Help Guidance for the overwhelmed


Aspiring Trainer
Ive been playing the VG series for a couple of releases now but havent ever tried actually battling other trainers in any kind of competitive format. I'll be honest, its pretty overwhwlming when you first start looking at all the possiblilities and the jargon. So, hit me with some easy start tips. Is there a beginner friendly division? Is the level limit 50 on all of these battles? Can you only use a team formed from a certain list when you make a team (i.e. OO or UU or whatever)? Tips on raising pokemon to compete? Common mistakes beginners make? Whatever wisdom you can share is greatly appreciated.
Hello Allustar :]

First, let me ask you what experience you have in battling? Are you familiar with the general concepts such as EV's, IV's nature etc? If not, I recommend reading these guides:

The PokéBeach EV & IV Guide - Explaining about EV's and IV's.

The PokéBeach Breeding Guide - Explaining about how to breed competitive Pokemon.

Second, there are mainly 2 options for competitive battles - Doubles and Singles. Each one of these options is divided to several other options, often called formats or "Metagame".

Doubles mainly referred to the VGC metagame. This is where you have a team of 6 Pokemon, and before battling you pick 4 of them to enter the battle. After choosing your 4 Pokemon, you send out 2 of them together against the opponent's 2 Pokemon. So far, these rules apply for almost every other doubles metagame. Some doubles metagames allow you to pick all 6 Pokemon for battle, like the "Doubles OU" metagame. In the VGC metagame, there are specific rules:

- You can't have the same item on more than one Pokemon.
- You can't use event Pokemon.
- You may have up to 2 restricted legendary Pokemon in your team. (they have a list of these Pokemon, but they basically refer to the powerful ones like Zekrom and Mewtwo, and not Suicune and Landorus).

It is important to note that the rules of VGC tend to change every year. For example, VGC 2015 didn't allow using restricted legendary Pokemon at all.

Singles mainly referred to the "OU" metagame or the "Battle Spot singles" metagame. This is where you have a team of 6 Pokemon, and before battling you pick 3 of them to enter the battle (if playing in Battle Spot) or all of them (if playing in OU). After choosing your 3 Pokemon, you send out 1 of them together against the opponent's 1 Pokemon. So far, these rules apply for almost every other singles metagame. In the Battle Spot singles metagame, the rules are very similar to the VGC metagame. However, OU is a lot different:

- You may use the same item on all of your Pokemon.
- Pokemon are not banned based on the fact they are event or legendary, but on how they perform in battle. As such, Pokemon that are not legendary, but are too powerful for a metagame of 1 against 1, like Blaziken, are not allowed in OU. Those who decide which Pokemon is not allowed, or banned from OU are the members of the site, which invented the OU metagame. We in PB update the list of banned Pokemon (and certain banned items, moves and abilities) according to this site's updates here

* I am probably missing some other rules for each metagame, but these are the main ones.

Above all, that means that whatever competitive option you choose, each of them has a list of Pokemon you can choose and those you may not choose. The question is, what do you like more ? battling 2 against 2 (doubles) or 1 against 1 (singles).

*The level 50 limit is a must in all the official formats of Pokemon.

Official formats:
Battle Spot (singles, doubles, triples)

Unofficial formats:
Doubles OU
(and many many others)
Last edited:
Thanks for the reply. Yes I'm somewhat familiar with the concept of Evs and IVs and natures and such. So I guess my next question is does these take place at sanction Play! Events or online through the game? Are these battles ranked? I see online how people compete for the VG championships. im guessing that is the VGC format. Does playing online through the game earn you points towards that? I've never tried it out because I know I don't have a ram that's bred for it. I guess I'm more lost on the format than I am on the actual mechanics of battling.
Just a reminder, since it's still kinda new on the forums here (and largely untapped): we have competitive tutors here now, myself included.

I'd be more than happy to sit down with you (metaphorically ofc, and all of the other tutors are available, too) and discuss things 1 on 1 and one at a time.

I personally experimented in all of the singles format tiers as of gen 5 (not too much changed in gen 6 for lower tiers) and in gen 6 specialized in singles OU, UU and Ubers - plus delving into VGC '15 and '16. I am also very experienced with making custom sets that at the very least rival the super-common sets seen in competitive play, so everything need not be 'by the book'.

I also want to point out that OU, UU, etc are essentially based on usage - which makes sense considering OU (over used) pokemon tend to be the most powerful, versatile, and/or have the best coverage options while UU (under used) tends to be slightly less so, etc. Also just because a pokemon is listed as being UU (for example, Umbreon) doesn't mean it's unfit to be used in higher tiers such as OU (in fact, one of my Umbreon sets regularly walled entire OU teams in late XY and early ORAS). Of course, lower tiered pokemon tend to be harder to use in higher tiers (hence their lower usage → lower tier), but the only part of tier classification that really means anything is that higher tiered pokemon (such as Scizor which is ranked in OU) are banned from lower tiers (such as UU, RU, NU, PU, etc. in Scizor's case).

Also note that LC (Little Cup) has no bearing on the other singles formats. I can explain more if you're interested, but LC has to do with the pokemon being the first evolutions of pokemon that can evolve and not usage statistics. it actually one of the most balanced formats I've ever played - though most people seem to avoid it, incorrectly assuming everything there is 'weak' or that they wont have many options.