My first advice is that if you still think Pokemon is a kid game, you are wrong (except if you talk about Pokemon go, this one is not interesting). All players under 16 left the online game because it’s really challenging, and you can’t go in unprepared.
Having a strategy in Pokemon, it’s having a balance team that cannot be OHKO everytime. How can we recognize a good team from a bad? It’s not always obvious because a good player can get powerful strategies from usually under-estimated Pokemon. And vice-versa, a bad player can play shit with powerful Pokemon, and a 6 legendary team is often the team of a bad player. So, here are some things you must know to have good online battles.
1.a)For the Pokemon
18 types of Pokemon, and more than 300 double-types. And if you want to play correctly, you must know them by heart, every strength and weakness. But you must not forget that a double type has strengths and weaknesses from both types. Let’s see how exactly it works, with an example. If a Pokemon only have one type, like charmander (fire type), he will receive low efficiency attacks (grass, ice, fire) that will only give him half of the usual damages, high efficiency attacks (water, rock, ground) that will double the regular amount of damage, and regular efficiency attacks (all the remaining ones). Si, if charmander receive a water type attack, he will lose twice the amount of HP than another type of Pokemon (fly for example). If you want a good idea of all of that, here is a table recapitulating strengths and weaknesses:
As I said, strengths, weaknesses, but also immunities. And that’s only the simple table, because in game, Pokemon often have double-types. So, if if I play with pokemons like Gyarados, Blaziken or Ferrothorn : gyarados is water/fly type, so he has two electric type weaknesses and will suffer four time the normal damage from the attack. If an insect attack hit Blaziken (fire/fight), he will suffer a quarter of the regular damage. Ferrothorn is in both situations : double resistance to grass and double weakness to fire. To determine the factor of damage, just multiply the factors. That means if there is immunity, it can’t disappear. At the end, the amount of damage can be multiply by the following factors: 4; 2; 1; 0.5; 0.25; 0.
Once you know all of that, you should understand that in the creation of a team, you have to not accumulate weaknesses, that’s why it’s not really common to see monotype teams, even if dealing with a good one can be really challenging.
1.b)For the attacks
The type of an attack is not determined by the type of the Pokemon witch uses is. Actually, an attack has its own type and thunder will always be electric. The type of an attack must be taken in consideration in one hand, regarding to Pokemon who uses the attack, and in another hand, regarding the Pokemon who receives it. Indeed, in Pokemon, there is what we call the STAB : Same Type Attack Bonus, which mean the amount of damage given by an attack is multiplied by 1.5 when the Pokemon who attacks has the same type than the attack itself. For example, a Dragonite who uses flamethrower uses an attack with a power base of 90 because Dragonite is not fire type. But if a charizard uses the same attack, the power of it will not be 90 but 135. STAB is really important. But you don’t want to put only STABed attacks on your Pokemon : doing so, it’s having 2-3 useless attacks because you will only use the most powerful of them, and your Pokemon will easily be defenceless against the opponent. Knowing other types attacks, its being able to defend ourselves against way more opponents. You have to cover as many types as possible. There’s 18 types and a team has 6 pokemon. Each Pokemon can learn 4 attacks. The idea is not being in a situation where you only have low efficiency attacks.
To each Pokemon there are 6 stats value: healthpoints (HP), attack (Att), Special Attack (Spe Att), Defence (def), special defence (spe def) and speed. HP represent the total amount of damage a Pokemon can receive, and if they reach 0, the Pokemon is KO. The main objective is to knock out the entire opponent team. As it’s a turned-base strategy, speed is what determines to order of the attacks. The fastest Pokemon will attack first, unless a priority attack is used. If both Pokemon have the same speed stat, the order is random. Then, each Pokemon have two offensive and two defensive statistics. The amount of damage receive by an attack is determined by defence, and by special defence when it’s from a special attack. There’s nothing complicated here, and it’s easy to know if you are dealing witch physical or special attack: a logo can tell you: for physical, for special and for status attacks. In gen 1 to 3, the kind of of attack was linked to its type, but not anymore.
Every Pokemon have they own base stats, and those stats can change between a maximum and minimum value. Some changes are definitive, some are short-lived.
A stat value is definitively modified according to three values: nature, IV and EV. The nature of a Pokemon is randomly generated with the Pokemon and gives him a 10% bonus on a stat and a 10% malus on another one. Some nature doesn’t change stats but in strategy, we don’t care about those one, because we can always find an expandable stat where to deal the malus, and most of the time it’s attack or spe attack, because if you use one, you don’t care about the other. Along with nature, IV are also randomly generated with the Pokemon (except in breeding situations). Individual Values (IV) are random numbers that can add 0 to 31 points to each stat. There’s an IV to every stat.
But if you can’t do much about nature and IV, you can deal more things with EV (Effort Value). 4EV in one stat increase it of 1 point. With a grand total of 510 EV for a Pokemon, you can boost a stat with 252 EV at most, which mean boost it by 63 points, and it’s a lot! A Pokemon can win EV by fighting or with boosters.
Status attacks don’t deal damage but modify status and stats of Pokemon. They can either increase or decrease one or many stats, and change the status. At the beginning of a match, everything is normal, but quickly, players will try to change stats of the opponent and of their own. What we call a status is a state of the Pokemon, and one can be paralysed, frozen, burned, poisoned or asleep:
A paralysed pokemon has on every turn a 25 % chance not to attack, and its speed is down by half. (it was divided by before Sun & Moon ). An electric pokemon cannot be paralysed.
A frozen pokemon will not be able to attack for 1 to 5 turns. Some fire type attacks can unfreeze a Pokemon. .
A burned Pokemon has his attack stat divided by 2, and he loses 1/8 of its HP every turn. Fire type Pokemon cannot be burned.
A poisoned pokemon loses HP at every turn, regularly or more and more, according id he regularly or badly poisoned. Poison type pokemon cannot be poisoned.
A sleeping pokemon will not be able to attack, for 1 to 3 turns.
In strategy, those kind of changes are looked for, especially paralysis and burning, because they also change stats in a significant way.
Some attacks only change stats, and if it’s really interesting to use those attacks, it can also be really hard to do, because when you do it, you are vulnerable for one turn, allowing the opponent to deal you some damage for free.
2.c)Talent, items and weather
In addition to all of that, stat scan be changed by the talent of the pokemon, or by item they can hold during a match. Some talents will prevent status change and some other will boost stats when in a given situation. To be quick, talent has to be chosen wisely, as the items, which have similar effects. Finally, you can change the weather during a match, and a shiny sun can boost fire type attacks while a rainy situation will boost both attack and speed of water type pokemon. Weather can be change through a talent or an attack.
3)The final calculation
Ok, now, we have everything to know how much damage will deal an attack, and here is how it’s done (modifier is STAB, critical hit, etc, plus a random number between 0.85 and 1. We’re gonna use 1):
We always round down the results.
If a level 50 charizard uses flamethrower on a level 50 dragonite, without critical hit, talent or item, we would have:
(((2*50 + 10)/250)*(109/100)*90 +2)*0.5*1.5*1
(0.44*1.09*90 + 2)*0.75
Dragonite should lose 33 HP.
4)At the end…
Stats, in pokemon, are a lot of maths. Obviously, players aren’t always with a calculator machine in the hand and experience lead them to intuitive knowledge of the effects of an attack. However, knowing how the game do to determine the amount of damage dealt allow us to a better understanding of it.
Pokemon strategy is really rich because of the various ways we can change stats before and during a fight, and a strategy is even harder to have when you see the number of pokemon you have to think of when creating a team.
FYI : there’s no such thing as strategy in pokemon go.