Properly Building Past Gens Teams With the PS! Teambuilder

By Bedschibaer. Art by asgdf.
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Properly Building Past Gens Teams With the PS! Teambuilder


Pokémon Showdown! was developed during Generation V and has always mainly supported the new generations of competitive battling. In more recent times, however, the simulator started to support past generations. Building a team for a past generation with a teambuilder that is designed for the newest generations often leads to certain complications. However, it is possible to get your teams to work the way you want them to— a certain know-how is needed, though. In this article, I will mostly focus on the first two generations because they use very different mechanics compared to the newer ones. Some of the things listed here apply to all generations.

What to Build

Finding the right Pokémon

People who want to play the past generations on Pokémon Showdown! are faced with one big problem: the teambuilder only lists Pokémon, items, and moves from the current generation. In fact, a lot of things changed over the generations: the sizes of Pokémon's learnsets usually increase with every generation, new items and moves are introduced, and some moves' mechanics undergo changes. A good idea would be to always check the learnsets and tier lists for the generation that you want to play before you start teambuilding. The Smogon Pokédex provides you with good resources for looking up those things since it has a section for every generation. Let's take the section for Generation II here as an example: there are three things that you will need to take a look at. The Pokémon section of the dex provides you with a list of which Pokémon are available in what tier and lets you check every specific Pokémon's learnset, as well as providing you with analyses and tips on how to use each Pokémon effectively.

The Movedex

The Movedex lists all the moves of a specific generation and describes their effects. Note that some moves' effects have changed over the generations, so checking here to see if a certain move that you are using actually does what you think it does can be really helpful to prevent surprises or confusion later, because the teambuilder will only show you the effects and mechanics that a certain move has in Generation VI. Examples of changes would be different Base Powers of moves, like Outrage and Surf, between generations, and changed mechanics like the priority of Extreme Speed. What you will also notice is the different physical/special split in Generations I through III; instead of being by move, the categories are split by type. Quickly checking over the available moves of the Pokémon that you want to use and looking over the effects of moves you plan on using is therefore advised.

The Itemdex

Last but not least, the Itemdex gives you a list of available items in a generation. In this instance, you will quickly see that Generation II's item list has big differences from the item list that will show up in the teambuilder. Some of the listed items here flat out do not exist in the teambuilder, and I will explain how to manage this problem and other common problems in the next paragraph. All of these sections of the Smogon Pokédex exist for every generation. You should be able to easily access them via the respective pages of the generation that you want to build for. If you want to look deeper into the mechanics of a specific move or item in a specific generation, a simple web search should give you helpful results.

How to Build

Setting up the Pokémon

Now that you have prepared and know what you actually want to build, some of your problems should be solved from the get-go. When you pick a Pokémon in the teambuilder, it will be displayed with its Generation VI characteristics, meaning that things like changed typings and changed base stats will be displayed. Don't worry about that, though, as the Pokémon will have all of its correct stats and typing for its generation in battle. For the item slot, only items that actually exist in the generation that you want to play will be allowed in battle. Some of the Generation II items have not been implemented in the teambuilder as of the time of writing, though. For Berries, you can use the respective equivalents of the newer gens, though; Miracle Berry becomes Lum Berry, Mint Berry becomes Chesto Berry, etc. Polkadot Bow and Berserk Gene can be used by manually adding them via the Import feature. The ability slot can be left blank for Generations I and II. For Generations III and IV, you will have to watch out not to set hidden abilities, since they were introduced later on.

Setting the moves and the EVs and IVs

As mentioned before, check which moves are legal in the generation that you want to play in. In many cases, Generation I and II Pokémon have access to a couple of moves that are not available in later generations and therefore do not show up in the teambuilder. An example would be Generation II event moves. You are still able to type in the move into the moveslot, and it will work in battle, assuming that it's not incompatible with something else, but the teambuilder will say that the Pokémon can't learn the move. In the first two generations, the IV and EV system worked quite differently from the system used in Gen III and onwards. Natures didn't exist, so there is no need to set them. EVs have a Generations I and II equivalent called Stat Experience. Stat Experience can be maxed out in all stats, and the teambuilder will automatically do that for you, so there is no need to touch the EV bars because reducing your Stat Experience is not done in competitive RBY and GSC.

DVs explained in short

DVs, meaning Determination Values, are the Generations I and II equivalent to today's IVs. They only reach a maximum of 15 and have a fairly complicated system behind them that would take way too much time to actually be explained in detail here. By default, all DVs on Pokémon Showdown! are set to the maximum, 15. If you input custom IVs into the PS teambuilder, they are divided by 2 and rounded down, making them 0-15. If your Pokémon has Hidden Power, all of its DVs are set to the best-case scenario for that Hidden Power. Thick Club Marowak's Attack DVs will be automatically set to 13, preventing a rollover glitch. Using a Shiny Pokémon in Generation II will result in your Pokémon having lower DVs overall. The gender and the HP DV are calculated automatically. Long story short, you will not have to touch the IV/EV section in the teambuilder for Gens I and II in most cases, unless you want to set very specific DVs.


When you have considered all of the above, a lot of the problems that you may be facing with the teambuilder should be cleared up. However, it is always possible that new problems arise, you overlooked something, or the website changes certain things. When you happen to have a specific problem, you will be noted with an error message when trying to battle with your team. The error messages usually give you reasons why your team isn't legal and some direction to find out what's wrong. Of course, you are always encouraged to ask questions when you are struggling with something. You can ask me directly or try to find an experienced old-school player in the Old Gens room. The teambuilder does need quite a few things to be fixed in order to properly support past generations, but those things are being worked on. It is only understandable that big fixes like that take time to do, so you will have to stick with temporary solutions for past generations for now.

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