The lead is a very important if not crucial part in a team - if you can start the match well, you have a massive advantage over your opponent. A good lead generally sets up an entry hazard (normally Stealth Rock) while countering common leads. Trick and Choice Scarf is also common on a lead, allowing it to cripple one of the opponent's Pokémon. If you are running a weather team, normally the lead can set up the weather you are using, whether it is through a move or an ability. If you are running a defensive team, usually you will want to place a wall as your lead that can still counter other leads but allows you to have as many walls in your team as possible. If you decide just to throw a random Pokémon in your first place, chances are the opponent will walk all over you and stay that way throughout the match.
Trick is a dangerous move, both for you and your opponent. Done well, it can completely cripple Pokémon - for example, Blissey with Choice Band loses a lot of its walling capability and becomes a dead weight on that team. However, if you Trick the wrong Pokémon you could be stuck with a worse item, or be given a Choice item and be stuck in Trick, or give a Pokémon an item that allows it to sweep teams. Several people have swept teams with Blissey after being given Choice Specs via Trick. However, you can manipulate the items you gain by repeatedly Tricking the opponent's team until each member has a useless item.
Surprises can work, but they only work once. As soon as people know what it is you lose all the power of that surprise. For example, a Choice Specs Metagross will come as a massive surprise, and probably net you a kill or two as they switch in their physical wall, but next time they'll expect it and switch to a special wall instead, and Metagross's Special Attack stat and lack of a special movepool will mean that it will be walled completely by Blissey or other special walls. If you want to use surprises, make sure that they still can work well after they know what the surprise is. A mixed Metagross would be a better idea, following on from my example, as while it has the surprise of special moves it still maintains the impressive power it has behind its physical attacks. Usually, a surprise only works well until late-game when you know they cannot stop it anymore. However, most of the time, the one KO you score catching your opponent off guard isn't worth the loss of the potential 3 KO's you could achieve by using that Pokémon's brute force.
A team where you have thrown together three walls and three sweepers generally won't work - good teams should have strategy and synergy. Strategy means that your team has a way of winning, be it merciless sweeping not letting the opponent any time to rest, or exhausting your opponent by walling his attacks, healing of damage while racking up entry hazard damage as he switches to various Pokémon trying to deal some damage. Synergy means that the Pokémon support each other and work well together. Gliscor and Empoleon have good synergy, as they resist each other's weaknesses and together counter a lot of Pokémon. These two things means that you might have six walls or six sweepers. Contrary to popular belief, there's nothing wrong with this - several very successful teams have been purely offensive or purely defensive. This doesn't mean a balance of sweepers and walls won't work, provided the team still has good synergy.
It is extremely difficult to try and counter every threat in the DPPt metagame - there are just too many Pokémon that can run too many sets. However, if a certain Pokémon can KO most of your team and you have little to stop it, there's a massive problem with your team there. A lot of people when creating teams look at a lot of common threats and run damage calculations to see if their team can deal with them, and if they can't, tries to find other Pokémon that can. This applies for weaknesses too - if you have five weaknesses to Fighting then your team is at a massive disadvantage. A lot of team builders try to make sure that only two or less Pokémon in their team is weak to specific type - this is useful, but you don't need to worry too much if it's a rare type like poison. A lot of rock weaknesses is probably to worst to have, as it can leave all your switch-ins crippled by Stealth Rock. Don't worry if you can't stop everything though, all teams have a counter, although it's always best to make sure that your counter is either rarely seen, or you can at least answer it with confidence.
Building a team with a theme of sorts is often a good idea - a team that revolves around a central tactic such as Rain Dance or Trick Room can be utterly game-breaking for those unprepared. However, even so, as with all teams, you have to consider carefully the weaknesses and how to overcome them. Remember - a themed team isn't always a full 6. Moreover, make sure your team can work effectively when your tactic doesn't work, or games could be lost when they didn't need to be.
Stealth Rock is really dangerous, and everywhere - 99% of all good teams have a way of setting up Stealth Rock, usually with their lead. Because of this, don't use Focus Sash on a non-lead Pokémon as they will take Stealth Rock damage which will negate the sash. Clefable is a special case, as Magic Guard means it won't take any entry hazard damage. You could run a Rapid Spinner, kill their Stealth Rocker and then Rapid Spin away the Stealth Rock, but that's rather situational and all that setup just for a focus sash to work probably isn't worth it. It should also be noted that Stealth Rock is by far the most potent form of entry hazard - it will damage all of your team members, regardless of type or ability.
Don't be too reliant on status effects - yes, they are useful, but they stop Pokémon from having another status. If your only way of dealing with a Pokémon is Toxic, and you've Paralyzed them, there's no way that you can reverse it. Also, if you rely on Toxic alone to destroy teams, you will have massive problems with Steel Pokémon and Poison Pokémon walking all over you. However, the advent of Sleep and Freeze clause will be restricting you anyway, so careful thought and planning will go into your use of status effects.
Having a 252/252 EV Spread isn't always necessarily the best option - Some Pokémon can afford to do without a full stat, such as Blissey and HP - you almost never see a 714 HP Blissey, so you can play with more flexible EV spreads - sometimes, it'll be better to deviate from the original. When generating your own EV spreads, try not to think about the EV Count, but rather think of the Final Stat Total - this makes it a lot easier to put certain EVs in a certain place.
To maximise bulk in a certain defense, raise the weaker stat (out of HP and the Defense stat) first, and then try and keep them as close as possible as you raise the both. This may seem weird, but there's a reason for this. Your bulk in special/physical is your HP x your [Special] Defense, and square numbers are larger than numbers where there's a difference. Example:
This is why on a Pokémon with massive HP but low defenses like Blissey you'll more often see 252 def, as this makes a massive difference on defensive bulk, and on Pokémon with high defenses and low HP like dusknoir, you'll often see 252 HP, as that's best for both defenses and is more effective than 252 def/252 sdef.
Toxic Spikes can devastate Pokémon, but's it's resisted by a massive amount of Pokémon that are all quite common. Any Steel, Levitator, Flying, Poison, Pokémon already with a status or Clefable can walk in without any sort of risk. A lot of teams I've seen recently have been completely immune to it. Additionally, Poison types will remove any Toxic Spikes, and any Toxic Heal or Guts Pokémon will greatly enjoy it. Generally, it can be said to use Toxic Spikes, as it is a useful tool, but it's best to save it until late-game when you know if it will have a proper effect.
Generally, don't put two attacking moves of the same type on one Pokémon - they cover exactly the same Pokémon for super effective / neutral, but one will be inferior, and a waste of a moveslot that could be used for more coverage. There are times when you do want two moves of the same type, but that is generally due to additional effects a move has (like using Pursuit and Sucker Punch on the same Pokémon, as they have two diffferent effects and would be used in completely different purposes). Also, try and cover as many Pokémon for neutral damage with your moveset as possible (unless you are using Expert Belt, then you should try for Super Effective), and it is always nice to have a STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus - 1.5x boost to attacks that are the same type as the user). If there is a certain Pokémon that is completely immune to all of your attacks, or you don't have any attacking moves on a Pokémon, this can be extremely risky as if it's your last Pokémon as you won't be able to attack, and it can be infuriating seeing matches lost because you can't attack your opponent. Usually, having one attack, even if it's useless is good - this is to prevent anything using Taunt on you and reducing you to a Struggle. Sometimes, a weak attack with a good supporting effect may be all you need, such as Rapid Spin or Knock Off.
Don't overuse Stat Boosts. A lot of Pokémon in the Metagame nowadays have access to a variety of moves which can enhance their abilities, but this is not always the case. Sometimes, a Pokémon will be too fragile to successfully raise their stat and then continue attacking. Items such as Choice Band and Choice Specs allow you to hit right off the bat, and still maintaining a sense of secrecy - if you start with an attack, the opponent will not know whether you are Choiced, or if you are just attacking. With Swords Dance or the like, your opponent can either switch in a counter freely, or they may be given a chance to out-predict you. However, don't overuse Choice items either, as they require a lot of prediction to pull off, and even more if you have loads.
If you're running an offensive team, try and use Pokémon that share counters. This may seem stupid, but it's very useful. As one tries to sweep, and they bring in their counter, they can wear down that counter, allowing your other sweeper to KO their counter. A perfect example of this is Dragon Dance Tyranitar and Swords Dance Lucario. After you've set up and swept with one of them, and they stop you with their counter, although it takes a lot of damage, the other one can walk in, set up and sweep again.
The difference between a high PP, high accuracy move or a high power move (eg Flamethrower or Fire Blast) is really important. If you're going to be using that Pokémon to PP stall, or you feel that Pokémon is going to last a long time, generally the high PP high accuracy move is better. However, on frail Pokémon that aren't going to last long enough to use up their PP, they need as much damage output as possible before they die else it's a wate of slot, and so they'll generally want the high power move - but if it misses, you could lose a lot of matches you otherwise wouldn't. It's all up to personal preference, though. However, on many offensive sweepers, that small increase in power is the difference between an OHKO and a 2HKO.
Be open to change - if you aren't willing to change certain movesets or Pokémon, or you aren't willing to use movesets created by certain sites, then you could be limiting your team from its full potential. This doesn't mean use Pokémon that are obviously rubbish to see if they work, but if a certain moveset or Pokémon looks promising test it - there's no harm done, as you can always change it back afterwards, and if it is better, your team will greatly benefit from it. And if one strategy doesn't work, experiment. Most places you find will give guidelines, not set templates. If you see something on your team doesn't work, you can change it. What works in relation to 5 other Pokémon won't work always work in relation to your 5. And remember, it's your team - if something works for you better than something else, use it. You use your team, not other people, so you can do whatever you want with it.
Finally, experience is the most useful tool and tutor when it comes to building teams. Once you've played a few matches, you'll get a feel for the metagame, and after a few hundred, you'll really know it well. Most teams are built in a few minutes, then playtested and tweaked for weeks after that. The experience helps you considerably in seeing what weaknesses you have, and changing them. It's also much easier to rate a team which has been thoroughly playtested, as you can give full descriptions and show problems which you want a soloution to.
Also thanks to Zy for this!
Page written by TCoZ.
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