Hi there! I’m 3rdStringHero and this is going to be my attempt at a guide of all things competitive Pokémon. I’ll start by saying that I am by no means an expert but I have been playing competitively in some form since X and Y. This is going to be surprisingly complex and I am going to air on the side of giving too much information rather than too little. I will try not to focus too much on the changes made between previous generations and Sword and Shield because if you are reading this that doesn’t affect you anyway. Just know that it has slowly been getting easier and easier to get into competitive Pokémon and is right now the most accessible it has ever been. I will not lie and say that it requires no effort but if you are committed to try there has never been a better time to jump in.
In the interest of a reasonable word count, I will be focusing on how to get started rather than going into team building minutia as I can point you toward much better teachers than I on that topic. This will seem like a lot of information, but I will do my best to explain it succinctly. That being said, I can get quite wordy so just bear with me and feel free to ask me any questions if you ever see me around the site. I enjoy competitive personally but keep in mind everyone can play these games their own way but if you are here I assume you have at least some interest in competitive Pokémon so know I might occasionally use terms like best, optimal, and meta to help explain. That doesn’t mean your favorite Pokémon is invalid but the reality is it might not be cut out for high level play. As I will be covering a lot of information I will be splitting sections into parts and putting them behind tags to open. Hopefully that works.
Pokémon is essentially the most complicated rock, paper, scissors game every made. For starters the terms you will need to keep in mind are types (I assume everyone has got this handled), IVs (Individual Values), EVs (Effort Values), abilities (all Pokémon have one but not all abilities are created equal), base stats, natures, items, and moves. The fact of the matter is all of these things work in concert with one another and every individual Pokémon is going to have a different combination of all of these things in order to become its “best” self. During a typical play through of a story you can ignore almost all of this but in competitive play the precise combinations make all the difference. I don’t want to harp on what Pokémon are “good” too much. This is here so you can maximize the potential of any Pokémon you want.
Every Pokémon has 6 stats that make them up. These are HP, Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed. These are somewhat self explanatory but I will explain anyway as stats are the starting point for every Pokémon and the first thing that determine whether it will be competitively viable. A lot of what I will be talking about will be how to maximize these stats so they are important to understand. In case you did not know moves are split between physical (tackle) and special (ember) and different stats affect them.
- HP- The hit points or health of a Pokémon
- Attack- Affects the damage inflicted with physical moves
- Defense- Affects the damage taken from physical moves
- Special Attack- Affects the damage inflicted with special moves
- Special Defense- Affects the damage taken from special moves
- Speed- Affects how fast a Pokémon is, with the higher speed Pokemon always moving first (with exceptions caused by priority moves, field effects, and status)
Go to any Pokémon’s page on Bulbapedia or Serebii and you will find its base stats listed. These stats are a good starting point and can give a trainer an idea of what the Pokémon will play like and be good at. A Pokémon with high attack and speed will excel as a physical attacker built to hit hard and fast, while a Pokémon with high HP and Defense can become an impossible to break physical wall. For the most part, pay attention to what a Pokémon wants to be doing. Now that we know what the stats are, how can we maximize the potential of our favorite battle creatures? I will first explain IVs.
IVs are like the DNA that a Pokémon is born with. They essentially affect the potential growth rates of any stat a Pokémon has. Every stat of a Pokémon has an IV number between 0 and 31. Higher numbers mean that Pokémon will see increased stats. The same Pokémon with a 31 attack IV will have a considerably more powerful attack stat than one with a 4. This is where Pokémon breeders earn their dues. Breeding Pokémon with high IVs together until you eventually can make “perfect” Pokémon with maximum IVs across the board.
Pokémon bred together pass down 3 of their IVs to the new Pokémon (5 if a parent is holding a destiny knot). These are usually random but the parents holding certain items (EV enhancing items) can ensure a certain IV is passed down. Getting “perfect” Pokémon requires breeding a lot of Pokémon over and over until the correct IVs are passed down. In Sword and Shield, after winning 6 battles at the battle tower in the post-game and beating Leon it will unlock the IV checker in the box. You can check any Pokémon’s IVs by pressing the + button to display the “judge”. It does not give you the actual number because that would make far too much sense. Instead a phrase is used for various ranges of IVs.
- No Good: 0
- Decent: 1-10
- Pretty Good: 11-20
- Very Good: 21-29
- Fantastic: 30
- Best: 31
Extremely important. Official Pokémon formats set levels to 50 automatically and at level 50 there will be no difference between 30 and 31 IVs provided no EVs are invested in that stat. If there will be no EVs invested in a stat, then at level 50 there will not be a difference between 30 and 31 IVs. For what its worth the difference at level 100 is 1 point. If EVs will be invested, aim for 31 every time.
Ditto is the most important Pokémon for this because it can breed with anything. Typically, the egg will always be whatever the female Pokémon is but Ditto can breed with male and genderless Pokémon and the egg will always be the non-Ditto. This might be easier to just explain in steps the way breeding typically works. This is taken from a guide with my own comments pointing out how things have changed in Sword and Shield. But first start with finding a relatively high IV Ditto. In Sword and Shield they can be found in the wild area by Outrage Lake in the northwest after you gain the ability to cross the water. However a better method that is more likely to yield a high IV Ditto is battling them in Max Raids. There is a specific den near the nursery in the wild area that spawns Ditto raids a lot (there are videos showing it if you want to find it). Basic steps from there:
1: Prepare a parent Pokémon, don’t worry about its IVs to start with (this used to start with the intended nature but now you can change nature’s with candy so it’s actually fine with any nature now unless you want to save time and BP).
2: Have the Pokémon with the intended nature hold the everstone (causes nature to pass down when breeding) and the Ditto with high IVs hold the Destiny Knot (causes more IVs to be passed down). Again, now you can ignore the nature part if you want so you don’t need the everstone.
3: Leave them at the day care and hatch eggs that appear. (Make eggs appear by walking around or bicycling back and forth on the road. You will know there is an egg when the lady outside the nursery brings her arm up to her chin.)
4: When a Pokémon with high IVs is born, switch it out with the non-Ditto parent.
5: Continue until a Pokémon with high IVs, the intended nature (again now changeable) and the intended ability is born.
Essentially you keep replacing the parents with better parents so they will pass down better and better IVs. Once you are in the habit of checking the IVs of every hatched egg you will start to notice better ones and if there are specific ones you seem to be missing. If you want you can experiment with parents that have high IVs in different stats. Ditto works with everything but if you have parents that will work you can use them as well. Remember what Pokémon hatches will always be based on the female parent. Also if a Pokémon in the day care is holding the EV enhancing item (explained in EVs) for a particular stat it is guaranteed to pass down that IV so if you have a parent with a perfect IV you can use the EV enhancing item for that stat to ensure it is passed down if needed.
You can get a Pokémon with the flame body ability (Chandelure line, Carkoal and Coalossus) as having it in the party makes eggs hatch more quickly. Remember to just make your party only that Pokémon so you can fit all the eggs as they appear. Then just ride your bike back and forth while you collect and hatch eggs.
The Destiny Knot item mentioned above causes parent Pokémon to pass down 5 IVs rather than the usual 3. Between the 2 parents there are 12 total IVs (1 for each stat for each parent) that can potentially be passed down. If they are holding no items, then 3 of those will be chosen. If one of the parents holds a Destiny Knot then 5 will be chosen. It is random which ones are chosen (without the EV item) and the other IVs will be determined randomly as well. The Destiny Knot can be purchased for BP at a Hammerlocke mart (technically I think it is the event staff person on the side).
That sounds complex because it is, though once you wrap your head around it, it is doable. Honestly there are better guides out there than anything I can write but there is one more possibility and that is with hyper training and bottle caps.
Bottle caps are an item introduced in Sun and Moon that when given to a Pokémon will not actually change the IVs but will make it act in battle as if it has perfect IVs (so no breeding these). Bottle caps are used on one stat and gold bottle caps affect all the stats. This is called Hyper Training and is done by a man in the Battle Tower. Bottle caps can be acquired in the post-game for BP. Essentially the choice is to attempt to breed perfect Pokémon or grind for BP in the Battle Tower to not have to breed. Unfortunately bottle caps only work on level 100 Pokémon. Sword and Shield provides things like Max Raid battles that can help with all these steps. They drop experience candies for leveling up while a Pokémon caught from a Max Raid has a higher chance of having good IVs (I don’t know the exact numbers yet just know catching Max Raid Pokémon will most likely be better for IVs than random ones).
There are fringe cases where you may want 0 IVS. Such as having 0 speed IVs to make a Pokémon as slow as possible for trick room set ups (trick room causes the slowest Pokémon to move first instead of the fastest). Or 0 attack IVs on a special attacker so that taking hits from an opponent using foul play does less damage (foul play determines damage using the attack stat of the Pokémon hit). At extremely high levels I have seen players even do things like using a single IV in speed on slow trick room Pokémon so that they are very slow in trick room but faster than a mirror match up when outside of trick room. This is some next level style of playing at the highest level and can be ignored by most players.
Pokémon can also be bred to gain certain moves from their parents. This has been drastically simplified in Sword and Shield as now egg moves can be passed on at will at the daycare. You can breed certain move onto a Pokémon and then pass those on to a more rigorously bred perfect IV one. This is important as certain moves are only available for Pokémon as egg moves by breeding.
I personally will sometimes do things like ignore the special attack IV on a physical attacker entirely and vice versa as long as I will not be using any moves of the other type.
It is possible to go into various forums and ask for perfectly bred Pokemon but a lot of people will want something back of equal value. Asking for “breedjects” that are not quite perfect can be easier.
I hope that was at least a serviceable job of explaining IVs and breeding but at the very least now you know they exist and can look up more in-depth breeding guides if you so choose. I shall now move on to EVs.
So you have bred your perfect Pokémon, (or at least chucked your empty bottle caps at it until it will perform like one, thanks Dad!), but now what? Well this is where you actually begin “training.” You see every Pokémon you defeat rewards effort values or EVs. Typically, this is only one or two in a particular stat based on what pokemon you defeated in battle. You can look up what EVs a Pokémon gives (EV yield) on Bulbapedia. Its early in Sword and Shield as I’m writing this but soon enough players will find the best routes/areas for training each stat. What these EVs actually do is yet again increase a Pokémon’s stats. Using the same example, the same Pokémon with 252 EVs in attack will have a much higher attack than one with no EVs. The thing is a Pokémon can only have a total of 510 EVs assigned to all of its stats combined. How you distribute these 510 EVs might be the biggest decision you will make regarding your Pokémon.
A Pokémon can have 510 EVs total but only 252 in any particular stat. In competitive, how many EVs are assigned to a Pokémon’s various stats is referred to as an EV spread. An EV spread determines final stats and is key in knowing exactly what your Pokémon is capable of. You can either choose a spread yourself, or look them up online such as on smogon.com’s competitive dex (which for sword and shield will be up and running when it can be as we are very, very early) or pikalytics. Honestly, I can’t tell you the best way to distribute these stats as that is often determined over time by how the meta shakes out. In addition, you can certainly go off-meta to catch opponents off guard or make small adjustments to “creep” certain stats. A common enough spread is something simple like maximum speed and maximum attack on a physical attacker. Determining more complex spreads can only come by the meta developing and then individual players getting a feel for what they need. I will just say for now to be reasonable and again try to look at a Pokémon’s stats to think about what it should be doing. Throwing maximum defense EVs on a Caterpie will never let it live survive an Arcanine flare blitz for example. A well-rounded spread mixed between various stats might be tempting but honestly does not typically work out. Again, I highly, highly recommend finding sample sets and spreads online as a starting point to get an idea for how to make an ev spread. A common starting point is to max out the 2 stats you can and then adjust from there as needed.
I can’t tell you what EVs you should give every Pokémon (I mean I can but won’t here) but I will tell you how to get those EVs in game. As I mentioned every Pokémon you fight in the wild (and on in game trainers for that matter) has an EV yield. Defeating a Pokémon will grant that many EVs in the corresponding stat. For example, a Caterpie has an EV yield of 1 HP, meaning every Caterpie you defeat will grant 1 HP EV. This is actually all there is to it at its most simple. If you want 252 HP EVs you could set out and defeat 252 Caterpie and that would work. An important thing to remember is that in past games if experience share was turned on every Pokémon in the party would receive the same EVs even if they did not participate in the battle. Any Pokémon that receives experience will also receive the EVs so be careful. Every Pokémon receives the same amount of EVs, it is not divided like experience is. Sword and Shield do not have an exp. share item but just split experience automatically so do not fight any battles unless you are sure you want everything in the party to receive those EVs.
To be safe I would say EV train one at a time or make sure everything you take with you needs the same EVs. As EVs are shared this can be a helpful thing as you can simply use a strong Pokémon to do the fighting rather than a newborn level 1. In case it has not been clear, start from scratch when making new competitive Pokémon. Do not try to use the Pokémon you played through the game with as they most likely have poor IVs and relatively equal EV distribution. By all means use to them to start breeding if you want though.
Anyway, once a Pokémon has 510 total EVs it will be trained to its max and finished, as you can no longer give it any more without using certain items that reduce EVs. There are ways to speed this up so you aren’t fighting 510 Pokémon. The easiest is to use vitamins which are items that grant EVs on their own. In previous gens they gave 10 each but would not work past 100 EVs. In Sword and Shield they still give 10 EVs at a time but no longer have a limit of how many total EVs can be given this way. These items can be an easy way to get close to a specific number or max out a stat if that is what the goal is. These items are HP up, Protein, Iron, Calcium, Zinc, and Carbos and once again are purchasable with BP from one of the marts. Another method is to use EV enhancing items to increase the amount of EVs gained when training Pokémon. Currently these items grant 8 EVs to their assigned stat when a Pokémon is wearing them and gains experience. For example, a Pokémon holding a Power Weight (HP) that defeats a Caterpie would gain the 1 EV from the Caterpie and 8 more from the item for a total of 9. The item does not have to match the type of EV gained. Defeating, or rather “gaining experience from” if it is simply in the party, a Caterpie would yield the 1 HP EV but a Pokémon holding a Power Bracer would also gain 8 Attack EVs. All of this is to say look into these items and once you have a number you want to hit, take it slow and do the math as you go. These are also the items that allow you to pass on specific IVs when breeding as mentioned before.
- Power Weight: HP
- Power Bracer: Attack
- Power Belt: Defense
- Power Lens: Sp. Attack
- Power Band: Sp. Defense
- Power Anklet: Speed
These items also cut speed in half while they are being held as they are literal training weights.
A final note is that while very rare a Pokémon that has the Pokerus condition receives double EVs so in that same Caterpie example would receive 18 HP EVs for the single battle (1 + 8 from the EV item x 2). This all sounds like a lot but many EV spreads are simply 2 maximum stats with the leftovers thrown into something and so are much simpler to set out and do. For more complex EV spreads just take it slow and check the math. An odd quirk is that the EV numbers work out where there will be leftovers as you can give 252 in any individual stat but 510 total. Two max EVs would be 252 x 2 = 504 leaving 6 left. At level 100 stats go up by 1 for every 4 EVs so there is always 2 left over for some reason I just put them in whatever stat I am EV training last as they won’t affect anything. The math is weird just know the actual number of EVs is 510 but the last few are not doing anything. Spreads work in multiples of 4 and quite often you will see 252 in one stat, 252 in another, and 4 dumped somewhere in a typical simple spread. Spreads get complex as the meta develops and specific numbers are used to ensure survival of common attacks or ensure KOs on common Pokémon.
So all in all, plan out the EV spread or just find one online and then take it slow and keep track of the EVs you are giving each Pokémon until you hit 510. Use the vitamins to get make your life easier.
Every Pokémon has a nature that many people may not know is actually rather significant. All natures raise one stat and lower another (I believe the number is by 10 percent). The list of “good” natures is actually rather limited and if you look up sets and EV spreads you will see the same natures showing up over and over again. Basically a nature will be matched to what the Pokemon’s stats are, what the EV spread is, and what its role is. As usual an attack boosting nature such as Adamant is useful for a physical attacker.
The best natures tend to be ones that improve a useful stat while lowering one the Pokemon will not be using anyway. Adamant is good for physical attackers because it boosts attack but lowers the unused special attack. Defensive natures do the same thing. Boosting a defense stat while lowering the attack stat that will not be used. Neutral natures are natures that raise and lower the same stat and so provide no bonus or hindrance to any stat. You can see what nature your Pokemon has by looking at its stats in game. It will tell you the nature and the red stat will be boosted and the blue one lessened. I won’t go through all the natures but there are some to keep an eye out for.
- Adamant and Jolly for physical attackers.
- Modest and Timid for special attackers.
- Defensive natures depending on which defense you want to raise and which attack you want to lower. Impish, Bold, Calm, Careful.
- More complex choices such as for mixed attackers who use both types of attacks or for Pokémon who prefer to be as slow as possible.
These natures can be passed down during breeding by having a parent hold an Everstone. Alternatively, with the introduction of Mints in Sword and Shield you can change a Pokémon’s nature (technically it works like the bottle caps, making it act like it has a chosen nature without actually changing it).
And that does it for stats! Basically, breed for good IVs (and nature), train for an EV spread, and use a mint or bottle cap if you can to fix what is needed. Simple right?
So with stats done that leaves us with abilites, items, and moves. Once again these are all chosen together with the stats so that every Pokémon can perform its best. These are all also listed in any set you can find. As this has already been long and I cannot hope to cover every single ability, item and move in the game I will attempt to simplify.
Every Pokémon has an ability that has some effect. Some have very strong ones and other’s have weak ones. Some abilities are so weak they ruin otherwise stat heavy Pokémon. While some abilities make relatively weak Pokémon very useful. You can certainly look at every ability yourself but again, finding which ability you should most likely use is as simple as finding a set for a Pokémon. This only gets really complicated with hidden abilities, which are always rare and difficult to get. Sword and Shield makes these somewhat easier as high level Max Raids have higher likelihoods of the Pokémon having their hidden ability. Just remember that the ability a Pokémon has is just as big a part of it as its stats and moves and always pay attention to what ability you are using.
If you are still with me you are a trooper!
Again, keeping this short. In competitive battling every Pokémon is carrying an item that lets it perform its role more effectively. If you are not used to playing online battles don’t worry, these items are not used up when battling against others online. There are a lot of good items but a few are worth pointing out.
- Choice items: Boost a stat in return for being locked into the first move selected. Choice Scarf boosts speed, Band boosts attack, Specs boost Sp. attack.
- Berries: Berries have various effects and different Pokémon make effective use of them depending on their role. Some get rid of a status like a burn, some recover health, some allow the user to tank a hit better.
- Leftovers: Common on bulky tanks, passive slow recovery every turn.
- Assault Vest: This thing is everywhere. It boosts Sp. Def by 50 percent in exchange for only allowing attacking moves to be used.
- Life orb: Attacks do 1.3x damage but user takes 1/10th its hp as damage each turn
- A ton, ton more.
Items help a Pokémon do its job in a battle. The right item is a key factor in allowing a Pokémon to do what it sets out to do and should never be ignored or taken lightly. Look at what items do, and look at what you want your Pokémon to do.
The moves a Pokémon uses competitively is not unlike the normal play through of the game. The goal is to faint every one of your opponents Pokémon and for the most part every move will help you do that. It is not as simple as finding the strongest hitting moves though. Pay attention to power, accuracy, and secondary effects. In addition, status moves allow you to control aspects of the battle or even aspects of the opponent’s Pokémon. For the most part, a Pokémon wants to use its strong STAB (same type attack bonus) moves. Moves that match the type of the Pokémon using them have 1.5x base power. But other moves that do not match types are often very useful for covering weaknesses or support. Once again, the goal should be finding what role the Pokémon will play. Is it going to hit as hard as possible, try to cause status on the opponent, boost its own stats to sweep, or recover health? Certain Pokémon make use of different moves to varying success and that comes with experience. A good starting point is to check smogon.com’s strategy pokedex sets or find other sites that offer movesets.
In competitive Pokémon, every Pokémon is a collection of many parts that make up a whole. The goal of a trainer is to make the best use of all these parts and try to optimize its role as much as possible. I have not touched on actually teambuilding here because that is another monumental task. Think of Pokémon not just as types but as roles on a team. If you want to truly get into competitive I will provide some links and options that can better explain how to teambuild. I wanted this guide to focus on how to get individual Pokémon battle ready. In game you can pull together a team of what you want to use or come up with the team first and then begin breeding and getting them ready. This brings me to the final thing I want to talk about and that is formats of battle and where to play.
In the competitive battling community there are 2 major ways to play. The first is through the game itself. There are formats in the game that can be used to battle. In single battles online the most common format is to bring a team of 6 but only pick 3 to battle. The more common format is the official format of competitive Pokémon that Nintendo focuses on known as VGC (for video game championship). VGC is a doubles format that involves having a team of 6 and bringing 4 to each battle. This is the official format for Nintendo sanctioned tournaments both online and in person at events, regionals, nationals, and world championships.
The other common format is to use the popular battle simulator Pokemon Showdown. I have mentioned Smogon a few times already and Showdown is the battle simulator that they created and use. There are a host of different formats on Showdown due to the fact that the Pokémon are divided into tiers by the community and by usage. It is too early in Sword and Shield for the meta and formats to be finalized but most often the tiers start at OU (Overused) as the premier spot for Pokémon battling. Most of Showdown’s formats are the single battles that players are more familiar with. Pokémon are divided into tiers by the community as the meta develops. This means that strong Pokémon are kept to the upper tiers while weaker ones can be used in their own tier and above. Players can also just set their own rules and challenge each other. Ladders exist for players to matchmake to try to climb in rank and skill. It really is a simulator that can make any format. Showdown’s teambuilder allows you to create your teams with their system without having to breed or deal with anything in game. This makes it an ideal testing ground even for the official competitive format. Why put all that work into breeding perfect Pokémon just to find out you hate using them or can’t win with them (if you care about winning)?
Battling in game (often referred to as “on cartridge”) and battling on Showdown have advantages and disadvantages. If you just want to get some quick battles in then nothing will beat Showdown. You can theory craft teams and practice with them quickly and easily. However the formats are all “unofficial” and tend to favor the premier OU tier first and foremost. OU singles tends to favor a lot more of switching Pokémon and longer battles. Either way if you are just starting out I highly recommend at least checking out Showdown as it doesn’t require any real effort to get started.
On cartridge formats tend to be a bit faster in terms of game time but require much more work and preparation if you want to have a chance. VGC is a doubles format and as such different strategies come into play. Weather and trick room to control the battlefield is much more common and there is less switching compared to singles. Running protect to block attacks is also nearly mandatory compared to its near non existence on singles teams. This is the official format and there tends to be less room for any “gimmick” or under powered teams. The EV spreads also tend to get much more complicated in VGC as players figure out exactly how much a stat is needed to hit certain milestones. In addition, finding VGC information has honestly tended to be more difficult than finding singles and OU information. Smogon has a robust dex and forums but the VGC community has tended to be more spread out and a bit more secretive of their sets because they are bringing them to official tournaments and don’t want to give away anything.
I personally have played a lot of both formats. Showdown is great for quick fun and is easy to use but I find satisfaction in actually making a good team and getting to use it “for real” in game in official formats. Often I will play more of whatever meta I enjoy more at the time. I started with OU showdown in the X/Y era but played a lot more VGC in early Sun and Moon. Often, Showdown can be used to test and teambuild before the full effort is put in to create a team in game. If you have certain Pokémon you really want to use it may be good to see what tier they end up in on Showdown so that you can use your favorites but still be on equal footing.
This was a lot of words to not talk about anything like strategy but honestly I would rather leave that up to other people. Certain strategies go in and out of style in different formats and you will only see how to play by playing yourself or watching well known players. I was hoping this would serve as an explanation of how to think about getting into competitive Pokémon now that Sword and Shield are out. I know it seems like a lot of information and that’s because it is. But remember you can always start on Showdown. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask and I will provide some references/resources below. This ended up very long so I hope I broke it up reasonably and those that are interested can make sense of it. This is the first thing I have ever written for the site itself and it was fun if exhausting.
I’ll be around so hit me up for any Pokémon related anything. My friend code is SW-7955-5171-0028 and I’m on Showdown under a few names on occasion, WumboPhD being the most common. Eventually I will have a solid collection of breedjects or breed successes I can spread around.
So here are some resources and links if you want them.
- https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Main_Page Bulbapedia
- https://serebii.net/ Serebii
- https://www.smogon.com/ Smogon, maybe the best resource for competitive battling.
- https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon_breeding https://game8.co/games/pokemon-sword-shield/archives/272524#hl_6 https://gamewith.net/pokemon-swordshield/article/show/12366 https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Effort_values Breeding, IVs, and EVs respectively.
- https://samurai-gamers.com/pokemon-sword-and-shield/new-supplements-guide/ Supplements and Vitamins guide.
- https://www.pikalytics.com/ Pikalytics is basically a data tracking site that can tell you information on what sets are popular on Showdown or online.
As another note there are a handful of youtubers I can recommend
- PokeaimMD-Joey is one of the best singles/OU battlers around and he often plays various smogon and fun formats. When it comes to singles battling he truly is the one person I’m checking first. He has a full competitive guide on his channel that is worth a watch if you are interested.
- CybertronVGC and WolfeyVGC. As their names suggest they are focused on the VGC format. Their uploads can both get rather sporadic but these are the VGC players I know the most.
- There are a lot more battlers/youtubers out there that can be easily found. Stay away from Verlisify.