the attacker’s attack stat as well as the defender’s defense stat, and special attacks are affected by the attacker’s special attack stat and the defender’s special defense stat.
In addition to both these bonuses, there’s something known as the Same Type Attack Bonus, or STAB for short. If a water Pokemon uses a water type move, it’ll do 50% additional base damage. Still, it makes no sense to give your Pokemon both bubble and water gun. You’ll want to make sure you don’t give more than one damaging attack of each type to any Pokemon, and don’t give a physical attack to something with a high special attack stat!
It Always Comes Down to the Size of Your Stats
Remember kids, women love a Pokemon with huge stats. There’s a few things which factor into this. The biggest and easiest to control is a Pokemon’s base stats. Every Pokemon has a base numerical value for each of the six stats. While you can’t find these in game, there are numerous sites out there which list a Pokemon’s stats. This should be one of the biggest considerations when choosing your team. Your Caterpie isn’t going to cut it. Of course if you’re hard core you sweep an entire team of ubers with a Magikarp.
The next most important and also next easiest to control is a Pokemon’s nature. There are 25 natures in the game (because as we all know you can classify everything and everyone under a handful of stereotypes.) Every nature increases one stat by 10% and decrease another by 10%. 5 of them do nothing as they increase and decrease the same stat. None of them can affect a Pokemon’s HP. Unfortunately the only way to get the right one is to keep catching the Pokemon, or breeding. Don’t worry about the asexual legendaries. They’re banned in competitive play, anyway. When in doubt, just remember. Ditto is like a good hooker. For a few bucks it’ll be anything you want it to be.
Next we get to talk about the best kind of stat. The kind YOU CAN’T SEE. Since Japan hates you, this one’s going to take some work. Every Pokemon is born (or caught) with 0 Effort Values in every stat. Through collecting Effort Value points, you can raise 2 of a Pokemon’s stats by 63 and one stat by 2. Every 4 EVs you collect for a given stat will raise it by 1, and a Pokemon can have a maximum of 255 EVs in any one stat and 510 total (because devoting more than 8 bits to a number is too mainstream). How do you get EVs? BY KILLING THINGS OF COURSE! Every Pokemon you defeat has a certain EV value for a certain stat. You’ll have to look these up on a site like Serebii or Bulbapedia. In addition, there are items you can give a Pokemon which increases the EVs it collects, and a very rare virus, called Pokerus, a Pokemon can contract which doubles the amount of EVs a Pokemon collects. All of this is behind the scenes so you get to record it MANUALLY!
Finally, we have the one that is a bitch to track, a bitch to raise, and a bitch even to check. IVs or Individual Values. Every Pokemon is born with a hidden IV for each of its six stats. How are they generated? Well we’ll get to that in a moment. First let’s talk about how to measure it. While there is an in game way to get a ballpark number for your cumulative totals, and you can find out the value for your highest stat (though you can’t find out which stat that is). Both of these are relatively useless, and you’re better off just using an IV calculator. You’ll need to level it up a few times with some rare candies, or keep track of any EVs you get to put into the calculator. Now for the kicker: If you catch a Pokemon in the wild, all of its IVs are randomly generated. If you breed it, a random number of stats are taken from random parents and randomly applied. The rest are randomly generated. Normally you’ll get 2 or 3 IVs from the parents.
Because Japan still hates you, the chances of you getting the right IVs, Nature, and Moves on a Pokemon are astronomically small. Your choices are either to just deal with an imperfect Pokemon, use something to edit your save file, or just play on a simulator. The most popular simulator is Pokemon Online, but there’s plenty of others if you feel inclined to check them out.
That’s all for this week, after all I can’t let you grow too powerful to quickly or you might actually defeat me! Once I’ve honed my skills further to ensure my permanent dominion over all of you, I’ll return to talk about the various classes and roles to fill on a team, and movesets to consider.
* If you didn’t start singing along there, you have no soul.
** Charizard is badass of course I know what you were thinking.