Introduction to Competitive Battling
This might be a forum for in-game team rates, but if you're like me, you came to PokéCommunity to become the best Pokémon battler possible. For those of you who have that same urge, competitive battling might be for you. What is competitive battling? Simply put, competitive battling is when you battle players from all around the world with one goal—winning.
However, these players have also defeated the Elite Four. They also have trained powerful Pokémon in their hand held games. If you haven't taken the hint, I mean to say that real opponents are far more difficult than the Elite Four or even the Battle Frontier/Tower. How can you transition from beating down the AI to fighting real opponents, each with their own well thought-out teams and strategies? That's what this guide is for!
II. Getting Started—What's Different?
Obviously, competitive Pokémon battling is a great challenge to players who are used to fighting against the AI. The key to overcoming that challenge is understanding the differences between in-game play and competitive play, and once you master these differences, you will be able to grow as a battler. Before you can do that, however, you must be mentally prepared. This might sound cheesy, but you really do need to approach competitive Pokémon with the right mindset or it is likely that you will not succeed. It is important that you leave the idea that you are a "Pokémon master" at the door. If you are stubborn and want to insist that you cannot be beaten, not only will you be disappointed when you start playing against good players, but you will likely alienate the people who would otherwise be the first to help you. It is important that you are open-minded, as you will have a lot of information to absorb. If you ever need any help, go the the Competitive Battling Center. (If you haven't noticed, this is a sub-forum) You can also come on the PC Pokemon Online server for help.
With that under your belt, you will need to learn how to cope with the very different environment of competitive Pokémon. Smogon's Introduction to Competitive Pokémon also provides a very useful tool for getting started. It covers many important things that, because they are explained just fine there, will not be covered in this guide. For that reason, it is extremely important that you read the guide. As for what is especially important, make sure you understand clauses, the tiers, and the importance of EVs, IVs, and natures. On ShoddyBattle, IVs are automatically set at 31 each and you can change natures and EVs in a few seconds, so it's considerably easier to adapt to competitive battling on a smiluator since you can change teams much more quickly.
III. Building and Improving Your Team
Once you think you have the basics of competitive battling down, it is time to build a team. Building a good competitive team is not easy—many top battlers often go for long periods of time without making a good team. It is important not to get discouraged, as you will pick things up as you go and will get better, and you will be able to edit your team according to your needs.
Where do you begin when team building? It is a good idea to check CBC's Compiled Guides, especially the Team Building Guide. Though slightly outdated, it still provides a good starting point. Also useful is Smogon's Article Page, which has an assortment of articles related to different aspects of competitive battling
Once you have made your team, it is a good idea to test it out and see how it holds up. If you are having trouble or just need general tips, you can post a Rate My Team (usually just called an RMT) in the Competitive Battling Center, which is when CBC regulars, who are all experienced competitive battlers, can give you advice to improve your team. For tips on making an RMT, look here. Also, if you are worried about posting because of S&M's reputation as an intense "Flameland," don't worry about it, as you can always report any post that breaks the rules to a moderator, and the situation will be taken care of.
Once you have a good team that you are good at using, competitive Pokémon becomes less of a learning experience and more of an experience where you can just have fun battling other players. You can always hang out on PC's Pokemon Online server and ask for advice there; it's very laid back, and you will get many different opinions quickly. Of course, you can also test your teams on there and learn the game. Since CBC's competitive battling population has really declined in numbers, so we're counting on you guys to join in and have a good time!
In addition, you can participate in CBC's tutoring program, located here. If you're having trouble with any aspect of competitive battling, one of our tutors should be able to help you out!
We hope you found this guide helpful! If you have questions about competitive battling or something relating to this guide or the forums, feel free to contact one of our friendly moderators.