Effectively Building a Team

by Alaska ~

Welcome to my super epibrutalitastic "how to build a team" guide. <3 I'm writing this with one sole goal - to help any stuck players build teams that will play effectively in the current metagame. I'm going to briefly cover Pokémon roles as well as the role of a team as a whole, among other things. In the very least, this can be a nifty little resource guide.

Types of Teams:
Well, before you go about randomly throwing Pokémon together, what do you want your team to accomplish? Hit hard and fast? Stall and annoy? It'll also help to know what tier you want to play in, whether it’s NU, UU, OU, or Ubers. However, this obviously doesn't mean you're restricted to using Pokémon from that sole tier, so mix and match to your heart's content. To help you further, here are some common team ideas and what they normally intend to do •

Sweeping (Offensive) - These kinds of teams usually have one goal: to kill or be killed. Dragon Dancers along with Sword Dancers are common to these sorts of teams, and they're usually composed of powerhouses and glass cannons. You also can't forget the wonderful art of revenge killing. Stalling (Defensive) - A personal favorite of mine - stalling. Member positions are usually given to a variety of tanks and walls which intend to phaze, annoy, status and generally annoy you. Since most of these Pokémon don't hit very hard, a large part of damage caused will be residual. This means the use of spikes, stealth rock, toxic spikes (or toxic alone) will oftentimes be utilized. For this reason, one or two phazers (or pseudo-phazers) are frequently helpful on this sort of team. Unfortunately, taunt usually poses an irritating problem. Sandstorm - Undoubtedly the most popular of the weather alterations, Sandstorm can offer a team many benefits as well as many disadvantages depending on how well it’s built. Under pros, most notably is the 50% special defense boost any and all rock types boast, and the evasion increase that Sand Veil Pokémon get bragging rights to. As for the disadvantages, any Pokémon not immune to Sandstorm (which are all, barring Steel-, Rock-, and Ground- types) will lose 1/16 of their health, drastically wearing them down throughout a long battle as well as canceling out any Leftovers being used. Aside from the move Sandstorm, only Hippopotas, Hippowdon, and Tyranitar can instantly start it upon entering battle. Hail - Another considerably popular weather alteration, these teams usually abuse abilities like Snow Cloak, and in Walrein's case, Ice Body. Thanks to Blizzard now getting 100% accuracy in hail, it severely outclasses Ice Beam when disregarding the large difference in PP. These sorts of teams are usually great at dealing residual damage; however suffer a great drawback in Stealth Rock stripping them of 25% of their maximum HP (save for Mamoswine) every time they switch in. Only Snover and Abomasnow are able to instantly start a hail storm with “Snow Warning”.

Rain Dance - Rain dance teams tend to play more offensively than the previously mentioned weather teams thanks to the inconsistent rain supply. When using the move “Rain Dance”, it only lasts for 5 (8 when holding a damp rock) turns. Rain Dance teams get a few more perks than both hail and sandstorm; water moves are boosted by 50% while fire attacks are cut by that same amount. Thunder will have 100% accuracy and has a small chance (30%) of hitting through Protect. Solarbeam has a mere base power of 60% and still requires a two-turn set up. The move weather ball becomes the water type and has a base power of 100. The moves Moonlight, Morning Sun and Synthesis heal only 25% of the users full health. As for the abilities... Dry Skin will heal 12.5% of a user's HP. Forecast Pokémon will turn to the water type. Hydration Pokémon heal themselves of any status condition each turn. Rain Dish Pokémon will heal 6.25% of their health each turn and swift swim Pokémon will have their speed doubled. Sunny Day - Like Rain Dance, Sunny Day only lasts 5 turns unless the Pokémon using the move is holding a Heat Rock. Similar to the effects of Rain Dance, fire-type moves are boosted by 50% while water type moves are lessened by the same extent. Thunder has a reduced accuracy of only 50%, and Solar Beam doesn't need a charge-up phase. Moonlight, Morning Sun, and Synthesis heal 2/3 of the user's maximum HP. It's impossible to freeze a Pokémon in the Sun. As for the abilities... Pokémon with Chlorophyll have double Speed & Leaf Guard Pokémon cannot be statused. Forecast ability Pokémon become the fire type, as does the move Weather Ball. At the end of each turn, Pokémon with the Dry Skin or Solar Power abilities lose 1/8 HP. The latter also gets a stat increase. Trick Room - These teams play very differently than the aforementioned ones. Trick Room causes no lasting damage nor stat increases (or decreases), so to speak. Instead, for the five turns that it's activated all slower Pokémon will attack first. Most teams using this strategy will have several slow but hard-hitting tanks or sweepers. Bear in mind however that priority moves keep their priority. Gravity – Another fairly forgotten field alteration. Gravity teams can be one of two things - defensive or offensive. It's near impossible for it to be balanced since it's the sort of team that has to accomplish so much in so little time. Offensively, gravity abuses residual damage, most particularly spikes, to wear down or put foes in an easy-KO range. They regularly also rely on Arena Trap Pokémon (Dugtrio) to then trap and pick off weakened opponents, as well as earthquake abusers. Defensive teams rely much heavier on residual damage (including toxic spikes) as well as having a few phazers to shuffle an opponent’s Pokémon around. Balanced - Probably the most commonly seen team. In most cases, these teams will have two or more sweepers (physical, special, or mixed) two or more walls (physical, special, or dual) and may also include some supporters (leads, anti-leads, spiker, etc). Naturally, many of the previously mentioned teams can turn out to be balanced, but in many cases balanced teams don't make use of any weather/field conditions.

Pokémon Roles:

While we already have a guide about this, for the sake of this reference I'm going to briefly touch upon the most commonly used roles. •

. Leads – As you can imagine, a good lead is tremendously important to any team. Leads are intended to give you a straight up advantage over an opponent and an opportunity to set up and generally threaten your adversary right from the start. Set-up Lead: Like you could have guessed, these leads are meant to set up and get you rolling as soon as possible. Whether it be with entry hazards like Stealth Rock, or weather modifications like Rain Dance these are essential to let you gain the upper hand on the first turn. Oftentimes, when they've done their part they simply explode out of the battle and leave the rest up to their teammates. Anti-Lead: These leads are meant to counter common opposing leads. They usually make use of taunt for common set-up leads. Suicide-Lead: Much like an exploding set-up lead, suicide leads don’t really merit their own class, but is more of a term. It’s basically just used to describe a lead that sets up then either faints by it’s own doing, or from an opponent. Think exploding Bronzong, or focus sash Weavile. Offensively - Pokémon whose sole purpose is to dish out as much damage as possible. Once again, we have several sorts. Special: Pokémon who make use of Special attacks. Physical: Pokémon who make use of Physical attacks. Mixed: These Pokémon are able to attack from both sides of the spectrum. Revenge-killer: Usually come in after a team member has fainted to revenge-kill the opponent. Generally have both high speed and a high (special) attack stat. Wall Breaker: A sort of mixed attacker, but with different goals - to rid the field of opposing walls making it easier for teammates to sweep later on. Bulky Sweeper: Pokémon who can take a hit all the while being able to dish it out, as well. Defensively - These Pokémon can do a variety of things from setting up middle or late game entry hazards, support, or just flat out blocking an opponent’s sweeper. Again, there are several sorts. Special: A Pokémon intended to block incoming Special attacks. Physical: A Pokémon intended to block incoming Physical attacks. Dual: These are catered to taking hits from both sides. Sponge: Not good enough to be considered a strict wall, but can take hits decently especially from resisted attacks. Usually have many resistances and can hit back with relative power. Bulky Water: These are usually a variation of "dual walls", but are water Pokémon with uncommonly high defensive capabilities and/or HP stat. Tank: Normally have above-average defensive stats, even without any investment allowing them to take a few hits while still remaining a threatening force. Support - Basically, these Pokémon are here to make your life easier. Status Absorber: Predicting Hypnosis? Send out a sleep talker. Predicting a Will-OWisp? Send out a guts-user. These turn normally hindering status effects into benefits, or

in some cases, simply nullify them. Annoyer/Crippler: They specialize in crippling either opposing sweepers or walls with statuses (burn and/or paralyze), or maybe tricking a useless item onto a wall. Weather/Field Alteration: Used for starting or replenishing a weather or field condition. Wish Passer: Usually a wall/bulky water who can safely support it's team members with the healing Wish move. Of course, it can also support itself. Screeners: Come in to set up either Light Screen or Reflect. They can be used by a wall to be able to take hits even better, or to allow an easier sweep or set-up for another teammate. Stealth Rocker / (Toxic) Spiker: Again, these can be either leads, bulky, or walls. They focus on setting up entry hazards. (P)hazer: Focuses on shuffling opponents Pokémon or eliminating stat boosts. Commonly take advantage of entry hazards. Pseudo-(P)hazer: These Pokémon don't directly phaze out opponents, but instead use other tactics to force them out, such as Leech Seed or Fake Tears. Spinner: Make use of the move Rapid Spin to rid your side of the field from any entry hazards. Spin Blocker: Ghost Pokémon, commonly of a bulky variety, who use their immunity to Rapid Spin to block any attempt of blowing away entry hazards on their side of the field. Baton Passer: A Pokémon who passes stat boosts through Baton Pass to an awaiting teammate. Cleric: Pokémon with either Heal Beal or Aromatherapy who focus on healing the team's status ailments. Trapper: A Pokémon who uses either an ability or the moves "Mean Look" or "Spiderweb" to prevent a foe from switching out.

A common misconception - Overused Pokémon are NOT necessarily always the best options, so open up to Pokémon in the so-called "lesser" tiers. Decide on what sort of team you want, so then you can settle on which Pokémon will work best. Don’t use a Pokémon who is obviously outclassed by another. Example? Don’t use Wigglytuff as a special wall when Blissey, and even Clefable easily outshine it. Covering your weaknesses: When it comes to building a team, especially those offensivelyoriented, it's absolutely CRITICAL that you take into account resistances and immunities, especially if you're disregarding any sort of wall. If you're forced to switch out, you can't very well switch in a sweeper who will likely get OHKO'd by an opponents incoming Earthquake, instead you should take advantage of the ground immunity granted to both Levitators and Flyingtypes to gain a free switch. Use Pokémon who complement each others resistances and weaknesses. For example, Magnezone and Latias. Both of these Pokémon resist each others weaknesses, meaning you can oftentimes rotate between the two. They both compliment each other; while Magnezone and Jirachi do not. Effort Points and Movesets: At this point, you can start deciding on Effort Points and movesets. Don't waste effort points needlessly; a physical sweeper generally doesn't need any EV's in either defensive stats. Likewise, don't waste moveslots; you only get four. In other words, don't spam

Flamethrower on three Pokémon completely disregarding moves of other types as you'll risk being easily walled. In that same manner, don't give a physical sweeper support moves. Outclassed Moves: Do no under ANY circumstances use moves such as Dig or Fly. There are several reasons for this; 1) they’ll be easily out predicted, 2) there are many attacks that are both higher in power and require no set up. Using that train of thought, Solarbeam generally shouldn’t be used without Sunny Day and hard-hitting but low-accuracy attacks should be avoided. Furthermore, moves that require you to “recharge” afterwards should also be overlooked. If you choose to ignore these warnings, you risk giving your opponent a free switch or a turn to set up. Accuracy VS Power: This is a question that's plagued a great many good battlers; is power more important than accuracy? Well, it's circumstantial. A Pokémon with a low special attack stat may need to opt for Fire Blast as opposed to Flamethrower to give it an extra kick, however risks the attack missing and therefore potentially being KO'd by the opponents move. For this reason, usually only bulky Pokémon can stand to afford the hazard. Another important issue is the PP. Five power points will drain fast enough, especially if an opponent is stalling and/or using Pressure. Countering: Another big part of building a team is countering as much as possible, and once again (yes, I cannot stress this enough) countering your common weaknesses. What is a counter? Well, the most commonly accepted definition of one is a Pokémon who can switch into a threat with relative or no risk at all all the while posing a threat to the opposing foe. Ex: Gliscor can switch into any of Heracross's attacks, and either threaten it with a stab supper-effective Flyingtype attacks, or use the free turn to set up with Swords Dance or Stealth Rock. Items: Of course, your items must help your Pokémon in some way, as well. Leftovers can help a bulky or wall Pokémon survive longer, while Life Orb can give a sweepers attack power a boost. You must pick these items carefully as in many situations they can make or break you. Don't give Pokémon useless items, like Leftovers on a frail sweeper when they’re better off using some sort of Choice item. Picking the right ones: On the subject of giving Pokémon beneficial items, it's frowned upon to use items like "Black Belt" which gives a mere 20% boost to solely fighting attacks, while both Life Orb and Choice Band allow for more versatility and power. Plate items are also considered useless on anything that isn't named Arceus. Keep in mind the Hax Clause.

Picking out flaws:
Alright, so more or less you've got a general idea of what you're team can do. Now, the only thing that's left to do is testing it. While studying your team on paper can certainly help you catch the obvious flaws (weak to a certain type or Pokémon), testing it can open your eyes even more. Building a team usually doesn't come in one shot. It's an on-going process of breaking it apart and reassembling it, sometimes having to use different pieces. Piece of advice: Don't use a Pokémon just because it's your favorite. Synergy is crucial to any team; you can't just slap any Pokémon together and expect them to work. Okay fine, you might find Weezing to be completely repulsive, but it makes for a much better physical wall than Charizard. If you're really stuck, you can check out the Rate my Team thread for help. •

Common weaknesses to look out for - Well, here are some common weaknesses a lot of teams may find themselves with. Stealth Rock: This is usually the case with teams who have many Flying-, Ice-, or Firetype Pokémon. This is especially true for Pokémon with a double weakness to the Rocktype. Solution: There's really only one: Rapid Spinner. Definitely recommended on teams with two or more Pokémon susceptible to Stealth Rock. (Toxic) Spikes: This can hinder any Pokémon not immune to either Spikes or Toxic Spikes, therefore many teams (or at least parts of it) are threatened by these two entry hazards. Solution: The solution varies on whether you're facing Toxic Spikes or regular Spikes. While both variations can be rid of by using a spinner, Toxic Spikes can also be absorbed by an incoming non-grounded (meaning can't be part Flying nor can it have Levitate) poison type. Tentacreul is usually highly regarded in this area as it can both absorb Toxic Spikes and Rapid Spin away other entry hazards. While it isn't a necessity, having a Pokémon to either absorb Toxic Spikes or to blow away the other variation are definitely helpful for teams with no Flying- types or Levitators. In the case of Toxic Spikes; Flying-, Poison- and Steel- types as well as Levitators. Common weaknesses: As I mentioned earlier on, it's increasingly important to cover your common weaknesses or you'll risk be swept. If you use two or more strictly-Steel- types, you'll have a large Fire-, Fighting-, Ground- type weakness. Not to mention Magnezone would eat you alive with Magnet Pull. Solution: Either add (or change) a Pokémon to one who resists one or more of those weaknesses (i.e Latias) or pick a different steel with dual typing - Levitating Bronzong at the very least will be immune to Ground- type attacks and neutral to Fighting- type attacks thanks to it's part Psychic- typing. Weak to one sort of Pokémon: Some teams find that they have trouble dealing with one type of Pokémon, for example, Tyranitar. Solution: Really all you can do in this situation is figure out what Pokémon you have trouble dealing with and decide on, well... how to deal with it. This can be done by changing a Pokémon, or simply making a small alteration to a moveset. For Tyranitar, the best possible counter for it is probably Swampert. Being immune to its Sandstream, and resisting many of it's strongest attacks, it's rare a Tyranitar will be able to take down a Swampert, especially when faced with a stab super-effective Earthquake. This also includes being walled by one Pokémon.

Well, that must have been a hefty read if you managed to read it all. Even if you didn't and instead just skimmed through or focused on one area, I hope you're leaving with something other than an hour less of your life. :'D

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful