the smokin' elf.
Join Date: Jul 2008
A beginner's guide to building a competitive pokemon team.
Hey guys, I've been writing a bunch of guides here lately, so I'm gonna take a crack at a guide to basic competition and team building.
When building a team, there are many different things to think about. You could build a team based around stalling using different types of damaging techniques like spikes, stealth rocks, burn, and poison. You could build an offensive team where the primary goal is to pump up your pokemon as strong as you can get it, and just use that to sweep through. You could build a Baton Pass Team that focuses on boosting up stats and passing them to other party members. You could build a team that specializes in Sun, Rain, Sand, or Ice. Or you could just build a mixed team that has a little of everything. This guide is going to hopefully teach you how to build and use a good mixed team.
First, we have to decide on a lead. A lead is a pokemon that leads the party. The opener, basically. There are many different types of leads.
The Scout is a usually fast pokemon that knows the move U-Turn. A scout lead will start the first turn with a U-Turn, to get an immediate switch, while trying to figure out what the opponent is playing. As an example scenario, I open with Scizor, and you open with Krookodile. Since Scizor is a bug type, and knows many good bug moves, you are going to want to switch your pokemon out into something else. Obviously switch has higher priority than U-Turn. So, you switch out into Blaziken. It's a fast Fire Type, which Scizor is 4x weak to. Now my part of the turn comes, and I hit you with U-Turn, allowing me to switch into any pokemon I want. Since I got to see what pokemon you sent out, I get to switch into a pokemon that either resists or is immune to your attacks. So in this case, I choose Flash Fire Chandelure. Since your Blaziken can't touch Chandelure unless it has Stone Edge, I get a free turn to Calm Mind while you are switching into something else in fear of my Chandelure's Psychic attack.
This lead will often have amazing Physical or Special Defense, and some form of disruption as well as recovery, and a way to lay out "Entry Hazards". Entry Hazards include Spikes, Toxic Spikes, and Stealth Rocks. Common lead walls include Forretress, Ferrothorn, and Tentacruel. This is one of my personal favorites to start out with, since it basically allows me a free layer of Toxic Spikes or Stealth Rocks while the opponent is busy switching into something that can counter your massive wall.
This very common lead is a pokemon with overall great attack or Special Attack and an attack movepool with very wide coverage in order to force an early switch. The Sweeper usually spends first turn using a move such as Calm Mind to boost their stats, while the opponent is switching into something that can counter or resist your sweeper. Now starting turn 2, you have a beefed up attacker that can start causing havoc on your opponent.
Play around for a little bit to discover what pokemon you enjoy most as your lead. Now that we have a general idea of what to start with, we need to build the rest of the team. Know what pokemon you are using, and each of their weaknesses. For the example team today, I am going to use a Cloyster lead.
Cloyster Adamant @ Focus Sash
6HP, 252Atk, 252Spd
This Cloyster is actually new to the Gen V metagame, due to the new move, "Shell Smash". What you would do with this Cloyster is start with a Shell Smash. Shell Smash lowers your pokemon's Defense and Special Defense by 1 stage each in order to boost up your Attack, Special Attack, and Speed by 2 stages each. The Focus Sash ensures Cloyster will stay alive past the first turn, so you are guaranteed to get in a free Shell Smash. Now starting turn 2, you have a wide coverage with Water, Ice, and Rock, hitting just about everything for Super Effective, and you have a +2 in Attack and Speed in order to outrun the opponent and One-Shot almost all of them. Common counters to this Cloyster include Walls such as Forretress that can't be OHKO'd with a single Shell Smash, Pokemon with Priority moves, and a Sand Stream user such as Tyranitar.
Let's say they lead with a Fighting Pokemon. Since most Fighting Types carry either Bullet Punch or Mach Punch, it would be a good idea to switch Cloyster out into something else. Otherwise a first turn Brick Break would activate the Sash while you are pumping up, then a second turn priority move kill Cloyster before it had a chance to do anything. Fake Out also breaks the Focus Sash, so if you predict a first turn Fake Out, switch immediately into another pokemon to save Cloyster for later.
Chandelure Modest @ Wise Glasses
6HP, 252SpA, 252 Spd
Chandelure makes an amazing backup to Cloyster. Being Ghost/Fire, he is immune to Fake Out and Mach Punch, and he resists Bullet Punch fairly well. Most people take out Psychic for Shadow Ball instead for the wider coverage, but since I use it as protection for my teammates, and switch in against fighting a lot, Psychic has an amazing place on this Pokemon. There isn't much to say about him, except that he has the highest Special Attack in his tier, 3 immunities and 5 resistances, and isn't terrible with speed, either. He also completely locks out Volcarona or Blaziken without Stone Edge to ensure a free Calm Mind. But, he also has 5 weaknesses. Those being Rock, Ground, Water, Dark, and Ghost. So you have to keep those weaknesses in Mind when building the rest of your team.
Ferrothorn Relaxed @ Leftovers
252HP, 6Def, 252SpD
This guy has AMAZING physical Defense, not terrible Special Defense, and pretty high HP as well. One of the greatest walls of this Gen. He has terrible speed, so I gave him relaxed nature, which lowers speed, and Gyro Ball, which uses low speed to your advantage. His typing gives him an immunity to Poison, and resistances to 10 other types, including 4 of those that Chandelure is weak to, making him an amazing backup to Chandelure. Chandelure also works as an amazing backup to Ferrothorn, as Chandy is immune to both Fighting and Fire, which are the only 2 things Ferrothorn is weak to. The strategy for Ferrothorn is to switch him into play when you predict a move that would otherwise kill Chandelure. Now when he hits the field, you have a free turn to play out a layer of Stealth Rocks, or if Rocks are already in play, a turn to use Leech Seed as team Support while the opponent switches in a counter to your ferrothorn. As mentioned, his weaknesses are Fire and Fighting, both of which are already taken care of by Chandelure.
However, Chandelure is still weak to Ground, something that Ferrothorn isn't immune to. A good Earthquake takes quite a bit away from Ferrothorn and would OHKO Chandelure. And Cloyster is only good as a one time sweeper. So we need something that resists or is immune to ground. Perhaps something with Levitate? Or a Flying type? Or something holding an air balloon? Fighting types are a big annoyance to both Cloyster and Ferrothorn as well, especially if they've already killed Chandelure. So, a second pokemon that either resists fighting or is immune to it as well. How about a Water Absorb Jellicent holding an Air Balloon? It's immune to water, fighting, ground, and normal type attacks. He is also a good special defensive wall. So for our fourth pokemon, we have
Jellicent Calm @ Air Balloon
252HP, 252Def, 252SpD
Since this is a switch-in on Ground, Water, and Fighting types mostly, to protect your other teammates, I have Energy Ball to hit the Ground and Water Types, and Psychic to hit the Fighting Types. Will-O-Wisp burns the opponent, which in turn cuts their physical attack in half, meaning Jellicent's Defense becomes that much better. It already has pretty good Special Defense to take it a long way. Jellicent is weak against Grass, Electric, Dark, and Ghost. Ferrothorn and Chandelure both cover the grass weakness pretty well, Ferrothorn is resistant to all of it's other weaknesses, Ghost, Dark, and Electric. However, having just one pokemon to cover your weaknesses isn't going to be all the best. So we need to think of something that can resist Ghost, Dark, and Electric type attacks.
Krookodile Adamant @ Lum Berry
Here, we have Krookodile. This pokemon is immune to Thunder type attacks, and resists both Dark and Ghost. So this works as an amazing buffer for Jellicent. The Earthquake takes care of any Thunders it switches in against, the Brick Break is for any Darks, and the Crunch is for Ghosts. Crunch and Earthquake also gets boosted by STAB when used by him. Stone Edge just finishes out his good type coverage, hitting flying types for super effective. His weaknesses are Fighting, Bug, Grass, Water, and Ice. Every weakness here has 2 pokemon on the team already resistant to it, so he is already covered pretty well.
Looking back on our team, and it's weaknesses, we see Chandelure still has a glaring weakness to ground that isn't covered by anything else on our team except for the Air Balloon on Jellicent. So we need something that resists or is immune to ground, whose weaknesses are already covered by the rest of our team. Thundurus fills that role nicely, being immune to ground attacks, while also only being weak to Ice and Rock, 2 things we already have 2 pokemon with immunities to.
Thundurus Naive @ Life Orb
32Atk, 224SpA, 252Spd
Hidden Power Ice
I chose the moves there for universal coverage. Nothing out there resists all 3 of these, so I'm hitting for at minimum normal damage against everything. The Life Orb makes the hits stronger, and the ability gives priority to Taunt, making sure the opponent's can't do anything but attack you.
So, here's our final team and the weaknesses they have
Cloyster (only good at the beginning for an initial sweep anyway)
-priority moves (Chandelure)
-ghost (Ferrothorn; Krookodile)
-grass (Ferrothorn; Chandelure; Thundurus)
-electric (Ferrothorn; Krookodile)
-dark (Ferrothorn; Krookodile)
-Fire (Jellicent; Chandelure)
-Fighting (Jellicent; Chandelure; Thundurus)
-Water (Jellicent; Ferrothorn)
-Ground (Jellicent; Thundurus)
-Rock (Ferrothorn; Krookodile)
-Dark (Ferrothorn; Krookodile)
-Ghost (Ferrothorn; Krookodile)
-Fighting (Chandelure; Jellicent)
-Bug (Chandelure; Jellicent; Thundurus)
-Water (Jellicent; Ferrothorn)
-Grass (Chandelure; Ferrothorn)
-Ice (Chandelure; Jellicent)
-Rock (Ferrothorn; Krookodile)
-Ice (Chandelure; Jellicent)
This is an example of a well-balanced team. Every pokemon's weakness is backed up by at least 2 other pokemon that are either resistant or immune to that weakness. The sweepers on the team all have universal or near universal type coverage. We have a Stealth Rock user, we have 2 physical and 2 special sweepers, and we have a special wall and a physical wall. We have immunities to normal, fire, water, electric, fighting, poison, ground, and psychic, double resistance to grass and bug, and regular resistance to everything else. We can super effective hit every type out there. This team is extremely versatile and extremely well balanced. I'm not gonna say this team is gonna win championships, but it's a good beginner team to learn about switching and type advantages and stuff.
Good luck and happy battling