Pokécademy – Team Building

Infendo OpEd

Say you want to build a team that’s competitive for Pokémon. Maybe not tournament level, but you’d like to be able to play online and not get wrecked.

This article is going to explain in detail how to build a 6-poké team for use in a traditional single battle. All of the Pokémon featured in this team are my hand-raised Pokémon, which I’ve used in battles in the past.

Fair warning: My teams aren’t always traditional, and I don’t follow any competitive tiers, so some of my strategies might not be approved by top-tier players. None-the-less, I consider this team a good example of a competitive team you can build and learn from in your own game. Enjoy!

The Team

For the sake of this example team, we’re using Ivysaur, Mimikyu, Weavile, Zangoose, Gardevoir and Garbodor. Note that while there’s some overlap in typing (poison and fairy, specifically), there’s a good variety of typing, ensuring that each pokémon can cover an ally when needed. This team leans heavily on dealing physical damage, with only Gardevoir functioning as a Special damage dealer. Be wary of Specially defensive walls.

The Pokémon

Our lead – Garbodor

Key Points

Trained for Attack and Speed | Red Card will switch attacking Pokémon with a random enemy, ruining an early strategy | SHOULD have Aftermath as ability, which will deal damage to the Pokémon that KOs it

The Plan

Grunge, my Garbodor, will usually take point on this team, unless the enemy is likely to use a pokémon that will shut him down.

Start the match by throwing Toxic Spikes. One use will cause any pokémon who switch in for the rest of the match to get poisoned. Two uses will cause Toxic. Poisoning is prefered over Toxic in most cases, as the time it takes for Toxic to build up is usually too slow for it to be effective.

Gunk Shot is a risky, powerful poison attack that can also poison the one remaining healthy Pokémon. Red Card will force a switch and, if Toxic Spikes have been laid down, cause poisoning.

Ideally, Garbodor would have Aftermath as its ability, which would deal 1/4 of the opponent’s health as damage when they knock him out. Essentially, Garbodor acts to poison the opponent’s entire team and then deal as much damage as possible before being KO’d.

Pure Offense – Zangoose

Key Points

Maximize Attack and Speed | Poisoned + Toxic Boost + Facade = Massive damage | Fighting and Ghost type attacks for coverage

The Plan

This Zangoose strategy is about as cookie-cutter as they come, but it’s fun none the less.

Zenith will ALWAYS spend her first turn using protect. This serves two functions: 1. You’ll be able to see what the opponent is planning to use to attack you, and 2. Your Toxic Orb will inflict Toxic on you at the end of the first turn.

Zenith needs to be poisoned, and currently Toxic Orb is the only reliable way to do this is a singles match. This is going to put her on a timer, as that Toxic is going to keep dealing damage until she faints. But, her ability, Toxic Boost, is going to increase her Attack while she’s poisoned. Her strongest move is Facade, which gets a damage boost when the Pokémon using it has a negative status, like Toxic. It will also deal extra damage because it’s a normal type move, like Zenith (that’s known as a STAB bonus).

The strategy from here on is simple. Anything that can be hit neutrally with Facade, hit them with it. If you go up against a sturdy rock type that will resist Facade, use Close Combat. You’ll lose Defense from using it, but if Zenith gets hit, she’s most likely KO’d anyway, so this doesn’t matter.

Ghost types resist both normal and fighting type attacks, but Shadow Claw will deal with them easily enough.

Zenith’s biggest weakness is Pokémon that are faster than it, or Pokémon that can stall her out until the Toxic eventually KO’s her. She’ll rip through most attacks though.

My Partner Pokémon – Ivysaur

Key Points

Built for maximum Defense and Special Defense | Strategy is to stall | Bind to protect against running out of attacks

The Plan

Amaryl is the Pokémon I always have on my team. As my favourite Pokémon, I wanted a strategy that makes Ivysaur viable, and I’m pretty proud of this one. I daresay with Eviolite he outpaces most Venusaurs.

Eviolite is the key here: It gives Amaryl as great boost to both defensive stats, which is why we train to maximize those instead of HP.

Amaryl’s play style is to stall the enemy out while you slowly sap its health. It’s cruel, slow and frankly kind of nasty, but it gets the job done nicely. Throw down Leech Seed as soon as possible, which will harm the enemy and heal you every turn.

Every other turn, use Protect, whether you need the protection or not. This will maximize your stalling, allowing you to heal twice for every turn the enemy can deal damage.

You’ll want to use Bind as often as possible to deal damage, and it will deal additional damage every turn, like Leech Seed. Lastly, Synthesis is there to heal you when the damage starts getting to be too much.

This build allows Amaryl to take some really heavy hits – even a direct fire type attack usually inst enough to cause a problem. Being a poison type, Amaryl can’t be poisoned, but burns and paralysis can throw a wrench in the plans. Similarly, enemy stalls and healers can cause serious problems, and will usually results in insanely slow matches. Maximize PP in every attack to give yourself a chance in these dreaded situations.

Lastly, you COULD switch Bind for Toxic, but it’s not recommended. Toxic will definitely KO pokémon faster, but if you run into a Pokémon that’s immune to both Leech Seed and Toxic, like Venusaur, you’ll have zero options for dealing damage.

Crazy fast with maximum unboosted Attack – Weavile

Key Points

Max Attack and Speed | Can only use one attack while active | Choose offensive moves for coverage

The Plan

This build takes advantage of Jinx’s (Weavile’s) naturally insane Speed. Weavile is one of the fastest Pokémon out there, which makes her a great candidate for a sheer offensive build that capitalizes on that.

Jinx holds a Choice Band – This maxmizes Attack to dangerously frightening levels, but limits her to one attack until she’s switched out. Icicle Crash and Throat Chop are both great options for her move of choice. If you had a chance to see your opponent’s Pokémon before the match, try to anticipate which move will give you the most coverage before you use it.

Jinx excels as a quick, deadly attacker that takes a Pokémon down and switches back out, but if the situation is right, you can keep her in and devastate the enemy team. Just be aware of your surroundings; she’s a valuable attacker and shouldn’t be needlessly sacrificed.

While a physical powerhouse, Jinx is weak to most attacks and won’t last long – Keep her moving first and hitting hard, and switch her out when appropriate.

Unique typing and a bizarre gimmick – Mimikyu

Key Points

Trained for Attack and Speed | Disguise totally neutralizes the first attack she takes | Normalium Z for Splash Z

The Plan

Duplissa the Mimikyu has a straightforward strategy that’s very effective – her ability, Disguise, prevents her from being hit on the first turn, and by using her Normalium Z, the normally useless Splash becomes Splash Z, which gives her 3 Attack boosts (one more than Swords Dance).

Use her first turn to boost her Attack and then go to town. Shadow Sneak is a priority move that you can use against fast enemies to hit first. If you’re confident you’ll hit first, Play Rough deals massive physical damage and is resisted by very few types. Shadow Claw is an alternate Ghost Type move with more power than Shadow Sneak, to be used when needed.

Duplissa can be taken out by a strong Pokémon, but she has some great stats and really doesn’t fall into the “glass cannon” category, even without any boosting of her defenses.

Being a Ghost and Fairy type, she’s weak to a few types, such as Steel types, but her dual typing gives her excellent coverage in almost any situation.

Pokemon Team

Key Points

Specially Offensive Powerhouse with high Speed | Psyshock and Focus Blast for coverage | Hyper Beam as a last resort

Every competitive team should take advantage of a Mega Evolution, unless that’s just not your thing. My personal favourite is Gardevoir: a dual Fairy and Psychic type with absurdly high Special Attack and a great ability in Pixellate.

Pixellate changes Normal type moves to Fairy type and increases their power. These Fairy type attacks also get a STAB bonus thanks to Barria’s Fairy typing.

Hyper Voice is your move of choice with Barria – hit hard and take down anyone you can. Fairy types have great coverage and few resistances, so it makes attacking with her easy. If you run into a troublesome Steel type, Focus Blast is a great choice – its accuracy is a little low, though.

Psyshock will deal physical damage, despite being a special move, so it’s a good option for specially defensive walls like Chansey. However, you’ll miss out on Pixellate’s power boost, so it’s up to you to determine if the trade-off is worth it.

Barria is relatively frail, so she’s going to want to hit first whenever possible. She can take a weak hit or two, but she’s not going to take much damage before she falls. It’s unconventional, but I like Hyper Beam as that last ditch effort. Every now and then you’ll have a moment where you need to hit HARD, and you’re not going to last two turns. That’s where Hyper Beam comes in handy. Most competitive players would advise against this strategy, but I’m a fan of it, and it’s gotten me through a couple of tough battles.

Wrap-up

That does it for our team. There’s always going to be weaknesses in a team, but knowing how to deal with those weaknesses is a great way to succeed.

This team’s biggest flaw would be that 3 of the teammates function in the same manner – hitting hard physically and moving as fast as possible. Swapping one of these Pokémon for a defensive team member might be in order, depending on your playstyle.

At the end of the day, you want to use a Pokémon team that you’re comfortable with, and that you enjoy. Play around with strategies and find something that you enjoy, then build on it from there. Best of luck to you!

Gamer by day, game designer by night - Lukas studied Digital Arts in school, and grew up in the age of the N64 and Gamecube. He's the youngster of the bunch, but that doesn't keep him from shouting out at every available opportunity on Infendo Radio. He often finds himself at the edge of counter-culture (hates Metroid Prime, loves Other M), but isn't afraid to dive into the next big budget AAA title with the best of 'em. Favorite game: Sonic Adventure 2 Battle/Skyward Sword/Ocarina of Time/Zero Escape 2/You get the idea