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XY/ORAS Singles Competitive Battling Guide: Team Building

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Expert FPS Player
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The first step to making a competitive battling team is deciding what you want to use in your team, and what role you want each Pokemon to perform within the team. Here's some tips and pointers to help you work out what you should be taking into consideration and what you should be aiming for when building your team.

1 ) Make sure you have no obvious type weaknesses running throughout your team with nothing to compensate for them. For example, a team running 3-4 Pokemon weak to, say, Fighting, while the other 2-3 Pokemon take neutral damage from Fighting is at serious risk of being wiped out single-handedly by a single Fighting-type Pokemon. Just having a single Ghost-type on such a team however would greatly offset this as it grants you an immunity to the type in question that you can switch in to defend yourself. If you do notice any type weaknesses shared by multiple team members, make sure you have a Pokemon or strategy to deal with that weakness if you don't want to swap out one or more of the Pokemon that carry the type weakness in question.

2 ) Touching on the first point a bit further, avoiding weakness to certain specific Pokemon is very important also, especially at higher levels of competitive play were certain specific Pokemon species turn up quite frequently. As an example, we'll say Therian Thundurus is very common, thanks to its Electric/Flying-type, Volt Absorb and immense power and speed. As it's an Electric-type, you'd think a Ground-type Pokemon would be useful, especially if it has a Rock-type move to hit Thundurus with, but Thundurus also gets Grass Knot. Anything with good Sp.Defense could slow it down, but Thundurus can carry Taunt, Substitute and Nasty Plot to neutralize your wall and then boost its Sp.Attack further, and you've no way of knowing what your opponent's moveset is if you've never seen their team before. When making a team, consider what Pokemon are popular and/or very strong currently as far as you know, think about everything those Pokemon are capable of and make sure you have a strategy or approach to them that your team can provide.

3 ) Using your favourites is fine, but don't overdo it. While I do tend to focus on using my personal favourites in battle (or at least some of them) since we all have our preferences, you have to be able to give realistic assessment when making a team, if you're planning to win at all anyway. I mean, sure, Spinda may be your favourite Pokemon of all time, but in competitive matches Spinda's atrocious stats leave it rendered obsolete by pretty much every other Normal-type in the game. Instead, the best idea is to pick about 3 or 4 of your (faster, stronger, better) favourites, and fill the rest of the team with Pokemon that compliment those favourites. For example, if three of your favourites share a weakness to Ice, a Pokemon like Vaporeon could fit in very well. If your four Pokemon each lack a solid method for dealing with Haxorus sweeps, perhaps Skarmory could join the team to take care of that? Sure, some of the Pokemon that end up finding their way into your team in this manner may not be your favourite ones to use, but they'll drastically improve your performance and who knows? You might find your newcomers end up becoming some of your favourites too over time – I know I did.

4 ) Not every team requires a strict balance in offense and defense. Stall teams focus primarily on defensive strategy to very slowly wear down the opposition while trying to reduce or heal off their own damage as much as possible. Other teams utilize mostly sweepers to swiftly destroy the opposition, relying on good prediction and stallbreaking methods to achieve this. As long as a team is equipped to deal with obvious common threats and has no other blatant weaknesses running through it, it doesn't matter how much it focuses on offense, defense or a balance between the two. Stick with whichever strategy you are most comfortable with when making your team and don't feel as if you have to have a bit of everything if you find success with one specific strategy.
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