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Old August 24th, 2014 (3:58 PM). Edited September 2nd, 2014 by ~Justified~.
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    Pokemon Team Building Guide

    Gathering pictures and creating a table of contents to pretty up the thread a little bit...will update soon.


    Hello everyone, welcome to my Pokemon Team Building Guide! This guide was designed to help people who are struggling or are not very familiar with how to build a balanced Pokemon team. It is my hope that this guide will help you in some way. Suggestions for this guide are not only welcomed, but encouraged! Since this guide was primarily written by myself, it contains everything I know about team building, but there are things I am unfamiliar with (especially when it comes to competitive team building) so if you have a suggestion, something you want to add to the guide, or if you just want to help, feel free to post what you would like to help with. Should you choose to help in some way, you will be credited (even if it's just something small) for your contributions to the guide.

    -Magic Guard

    Introduction
    This guide focuses on how to build a balanced Pokemon team, the guide is divided into two parts: In-Game and Competitive. The In-Game section will focus on team building for In-Game use (Player vs Environment, or PvE). This section is not recommended for those building a competitive team, as it is not written with competitive use in mind. The Competitive section will be added later on, focusing primarily on competitive team building and battling.

    Part 1: In-Game Team Building
    This section is for In-Game team building only, it is not constructed to meet the needs of competitive teams. For help with competitive teams and battling, please see the competitive team building section.

    I. Pokemon Basics
    In order to build a Pokemon team, you first need to understand how Pokemon battles work. You need to have a basic understanding of stats, types, and moves. I'm going to assume that most of you are pretty well acquainted with the basics of Pokemon, but just in case you aren't, I'll give a brief description of the three most important aspects of Pokemon, and post links to other sites that can give you some more detailed information should you need it.

    Types are basically like elements, they are very important in team building. Every type has weaknesses and resistances, and sometimes, immunities. A type's Weaknesses are the types that it has a disadvantage against. For example, Grass types are weak to Fire types, so a Fire type damaging move would deal more damage than a normally effective type would. Resistances are types that do less damage to your type, they put you at an advantage because you recieve less damage from these types. Immunities are exactly what they sound like, they occur when a type is unaffected by another type, which means they deal no damage, putting you at an even greater advantage. Of course, there are other things to consider when building a Pokemon team, because the type-effectiveness chart can be changed by certain moves and abilities at any time during a battle, so it is important to know more than just the Pokemon's type. For a complete type effectiveness chart, and more information on Pokemon Types, Click Here.

    Stats are the unique attributes of a Pokemon. Each Pokemon has six basic stats: Hit Points, Attack, Special Attack, Defense, Special Defense, and Speed. During a battle, both the defending Pokemon and the attacking Pokemon's stats are taken into account. Hit Points, or HP, determines how much health the Pokemon has at the start of a battle, and how much damage it can receive before fainting. A Pokemon's Attack stat determines how much damage it deals to an opponent when using a Physical attack. The Special Attack stat determines how much damage a Pokemon deals to an opponent when using a Special attack. Defense determines how well a Pokemon can endure Physical attacks, while Special Defense determines the amount of damage it endures from Special attacks. Last but not least, Speed determines how quickly the Pokemon moves in battle and whether or not it can attack first. Stats can be altered during battle through the use of items, moves, and abilities. For more information on Statistics, click here.

    Moves are the attacks a Pokemon can use during battle. Like Pokemon, moves have types as well. Moves with the same type as their user get a boost to their power, called STAB (Same Type Attack Boost). Moves are divided into three categories, or groups: Physical, Special, and Status. Physical Moves deal damage based on the power of the move, the user's Attack stat, and the defending Pokemon's Defense stat, while moves of the Special category deal damage based on Sp.Atk/Sp.Def respectively. Status Moves, however, do not deal damage, but instead they inflict certain stat changes, status conditions, weather conditions, or other effects. Moves have two main traits: Accuracy and Power. Accuracy determines how likely the move is to hit the target, and Power determines the strength of the move. Some moves can be used outside of battle as well. For more information on moves, click here.

    If you still need more assistance, you should visit Bulbapedia, Serebii, or Pokemon Database. These sites have detailed information on multiple aspects of Pokemon games, and are very helpful.

    With that, Pokemon Basics is complete

    II. Natures and Values
    So what are natures and values? Well Natures are basically the personalities of Pokemon. Some Pokemon are Bold, some are Timid, some are Docile, etc. You get the point. The reason Natures are important is because they influence a Pokemon's stat growth. Some Natures increase the growth of a particular stat, while decreasing the growth of the other, and vice versa. Some Natures do not have any effects on a Pokemon's stat growth. For a list of natures and their affected stats, click here.

    Values also influence a Pokemon's stat growth. There are two types of values: Individual Values, and Effort Values. Each of the six basic stats has an Individual value (IV for Short; Also called Determinant Value/DV) associated with it, the Individual Values come into calculation along with a Pokemon's Effort Values and Base Stats to determine it's actual stat numbers. A Pokemon's IV's are determined when it is obtained as an egg, encountered in the wild, or given to the player. For more information on Individual Values and how they affect stat growth, click here.

    Effort Values are points that affect a Pokemon's stat growth in any of the six stats. An EV point is earned when a Pokemon defeats another Pokemon, and the EV point will be assigned to a particular stat. For a list of Pokemon and the EV's they assign, click here. *Note: Just click on the stat you want to earn EV's in, and it will list all of the Pokemon that assign those EV's when they are defeated*

    For every four EV's you earn in a particular stat, you will earn a permanent +1 increase for that stat. There are limits, however, on the amount of EV's you can earn in total and in each stat. Some items can be used to affect your Pokemon's Effort Values, for a more detailed guide on EV's you can visit these thinks:Serebii - Guide to Effort Values and Pokemon Database - Guide to Effort Values.

    That being said, this is the end of Natures and Values

    III. Building the Team
    Ok, now comes the fun part. The part where you actually build the team. Remember, you'll be sticking with your team throughout most (if not all) of the game. First, there are a few important things to remember when building an in-game team:
    • You Have Six Slots to fill up with party members. I would reccomend using a full team of six, as it provides you with the best coverage.
    • Use a Variety of Types unless you are doing a Monotype Challenge, you should try to avoid using too many Pokemon with the same type. Two Pokemon sharing the same type is okay, but remember that the more types you have, the more balanced your team will be.
    • Try to Avoid Using Legendaries legendary Pokemon are usually overpowered when they are used in-game, and most people avoid it when playing in-game. Legendaries are nice to capture, but they make the game too easy.
    • It's Okay to Use Pokemon You Like, but It's Important to Try New Pokemon As Well just imagine if you played through every single Pokemon game using the first team you ever used in Generation I. It would get pretty boring, right? Plus, you'd be missing out on a lot of awesome Pokemon!
    • Take Into Account the Pokemon's Stats When Deciding On What Moves to Give It this is extremely important, because if you give a Pokemon with a high Attack stat, a Special attacking move, it will not deal as much damage as it would with a Physical move. Be sure to learn your Pokemon's stats before deciding what moves to teach them.
    • Try to Avoid Giving Your Team Members Useless Hidden Machine Moves moves like Cut or Rock Smash can really hinder your movepool. I recommend using an HM Slave (A Pokemon that Learns these HM's For You to Use Outside of Battle but is not Actually a Part of Your Team) for such moves, while saving the more powerful HM moves (like Surf or Fly) for your Party Members.

    So here's a list of the starter Pokemon & their best stats (in the spoiler)
    Spoiler:

    *Type Key: Green = Grass, Orange = Fire, Blue = Water*
    Kanto:
    *Venusaur - Sp.Atk & Sp.Def
    *Charizard - Sp.Atk & Speed
    *Blastoise - Defense & Sp.Def

    Johto:
    *Meganium - Defense & Sp.Def
    *Typhlosion - Sp.Atk & Speed
    *Feraligatr - Attack & Defense

    Hoenn:
    *Sceptile - Speed & Sp.Atk
    *Blaziken - Attack & Sp.Atk
    *Swampert - HP & Attack

    Sinnoh:
    *Torterra - Attack & Def
    *Infernape - Attack & Speed
    *Empoleon - Sp.Atk & Sp.Def

    Unova:
    *Serperior - Speed (Decent Defense & Sp.Def As Well)
    *Emboar - HP, Attack, & Sp.Atk
    *Samurott - Attack & Sp.Atk

    Kalos:
    *Chesnaught - Attack & Defense
    *Delphox - Sp.Atk, Sp.Def, & Speed
    *Greninja- Sp.Atk & Speed (Decent Attack As Well)


    So what's the importance of the stats? Why did I list them? Well, I listed them so you would know what types of moves to teach your starter Pokemon. If it has a high Attack stat, it'll be good with Physical moves, if it has a high Sp.Atk stat, it'll be good with Special moves. Remember: just because a Pokemon can learn a move, doesn't mean it should. Many starter Pokemon learn moves that don't fit well with their highest stats.

    So after you choose your starter, you'll need some other Pokemon to back it up. How do you choose the other Pokemon? Well I would recommend a traditional Type-Cycle style approach.

    What's a type cycle? Click the spoiler!
    Spoiler:
    A type cycle is just a collection of types chosen based on the last type. First, you choose a type (most likely your starter's type) and then choose a type that is weak to that type for your next team member. You just keep going and eventually each Pokemon's type is super effective against the next. This is a great way to make a balanced team because it allows you to use a variety of types and it provides you with plenty of coverage.

    Examples of a type cycle:
    Fire > Grass > Water > Ground > Steel > Rock
    Fire is strong against Grass, which is strong against Water, which is strong against Ground, which is strong against Steel, which is strong against Rock, and Rock is strong against Fire! It's a type cycle!


    If you don't want to go with a Type-Cycle Team, you could do something similar where you evaluate your first Pokemon's weaknesses and choose a Pokemon that would give you the most coverage against those types.

    Example: Fire > Grass > Rock
    Fire is weak to Ground, Rock, & Water. Grass is super effective against all of those types, so it provides you with the most coverage (More than Water, Fighting, or Steel would, which would only be one or two types as opposed to the three covered by Grass.) Grass is weak to Poison, Bug, Flying, Ice, and Fire. Rock would provide you with the most coverage here, because it covers four of the five weaknesses, and since most Rock type Pokemon can learn Ground type moves (or are part Ground type) it also covers Poison.

    But types are not the only thing you need to consider, you also need to consider the opponents you'll be facing (Gym Leaders, Elite Four, etc.). If you build a team with a disadvantage to most of the Gym Leaders, it will be rather difficult to get through the game.

    Or, if you want, you could use a combination of stats and types to build your team. Remember, you want to try to avoid using two Pokemon of the same type.

    So how do you use stats to build your team? Well, if your starter Pokemon has bad Sp.Def, it is bad at enduring Special attacks, so you will probably want a Pokemon with high Sp.Def so you can balance your team a little more. If all of your Pokemon have a low Sp.Def stat, and you go up against a Pokemon with a high Sp.Atk stat, you won't last very long. You need a combination of Offense and Defense, a nice balance of stats and types to build your team.

    Ok so now that you've listened to me ramble here for so long, it's time for you to put your new skills to the test. I've got two sample teams below. Your job is to identify which one is the better team. (Note: These sample teams are for Pokemon Black & White)

    Team #1
    Spoiler:



    Team #2
    Spoiler:


    The answer is...Team 1! Pretty easy right? The first team had multiple Pokemon that shared a type, two legendaries, and almost all of those Pokemon are used offensively. There was little - if any - balance at all on this team. To improve it, you would want to first remove at least one of the legendaries, preferably two unless you want one of them one your team. Next, replace some of the types that overlap, with new types that would provide more coverage. Finally, find some defensive alternatives to some of the offensive Pokemon, so you have a nice balanced team.

    So what was good about Team 2? Well, it has really good type variety. Each Pokemon covers each other's weaknesses pretty well. It has a nice spread of stats too, with different mixes, some offensive, some defensive, some speedy, some slow, etc. It's all really balanced.

    With that, Building the Team is done

    IV. Movesets
    We're finished! Just kidding, we still need to talk about movesets! You already know that Sp.Atk = Good with Special Attacks, and good Attack = Physical Attacks. So how do you apply this to your Pokemon? Read the guidelines below when deciding on your Pokemon's movesets:

    *Remember: Just Because a Pokemon Can Learn a Move, Doesn't Mean It Should
    A good example of this is Feraligatr. Feraligatr has a great Attack stat, but it can learn moves like Ice Beam and Surf. These moves would not work well on Feraligatr because it has a way better Attack stat than a Special Attack stat, and, since Ice Beam and Surf are both Special Attacks, they wouldn't be the best for Feraligatr. Instead, think of some physical moves to replace those, like Ice Punch or Waterfall, these have the same types but since they are Physical Moves, they use Feraligatr's Attack rather than Special Attack, giving them an added power boost.

    *Just Like Your Team Should Have a Diverse Variety of Types, So Should Your Moveset Have Variety
    Some Pokemon have more variety than others when it comes to movesets. Feraligatr, for example, has a large variety of moves it can learn, while Typhlosion, only learns moves of a few types. This is not necessarily bad, but it helps a lot to have a diverse movepool. Try experimenting with different sets to see what fits your play style best.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Remember: Pokemon learn moves by leveling up, using Technical/Hidden Machines, Move Tutors, and Breeding. Try different ways to teach your Pokemon new moves!

    *Evolve Your Pokemon
    This is another important feature of Pokemon. When they evolve, they get a boost in their stats, but they learn moves more slowly. For most, the stat boosts are worth the extra wait, and sometimes, Pokemon cannot learn all of the same moves as their evolved forms. Do whatever you think is best for your play style.

    So now we come to the end of Part 1: In-Game Team Building. It was fun writing this guide, & I look forward to working with it in the future. I hope that this section has helped you with your understanding of Pokemon teams and team building. I also hope that you will post any questions or feedback you may have in the thread, and offer suggestions to improve the guide. Had a lot of fun writing this, and I hope to have even more fun expanding it in the future.

    -Magic Guard

    Part 2: Competitive Team Building
    Coming Soon!
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      #2    
    Old August 24th, 2014 (10:55 PM).
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    champagnepapi champagnepapi is offline
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    Nice guide man, i think you should add "consider the types of gym leaders and elite four" as a bullet point in section 3, however
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    Old August 25th, 2014 (8:59 AM).
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    ~Justified~ ~Justified~ is offline
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      Quote:
      Originally Posted by Exile View Post
      Nice guide man, i think you should add "consider the types of gym leaders and elite four" as a bullet point in section 3, however
      Thanks for the feedback! I'll expand on that point and update it soon
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        #4    
      Old September 2nd, 2014 (12:05 PM).
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      I think you need to change the exercise for the type cycling section. You asked which team was better and then said team 1 but gave all negative answers to it. Just 1 small mistake.

      Other than that, it's a really good guide. Can't wait to read the second part.
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