Team Building

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[edit] Introduction

This guide is designed to help in the team building process. Although following these basic steps and recommendations is useful, there are still numerous other methods of building an effective team. Also note that although building a great team is very helpful, it isn't the only factor in deciding who wins a given match. Making smart moves in battle and just your strategy in general is also important. If you don't feel up to building an original team just yet, feel free to check out the Team Archive. It provides numerous teams that can get a player started in a tier. Don't feel that you need to stick to everything this guide says, but it may help to read through this if you are new to competitive battling or are simply stuck.

[edit] Type Synergy

One of the most important parts of team building is team synergy. More specifically, it is important to choose Pokémon that work well with each other. A well-built team usually is able to cover most of its weaknesses and doesn't have a blaring weakness to one type. For example, if a team was built with six Dragon Pokémon, it would lose whenever it faced a powerful Ice Pokémon, particularly one with access to Ice Shard. The same goes for all the other types, although the weaknesses differ with the type. A more effective team may include a Steel Pokémon, such as Magnezone, that resists the weaknesses of the Dragon Pokémon. If you have trouble visualizing the major weaknesses of your team, this page may help.

[edit] Roles

Obviously, every Pokémon fills a slightly different niche in competitive battling. If all Pokémon were the same, the game would be boring. A well-balanced team usually includes a variety of sweepers, a lead, and some support Pokémon. However, this is not the only structure for building an effective team. There is a variety of effective playstyles, ranging from hyper offense to stall.

[edit] Sweepers

Most effective teams are able to attack from both the physical and special sides, so it is usually smart to have a few sweepers per team. A good sweeper is an easy Pokémon to build a team around. When deciding on a sweeper, it is usually a good idea to pick a Pokémon that is effective in the tier. Once you have decided on a few sweepers, it is then easier to choose appropriate support Pokémon.

[edit] Support

Support Pokémon are the next step in building an effective team. Based on the style of play you have chosen, the amount of support Pokémon may differ. Regardless of your team's style, it is advisable to have a few Pokémon that can take a few hits and help out your sweepers. It would take all day to name the various support roles a Pokémon can fill, but some of the more common ones are listed below.

  • Wall - A wall is often considered as support because it is helping out a Pokémon that can't take a certain attack without sustaining serious damage. Walls are known to have high defensive stats. Do your best to choose walls that fit with your other Pokémon, as it serves little purpose to have a Pokémon dedicated to taking hits that don't cause much of a problem anyway.
  • Shuffler - A shuffler uses moves like Dragon Tail, Circle Throw, Roar, and Whirlwind to switch opposing Pokémon out. They are most effective when used in conjunction with entry hazards. Switching a Pokémon out also has the added bonus of eliminating its stat boosts. Like any other role, shufflers are most effective when used with the correct teammates. Entry hazards, as mentioned earlier, are a must.
  • Entry hazards - Although entry hazards aren't really a specific team role, many Pokémon are dedicated to setting them up. Many Pokémon rely on entry hazards to be successful. For example, Stealth Rock secures many KOs against many Pokémon who would normally survive a certain hit. There are multiple ways of setting up entry hazards. The first is to carry a Pokémon that sets up as many entry hazards as possible before being knocked out. These Pokémon are often seen in the lead position, and are thus referred to as "suicide leads". In higher tiers, Deoxys-S is one of the best at this role due to its blazing Speed and access to both Stealth Rock and Spikes. There are also more defensive Pokémon that utilize entry hazards, usually preferring high defensive stats over high Speed. Forretress is widely recognized as the king of entry hazards, having access to Stealth Rock, Spikes, and Toxic Spikes. It also has access to Rapid Spin, which will be talked more about later. Ferrothorn is also a popular choice, as it has more balanced defensive stats than the former. Of course, these are not the only effective users of entry hazards. In addition, the best entry hazard Pokémon vary between tiers.
  • Rapid Spin - Rapid Spin is a very important move in competitive battling. At first glance, it may look like a useless, weak, poorly-typed move. However, when one realizes how prominent entry hazards are, Rapid Spin becomes one of the best support moves around. As was mentioned earlier, Forretress is a great user of Rapid Spin. Other Pokémon (in the OU tier) include Tentacruel, Hitmontop, and Starmie.
  • Spinblocker - Spinblockers are usually Ghost Pokémon that take advantage of their immunity to Rapid Spin. They switch in on a predicted Rapid Spin and prevent it from working, thus keeping entry hazards on the field. Most entry hazard users greatly appreciate having a spinblocker on their team, as it is very discouraging to have multiple layers of entry hazards spun away.
  • Dual Screens - A Pokémon with dual screens uses Light Screen and Reflect to reduce the damage inflicted to its team. It isn't the most common of roles, but it is something an experienced battler should understand. Setup sweepers love dual screens, as they make setup much easier. It often just takes a few extra turns to prepare a Pokémon to sweep an entire team.

[edit] Lead

A lead is a very obvious role. It is the Pokémon sent out first in battle. Leads are usually used to set up entry hazards or to prevent the opponent from setting up their own hazards, usually with Taunt. Dual Screens is also a role that leads can perform, although entry hazards are often their standard fare. Due to Team Preview (in tiers with Wifi Clause enabled), it is easy to switch a usual lead for another Pokémon that has a favorable type matchup against the opponent. However, a solid lead is very important in tiers without Team Preview, as you will never know what could be coming.

[edit] Testing

Of course, it is important to test a newly-built team. While it may look great on paper, a team may be awful when matched up against other trainers. Even if you lose your first few battles, though, don't be too quick to give up on a team. It may take time to get used to your Pokémon, understand their major weaknesses, and develop a potent strategy. If a certain Pokémon brings devastation every time it is encountered, try changing your team around to accommodate the threat.

[edit] Useful Tips

Here are some useful tips that an inexperienced player should consider. In fact, any player should take these into account when battling.

  • Be knowledgeable about the game. Knowledge for a certain tier can be gained by reading analyses, or by simply battling frequently. It is hard to be successful in a metagame where you are unsure of the biggest threats. It also makes the team building process harder.
  • Make wise moves in battle. Good prediction is important in being successful, but overprediction can be very costly. Numerous unusual occurrences can happen during battle, so it is difficult to predict too far into the future. Also, don't let a Pokémon faint if it is low on health or has an unfavorable matchup. Play your Pokémon for all they're worth!
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