How to Rate

Written by Harsha. Credit to Stathakis and Legacy Raider for the original thread.

While it's often easy to look at teams and point out weaknesses, this is definitely not the way aspiring team raters and badged raters alike should be rating teams. In this thread we'll be breaking down how to rate in a series of systematic steps, that when followed, will be sure to produce a good rate. First and foremost, there are many helpful resources that can help out throughout a rate. Damage calculators allow you to easily find evidence to support changes for the team, and allow you to understand how the team can deal with threats. I find that Honko's damage calculator is the best out there, as it already has many of the sets prepared for easy use. The threat lists are often good resources to see how Pokemon are kept in check, and we'd recommend that you check them out. They also give common offensive and defensive threats, which is helpful when memory fails you. Once these are sorted, you're ready to make a good rate.

1) Take a look at the team

This may be the most obvious step, but it's often an overlooked element from what I've seen. Many are simply looking at the team and checking for weaknesses—you might argue that you've looked at the team at this point. That isn't true. When looking at the team, you are trying to find the purpose of that team, whether it be laying down as many entry hazards as possible to guarantee a Lucario sweep or using defensive prowess and residual damage to keep every Pokemon in check and force switches. Looking at the purpose ensures that you'll simply try and further that, be it through changing an EV spread to help accomplish that or changing a redundant Pokemon.

2) Try and make the team more efficient

This is the next step. Many people just blindly suggest changes to the team, but I would argue that after a certain amount of changes, the team is no longer theirs, but you have built a new one. By attempting to make a team more efficient, you are suggesting material ranging from changing an EV spread so that Dragonite will outspeed Starmie after 1 Dragon Dance and will attain an easier sweep to changing a redundant Choice Band Dragonite to a Magnezone because the team already has Salamence and Haxorus. This usually will be enough to already eliminate potential threats; you can see from the second example that now Skarmory is less of a threat, along with Forretress.

A note: changing too much is not acceptable, in blunt terms. We're looking to make a team more efficient, not build a new one. Teams that need a change of 3 Pokemon generally aren't worth your time, and the maker should usually be referred to Battling 101 if anything.

3) Take a step back

This is what I usually do after step 2. When you are done, you should look at what you've actually done to the team. Believe it or not, you can actually open more holes by suggesting something to further a team, and as such, this is where you try and cover those holes. I generally like to make smaller suggestions here, as if the team is already efficient, there shouldn't be many holes left. Suggestions such as "use an Air Balloon to make Heatran a better check to Dragons, Choice Scarf Landorus, and SubToxic Gliscor" is what I consider a smaller change, and it can actually help immensely. Moveset changes, EV spread changes, and similar things belong here. Generally, changing a Pokemon to deal with a threat is not what we want to see.

These three steps can actually be broken down into paragraph format. You can try and make the team more efficient in the first, and then patch up holes in the second. Additionally, we like to recommend bolding the changes, as it not only makes the rates easier to read, but the team builder will not have to always read through a massive wall of text. At the end, we like to always add the sets of the changes in hide tags in this format:

Pokemon @ Item | Ability
Nature | x / y / z
- Move 1
- Move 2
- Move 3
- Move 4

However, people that like to add sets as the rate progresses generally like this format:

Pokemon @ Item | Ability
Nature | x / y / z
Move 1 | Move 2 | Move 3 | Move 4

These are basically up to the rater, but most of us appreciate easy-to-read sets, and there's no doubt that the team builder will too. Making a legible post often tells the op that you care, and he or she will be more likely to take those suggestions into account. That's all there is to it—rating is much easier than it sounds when everything is broken up! Practice makes perfect, and likewise, rating consistently makes rating an easier practice in general. Try and follow these guidelines, and you'll be sure to make a good rater!