Introduction This guide is written for people that already understand the basic mechanics of Pokemon, ie Battle Clauses and Tiers. If you have no idea what those are, start by learning about those first, before reading this guide. I’ll try to focus myself on the beginners out there, that have been battling for awhile, but just don’t seem to get the hang of it. This guide can alsol be useful for people that have been battling for longer but seem to get a lot of losses. I am aware there is a beginner’s guide on the Pokemon Online Wiki, although I find it very lackluster in terms of explaining how to do well in competitive battling as a beginner. Hence, I made my own. Team creation To start off with, you should know that people play to win in the competitive Pokemon environment. This means that people will not use Pokemon in their team because they are cool, but because they are viable in the tier they’re playing in. If you use Pokemon based on if they are cool, you’re most likely going to lose most battles. If you want to stand a chance against more experienced players, you will have to make a team of Pokemon that are in the tier that you want to play. If you have troubles building a team, take a look at one of the many guides here on the Pokemon Online forum. My suggestion is that you use one of the top teams over in the RMT sections that you find easy to use, until you get the hang of competitive battling. I started out this way too many years ago, and it’s the best way to learn the ways of competitive battling in my opinion. Switching One thing that beginners don’t seem to understand is that you can switch. Most beginners don’t switch during battle, but act like it’s the cartridge they’re playing, and let a Pokemon die before switching a different one in. This is not the way to victory in competitive play. If it’s obvious that the opponent is going to outspeed and KO you, or if you are at a type disadvantage, switch. If your Pokemon is at 25 percent health, and you have a safe switch to go to, switch. Don’t let something die because you’re lazy or think that a Pokemon with low health can’t be of use anymore. In the beginning, don’t be surprised if people predict your switches to hit your incoming Pokemon with a super-effective attack. After you learn to switch, you can take that next step, which is predicting opponent’s moves yourself. Prediction Good prediction is important in being successful in competitive battling. This doesn’t mean that you need to predict every single move, which will most likely lead to overprediction. In turn, overprediction leads to one of your Pokemon being KOed, which could cost you the game. You need to weigh the rewards and risks before every decision you make. Don’t just do something, think about it. This is one of the common mistakes beginners make, they quickly make a move without thinking. To give an example of how to make a decision based on risks and rewards: You have a Tyranitar out, while the opponent switches in a Lucario. Naturally, you are at a type disadvantage. Now you think about the risks and rewards; if you stay in, Lucario KO’s you. If you switch out however, it might Swords Dance and from there KO the rest of your team. Because the reward (preventing Lucario from sweeping your whole team) is bigger than the risk (losing only Tyranitar), I decide to use Focus Punch. Of course, above situation most likely would happen during midbattle, when everything is weakened. In the beginning you can play safe by switching, because you probably have a hard counter for Lucario. If you have the option to go to a safe switch, do it. Don’t try to predict when you don’t have to. An exception would be if you’re at a losing position, when you’re forced to take more risks. Team preview In Gen 5 Wi-Fi metagame, you have the chance to look at your opponent’s team before the battle starts. Use this to create a battle strategy. Look at your opponent team and look at what Pokemon in your team has the most potential to sweep, and what requirements have to be met to make that sweep possible. Example: I have a Dragon Dance Haxorus, but I see that the opponent has Skarmory and Suicune. I can never get past both of those when they're at full health. This means that I have to try to weaken Skarmory and Suicune enough so that they can’t stop Haxorus. This might mean doing things like using Explosion on Skarmory. If that's what is needed to weaken it enough for a potential sweep, do it. The point is, never go into battle without a strategy. Look at what the opponent’s team is weak to, and what things you need to be aware of in the opponent’s team. If they have a Dragonite, and your only counter is a Cloyster, you need to make sure that you don’t let Cloyster get KOed before his Dragonite is KOed. In short, don’t just think in short term, but also in long term. Losing Especially in the beginning, you will lose a lot. Everybody that started Pokemon has had this happen in the beginning. The point is to not give up and stay motivated. If you continue battling and reading stuff about Pokemon, you will get better quickly. Even when you’re getting better, you will still get losses, especially since the role of luck is so present in Pokemon. At the end of the day, new players should realize that, while winning is important, any individual win is near meaningless. Any given player can win on any given ladder match; what is more important is winning in the long run. The best player in the world can still lose, even to newcomers, but will likely be able to maintain a much higher win-loss ratio.