Frequently Asked Questions

By Relados and Zarel. Art by Birkal.

These questions are commonly asked in the chat on Pokémon Showdown. This FAQ is here to minimize the sheer number of questions asked every minute.

If the question you have is not here, please ask in the chat or in the appropriate forum thread and it may be added to this resource. Thanks to verbatim, Marty D, shnen, and Vacate for their help in revising it.

Q: What is Smogon?

A: Smogon is the most popular online Pokémon competitive battling community. PS is just one part of Smogon, being the official Pokémon Simulator for the community.

Q: What are the commands and how do I use them?

A: Type /help or /? to see a list of commands sorted by category. You may type those commands directly in the chat to use them.

Q: How do I change / choose my username?

A: Log out of your account using the gear button in the top right then click the "Choose name" button. You will be prompted to select a new name, and, provided it is not already taken, you will be able to use it. You can also use the /nick command in the chat.

Q: How do I register my username?

A: Win a rated battle. A button asking you to register will show up in the battle room and in the main chat. Clicking it will start the registration process. Alternatively, click the gear icon in the top right and select "Register".

Q: How do I change my avatar?

A: Type /avatar to see the list of avatars you can choose from. Type /avatar #, where # is the number of the avatar you want to have (the space between avatar and # is important).

Q: How do I check my rating / another user's rating?

A: Type /rank to see your own rating for all tiers. To see another user's rating, add a space and their username after the command.

Q: How do I change the color of my name?

A: You can't change the color of your username.

Q: How can I get a custom avatar?

A: Only global drivers and higher (%, @, &, ~) are permitted custom avatars. Custom avatars have to be manually implemented so it just isn't practical to add them for every user that asks. While there are exceptions to this rule, you aren't one of them.

Q: Where can I participate in tournaments?

A: Type /tour to see a list of the current tournaments hosted in the server and in which rooms they are. You can also play tournaments in the Official Tournaments room which hosts a variety of tournaments regularly. Alternatively, you could try the Smogon Tournaments forum.

Q: A mod is abusing their powers. What can I do?

A: If a room Moderator or Driver is abusing their powers, bring relevant logs and screenshots to a room owner (#). If a room owner is unavailable and the case is urgent, PM a Moderator (@) in the lobby. If you believe a global staff member is abusing their power, PM all relevant information to a Leader (&) or Administrator (~).

Q: I was punished unfairly. What can I do?

A: Your first point of contact should be the staff member that punished you. In the event that you do not know who punished you, try asking a staff member to check and refer you to the appropriate party. If the staff member who punished you is unwilling to remove the punishment, contact a Room Owner (#). If the punishment was in the Lobby or was a global punishment and the staff is reluctant to remove the punishment, PM a Leader (&) or Administrator (~).

Q: Does Pokémon Showdown support Double / Triple / Rotation battles?

A: Pokémon Showdown currently supports double and triple battles. You may challenge a foe or friend to several double battles formats: VGC 2014, Smogon Doubles, Random Battle, Custom Game, or Challenge Cup. Furthermore, VGC 2014 is ladderable, as is Smogon Doubles. Pokémon Showdown still does not support Rotation battles, but there are plans to implement them at a later date, as well as Wonder Launcher battles.

Q: How do I make a team?

A: Click on Teambuilder on the left side of the screen, and it will walk you through the steps to make your team.

Q: How do I import teams from PO?

A: First, export the teams from PO. Copy the text of your team and then click the Import/Export button on the Pokémon Showdown Teambuilder. Paste the text in there and click Save.

Q: My teams keep getting deleted. What is going on?

A: Pokémon Showdown currently saves teams in your browser's storage. Deleting your cookies will delete your teams. You may either change the setting on your browser or go to Backup/Restore in the Teambuilder and copy your teams to save them in a text file for easy importing later if you are afraid of losing them. If you are using the downloaded client you can simply save your teams in a folder.

Q: How do I use the team I just made in a battle?

A: Above the 'Look for a Battle' button there will be two other options to choose from. The top button will allow you to select a tier to play in while the button below that will allow you to select a team for that tier.

Q: How do I save a log of the battle to watch later?

A: After you have finished a battle, click the Share Replay button. In a few seconds, a window will pop up with a link to your battle saved on the Pokémon Showdown Replay Viewer. This link can be shared and will show a full replay of your battle including animations. If you were not in the battle, you can type /savereplay at any point to save the replay. You can search for saved replays here.

Q: What is GXE?

A: GXE stands for Glicko X-Act Estimate. The number shown is the percentage that a player has of winning against any other random player.

Q: What is CAP?

A: Type /cap for an introduction to the Create-A-Pokemon project.

Q: What is Balanced Hackmons / Hackmons?

A: Please see the thread for Balanced Hackmons. Hackmons is the same idea, except there are no restrictions at all.

Q: What is Gen-NEXT OU?

A: Gen-NEXT is Zarel's personal mod. You can see the manifesto here.

Q: How can I make my own server?

A: Zarel's GitHub contains a tutorial on how to set up a server. You can also type /opensource for more details. For further server help, such as getting your server registered, try #showdown on IRC.

Q: How can I find information on a certain Pokemon / item / move / ability?

A: Type /data then a space and the name of whatever it is you want information about (not case-sensitive).

Q: Can [Pokemon] learn [move]?

A: Type /learn Pokemon, move to check whether the selected move can be learned by the selected Pokemon.

Q: Why did [move] raise / lower my [stat] by [X] stages instead of lowering / raising it?

A: Your Pokemon had the Ability Contrary, which reverses stat stage changes.

Q: Why did [move] raise / lower my [stat] by two stages instead of one?

A: Your Pokemon had the Ability Simple, which doubles stat stage changes.

Q: How do I report bugs or make a suggestion?

A: There is a Bug Reports thread and a Suggestions thread for these purposes.

Q: What is IRC?

A: IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat. The PS group system was based on IRC ranks and many Showdown, Smogon, and general Pokemon discussions happen there. The main Pokemon Showdown channel is #showdown, where much of the technical activity goes on. For general Pokemon discussion, use the #pokemon channel.

Q: How do I send a user a private message?

A: One way is to scroll down through the list of online users and clicking on their name. A box will appear that has various commands on the bottom. Click PM open a box to private message them. You may also type /msg username, message or /w username, message, where username is their username and message is what you want to say to them (the space and the comma are important).

Q: How do I challenge another user to a battle?

A: As with private messaging, click on their name on the online users list. Click the Challenge button, select the specifications (tier, your team), and challenge them. If they choose to accept your challenge, the battle will begin. You may also type /challenge username, where username is their username (the space between challenge and username is important).

Q: My opponent is timerstalling. Can anyone help?

A: Timerstalling is abusing the battle timer system by consistently waiting a long time before making a move. If your opponent is timerstalling, you should PM a Moderator (@) in the lobby.

Q: Someone is abusing me through PM. What can I do about it?

A: If it is not too serious, use the /ignore username function which will not show any messages from that user. In the event that this escalates, you can PM a global staff member with appropriate screenshots and logs.

Q: What do symbols next to a person's name mean?

A: Type /groups to see this list at any time. See the staff faq for more information.

  • + Voice - They can use ! commands such as !groups, and talk during moderated chat
  • % Driver - The above, and they can also mute users and check for alts
  • @ Moderator - The above, and they can ban users
  • & Leader - The above, and they can promote moderators and force ties
  • ~ Administrator - They can do anything
  • # Room Owner - They are the owner of the room
  • ‽ Locked - This user cannot talk in rooms or in PM
  • ! Muted - This player cannot speak in this room

Q: What does this star (★) in front of my username mean?

A: This rank denotes the players in a battle. It allows them to use ! informational commands and set modchat up to +. This rank does not exist under normal circumstances outside battles.

Q: What is a good rating?

A: What is and isn't a good rating generally depends on the tier and how active it is. Check the top 100 players on the ladder to get a better idea.

Q: What is this move called Magikarp's Revenge?

A: Magikarp's Revenge was designed for testing multiple effects on the same move. It is not a real move and is not allowed in standard battles, although you can use it in Debug Mode.

Q: Why did this user gain / lose so many points at once?

A: The amount of points you win or lose is determined by the difference between the two players' Elo ratings. The player with the higher rating has a higher expected chance to win and will gain less or lose more in case of a win or loss respectively. The player with less points would inversely gain more and lose less.

Q: Why is the server shutting down?

A: In order to implement new features, to solve bugs or to get rid of lag, the server needs to restart time to time. Don't worry, the server restarts once most battles have ended and new battles are prevented from starting. The restart itself lasts for just 0.4 seconds.

Q: Can I host a tournament? Is there a tournament system on Pokémon Showdown?

A: There is a tournament system, depending on the setting room owners and room moderators or only room owners can start tournaments using it. You can also host tournaments in the Tournaments chat room by using an external bracket generator such as Challonge.

Q: Are leagues allowed on Pokémon Showdown?

A: Pokémon Showdown does not officially support leagues.

Q: What is Modchat?

A: Modchat is when a moderator+ restricts the chatroom to a certain rank of user. There are different types of modchat and they are:
Autoconfirmed: A user is autoconfirmed when they have won at least one rated battle and have been registered for a week or longer.
+: Only those with + and above may talk.
%: Only those with % and above may talk.
@: Only those with @ and above may talk.
&: Only those with & and above may talk.
~: Only those with ~ and above may talk.
The players of a battle may also set modchat up to level + in their own battle room.

Q: What does a lock do?

A: A lock prevents a user from talking in chats of any kind and lasts until the server is reset or a staff member removes it.

Please try not to ask any of these questions in the main chat.