5 Tips and Tricks for every new Competitive Pokémon Player
Competitive Pokémon may appear quite intimidating to you if you are a newer player. Even if you have played Pokémon your entire life, competitive battling is completely different and can seem overwhelming. Here are some tips and tricks that can help you out.
1. Learn the Terminology
Like anything else, Pokémon has its own special set of words and phrases that competitive players understand. When you go to look up information, you will encounter these words and phrases. Here are a few simple ones and what they mean.
- Sweeper: A Pokémon that deals a lot of damage and can “sweep” the rest of the enemy team by knocking them out.
- Bulky Pokémon: A Pokémon that has a lot of HP, Defense, and/or Special Defense and can take a lot of damage.
- Special/Physical Wall: A bulky Pokémon that the opposing Pokémon won’t be able to knock out, acting as a “wall” for its team.
- Support Pokémon: A utility Pokémon that provides status moves instead of dealing damage to help allies or hinder enemies.
- VGC: An acronym for “Video Game Championships”, which are the officially sanctioned Pokémon tournaments and use the Doubles Battle format.
- Pokémon Showdown: A third-party site/app for Competitive Pokémon battles.
There are a lot more special terms out there, but these are some fairly common ones that should help you out. Make sure to do some research if you come across a word or phrase you don’t understand.
2. Learn the Metagame
All competitive games have a “meta” and Pokémon is no different. Some Pokémon are used all the time due to how powerful they are, and others are almost never used because they are weak.
Since Pokémon is not like an FPS or a MOBA, knowledge is everything. You can win a battle by predicting what your opponent will do, and lose a battle with a poor prediction. Certain Pokémon, like Dragapult, are used very frequently, and that makes them more predictable. Knowing how to counter these Pokémon will give you an edge over your opponent.
3. Build a Strong Team
Everyone wants to use Pokémon that they love in their team, but sometimes winning will mean you need to use stronger Pokémon. For example, if your favorite Pokémon are Pikachu, Solosis, Gothorita, Sobble, Eevee, and Charizard, you probably aren’t going to win many games with that party.
Try to find Pokémon that you love that are also good picks in the competitive metagame. If you are unsure what Pokémon make for good picks, check out websites like Pikalytics or Smogon to find out their usage rates and tiers. You can also watch YouTubers or Twitch streamers, who generally will use competitive teams to try and climb the ladder for viewers.
4. Stick to One Team for a While
Once you have a team that you feel good about, stick to that team and learn how to use it. When I was new, I was constantly trying to figure out what was wrong with my team and making adjustments after each loss, when the real issue was that I just wasn’t playing the team right. More often than not, you can win with the team you have if you know how to pilot it properly.
By using the same team for a long time, you will discover which Pokémon work well with one another, how to counter opposing strategies with your team, and how your Pokémon match up against other Pokémon. Having this knowledge is crucial when battling competitively.
5. Learn from Losing
This is a pretty big cliche across any form of competition, and that’s because it’s extremely important. When you lose games, don’t get upset. Instead, try to figure out why you lost, and if there is anything you could have done differently that could have changed the outcome of the match.
Don’t dwell on unfortunate events either. It is easy to get discouraged because you missed an attack, or got hit by an unlucky crit. Realize that these things happen, and they will probably happen in your favor as well at some point. Focus on the things that you could have done differently to change the outcome of the fight. Saving replays of your fights to review is always a good idea here, and reviewing them can help you find out what you did wrong and learn.
Finally, the best way to get better is to practice. Practice, practice, practice and you will improve. The more battles you play, the more you will get used to the different Pokémon, what they do, how fast they are, how much health they have, etc. Keep on keeping on and you will improve over time, as long as you are learning. Most importantly, have fun and keep playing to improve!