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Pokémon X and Y: Best Teams, How to Level Up, Mega Evolutions

If you've read our beginner's guide and need a little more help, here's some more advanced information on the best ways to level up and evolve your Pokémon, and how to put together a great all-round team.

Want to become a Pokémon X and Y master? Need help getting past a certain gym leader or beating the Pokémon league? Here's where you can find the information you need to become a Pokémon champion.

How to create the best Pokémon Party

If you've already read our Pokémon beginner's guide, you'll know how critical it is to learn each creature's strengths and weaknesses. As you progress through Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, you can expect to encounter every Pokémon type at some point. The game is designed so that it's possible for the players to use whichever Pokémon look most appealing to them, but while it might be cool having a Fire-based group, the reality is, if you come up against a trainer who has even one strong Water type, your team will need to work really hard for a win.

So as a quick reminder, here are the 18 different types:

  • Grass
  • Fire
  • Water
  • Electric
  • Ground
  • Normal
  • Poison
  • Steel
  • Rock
  • Dragon
  • Psychic
  • Ghost
  • Dark
  • Bug
  • Flying
  • Ice
  • Fighting
  • Fairy
There's no right or wrong in terms of starters. But where you CAN go wrong is how you then build out your party. Make sure that you have synergy between Pokémon types, covering a good spread of damage and defensive capabilities. That will help you be successful against a wide variety of teams - and won't leave you too vulnerable to attacks from certain types.

Fairy type is the newest type, and some Pokemon that might have been a different type are now Fairy. Two of the most notable of these are Clefairy or Jigglypuff. Note that some Pokémon may even be dual types, which means they’ll learn moves of both types.

Pokémon types come with advantages and disadvantages. Each type is strong or neutral towards some Pokemon, but weak or produce no effect against others. For example, a Ground type Pokemon like Diglett is strong against Fire, Poison, Rock, Steel and Electric types, but weak against Bug and Grass.

Taking this a step further, ground-based attacks have no effect on Flying types, while electric attacks have no effect on Ground types. A super effective attack will do two times the damage, while a weaker attack will do half the damage.

To be a great Pokémon trainer, you will have to learn which types are advantageous against others. Your first big decision in the game involves deciding which Pokémon you want to begin the adventure with. In every Pokémon game, you get a choice between a Grass type, Fire type and Water type. In X and Y, you can choose between Chespin, Fennekin and Froakie. This Pokémon is usually with you the entire game, and becomes your strongest battle monster, so choose wisely.

Advanced trainers are strategic about how they construct their parties, and ensure they have a variety of different types to deal with different tactical situations. Diversifying your Pokémon portfolio will give you multiple options to tackle various situations.

Several Pokémon have dual types – Charizard is a dual type Flying and Fire Pokémon. That means it can gets a bonus to both Fire and Flying attacks. That gives it an advantage over other Fire types, but it's also weak against types that dominate Fire and Flying.

This gives trainers another element of strategy to consider while training certain kinds of Pokémon. While super effective attacks give you double damage, a dual type Pokémon also takes quadruple damage if a creature it's weak against hits it with a combo of attacks. This also applies to ineffective attacks against dual types, which reduce the attack to a quarter of the damage.

So, for example, if Onix (Ground and Rock) is attacked by a Water type, it will receive quadruple damage because both its types are weak to Water. So to reinforce the point – it is extremely important to have different types of Pokémon at your disposal so you can have a good all-round team.

In addition, it's a great idea to diversify your Pokémon's individual move sets, since a Pokémon is much more effective when it has many different kinds of attacks. Here's a good example: Blastoise is a Water type Pokémon. If you teach it a Ground attack, like Earthquake, and an Ice attack, like Blizzard, along with its own Water type moves, it'll be able to defend itself against Electric or Grass types, respectively.

Furthermore, you need to always think offensively and defensively when it comes to choosing your Pokémon's move set, especially since you can only teach your Pokémon up to four moves at one time. Use the strengths/weaknesses chart and make sure you're covering the major bases with the team. Ultimately, a team that's defensively strong might take longer to win because it's not doing super-damage, but that's better than risking everything for a quick win, but going down in flames because the gamble doesn't pay off.

A great team is all about balance. Min-maxing (being super-strong in one area and weak in another) is tempting since you can steamroll certain teams, but eventually you'll come up against a group that will completely flatten you. So build a team that covers as many bases as possible. Wins will take longer, but better a slow win than a quick death!

How to Level Up Pokémon

As you should already know by know, while traveling, you encounter other Pokémon trainers and wild Pokémon. If you walk across the path of another trainer they will automatically challenge you to a battle. This is great, because battling other trainers gives your Pokémon more experience than you’d get battling wild Pokémon. Battling is also great practice to help learn Pokémon types, and hone your team and your strategies.

As you gain EXP, it's important to remember to equally train all the Pokémon in your party. Like balancing your types and attacks, it's also crucial to have a balanced set of Pokémon in your party. If you have one or two higher-level creatures, but they get knocked out, your low-level guys will also bite the bullet really quickly. So make sure you give all of your Pokémon an equal opportunity to gain EXP and level up. A balanced party of types combined with equal level Pokémon is absolutely the best setup to ensure success.

There are many items that will increase your Pokémon's base stats and level. Throughout your journey, you may find rare candy, which can be given to a Pokémon to increase its level by one. However, note that its stats will not increase as much as it would through training – so spread the Candy around, otherwise you might end up with a high-level Pokémon whose stats are sub-par. You can also give your Pokémon items like iron, protein, carbos, calcium and zinc to increase your Pokémon's individual stats.

Thankfully, leveling up your battle monsters in Pokémon X and Y is easier than ever. In many Pokémon games, there's an item called EXP share, which you can give to any of your Pokémon to hold and they would get EXP from the battle even if they didn't join. In Pokémon X and Y, EXP share gives each Pokémon in your party EXP points. This helps individual Pokémon level up with less battling.

Level up your team equally. Having one strong Pokémon is nice and all... but if it gets defeated, the rest of the team will quickly crumble. A good all-round team with good all-round types will help you travel far and be successful!

How to Evolve Pokémon

Many Pokémon in the Pokémon universe either evolve or have evolved. After a Pokémon evolves it's usually stronger. Some Pokémon even gain a type after evolving. For instance, when Dragonair evolves into Dragonite, it becomes a Flying type as well as a Dragon type.

Some moves can only be learned when a Pokémon is in its basic form. Pikachu learns moves like agility and quick attack, but cannot learn those if it evolves into Raichu too quickly. With this in mind, there are many different ways to evolve Pokémon. Some Pokémon require other methods, like using evolution stones, leveling up in certain areas, through trade and holding specific items.

The most famous evolution Pokémon is Eevee. Eevee has many different evolutions that can be obtained in different ways. The newest "Eeveelution" is the fairy type Sylveion. New to the series are the Mega Evolutions. Only certain Pokémon can Mega evolve, like Blastoise, Charizard, Venasaur, Mewtwo and more. Mega Evolved Pokémon are some of the strongest in the game. You can only Mega Evolve in battle, and your Pokémon reverts back after said battle concludes. On top of that, you need certain stones to Mega Evolve your Pokémon, so be on the lookout.

There is no exact method to successful Pokémon training. Everyone has his or her own favorite path and personal preferences. Through trial and error, however, you'll eventually dominate battles and become a Pokémon legend.

Don't leave any roads untraveled. There are all sorts of hidden items and rare Pokémon to be found!

A few other key reminders:

Explore the World

As you travel around Kalos, thoroughly explore each road as you travel from city to city. There are many hidden items that you can pick up. These include new moves for your Pokémon, potions, items to strengthen attacks, items that can help Pokémon evolve and tons more.

In addition, there are numerous Pokémon for you to catch while on the different roads, caves and oceans that you explore; you must capture these Pokémon to fill the Pokedex. Keep mind of the secret roads not displayed on the map. These secret areas house special items or rare Pokémon, so always be on the lookout for new places to see and explore.

Beyond that, Hidden Machine moves (HMs) will make exploring Kalos easier. You can teach your Pokémon various HMs, like Surf to travel across water or Cut to take down trees blocking your path. Sometimes you need an HM move to reach a secret area, which makes backtracking important.

Speak to Everyone

Every person you encounter has something unique to say, from helpful hints on an upcoming battle to what to expect on the next road or in town; entering buildings and talking to everyone will give you valuable information or items. Many people will give you items to help you on your journey. Whether it is moves, new Pokéballs, potions, stat boosters and other things, you should always welcome even the slightest bit of help.

Some people will even give you free Pokemon, while others will seek to trade. This is great for two reasons. First, you may receive a rare Pokémon, and second, Pokémon you acquire via trade level up faster.

Save Early and Often

This is obvious, but it's easy to forget! You only get one save file for each game, and it gets overwritten every time you save, which makes decisions critical. Saving before Gym leaders, villainous hideouts and legendary Pokemon will give you another chance in case you mess up. It’s also important to save a lot because the battery on your 3DS may run out. You’ll lose unsaved progress should the battery die.

This article was compiled with help from Prima Games

You can find many more Pokemon X and Y hints and tips, plus strategy guides and over 65,000 cheat codes, unlocks, achievements, trophies, Easter eggs and secrets at Prima Games.

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