Ashton Michael's Guide to TeamBuilding
The team is important, but skill and knowledge of Pokemon is also needed to be a successful player. By playing a lot and reading about different Pokemon, you will improve your knowledge which will make you do better in Pokemon. Skill is something that grows naturally if you play a lot of battles.
What this guide is about?
This guide is written to give advice on how to build a good team. What I will not do in this guide, is describing the roles that Pokemon can have in battle (Annoyer, Shuffler, etc.). What I am going to do, is give advice on how to create synergy in your team and how to make your team better, so you can too reach the #1 spot. In the end, I will also give some battle tips that might be useful in your battles.
Know Your Options
One of the most important parts of building a decent teams is to know what is available. There are Pokemon that should certainly be considered threats and potentially good options for a team, and Pokemon that should not be used. There's a OverUsed list, so try sticking to that as much as possible when making an OverUsed team.
Counters / Checks
When making a team, it's important that you Pokemon that cover eachother's weaknesses as much as possible. If you are going to run a team with 6 Water Pokemon, you will lose to any Electric- or Grass-type. Note that countering Pokemon in Black and White is more reliant on resistances than high defensive stats. Many Pokemon have received gigantic power boosts and therefore can quash many of their would-be counters. The only Pokemon that can still take about any (special)-hit that isn't Super Effective, is Chansey. This also has to do alot with synergy, you can't just put Chansey and Skarmory on the team, if they don't fit in. The aforementioned combination will just slow down your offensive team, being more of a nuisance than of help. Pick Pokemon that work well together, cover each other's weaknesses to create a strong team.
Status effects can be devastating to a team not prepared for them. Many methods may be employed to safeguard one’s team from the ravages of status effects. One tactic is to have a Pokemon that can use either Aromatherapy or Heal Bell; either move will completely remove all status effects. A common user of such healing moves is Chansey. Another option is to have a Pokemon with an ability that lets it benefit from status such as Heracross. Yet another choice that is similar to the latter is to let a Pokemon with the moves Rest and Sleep Talk absorb status attacks for the team. While not overly reliable, Pokemon with the moves Substitute and Taunt can guard against status effects to some extent. There are also conditions known as “pseudo-statuses”, like Leech Seed or infatuation. Pseudo-statuses are almost always removed by simply switching out. Additionally, some types of pseudo-status are blocked by the move Substitute, and all moves that inflict pseudo-status are stopped by Taunt. Other than that, there is little or nothing that a player can do about pseudo-status.
c. Field Effects
There are three field affecting attacks that exist in Pokemon: Spikes, Toxic Spikes, and Stealth Rock.
If you have 3 Flying-types in your party, you are already weak to Stealth Rock. This will limit your options to switch and can mean a downfall for any team. There are a couple of ways to make your team less susceptible to the detrimental effects of field affecting attacks. The move Rapid Spin will clear the user’s side of the field completely, but Pokemon that learn Rapid Spin don’t necessarily fit on every team. If you can't fit a spinner on your team, make sure you don't have too much set-up bait in your team. For example, you can give Snorlax Fire Blast to prevent Skarmory, Ferrothorn and Forretress from setting Spikes up on you. Besides that you can use levitators in your team to be less vulnerable to Spikes and Toxic Spikes or use a Poison-type to absorb Toxic Spikes. Finally, there's Xatu and Espeon with the ability to bounce back hazards.
Your team has synergy when each individual Pokemon contributes to help achieving a goal. It’s about your team working together as a cohesive unit to achieve your desired outcome in a match.
Example: You build your team around a certain sweeper. To create synergy, you can build the team around that Pokemon, helping to remove the counters to that sweeper and make it easier for the sweeper to do it’s work. Examples can be setting up screens or hazards. If I want my Raikou to sweep, I have to make sure any special wall is out of the way. To achieve this I can decide to set-up Toxic Spikes or Spikes, preferably with something that covers Raikou’s weakness, like Skarmory. Skarmory can switch in on Earthquake and take hits from physical hard-hitters that try to kill Raikou (Excadrill, Garchomp) and set-up spikes to weaken Raikou’s counters.
In a battle, your chances of winning will be higher if you don't often find yourself uncertain as to what move you should make. You should be able to make a smart move which immediately gives you the advantage. It might seem like common knowledge, but it is not uncommon to find a player on ladder sacrificing his lead to a bad match up, which should never happen. If you have a lead that loses to another common lead, it is important to keep that in mind when team building.
Example: Genesect and Gyarados: when you're using Genesect as a lead, you want to have something that can take fire attacks. If you're up versus a Blaziken lead, you can switch to Gyarados, who can continue to phaze Blaziken or use Dragon Dance. Besides Gyarados taking fire attacks, Genesekt can take Super Effective rock attacks aimed at Gyarados. You will have to discover these kind of combos yourself if you want to have a successful team.
Something may look brilliant on paper, but not do so well in battle. That's why it's important to test your team a lot. You may find out that the team sucks overall, but that there’s two Pokemon that really work well together. From there on, you can decide to scrap the team and start over with the two Pokemon that work well together. From there on, you build another team, until you find that everything works together perfectly.
There are times when your team just ‘stops’ working. At these points it's important to not give up on the team or to keep battling, but to look closely on what makes the team not work. Most of the time, you will see that a certain Pokemon doesn't do his job well and can be replaced by something that will support your team better. In the worst case scenario, you decide to scrap the entire team, which is something that can happen. Sometimes it just doesn't work and you shouldn't frustrate yourself by holding on to the team.
Putting it together
In this section, one will be taken through the process of creating a sample team. For this section, I will use an example team. I want to build my team around two Pokemon, Nasty Plot Thundurus and Breloom. They are both very powerful and have good offensive synergy together, as they take care of eachother's counters. Breloom can hit checks and counters to Thundurus hard, like Excadrill, Ferrothorn, Chansey and Quagsire. Thundurus is there to KO counters to Breloom, like Gliscor, Skarmory and Gyarados.
Breloom (M) @ Choice Band
EVs: 240 HP / 252 Atk / 16 Spd
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
- Mach Punch
- Bullet Seed
- Rock Tomb
- Low Sweep
Choice Band Breloom is awesome and really works on this team. I don't need Spore or another set-uppers, but straight out offense. Mach Punch does alot to everything non-resistant (even does around 50 percent on flying types like Thundurus and Tornadus though) and Low Sweep 2HKO's even Skarmory. Rock Tomb for flying types, does about 80 percent to Xatu, Gyardos etc. Bullet Seed can do high amounts of damage, even OHKO'ing resistant things if I get lucky with the number of times it hits.
Thundurus (M) @ Life Orb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk)
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Nasty Plot
- Focus Blast
These are the versions I want to use. Choice Band Breloom and Nasty Plot Thundurus. I don't want too many set-uppers in my team so that's why I'm choosing Choice Band for Breloom.
Next up, I like teams to have a good defensive core, preferably one that can support the Pokemon I want to sweep with (once again, this is what creates synergy in my teams). I need something to take special hits and that can keep my team alive. So my choice is Chansey, it's a great special wall and it has Wish to support my team.
Chansey (F) @ Eviolite
Trait: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SDef
Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk)
- Seismic Toss
- Rain Dance / Wish
- Thunder Wave
Now I need something to take care of physical threats and that can get rid of physical set-uppers. I have a fire-weakness in Breloom and fighting weakness in Chansey, so Skarmory wouldn't be any good. So, I'm choosing Gyarados, he can take Fire-attacks aimed at Breloom and fighting attacks aimed at Chansey. Besides that, it can phaze opponent Pokemon and has intimidate to weaken their attacks. Gyarados has good synergy with Breloom, as I have Breloom for Rock / Electric attacks aimed at Gyarados.
Gyarados (M) @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 Spd
Impish Nature (+Def, -SAtk)
- Sleep Talk
For Thundurus to sweep, I need things like Chansey weakened. Focus Blast does around 75 - 80 percent to standard Chansey, so I need something to get it at that percentage. Toxic Spikes and Stealth Rock are good options to do that. Besides that, I already have two Pokemon weak to Stealth Rock and the other two are weak to Toxic Spikes and Spikes, so I need something to get rid of that. So I'm using Forretress, for he can use Spikes and Stealth Rock and spin away any hazards. So Forretress has Toxic Spikes to give trouble to ground-types that try to wall Thundurus' Electric attacks and to weaken special walls like Chansey. He also gives me something to switch in on Normal-types attacks.
Forretress (M) @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SDef
Sassy Nature (+SDef, -Spd)
- Toxic Spikes
- Rapid Spin
- Gyro Ball
- Stealth Rock
And last, I need a lead, because this is Dream World. I want something that can help me remove counters to Thundurus and Breloom, my sweepers. Counters for Thundurus are mostly special walls like Ferrothorn and Chansey, so a fighting type would be good. Since I want to remove Breloom's counters as well, I need something that can take care of Gliscor and flying types. My choice is Mienshao, as it can use Hidden Power Ice to take out Gliscor and it has a powerful fighting attack to destroy special walls.
Mienshao (M) @ Life Orb
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SAtk / 252 Spd
Naive Nature (+Spd, -SDef)
- Fake Out
- Hi Jump Kick
- Stone Edge
- Hidden Power [Ice]
So this is the team, as you can see everything is working together and that is what makes this team work. Synergy is very important in a team, team members should support each other and work towards one goal. Looking over this team, one can see that there are very few weaknesses that stand out significantly. It is able to take many hits and reply with some of its own, which makes it a decent competitive team, capable of surviving the ravages of threats that would pull a team not so meticulously made apart.
These are some essential tips that you can follow to make you do better in battle:
Do not let low-health Pokémon faint! You should keep your Pokémon active as long as possible even if this means switching often. Losing even one team member might ruin a strategy. Try to switch when a type disadvantage comes up. If the risk is too big, like there's a Thundurus in front of you that might use Nasty Plot, you should attack. If there is no risk, however, switch!
Know about Pokémon! This is achievable through reading Pokemon analysis’. You will be in a better position if you know what sets your opponent’s Pokemon may have.
Better to be safe than sorry. Prediction can be quite important in battles, but only predict when you have little to lose or if you’re sure the opponent is going to do something. There’s nothing worse than overpredicting, it will make you lose and generally it’s not even needed.
By now, you should be able to build a well balanced, and well ran team. I hope you have benefited off of this guide, and if you have any questions, feel free to send me a Private Message or post here. Thank you for reading this in depth guide and I wish you happy battling.
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