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Team Building Guide

by Eraleas

Welcome once again Pokéfans!

This section was made to clarify certain terminology I use in Pokémon of the Week section and give advice on how to build a good team; these are simply my opinions on the subject, which are usually shared by most of you. I will present you Advice on Team Building, Pokémon Roles in battles (many of you might already know these terms), Items that should be held and how to obtain them, as well as some Battle Tips. If required, I will add more sections later on.

Team Building

Balanced and Unbalanced Teams
So what exactly makes a team balanced or unbalanced? Is it the types a trainer chooses to use? Is it the roles he chooses to allocate on his Pokémon? What are the common mistakes made?
Selecting Types
Type selection is important in Pokémon battling; it determines the moves each Pokémon will have access to, its weaknesses and resistances and its general characteristics. Generally, having teams of different types is preferred over teams with a single type. However, same type teams can be possible but their selection must be made among types that have a wide variety of Pokémon. Remember that same type teams have the same weaknesses but this can be worked out if you pick Dual typed Pokémon for this. To summarize, it’s good not to have a major weakness to a particular type.
Allocating Roles
Type selection is one thing; role allocation is of major importance as well. Most trainers make the mistake to create Sweeper-only teams. I do not say that Sweepers are bad. For crying out loud! They are those who finish off the battles. However, Sweepers need Tanks to support them when things get rough. Having a team containing a Physical Sweeper, a Special Sweeper, a Tank, a Shuffler an Annoyer and possibly an additional Sweeper, is in general terms considered to be good and well balanced. Remember that you are creating a team; that means that Pokémon will fight better by supporting each other.
Common Mistakes
I have seen this many times; a trainer thinks a Pokémon is really cool and wants to turn it into a fighting machine… But it isn’t working. Why?
Well, many among us do not really pay attention to the Pokémon’s Base Stats and conclude that the Pokémon is useless. Yes, indeed! Some Pokémon are useless in some roles: Umbreon can never be a good Sweeper, either Physical or Special. But have you ever considered the other choices presented to you? Umbreon can be a great Tank and Annoyer! However there are Pokémon out there that are complexly useless and are never used in battles. Who would use Unown for example? That’s why some Pokémon become overused and most remain underused. So be creative! Choose a Pokémon that you like, look at its movepool and Base Stats and figure out what role it would be best for. Pick your moves wisely; some of them (expecially those TMs) will not be able to be taught again.

Pokémon Roles

Pokémon have roles in the battlefield much like normal battlefields do, mostly depending on their Base Stats, Movepools and finally their Trainer’s decisions; you! Thus, many Pokémon could have multiple roles and you are required to choose the desired one.
I will now list you the roles, Pokémon may have, alphabetically.

An Annoyer is a Pokémon whose moveset is made to inflict non-direct damage to an opponent; by this term, I mean moves such as Toxic, Confuse Ray, Leech Seed, Will O’ Wisp etc. These Pokémon usually have good defenses as well as a decent amount of Hit Points. Consider sharing the EV’s among these three stats and having a Bold or Calm nature. Annoyers include Pokémon such as Venusaur and Crobat.
Baton Passer
A Baton Passer Pokémon, usually works best in a Baton Passing Team. Baton Pass permits Pokémon to pass on added effects to their allies such as those of Calm Mind, Cosmic Power and even Mean Look. A Baton Passer usually has one or more moves or abilities to boost his stats. The types and EV administration can vary very much, but it is generally preferred to have good Defenses and Hit Points. Umbreon and Ninjask make excellent Baton Passers.
A Hazer is a Pokémon whose signature move is Haze. He uses Haze to counterattack Pokémon that use stat increasing moves such as Swords Dance, Cosmic Power etc. A good Speed is preferred but not necessary. A good Defense and a Decent amount of Hit Points would be wise to have just in case the opponent has already pumped himself up (especially those Baton Passing Teams). A subcategory of Hazer, the Pseudohazer, uses moves like Roar and Whirlwind to produce an effect similar to Haze by forcing a switch. Blastoise, Crobat and Vaporeon can -among other things- take up the role of the Hazer.
Healers are few but are able to counter Shufflers extremely well. They use moves such as Aromatherapy and Heal Bell to neutralize abnormal status conditions, as well as protective moves like Reflect and Light Screen. These Pokémon must be able to last long enough to support the rest of the team so boosted defenses and Hit Points would do the thing. Miltank, Blissey, Chimecho and Vileplume can all be Healers.
Physical Sweeper
A Physical Sweeper is a Pokémon made to inflict massive physical damage, the fastest way possible. These Pokémon’s stats concentrate on Attack and Speed, so Adamant and Jolly natures are most suitable for them. Physical moves include Bug, Fighting, Flying, Ghost, Ground, Normal, Poison, Rock and Steel. Heracross, Tauros and even Charizard make surprisingly good Physical Sweepers.
A Subpuncher makes use of the Substitute and Focus Punch Combo; since it will not be hit after using Substitute, Focus Punch will always hit. Normal and Fighting type Pokémon make a good use of this. Since Focus Punch is a Fighting move, this sub-role is categorized under the Physical Sweepers.
Rapid Spinner
A Rapid Spinner has only one purpose: counter Spikers. Rapid Spin is a move that ruins Spikes and frees the Pokémon from a continuous trapping condition (Whirlpool, Fire Spin etc). Starmie and Blastoise can both be Rapid Spinners.
A Shuffler has a single purpose in battle: affect all of the opponent’s party with a status condition. He could be a Toxishuffler, Pyroshuffler or Parashuffler, using Toxic, Will O’ Wisp or Thunder Wave respectively. After inducing the opponent with the desired status condition, it forces a switch with moves such as Whirlwind and Roar. It is best preferred to have a good Speed stat and decent Defenses in order to accompdtsh its purpose. A Timid or Jolly nature would be best for Shufflers like Butterfree and Manectric.
Classified under the Shuffler category, the Spiker earns its name by its signature move, Spikes. Its purpose is to use three layers of Spikes along with a status inducing move and force a switch. Skarmory is the best Spiker up until now.
Special Sweeper
A Special Sweeper uses high Speed and Special Attack stats to blast its opponent with the strongest of special moves; Modest and Timid are perfect natures to pick for these Pokémon. Special moves include Dark, Dragon, Electric, Fire, Grass, Ice, Psychic and Water. Alakazam, Sceptile and Typhlosion are examples of Special Sweepers.
A Sunnybeamer is a Pokémon that takes advantage of Sunny Day to attack with Solarbeam every turn. Many Grass and Fire types can have this moveset which is considered Special Sweeping.
This is simple; we all know the terrific combo Rain Dance and Thunder make; almost all Electric Pokémon could have this set, which is classified under the Special Sweeper category.
A Staller is a special kind of Tank that uses moves that poison, burn or paralyze. They are also called Toxistallers, Pyrostallers and Parastallers, and use either Toxic, Will O’ Wisp and Thunder Wave respectively, along with protective moves such as Protect or Detect and recovery moves such as Rest. They benefit from high defenses and Hit Points, as well as items dtke Leftovers. Preferred Natures are Bold, Impish Careful and Calm. Torkoal, Dusclops and Azumarill make fine Stallers.
A Tank is a Pokémon made to last and stall time. It usually possesses high defensive stats along with a move that raises defenses such as Cosmic Power, items such as Leftovers and probably a recovery move, Rest or Recover. Preferred Natures are Bold, Impish Careful and Calm which all favor Defense or Special Defense. Torkoal and Blastoise make fine Tanks.

Item Selection

An item held by your Pokémon in battle is of crucial importance; many Trainers use items to produce effects that work well with their Pokémon’s abilities and movesets. First of all, some important notes:

  • Do not use Items that increase moves by 10%. 10% or 1.1 is extremely little, so little it will make absolutely no difference for your Pokémon. These are Mystic Water, Twisted Spoon, Miracle Seed etc.
  • Avoid Items that depend on pure luck; Brightpowder is one of these. You want to use items that work 100%.
  • Remember that you cannot use the same item multiple times on your Pokémon (at least in Colosseum battles). This is why Berries are preferable; they can be used multiple times without breaking any rules.

Below, I present you what different roles of Pokémon should be holding. Remember that certain Berries are only obtainable through Special Events. Other can be traded through Pokémon Colosseum or can be unlocked in Ruby/Sapphire and Emerald (when this one finally comes out).

An Annoyer is best off with a Recovering Item. Leftovers is the obvious choice and you must always choose it over any other recovery item such as Shell Bell. Having moves like Protect or moves like Fly, give you extra rounds to recover.
Physical Sweeper
Liechi Berry boosts Attack power when HP drop low and is ideal for Physical Sweepers. Salac Berry boosts Speed instead and is best suited for Pokémon that can increase their offensive power or slower Physical Sweepers. Since a Burn condition lowers Attack, Lum Berry is also a good choice.
Special Sweeper
Petaya Berry boosts Special Attack when HP drop low and is ideal for Physical Sweepers. Salac Berry boosts Speed instead and is best suited for Pokémon that can increase their offensive power or slower Special Sweepers.
A Tank usually uses Leftovers to last even more in the battlefield. Anything else would be a poor choice.

Battle Tips

These are some essential tips that must be generally followed throughout battling:

  • Don’t go by the book! Guides are to be followed to a certain level; it is then entirely up to you. I cannot help you if your Pokémon turned out to have low IVs for example.
  • Do not let strong 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.
  • Know about Pokémon! This is achievable through intense training but pays off in the end. You know about your team’s pros and cons. You might also predict your opponent’s moves and abilities.
  • Study your opponent! Having a knowledge on what your opponent’s style is, gives you a great advantage in determining the fastest way to defeat him and the moves that are best suited to counter him.
  • Do not cheat! I know it’s hard but you ’ll feel a lot better in the end of your team preparation and this will pay off in several victories.

That’s all for now! Please do post your comments. If you still do not understand certain things, ask for clarifications as well.