How To Assemble a Dope A** Pokémon Team

Posted by Brent Edwards on August 14, 2015

I’m about 90% sure that I’m supposed to write something related to video production, but I’m 100% sure that’s not going to happen. It’s roughly 3:30 in the morning the day this post is due and I can’t sleep, so I want to write about something I know far too much about: Pokémon. My goals are trifold:

  1. To put aside any lingering doubts that I’m absolutely the Weird Kid in the back. Trust me, I am.
  2. To demonstrate (hopefully) that Pokémon isn’t just a game for children, and that it actually has a ton of depth to it.
  3. To entertain you, because, let’s face it, that’s all I’ve ever cared about doing, entertaining you! 
  4. BONUS 4th and 5th goal: To make it weird between us and probably lament over an ex-girlfriend or two.

Okay, I’m going to set an arbitrary number of steps for bangin’ Pokémon team assemblage. Let’s say there are 5 steps. That sound good to everyone? Good? Great. Let’s begin.

Mood setting is important, so if you’re feeling it, I recommend letting this YouTube playlist play in the background. This guy named Braxton Burks re-orchestrated all of the original Game Boy music from the first (American) games in the series, Pokémon Red and Blue. It’s gorgeous. Listen for yourself.

The first time I heard this, I cried alone in my car. It was then that I realized not just how lonely I was, but that I’d probably be lonely forever. #yolo

Segues are hard.

Step I

Memorize the entire Pokédex. It’s not that hard. There are only 720 confirmed pocket monsters at this point. You should be able to catch up in no time unless you’re some kind of common dolt. Additionally, you should familiarize yourself with the standard tier systems of competitive battling, including the widely accepted Smogon tiering of Uber, Overused, Borderline, Under Used, Rarely Used, Never Used and Little Cup. Yes, I knew all of those off hand, and yes, I’m incredibly single. It’s also important to read up on Nintendo’s Official VGC rules and regulations, as those battles are usually double battles with teams of 4 Pokémon.

I supposeI should clarify some basics about team-building before going any further. In the world of Pokémon, you are what’s known as a Trainer. You scour the lands, combing the long grass, caves, and oceans for Pokémon. You catch them in Pokéballs, and you can carry 6 at a time. Each Pokémon has a type (frequently two) like Fire, Water, Flying, Dark, or Psychic, and there’s a Rock, Paper, Scissors type of mechanic in place. For example, Fire beats Grass, Grass beats Water, and Water beats Fire. Most of them make sense, but with 19 types, it’s hard to keep track sometimes. Every Pokémon is capable of learning 4 type-based moves such as Flamethrower, Solar Beam or Surf. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years now, and I still need to consult type matchup charts from time to time. So good luck, layperson.

Step II

Learn as much as you an about the hidden mathematical stats Nintendo programs into the games, unbeknownst to most eight-year-olds but beknownst to all Brents in the vicinity of Myriad Media. The two most important ones are Individual Values and Effort Values.

I should first mention Base Stats.

Base Stats are a Pokémon species’ 6 default traits across the board. These never change, they can only be added to by the following two values. For example, Pikachu will ALWAYS have the following Base Stat spread:

  • HP: 35
  • Attack: 55
  • Defense: 40
  • Sp. Attack: 50
  • Sp. Defense: 50
  • Speed: 90

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Awww, Pikachu seems pretty strong.” You couldn’t be further from the truth, Bartelby. Considering Alakazam has a base Sp. Attack of 175, Pikachu is pretty damn pathetic.

On to the good stuff! Yay minutia!

Individual Values are like a Pokémon’s fingerprints. They separate the weak from the strong, the Barneys from the Godzillas, the Lena Dunhams from the Ronda Rouseys. When a Pokémon is hatched, encountered, or given, the game assigns it Individual Values on a scale of 0-31 for each of a Pokémon’s 6 stats. Here’s where Pokémon starts to get a little dark: Trainers worldwide obsess over getting “perfect Pokémon,” a monster with 31 IVs across all 6 stats. Basically, Nintendo made small-scale eugenics fun for ten-year-olds across the globe. How are eugenics involved, you ask? Stick around. We’ll get there eventually. Takeaway: A Pokémon with low IVs in all of its stats will be weaker in the long run than one with higher IVs.

Effort Values are a bit easier to follow, but in a truer sense, are not. Remember how I mentioned each Pokémon has 6 stats? Well, each stat can be given an extra 0-255 Effort Values. For every 4 Effort Values, your monster gains 1 extra stat point in the given field. Here’s the catch: You can apply a MAXIMUM of 510 EVs to a specific Pokemon, so you really have to calculate exactly where you want to dump EVs, taking into account the type of Pokemon you want to raise.

Got all that? Great.

Step III

Never ever tell your girlfriend/boyfriend that you know anything about any of this. In college, I spent a lot of time fixating over this one girl who, eventually, broke my heart and gave me some serious trust issues that I should probably work through at some point. Honestly, she never wore matching socks so she was basically a monster anyway. Anyway, I’m sure that the day I told her how serious I was about Pokémon, she never looked at me the same way again. You live and you learn, I guess (except clearly not, because here I am telling anyone who’s still reading [it can’t be many of you] about this).

Well, let’s see this dumpster fire through to the end.

Step IV

Pick your 6 favorite Pokémon. Use them. Don’t let anyone tell you any different unless you have a team of 6 Caterpies, ‘cause that’s just straight-up crazy town banana pants. It doesn’t hurt to pull from Smogon’s Over Used bracket, because those ‘mons are the ones with strong stats and excellent move set potential. That bracket tends to change around with each subsequent game release, so the metagame is in constant flux. If you’re aiming to compete, you have to stay up to date on every strategy, potential threat, and counter if you want to climb any ladders. Kind of like…

VIDEO PRODUCTION. Look, everyone! I made it work! I combined the two things!

Damn Brent, you’re really crushing it.

Thanks, Brent, I appreciate that.

Anyway, pick your favorite 6 and friggin’ use ‘em. Right now, I’m vibing on Espeon, Tyranitar, Greninja, Azumarill, Sylveon, and Pumpkaboo. This will likely change by the time I’ve finished this post. 

Brent don’t forget to include pictures here. If you don’t put pictures here people will think you’re taking stupid pills.

Step V

Is anybody out there? Does anybody care? My last piece of advice is to find a strategy that works for your chosen team. Learn every ‘mon’s strengths and weaknesses and guide them in battle with a deft hand. Your team takes hard work, dedication, and sacrifice, but it’s worth it when you pull off a sweet last-minute Earthquake when your HP is down to 3, and you’re confused and paralyzed. If you trust your team, they’ll trust you back. Golly gee whilickers, doesn’t that sound awfully like…

VIDEO PRODUCTION?! Hot damn, twice in one post. Get. At. Me.

At this point I’ve exhausted myself, but trust me when I say these steps are only the tip of the iceberg. Pokémon is truly a titanic game, one that you can easily sink hours and hours into. I can’t tell you how many full days I’ve wasted/enjoyed playing this game, but I can tell you that I haven’t had a steady girlfriend in a long time and the tiny screens on my 3DS are definitely ruining my already terrible vision.

But hey, I’m a big believer in doing what makes you happy, whatever that may be. I’m an only child, and growing up with over-protective parents is tough. But ever since my dad handed me that teal Game Boy Color with Pokémon Red all those years ago, I’ve had something to cheer me up at the end of those less-than-stellar days. For that reason, I’ll be a fan for life.

70% sure this isn’t me.