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Triple Threat - A Guide to Triple Battles
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Triple Threat - A Guide to Triple Battles
Triple Threat - A Guide to Triple Battles
By Mark


Introduction

This guide is written prior to the release of Pokemon Bank. Pokemon Bank will release some additional Pokemon that can influence how teams should be built since more egg moves and Pokemon will exist. It should also be noted that this is for standard triples where Ubers are banned.

In triples a lot more strategy comes into play. You can’t just throw six Pokemon on a team and expect them to do well. Each Pokemon must be able to work with the other Pokemon to defeat the opposing team. Certain conditions can only be done while in a triple battle. You need to be able to take advantage of having three Pokemon out at one time.

Entry hazards are rarely used in triples because half of your team is already on the field when a battle starts. Add in that switches are something that is almost never done and it becomes a useless move. While Focus Sash may sound great here, it is only mediocre. With three Pokemon on the field at one time it is easy enough for two Pokemon to target a Pokemon that is holding Focus Sash.

Mechanics

Pay attention to the position of your Pokemon. Most moves can only target an adjacent Pokemon whether it be an ally or a foe. Pokemon in the center can target any Pokemon, however, they can also be hit with any move. Pokemon on the sides can't be hit from Pokemon that are considered far away from them. It is a safer position for a Pokemon to be in. Only Pokemon in the left or right position are able to select Shift. Pokemon in the center do not get this option.

Shifting does use up your chance to attack, but it can be worth it in scenarios where that Pokemon can't do anything to a Pokemon it can target. It can also be helpful if you need a certain Pokemon to be out of range for a move.

Switching is something that should be avoided in almost all cases. By switching Pokemon you are giving up a chance to attack. That Pokemon could also take up to three hits before it even has a chance to select a move. There are really only two times you should ever consider switching. One of the times is if you need to change the weather, most notably to either rain or sun. This will cause the moves damage to increase, however, any changes to Speed are not applied until the current turn is over. The only other time you should ever consider switching is to avoid taking damage from a high powered move that hits all adjacent targets. This is why it is important to carefully consider which position each Pokemon is in.

Equally important are what moves your Pokemon possesses. Weather moves affect the whole field so it won't matter where the Pokemon is. Each weather move lasts for five turns unless the user is holding an item that increases its duration. With three Pokemon on the field at one time, using the weather as an advantage is huge. You can have perfect accuracy with specific moves, some moves are powered up, sometimes stats are even increased in specific weathers.

Certain other moves can hit any Pokemon regardless of position. Many of those tend to be Pulse attacks such as Dark Pulse. Pokemon with long range moves should ideally be either in the left or right position so they can target a far foe without being exposed to as much danger. There are very few cases where you should have one of these Pokemon in the center.

You also will want to have at least a couple attacks that can hit multiple targets at once on your team. Rock Slide and Blizzard both hit all adjacent opponents. Blizzard can even have perfect accuracy if the weather is Hail. The only downfall of these moves is that they are reduced to 85% of their normal damage. Pokemon with these moves should ideally be in the center when possible because this will let them hit every opponent.

There are other moves that inflict damage to all adjacent Pokemon regardless of which team they are on. You must carefully pick the Pokemon that will be adjacent to them. Earthquake is the most famous move that hits all adjacent Pokemon. If your adjacent Pokemon have Levitate Ability, hold Air Balloon, or are part Flying-Type, they will be safe from the attack. There are great risks and rewards if you place a Pokemon with one of these types of moves in the center. You can damage every Pokemon your opponent has, but you can also do a number on your team.

Helping Hand is a very specific move that is helpful. It increases the damage output of the Pokemon you are helping by 50%. When this is used on a move that hits multiple targets, it makes the blow be much more damaging to the opponent. It also has positive priority so it will work before your other Pokemon makes its move. Helping Hand can turn many 2HKO moves into OHKO moves. Keep in mind that this move can only be used on an adjacent ally so make sure you have the appropriate Pokemon next to it.

Protect is a very good move to use on any triples team. It should be on most Pokemon on your team even. If you are going to use a move that hits all adjacent targets, you are saving your Pokemon from taking damage as well. It can also be used to scout for a particular move. While the Pokemon protects itself, you can have your other Pokemon take out the aggressor. Similar to Protect is the move Wide Guard. This move protects your team from moves that hit more than one target. It can be used against both the foes and your own attacks. This works excellent with Earthquake and Surf. Explosion is incredibly risky in case the foe uses Protect or Wide Guard. You could end up wasting a Pokemon to not damage an opposing Pokemon.

In triple battles barriers are much easier to set up. Light Screen and Reflect still last 5 turns and can be used the same turn giving your team the maximum survivability. It should be noted that in double and triple battles the effect is weakened to 1/3 instead of 1/2. These moves do affect your entire side of the field so the position a Pokemon with these moves does not matter. Safeguard and Mist are in the same boat although Mist is not a good move to use.

Follow Me is a lesser used move that only is usable in double and triple battles. It forces attacks to hit it instead of the intended target. If the move targets a Pokemon that is not adjacent to the Pokemon who used Follow Me, it will not target the Pokemon who used Follow Me. The primary use of this move is to have another Pokemon use a set-up move such as Dragon Dance to increase its stats then start pounding on the opponent.

Tailwind is a powerful support move in triples. It affects your entire side of the field increasing each of your Pokemon’s Speed. The Speed stat is not recalculated on the spot; it is calculated after the current turn ends. In can be great to combo this move with Protect on your other Pokemon if you will be outsped by your opponents. Talonflame that have the Gale Wings ability can use this with priority so you don’t need to worry about its own Speed. Being able to have your entire team move before the opponent can effectively let you KO at least one Pokemon provided you have enough power to do so.

Building a Rain Team

At the very core of every rain team is a Politoed with Drizzle. Remember that Drizzle will only change the weather for five turns. Due to the weather nerf this generation, it is often better to have Politoed be bulky instead of purely offensive. Protect is a good move to have on Politoed so it can survive longer. You should always send Politoed on the left or right side so it can’t take hits from all three opposing Pokemon.

Surf is a standard move that should be on every rain team. It hits all adjacent targets and will be powered up by rain. Because it can damage your own Pokemon, you will want Pokemon that either take less damage from the attack or ones with abilities to heal themselves instead of taking damage. Vaporeon has Water Absorb and is also capable of learning Helping Hand which makes it an excellent teammate on any rain team. It also has quite high HP and decent defenses. Ludicolo is another great Pokemon that can be on a rain team. Not only will water attacks do only 1/2 of their usual damage, but it also is a great Pokemon to use against other rain teams.

Pokemon that have Swift Swim are always good to have on a triples rain team. Their Speed doubles while it is raining so they will strike before your opponent can hit you. Due to the Speed benefit, you don’t need to place as many EVs in Speed which allows you to make your Pokemon hit harder and take less damage.

Hydration is a cool ability that cures any status problem after a turn is over as long as the weather is rain. This can essentially give that Pokemon permanent Safe Guard. Goodra is one such Pokemon that has this somewhat rare ability. Goodra also has an amazing 150 base Special Defense and still has over 100 base Special Attack. Goodra can learn a wide variety of moves including Thunder which will help against opposing rain teams. Rest is also a great move to put on Goodra because of its bulk.

At least two or three of your Pokemon on this team should have the move Rain Dance so you can always have control of the weather. This is especially important against sun teams which have two weather inducing Pokemon.

Hurricane can be an excellent addition to a rain team. It hits Grass-Types for super-effective damage and has perfect accuracy in the rain. The move also has the long range property in addition to having a chance to confuse the Pokemon it targets.

Below is a list of some of the better Pokemon to use on a rain team. They are not listed in any particular order.
  • Politoed
  • Vaporeon
  • Greninja
  • Ludicolo
  • Goodra
  • Kingdra
  • Noivern
  • Toxicroak


Playing Against a Rain Team

When facing a rain team the most important thing to do is taking a Politoed out. Once you can get that done your opponent is forced to use Rain Dance to change the weather. Politoed can very easily use Protect on the first turn so you might consider hitting a different Pokemon based on the usage of Protect.

Changing the weather makes the match much more manageable, particularly if you can make the weather become sun. This will not only reduce damage from water attacks, but also reduces the accuracy of Thunder to 50%. It also will make it so Hurricane is able to miss.

Once Politoed is KO’d it is best to focus on getting rid of the weather abusers. Some Pokemon on rain teams are quite strong even without weather which makes getting rid of them a priority. Greninja is a great example of one such Pokemon. It changes its type based on what move it uses. Predicting what move it will use can make it easier to get rid of. It is quite frail so if your Pokemon can survive its attack, Greninja can easily be KO’d. Having multiple Pokemon target Greninja is a good way to get rid of it. Getting rid of the more frail Pokemon is better than trying to take down a wall like Goodra because you are reducing the number of Pokemon they have remaining. The main exception to this rule is if they have a Pokemon that has boosted its stats.

Building a Sun Team

Sun teams have one major advantage over rain teams in that they have two weather starters available instead of one, Ninetales and Mega Charizard Y. You must be able to make those two Pokemon survive as long as possible to keep the sun shining. Mega Charizard Y has a Special Attack even higher than Mewtwo. Solarbeam works great on both Pokemon due to them automatically changing the weather on entry. It gives them an edge against the rock and water Pokemon that resist their fire power.

Many Grass-Types have the ability Chlorophyll, which doubles their Speed in the sun. Grass Pokemon tend to have moves that cause status conditions such as Sleep Powder. They also synergize well with the fire Pokemon on the team since they can take care of water, rock, and ground Pokemon that are able to hit Fire-Types for double damage.

Flower Gift sounds like it would be a good ability, but the problem is that Cherrim is the only Pokemon who gets it. It doesn’t have good stats at all so it becomes dead weight.

Heat Wave is a great move for sun teams that not only hits for a solid 95 base power, but also hits all adjacent opponents. It also has a chance to burn any survivors. Lave Plume is slightly less powerful, but has an increased chance of burning targets. It does hit any adjacent allies which can be taken advantage of by having a Pokemon with Flash Fire next to the Pokemon using Lava Plume. Eruption is very strong, but once the user starts to take damage, it starts to lose power. The main way Eruption can be used is by having the user hold a Choice Scarf to ensure it moves first. One of your other Pokemon should have Helping Hand to boost the damage it will cause.

Zapdos can hit Water-Types with Thunderbolt getting a OHKO in many cases. It has decent Special Defense and quite strong Special Attack. With Zapdos good Speed, it can also be decent at putting up Light Screen for your team. Once PokeBank is released, you can import a Zapdos from a BW2 cartridge that has Heat Wave making it more versatile.

While there are two Pokemon with Drought, it is still good to have at least one or two Pokemon with Sunny Day so you don’t have to switch to get the weather back. It is much easier to use a move than risk having one of your key team members take fatal damage.

Below are some good Pokemon for sun teams to use.
  • Ninetales
  • Charizard @ Charizardinite Y
  • Venusaur
  • Moltres
  • Exeggutor
  • Volcarona
  • Delphox


Playing Against a Sun Team

Playing against a sun team can be different from facing a rain team. If the opposing team has just one weather starter, then taking it out should be the highest priority. If it has both weather starters, it is best to focus on which Pokemon is the biggest threat on the field. Grass Pokemon with Chlorophyll are among top threats to your team. Unless you have Safe Guard, expect to get put to sleep or paralyzed by them. Grass Pokemon can be dealt with by a single fire attack normally if the weather is sun.

Changing the weather is the highest priority if the opponent has only one weather starter. This will lead to their attacks being weakened, especially if it is changed to rain.

Building a Trick Room Team

Trick Room teams are not as common as rain or sun teams, but can be very effective when they are built and played correctly. One of the most important things to remember is to not have a Trick Room setter be in the center position because it can get hit by all opposing Pokemon. You’ll ideally want bulky Pokemon to be the ones setting up Trick Room even if they don’t have powerful offensive stats because of Trick Room having the lowest priority in the game. They have to be treated separate from your abusers.

Here are some good Pokemon for using Trick Room:
  • Slowbro
  • Slowking
  • Bronzong
  • Trevenant
  • Carbink
  • Aromatisse


You will notice that several of these Pokemon are able to heal either themself or another member of your team. This makes them able to use the move multiple times throughout the battle. When they are not using Trick Room, you should consider having them use Protect. Other possibilities are for some of those Pokemon to have moves that assist your other Pokemon such as Reflect and Light Screen. Even though the multiplier is slightly less in triples than in singles, it is enough to make a considerable difference when you are taking up to three damaging moves per turn.

Now that you have chosen your Trick Room users, it is time to pick out which Pokemon will be abusing the condition. You’ll want to use Pokemon that have very low Speed and high offensive stats. Rhyperior is one such Pokemon. It has one of the highest Attack stats in the game with excellent Defense as well. Rhyperior is capable of using Earthquake which will hit all adjacent Pokemon with tremendous power. Rock Slide is another move it is capable of learning that hits all opposing enemies that are in front of it. Scizor also gets a special mention because Bullet Punch will always go before the slowest Pokemon so it can inflict large damage without needing to worry if Trick Room is in effect. Since it is part bug, it also can do well against Pokemon that can threaten your Trick Room setters.

Other Pokemon that can do well in Trick Room are:
  • Tyranitar
  • Conkeldurr
  • Aggron
  • Mega Abomasnow
  • Machamp
  • Aegislash
  • Reuniculus
  • Clawitzer


Playing Against a Trick Room Team

When facing a potential Trick Room team, the first priority is to stop Trick Room from ever happening. If you have powerful enough Pokemon on the field, you can have multiple Pokemon target one of the opposing Trick Room users. Taunt is another way you can stop the opponent from ever firing it off which will make your battle much easier. After stopping Trick Room from happening, you should be able to wipe out the rest of the opposing Pokemon with relative ease since they are slow.

If the opponent has two bulky Trick Room users on the field and you are not going to be able to stop Trick Room from getting up, you will want to start by teaming up against the Trick Room abuser. If at all possible, try and KO only the Pokemon that can inflict large damage to your team. This will force them to have less attackers out at a time so you will suffer less damage. This might mean to be using Protect with some of your own Pokemon. The next time Trick Room wears off will be your opportunity to KO the Trick Room setters. After that is done, the rest of the battle should go better.

Sand And Hail Teams

While it is entirely possible to build a sand or hail team for triples, they do not perform well enough to be worth writing about. Hail teams fall to sun which has two strong weather starters in addition to having supereffective moves. They also lose to rain teams because of the Pokemon on rain teams being resistant to ice. Sand teams will also fall to rain teams nearly every time because of multipliers and being slow in general. Sun teams can outplay them also since sun teams tend to use at least 1-2 Grass-Types. Additionally, some fire Pokemon have access to Solarbeam which will inflict major damage to sand abusers.



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