Resource The Beginner's Guide to Pokémon Showdown

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The Beginner's Guide to Pokémon Showdown
Originally by Alter, updated by Aeonic and Teclis

  1. Introduction and background
  2. Settings
  3. Commands
  4. Teambuilder
  5. Battling
  6. Community
  7. Rooms
  8. Resources and Links
Use Control/Command + F to search for a specific heading.

Introduction and background

Pokémon Showdown, often formatted as Pokémon Showdown!, is a popular competitive Pokemon simulator. It was created by Zarel and opened in October of 2011, but it was not until July 2, 2012 that it was adopted as Smogon's official battle simulator. Pokémon Showdown is a web-based project available on all major browsers.

Pokémon Showdown was designed to simulate the conditions of Wi-Fi Pokemon games in a more stable environment, which creates a more efficient method in which to be involved in the competitive Pokemon setting. The aim of this guide is to explain to new users to the way in which Pokémon Showdown operates and integrate said users into the community as a whole. This guide may also contain sections that help veterans of the site understand aspects of the program as well.


Pokémon Showdown allows users to customize their settings to their own preference. In order to change those settings, one should navigate their cursor to the top right of the main menu when logged in and hit on the gear/cog button to open up the settings menu.

What the settings menu looks like.
Screenshot 2024-03-01 09.40.08.png

There are many options and preferences you can change through the menu. Most should be pretty self-explanatory, but feel free to play around and see what you prefer. If you have additional questions, check out the Help room on Showdown itself.


Within any of the chats it is possible to type in commands (messages beginning with /) in order to perform a particular action. A wide variety of these commands exist, with some only available to certain users. For instance, only Voice users (+) can broadcast commands to others (!dt for example), and only Administrators (&) can promote users globally.

These ranks will be explained in depth later on. For more information, see the "Community" section. The list of commands is divided into sections by category. A short description of each command is provided.

These are commands that provide information on a variety of topics.
  • /faq - Provides a link to the Frequently Asked Questions page.
  • /rules - Provides a link to the rules page.
  • /help OR /h [x] - Gives information on a given subject. Replace x with a different command, subject, or 'all'.
  • /intro - Provides an introduction to competitive pokemon.
  • /learn [pokemon], [move, move, ...] - Displays if and how a Pokemon can learn the given moves, if it can at all.
  • /dexsearch OR /ds [parameter], [parameter], [parameter],... - Lists all Pokemon in the current generation that meet the given criteria. Use /nationaldexsearch OR /nds to search all Pokemon, even those that are not legal in the current generation. A list of valid parameters can be found through /help ds.
  • /data OR /info OR /stats [pokemon/item/move/ability] - Shows details on the given Pokemon/item/move/ability.
  • /details OR /dt [pokemon] - Shows in-depth details about this Pokemon.
  • /whois OR /rooms [username] - Shows a user and which rooms they're in if they are online.
  • /user [username] - Shows the usercard for a user, allowing you to see whether they are online or not, the rooms they're in, and buttons to challenge and private message them.
  • /ip - Get your own IP address.
  • /weakness OR /weak [type1], [type2] - Provides the weakness of a type or type combination.
  • /coverage [type1], [type 2] - Provides the coverage of a type or type combination.
  • /analysis OR /smogdex [pokemon], [generation] - Links to the Smogon University analysis for this Pokemon in the given generation.
  • /groups - Explains what the ^ + % @ * # & symbols next to people's names mean. (This is also covered later in the guide)
  • /opensource or /git - Links to PS's source code repository.
  • /avatars - Explains how to change avatars.
  • /cap - Provides an introduction to the Create-A-Pokemon project.
  • /om - Provides links to information on the Other Metagames. If an argument is provided (i.e. /om hackmons), information on that meta will be given.
  • /om month OR /omotm - Links to explanation of the Other Metagame of the month.
  • /calc - Provides a link to a damage calculator. You can also use /rcalc to view the damage calculator specifically for random battles.
  • /restarthelp - Gives information regarding server restarts
  • /veekun [pokemon] - Links to Veekun website for this Pokemon/item/move/ability/nature.
  • /math - Performs a mathematical operation.
  • /pi - Lists some digits of pi, because why not.

Settings and Preferences
These commands allow you change details about yourself and how you view Pokemon Showdown.
  • /nick [new username] - Change your username to [new username]. If the username is already registered you will be prompted to enter a password.
  • /blockpm(s) - Blocks other users from private messaging you. Cannot block messages from staff. If you provide a rank as an argument (valid arguments are unlocked, trusted, +, only private messages from that rank and above will be accepted).
  • /unblockpm(s) - Unblocks other users from private messaging you.
  • /blockchallenges OR /bch - Blocks other users from challenging you.
  • /unblockchallenges OR /unbch - Unblocks other users from challenging you.
  • /showjoins - Shows join/leave messages in chatrooms.
  • /hidejoins - Disables join/leave messages in chatrooms.
  • /avatar [new avatar number or name] - Changes your Trainer sprite. A list of selectable avatars is found here.
  • /ignore [username] - Blocks messages and challenges from another online user.
  • /away OR /idle - Greys out your username and sets your status to Away
  • /back - Recolors your username and removes your Away status.
  • /busy - Greys out your username and sets your status to Busy. Also blocks challenges and private messages from non-staff.
  • /status - Sets a short phrase as your status on your usercard.

These commands are designed for use in battles.
  • /challenge [username] - Opens the menu to challenge another user.
  • /rating OR /ranking OR /ladder OR /rank [username] - Gets a user's rating in all formats in which they have battled. Leave [username] blank if you want to view your own rank.
  • /savereplay - Saves the replay of the battle in which this is used.
  • /timer [on/off] - Turns the timer on or off in a battle.
  • /forfeit - Forfeits the current battle, resulting in a loss.
  • /inviteonly OR /ioo - Sets the current battle to be invite only, meaning only users who have been invited using /invite [username] or global staff members may join.
  • /ionext - Sets your next next battle to be invite only.
  • /modchat [off/+] - Sets moderated chat to the desired level in your current battle. This allows only users of the given rank or higher to chat if turned on.
  • /randbats [pokemon] - Shows the moves or movesets available to a Pokemon in a random battle.
  • /randdubs [pokemon] Shows the moves or movesets available to a Pokemon in a random doubles battle.

Rooms and Chat
The commands listed below are all relevant to the rooms or private messages. This topic is discussed more in depth in the "Rooms" subsection.
  • /roomauth - Shows the particular staff for a room in a popup. Usernames in bold are currently online and in the room.
  • /roomhelp - Gives information on all commands that a staff member in a room can use
  • /roomfaq OR /rfaq - Opens a HTML page with room-specific frequently asked questions. If an argument is provided (i.e. /rfaq tournaments), a text box with that specific rfaq will be shown to you in chat.
  • /roomevents - shows scheduled room events in an html box to you in chat.
  • /viewspotlights - shows all daily topics for the day in a HTML page.
  • /daily [topic] - displays a specific daily topic to you.
  • /join OR /j [room] - Joins a specified room.
  • /clear - Clears all lines in the room in which this command is used.
  • /msg OR /whisper OR /w [username], [message] - Send a private message to a user.
  • /reply OR /r [message] - Send a private message to the last person from whom you received a message, or to whom you sent a message.
  • /logout - Logs you out.

A highlight is a word, phrase, or regular expression (regex) that notifies you when posted by another user in a chatroom or battle. The message, room tab, and Showdown icon in your browser tab will be highlighted yellow or blue for you (depending on which theme you use).
  • /highlight add, word - add a new word to the highlight list. Accepts regular expressions (regex).
  • /highlight roomadd, word - add a new word to your highlight list for only the room in which the command is used. Accepts regular expressions (regex).
  • /highlight list - list all words that currently highlight you.
  • /highlight roomlist - list all words specific to a room that currently highlight you.
  • /highlight delete, word - delete a word from the highlight list.
  • /highlight roomdelete, word - delete a word from your highlight roomlist.
  • /highlight delete - clear the highlight list


The teambuilder is a large part of Pokémon Showdown and enables users to create their own teams from scratch, important other people's teams, or edit any of their currently existing ones. Some formats on the simulator will not require you to create a team and let you jump straight into battle. An example of this is the very popular "Random Battle" mode, or as it is commonly referred to, "Randbats" for short.

Other tiers and formats, such as OU, Ubers, UU or Monotype require you to create a team that follows the rules and restrictions of the metagame. If you'd like a listing of what you can and can't use for each tier, click here. In order to create a team, click on the "Teambuilder" button in the main menu.

The teambuilder is located on the left side of the home page.

Screenshot 2024-03-01 09.43.57.png

Building a team is fairly self-explanatory, with the teambuilder guiding you along each stage of the process. You can select a Pokemon's item, ability, moves, stats, and other details such as its level (from 1 to 100), its gender (None, Random, Male, or Female), happiness, and whether or not it is shiny. Keep in mind that some sets may require a Pokemon to have particular attributes. If you attempt to enter a battle with a moveset that doesn't abide by these rules, you will be prompted to alter it before you battle.

Below is an example of a finished Pokemon in the teambuilder.

Screenshot 2024-03-01 09.45.17.png

Other features of the Teambuilder include the ability to rearrange the team slots (the "Move" button on the top right of the above image), delete existing Pokémon or teams, import/export text versions of teams so that you can share them or create offsite backups, create folders for your teams, easily access resources for a format you have selected, store Pokemon sets in a box, and even upload your teams so that they are tied to your account cross devices.


Organizing a battle on Pokémon Showdown is quite simple. One can opt to either play in a ladder game (in which you receive a random opponent) or challenge a specific user. To play in a ladder game, select your format and team in the top lefthand corner using the drop-down boxes. If your team is accepted and deemed legal by the server for that specific format, you will be put in a queue amongst other players to join a match. The server matches you ideally with people with the closest rank to you ideally, though it expands the parameters as time progresses. There is a toggle to allow spectators in your matches or not—this setting is persistent.

Select your desired format and team and then hit "Battle!".

Screenshot 2024-03-01 09.50.05.png

Alternatively, you can type /challenge username into chat or click on a person's name to challenge them manually. However, these types of games will not change your ranking on the ladder. From the point of two players entering a game, you'll be thrown either straight into a battle or into the Team Preview. Team Preview occurs in the majority of formats, in which case you will be given time to choose your leading Pokémon based on your opponent's team. After you've made your choice, the battle will begin almost identically to in the actual games themselves.

The process of choosing your moves and switching Pokemon is rather straightforward. If you wish to Mega Evolve, Dynamax or Terastallize a Pokemon, click the checkbox located below the moves. If you're interested in honing your battling skills and learning the fundamentals of teambuilding, check out the Trainer Academy room on Showdown. If you are looking to have your team rated by peers or view teams created by other users, check out the Rate My Team subforum—but make sure to thoroughly read the rules before you post!


While the main room used on Pokémon Showdown is the Lobby, a variety of different rooms exist for different purposes. These rooms can range from different language rooms to rooms for people with particular hobbies or those dedicated to a particular playable format. Rooms can either be official, public (which means they're listed under "chat rooms"), or private.

To join a room one can either type the /join [roomname] command into chat or hit the large plus button to the right of your room list and select your desired room.

Screenshot 2024-03-01 09.58.26.png

Official rooms are pinned to the top of the roomlist; they serve a large audience and have an important purpose. Lobby is the default room—if you don't know with which room to start, try it out! Help aims to answer any and all questions about Pokemon Showdown and Smogon. If you have questions or need help, head there! Tournaments hosts frequent round-the-clock tournaments of many different formats. Make sure to check out the Tours Plaza subroom as well for lesser-known and -played formats!

Public rooms cover a specific topic such as a Smogon tier, hobby, or video game. There are dozens of these rooms; you're encouraged to try many of them out and see which suit you. If you have an interest, there's probably a public room for it!

Private rooms are generally invite only and either cover a specific niche topic or cater to a specific group. Examples of private rooms could be a Spanish VGC group, a room for battle minigames, or one for a Smogon Premier League team to prepare and strategize.


The Pokémon Showdown Random Battles chatroom.

Screenshot 2024-03-01 09.52.42.png

One of the most common questions seen on Pokémon Showdown would be, "How do you get that plus sign?" or "How do you become a mod?". These different symbols (^, +, %, @, *, #, &) all denote a particular rank or staff position.

This image below shows what each rank represents and the respective abilities.

Screenshot 2024-03-01 09.54.52.png

(Side note: If you're interested in learning more about the commands available to each rank, try typing into chat "/help [rank]" in which you replace [rank] with one of the above symbols)

How does someone go about gaining one of these snazzy ranks? Check out the Staff FAQ for more information.

Resources and Links
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