Quality Control Restricted Sparring Guide

Restricted Sparring is a Battle Facility included with the first Sword and Shield expansion, The Isle of Armor. It's an endurance mode where heals are not provided for free after every battle; instead you must carefully select when to use two of them throughout your streak. This means even the mightiest Pokemon will fall as their PP dwindles to nothing. Furthermore, teams are forced to be mono-typed, so your defensive cores will never be ironclad. Accordingly, the ingame achievement is merely to get 5 consecutive wins in any given type. Most people are proud to even reach 20. And that's fine – Restricted Sparring can feel very alien compared to how you're used to playing Pokemon. But so much more than that is possible once you understand how to play Restricted Sparring, and that's what this guide is going to teach you.
1a. The Qualities Of A Good Lead

Your lead will always be the most important Pokemon on your team. Switching often necessitates damage being taken, and the more defensive Pokemon that can tolerate switching will rarely dispatch opposing Pokemon with the PP efficiency of a good offensive lead. Thus, it's ideal that your lead disposes of everything. While “everything” is of course impossible, you can get a lot closer to that than you might expect; with Dynamax available and RS Pokemon having lowered IVs (15), OHKOs are bountiful to a strong lead.

So, what makes a strong lead, then? A good (Special) Attack stat is an obvious start. In fact, you can never have enough offense. Even if you're able to KO a Pokemon with your strongest move, Pokemon with seemingly overkill offenses can have the flexibility to also use potentially weaker Max Moves like Knuckle, Airstream, or Overgrowth to get those KOs and really press an advantage. The need for Speed, on the other hand, is more relaxed than you might be used to in a competitive environment. Unless your Pokemon is very fast (base 110+) and can outspeed the similarly fast RS threats, you can go as low as 85 while feeling little practical difference. Generally speaking, it's the Pokemon with extreme offense/moderate Speed that excel in RS, not the other way around.

While overkill offense can manifest in the form of a huge stat, don't forget about abilities, which are what really separate the great from the good. When looking for a lead, abilities like Moxie, Adaptability, and Hustle should stick out, as these are easy and substantial power boosts to get while in Dynamax. Note “in Dynamax”; while abilities like Sheer Force and Strong Jaw may conventionally be thought of as good abilities, they make no contributions during Dynamax which is what your lead will typically be doing.

Another thing to keep in mind is the secondary type. Let's take a look at the use of Roserade as a lead for a Poison team. Its Grass-typing lets it defeat any Ground-type before they get a chance to move, so there is little reason to be concerned about switching into Ground-type moves, a weakness of Poison. Grass does add its own set of weaknesses, though, namely Flying, Ice, and Fire. However, this shows another strength of complementary secondary typings. Normally when you try to cover a lead's weaknesses, your best switch-ins are often forced to only have a neutrality to those weaknesses, a natural pitfall of a monotype team. But when it comes to weaknesses from the secondary typing, you can often find outright resistances! Here, Ice and Fire are both resisted by the notorious Toxapex. Flying may not be resisted by a good defensive switch-in, but even then most options you will consider will not be weak to it, either.

1b. Picking Moves

Once you've selected a Pokemon, you're going to need to select moves. STAB is the clear way to start, but after that you need coverage. While you do need to focus on types that resist your STAB moves, don't forget that you're going to be in Dynamax. As such, some types should have increased priority when deciding what coverage to run. Fighting moves grant you Max Knuckle which boosts your Attack, Flying moves grant you Max Airstream which boosts your Speed, Grass moves grant you Max Overgrowth which provides Grassy Terrain for healing, and Fairy moves grant you Max Starfall which provides Misty Terrain for status protection (though Fairy moves tend to have subpar PP). While not quite as useful, also keep in mind Steel- and Ground-type moves, which boost your Defense and Special Defense, respectively. Note the lack of mention of Max Ooze. While it's hard to say for sure just because special attacking leads are far less common than physical ones in RS, Max Ooze seems hard to justify as a coverage option. It hits far less types super effective than its analogue, Max Knuckle, and stronger special Poison moves have mediocre PP.

Another concern for moves is PP, the most important one if you're really trying to aim high but somewhat less so if you're just getting started. Moves with 8 PP should be nowhere near your lead, but leads that really stand out are able to utilize multiple moves with 32 or more PP with little to no loss in effectiveness (you can get amazing PP with a set of Tackle/Pound/Scratch/Quick Attack, but that's not going to beat anything). Some good moves (or at least good in Dynamax, like Bullet Seed) will just happen to have high PP, but you can also make concessions with weaker moves to get more. Moves with 65-70 BP will turn into a 120 BP Max Move, which is only slightly behind the conventional 130. And even 55-60 BP still turns into 110 Max BP, which is passable (any lower can be quite hard to justify, and is likely not your concern if you're reading this guide). Such power loss can definitely be worth the PP boost, though it will likely require testing (or extensive damage calculations).

When making that decision, note what Pokemon you actually need that type of move for. Unlike traditional Battle Facilities which have 800+ sets to watch out for, RS only has 151 with a single set each, so you can see most of them without a crazy amount of playtesting or even compile a manual list from the set data if you really want to lab it up. From there, note which KOs you might miss, and then what the impact of missing that KO is. Versus some Pokemon, you simply cannot afford to miss a KO, especially depending on your type. But versus others, you may only take a relatively small amount of damage, and if that doesn't happen with too many Pokemon the PP boost can absolutely be worth it. Also keep in mind that despite the dominance of your lead, you do have a full team. So if there is a problem with your lead that is untenable but you have a good way to switch into it, then it's not actually an untenable problem at all.

Another thing to watch out for with weaker moves is the prospect of being outside of Dynamax. Three Pokemon, three Dynamax turns – it often runs like clockwork, but obviously you will fail to OHKO some Pokemon, meaning you will at least be out of Dynamax for the third Pokemon. Thus, you should not make a moveset completely under the assumption of Dynamax. This can be particularly troublesome for low BP moves: with Psychic vs Psybeam for example, the 130 vs 120 Max power comparison is favorable, but the 90 vs 65 post-Dynamax comparison is far less so. That doesn't mean it's a bad option, but you absolutely need to keep this in mind. Other moves that can be problematic are inconsistent ones, whether that be from variable hits or imperfect accuracy. Again, this doesn't mean you should avoid these kinds of moves, but you should make sure your set is not completely full of them.

For all this discussion about moves, only damaging ones have been mentioned. Yet, leads are functionally sweepers in RS, and set-up moves are common on those in other formats. Well, as you might imagine, having only 3 damaging moves does put a lower ceiling on how far your lead can go. Nonetheless, some Pokemon may only get marginal coverage from a 4th move, or really need the set-up to excel. While these leads don't have the potential 4 attack ones do, they have some proven success and are still an option to consider.

Alright, let's build a moveset. Say you've decided on Alakazam for your lead, a Pokemon with amazing Special Attack and Speed. Psychic is an obvious start for STAB, and then you should look for coverage. Shadow Ball hits opposing Psychic-types, Dazzling Gleam hits Dark-types, and Focus Blast hits Steel-types. Solid start, but let's really optimize this for RS. It doesn't take a lot of thought to see why Focus Blast is terrible. It has 8PP, the Max Knuckle it turns into pointlessly boosts Attack and has weak BP, and it only has 70 accuracy for post-Dynamax situations. What to replace it with, then? Alakazam does learn Nasty Plot, but can it use it well? Alakazam is already exceptionally strong, and since it's so frail it's very reliant on getting OHKOs to stay alive. Let's go for a fourth damaging move instead. We've exhausted our type-coverage options, so let's recall the types with Max move utility: Fighting, Flying, Fairy, Grass, Steel, and Ground. Fighting is not applicable here and Fairy is already being used, so the only option from here in Alakazam's special movepool is Grass, where it learns Energy Ball and Grass Knot. While Energy Ball can be a more consistent option post-Dynamax, Grass Knot's 16 extra PP is very hard to ignore, so let's go with that. That brings us to Psychic/Shadow Ball/Dazzling Gleam/Grass Knot, which is a good set. There's another potential PP optimization to be made here, though. It was just being discussed, in fact: Psybeam versus Psychic. Alakazam can run Psybeam for an additional 16 PP for a Max Mindstorm with only 10 less BP. The power drop post-Dynamax is more notable, but let's see where we are with that. All four moves have 100 accuracy, and only Grass Knot has some light inconsistency with its BP. While we may run into some issues with Psybeam, we're looking pretty good post-Dynamax otherwise, so it's definitely worth testing. This makes our final set Psybeam/Shadow Ball/Dazzling Gleam/Grass Knot. From our initial draft, we've added 40 total PP and the healing utility from Max Overgrowth. While we've lost some coverage versus Steel-types, those are not even a weakness of Psychic-types, so we can find switch-ins that resist Steel.

1c. Picking An Item

Now that you've got a Pokemon and a moveset, you just need an item. This will be brief – 9 times out of 10, you use the Shell Bell. That might seem like a surprising pick, but in RS it's the dominant item for a lead. The recovery it provides for one is unmatched, far better than Leftovers. 1/8th of the opposing Pokemon's health is almost always more than 1/16th of yours, and Shell Bell also gets recovery off of KOing the last Pokemon which Leftovers does not. While it may seem tempting to use a boosting option to get more KOs, nothing is going to make your lead perfect, and the ability to bounce back from heavy hits is incredible.

2a. What You're Dealing With

Even though the lead will do most of the work, crafting a good backline for it is incredibly important and can be one of the most difficult aspects of teambuilding for RS. Generally, your lead will run into three types of problems: offensive, defensive, and status. Offensive ones are most common and what we typically think of as threats: Pokemon that, whether it be by speed or bulk are able to get off a heavy (or possibly even fatal) hit on your lead. Defensive ones are less common, but more subtly problematic. They are very sturdy, and may take several hits from your lead to take down. Even if they're not directly that dangerous, they can stall out your Dynamax turns and deplete your PP which is both resource-intensive and can leave you in a terrible position versus more offensive threats afterwards. Status threats are simple, they're Pokemon that can inflict status on you, which has fewer methods to recover than health. For many teams, it is not even an option.

Remember that your backline is built around your lead, not your type. As mentioned earlier, your lead may not necessarily have trouble with certain types that your chosen type is weak to. Don't waste precious backline space trying to cover types that your lead can handle just fine.

2b. The Qualities Of A Good Switch-In

Offensive threats tend to do heavy damage because of super effective moves, which can be a huge problem to switch into due to the monotype restriction. Naturally, Pokemon with secondary typings and/or abilities that neutralize or outright negate these weaknesses can be a huge help. A good switch-in needs more than that, though. Switching in usually involves taking damage, and that means you need some way to heal it off. Leftovers are a great option for some passive healing on switch-ins, but are rarely completely sufficient. 50% healing moves, draining damaging moves, Leech Seed, Regenerator, and Rest are the usual options for more pronounced healing. Without these, any Pokemon designed to be a switch-in will not last long. Most of these are simple enough to use, but watch out for Rest. While its ubiquity expands the list of viable switch-ins and its ability to heal status is invaluable, its drawback is severe. Needing to sleep for 2 turns tends to require some combination of Leftovers, huge defensive stats, tons of resistances, and/or defensive boosting moves. Otherwise, even seemingly modest hits in the 25-30% range can be too overwhelming to heal up on. Also, note that if you end a battle in the middle of Rest sleep, it will be reset to regular sleep afterwards.

Another aspect of switch-ins is that sometimes switches need to be done after your lead has committed to Dynamax, which means that the switch-in's set should be fully usable without that option available. That is to say, full of accurate, reliable moves. What can be relaxed, though, is PP optimization. Since switch-ins are used far less than leads, they use far less PP as a result. Even 32 total can be sufficient for longer streaks, whereas that’s nothing for a lead.

2c. Maintaining Momentum

In finding Pokemon that can fulfill the above criteria for your lead's weaknesses, you will naturally be attracted to more defensive options. While ideal in many respects, be careful with the passive sets that are usually run with these Pokemon. Momentum is an important concept in Pokemon and RS is no exception. Basically, having momentum means that you are dictating the pace of the battle. If you have a stally set slowly dominating some poor Pokemon, you have the upper hand for now. But if you carelessly knock out that Pokemon and a bad match-up comes out that you've done nothing to protect against, then there's nothing slow about the game you're playing – the momentum is on your opponent's side now, and you're going to pay for it.

Let's look at two conventionally passive Pokemon, Mandibuzz and Umbreon. Both of these Pokemon have very high defenses with recovery, and are tempting to run as switch-ins. But their typical sets – filled with moves like Toxic, Foul Play, Heal Bell, Defog – are very stally and thus likely to leave you in a bad position as described above. So let's rethink our approach to how we use them. Mandibuzz is capable of boosting its stats in several different ways. It can raise its Defense with Iron Defense, Special Attack with Nasty Plot, and Speed with Max Airstream. While the last one requires Dynamax, it's still a good option to keep in mind, you just shouldn't rely on it. Iron Defense and Nasty Plot can work separately, but you also don't have to limit yourself to one boosting move! Iron Defense can make Mandibuzz take a pittance from physical attackers, at which point it easily sets up Nasty Plot. Attacking PP will be limited, but as mentioned earlier that is tolerable for a switch-in. So now, Mandibuzz can leave any winning match-up with +6 Defense, +6 Special Attack, and potentially +1 Speed. No position is ever flawless, but your opponent will have a very difficult time overcoming Mandibuzz now. Now for Umbreon. It can set-up with Curse or Work Up, but Curse has very limited PP while Work Up is very slow while not boosting a defense to compensate. So let's look at a pivoting move instead. Umbreon learns Baton Pass, which as long as it's slower can give a free switch to something else on your team – something that can keep momentum better than Umbreon. Of course, you aren't switching in Umbreon for no reason. While Umbreon is in, you can use it to weaken the opposing Pokemon, do clerical work with Wish and Heal Bell, and maybe even Baton Pass the aforementioned Work Up. What exactly you want to accomplish depends on your team, but the point is that once Umbreon has completed its job versus a good match-up, it leaves so you can keep momentum with a less passive Pokemon.

The last option is not to focus on gaining momentum, but rather on not losing momentum. This is done by running a second wall, complementary not just to your lead but to your other wall. Since you're aiming to create a two-Pokemon core that stops most threats, the monotype restriction is extremely damaging here. Very few types really have a pair of good, defensive Pokemon whose types complement each other well. It's kind of hard when so many Pokemon in a given type share weaknesses, for obvious reasons! If you look at the Mandibuzz/Umbreon pair talked about previously, while they can beat a good variety of threats, any good Fairy-type will be their undoing. Nonetheless, some types, usually those with few weaknesses and/or good Steel-type partners, can pull it off. The aim is that while you may very well run into a bad match-up as originally described, your core pairs together well enough that you are able to switch between them to cover most match-ups, and you are free to run movesets as stally as you please. There may still be some terror that rips through both, but you still minimize risk. Instead of say 10 match-ups that are terrible for an individual wall to run into, there may now be only 3 or 4 that threaten a good pair.

2d. Team Archetypes

With the individual qualities of the Pokemon that will make up your backline outlined, let's look at how your team comes together. Generally, there are 3 different archetypes successful teams have used.

-Offensive Lead, Double Wall

This uses an offensive lead with 2 highly synergistic walls as the backline. The backline does not focus on pressing momentum, but simply to take advantage of how well the walls synergize to not lose it. This has the slowest pace and the backline can run out of PP quicker than more offensive variants, but the flexibility in how well it can deal with various threats is excellent.
See: Section 5, Grass team

-Offensive Lead, Double Momentum-Pressing Switch-Ins

This uses an offensive lead with 2 switch-ins that maintain momentum but don't necessarily synergize with each other. If you switch, the goal is to always end up on a sweeper, whether that be the switch-in itself or using a pivoting move to end up back to one. This archetype wins games fairly quickly, but its backline is not as consistent at dealing with threats as the double wall set-up.
See: Section 5, Ground and Bug teams

-Double Offensive Lead, Single Momentum-Pressing Switch-In

Rather than have one dedicated lead, you can run what is colloquially called a “secondary sweeper”, though more accurately it's a secondary lead. This is a Pokemon that has little to no switch-in utility, and is instead designed to lead after your primary lead faints. Generally, you should avoid this if you feel like you have two good options for switch-ins, but not every type has that luxury. A secondary lead is often precarious; it cannot have the Shell Bell due to Item Clause, and naturally it's both a worse lead than your primary (or else you would make it your primary lead!) with a worse support net. Still, it's a perfectly fine way to build a team if your switch-in options don't seem up to par, or if you have a good way to use a secondary lead without Shell Bell (Magic Guard+Life Orb is a combo with some results).
See: Section 5, Dragon team

These are what have shown good results thus far in RS, and all use offensive leads. But, it is worth noting that some work has been done with entirely defensive teams, though they have yet to show significant results. Since you're just getting started, I would highly recommend against reinventing the wheel for now and stick to proven team archetypes.

2e. Nothing's Perfect

Lastly, when you're finishing up your team, do not get attached to the idea of it being perfect. It does not take particularly outlandish luck to put grievous wounds into even the mightiest teams. The aim of teambuilding in RS is to mitigate as many threats as possible, not everything. While RS has removed almost all of what are conventionally thought of as unfair factors from traditional Battle Facilities (Bright Powder, Double Team, OHKO moves, Focus Band), the flipside is that you have much less flexibility to play around more mundane bad luck sources like bad match-ups and/or low% secondary effects. But don't get discouraged. RS runs, especially when you're just getting started, are relatively short, so you can always just try again.

Now that you've built your team, you've got to actually use it. You will more than likely run into some threats you hadn't anticipated, and it's important that you keep track of these. While you may find there's nothing to be done about some of them, some can be fixed or at least alleviated with either move, Pokemon, or play changes. Not everything is in your control in RS, but do not use that as an excuse to be lazy: always analyze when something goes wrong. And do it quickly since there's no Battle Videos anymore!

3a. PP Management On Leads

Not everything in RS is a simple binary of winning or losing, though – you have to win efficiently, and that's where PP management comes in. When it comes to your lead, your moves will usually not start with the same amount of PP, so you will want to avoid using those with lower PP, and prioritize those with higher PP. That's just starting PP, though. As your PP dwindles down, what moves have high and low PP will vary. Regardless, the name of the game is balance: you never want to run out of PP for a move while you still have plenty of PP in your other moves. Presumably that option was put there for a reason, and potentially being deprived of it for several battles could be disastrous. One way to help with this is to have a damage calculator handy. The RS sets are fixed, so you can always know whether or not you have a guaranteed OHKO. Especially if you have some boosts, you may be surprised at what moves can OHKO!

You will also more than likely have moves that advance your momentum, and you need to use those to minimize bad match-ups. A move like Low Kick's Max Knuckle will have 32 PP, but you will basically never go out of your way to use it since it has so much utility. Moves like this have the most impact at the start of the battle since there's two Pokemon left to feel their effects on, so definitely prioritize choosing KOs with them there. After the first KO, though, they lose some of their luster. In addition to the mathematical diminishing returns with boosts like this (going from x1 to x1.5 is a larger boost than x1.5 to x2), any sort of boost after a +1 is probably going to net you minimal additional KOs. While it will let you be more flexible with which PP you can use after, you're not really achieving PP balance if you're overfocusing on, say, Max Knuckle to get there. As such, don't feel obligated to stack more damage boosts if you already have a boost and you're not going to run out of Dynamax. You should usually focus on your other moves at that point, especially the more niche coverage options. Just note that this only applies to stacking more damage boosts; you should almost always go for Max Airstream's Speed boost if you haven't gotten one yet.

You may very well be in a position where you're going to run out of Dynamax, though. Any situation in which you fail to OHKO the first or second Pokemon will result in this. Here, provided you don't have a good switch-in for whatever the problem is, stack as many boosts as you can before your Dynamax runs out. Post-Dynamax can be a scary situation to be in, and you'll want to be prepared as possible. One upside of these situations is that the AI prioritizes sending out Pokemon based on their strongest move versus whatever you have out (keep in mind they don't factor in STAB). As such, the last Pokemon is likely to not be too scary. This won't always hold, of course – your opponent could have simply have two dangerous Pokemon in reserve – but if you feel like you're getting lucky with post-Dynamax scenarios, well, it's not all luck. Speaking of last Pokemon, a small optimization for your lead's PP is to let your reserves take care of it if they have a dominating match-up, even if your lead can get a simple OHKO. This won't happen too often, but it can save a few PP over the course of a run.

Let's run through a battle. Say you're using a Gigantamax Cinderace, with PP as such:

Flame Charge 20/32 → G-Max Fireball
Low Kick 15/32 → Max Knuckle
U-turn 23/32 → Max Flutterby
Zen Headbutt 17/24 → Max Mindstorm

You run into an Exploud lead. It can be OHKOed by G-Max Fireball or Max Knuckle. While Max Knuckle has noticeably less PP than G-Max Fireball right now, Max Knuckle's Attack boost is incredibly valuable on the first turn of a battle and should take precedence over G-Max Fireball. After you OHKO Exploud with Max Knuckle, Politoed comes in. This is a damage range without an Attack boost, so good thing you went for one! Having said Attack boost actually lets every move besides G-Max Fireball OHKO, so what to use? Max Knuckle for an extra Attack boost or even Max Mindstorm for Psychic Terrain are tempting, but recall that any offensive boost after an initial +1 boost is of marginal use. So instead, let’s focus on PP balance, and give that OHKO to Max Flutterby. The last Pokemon is the notoriously fragile Mienshao. Anything but the resisted move will be fine, so let's go with G-Max Fireball since it has the least PP...ah, but wait, let's check the damage calculator:

+1 252 Atk Libero Cinderace Max Flutterby (120 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0- Def Mienshao: 132-156 (100 - 118.1%) -- guaranteed OHKO

...oh! How surprising! Since Max Flutterby has the most PP right now, let's OHKO Mienshao using that instead.

And now let's go to an alternate dimension where nothing seems to go right. Same Pokemon, same lead you've decided to use a Max Knuckle on, but instead of Politoed, Rhyperior is sent in. You have no switch-in for its Rock Wrecker, so Cinderace is forced to fight it. While +1 Cinderace could 2HKO with Max Mindstorm and/or Max Flutterby, you still absolutely want to use Max Knuckle here since you will be entering a post-Dynamax situation, and a perilous one at that. Rhyperior's Rock Wrecker will do around 65% even with Dynamax up, leaving Cinderace with no Dynamax and low health for the final Pokemon. Here, you should go for all the boosts you can get, even going for a third Max Knuckle on the final Dynamax turn. This leaves you are +3 for the last Pokemon, which is hopefully good enough. In comes...Kingler! Another horrible match-up for a Fire team. In fact, even at +3, Low Kick only has an 81.3% chance to OHKO it. You have no other option though, so you go for it and...Kingler survives and finishes off Cinderace with Crabhammer. Tragic, but the only reason you even stood a chance here was because you went for all those Attack boosts. The odds may not always go your way, but when you know you're going to be put in a bad situation you can try to get them as much in your favor as possible.

3b. PP Management On Switch-Ins

I mentioned earlier that switch-ins have far less PP concerns than your lead, and that's true, but you should still not go crazy with their PP. While ordinary damaging moves can usually be used without too much thought, healing and set-up moves do need to be closely monitored. Don't waste healing moves – if you're only going to heal 30% with a 50% healing move, you should really avoid making that move. Because switch-ins are usually switching in on good match-ups anyways, ending a fight at only 70% is usually fine. There are exceptions, of course. If you've identified a huge threat to your lead that a switch-in can deal with but it needs to have 80+% when it switches in, you might want to be a little more frivolous with your healing to keep it at that point. But you will naturally burn more healing PP, so especially if you're getting low you may need to risk a bit more. Sure, ending at 70% could be bad if you run into said threat immediately, but if you run into any number of Pokemon you typically switch into before that, you can use a more efficiently timed healing move and end that battle above 80%, not wasting a PP in the earlier battle. Like a lot of RS, you have to play it by ear. Also, if you're using a move like Drain Punch to heal, try to avoid using it for anything but healing unless you really need the coverage.

Then there's set-up moves. In almost any other context, the 32 PP these moves usually have is superfluous. In RS, this is absolutely not the case. There will be many cases where you could set up to +6, but you will rarely want to, especially if the move only boosts by one stage at a time. Anywhere from +2 to +4 is where you will want to stay in so you don't run out of PP too early. Of course, like anything else it can depend on the situation. If for whatever reason you haven't used much of your set-up PP and your lead is almost finished, then maybe you will want to be a bit more carefree with setting up. It also depends on whether you have Dynamax available. If you do, you will rarely need more than +1 or +2 to win without issue.

3c. Tricky Situations

Sometimes, you will be put in a bad situation. You may feel like you have to sacrifice a Pokemon or take a status condition. In situations like these, always remember: your lead is your most important Pokemon. While there are some occasional situations where your lead is expendable (mainly when it has perilously low HP or PP), it is almost always better to let your reserves take the fall. What can be less clear-cut is dealing with low% risks. Unlike a Thunder Wave which you should assume will always hit, a Thunderbolt paralysis is a more acceptable risk to take. While it is certainly worse for your lead to be afflicted with that than your reserves, keep in mind that because they're switching in (and possibly KOing the enemy over more turns) your reserve is more likely overall to get afflicted by paralysis here due to risking more chances. Depending on where you are in your leg, that can change what the best play is. Near the start of a leg, you should go for the play less likely to result in something bad happening to my team. Sure, a reserve being paralyzed is nowhere near as bad as my lead, but it is still likely to kneecap this leg, and that's not something you want to see period in a good run. But near the end of a leg, a reserve being paralyzed will have much less effect on your leg's length, and it makes you less likely to outright lose (a paralyzed lead is very, very bad). Honestly, these situations aren't easy to deal with, and you will probably second-guess yourself on whether you made the right call. Don't doubt yourself too hard – while it is very bad to get in the mindset of thinking you did nothing wrong every time a bad thing happens, it can be similarly foolish to always think your play was wrong. Sometimes you made a good call but the odds didn't go your way. It happens. The important part is to always rethink the situation afterwards, regardless of what your conclusion ends up being.

3d. Healing

Choosing when to take your heals can be nerve-wracking. Too early, and you risk getting a streak under your standards. Too late, and you risk not having a streak at all. It's hard to say when a team's situation becomes untenable. Your lead being alive often means you're fine to not lose, but sometimes you may be out of PP of an important move (you will often not have perfect PP balance), and maybe both the health of it and your reserves is low. It's hard to not see that as a situation where you need to heal. It also largely depends on the speed of your reserves. If they're slow, you are definitely at more risk of getting outright swept than you are with fast ones. Of course, they won't be faster than everything, so even then something like a badly timed Barraskewda can be fatal. Here's a little exercise that can help: after some time with your team you will have an idea of what threatens it, so think it through: if I run into x threat now, will I lose? If the answer is yes, then you should probably heal. If the answer is no, but can become yes in conjunction with some other threat (or class of threats, say any Fire-type), then that may still be cause for a heal, but is definitely a more acceptable risk. It also depends on what your goal with your streak is. If you are aiming for a streak of 30 and you've just finished Battle 10, then you may be pretty willing to take a heal even if you're only in a lightly precarious situation with your team, since if you keep that pace you will meet your goal. But if you're at Battle 7 and your team is feeling pretty weak, you will definitely need to push on for a few more battles if you want to have a good chance at achieving your goal. Furthermore, it also depends on which heal you're talking about. Your first heal is the one you can tolerate more risk on, since there's less of a time-loss if it all falls apart here. But it's hard to justify taking big risks with the second heal, since you could potentially lose hours of time on a good run.

While monotyped teams can diverge wildly in what's threatening, there are a number of prominent threats that you will frequently have trouble with. These are loosely sorted into Offensive, Defensive, and Status threats, though the lines can blur. Ultimately, the point is that they're all threats you need to consider when teambuilding. There's also Item threats, a niche problem that abuse how item removal works in RS. Normally, items that are removed are restored in the next battle. However, when applied to consumable items, they are treated as consumed and will not restore until your next heal is used. For most teams these are not important, but if you're going to use a consumable item they're very important to be aware of.

For complete set data on anything listed in this section, see here.

Offensive

:starmie:
There are so many gimmicky sets in RS, and then there's this double STAB, BoltBeam, Life Orb Starmie straight out of 2006. You are almost certainly going to at least take unresisted STAB damage from this, or even worse super effective damage. Very few Pokemon period make a good switch-in to this, and if your lead isn't faster it's going to take a heavy hit. One of the biggest perks of getting a Speed boost from Max Airstream for most Pokemon is being able to outspeed this.

:cinccino:
Just as fast as Starmie, and with similarly wide coverage. Since it's reliant on abilities to be optimal you can get lucky and see Cute Charm or 2-hit Technician, but usually you are going to take a lot of damage from this. It's a bit easier to switch in to than Starmie, but don't sleep on that Metronome – spend too much time versus this and you will regret it.

:zoroark:
I put Zoroark here as though it's something you can plan for, but honestly...you really can't. RS does not give you the flexibility to play around this; its inclusion at all is kind of insulting. Types that are weak to Dark or Fire will be miserable versus this awful thing, any switch-in can just get annihilated. The only upside is that leads are generally fine versus this. It has a Rash nature, so even base 85 Pokemon can outspeed it, and it's so frail that basically any unresisted hit will KO it. And even if it's fortunate enough to survive, it has an Eject Button that will prevent it from attacking. Psychic attacks are the exception, so watch out with those.

:sirfetch
Always fear Sirfetch'd's smug visage; it's smug because it knows what's about to happen. It's quite difficult to OHKO with unboosted physical attacks, and then you're taking a 150 BP Meteor Assault with a 50% chance to crit. Brave Bird hits some Pokemon that resist Meteor Assault, too. This is also one of the biggest barriers in trying to accomplish any sort of defensive stat-boosting in RS.

:rhyperior:
Rhyperior is almost impossible to KO with anything physical but 4x effective attacks, and its Rock Wrecker is very similar to a Sirfetch'd Meteor Assault, though it mercifully lacks a Stick. The Weakness Policy it has instead is still terrible, though. A lot of Pokemon can have trouble 2HKOing this without triggering it, which can be fatal. Do keep in mind that Rock Wrecker has a recharge turn, though, so if you can't OHKO this you basically have three turns to deal with it.

:boltund:
Boltund is likely to outspeed you and can be somewhat threatening if it gets Strong Jaw, but that's not why it's bad to deal with. It has Electrify which makes your moves Electric type (also note that it makes your Max moves Max Lightning, so no Speed boost from Max Airstream or anything of the sort) that it's likely to survive. This triggers its Cell Battery, which makes it quite a bit more threatening, especially if it wastes your final turn of Dynamax.

:mienshao:
Mienshao is a bit slower than Starmie and Cinccino and also has much narrower coverage, but it makes up for that with how incredibly strong High Jump Kick is, striking fear into the hearts of all Fighting-weak Pokemon. If it has Reckless as its ability, it can flat out OHKO many leads even in Dynamax. It can also use Fake Out if it doesn't have an OHKO, but don't count on it.

:ribombee:
This is one of the absolute fastest RS Pokemon, and its Pixie Plate Moonblast in tandem with Pollen Puff and Psychic can make life miserable for a lot of leads. It's quite a bit easier to switch in to that a lot of offensive threats, though, since its coverage has trouble with Steel- and Fire-types.

Defensive

:porygon2:
Trick Room appears on a couple of RS Pokemon, and it completely stymies any sort of offensive lead should it be used. For many of these Pokemon, you can simply make sure your lead OHKOes them, but to be frank: you are not going to OHKO Porygon2. It's only weak to a type whose Max Move has weakened BP, and it has an Eviolite. As a result, any RS team needs some kind of good, stally way to deal with Trick Room. One potentially funny option is that if you switch in a Pokemon slower than this, it will actually reset the Trick Room so it can be faster again. But usually, you just need some kind of decently bulky Pokemon with recovery and a way to finish off Porygon2 as Trick Room finishes. Going into a second Trick Room is also a possibility if you must, but stalling out a second will be quite PP-intensive. Also, Tri Attack can be a frustrating status roulette, though fortunately once Porygon2 uses Conversion2 it will prefer Psychic as long as it's not resisted. One last note: don't forget to put 4 Special Defense EVs on offensive Pokemon with equal defenses to trigger an Attack boost from Download, as you don't want to give Porygon2 a free Special Attack boost.

:musharna:
Musharna is somewhat realistic to OHKO if you have physical, super effective STAB, but more than likely this is another Trick Room threat you have to deal with. With Yawn, Expanding Force, and Psychic Terrain, it can be a good deal harder to wall than Porygon2. Yawn also makes it quite frustrating to KO right as Trick Room ends, so you may have to accept knocking it out while TR remains. If it has 1 turn left when the next Pokemon comes in, that can actually be beneficial if you have Dynamax still – you can Max Guard to stall out that last turn if you need to, or just utilize TR for yourself depending on what comes in.

:greedent:
“Look at this silly Route 1 rodent trying to be a threat”, you muse. You attack it, but only deal around half. “Oh well, I'll just KO it next turn”. It uses Stuff Cheeks. You laugh as you see the Petaya Berry trigger. “What could it possibly do with that?”. But you start to be somewhat concerned as Cheek Pouch triggers, and it's now back up to 80% with +2 Defense. You do the math; it will survive three more hits now. “But what could it possibly do? It's a special Greedent”. It Belches twice, and the damage seems pathetic. How can you lose? But you realize your Dynamax has finished. Still, it should be fine. But just as you've almost escaped Greedent's Horrible Buffet, just as you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it uses Hyper Beam, and your lead has fainted.

Greedent smiles on.

Do not ever underestimate how badly this will stop your physical leads. It is humiliating, it is infuriating, but it will win. The only mercy is that it is set-up fodder for almost anything.

:magnezone:
Magnezone with its Air Balloon can be difficult to OHKO for a lot of Pokemon, and even if you're able to OHKO it you can still see Sturdy (unless you're privileged like Cinderace). Magnezone actually has incredible offensive prowess, but in practice it ends up being a defensive threat because it almost always sets up Reflect or Light Screen on the first turn. Sometimes it sets up the wrong one which is fantastic, but if it sets up the right screen you can have a rough battle ahead. If possible, try to switch into a more defensive Pokemon when the opportunity arises.

:corviknight:
Flying/Steel is an obnoxious type for a lot of Pokemon to deal with, and this can waste incredible amounts of PP with Pressure and Spite versus them. While this will basically never KO anything, it can absolutely wreck you long-term in PP.

:steelix: :skarmory:
These tend to be similar. While Skarmory's type is more problematic, Steelix's raw durability is much better. They can also both have Sturdy even if you are able to OHKO them. Steelix can be particularly annoying if Dig is the strongest option, since that wastes another turn. But it is also a great set-up opportunity if you anticipate it.

:talonflame:
Talonflame's Sticky Barb seems rather peculiar at first, but don't be fooled – it is nefarious. With Gale Wings, Fly has priority and will cause your Pokemon to miss with whatever move it's using. Then, due to the Sticky Barb recoil, Gale Wings will no longer be active, and since Talonflame has no Speed investment it will likely be slower than your lead, causing another attack to whiff at it in the air. And the worst part is, with max HP and Defense EVs you still might not KO it even after all that. If it's going to use Fly, don't ever commit to Dynamax versus this. Even if you're going to stay in and potentially whiff an attack (but do realize it can also have Flame Body, so don't use a contact move), you really don't want this to waste two Dynamax turns for nothing. But more likely, you should switch. The upside is that it also has Overheat, which it prefers versus many targets due to its high power. In that case, this is much less dangerous.

:tangrowth:
Tangrowth is very bulky on the physical side, and its combination of Grassy Terrain healing with its Grassy Seed can make it hard to even 2HKO. And the worst part is, since Grassy Terrain is so common for your own use in RS, you may end up triggering its Grassy Seed immediately!

:coalossal: :druddigon: :octillery:
The Endure brigade, capable of wasting a turn of Dynamax no matter what. Octillery is OHKOed by almost any lead anyways, but Coalossal and Druddigon can survive most hits and Endure the next turn, totally wasting your Dynamax by the time you've disposed of them. If they really want to be obnoxious, then they can even get lucky and get a second Endure, wasting another PP! Neither are great to switch in on either – Coalossal can have Flame Body which contact attackers need to watch out for, and Druddigon's Dragon Tail and Taunt are obnoxious for defensive Pokemon to do anything about.

Status

:magneton:
This is one of the absolute dumbest Pokemon for a lot of types. Its typing and Eviolite alone can be hard for some Pokemon to deal with, but no matter what you have the risk of Sturdy into Thunder Wave, a surefire way to ruin your lead. While hoping this doesn't get Sturdy isn't the worst strategy for even moderate length streaks, any streak aiming to go high needs a way to deal with this.

:froslass:
Fast Pokemon destroy this without a second thought, but anything in the more common moderate Speed range forces something on the team to take a Will-O-Wisp. Even special attackers hate the constant damage tick, and it's ruinous for physical attackers. Like Magneton, you need a way to deal with this for a high streak.

:pyukumuku:
Every aspect of this Pokemon is infuriating. It has both Counter and Mirror Coat in tandem with good bulk, which makes it difficult to avoid taking lots of damage. And if you're able to circumvent that with an OHKO, you may be treated to Innards Out anyways. Well, this sounds like a wash. Let's switch something in. Oh...it used Toxic and your Pokemon is now crippled. Well, let's put a Toxic immunity on the team. Counter and Mirror Coat do damage depending on what's taken, so let's use weak attacks to wear it down. Oh...it's a Red Card, and now the Counter/Mirror Coat has been transferred to something without quick recovery. Well, that's not fatal, so let's just keep at this...back to the Toxic immunity. A nice 4HKO to whittle it down, healing Counter/Mirror Coat damage as needed. But wait! Spite! Spite! Spite! Congrats, you've wasted nearly 20 PP trying to deal with this. Oh, but what if you at least tried to set-up on it, both to gain momentum and waste less PP? Nope, Unaware! (You can still gain momentum, but you'll lose even more PP.)

Pyukumuku is a uniquely awful experience for newer players. It does have some huge flaws, though. Most notably, if you have any sort of Toxic immunity, you can repeatedly switch between said immunity and anything else on your team, both for the purposes of gaining Leftovers recovery and stalling out all of its PP. It's also worth noting that Toxic immunity doesn't just come in the form of Steel- and Poison-types. If you're statused, then you can't be afflicted with Toxic either. In practice, this usually manifests from putting yourself to sleep with Rest. Stalling is generally the best option, tedious as it may be (if you're not aiming for a good streak, you may just want to save yourself 15 minutes and eat the Spites). Without an immunity, you will either need to have some sort of way to heal the status, or simply roll the dice with Toxic. Also, if you have your own passive damage, you can totally bypass Counter/Mirror Coat/Red Card.

:passimian:
Passimian may have no defensive investment, but its base 100 HP/90 Defense can still make it annoyingly hard to OHKO, at which point it Flings its Light Ball at you for paralysis. Since this requires an item you can be tricky with Knock Off, but otherwise you will need to OHKO this or have some way to deal with the status.

:amoonguss:
This has Spore, which is the first instance of sleep as a status. While not permanent, it can waste your lead's Dynamax and leave them open to several attacks, though Amoonguss in particular isn't that threatening, damage-wise. It may be weak to a lot of types, but with max HP and Defense EVs even those are not a surefire way to OHKO. And while it's not too hard to wall with a lot of different Pokemon with Leftovers, the combination of Giga Drain, Clear Smog, and Ingrain can make it difficult to make any progress. Steel-types are usually your best bet since they can still set up without fear of Clear Smog. Oh, and don't forget that this can have Effect Spore if you're considering contact moves.

:quagsire:
Quagsire can be super obnoxious if you don't have a Grass move, due to Yawn, Leftovers, and Unaware. Toxic is super nice if you have it, but otherwise you're bound for an awkward time. The main advice is to never let Yawn sleep you, because with Power-Up Punch you will eventually take heavy damage from this – there's no safe way to sleep.

:accelgor:
Accelgor zooms in at the speed of light and poisons you with Sludge Bomb 30% of the time to ruin your day. Any good Poison or Steel type puts a stop to this, but if you want to play it safe this can be annoyingly disruptive to your lead.

:meowstic:
Never stay in versus this as a lead unless you're a Dark-type, because it can stifle your lead with Prankster Yawn. But since the rest of its set is one of the dumbest ever conceived (Disarming Voice? What is this, the first gym?), almost anything with Leftovers will win.

:gyarados:
Gyarados can be awful for physical attackers if it has Intimidate, and even if it doesn't you're probably not going to OHKO it. It starts with Icy Wind to lower Speed, then goes for Scald which can burn, or Taunt which is bad for most things you might switch in. One nice thing is that a lot of Pokemon remain faster than this after a Speed drop, but unless you 2HKO you're still going to risk Scald burns.

:drifblim:
Drifblim tends to be one of those Pokemon you just barely miss an OHKO on, and what a miserable OHKO to miss. It will use Trick and give you its Flame Orb, burning you. Also note that this will use up any consumable item you have until your next heal, so this is extra dangerous in that case.

:milotic: :torkoal: :sandaconda: :rotom: :miltank: :lickilicky: :garbodor: :dusknoir:
These are all Pokemon with low-moderate% chances to inflict status with secondary effects and some type of bulk. Miltank's Thunderbolt is particularly maddening; there aren't words to describe the feeling of being paralyzed by a move that does as much damage as its paralysis chance.

Item

:drifblim::turtonator::crawdaunt::thievul::mandibuzz::vileplume::toxicroak::skuntank::salazzle::pinsir::galvantula::greedent::vespiquen::gourgeist:
Drifblim's Trick Flame Orb and Crawdaunt's incredibly strong Knock Off can be difficult to switch into, but for the most part the Pokemon on this list aren't too hard to switch into, but you do need to realize they can mess up your consumables if you're using one. In order, they utilize Trick, Incinerate, Knock Off, Corrosive Gas, Bug Bite, Thief, or Pickup to steal items.

While this guide has talked at length about how to build an RS team, there's no shame in using someone else's team. You can even employ the teambuilding concepts discussed and try to improve them. The purpose of this is to show some successful teams and how they applied concepts talked about earlier. Feel free to use them or anything else you see on the leaderboards.

Team #1Grass, :rillaboom::appletun::ferrothorn: by Jumpman16, Record: 168 wins

Rillaboom is able to amass incredible PP by taking advantage of the fact that its G-Max Drum Solo has the same power no matter what, letting it use Branch Poke with no loss in effectiveness. Its Grassy Surge ability both bolsters its offense and also lets it support its defensive teammates with supplemental healing. On the backline, Appletun and Ferrothorn are able to neutralize all of Grass’s weaknesses, including an outright Poison-immunity on Ferrothorn and a Fire-resistance on Appletun. They also do not share weaknesses, and can use Leech Seed both as a way to heal and do lots of damage over time, making an ideal dual wall set-up. Appletun's Gigantamax form lets it heal its own status, and it also utilizes Recycle+Leppa Berry to keep its PP up indefinitely, a usual pitfall of very defensive Pokemon. While Appletun and Ferrothorn can mow through teams by themselves, they can still keep momentum even without a dedicated pivoting move – Leech Seed+Grassy Terrain can make raw switches back to Rillaboom relatively painless versus a number of Pokemon.

Team #2Ground, :krookodile::landorus-therian::quagsire: by sb879, Record: 129 wins

Krookodile has great STABs and Moxie to make a potent lead. This team shows off the importance of building around your lead. While Ground's weaknesses of Water, Ice, and Grass are covered as best they can, note that so are 2 of Krookodile's Dark weaknesses, Bug and Fighting. For the most part this team's backline aims to press momentum - Landorus-T with Bulk Up and Airstream, and Quagsire mostly acting as a pivot with Encore and Toxic - but it is worth noting that Landorus-T and Quagsire share no weaknesses, making them a decently effective core in a pinch, though neither are totally defensively-invested or have particularly high defenses. This is also another example of a consumable being used in the form of Lum Berry on Quagsire, which helps mitigate some status threats.

Team #3Bug, :heracross::volcarona::shedinja: by Dobbly, Record: 124 wins

Heracross has great offense with Moxie, and a good use of a secondary type. Its Fighting-type allows it to easily beat any Rock-type, which this team is incredibly bad at switching into. This shared Rock weakness of Volcarona and Shedinja, as well as the shared Flying-weakness, should make it clear that they don't act as a core, but rather separate switch-ins where maintaining momentum is key. Volcarona switches into many threats – notably Fire types and burn users, but also various physical walls – and sets up Quiver Dance to sweep, maintaining health with Roost. Shedinja on the other hand is a peculiar case, having many flawless match-ups but destined for failure if it KOs anything by itself. As such, Shedinja never knocks anything out. It only weakens Pokemon and Baton Passes Hone Claws to Heracross, which give it a ton of momentum to massacre virtually anything.

Team #4 Dragon, :salamence::naganadel::duraludon: by Eisenherz, Record: 119 wins

Salamence's combination of Moxie and STAB Airstream gives it incredible offensive prowess as a lead. However, Dragon does not have particularly good switch-in options, so a double lead build is employed. Naganadel is very fast and gets special attack boosts from Beast Boost so it also works as a good lead. It has some limited switch-in potential versus annoying physical walls for Salamence, but for the most part it just acts as a secondary lead. Duraludon acts as glue for both leads, stopping some key threats while pressing momentum with the combination of Iron Defense and Body Press.

Team #5Steel, :kartana::heatran::corviknight: by EightVelociraptors, Record: 183 wins

Kartana's offense is unparalleled, making it an ideal lead. From there, Heatran and Corviknight form not only a powerful defensive core, but are both fairly capable of sweeping. Heatran's offense bolstered with frequent Flash Fire triggers makes it very potent, and Corviknight sets up with Bulk Up. But even if they are stopped, there's ton of flexibility to switch around. So this acts as a bit of a fusion between the double wall/double momentum presser archetypes.

The community has made various resources to help out with RS, so you should check them out and use them as you see fit.

SwSh Battle Facilities Damage Calculator (courtesy of Eisenherz)
SwSh Battle Facilities Mass Damage Calculator (courtesy of turskain)
Trainer + Pokémon lookup spreadsheet (File → Make a copy) (enter "Student" as Trainer for Restricted Sparring) (courtesy of of SadisticMystic)
Full list of Restricted Sparring sets (courtesy of Eisenherz)
Restricted Sparring speed tiers

Off You Go!

Well, those are the basics of RS. Now it's your turn to go and try it for yourself! Hopefully you enjoy it as much as the RS community has. It's certainly an interesting mode to learn, with many opportunities to be creative and innovate. And the book is nowhere near closed, so perhaps you will write the next chapter. Show us what you've got!
 
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shiny finder

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Wow great work sb. I'll default to the guys who have played but a couple minor things I came up with while reading thru it:
  • in places where you say, " One way to help with this is to have a damage calculator handy." or keeping a spreadsheet to lab it up, it might be helpful to plug the resources section here so people know they can find those things already in the guide.
  • I'd maybe consider having subsections or summary headers within sections 1-3 just to help break up the info (and/or provide a tldr for the paragrah(s) that follow) to ease in readability. There's lots of into to take in.
And just as a note for any QC still to come, this article is already on the long side (rightfully so!) so I'd caution making it too much longer. If something needs to go in by all means, but just something to keep in mind. Say what you need to say and don't worry about adding more if you need to.

Thanks y'all!
 
Uhm... I am very unfamiliar with how this works, but I think overall the guide is very thorough and complete.

Is this an omni-comprehensive, beginner guide if I'm not mistaken, right? If so, I would not update the sample teams as, despite being crushed by CT record runs, they serve the purpose of sample teams much better than the new ones.

If there's anything to add, I may advise to maybe add a couple of lines about the use of Rest.

Something on the line of that while not as immediate as Recover, it is far more reliable and absolutely mandatory for longer legs due to status. And how to use it: while it is basically free, full healing on a Pokemon with Natural Cure, it requires careful usage on anything else. It also bear underscoring that it is much feasible to keep a mon Asleep to heal later on (especially if it packs immunities, such as Duraludon, Drapion, or Scrafty) rather than wasting Rest PPs on something that can 3HKO or 4HKO you. Many mons also pack 5PP or 10PP moves as their only alternative to hit you so if you can circumvent that hit with a team member or can afford an extra Rest PP, it is usually smooth sailing after the initial tanking.
 
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Eisenherz

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I already went through this a couple months back and gave my feedback, and I think most of it was addressed already in this version, so I don't have a ton to add anymore, but I went through it again to see if I could think of anything else, and these are the things I noted:

- Like sf, I think it'd be great to link to the resources not just at the end but whenever they're mentioned in the article. For example, when you mention there are only 151 sets, making this link to a list of the sets would be helpful, since I'm sure readers will want to see them at that very moment. Same with all mentions of the damage calculator (like at the start of section 3), making those hyperlink to the calc would be great. Most importantly, I think our thread with the leaderboard, reports and discussion really needs to be prominently linked (the samples should probably link to the corresponding reports, too)!

- I also agree that breaking down the first section may be nice. In particular, considerations about PP and the discussion on particular max moves feel like they could be their own thing (or a subsection?).

- When discussing the different archetypes, it'd be great if you referred to the sample teams provided as examples of those (eg. "for example, the Mono Normal team included in samples") just so they know where to look for an example of these archetypes right away, it can feel a bit abstract otherwise.

- As Dialganet says, I think we need to at least mention using Rest, not necessarily in detail, but it's prominent enough among the new top streaks to deserve being talked about. Maybe it could just be a couple of lines in the section talking about the status problems?

- Unlike Dialganet, I think a slight update to the samples is a good idea since the "meta" has evolved with CT. I think Mono Steel would make for a particularly good sample, though Mono Electric is kind of an obvious candidate too (I also think either my Mono Dragon or you Mono Dark teams are really good "textbook" examples that make for good samples). If any, Mono Water seems the most replaceable, but I trust your judgement on what to feature, the current selection is already good.

Overall, I think it's amazing work that goes above and beyond in explaining RS and how to approach it for all levels of players, great job and thanks again for writing this! :blobthumbsup:
 
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Wow great work sb. I'll default to the guys who have played but a couple minor things I came up with while reading thru it:
  • in places where you say, " One way to help with this is to have a damage calculator handy." or keeping a spreadsheet to lab it up, it might be helpful to plug the resources section here so people know they can find those things already in the guide.
  • I'd maybe consider having subsections or summary headers within sections 1-3 just to help break up the info (and/or provide a tldr for the paragrah(s) that follow) to ease in readability. There's lots of into to take in.
And just as a note for any QC still to come, this article is already on the long side (rightfully so!) so I'd caution making it too much longer. If something needs to go in by all means, but just something to keep in mind. Say what you need to say and don't worry about adding more if you need to.

Thanks y'all!
Noted on the resource linking. Are direct links to non smogon pages as Eisenherz describes ok for onsite articles?

Agreed on subsections, I was thinking that myself.
Is this an omni-comprehensive, beginner guide if I'm not mistaken, right? If so, I would not update the sample teams as, despite being crushed by CT record runs, they serve the purpose of sample teams much better than the new ones.
- Unlike Dialganet, I think a slight update to the samples is a good idea since the "meta" has evolved with CT. I think Mono Steel would make for a particularly good sample, though Mono Electric is kind of an obvious candidate too (I also think either my Mono Dragon or you Mono Dark teams are really good "textbook" examples that make for good samples). If any, Mono Water seems the most replaceable, but I trust your judgement on what to feature, the current selection is already good.
The sample teams are in this weird space of not technically being for beginners but rather to illustrate concepts for beginners, but regardless sample teams are going to be interpreted as beginner teams if they're in a beginner's guide, so I think this distinction I've made is pointless. With that in mind, I do think they should be updated so better, but still relatively simple to use, teams can be featured. This is where one of my meta-goals in this section gets a little awkward though, in that I wanted to use this section to also show members of the community. It's not a coincidence that each team is by a different person. The problem then becomes that it's hard to fit in Jumpman, since I've now seen multiple accounts from people that his teams are hard to use. But I guess it's up to Jumpman16 if his omission in this section bothers him.
- As Dialganet says, I think we need to at least mention using Rest, not necessarily in detail, but it's prominent enough among the new top streaks to deserve being talked about. Maybe it could just be a couple of lines in the section talking about the status problems?
If there's anything to add, I may advise to maybe add a couple of lines about the use of Rest.

Something on the line of that while not as immediate as Recover, it is far more reliable and absolutely mandatory for longer legs due to status. And how to use it: while it is basically free, full healing on a Pokemon with Natural Cure, it requires careful usage on anything else. It also bear underscoring that it is much feasible to keep a mon Asleep to heal later on (especially if it packs immunities, such as Duraludon, Drapion, or Scrafty) rather than wasting Rest PPs on something that can 3HKO or 4HKO you. Many mons also pack 5PP or 10PP moves as their only alternative to hit you so if you can circumvent that hit with a team member or can affort an extra Rest PP, it is usually smooth sailing after the initial tanking.
I'm not sure I understand the bolded. Something that 3HKOs you can't be Rested on in the first place in any practical sense I can think of. I feel like you're proposing it's better to have say, a sleeping mon at ~60% or so as opposed to an awake 20% one. In which case, yeah, generally. But I'm not really sure of what kind of situation there is where that's a choice you're going to make.

Regardless, Rest, with its usefulness and flaws, will be mentioned.
I already went through this a couple months back and gave my feedback, and I think most of it was addressed already in this version, so I don't have a ton to add anymore, but I went through it again to see if I could think of anything else, and these are the things I noted:

- Like sf, I think it'd be great to link to the resources not just at the end but whenever they're mentioned in the article. For example, when you mention there are only 151 sets, making this link to a list of the sets would be helpful, since I'm sure readers will want to see them at that very moment. Same with all mentions of the damage calculator (like at the start of section 3), making those hyperlink to the calc would be great. Most importantly, I think our thread with the leaderboard, reports and discussion really needs to be prominently linked (the samples should probably link to the corresponding reports, too)!

- When discussing the different archetypes, it'd be great if you referred to the sample teams provided as examples of those (eg. "for example, the Mono Normal team included in samples") just so they know where to look for an example of these archetypes right away, it can feel a bit abstract otherwise.

Overall, I think it's amazing work that goes above and beyond in explaining RS and how to approach it for all levels of players, great job and thanks again for writing this! :blobthumbsup:
Yeah, the thread makes sense to add when the guide is in a space that's not the thread. Other links were talked about at the start of this post; I'm fine with them if allowed.

More direct archetype to sample linking would be nice. Could probably literally be done at the HTML stage.

A few notes of my own:
-I mention switch stalling Pyukumuku with a Toxic immunity; this should be expanded to include Resting Pokemon which functionally are Toxic immunities. Also Mirror Coat is used rarely even when Counter remains, so that should be removed. I mention stalling Counter/Spite but I think generally it's just best to Struggle.
-I call Pyukumuku bullshit. I maintain that's the case, but is that okay to say onsite?
-There's a warning about avoiding 8PP moves for the backline; with 2 120+ streaks using Encore this might be a little out of place. I think it can just be removed.
 

Eisenherz

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I'm not sure I understand the bolded. Something that 3HKOs you can't be Rested on in the first place in any practical sense I can think of. I feel like you're proposing it's better to have say, a sleeping mon at ~60% or so as opposed to an awake 20% one. In which case, yeah, generally. But I'm not really sure of what kind of situation there is where that's a choice you're going to make.

Regardless, Rest, with its usefulness and flaws, will be mentioned.
I'd personally not recommend ever staying asleep to wake up later on. It can definitely be done, but it can also be a huge liability, it's very team- and situation-dependant, so I think leaving mentions of that particular interaction out is probably just better, we don't need to go that much into detail. If anything, maybe just recommend trying to not end an encounter asleep.
 

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Noted on the resource linking. Are direct links to non smogon pages as Eisenherz describes ok for onsite articles?
We like to keep everything Smogon-affiliated when possible, linking to outside stuff when there's really no other option. Threads and whatnot on here are a-ok, even tho they aren't technically published on-site. I have no issues with linking to the stuff Eisen mentioned or the things already in the resources section.

-I call Pyukumuku bullshit. I maintain that's the case, but is that okay to say onsite?
Missed that at first, so thanks for bringing it up. I don't disagree with this sentiment most of the time, but I think there's a more professional way of putting it for the sake of publication. Can just say "infuriating" or something.
 
The sample teams are in this weird space of not technically being for beginners but rather to illustrate concepts for beginners, but regardless sample teams are going to be interpreted as beginner teams if they're in a beginner's guide, so I think this distinction I've made is pointless. With that in mind, I do think they should be updated so better, but still relatively simple to use, teams can be featured. This is where one of my meta-goals in this section gets a little awkward though, in that I wanted to use this section to also show members of the community. It's not a coincidence that each team is by a different person. The problem then becomes that it's hard to fit in Jumpman, since I've now seen multiple accounts from people that his teams are hard to use. But I guess it's up to Jumpman16 if his omission in this section bothers him.
I think you can still keep Jump in, I am convinced that his grass team (which you feature) is far more straightforward than the Electric one, and 168 wins is no slouch at all. Personally, my streaks aren't that impressive nor that useful as samples (save for maybe the Altaria+Corviknight core to deal with status and all of Flying's weaknesses), so don't bother if they don't add anything to the discussion.

I would certainly give a thought about the 189 Steel team though.
I'm not sure I understand the bolded. Something that 3HKOs you can't be Rested on in the first place in any practical sense I can think of. I feel like you're proposing it's better to have say, a sleeping mon at ~60% or so as opposed to an awake 20% one. In which case, yeah, generally. But I'm not really sure of what kind of situation there is where that's a choice you're going to make.

Regardless, Rest, with its usefulness and flaws, will be mentioned.
Usual brainfart by me, I did mean both 4HKO and what you said. The hypothetical scenario I had in mind was where a Toxic or Leech Seed+Rest mon may keep is health higher by switching to a resistance back and forth and stay asleep while the clock ticks on the opponent rather than win the war of attrition by itself to be awake, but now that i read Eisenherz 's notes I realize that it is far too convoluted and an advanced strategy rather than a guide point. As you say, a quick mention is enough.

A few notes of my own:
-I mention switch stalling Pyukumuku with a Toxic immunity; this should be expanded to include Resting Pokemon which functionally are Toxic immunities. Also Mirror Coat is used rarely even when Counter remains, so that should be removed. I mention stalling Counter/Spite but I think generally it's just best to Struggle.
-I call Pyukumuku bullshit. I maintain that's the case, but is that okay to say onsite?
-There's a warning about avoiding 8PP moves for the backline; with 2 120+ streaks using Encore this might be a little out of place. I think it can just be removed.
Point 1 and 3: hard agree in general. Moreover, I'd agree with the resting mon. Also, where you mention this:

Also, if you have your own Toxic user, you can totally bypass Counter/Mirror Coat/Red Card.
I'd add that Leech Seed bypasses this as well, with the added benefit of healing the team if you switch around your Toxic immunity. Technically Will-O-Wisp does the same but there's no worthy team that has used that, so I'd avoid mentioning it.

Point 2: maybe something like "the embodiment of bad luck" or something might work, as Pyukumuku is certainly bullshit, but also the exact example of how, in Restricted Sparring, you can only avoid certain threats for so long (you may not roll Sturdy Magneton or Pyukumuku may not use Toxic one or twice, but it will certainly later).

Sorry if I am a little wordy, I am unfamiliar with this but I hope I can help.
 
Eisenherz shiny finder Dialganet2

Ok, I went over this today. I added subsections, links to various resources as relevant in the meat of the guide, changed the things I brought up, some notes about Rest, direct references between archetypes and sample teams, and a brief section in the threats section about mons that can get rid of your consumables. I also revamped the sample teams so they're more up to date. I kept Jumpman's Grass team since it's the best example of a dedicated dual wall team, hopefully it is not too alienating for beginners.
 
Just a quick note about recycle strat, best passive sets by far. You have to be careful to not lose leppa berry on corrosive gaz, bug bite, not forget to recycle the berry before switching or end of battle. Instead of classic item like shell bell, it's not recovered without healing. Also never use an offensive move if it has only 1 pp and does the KO against the last mon. If your recycle user counters the last mon, you can avoid losing 1 pp on your sweeper.
 

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including specific information about recycleppa is contrary to the aim of this guide, whose aim is to illustrate concepts for beginners. it's even more advanced than glen scarfing (trick scarfing for those playing at home). the guide's current mention of it is perfect as is.
 
Just a quick note about recycle strat, best passive sets by far. You have to be careful to not lose leppa berry on corrosive gaz, bug bite, not forget to recycle the berry before switching or end of battle. Instead of classic item like shell bell, it's not recovered without healing. Also never use an offensive move if it has only 1 pp and does the KO against the last mon. If your recycle user counters the last mon, you can avoid losing 1 pp on your sweeper.
I agree with Jumpman that Recycle specifics are a bit too advanced for this guide, though I'll note that there's a new section in Threats that outlines the various mons that can destroy consumables, Leppa among them of course. I think your other points are already essentially mentioned in the guide:
"Regardless, the name of the game is balance: you never want to run out of PP for a move while you still have plenty of PP in your other moves. Presumably that option was put there for a reason, and potentially being deprived of it for several battles could be disastrous."
"Speaking of last Pokemon, a small optimization for your lead's PP is to let your reserves take care of it if they have a dominating match-up, even if your lead can get a simple OHKO. This won't happen too often, but it can save a few PP over the course of a run."
 

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