Effective Team Building for the Metagame
Written By Free


Hello everyone of the Silver League, Free here and before anyone says, “Omg Free is doing another Team building thingy omg” please considers that this page, after the long team building guide, is going to be purely a team database.  You people can see various teams from various play styles to base off a team you are building OR use the full team for yourself!

So what is team building? It’s a simple question really, but the answer itself may be a bit extensive. Personally, team building is the one true skill required in Competitive Pokémon, being able to create a team of 6 Pokémon that work together in synergy, and being able to win against most match ups. It’s really art… art that fights versus other art until there is a clear cut winner… Sorry getting off tangent. Since this is going to be a very in-depth guide to the whole building process, we can take a closer look at some of the various roles there are on a team.

Roles and their Function

Sweepers:

They are your typical offensive Pokémon that can OHKO weakened opposing Pokémon with or without Set up. Usually abilities can help it do the cleanup work in the end game. Something like Moxie, this allows you to snowball in offense with every KO. Most sweepers benefit from having a Stat boosting move or item such as Swords Dance or Life Orb to aid them. Typically, Sweepers are really favored by lower skilled players, however unless you are running a Hyper Offensive Team in which case you only use offensive Pokémon, it is not recommended to have more than two sweepers on a team. Having a Pokémon that can get a sweeper in safely, such as a Wish passing Cleric like Sylveon, or a U-turn/Volt Switch Pokémon like Scizor or Rotom can really help.

Situation Sweepers:

In competitive Pokémon, there are two types of sweepers. The first one of the two types is Situation Sweepers. In my definition, they are Pokémon that given a certain Situation (Most commonly is Stealth Rock or Weather) they have the potential to sweep through entire teams with their sheer power alone. Some Pokémon that fit this description is Excadrill under Sand, Garchomp, Salamence, Mega Swampert, Mega Metagross, Greninja, and the list goes on. In my personal experience, I feel that Situation Sweepers are the riskier of the two Sweeper types due to requiring more attention to openings and timing when battling. Situation Sweepers are usually used if the team has enough offensive power or advantage due to their strategy (as mention above Weather or Hazards are a few of those strats.)

Set Up Sweepers:

The second types of sweepers are Set-Up Sweepers. These Pokémon generally lack true hard hitting damage based on stats alone, but once they are able to set up and increase their offensive power, they are able to become devastating to opponents teams. Pokémon generally used in this type of role are Mega Pinsir, Mega Scizor, Mega Altaria, Gyarados, Dragonite, Mega Charizard X, Talonflame, and so on. In a team, there shouldn’t more than two Set up Sweepers. Due to their nature of having to set up moves, they need a team that can create a timing window that allows them to do so. Having more set up sweepers are not recommended due to the fact that if you’re focused on setting up, the opposing Pokémon have the same amount of time to KO that Pokémon. This is the easier of the two Sweepers to use in my opinion, but being able to use it correctly and efficiently is hard to master.

Walls:

Walls are Pokémon that are reliable able to take hits from opposing Pokémon that you don’t want your other roles taking. These Pokémon generally have a high Physical Defense, Special Defense, or HP stat that allows them to be effective. Aside from being a sponge for taking hits Walls can deal damage even with their high amount of survivability or have a lot of Utility Moves which help out the team. In most cases, Walls have a way of healing their HP through items such as Leftovers or moves like Recover or Roots which keep them alive for them to do their role effectively.

Status Sponges: 

To a lesser degree, there are some walls which can easily absorb status effects in place of allies. Milotic, Chansey, Blissey, and Roserade can all safely take burns and paralysis for allies and heal it through switching or resting. Some Pokémon can even abuse status effects like Conkledur or Gliscor.

Niche:

Niches are not really roles, but there was really nowhere on this guide where I can talk about them. Really, there Pokémon with specific sets which does one specific Job. Whether it is taking multiple hits from a certain move from a specific Pokémon, taking out Pokémon in a very Specific situation, or setting up hazards in a certain situation. Niche Pokémon, like stated does one job and one job only.

Utility:

Utility as a role is very general in what they do for the team, but here is a list of what most of them commonly do:
-Set up Hazards
-Has the capability of recovering HP for themselves and the team
-Protect/heals the team from Status
-Inflict Status to opposing Pokémon

Those are in a broad term what they do. You can say they are the mid-way point of being a wall (Some Utility Pokémon are walls) but have a bit more jobs that the regular “taking hits for the team”  Other types of Utility Pokémon are suicide leads. These Pokémon usually sets up hazards before being KOed, hence the name. These Pokémon usually hold Focus Sash to ensure that they do ensure the hazard.

Wallbreakers:

Wallbreakers, does exactly what the name entails, break walls. These Pokémon have enough brute force or have their power enhanced through items and/or the ability to inflict massive amounts of damage to the opponent's wall. These Pokémon have superior Offensive stats (around the range of 130-150 base stat), this allows the usage of STAB or strong moves in that respective offense type to decimate walls or teams that are not careful. Some examples of these types of Pokémon are Chandelure, Alakazam, Hoopa (-Unbound), and Landorus (Mostly the now banned Landorus Incarnate.)


Creation of a Team

So now that you understand at least the basic roles of a team, we can get on to the actual team building. If there’s one tip that I can give to anyone that is just starting out to make a Competitive team, YOUR TEAM CANNOT BE PREPARED FOR EVERYTHING! This is one misconception people usually make when they start playing Pokémon Competitively. They assume that one team is capable of beating every team that has been created. This is simply false, a team of 6 Pokémon, regardless of how good will inevitable fall to a team of 6 Pokémon simply because Team A cannot be prepared for what Team B has. The best teams are usually the ones that focus most on their strengths and using it to its full potential. Focusing on having the most amount of type coverage will only lead to bad ends, that much can be said.

So how does one begin to create teams? Well, it’s a really simple question actually. If you ask me on chat, “How do I begin making a team?” my answer would be, “Use whatever you want.” In my opinion, team building is fun when you use your creativity and think of synergy between Pokémon, eventually leading to a team of 6 that is viable. Mind you there is always a fine border between what if competitively viable and creative. Of course, for those of you who want to understand the bare basics of building an effective team, I will continue.

In Competitive Pokémon, I feel like there are the three basic types of team

Offense, Balance, and Stall.

Offense:

A team of 6 very aggressive Pokémon which overpower the enemy with their superior offenses, have one or less walls (if they do have a wall, it is most likely a Pokémon to set up hazards) and is essentially aimed to win battles quickly. Another variation of this type of team is Hyper Offense, which is basically a team of 6 Sweepers that works versus almost all Pokémon in their specific tier. These types of teams are one of the easiest to build as it only requires the mentality of being super aggressive in all points of the match, however it doesn’t go without its weakness. If a Pokémon on the opposite team happens to do well versus of faster than your own, then Offense can be easily taken down.

Balanced:

This type of team is really the middle of the pack when it comes to both difficulty in using and building. A typical balanced team would have 2 Walls, 2 Offensive Mon, 1 Utility, and a Pokémon that is a niche of sorts on the team. This type of Playstyle is meant to go up against all Playstyles, hence the name Balance. You have a mix of every type of role. Usually, these are the kinds of team Beginners should familiarize with so that they can play competitively and learn about the Meta. In most cases, people who start off with Balance tend to go towards Stall or Offense depending on their way of playing.

Stall:

Stall in general, I feel is one of the easiest playstyle to play, but hard to master and play correctly. On one end, a new player can use the most bulky Pokémon with a recovery move and spam toxic, but on the other end, an experience player can win even the most unfavorable matchups with the help of effective plays that gain advantages until the opponents are overwhelmed. In most cases, Stall teams are built with defensive cores either supporting cores OR standalone Pokémon that do a specific role for the team. Stall teams general don’t have offensive Pokémon as they rely on the chip damages from Hazards, Status, and damaging moves to win games, hence stall. In most cases, Stalls takes up the most amount of time to play against, but if you are able to go up against the core that they have built upon or play smartly, it should be an easy breeze to defeat. For this reason, it is why I believe that Stall is one of the hardest playstyles to play properly. Making one mistake has the potential to break your team and potentially lose the game then and there.

Here are the respective teams for the respective Styles of battling:

Offense

Sceptile-Mega @ Sceptilite  
Ability: Lightning Rod  
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
Timid Nature  

Moves:
- Leaf Storm  
- Dragon Pulse  
- Focus Blast  
- Hidden Power [Ice]  

Raikou @ Choice Specs  
Ability: Pressure  
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
Timid Nature  

Moves:
- Thunderbolt  
- Volt Switch  
- Shadow Ball  
- Hidden Power [Ice]  

Talonflame @ Life Orb  
Ability: Gale Wings  
EVs: 72 HP / 252 Atk / 184 Spe  
Adamant Nature  

Moves:
- Swords Dance  
- Brave Bird  
- Flare Blitz  
- U-turn  

Skarmory @ Leftovers  
Ability: Sturdy  
EVs: 252 HP / 232 Def / 24 Spe  
Impish Nature  

Moves:
- Stealth Rock  
- Roost  
- Defog  
- Brave Bird  

Azumarill @ Assault Vest  
Ability: Huge Power  
EVs: 168 HP / 252 Atk / 88 Spe  
Adamant Nature  

Moves:
- Waterfall  
- Aqua Jet  
- Play Rough  
- Knock Off  

Keldeo-Resolute @ Choice Scarf  
Ability: Justified  
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
Timid Nature 

Moves:
- Secret Sword  
- Hydro Pump  
- Scald  
- Hidden Power [Fire]  

Balanced
(Credits to Red for making the team)

Garchomp @ Rocky Helmet  
Ability: Rough Skin  
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Def  
Relaxed Nature  

Moves:
- Stealth Rock  
- Earthquake  
- Fire Blast  
- Dragon Tail  

Scizor @ Choice Band  
Ability: Swarm  
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 SpD  
Adamant Nature  

Moves:
- Bullet Punch  
- U-turn  
- Knock Off  
- Superpower  

Sylveon @ Leftovers  
Ability: Pixilate 
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD  
Bold Nature  

Moves:
- Wish  
- Heal Bell  
- Protect  
- Hyper Voice  

Lopunny @ Lopunnite  
Ability: Limber  
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe  
Jolly Nature  

Moves:
- High Jump Kick  
- Return  
- Fake Out  
- Power-Up Punch  

Slowbro @ Rocky Helmet  
Ability: Regenerator  
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpA  
Bold Nature  

Moves:
- Slack Off  
- Ice Beam  
- Scald  
- Flamethrower  

Raikou @ Assault Vest  
Ability: Pressure  
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
Timid Nature  

Moves:
- Thunderbolt  
- Volt Switch  
- Hidden Power [Ice]  
- Shadow Ball

Stall
(This team is not that effective, only for show on what Pokémon is usable in Stall.)

 
Heatran @ Leftovers  
Ability: Flash Fire 
EVs: 252 HP / 216 Sp. Def / 40 Speed
Calm Nature

Moves:
- Taunt  
- Stealth Rock  
- Protect  
- Lava Plume  

Celebi @ Leftovers  
Ability: Natural Cure  
EVs: 252 HP / 220 Sp. Def / 36 Speed
Calm Nature  

Moves:
- Heal Bell  
- Leech Seed  
- Giga Drain  
- Baton Pass  


Zapdos @ Leftovers  

Ability: Pressure
EVs: 248 HP / 64 Def / 180 Sp. Def / 16 Speed
Calm Nature  

Moves:
- Defog  
- Thunderbolt  
- Roost  
- Hidden Power [Ice]  

Audino-Mega @ Audinite  
Ability: Healer  
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 Sp. Atk
Bold Nature  

Moves:
- Calm Mind  
- Draining Kiss  
- Rest  
- Sleep Talk  

Suicune @ Leftovers  
Ability: Pressure  
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 Sp. Def
Bold Nature  

Moves:
- Calm Mind  
- Scald  
- Rest  
- Sleep Talk  

Gliscor @ Toxic Orb  
Ability: Poison Heal  
EVs: 244 HP / 20 Def / 88 Speed
Impish Nature  

Moves:
- Substitute  
- Toxic  
- Protect  
- Earthquake  

Effective Sets and EV Spreads

Pokémon sets are EV spreads tend to vary between teams, of course some sets fit into many different teams without any adjustments because both the Pokémon as well as the set is effective for the metagame. I’ll talk briefly about EV spreads and what it means to have efficiency in numbers. On a side note, if you want to get into complicated EV spreads, having a Pokémon Damage Calculator is always good. It allows you to see the differences a certain amount of EVs do to survive a hit or how much damage you can dish out of a with a certain move. The most recommended Damage Calculator is this: CLICK HERE

HP:

HP is what I would say one of the two important stats in the game, its raw bulk to say the least. Aside from investing in defense or Special Defense to get bulky, investing in more HP is generally better (especially for Offensive Pokémon that have naturally high defensive stats, investing in a lot or enough HP can be beneficial to survive hits to set up or do more damage.) When EVing your walls, HP is almost always needed. Aside from Pokémon such as Blissey with a stupidly high HP Base Stat who can sacrifice the non-investments, having more HP is better than having little HP. You can also manipulate your HP EVs for your Pokémon to have an uneven amount of HP. This is beneficial, especially for Flying type Pokémon who take Stealth Rock damage. Due to taking 25%, having an uneven amount of HP allows you to switch into Stealth Rocks 5 times rather than 4 times. Other applications would be Life Orb usage, increasing the amount of times you can survive the HP sacrifice after move due to the uneven HP spread.

Attack and Special Attack:

These stats should be straightforward, more Attack or Special Attack you have, the more damage your Pokémon do. You can EV Pokémon to take out a certain Pokémon with a certain EV Spread with a certain Move from a certain Pokémon. For example, Mega Charizard X needs at least 32 Attack EVs to K.O a 252 HP/0 Defense Heatran from full HP. This can be one of the few things that allow you to efficiently EV your Pokémon so you don’t waste those precious 510 EVs you have.

Defense and Special Defense:

This is also in the same vein as Attack and Special Attack. More investment you have the better you can take a hit from a move, and the like. Of course, Defenses are pretty special in the sense that they have two stats they can manipulate for both Defenses rather than 1. HP and the Defenses go hand in hand the way they allow you to take hits. As stated above, it’s typically much better to have more HP than the Defenses, but it doesn’t always mean you should neglect them. In most cases for walls, you will max out the appropriate stats it needs, but in other applications enough investment into a certain defense can determine the survival of a Pokémon from a certain move. This can be calculated in the Damage Calculator.

Speed:

Speed is the second of the two important stats. Simply, the more speed you have the faster you attack over your opponents, which can give you an edge. Think of it as damage amplification. However, the more important and interesting thing about Speed is the ability for you to manipulate it to be able to out speed or to be slower than a certain Pokémon. This is considered as Speed Creeping. Having enough Speed to out speed or be outspend by a certain Base speed can give you an edge over your opponents. An example of this is Defensive Garchomp, they often run at least 20 Speed EVs in order to out speed Jolly 252 Speed Pokémon (Bisharps in particular) to out speed and beat them. Another example is Bulky Pokémon/Walls with Volt-Switch Baton Pass, or U-turn. By taking advantage of the slow speed, you can tank a hit for your squishier attack and switch out after the opponent has moves, making it easier to gain momentum. These are few of the several different things you can do with speed, what you can do it really 


Discovery of Play styles and Ways Enhance it

Play styles, as you have seen above is the type of strategy a team is revolved around. However, in Pokémon a player also has a specific play style they generally play towards, regardless of team or battle. Such thing is discovered through hundreds of battles, and analyzing them in order understand a common trend that occurs in each one. Using myself as an example, I discovered that among all my battles, I always try to be in control of the battle at all times. This is how I play, regardless of the team I am using. I love to have every single advantage possible, to be able to beat my opponents without the fear of throwing. Of course, this discovery took me a while to get (Around a year of competitively battling), and in most cases, it will take a lot of effort to understand what a player likes to do. I feel like when it comes to preferred ways of Battling, it’s a lot to do with personality. If you’re a very defensive person or someone who’s generally isn’t up to make risky plays they would play much safer than people who are outgoing, which generally make the riskier, but rewarding plays. So on and so forth.  Knowing how you play is one thing, but it is also another to know to use it this play style to your advantage. Due to my love of being aggressive and control, I usually play Pokémon that allow me to dominate Pokémon in a specific tier; my preferred play style would be Volt-turn because if played well, you have a stupid amount of momentum and advantage, in most cases they can’t come back from. Of course, this is different for everyone and it’s really up to you to find out the way you like to play and how you can use that to the fullest potential. If there is a tip I can give you, it would be to save and watch battles you’ve done and really analyze what kinds of plays you make often. Are they risky? Are they Safe? Are you in control at all times? Question yourself from the plays you see, and in due time, you’ll figure something out. Once you do, team building will be much easier for you, as you know what you can do best and what you are capable of doing given the right Pokémon in a team.

Buuuuttt… in the end, Team building is learnt through your own way, and one of the easiest ways to do that is just to battle and battle constantly. There will be a point where it just gets really easy for you to understand what kind of Pokémon are needed in a certain team, you can even utilize Pokémon of a lower tier if you can build correctly around them. It all requires you to understand the metagame and it’s just starts from there. This has been my basic, but hopefully in-depth guide to Team building! Of course, this is not the end for me when it comes to teams. This tab will also be for storing my personally crafted Pokémon teams as well as my words on how the team was build and how it is used for. Anyone wanting to try a new team or take a core out for their own can feel free to do so! Until then though, I’ll see you guys next time! 

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