So you've ousted the Elite 4 from their precipitous thrones, driven your rival/neighbor/best friends/random-person-on-the-street to an ignoble existence as a failed trainer , caught and enslaved at least one of every Pokemon in Kalos region, and got bored harvesting shiny Pokemon.
An ordinary person would migrate to their next game, happy to clocked in as many hours as they have. An extraordinary Pokemon trainer, however, will take their game to the next level. NPCs might be fun to fling around, but nothing beats the satisfaction of crushing human opposition. If you're looking to bask in the sweet-salty tears of your enemies, look no further. We've got everything you need to know about multiplayer Pokemon X and Y right here.
Taking the fight online
Playing online means lots and lots of battling. Just like in the main game, the whole idea here is to beat your opponent's cotton-candy monsters into submission. Interestingly, online battling doesn't necessarily involve over 700 Pokemon, each painstakingly raised to maximum level. Only a handful of Pokemon ever see consistent play and even if you and your rival have Pokemon at different stages of growth, the game will balance it all out by ensuring everyone's on an even level 50 playing field.
What really matters here is bringing in a team with maxed out stats, which means the best Individual Values you can muster, maxed out Effort Values and a smattering of the right natures and in-breed abilities. Items can and will help -- although they won't mean nuts if you forget to equip them beforehand.
That said, numbers only take you so far. Strategies and stats go hand-in-hand like peanut butter and jelly; one without the other will leave you woefully disadvantaged. Walking into battle with under-trained Pokemon is as much a suicide run as is striding into a match without an inkling of strategy. In the worldwide Poké cockfi-I mean, battlling network, real-life trainers will generally demonstrate a modicum more intelligence than their in-game AI counterparts. What this means is they're less likely to spend three turns leering at you (literally) and will instead thwack you with a Bonemerang the first chance they get. So..
Six Shots, Make 'em Count
There are a grand total of 718 critters roaming around the world of Pokemon . Yet, each trainer can only ever carry six on them at any given time (despite way Pokémon can be crammed into baseball-sized orbs which can shrink into bloody ping pong balls. Don't ask, Time Lord science, timey wimey. BLAH.) Ahem. Back on track-with so few slots available, there's no room for dead weight on your roster. Make sure each one is a superstar in its own way; whether it be acting as the party tank or as support for the entire the whole team.
Putting together a good team of Pokémon requires more than assembling a line up of all-stars. To steal an analogy from a friend, it would be like putting together a basketball team made up of five Kobe Bryants. No one would ever pass ball to one another. To help you figure out how to do that we're going to explore a few key areas.
- Sweepers You know what they say. The best defense is a killer offense.. While you can't line up a super effective move all the time, keep in mind Pokémon get a same-type attack bonus that can boost attack power by 50 percent. So, for example, a Greninja (water/dark-type) using Water Pulse will do way more damage than if he was using Extrasensory, a psychic move that actually has a higher base power. Even with the addition of Fairies, Dragons are still the best overall STABers in the game. (Closely followed by Ghost and Fire types, of course.)
- Defensive Walls On the opposite end of things, we have the damage sponges: defensive Pokémon who are invaluable for taking hits for the team, building up lightscreen and reflect walls, and striking back at glass cannons that failed to net a one-hit-KO. Your cotton-candy walls also don't even have to take attacks like a living punching bag, they can use moves that negate moves entirely like Protect or the damage-reversing Spiky Shield.
- Ailments We've talked about offensive and defensive Pokemon. However, there are even more elements to consider. Status ailment-inducing moves can do everything from buffing your little 'mons to tripping up your opponents. Is your opponent hitting you with the same move again and again? Block them with disable. Is everyone faster than you? Use Trick Room to turn the battle upside down. Meanwhile, trolling your opponents is also a viable method: use Swagger to precipitate the virtual equivalent of "stop hitting yourself," Not enough? Add a poison attack for good measure. The sky's the limit.
- Pivots and Switches Unlike the regular game, dispatching your opponents won't give you a chance to switch out without wasting a turn and there's nothing worse than swapping in a fresh battler just to get a Dynamic Punch to the gut. Luckily for you, there are Pokémon you can tailor-train to allow for the old switcheroo. While not every little 'mon can pivot like an Amoonguss, the game has a couple of moves that allow you to retreat and turn the battle to your favor. Baton Pass is amongst the most useful - it allows you to switch and retain all your buffs. Meanwhile, other moves like Parting Shot and U-Turn will let you take passing shots at your enemies as the Pokemon rockets out of view. Switching can also be used to your advantage with moves that hit so hard (Circle Throw and Dragon Tail) they send Pokémon flying back to their balls.
- Dancers and Buff-machines Tierno, or better known as that big-boned dancer from X and Y, might be too focused on his dream to enter So You Think Your Pokemon can dance but the truth is his desire for a dream Dance team isn't actually FarFetch'd. While the idea of cavorting Pokémon might seem silly, moves like Swords Dance and Dragon Dance are some of the most dangerous buffs in the game. Dances usually increase more than one statistic at the same time, giving you even more reasons to do it than just looking cool.
- Stalling Beating other Pokémon is only half of the game. The real challenge is being able to manage the tempo of battle. A combination of heavy-duty defensive monsters can stop your opponent's offensive plays dead in their tracks.. Stallers are focused on negating weather effects and dangerous status ailments while inflicting them on the enemy team even as they set up traps to keep pressure on your opponent.
Keeping your options open
Diversify, diversify, DIVERSIFY. Your moveset should include more than just a bevy of attacks. Make sure all your bases are covered by having moves that can inflict status effects, buff defenses, stretch life expectancy beyond mortal comprehension and even alter weather conditions.
Make sure you're not wantonly double dipping with your attack move pool too. Just because the idea of having both Blaze Kick and Flamethrower on a Pokemon might seem cool doesn't mean you should do it. You should also bear in mind that attacks come in two flavors: physical and special. Both of these drive their attack power and resistances from different attributes.
Know thyself(and thy enemy too!)
Speaking of resistances, take a long gander at the type chart. That's the bible/koran/torah/sanskrit tablet in Pokémon. Read it, memorize it, make your own mnemonics if you have to. Ideally you'll always want to be in a situation where you can attack type weaknesses in order to reap the sweet, sweet benefits of double damage but are not in place to have the same done to you. While there is no such thing as the perfect type, there are those which are stronger than others.
Water types fit cleanly into this category as they are only weak to electric and grass types but can be rain havoc on fire, rock, ground as well being happily resistant to fire, ice, steel, and water types. Dragons were previously in this category as well. Once feared for their unabated strength against pretty much every frackin' thing but steel types, the addition of Fairy types like the saccharine-looking Slurpuff (a literal walking cupcake) makes it possible to wipe the floor with even the likes of the once fearsome Salamence.
37 pieces of flair
Accessorising your Pokémon isn't just fashionable, it's a necessity. All Pokemon can go into battle while clutching a single item. In some distances, these held items can be just as integral the game as picking out what four moves to use. Some of the game's more luxuriously useful items include the Choice Scarf that makes your Pokémon faster by a smidge or type-attack boosting items that can make a STAB attack even more, well, stabbity. If you're at a loss for ideas, Leftovers are great for more than breakfast food -- they can be useful for any Pokémon who needs to regenerate a little bit of health.
Expect Mega Evolutions
The latest X and Y games threw a new wrench into multiplayer by introducing Mega Evolutions - these can turn fully evolved Pokémon into even bigger, better and more buffed-up forms. Like steroids for bodybuilders. Except legal. In-game rules limits each player to only one super henshin-a-go-go Pokémon but your opponent might fake you out by picking a team of all Mega Evolution capable companions. It's unlikely to happen because that's usually just dumb but not everyone takes time out to read guides like this. So, it works sometimes. The ultimate takeaway here is to be prepared when that innocent, adorable looking Ampharos suddenly transforms into a white-maned electric dragon. That hair will look way less fabulous when it's whipping over the hour of your defeat.
New game, new rules
Other than Mega Evolutions, X and Y threw in a few other changes. Some are game changing others less so.
- Critical damage is now nerfed to 1.5x rather than the 2x it was prior
- Grass-type Spore attacks that induce sleep, poison, and paralysis no longer affect other grass types
- Similarly, Electric-types can't be paralyzed by electric moves
- Ghost-types are can't be trapped without moves like Mean Look
- Weather only lasts 5 turns even with innate abilities like Tyranitar's Sand Stream
- Popular, and arguably overused, moves like Hidden Power and Flamethrower have a lower base attack power
- Meanwhile, status moves like Will-o-Wisp have an accuracy increase from 75% to 85%
- For an even more comprehensive look at all the mechanical changes, the folks at NuggetBridge have assembled a gargantuan list.
The "Best" Pokémon?
Lots of things to remember, eh? Well. It gets worse. You're now going to have to pick out six from 718 candidates. Good luck. Remember, the ones you don't choose will be tramautised for life. Just kidding. While there's nothing inherently wrong about miming Sinatra and doing it your way, certain Pokemon have enjoyed tremendous popularity in the competitive scene for a variety of reasons. And because we like you, here's a list of the crowd favorites:
- Amoonguss Better known as the spore machine, this oversized portabella is one of the best Pivots in the game with high overall defenses and an Regenerator ability that heals a third of its health upon switching.
- Cresselia As one of the best defensive walls, Cresselia can shield itself with high defenses as well as access to a rich move pool of barrier creation. This Pokémon is often the key to setting up Trick Room plays.
- Garchomp Land sharks and dragons go together like pulled pork and the Fourth of July. Garchomp might be a little overused but there's a reason for it: its one of the fastest and strongest offensive Pokémon in the game.
- Mamoswine Offensively speaking, Mamoswine can wipe the floor with many of the popular Pokémon in online play because of its fabulous dual Ice/Ground typing. It becomes an especially threatening force when used with a Trick Room setup.
- Manectric An oldie but a goodie, Manectric can shield a water team in doubles with its Lightning Rod ability. It's a decent special sweeper that can also Mega Evolve
- Azumarill It was already a decent defensive wall to begin with but Azumarill's new dual typing as a Fairy makes it an even more formidable opponent against Dragons.
- Togekiss The fairies just keep coming, don't they? Togekiss is like a good luck charm brought to life. It can increase the chances of landing critical hits, making this seemingly harmless bird into a special attack killer. If you see this critter in battle, remember: cute yet deadly.
- Rotom-Wash Yes, it's a living washing machine but it's also a well balanced battler with strong defenses and a dual Water/Electric typing for a range of STAB and super effective attacks. Also? Most adorable poltergeist ever.
- Thundurus Extremely popular in league play, Thundurus is a powerful sweeper that can dish out physical and special damage while paralyzing opponents with Thunderwave
- Aegislash A new contender to the game, Aegislash has the unique ability to switch modes, turning its high defensive stat into attack power. On top of this mode change, Aegislash is a strong defensive type even if it can be easily shut down by locking it into attack with a move like encore.
- Talonflame Serebii's webmaster Joe Merrick shared this tip, "despite being the dreaded Fire/Flying type, it has an ability [called Gale Wings] that gives all Flying-type moves priority."
- Greninja How much cooler can you get than a frog-ninja-assassin-thing? On top of being a dream come true, Greninja also has a unique Protean ability that automatically switches its typing just before its attack guaranteeing you a STAB attack that will keep your opponent guessing. Awesomeness.
- Klefki Don't knock this dangly pair of keys until you try it. Klefki is one of the most dangerous support Pokémon known to this generation. With two unique moves that let it guard your team from status effects and another that prevents anyone from fleeing or switching out, it's proof that you always remember to bring your keys.
- Hawlucha Lucha Libre! There's something to love about a Mexican wrestler bird. Besides its awesome Flying/Fighting typing, it has a unique attack that deals damage with the same combination of types too.
It takes all types (to build a team)
Building a team of random Pokémon can work. However, in the long run, it pays to stick with one style and work on mastering it. With that in mind, here are a couple of (named) team strategies that could work for you.
- Hyperoffense As DPSers are often fond of saying: I will kill you before you kill me. Or, well, "RAWWWWRRR!" Hyperoffensive teams are built on a single conceit: to attack without mercy. It's a matter of picking the most attack and special attack-oriented Pokémon from the widest range of types possible -- and enhancing all that with a careful dose of speed.
- Goodstuffs (aka Read and React) These teams don't rely heavily on Trick Room or weather or any one strategy. They're not cheap. Instead, they're built to confront anything that might come their way while covering any immediate weaknesses. Good at everything but masters of nothing, Goodstuffs teams find a balance between defensive and offensive play.
- Weather The weather can change the tide of battle in some rather literal ways. A team tailored to take advantage of damage-buffing storms like Rain and Electric Field can decimate opponents if left unchecked. Sunny Day, on the other hand, will boost Chlorophyll-sweepers like Venusaur by providing a gigantic increase in speed, making it possible for the hefty lizard to hit first. Not enough to get you excited? Weather teams also have Sandstorm and Hail serving up hailstorms that can also be used to counter many of the popular weather-team Pokémon strategies people seem to like. Bring your umbrella.
- Hazards While you can't really build an entire team around hazards like Stealth Rock, Spikes, and Toxic Spikes; they can be a great way to lead off. The idea behind putting down hazards is that they will bite at your opponent's feet or flippers once they enter battle. Even a seemingly insignificant tick of health can make all the difference between a complete knockout or a swift counter-attack. Remember: every advantage possible.
- Status Effects Ahhh, status aliments. They're the bane of everything good and wholesome in the video game world. Fortunately, Pokemon lets you reverse roles. Want to train each and every one of your little monsters so they become mini-Malboros capable of spewing bad breath like a dentist-fearing smoker? You can! Status effects aren't just annoying, though. Stuff like paralysis can put an end to fast sweepers -- they might even immobilize them for a turn. Bonus trivia: there's a fan favorite status effect called Swagger which, unlike most other detrimental effects, is a double-edged sword that raises your opponent's strength while confusing them -- all in the hopes that they'll hit themselves.
- Trick Room Pokémon battling is often about picking the strongest, fastest attackers but Trick Room can turn the entire game on its head by making slower combatants go first. A team built around Trick Room often uses one or two support monsters to set it up, and then a roster of slow, heavy attackers like Conkeldurr and Heatran. In essence, Trick Room gives slower (and often, rotund) Pokemon like Snorlax and Slowbro a fighting chance and opponents reasons to go back to researching.
It takes two (or three) to tango
Besides regular one-on-one battles, Pokémon also has a variety of team-battles, each of which will demand a different set of . With extra players on the field you'll have a couple of extra things to worry about like hitting partners hitting each other but there's also the opportunity to set up more complex combos.
- Double Battles Like a good relationship it can be hard to find the right partner in life. But there's one basic rule you should apply and that's not have two identical or nearly the same Pokémon on the field. Instead follow the old adage; opposites attract, and the same applies for Pokémon (when not breeding). Two opposing types, or a support with a offensive Pokémon make the best pairings. Together they can complement each other's strengths and cover their collective weaknesses, or filling each other's gaps, so to speak.
- Triple Battles In Pokémon, three isn't a crowd, it's a wrecking crew. Like doubles, both sides have multiple critters on the field. Triples also add an extra element of positioning, which only allows Pokémon stuck on the right to attack the opponent on the right and center. Pokémon in the center, meanwhile, can attack on both sides and be attacked by every other Pokemon on the field. Deciding a offensive or defensive superstar to be your center is the key to victory here. But in case you mess up the ordering, there's always the option to shift your party around in mid-battle.
- Rotation Battles In another spinoff of triples, rotation battles have an additional mechanic of selecting your Pokémon at the very beginning of the turn. So you might think you have a super effective fighting move all lined up only to get swapped on and hit nothing but Ghastly's spectral immunity. Rotation battles is all about predicting what your opponent will do and pre-predicting what they think you will do. In other words; if they know that I know that they know that I know that...
I can read your mind
No one in Pokémon (or life) is psychic. Except Psychic types, but they may just be mis-labeled telekinetic monsters or something. Predicting the future is impossible and reading minds through the Internet can get really fuzzy what with all those Wi-Fi signals and whatnot. But, while Uri Geller's omnipotence might be way questionable, experience is the one thing you can trust while trying to predict what your opponent will do in battle.
- Reading the Team Preview Every battle begins with the ability to check out the other team's selection: use this. Seeing your opponent's team can help you assess their playstyle. Multiple water-types would suggest they're most likely running a rain team. Is there a Cresselia? They might be game for a Trick Room. Tyranitar in the house? Sandstorm time, baby. A forretress? Plan on heavy shoes because Spikes are most likely incoming.
- Picking your Lead There isn't any right or wrong to lead off a battle but you should make an informed decision nonetheless. Again, pay attention to team preview. Because your opponent is definitely eyeballing your lineup. One good way to lead off is to pick a strong neutral type that will hit for decent damage or not get knocked out in the first round. Alternatively, putting down hazards in the first round can set you up for a golden streak. You could even be a little controversial -- pick a lead you're willing to sacrifice to the enemy in exchange for its ability to drop that one, perfect move. In one of the more underrated strategies, switching moves are a great way to get in a good jab before changing things up to keep your opponent guessing.
- Picking out the Scrubs and Noobs Before starting the whole predicting/counter-predicting game, it's always best to go with the moves you would typically use in even a single player game -- things that allow you to directly go after vulnerabilities, for example. Why? Because as the old saying goes, "assumptions can make an ass out of you and me." Attempting to boldly predict what your opponent will do can result in wasted turns or worse. It's much, much better to carefully analyze and gauge your opponent based on the sort of moves they're making and not flying by the seat of your pants.
- Switching Don't be afraid of switching. Leaving your Pokémon out in the (super effective) elements is a surefire route to Loserville. Frequent switching will let you keep yourself in an advantageous position. It can knock foes off-balance while allowing you to keep tabs on what the opponent has in the wings. In the heat of battle, it can be easy to forget that the opponent has a Hawlucha hidden behind his fat Snorlax. Don't let that happen.
- Baiting It's a bit slimy but a win is a win. Baiting involves sending out a Pokémon with a clear weakness to lure your opponent into attacking with a specific move or Pokémon type. Obviously, you shouldn't let them capitalize on that presumed advantage. Just before they attack, pull the rug from underneath them and swap something else in so you can nullify the damage or even absorb their attack and transmorgify it into something good for you and terrible for them..
Need more Pokemon help?
Check out these other USgamer Pokemon articles. We have tons of hints, tips and information on how to get the best out of your team – and become a Pokemon master.