Introduction 100 wins at the Battle Tower is arguably the toughest requirement to get the 5 stars on your trainer card. Most of us could do without the frustration that tackling the Battle Tower leads to! In a desperate attempt to get 100 wins, some people end up using successful teams made by other people. Yet it would be much more gratifying to do so with an original team you came up with yourself. If you want to create your own solid team but are unsure where to start, keep reading. The aim of this guide will be to familiarise you with some of the common (and less common) Battle Tower strategies and what makes them effective. After that there will be an example of how you would go about creating a team. Hopefully by the time you reach the end, you will be equiped to design your very own innovative and unconventional team to take on the Battle Tower! The AI If you are reading this guide you are probably an avid Pokemon player and will know that your best shot at winning a battle is knowing as much as you can about your opponent and his team. Although the Battle Tower AI has a horde of teams at its disposal, it does have certain "tendencies" when it is playing. Being aware of these "tendencies" will make battling much more predictable. Furthermore, the AI's playstyle will have a significant impact on what kind of team you should make and how to design it. So before going into any strategy, let us go through some of those 'tendencies' because it plays quite different to playing real people. Here is an overview of the AI's playing style: Strengths: The AI knows your team and will adapt its own teams accordingly to some extent. The AI has significantly more luck than the normal game mechanics suggest Weaknesses: Very predictable Limited number of Pokemon and movesets for trainers Very rarely switches What is my Strategy? Now that you are aware of the AI's playing style you are ready to learn about some of the strategies designed to exploit its weaknesses. The two weaknesses they tend to capitalise on are: predictability and no switching. Not being able to switch is a massive handicap as it allows you to cripple the AI's lead and set up your sweepers! Selecting a team for the Battle Tower is about choosing Pokemon that work well together in order to execute a specific strategy effectively. There is no single Pokemon that is "the best" for the Battle Tower because it depends on the context it is used in. Bearing that in mind, here are some viable strategies you could go for: 1) All-Out-Offense If stat-reducing moves and status inflictions are not your cup of tea, this might be what you are looking for. This is a pretty straightforward strategy and has the advantage of disposing of enemies quickly so you can get through more trainers faster. Unfortunately, even the best of these teams will succumb to a streak of bad luck at some stage and you shouldn't expect to get far beyond 100 wins with this kind of team. In order to get the most out of your sweepers consider using moves like Destiny Bond when you have a Pokemon advantage. Using Choice items to get that extra Speed, Attack, or Special Attack may also be crucial. Obviously you want to go for Pokemon with a lot of Speed and Special Attack/ Attack. Motto: If the enemy does a lot of damage, we'll just have to do more! Strengths: Speed and power! Weaknesses: Focus Sash, Focus Band, Quick Claw, Counter, Metal Burst, Mirror Coat and general frailty! Overall: *** Example: Gengar @ Focus Sash Nature: Timid / Modest Ability: Levitate EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA 252 Spe Sludge Bomb / Shadow Ball Counter Destiny Bond HP Fire This would be a good example for a Pokemon in a BT team focusing solely on offense. With a staggering 130 base Special Attack and a high Speed stat Gengar can put a dent in almost anything! The goal is to kill off as many opponents as you can, then use Destiny Bond when you are about to die. Counter is for physical attackers you can't take out with your attacks and Pokemon that outspeed you. 2) Trickster The Trick-team is undoubtedly the most popular strategy currently being used by people at the Battle Tower. The idea is to Trick an enemy a Choice item and then proceed to set up a sweeper while they are stuck using one move! Trick teams generally consist of one Pokemon that can use Trick and two sweepers that cover all the type weaknesses so that setting up is easier. Common moves to set up a sweeper are: Dragon Dance, Swords Dance, Curse, Nasty Plot, and Acupressure. Ideally ,Trick leads will also have some additional moves that can reduce the enemy's offensive potential to set up your sweepers more efficiently. In order to be able to reduce your enemy's offense as much as possible, Trick leads usually have high defensive stats too. Some common ones are: Motto: Why play 4 v. 4 when 4 v. 1 is so much easier! Strengths: Quite reliable, very effective if executed properly! Weaknesses: Sticky Hold, Fling, U-turn, Choice items Overall: ***** Example: Spiritomb @ Choice Scarf Nature: Bold Ability: Pressure EVs: 252 HP / 124 Def / 132 SpD Trick Grudge Protect Taunt The strategy is simply to Trick your opponent into only using their first move. One option now is to use Grudge next until Spiritomb dies, forcing your opponent to Struggle whilst you set up a sweeper with Swords Dance or Nasty Plot. Protect can be useful to stall the PP of OHKO moves for instance. Taunt is for the chance that the enemy is locked into a status move like Thunder Wave or Will-O-Wisp and you don't want to risk a status infliction on the switch. If you're bored of reading already and want to see some battles, click here to see Spiritomb in action (I recommend turning your sound off). 3) Mementors Memento is a move that has phenomenal potential and is not used nearly as much as it could be. Sacrificing a Pokémon that may be dying anyway in return for reducing the enemy's offenses is a great trade-off if they won't be switching! A further advantage of Memento is that it can act as a free switch. We have all been in a situation where we really don't want to keep the current Pokémon in but fear that a switch could also be dangerous. Despite its huge potential, it is a strategy that has drawbacks too. First and foremost is obviously that the Pokemon using Memento faint and no further use during the battle. Critical hits are also a problem as thet can hit right through the reduced Attack! You also need to take care of Pokemon with abilites that ignore stat reductions like Hyper Cutter and Clear Body. Some of the ways you could work around these drawbacks is to use the moves: Substitute, Lucky Chant, Skills Swap and Destiny Bond, as well as the abilities Battle Armour and Sturdy. If you are considering this kind of team, some useful Pokémon you could look into are: Motto: Ha Ha, he's hitting like a lvl 5 baby! Strengths: Needs less type coverage, so more versatility in a designing team. Weaknesses: Clear Body, Psych Up, Hyper Cutter, OHKO moves, and critical hits. Overall: **** Example: Drapion @ Black Sludge Nature: Adamant Ability: Battle Armour EVs: 252 HP / 252 Att / 4 SpD Acupressure Substitute Crunch Rest Once you have reduced the enemy's offense to shreds using Memento, you send in Drapion. With the wonderful Battle Armour ability, critical hits will be a thing of the past. Acupressure away while the enemy barely scratches Drapion and proceed to finish them off with Crunch! 4) Tormentor The Tormentor is another strategy that hasn't really been attempted thus far. In case you're unfamiliar with the move, Torment forces your opponent to alternate between attacks! Due to the fact that the AI is fairly predictable, combining this with a move like Protect can make a solid combination. If the enemy's second move doesn't do too much damage, you can more or less do as you please every second turn! In order to pull off this strategy effectively you need to use Pokémon with a lot of resistances. If your opponent can simply alternate between a 100 Base Power and 90 Base Power move with both neutral damage you haven't gained much. Good candidates for a Torment team would be Dragon- and Steel-type Pokemon because they resist so many types. Since this is mostly a defense-oriented strategy use Pokémon that are built to take a hit! Some of the Pokémon that can learn Torment include: Bastiodon Dusknoir Heatran Mismagius Tyranitar Umbreon Motto: Prediction is key to secure a victory! Strengths: Very reliable and allows you to switch around. Weaknesses: 4x and super effective moves and heavy hitters. Overall: *** Example: Tyranitar @ Leftovers Nature: Impish Ability: Sandstream EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD Dragon Dance Substitute Protect Crunch Although Tyranitar does not have a whole bunch of resistances, its huge base stats make Torment extremely useful to it. After using Torment Tyranitar just switch between Protect, Substitute, and Dragon Dance until Tyranitar has sufficient boosts to sweep. If you can get your Torment lead to add in a Thunder Wave and some Flashes this will be even easier! 5) Sleeper Another possibility is to try and put your opponents to sleep. They may not be asleep for very long so you will need to act quick, relying on moves like Swords Dance and Nasty plot to set up fast! Unfortunately, the best Sleep inducing move is Spore and only 3 Pokemon can learn it: Breloom, Parasect, and Smeargle. None of these have particularly good speed or defensive stats. The only reliable alternative is Yawn, which has the drawback that it needs 2 turns to kick in. Nonetheless, some promising ones you could look into are: HippowdonSmeargle SnorlaxUmbreonUxie Motto: Sweat dreams, suckers! Strengths: Renders enemy completely harmless for 2-3 turns! Weaknesses: Lum Berry, Chesto Berry, Early Bird, Insomnia, and need to act fast. Overall: ** Example: Umbreon @ Leftovers Nature: Bold Ability: Synchronise EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 6 SpD Torment Protect Flash Yawn Yawn is used because it is reliable in getting your opponent to sleep. Protect has quite a few uses here: HP recovery, Yawn stall, OHKO move PP stall, and scouting for moves. Flash is there in case you want to dick around with enemy's accuracy. After Yawn kicks in, switch and set up! Strategies summary This was an overview of some of the various strategies you could use in the Battle Tower. The more of these you can combine into one team, the more you spread the risk and the more effective your team can be. The latter Umbreon was a good example of this. The Sleeper Umbreon combined both the Sleeper and Tormentor strategies! Designing an actual team! Now that we have gone through some of the theory behind designing a team, it is time to design one from scratch! Trick and All-Out-Offense teams have been done ad infinitum, so let's not go for one of those. Other people have done Yawn teams, so here goes the first ever attempt at a Memento chain team! Strategy: Memento + Memento to cripple enemy offense and set up deadly sweeper. Potential problems: Clear Body, Critical Hits, Hyper Cutter, Psych Up, & OHKO moves. Clear Body/Hyper Cutter: This is going to be one of the biggest threats to this team so let us address it first. Skill Swap seems like the best way to go about this, as it will let us use Memento afterwards! Since it will get awkward to start switching around when we already have a problem we will want to have Skill Swap on our lead Pokemon. The Pokemon we could consider that learn both Memento and Skill Swap are: DrifblimGalladeGardevoirMismagiusUxie It is better not waste an entire Pokemon on Skill Swapping, getting a Pokémon with good defenses could be good here. Alternatively, a fast Pokémon with Focus Sash could also be able to pull of Skill Swap + Memento. Yet the latter is more vulnerable to hail / sandstorm, Quick Claw, high speed opponents, and priority moves. A further advantage of a high defense Pokemon is that we could also do some pesky weakening moves to our opponent if they have poor offense! For this reason, let's go for the bulkiest on the list: Uxie! Uxie @ Leftovers Skills Swap Memento Filler Filler Further problems? Memento does a great job at cutting offensive stats. However, it does not guard your sweeper from critical hits or OHKO moves while setting up. Failing to do so would be a disaster after having already sacrificed two Pokemon with Memento. Although Subtitute can act as an excellent damage cushion for such attacks, it does mean you need to move before your opponent. Solution: As long as we can ensure we have a Speed advantage over our opponents, Substitute can take care of this problem! Uxie's two filler moves can be Thunder Wave and Knock Off, that way we take care of opponents with high speed or Quick Claw! Now all we need is a sweeper with good Speed and Substitute. We also really need one that can completely ravage opponents once set up so lets go for Garchomp! What we have so far is: Uxie @ Leftovers Skills Swap Memento Thunder Wave Knock Off Garchomp @ Lum Berry Swords Dance Substitute Outrage Earthquake Earthquake and Outrage provide good coverage for sweeping while Substitute offers some Protection. Lum Berry takes care of Outrage confusion but also Effect Spore, Static and Flame Body. In order to complete the Memento chain we will need one more Pokemon with Memento. There are a couple of Pokemon to choose from and we'd like to get one that covers any weaknesses our current duo may have. So far one potential problem arises when the opponents use high critical hit rate moves on Garchomp. Air Cutter and Night Slash are two fairly common examples. Although Substitute will mediate the critical hit problem to a certain extent, it would be even better to get rid of them altogether. Lucky Chant would be a good move for our last Pokemon as it blocks critical hits. The Pokemon that can learn both Memento and Lucky Chant are: Gallade, Mismagius, and Gardevoir. None of the above have good defences so we are probably best off using Focus Sash on them to make sure we can use both Memento and Lucky Chant before they die. Since Mismagius has the most Speed, she will probably be the most reliable, so let's go for her! Mismagius @ Focus Sash Lucky Chant Memento Thief Taunt In addition to Lucky Chant and Memento, Mismagius has two move slots left. Thief can be useful to use on Pokemon that have a Quick Claw if you didn't have enough time to remove it with Uxie (eg. Metagross). Taunt can help you deal with annoying moves that Garchomp hates: Taunt, Destiny Bond or Perish Song. So this is our final Memento Chain Team: Uxie @ Leftovers Nature: Bold Ability: Levitate EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4SpD - Skill Swap - Thunder Wave - Knock Off - Memento Mismagius @ Focus Sash Nature: Jolly Ability: Levitate EVs: 252 Sp 252 Def - Thief - Taunt - Lucky Chant - Memento Garchomp @ Lum Berry Nature: Jolly Ability: Sand Veil EVs: 4 HP / 252 Att / 252 Spe - Swords Dance - Substitute - Earthquake - Outrage 10 Closing Tips: 1) Use Substitute on your sweepers to guard against items and moves like: Focus Sash, Quick Claw, priority moves, Brightpowder, and more from ruining your strategy! It is usually more important to have a Substitute up than get your 6th Dragon Dance or 3rd Swords Dance! 2) Choose Pokemon with the highest base stats unless you have a specific purpose in mind. 3) Select types with a lot of resistances to give you room to switch around and cover weaknesses. Good example types are Steel- and Dragon-type Pokémon. 4) If possible, combine as many strategies as possible so that if one fails, you have a back-up plan! 5) Do NOT leave anything to chance! Even if you can kill 99% of all Pokémon that can come next with 5/6 Dragon Dances, get the last Dragon Dance as long as you have a Substitute up and it is safe to do so! 6) Play it safe and make sure you can handle a critical hit at any time. Don't hope that you won't get one at a specific time if you have an alternative because critical hits WILL happen when they are most inconvenient! 7) Try to avoid moves on your Pokemon that do not have 100% accuracy, chances are you would regret it very soon! 8) Choose your natures and EV spreads carefully, taking into account specific threats on the list of Pokémon at the Battle Tower! 9) Make use of this search tool to look for the Pokemon you can find at the Battle Tower (Diamond/Pearl/Platinum/HG/SS only) 10) It can be useful to find out what Pokemon each trainer you face can have. Check out this Pokémon trainer list and all the Pokemon they have! Have Fun and Good luck!