Beginner's guide to 1v1

By Articuno I, Dream Eater Gengar, and Fake Melo. Art by Litra.
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Beginner's guide to 1v1


The 1v1 metagame revolves around a rather simple idea: you bring a team of three Pokémon and pick one of them at Team Preview. Because of this, there are only really two places where skill is important: teambuilding, so that you'll be able to pick a Pokémon that can beat the Pokémon your opponent will bring, and working out which of the three Pokémon your opponent will bring. The format is also generally very offensive, and because there's no switching there's very little difference between a check and a counter. This means that Pokémon such as Mega Mawile can remain unbanned without being overpowered, as Pokémon such as Mega Charizard Y can run sets that counter it. Because of this, the banlist is as follows:


Banned Pokémon:

Banned Items:

Banned Moves:


Teambuilding is a very important aspect of 1v1 despite what many may think. It requires a great amount of metagame knowledge, along with plenty of experience as a player. As a teambuilder, your objective will be to make sure your team isn't so cookie cutter that it can be easily beaten, and it should also be built with intent of reducing the amount of 50/50s you encounter. If you're not familiar with it, a "50/50 situation" is a situation in which you and your opponent both have a 50 percent chance at winning. Teams will always have some weaknesses; however, a skilled teambuilder can make a team where the Pokémon support each other well and you have a higher chance of picking a Pokémon that can win you the matchup. As a newer player, your teams will not be perfect your first few builds; you will need time to learn the meta and what counters what before you can put together a solid team that can do well.

Here's some help to get you started! First step, you have to decide which Pokémon you want to build around. By looking through the Viability Rankings, you check which Pokémon lose or win against yours; then, the second Pokémon should be based around the weakness of the first Pokémon so that no Pokémon can easily beat your whole team. As for the last Pokémon, you have to see if your team needs a way to defeat stall or offensive threats in the metagame, and it's important that this Pokémon is able to take on as many Pokémon as possible that threaten both your other Pokémon. Using original sets or lures can strengthen your winning chances, as this enables your Pokémon to defeat a Pokémon that was once counted as its check; for example, Choice Specs Kyurem-B can defeat Mega Mawile, which otherwise can get past it easily. One of the most viable strategies is tweaking EVs to survive a hit that would otherwise KO. Let's take a Kyurem-B against Golem scenario; usually, an Ice Beam from Kyurem-B should be able to take out Golem, but if Golem tweaks its HP and Special Defense correctly (in this particular case, 252 HP and at least 40 SpD), it will be able to survive a hit and retaliate. A common strategy used by teambuilders is to have a glaring weakness to a Pokémon at Team Preview but use a lure set for that Pokémon on one of his Pokémon. Remember, it will take some time for you to learn the metagame and build a good team, so if you don't get it right the first time, just keep practicing and build another team.


The most important choice during a 1v1 match is graved in it's beginning: the moment you pick your Pokémon out of your three will define the outcome of the match, so knowing how to make the right choice is the secret of successful 1v1 players. When picking a Pokémon, it's important to analyze your opponent's team, decide what Pokémon has the highest chance of winning against them, and then make your selection based on those odds. This can be done by putting yourself in your opponent's skin and think "If I were in his place, which Pokémon would I bring?" This, of course, can only be done if you understand what Pokémon can beat what, which is done by getting lots of practice games in! Let's not forget that your opponent will try to predict you also, which enforces inevitable mind games and 50/50 situations. As a player, you will always have to account for the occasional gimmick or mix-up set, but you should always be taking these odds into consideration first when picking your Pokémon. Battles are much shorter in 1v1 compared to other formats; most games are going to come down to a few turns at most, unless someone brings stall. With this in mind, it's natural that certain moves that wouldn't be viable in most tiers are viable in 1v1, most notably recharge moves such as Blast Burn, Hyper Beam, and Hydro Cannon. Such moves are double edged, since with that high power count, you have a high chance of OHKOing your foe, but if such moves fail to OHKO (such as when your foe sets up a Substitute), you will give your opponent the upper hand, reducing your chance to win. In addition to that, sets that don't see quite often the light in other tiers shine in 1v1, notably Outrage Mega Charizard X, Charm Chansey, and; how can we forget these; the Counter and Mirror coat combo used by Deoxys-D, Swampert, and the list goes on...

Popular Sets

These are just a few sample sets that are rather common on the ladder, and for a good reason. We recommend playing around with sets like these when building teams, as they will give you a decent team with which you can easily learn more about the metagame. You can find more sample sets like this in the 1v1 Viability Rankings thread. Alternatively, the Playstyle Archetypes resource can help you find both good Pokémon to use and good teammates for said Pokémon.

Mega Mawile

Mega Mawile
  • Mawile-Mega @ Mawilite
  • Ability: Intimidate / Hyper Cutter
  • EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Spe
  • Adamant Nature
  • - Play Rough
  • - Iron Head
  • - Sucker Punch
  • - Swords Dance | Fire Fang

Mawile is a very threatening Pokémon, to the extent that it doesn't require two Pokémon to cover its weakness, but one that can check its common counters. It can take on a plethora of Pokémon on its own, including Kyurem-B, Mega Gyarados, and Meloetta due to its amazing typing paired with Intimidate. On the other hand, Hyper Cutter helps deal with other Mega Mawile, Intimidate Salamence, and Charm Chansey. It still gets stopped by common Fire-types; notably Charizard's Mega Evolutions; and other viable 1v1 Pokémon such as Greninja and Aegislash. If you're looking for a good teammate, you can grab Kyurem-B, which checks Fire- and Ground-types with ease thanks to its typing as well as other threats such as Greninja. Another good partner would be Meloetta, as it is a special hitter that can get past physical walls, notably Mega Slowbro, and is able to keep Mega Mawile's counters in check.

Mega Slowbro

Mega Slowbro
  • Slowbro @ Slowbronite
  • Ability: Oblivious
  • EVs: 252 HP / 144 Def / 112 SpD
  • Bold Nature
  • IVs: 0 Atk
  • - Iron Defense
  • - Scald
  • - Rest | Slack Off
  • - Amnesia

While the most notable threats in the metagame are often offensive, the defensive threats can be just as scary for unprepared teams to face. Mega Slowbro is a good example of this, boasting astounding physical bulk alongside usable special bulk, and an ability, movepool, and typing that work together well. It can boost its defenses faster than most setup sweepers can boost their offensive stats and proceed to burn its foes with Scald and slowly whittle them down or PP stall them if they have recovery. While normally this tactic would be thwarted by a single crit, Mega Slowbro's ability comes in handy here, giving it an immunity to them. Like the offensive Pokémon, it has a number of options: Rest allows it to beat status users and PP stall a lot of other common stall Pokémon, while Slack Off allows it to do better against offensive Pokémon, such as allowing it to beat Mega Mawile without having to fish for a burn. It can run Calm Mind over Amnesia to bolster its offensive presence, and it can even run Counter to catch physical attackers by surprise. Generally, however, it's a more predictable Pokémon than the more offensive ones listed here. It is afraid of specially offensive Pokémon, such as Mega Charizard Y, Meloetta, Mega Venusaur, and Latios, so it likes to be paired with bulky offensive Pokémon like Kyurem-B, Meloetta, and Latios or specially defensive Pokémon such as Chansey and Deoxys-D.

Mega Charizard Y

Mega Charizard Y
  • Charizard-Mega-Y @ Charizardite Y
  • Ability: Blaze
  • EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
  • Timid Nature
  • - Blast Burn
  • - Solar Beam
  • - Ancient Power
  • - Will-O-Wisp

Charizard is a great Pokémon to use on a team, regardless of it being X or Y, as it takes a bit of thinking on your opponent's part to figure out which Mega Evolution you're bringing, and not many Pokémon are capable of beating both. Charizard also doesn't fear Stealth Rock like in traditional 6v6 formats, making its typing very nice, with limited Rock-types in the tier. With the boosts from sun and STAB, Blast Burn is capable of hitting many threats extremely hard, to the extent that Focus Blast is rarely run, as there are very few relevant Pokémon in 1v1 that are hit harder by it. Mega Charizard Y's sets are all rather similar in terms of moves, though it has a few EV spreads to cover different Pokémon. So what beats it? Well, dedicated special walls, Rock-types, or offensive Choice Scarf users could bring an end to Mega Charizard Y's terror, notably Chansey, Diancie, Kyurem-B, and Mega Charizard X. Mega Charizard Y loves teammates that are able to beat these Pokémon, so it likes to be paired with Kyurem-B, which can take on most of Mega Charizard Y's threats by itself thanks to its coverage, bulk, and raw power. It can also be paired with a faster Choice Band user such as Dragonite, which can take on not only bulky threats with the power boost but also offensive threats thanks to Multiscale.

Mega Charizard X

Mega Charizard X
  • Charizard-Mega-X @ Charizardite X
  • Ability: Blaze
  • EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
  • Jolly Nature
  • - Dragon Dance
  • - Outrage
  • - Flare Blitz
  • - Will-O-Wisp | Earthquake | Substitute

Sharing the surprise factor that Mega Charizard Y has, Mega Charizard X also brings a lot of offensive presence to the table in the form of Tough Claws and STAB-boosted contact moves. It further powers them up via setting up with Dragon Dance and can also beat many physical attackers by running Will-O-Wisp or Counter. Mega Charizard X fits into teams like a new pair of socks, as its typing gives a synergy with top-ranked Pokémon like Mega Mawile and Meloetta, letting them past problematic Steel- and Fire-type Pokémon. However, it is stopped by faster offensive threats, bulky offensive threats that take advantage of its typing to deal with it such as Mega Gyarados, Choice Scarf Kyurem-B, and Meloetta, and defensive monsters such as Chansey and Mega Slowbro. To mitigate this weakness, it likes having Mega Mawile by its side, as it can take on problematic faster Dragon-types and Gyarados, which can beat Mega Charizard X with ease. Another good partner would be the passive staller Mega Slowbro; due to its bulk and typing it is able to take on Ground-, Rock-, Fighting-, and Water-type Pokémon, which cause trouble for Charizard.


  • Kyurem-Black @ Choice Scarf
  • Ability: Teravolt
  • EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
  • Naive Nature
  • - Outrage
  • - Fusion Bolt
  • - Ice Beam
  • - Earth Power

Kyurem-B is another popular Pokémon on the ladder, with good reason. It offers a lot to 1v1, with its sweet offensive typing, decent movepool, and great stats, not to mention that its ability is also very helpful against Sturdy Pokémon, Mega Venusaur, and Multiscale Dragonite. Kyurem-B's Choice Scarf set is the most popular and arguably the best, though it has a wide variety of sets including Choice Specs, Haban Berry, and even Weakness Policy, so be sure to play around with them. Being able to check Kyurem-B is hard depending on its sets. Each set of it has different checks, which makes it a top-tier Pokémon; the most popular Pokémon that are able to beat Kyurem-B are Choice Scarf users like Latios (which can struggle against bulky sets) and defensive walls such as Chansey, Mega Slowbro, and Porygon2, all of which have difficulty dealing with the Choice Band set. Offensive threats such as Mega Mawile and Aegislash are able to take on different Kyurem-B sets to an extent. Many Pokémon pair well with it; one example would be Greninja. The frog can take on most of Kyurem-B's checks thanks to its ability Protean, high Speed, and wide movepool that lets it handle Latios, Aegislash, Mega Slowbro, Meloetta, and Mega Mawile.

Getting Involved

Getting involved in the Other Metagames community is easy and definitely worth your time. OM has a smaller userbase than some other subforums and is a lot less intimidating. If you're interested in getting involved, definitely take some time to check out the OM Sub-forum. Regarding 1v1 itself, you'll want to scroll down until you see our thread: ORAS 1v1. This is where most 1v1 discussion will take place, while other discussion will be in the 1v1 Viability Rankings thread found on that same page. For a real-time discussion of the metagame, try the OM room on Pokémon Showdown! Here, people will be happy to help you with your team or discuss how different Pokémon and sets do in the metagame.


I guess the take-home message here is: learn the information you have available to you, use this information to strengthen your teambuilding and battling skills, and then practice 'till you pass out. You can't simply get better at something without practice, and 1v1 is no exception to this claim. If you, as a newer player, are able to comprehend this information and practice with the knowledge obtained, you should have no issues becoming a better 1v1 player. Happy laddering!

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