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Pokémon Black & White battle tips

Marti Bennett shares her tips ahead of next week's UK Championships

Pokémon games continue to evolve with every generation and one of the most notable changes is always the battle mechanics. So ahead of next week's Pokémon National Championships I'm going to share some of my Pokémon Black and White battle tips.

Many older fans will remember the simple days of type advantages when that was pretty much all you needed to know to know to get by. With the release of Ruby and Sapphire in 2003, the battle system received a drastic overhaul meaning players were now required to learn battle strategies.

I will let you into a little secret: I only learned most of the changes introduced in Ruby/Sapphire at the age of 19 when I was training for the Pokémon Video Game Championships last year. I don't know why I didn't try and learn what exactly 'naďve' meant on my Pokémon's stat screen.

Sure type advantage is still enough if you want to beat the story but little did I know how much better my Pokémon would be in battle by learning about all these changes.

This year I am going to be more prepared and with the Pokémon Video Game Championships just one week away, I am going to attempt to give you guys and girls some tips for the top. I hope this doesn't spoil my chance of winning.

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When you look at your Pokémon's stats screen you will see that it has a nature. There are many different nature combinations that can either make or break your new monster in battle.

Some natures will increase its power in one stat but lower another stat. For example, if your Pokémon's most powerful moves are special attack based, a nature that lowers special attack stat would be a hindrance.

Black and White have made natures more understandable by highlighting in red the stat that is increased, while the stat that is lowered is highlighted blue.

My advice is to check that your Pokémon has a helpful nature. It doesn't increase or decrease stats by a lot but a helpful nature really helps make the best out of your Pokémon.

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Move Variation

I always recommend teaching Pokémon a good variety of moves to help out in sticky situations. If possible, I would try and have one type of move per Pokémon including one move that is the same type as the user.

For example, an Emboar - a Fire type - can learn a couple of electric and grass moves. If an Emboar with grass and electric moves was to go up against a Water type Pokémon you might just win the fight despite being at a type disadvantage.

However, be aware that many type combinations exist and this might not work in every situation. With the reusable TMs in Black and White, you've got a good opportunity to play around with moves and see what works for you.

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Double Battling

The Pokémon UK Video Game Championships use the double battle mode, meaning you'll have four Pokémon each. Double battles, in my opinion, require more skill then single battles because your Pokémon need to work alongside one another to make powerful move combinations.

Lets use the move Earthquake as an example. Earthquake will hit every Pokémon on the field (apart from the user obviously), including your partner Pokémon and could even knock it out.

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22 comments so far...
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  1. jimbob555 Saturday 28th May 2011 at 07:53

    EV train or you will never win.


  2. codcam2 Saturday 28th May 2011 at 08:03

    What jimbob said. You got the natures in there, the varied moves, but EV/IV training are essential. If you've trained for the championship without EV/IV training, two words. Start over. You need to breed a good nature, and have IV's of at least 20+, otherwise you'll get knocked out more times than there are pigeons!

  3. metalgario Saturday 28th May 2011 at 08:46

    You may think EV is really important, but so is skill and luck. Doesn't matter if your Hydreigon is EV'd, one Close Combat from me and your down for the count.

    Let's make this year about having fun with a good battle strategy, not just maxing out your attack stat. :)

  4. pompeyuni12 Saturday 28th May 2011 at 08:53

    good predictions can also win a match as well, not that anyone is psychic. But sometimes obvious plays can be easily countered. Items too....Just don't over-predict - 'he thinks im going to do that, so im going to do this, but he expects me to do that secretly....etc.

  5. Grifter Saturday 28th May 2011 at 09:30

    Bulbapedia has good tips.

  6. lol95 Saturday 28th May 2011 at 10:50

    You may think EV is really important, but so is skill and luck. Doesn't matter if your Hydreigon is EV'd, one Close Combat from me and your down for the count.

    Let's make this year about having fun with a good battle strategy, not just maxing out your attack stat. :)

    With everyone else EV training, it's just not practical to not EV train yourself if you want to do well.
    And if my Hydreigon has a Chople berry the Close Combat isn't going to KO my dragon and your defenses will be lowered making it easier to knock your Pokemon out. Strategy is important, but EV training is the foundation (IV breeding + Natures as well if you want to be technical) of competitive battling. Yes it may suck the fun away sometimes but it's not going away. Without EV training, your "Sweeper" would be slower than other Pokemon or have less Attack, the same with any bulky Pokemon, they'd be less likely to survive attacks.

    It may not be on these top tips, and I can see why Marti would avoid the subject, but if you're going EV training will play a key part in your win/downfall. Sorry if I'm sounding harsh I'm just trying to get across the point that everyone and their Grandma will be using this technique at the VGC.
    Anyone who wants to find out more here's a couple of pages I used when I was starting out a few years ago, the ideas are still the same:

  7. Darkblizz Saturday 28th May 2011 at 10:59

    "Bite the kerb, ten year olds! EV training, bitch! Playing for fun is for babies. You have to be the best at everything or you are not a MAN."

    Sorry, went off on a tangent there....

  8. lol95 Saturday 28th May 2011 at 11:42

    The article "Top Tips" would be for people not fussed about doing well and playing for fun then, wouldn't it. I'm just pointing out a competitive advantage others will have and explaining that if you want to win you might want to use it. Sorry for coming off as a jerk. :|

  9. metalgario Saturday 28th May 2011 at 11:50

    I take into consideration natures and weaknesses, what moves will B/W pokemon can have and how to defend against high stats. Your Crygonal may be fast and you get the first hit in, but a Sawk with Sturdy can withstand that and counter. Hold items and abilites are crucial too :)

  10. PokeMarti Saturday 28th May 2011 at 17:31

    OK I knew after this was posted I would have to explain myself.

    I decided against the inclusion of EV/IVs because, to be honest, its alot to explain and complicated. Not to mention IV training could lead onto dangerous teritory as it can be manipulated and yes....dont think I should be discussing that kind of thing. EV's while important, are also abit complicated to explain and would need a whole blog on there own.

    Yes Pokemon is heavily based on luck and there is no perfect team.

    I understand these are very basic points, but not everyone has been playing pokemon for the last 10 years or so, and it might just help some new pokemon players out. :)

  11. Captain Kuchiki Saturday 28th May 2011 at 19:28

    To quote Trip "That's Basic".

    Also, while weather was prominant in VGC09 (Sun getting me into the Top 16) and VGC10 (with Kyogre and Groudon), in VGC11, it won't get much use, due to the lack of an automatic start. The only thing I can see is Priority Rain Dance with Thundurus, and maybe Sandstorm due to Excadrill and Landorus.

    My main advice, would be to carefully scan your opponent's team when selecting your Pokémon; don't pay attention to the positions of your opponent's Pokémon as they may have done that to deliberately mess you up - look at the Pokémon their using; if they have low speed, and they run something like Musharna, Reuniclus, Audino or Conkeldurr along with Amoonguss and Chandelure, there is a chance that they will be running Trick Room.

    Also, watch out for Thundurus and Tornados; they're very popular choices, and along with Whimsicott, have the Prankster ability which means all their status moves gain priority.

    Then there's item selection, which is very important this year, as unlike last year, you can't swap them between your Pokémon. Focus Sash is an important item this time around with a lot of mirror-match potential.

  12. Samurai Sonic Saturday 28th May 2011 at 22:01

    It's a bit basic, but as you said, hopefully it will be able to help some newcomers. =)
    Besides, it doesn't need to really go in depth with anything. Anyone who is taking it seriously will already know pretty much everything they need.
    So congrats on the article, Marti, and hopefully I'll see you and Colette there next week.
    Even though you don't know who I am. ¬_¬

  13. Kirby8 Sunday 29th May 2011 at 01:48

    Decent post. Like others said, kinda simple. Won't really effect your chances of winning because most people would have thought of many of these things already, LOL! Like others said, EV should have been mentioned, but it's understandable that it won't be simple to explain it to people. I don't really EV train (like I said to you Marti =)) as I've never really gotten around to it, but I think I get how you do it. It's got a lot of stuff to it, so yeah...but maybe a small mention would have been good.

    It might be good to newcomers. But these people will have to be people who never played pokemon before at all. You don't have to have played competitively or train all the time to know these simple I'm sure most people jump at the chance of giving their pokemon a secret move so to speak just for normal in game play. As in a move which the opponent might not expect you have so keep their pokemon out, and gives you the opening to cause some damage. Also, double battles is something a lot of people do too. I tend to do it and have a pokemon with earthquake and another who is flying type, makes for some good combos. You should have mentioned in that part to find some moves that hit both opponents at once, but not your ally, such as heat wave. Strong move as well. Also I think abilities could play an important part too, as in general ones, not just the weather based ones.

    So yeah, a bit simple. But I suppose there are a lot of people new to the pokemon genre...and I guess some may fancy a chance at competitive battling.

    Serebii and Bulbapedia has good tips about EV training. Just make sure you grab some pokemon which are powerful and aren't susceptible to too many types (not too many weaknesses). And make sure your team is able to beat all types and combo types that come at you. If they bring out a pure psychic, for example, and you don't have a move that can kill it, then bad times (but I'm not sure why you would do that). Some combo types are tough to hurt (e.g. Spiritomb, although not relevant here) make sure you have something that can kill them. Problem is, I would have some small tips (not a huge competitive battler, but looking to get into it more)...but not relevant to Unova pokemon. I've been WAYYY too busy to analyse all the Unova pokemon yeah, not much help. Guess that's what happens when you have 6 exams. BLEH! Nearly over now. Bye 1st year of Uni.

  14. Robbie Keane Sunday 29th May 2011 at 11:17

    Try to pack counters for specific Pokémon. As a competetive Smogon battler myself, you should pack counters for Ferrothorn's Leech Seed combos. Espeon's Magic Bounce is a fantastic counter. Also, EV train, breed good IV's, bring something with a Priority move (e.g. Scizor's Bullet Punch), all that good stuff.

  15. ArmouredSwampert Sunday 29th May 2011 at 13:54

    One thing you forgot to mention: This year's VGC rules means that Pokemon from B/W will be the only species allowed. So if you plan on turning up with TTar and Scizor, you won't be able to take part.

  16. Shmilly Sunday 29th May 2011 at 15:25

    I've only flicked through the comments, but seriously: held items. An obvious factor besides the usual talk of EV training. Especially good when held items complement abilities; give something like an Absol with Super Luck a Razor Claw, and that massive attack stat is combined with huge critical hit ratio for sweeping potential. Obiously some items and combinations are banned, so learn the rules too. What I've really loved this gen is Cloyster becoming a powerhouse. Its ability Skill Link means its signature move Icicle Spear has base 125 power + STAB. Lethal against dragons.

  17. pompeyuni12 Sunday 29th May 2011 at 17:11

    Try to pack counters for specific Pokémon. As a competetive Smogon battler myself, you should pack counters for Ferrothorn's Leech Seed combos. Espeon's Magic Bounce is a fantastic counter. Also, EV train, breed good IV's, bring something with a Priority move (e.g. Scizor's Bullet Punch), all that good stuff.

    Magnezone with Magnet pull and hp Fire and charge beam is the ultimate ferrothorn counter!

  18. Eragon Firesword Sunday 29th May 2011 at 21:42

    If you want spare time to do anything else in the day aside from Pokemon, don't bother IV training.

  19. ThePokekid78 Monday 30th May 2011 at 09:51

    Hopefully, no-one's actually going to think 'yeah, now I can blitz the world championships thanks to Marti's advice!' Sorry, no chance. Natures DO make a big difference, EV training IS essential to win, your pokemon NEED the correct held items to work along side their moveset. The reason she didn't mention these things were that this article is very simple, and a lot of readers would not understand EV's and IV's.

  20. PokeMarti Tuesday 31st May 2011 at 07:08

    I managed to get top 64 last year without IV fuss, and I'm not sure if I propperly EV trained. Really is luck at the end of the day.

    I really thought I had included held items in this....but yeah they are very important too >_<

  21. ThePokekid78 Tuesday 31st May 2011 at 19:28

    Sorry Marti, I wasn't having a go at you, just pointing a couple of things out to the average reader whose 1st pokemon game may be black/white, and who dont understand pokemon properly yet. Sorry if I offended you! Well done for getting to the top 64 WITHOUT proper EV training - I'd be interested to know what team you used?...

  22. KoreeluStromboli Wednesday 1st Jun 2011 at 10:30

    To increase your chances of winning, it is crucial to give your Pokemon a wide variety of moves with the use of TMs and breeding to get Egg Moves to cover their weakness and make them as diverse as possible. EV training, making Pokemon hold items, and the perfect natures and abilities also lends serious hands when it comes to competitive Pokemon battling.

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