How to Battle and Win. (For newer players)


The Enterpriser.
is a Tiering Contributor

Hello Smogon! I'm Shurtugal, here with my partner CTC, and my editor Eclypse to make a simple, yet efficient guide for you all! I've talked about many things when it comes to Pokemon before and have made guides previously; however, I decided to discuss pratically everything that has to do with battling in this simple little guide! I won't get to teambuilding in this guide; however, I'll make one upon a request. You all ready for me? Cause I'm ready for all of you.

Beginning + Risk vs. Reward​

The first few turns should be used to scout. This is where you apply basic predictions to analyze - or scout - your opponent's play-style and some of their sets. HOWEVER, the most important thing in the beginning is to identify the key threats against you. This is where you must use the Team Preview. I recommend pasting it in the chat box at the start of the battle so you can view the opponent's team at all times, simply deleting a Pokemon when you defeat it (for PO players only). Additionally, look at the six Pokemon you’re going to be facing and try to determine what your team fears most. Think of every set possible for each Pokemon and how you can beat it no matter what set it is. This is also a good time to see whether you’re at a team disadvantage or not. For example, a Hail team will often be very weak to a Sun team.

Risk vs. Reward is the concept that every option has their risks and their rewards, and that by applying this theory you can make logical choices based of the benefits and risks involved with your move - or game plan - choice. The most Obvious plays (previously mentioned) will usually have the lowest risk level. More critical plays, like attempting a double switch or going for an unexpected attack for a very specific play, have high risks. To determine when you should use a prediction, remember this concept. Logic and reasoning will help you weigh your choices, but this is where experience comes in, which improves your prediction filter. It also comes from forming a good game plan, which also can only be built upon from experience. Once you form a game plan, fulfill it. If your plan is solid, you should have a very good standing in virtually any battle.

I'm going to briefly touch on what a "game plan" is. A game plan is basically the way you predict is the most efficient way for you to win. For example, you might notice that your opponent has a weakness for your LO (Life Orb) Mamoswine. Your game plan can simply be to preserve Mamoswine and to beat down its possible counters so you can Mamoswine sweep your opponent. A game plan can be many things - simple or complex - but you should know that a good player will have more than one game plan so he or she can shift to another plan if one begins to fall apart.


Time to refresh and make connections. Predictions usually occur during a "50 / 50" scenario - which basically means you have to use your judgement alongside your game plan and risk vs. reward to decide which move to use. These scenarios usually occur early midgame or lategame. Basically, there are four different levels of prediction: The most expected move is what is called the Obvious play. From there, one can predict Obvious plays, predict that they'll predict the Obvious play, and, finally, predicting them to predict you to predict them to predict the Obvious play. Confused? Reread what I just said. Go ahead. Take some time to let it sink in, because once you understand the types of predictions, it’s straightforward to recognize them and to use them. However, when do I apply these predictions? Well, first, these moves must be used when you predict them, hence the definition of predict. However, there are a few tips that can help you make the proper prediction. The start of the match should be limited to: Obvious plays and predicting the Obvious plays. You can predict the Obvious plays, but unless you’re fighting a highly skilled player, you won't be needing to think too much on the first turns. The beginning of the battle determines your fate for the rest of the match, so it's very important to understand this phase of the game.

Applying the Current Information + Examples​

Team Preview

Your Team:

Opponents Team:

Shurtugal: Looking at his team, my Scarf Politoed should be able to do a number to most of his members. Specs Tornadus-T should also be able to dent just about everything - with only Terrakion strong enough to endure a Specs Hurricane (well, so can Tyranitar, but smart playing can ensure a OHKO from specs FB). I suspect either Latios or Keldeo is his Scarfer, so I'll keep that in mind as I battle. Landorus is probably that Special RP / Sub set, which really does threaten my MVP Pokemon Jirachi. If I can win the weather war, I vouch that I should be able to beat down on the other members. Let's go over the first 5 turns.

CTC: Looking at Shurt’s team, Landorus absolutely destroys any switch-in. I need rocks down ASAP and preferably Feraligatr gone. Scizor also has the potential to do work late-game with threats weakened.

Shurtugal from MVP joined.
CTC joined.
Format: OU (current)
Rule: Sleep Clause
Rule: Species Clause
Rule: OHKO Clause
Rule: Moody Clause
Rule: Evasion Clause
Shurtugal from MVP's team:
Politoed / Feraligatr / Breloom / Tornadus-Therian / Terrakion / Jirachi
CTC's team:
Landorus / Tyranitar / Terrakion / Latios / Keldeo / Scizor
Battle between Shurtugal from MVP and CTC started!
Shurtugal from MVP sent out Jirachi!
CTC sent out Latios!

Shurtugal: I made a really good choice about his lead. My thought process was that he probably wouldn't bring in any Pokemon weak to Scarf Politoed, and since revealing Keldeo's Scarf set (If it is what I predict it to be) on turn one would not be a good idea, then he would likely go to Latios. Jirachi naturally has the best matchup against his Latios. My immediate instinct is to Body Slam to score a free Para on anything, hoping to cripple a faster sweeper right from the beginning. I'm still scouting, remember. Choiced or not, Latios would not like paralysis this early in the game regardless!

CTC: I thought the lead Terrakion was too obvious, so I expected Breloom. She most likely wouldn’t want anything else taking too much damage so Loom seems like a viable lead. If she decides to set up rain then Latios fires off rain-boosted Surfs at Jirachi to weaken it down. However, she predicted me to predict the Politoed lead and starts with Jirachi. Reasonable.

CTC called Latios back!
CTC sent out Scizor!
Jirachi used Body Slam!
It's not very effective... The foe's Scizor lost 13% of its health!

Shurtugal: I missed the paralysis on Scizor, but Banded Scizor is slow anyway. Because I don't run Fire Punch (and I actually considered it; after all, it helps punch things early-game when Rain isn't up for situations like this. Instead, at the time, I had Rain Dance on it -___-), I decide I can take a U-turn for decent damage and put up Stealth Rocks - the most important move in the game. Didn't think much else.

CTC: I was pretty sure she was gonna U-turn or hard switch out, but nothing on her team likes to take a U-turn. If Keldeo, Tornadus-T, or Jirachi are weakened, my Scizor has a good chance to shine.

Jirachi used Stealth Rock!
Pointed stones float in the air around the foe's team!
The foe's Scizor used U-turn!
Jirachi lost 60% of its health!
CTC called Scizor back!
CTC sent out Terrakion!
Pointed stones dug into the foe's Terrakion!
Jirachi restored HP using its Leftovers!

Shurtugal: Obviously, I was stupid. Taking U-turn really dented Jirachi early-game and was a big mistake. Part of my plan involves preserving Jirachi for Latios later to sponge hits, and now is in Terrakion’s KO range. I decided to go into Torn-T to take an obvious Close Combat from Terrakion and go from there.

CTC: I don’t see the point of that. Now Draco Meteor is gonna murder every switch-in due to her weakened Steel-type.

Shurtugal from MVP called Jirachi back!
Shurtugal from MVP sent out Tornadus-T (Tornadus-Therian)!
The foe's Terrakion used Close Combat!
It's not very effective... Tornadus-T lost 44% of its health!
The foe's Terrakion's Defense fell!
The foe's Terrakion's Special Defense fell!

Shurtugal: Good switch on my part. Now I'm thinking that this thing is sash'ed and I don't want to lose Torn-T to Stone Edge, so I decided to U-turn out. I just wanted to avoid losing Torn-T so early in the game and broke his potential sash in the process.

CTC: I thought she’d Iron Head predicting Stone Edge or Stealth Rock. Either way, I lose nothing by spamming a safe CC. Rain isn’t up so U-turn is imminent. She wouldn’t risk missing a Hurricane at this point.

Tornadus-T used U-turn!
It's not very effective... The foe's Terrakion lost 13% of its health!
Shurtugal from MVP called Tornadus-T back!
Shurtugal from MVP sent out Politoed!
Politoed's Drizzle made it rain!
The foe's Terrakion used Stealth Rock!
Pointed stones float in the air around your team!

Shurtugal: CTC predicts like a boss and sets up SR (just like I taught all of you). I decide just to spam a Hydro Pump since SashRakkion is usually a suicide lead anyway. The speed and strength of Scarf Politoed is big ass threat to his team, so I need to make sure I keep it healthy. Praying Hydro won't miss.

CTC: Terrak has done its job. No need for it when my opponent has Loom, Gatr, and Torn - each of which checks Terrakion and hinder it from doing much more than it already has.

Politoed used Hydro Pump!
It's super effective! The foe's Terrakion lost 80% of its health!
The foe's Terrakion fainted!
CTC sent out Tyranitar!
Pointed stones dug into the foe's Tyranitar!
The foe's Tyranitar's Sand Stream whipped up a sandstorm!

Shurtugal: I killed the Terrakion and he goes out to Tyranitar. I think we'll end the demonstration on how to handle the early-game here.

Back to center point ;~;​

As you can see, I both scouted CTC’S sets and team. Although the first 5 rounds weren't really heavy thinking (though it came up here and there), I know that TTar probably is going to be choice'd in some way because Terrak carried SR; I know that Scizor is banded (though that is basically a given, with SD as the only other viable alternative); we can see that I'm preserving Politoed; as it turns out, a healthy Scarf Politoed greatly threatens his team; Now I have a general game plan. Usually, if you don't have a game plan by Turn 5, you might as well say gg. I've also discovered that my opponent is quite experienced since he knew I wouldn't Hurricane Terrakion early game and went straight for the SR rather than jumping at the opportunity to Stone Edge.

Midgame + Lures and Double Switches​

Midgame is the bulk of the game. The goal, at the very least, is to reach the midgame with a position or momenta on parity with your opponent. Though, of course, the beginning of the match at times potentially pushes one opponent into the advantage against the other, which obviously helps in the midgame. However, comebacks are very common. You can get an advantageous push, but failing here is even worse than making mistakes in the end. Midgame is where most sweeps occur for offensive teams and stall teams successfully set up most of their hazards, continue scouting their opponent’s sets, and stall them out. This is pretty much where you are going to implement your game plan; this is where you’re going to try to make it happen. Note that you'll hardly ever be able to perfectly predict a good opponent, so errors are bound to happen. Just always remember risk vs. reward the most during the midgame and you should be fine. Just to be perfectly clear: this is where predicting on both sides matters the most... although it helps to be predicting right. About the midgame - there are many potential game plans. In the midgame, not only are you trying to implement your own plan, but you're trying to block opportunities your opponent may take to defeat you.

Lures and Double Switches usually will occur during the midgame, if ever. The endgame doesn't usually require such risks and the beginning really frowns upon it. You can use lures to bait your opponent into using a move or making a switch that you predict they'll do. If you’re right, the benefits are very rewarding. However, fuck up and the risks - and potential losses, accordingly - are usually huge. For example, if you switch in Scizor vs. Terrakion, your opponent will assume a revenge kill with Bullet Punch, being the safest move for you to go for and therefore the most legitimate. Going for U-turn would involve using a resisted attack and taking 68% from CC if your opponent choses to predict a U-turn. However, risk vs. reward will probably make him switch into his BP resist (Rotom-W) and a U-turn would smack IT for 68%. However, is it worth it? What are the benefits? If you allow Scizor to be greatly dented - or take 68%, to be more precise - will it ruin your game plan? If so, is it a key member? Additionally, if Terrakion is the biggest threat (perhaps he outspeeds and threatens to KO the rest of your team), you probably shouldn't U-turn. However, if you can handle Terrakion and Rotom-W is the biggest threat (perhaps your game plan is to Tornadus-T sweep), then U-turning isn't a bad option if you can manage Terrakion and still win. Risk vs. Reward is super important; I can't stress it enough!

Shurtugal: Eclypse is an amazing player and friend. I explained the midgame as best as I could, (and edited a bit as well), but he compares the midgame to the midgame and endgame to chess so please listen to what he has to say!

Eclypse: For those that play chess, they know the middle game is where the real match takes place. It is a measurement of how well you played your early game (opening, in chess) and will decide the late game position (called end game in chess). Another important link between the two - in both a competitive Pokemon battle and a high-level game of chess - while the ending positions may look random to a newer person, an experienced player can find similar patterns in late (or end) game positions that will be worked toward in the latter parts of the middle game. In short, the middle game is filled with variations and many potential moves. Due to human error, it is impossible to play a “perfect game,” but that is actually a good thing. It gives us several fairly equal candidate moves (my apologies; another chess term I use in Pokemon) to choose from since we aren’t all computers. On top of that, no two middle games of Pokemon will ever play out the same due variables nonexistent in chess: hax (misses and crits, even when you play correctly), sacs (material or positional disadvantages in the hopes of gaining momentum; known as gambits, in chess), and even potential mistakes. In both games, momentum is heralded above all else and all options should be considered to get achieve that end - even the aforementioned risky and positionally unsound sacs and gambits. Middle game is where it all happens. It can’t be taught step-by-step like opening positions (like in Pokemon where we analyze the build of a team, select a lead, and scout sets and play style) and end games (where we look for common patterns and remain aware of the narrowing potential paths to victory that exist on both sides).

Seriously, just check out these quotes. In some of them, if I hadn’t told you or if they didn’t explicitly say “chess,” you would think they were scholars discussing Pokemon.

"If a [Pokemon] statistician were to try and satisfy his curiosity over which stage of the game proved decisive in the majority of cases, he would certainly come to the conclusion that it is the middle game that provides the most decisive stage." - Alexander Kotov

"The middle game I repeat is [Pokemon] itself, [Pokemon] with all its possibilities, its attacks, defences, sacrifices, etc." - Eugene Znosko-Borovsky

"Books on the openings abound; nor are works on the end game wanting; but those on the middle game can be counted on the fingers of one hand." - Harry Golombek

"Your only task in the opening is to reach a playable middle game." - Lajos Portisch

"Before the endgame the gods have placed the middle game." - Siegbert Tarrasch

In the end, as I have said before, there are ultimately only two differences between playing chess and Pokemon. In chess, the opponent’s Bishop will never get a critical hit and your Queen’s attack will never miss.

Entering Semi-Midgame / Midgame​

Shurtugal from MVP called Politoed back!
Shurtugal from MVP sent out Breloom!
Pointed stones dug into Breloom!
The foe's Tyranitar used Stone Edge!
It's not very effective... Breloom lost 72% of its health!
The sandstorm rages.
Breloom is buffeted by the sandstorm!

Shurtugal: I predicted CTC to either Crunch or Stone Edge, anticipating a choice’d set. I can't tell by the damage input if its Choice Banded or not since Breloom - while not the bulkiest thing in the world with lack of investment - still possesses some decent natural bulk. I didn't care to calc it, though I encourage all of you to take advantage of damage calculators if you’re new. The thought didn't occur to me in this battle, nor was it entirely necessary to my game plan. Anyway, I figured I could Spore a switch-in or the TTar itself. I didn't think TTar would stay in, so I happily oblige for Spore.

CTC: Stone Edge literally destroys her entire team. I could've gone for the safer Superpower but I’d hate to miss the KO on something. Shurt makes a good play and sponges SEdge. I leave Tar in pretty sure she’d Spore, seeing as Latios is a huge threat to her team and I risk sleep foddering it on the switch.

Breloom used Spore!
The foe's Tyranitar fell asleep!
The foe's Tyranitar is fast asleep.
The sandstorm rages.
Breloom is buffeted by the sandstorm!

Shurtugal: So it seems that TTar was Banded. I figured, but I couldn't put my finger on it with certainty. Anyway, with TTar asleep, I should be able to win the weather war easily. I also should be able to get a free set-up with my Terrakion since he'll likely switch out if I have him in vs. TTar. I predicted him to either sac TTar and accept the loss of the weather war or to switch and attempt to preserve his weather. In either scenario, Bullet Seed is the move of choice, so I make an obvious - but solid - play and go straight for the BS.

CTC: Going into the next turn, I make a misplay as I carelessly switch in Latios to a Life Orb Bullet Seed. I shoulda sac’d TTar seeing as Rain was actually more beneficial in the event of a lategame Keldeo. In retrospect, going to Scizor > Landorus would have been the absolute best play in every aspect. But, misplays happen. You just learn to plan around it.

CTC called Tyranitar back!
CTC sent out Latios!
Pointed stones dug into the foe's Latios!
Breloom used Bullet Seed!
A critical hit! It's not very effective... The foe's Latios lost 38% of its health!
It's not very effective... The foe's Latios lost 20% of its health!
Hit 2 time(s)!
Breloom lost some of its HP!
Breloom fainted!
The sandstorm rages.
The foe's Latios is buffeted by the sandstorm!
Shurtugal from MVP sent out Tornadus-T (Tornadus-Therian)!
Pointed stones dug into Tornadus-T!

Shurtugal: I got a crit, which essentially sucks for my opponent, but I only hit twice, which is major bs for me. I would rather get straight 5x without a crit, so it pretty much balances out to 2 1/2. I still rather I got 3-5 hits because I want to keep hax to a minimum. :/ I decided to go into Torn-T since I have a strong U-turn and can quickly get back the momentum. The beauty of U-turn or Volt-Switch is that they greatly ease my prediction, while increasing the chances of a misplay on my opponent’s part; either 1. They stay in and sustain heavy damage or 2. Switch out and give you the initiative. I decide to reap the advantages of U-turn and take the momentum.

CTC: I go to Keldeo to threaten a 2hko on any member of her team.

CTC called Latios back!
CTC sent out Keldeo!
Pointed stones dug into the foe's Keldeo!
Tornadus-T used U-turn!
It's not very effective... The foe's Keldeo lost 9% of its health!
Shurtugal from MVP called Tornadus-T back!
Shurtugal from MVP sent out Feraligatr!
Pointed stones dug into Feraligatr!
The sandstorm rages.
The foe's Keldeo is buffeted by the sandstorm!
Feraligatr is buffeted by the sandstorm!

Shurtugal: I was pretty much screwed here. You see, my best switch for Keldeo IS Tornadus-T, so going into Choice Scarf Keldeo really wrecked me because I could only switch into Gatr and not fear his potential Scarfer outspeeding and KO'ing something. I thought Secret Sword would do enough to put me into Torrent range and decided to go for Waterfall. Estimating, I was expecting it to hit around 38%, denting Keldeo as much as possible.

CTC: She sends in Gatr and here is a risk vs. reward situation. If I predict Tornadus to come in and Surf as she Swords Danced with Gatr instead, it is pretty much game. If I Secret Sword as she goes to Torn, I can either predict the following U-turn and Secret Sword the switch-in or switch to Tar from there. In this case, I go for the SS to damage the big threat.

The foe's Keldeo used Secret Sword!
Feraligatr lost 41% of its health!
Feraligatr used Waterfall!
It's not very effective... The foe's Keldeo lost 28% of its health!
The sandstorm rages.
The foe's Keldeo is buffeted by the sandstorm!
Feraligatr is buffeted by the sandstorm!

Shurtugal: His Secret Sword was weak, but it will 2HKO (by, get this, 1% -__-).I meant to Waterfall the switch (he'll probably think I'll switch) but I misclicked and hit Aqua Jet >_>.

CTC: I’m pretty sure she is gonna save that thing for my Landorus and Scizor, so I predict the Tornadus switch-in. I don’t see a reason to sac a deadly torrent-range Gatr.

CTC called Keldeo back!
CTC sent out Scizor!
Pointed stones dug into the foe's Scizor!
Feraligatr used Aqua Jet!
The foe's Scizor lost 22% of its health!
The sandstorm rages.
Feraligatr is buffeted by the sandstorm!

Shurtugal: I would have Waterfalled, but I am curious as to whether Scizor outspeeds or not. I don't use Gatr much, and, ultimately, it costs me the match. I click Aqua Jet to pull off priority damage.

CTC: She must have predicted my thought process >outplayedhard. My play was pretty risky, but would’ve been very rewarding had I pulled it off. Now I have to sac Latios instead of murder her team with it :C.

CTC called Scizor back!
CTC sent out Latios!
Pointed stones dug into the foe's Latios!
Feraligatr used Aqua Jet!
It's not very effective... The foe's Latios lost 12% of its health!
The foe's Latios fainted!
The sandstorm rages.
Feraligatr is buffeted by the sandstorm!
CTC sent out Keldeo!
Pointed stones dug into the foe's Keldeo!

Shurtugal: I was going wtf? I realized then that Gatr must outspeed his Scizor... and that Waterfall would KO. Anyway, he goes back into Keldeo and I go AJ to pwn off as much damage possible before losing Gatr.

CTC: Good and bad for me. Now Surf smashes everything, but Keldeo will be too weak to pull off an endgame sweep.

Feraligatr used Aqua Jet!
It's not very effective... The foe's Keldeo lost 22% of its health!
The foe's Keldeo used Surf!
It's not very effective... Feraligatr lost 22% of its health!
Feraligatr fainted!
The sandstorm rages.
The foe's Keldeo is buffeted by the sandstorm!
Shurtugal from MVP sent out Politoed!
Pointed stones dug into Politoed!
Politoed's Drizzle made it rain!

Shurtugal: At this point, I think I have won the game. Keldeo was the biggest threat and I solved that; I got up my rain and silenced his TTar with Spore. What more can he do? Apparently, a lot more. CTC totally outplayed me, but, to my defense, he took like 20 minutes before devising this plan. I waited while he performed calcs. Anyway, so ScarfToed is out and I pretty much stuck to my game plan. However, my game plan wasn't solid enough - as you'll soon see what happens next. This is the end of the midgame - with me in the lead and CTC a bit behind.

CTC: So I had a 10% Keldeo, 80% sleeping TTar, 100% Landorus, and 40% Scizor.
She had a 85ish% Toed, 40% Jirachi, and a 65% Torn-T.
I needed 1 of 3 things to happen: Toed < 30% and Sand up, Rain up with Keldeo on <50% Toed, or Jirachi on field.
If Toed is at 50% with Rain up, I can Secret Sword, switch out, and Surf sweep with 4% health. However, this requires prediction on Toed between Secret Sword and Surf for Torn. If Toed is < 30% and Sand is up, I can destroy with Bullet Punch. If Jirachi is on the field, then 40% chance for me to set up a Rock Polish without the Body Slam para. Seems like the second plan is the most reliable. Landorus is not going to do much so I decided to sac it, because plan 2 required Sand up.

Back to Guide​

Endgame + Threat Identification

We are reaching the conclusion of this guide, so stick with me. The Endgame is usually very one-sided. However, comebacks can occur here too, but, rarely, since most comebacks are planned early midgame or earlygame to work effectively. This is assuming no one gets a critical hit, a miss, or any other BS hax that would exemplify something that, for which, cannot be planned. However, messing up in the endgame IS possible, so be sure not to screw it up. This is where you can evaluate if your game plan was solid. If it was, you were able to knock out the threats you identified and successfully stuck to your game plan, making necessary adjustments as the match unfolded.

Identifying threats is very important and necessary in order to make a game plan. I said earlier that much is needed to develop these skills. In the endgame, you will usually know whether you did a good job of executing your game plan by the closing moves of the match since the remaining Pokemon should be able to defeat your opponent - given that you determined and successfully defeated the identified threats.

Don't forget: misplays can screw up your game plan. They are often the reason most good players lose. Not because of a lack of a solid plan, but a goddamn misplay. CTC and I make misplays here, but keep in mind we had around 20 battles for this guide and I used the same team every time (CTC changed on me for this one x.x I still love you though CTC).

Endgame stage of the Battle​

CTC called Keldeo back!
CTC sent out Landorus!
Pointed stones dug into the foe's Landorus!
Politoed used Surf!
It's super effective! The foe's Landorus lost 88% of its health!
The foe's Landorus fainted!
CTC sent out Keldeo!
Pointed stones dug into the foe's Keldeo!

Shurtugal: He sacked Landorus here - I assume to preserve his Keldeo from death. Landorus was a decent sac since he doesn't contribute too much. However, I see he went back into Keldeo, which confuses me. I just clicked Surf to finally kill this Keldeo nightmare.

CTC: Here I can bluff the Hydro Pump to deter any switch-ins. There’s no reason to switch out, so I knew she’d stay in. Secret Sword knocks Politoed down to Bullet Punch’s kill range. Plus, as a bonus, I haven’t revealed my Keldeo set yet (even though at this point it is pretty obviously Scarfed).

The foe's Keldeo used Secret Sword!
Politoed lost 55% of its health!
Politoed used Surf!
It's not very effective... The foe's Keldeo lost 4% of its health!
The foe's Keldeo fainted!
CTC sent out Tyranitar!
Pointed stones dug into the foe's Tyranitar!
The foe's Tyranitar's Sand Stream whipped up a sandstorm!

Shurtugal: That play ended the game for me. My game plan was to keep Politoed healthy and I stupidly considered if he wasn't Scarfed. I realize now the reason why he didn't kill Gatr! He wanted to lock himself into Surf to lure Politoed in, like I mentioned earlier. He sacked Landorus to make it look like Keldeo wasn't Scarfed and then Secret Sworded me just to take 55% from Politoed. Why? Well, wait and find out. His game plan was risky, but I didn't see through it in time. The game essentially ended here.

Shurtugal from MVP called Politoed back!
Shurtugal from MVP sent out Tornadus-T (Tornadus-Therian)!
Pointed stones dug into Tornadus-T!
The foe's Tyranitar is fast asleep.
The sandstorm rages.
Tornadus-T is buffeted by the sandstorm!

Shurtugal: I pretty much just Focus Blast. He only has two Pokemon left and I know that a sleeping TTar is useless anyway. I FB since it will also hurt his remaining Pokemon as well.

CTC: She sends in Tornadus-T to kill my TTar. At this point, the game was all but over. My plan #2 worked out and I’m happy to have perfectly set up Scizor for a sweep. Jirachi is under Rain, so I doubt Fire Punch is in her arsenal. Plus, Body Slam means no Thunder. As long as I don’t get fully para’d, I have the game.

Tornadus-T used Focus Blast!
It's super effective! The foe's Tyranitar lost 75% of its health!
The foe's Tyranitar fainted!
The sandstorm rages.
Tornadus-T is buffeted by the sandstorm!
CTC sent out Scizor!
Pointed stones dug into the foe's Scizor!

Shurtugal: So I killed TTar on my first shot (hooray!) and he brings in Scizor. Now I realize why he wanted to lower my health so badly: so Bullet Punch would be in KO range vs. Politoed. Thanks to Secret Sword and SR, I'm actually weak enough to be Bullet Punch spammed to death. I'll end the battle logs here, even though there are a few more rounds because CTC expertly finished me off with a very calculated play. Had I sacked something like Jirachi to Keldeo, I would have had a better chance of winning. But, because - in the earlygame - I let Jirachi take a U-turn on Turn 2, I wasn't bulky enough after SR to take a BP. Props to CTC for being so amazing.

CTC: Great game, Shurt! It was really fun. We both made misplays (switching in Latios on Loom, leaving in Jirachi, etc.) but, the game was mostly well planned out. Props to Keldeo for being a huge Rain threat and Scizor for being the hipster’s Genesect. Also, props to Shurt’s Gatr and Loom for forming a powerful priority core, but also being SUPER NITE WEAK. Last, but not least, props to Shurt for being an amazing battler and friend.

Back to Guide​


It's very simple to play Pokemon once you learn the rules and learn how to play. I hope my guide has been helpful to all of you! Expertly note that this battle holds misplays, like any battle, and is the cause of why the battle didn't tip over to one side too much. CTC had this under control since I never use Gatr and was trying to learn how to use it. xP Thanks to CTC for being such a pal and friend. Really great battle! I hope our narrations helped explain the previously mentioned lessons I gave. As for Top Threats and Team Threats, playing with your team helps identify those threats consistently; additionally, playing with it should, in general, help you identify threats if you were not already aware of them beforehand. As for Top Threats to always consider, check Antar’s monthly usage statistics and just play the ladder. Have fun!


Thanks to CTC for helping me with this guide in its early stages (looking over what I wrote) and for adding his commentary!

Thanks to Eclypse for reading everything we said and editing it to make it flow and sound a billion times better! Seriously, thanks! :]

And finally, thank you all for reading! GL to all you believer fans! GL to all the new players or the old ones trying to regain former glory!

~ Sincerely: ShurTClypse (don't forget to love the thread)!
This is a nice slab of advice, good job with it :) My only beef is that predictions are the first thing mentioned, I see new players all the time trying to focus on that more than a gameplan and the risk / reward of any situation and it's pretty frustrating, almost the only time I ever "predict" is on a 50 / 50 coinflip, any other situation risk / reward and the value of each pokemon decides my move almost by itself. Again good job, glad to see threads like this suddenly getting more common.


lonzo ball rollin thru
is a Site Staff Alumnusis a Team Rater Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus
Awesome guide, very detailed work thanks for it!
Just something I noticed in the Team Preview, Latios can survive a Specs Hurricane
Thank God someone else noticed to similarities between Pokemon and Chess. My thing to tell people is that the only difference between Pokemon and Chess is that in Pokemon, you play your moves at the same time.

Excellent guide though, I've been looking for something like this for a while now.


Has got the gift of gab
is a Team Rater Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus
My only beef is that predictions are the first thing mentioned, I see new players all the time trying to focus on that more than a gameplan and the risk / reward of any situation and it's pretty frustrating, almost the only time I ever "predict" is on a 50 / 50 coinflip, any other situation risk / reward and the value of each pokemon decides my move almost by itself.
Yeah, this was the only thing that kind of ruffled my feathers. Regardless it was a fun read :D


The Enterpriser.
is a Tiering Contributor

Got a typo there x3 Seriously though, glad you liked the guide!


Glad you liked reading it bro <3

@Yee and Joeyboy:

Yeah, I'll edit the OP to fix this. You're 100% right, and thanks for enjoying my guide :D

@Zac Flare:

Glad you enjoyed! As your tutor, it seems fitting it would help you [:


Oh wow I missed that! Thanks!


I'm glad you thought it was exellent and Pokemon is similar to chess x3


That's a good point. In my opinion, it doesn't change the fact that Pokemon can be compared to chess though, but your point is solid. Anything can be compared to chess, but it does help explain each stage of the game to new players though.

Keep it coming! I'm glad so many of you liked it!
I already sang my praises of this idea while editing, but the whole project turned out great. Thank you for including what was little more than a personal note on chess as an article on the middle game. I am pleasantly surprised that others find it interesting as well. :] Entirely brilliant guide, ShurTC. It makes me wish there was something comprehensive like this I could have read when I was learning years ago. n_n


I'll be your 1-Up girl
is a Community Contributoris a Live Chat Contributoris a Pokemon Researcheris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributoris a Battle Server Admin Alumnusis a Community Leader Alumnus
Fantastic guide! Definitely worth reading.

One nitpick, however:

Shurtugal: Okay, the team I'm using is my own. My opponent, CTC, had constructed his own as well.
These two sentences are useless and may mislead players into thinking that is the kind of things you should be thinking about during team preview. I would remove them.
Great job with this guide guys! It is probably the best guide I have seen for predicting in a battle! If you decide to do a teambuilding one shurt I wouldnt mind lending you a hand if you need me :)

also I luvdisc'd
CinnamonToastCrunch~ C:

Keep the warstories coming buddy. Round of applause to the both of you, etc.. This is a fine guide for explaining prediction to new players. Wish I could give more than a luvdisc :P


The Lord Shepherd shall guideth ye cattle
is a Past SPL and WCoP Champion
oh yea plz dont give out importables on a guide because that just promotes spamming standard shit until everyone's team looks like everyone else's team. Also the sets and evs for my team are made up. Trick lo latios? Actually that doesnt sound it's ass.
Other than that i have nothing to add but congratulate Shurt for making a quality guide for beginners :]
Perhaps we can try using a game with zero misplays next time and do a step by step analysis of #winconditions and #gameplans :]

PokèManiac Livio

Un panino al salame
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
That s an incredible guide as told you other people, the best in Presdiction and Game planned, anyway i d write something more on timing use, for example if you wait some moments the opponent could think in a switch or in a mind game, when you can easily play standard and so on...

Gratz anyway for this amazing guide :)
Thank God someone else noticed to similarities between Pokemon and Chess. My thing to tell people is that the only difference between Pokemon and Chess is that in Pokemon, you play your moves at the same time.
Not quite true. In pokemon if your opponent sucks, it can be hard to know what he is going to do. (Most of times it doesnt matter but anyway). In chess if you are talented you CANNOT do misplays, every smart move is right move also it doesnt matter too much how good your opponent is. But I got your point, predicting.

Good guide! but I would like to read more advanced guide made for pro players :) yes, this thread was made for new players :P
Hey, I really enjoyed this guide, and think it can be really helpful to players who want to learn about the phases of the game and how to play them. If you do a teambuilding guide (and you should, based on the quality of this one) I would focus on building a team to exploit a specific gameplan, much like what you did in this battle with the endplay scenarios. It would be a good tie-in and also teach newer players that synergy isn't just about typing and resistances, but using specific moves and plays that open up sweeps in the endgame. Nice guide


Where'd they come from? And where are they headed?
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A nice guide, with only a few minor mistakes. (A Tyranitar doing >70% to a Breloom with Stone Edge is definitely CB lol) It certainly looks very helpful for newbies, and was written fairly well.

But Jesus fuck get rid of the first part of the title.

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