Chapter 4: Brains or Brawn?

Who got math in my Pokémon game? Welcome to level four.

A level four trainer gains an in-depth understanding of Pokémon stats. Diving deep into the most important set of numbers Pokémon contains allows trainers to create further balanced teams. The trainer will learn not only of Pokémon's stats, but of moves' stats as well. The trainer will discern the difference between physical and special, and create far better teams because of it.

Have you ever watched the Pokémon Anime and seen an Alakazam use Fire Punch? And it had great effect on the target? Yeah, that's not how it works. Every Pokémon has six base stats and a base stat total. These stats consist of Hit Points (HP), Attack (Atk), Special Attack (Sp. Atk), Defense (Def), Special Defense (Sp. Def), and Speed (Spd). To break these down, HP is the amount of damage a Pokémon can take before they faint. HP is the only stat readily visible to you in battle. Attack is the amount of power the Pokémon has with physical attacks. Defense is how much the Pokémon resists physical attacks. Sp. Attack is how much power the Pokémon has with special attacks. Sp. Defense is how much the Pokémon resists special attacks, and Speed determines whether or not the Pokémon goes first in battle.

There are two ways to look at a Pokémon's stats: base stats and in-game. Base stats are simple. A Pokémon with higher base stats will have higher in-game stats, easy as that. You will generally have to look online to find a Pokémon's base stats, but you simply need to summarize your Pokémon to observe their in-game stats. In-game stats are more relevant than base, as they directly reflect your Pokémon's performance. Now, let's say, excluding all type advantages and disadvantages you learned in the last chapter, that a Pokémon with fifty in-game attack strikes a Pokémon with fifty in-game Defense, then the attacking Pokémon will do, essentially, neutral damage. If the defending Pokémon has twenty-five in-game Defense, then it will be as though the attacking Pokémon did super-effective damage. Easy, right? Keep in mind that Attack has no relation to Special Defense, and that Special Attack has no relation to Defense.

Speed is simple, too. If one Pokémon with one hundred in-game Speed fights another Pokémon with eighty in-game Speed, then the Pokémon with one hundred Speed will go first. Greater Speed equals going first. In double and triple battles, the Pokémon simply work their way down the line, fastest first and slowest last. If two or more Pokémon share the same speed stat, then their turn order is decided randomly.

Refer back to the Alakazam in the anime, almost every Pokémon has one of its offensive stats greater than the other. Alakazam's difference is substantial, with one hundred thirty-five base Special Attack and a pitiful  base Attack stat of fifty. So, in the games, a Fire Punch from an Alakazam isn't worth fear. On the other hand, some Pokémon, such as Raichu, have equal Attack and Special Attack, with both base stats at ninety. So a Thunder Punch from this mouse is just as dangerous as a Shock Wave. Knowing which offensive stat is better is the key to training most Pokémon. However, before that can be decided, one must first determine whether or not their Pokémon is offensive at all.

Pokémon such as Carbink are purely defensive, and would serve no team well with an offensive moveset. Pokémon such as these serve well to learn moves that induce status conditions, or lay out field hazards  as Spikes. Many of these Pokémon also work well as support, and can be used to heal their partners using moves like Softboiled or Wish. (More on these more strategic movesets later). One should always determine a Pokémon's best stats before they can decide how to train it.

The End