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Guide: How to Become a Pokémon Battle Tournament Master

Posted by Katy Ellis

Hi guys, so how long have you all been playing Pokémon games for?

Daniel: I started playing Pokémon in 2012 with a pre-owned copy of Pokémon Black. While I don’t believe it to be the best in the series, it was a good starting point for honing my skills.

Dominic: I have been playing Pokémon for about 10-11-ish years now as I started with the original Pokémon Red and Blue - I chose Charmander as my starter for those wondering [laughs]. I still love the series to this day and hope to be playing it for as long as I can hold a console.

Oliver: My first Pokémon game was Pokémon Leaf Green, which my parents bought around 10 years ago. I've been interested in singles competitively for around 3 years, but I'm very new on the VGC (doubles) scene however, with only about 3 months' experience since the regional battle tournament.

Francis: I have been playing Pokémon for nearly my whole life. I started when Pokemania started in 1999 and I was still a small child. I went to the Pokémon Black and White launch in London to meet the original character designer, Ken Sugomori and I got his translator to tell him, "Thank you so much. Your creations gave me a really happy childhood and without Pokémon, I would have been a very depressed, lonely child!" Sugomori then smiled and hugged me and from that point on, I got back into Pokémon and didn't stop!

Nintendo Life: How many hours would you say it takes to get a squad of Pokémon ready to battle at a competitive level?

Oliver: Once you have genetically ultimate Dittos and experience in breeding (I'm so glad they changed the breeding mechanics in X and Y!) it normally takes around half an hour to an hour to breed a Pokémon, and maybe another hour to EV train (thanks to hordes) and then slightly longer to level. I often keep my 3DS on with a card against the Circle Pad to level! If we're talking team testing, that could take anywhere from an hour to 6-7 hours or more - I'm still tweaking the team that I used to win the Grand Finals. I think I feel comfortable with a team after around 10 hours of training and testing.

Dominic: As my DS got stolen at the tournament in West Quay I had to buy a whole new system and game and re-start from scratch in less than a month in time for the tournament. I had to completely rebuild my team, therefore I have been playing nearly non-stop for the whole month and have clocked up 190 hours total game time.

Francis: At the start you can waste days building a competitive team, but once you get into the swing of things, it becomes fun. Breeding a perfect IV Pokémon could take as little as 10 minutes and I would do all my EV training while on the bus to and from University.

Nintendo Life: What's more important - accuracy or power?

Daniel: I would say that both are equally important, because there’s no point in using a powerful move with terrible accuracy as it’s likely to miss, but you need power to make holes in the opponent’s team. I try and use moves that have a mix of the two, such as Earthquake or Thunderbolt.

Oliver: I would say that accuracy is mostly more important. If you want to win consistently, then you need to make sure your moves hit as often as possible, because otherwise you risk losing the game. As a rule of thumb, don't go below 80% accuracy. However, there are scenarios where it is far better to trade accuracy for power. For example, a Flamethrower from a Goodra will not always knockout a Ferrothorn in one hit. You have a much better chance for a one-hit knockout with Fire Blast.

Dominic: I think you need a mix of both power and accuracy to do well in competitive battling. However I tend to lean towards accuracy because I like to know that my move is going to hit the opponent. For example, I like to use Scald over Hydro Pump on my Greninja because not only is it guaranteed to hit, it has a chance of burning as well which can come in massively handy when using on say a Tyranitar.

Nintendo Life: What Pokémon would you say is your strongest asset, and why?

Francis: I would say my strongest asset in the tournament was my Politoed and Amoonguss. Politoed helped set up the rain and provided additional support for Joshua along with Encore support. For Joshua, I saw his most strongest Pokémon was either Kingdra (for spread, rain-boosted muddy water) or Talonflame since his idea to win was simply to use Brave Bird over and over again.

Daniel: My strongest asset is definitely my Tyranitar. As my team is built around Sandstorm, it's Sand Stream ability really helps. Also, it really packs a punch with moves like Crunch and Rock Slide.

Dominic: During the tournament my strongest asset was either my Goodra or my Ferrothorn. My Ferrothorn got me out of lots of tight spots thanks to its great typing (Steel/Grass) and its amazing defensive stats. My Goodra was also great because it fainted many a Pokémon throughout and I just generally love it for its power and its capabilities as a special defensive wall.

Oliver: The obvious answer would be Tyranitar. I haven't done the maths, but I'm pretty sure most of my knock-outs were with him. However, the reason it did so well was also because of my Meowstic, who was able to set up Reflect and Light Screen, as well as Safeguard, to allow Tyranitar to stay healthy and also live super-effective hits so that its Weakness Policy could be activated. That was another thing - it was also successful because it was unexpected: players expect a Tyranitar with Ice Beam and Fire Blast holding Life Orb because that's the most common, which I knew going into the tournament. That's how I won my final battle - my opponent was absolutely not expecting Weakness Policy. If he had, I could have easily lost.

Interested in giving competitive Pokemon battling a shot? Here are some handy links to get you started:


You've heard it from the pros, now why don't you put our tips into practice and enter the next online Pokémon X & Y competition - the 2014 International Challenge May. Registration opens on 8th May at 8am Eastern / 1pm UK / 2pm Central Europe on a first-come, first-served basis, with the competition taking place from Friday 16th May until Sunday 18th May. Each battle follows Double Battle procedure, with only Pokémon from the Kalos Pokédexes allowed to enter - so make sure you read the full list of rules before you start creating your ultimate team. Good luck trainers!

A big thank you to Nintendo UK for arranging this interview and event, as well as providing images.

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User Comments (21)

Shire

#1

Shire said:

Geodude actually gives EVs in defense, not attack.

But, uh, great article!

FlyinCactusBear

#2

FlyinCactusBear said:

"Most people in the competitive Pokémon community are eager to help and get more people into the meta-game."

In my experience, this is a very untrue statement. Most people in the competitive Pokémon world are jerks. Elitists. It took me a LONG time to understand the meta-game because people were so obstinate and downright rude.

burninmylight

#5

burninmylight said:

@FlyinCactusBear

Unfortunately, that's been my experience as well. This is why I haven't been in any hurry to get into Pokemon competitively like I dreamed about so vigorously back during the Gen 1 days. I don't mind losing; I do mind being made fun of for using a Pokemon not normally seen in competitive play.

That, and I'm just not hardcore enough to sit in or two spots for hours on end and grind away for EV points, breed, grind away, breed, grind away, breed...

PvtOttobot

#7

PvtOttobot said:

@FlyinCactusBear It's true, its only because my neighbour (and longtime friend) taught me all that he knew (from internet research), that I now enter the comps when they come along. The meta game community take them selves WAY to seriously and encourage a very elitist community.

GalacticMario28

#8

GalacticMario28 said:

It's great to hear some insight from the pros. Those are definitely some helpful tips. It's nice to know that there are pro players who are nice and open-minded about giving advice to others.

Meaty-cheeky

#9

Meaty-cheeky said:

I tried using defensive moves before and I still lose in battles to people that do a full on offensive attacks.

Cresartist

#11

Cresartist said:

I'm going to be that awkward guy in the minority, but what about the trading card game?

Cinaclov

#12

Cinaclov said:

@Fireninjastar This event just focused upon the videogame, and I assume as a videogame site it'd probably get coverage priority over the card game if there were a joint tournament anyway. There are plenty of sites out there that cover the TCG though if that's what you're interested in. And who knows, maybe nintendolife will cover the TCG as well when the UK VGC happens later this month?

As for everyone who's saying they've only had negative experiences with the community, that's really disappointing to hear. My own experiences have largely been really positive, and whilst I wont pretend that some people don't take everything too seriously I'd have said overall the competitive community is a really friendly and approachable one.

ZenTurtle

#13

ZenTurtle said:

Pokémon is fun, but the tournaments are just taking it a bit too far... People take it so seriously to the point of delusion with the actual point of the game- to take fun from battling, collecting and trading.

Doma

#14

Doma said:

I wonder if Game Freak will ever attempt to modernize this series.

midnafanboy

#16

midnafanboy said:

The one thing i don't like about this article is it said use battle spot i do put the people i face only use legendary's for there team and i hate that.

BackSlashJay

#21

BackSlashJay said:

@FlyinCactusBear I'd just say you were mixing with the wrong people. I'm pretty new to the competitive field but have really come to understand the metagame because of the support of quite frankly great players. These elitists you talk of are the minority that really ruin it for the rest of us.

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