New User's Tips to Succeed at PS!

By Antemortem. Art by Faxxifer.
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Every veteran user of Pokémon Showdown! had to start somewhere, and if you're reading this article, you're likely in the same spot that they were in at one point. Never fear—if you're uncertain about where to start and how exactly to use PS!, give this guide a once-over and you'll be set in just a few minutes. In essence, Pokémon Showdown! isn't very difficult to use at all, but finding things can be a bit of a task at first so don't fret if you can't locate something right away just refer to this article and you'll find it in no time flat!

The Teambuilder and You

One of the most important tools one should grow accustomed to when using PS! is the teambuilder. The button to access the teambuilder is located on the left hand side of the screen above the "Ladder" and "Credits" buttons. Once you click the teambuilder button, it'll open a new tab and you'll have a couple of tools at your disposal: "New team" and "Backup/Restore all teams." For now you'll just want to stick to the "New team" button.

Under the new team menu, there is a "Format" dropdown, as well as "Import from text" and "Add Pokémon" options. If you've copied a team export from Pokémon Online or formatted it to text, you should click "Import from text," paste your export there and click "Save" on the top right. If you lack an export, then you'll be creating a team from scratch! This is the best part, in my opinion, but a lot goes into teambuilding and a basic understanding of how the system works is necessary if you hope to pursue your dream of becoming a Pokémon master.

If you click the "Add Pokémon" button, you'll be taken to a text box and a list of Pokémon. The Pokémon are ordered by tier. Remember the "Format" dropdown? If you're teambuilding for a particular tier, you'll need to choose that tier from the list before going into the "Add Pokémon" screen. Once that's done, you should notice that the list of Pokémon has changed depending on the tier you've selected. For instance, if you're building for Ubers or OU, the list remains the same and shows OU Pokémon in descending order alphabetically, while if you chose UU, it'll list only Pokémon legal in the UU tier. This is respective for any tier that you choose.

Once you choose a Pokémon, the next screen will show all of the things that you can change about the Pokémon: their details, item, ability, moves, and stats. Most are rather straightforward. Simply click inside the text box available and scroll through the choices until you find something that you think will work, or just type the name of the item/move/ability you want and hit enter once it appears. When you're ready to enter EVs and IVs, click on the stats box. Every stat is listed here with a box for you to enter the appropriate values.

After that, rinse and repeat; once all is said and done, you've got yourself a team! Now hop on the ladder and get to work. After you've done some laddering and maybe some tweaking to your team to make it perfect, you're gonna want to make sure that you don't lose it, right? Pokémon Showdown! stores teams through cookies in browsers, and it's easy to forget this and delete your cookies without saving your teams externally. It's easy to backup your teams, so let's do that real quick.

If you go back to the main Teambuilder menu, you can find the "Backup/Restore all teams" button at the bottom. If you click it, it'll bring up a text box with all of your team information. Simply copy and paste this information into a Pastebin, Notepad, or some other text organization channel and save it. If you clear your cookies and want your team back, simply paste all of that into the same text box and click the "Save" button at the top and voila: all of your teams are safe and sound!

Useful Chat Commands

Every now and again, you might see a Voiced user or staff member use a command with an exclamation point preceding it (see: !data) in the chat. While you can't do what is called "broadcasting" commands, which makes it so everyone sees the command you're using, you can indeed use a wide range of built-in commands. Some of these make your teambuilding experience easier and some are convenient for using PS! in general. These are just a sample of the useful commands you can use in a room on PS!:

  • /data: Data is one of the most used commands, as it's an extremely practical tool, especially when it comes to teambuilding. Using /data [Pokémon] in the chat, replacing [Pokémon] with the name you're searching for, will bring up the Pokémon's stats, typing, abilities, and tier. Oftentimes staff will broadcast this to answer someone's question regarding stat spreads or to start a discussion about a particular Pokémon. /dt is an expansion of /data, which shows you the height, weight, as well as the Pokémon's egg group(s) and other info!

  • /commands: Commands is a useful feature that gives you a friendly reminder of informational commands as well as general commands that are available to you.

  • /ds: DS, or dexsearch, is another extremely useful command, serviceable for teambuilding primarily. Dexsearch is used in conjunction with different categories, those being types, moves, abilities, and generation, as well as the colors green, red, blue, white, brown, yellow, purple, pink, gray, and black and finally, the official tiers of Uber, OU, BL, UU, BL2, RU, BL3, NU, LC, and CAP. Any combination of search criteria can be used, such as /ds steel type, sacred sword, uber. This will bring up all Steel-types in the Uber tier that can learn Sacred Sword (hint: Aegislash).

  • /analysis: Analysis, followed by the name of a Pokémon, will bring up the official Smogon analysis page for the given Pokémon. This is extremely useful if one has no idea where to start with a particular Pokémon and wants some tips.

  • /rank: Rank is an important tool for competitive battlers as it gives a quick rundown of a player's win/loss ratio as well as current ladder placement categorized by tier, and other statistics such as Glicko.

  • Others: /calc will bring up a Smogon-approved damage calculator; /eff followed by two correlating types will define the first type's effectiveness on the other according to the type effectiveness chart; /away and /back toggle challenge accepting; /faq all brings up an assortment of useful, informative links such as a description of the staff; /highlight add allows one to add a term that will notify them when it's mentioned in the chat, and /higlight remove will remove the defined term.

Changing Chat Settings

Upon entering the chat for the first time, there are a few different aesthetic and internal options that you can toggle to change your server experience. If you direct your attention to the top right hand corner, you should see a gear symbol. This menu holds all of the options below on one convenient screen.

  • Avatar: This option brings up a menu with trainer sprites from DPP to BW2; an alternative method to change avatars is to use /avatar # (the number that corresponds with the avatar).

  • Background: This option brings up a dropdown menu with all of the available chat wallpapers.

  • Password/Log Out: Use this if you need to change your password for security reasons or log out of a particular username.

  • Other: The other options include being able to disable in-battle animations which includes animated Pokémon sprites and attacks, enable BW sprites, ignore tournaments which disables the tournaments bracket and room notifications, remove PMs from lobby chat so they are localized to the sidebar, choose if you receive a highlight notification if your username is mentioned in a chat, toggle if you receive temporary notifications on the desktop, toggle timestamps, and toggle chat formatting such as bold and italics.

Chat Rooms

The moment you open up Pokémon Showdown! you'll be greeted with a list of what are classified as "chat rooms." There are official chat rooms and regular chat rooms, each with a different purpose. The official rooms, of which there are currently two—Lobby and Tournaments—are purposed with housing the primary interaction between members of PS! Though typically competitively oriented, Lobby is where most users come to relax and talk about anything. Tournaments, as the name suggests, is tournament-centric, allowing members to participate in frequent scripted tournaments as well as host their own Challonge-based tournaments.

Apart from the official chat rooms, there are other rooms that players can use to chat with others of similar interests. The rooms vary, offering a wide range of topics, from tier discussion — including all standard tiers such as Ubers, OU, and UU — to regular, everyday topics such as music or anime and manga. Some rooms even aim to aid people on a personal level, such as The Happy Place, which offers a solace to those seeking either advice for their problems or just to vent.

So if you're new to Pokémon Showdown!, I hope that these small tips help to get you started and I encourage you to give The Beginner's Guide to Pokémon Showdown a read for anything not covered here. Once you've been guided in the proper direction, you'll be on the fast track to success within PS!, and maybe you can look back on this article some day and smile, or even offer it to another brand new member looking for a place to start.

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