Top 10 Pokémon Gameplay Tips from the Anime

The Pokémon anime and video games can be very different. The games are turn-based and the winner is usually the one with either the stronger levelled Pokémon or the ones with the type advantage. In the anime however, Pokémon battles are more intense and require the trainer to utilize their skills effectively. But the anime can still teach us some valuable tips that we can use when playing any of the Pokémon games.
The Top Ten
1 Always keep type matchups in mind - Fiery Surprises!

In Pokémon, each type is weak against something. Knowing this is very critical to the outcome of any battle. The basic one is fire beats grass, water beats fire, and grass beats water. But with 18 types of Pokémon (15 in Generation 1 and 17 from Generation 2 to Generation 5), it's in your best interest to study all types to know which attacks are effective against which Pokémon.

In the anime, you can learn a few things before starting any games. One important instance is in the episode "Fiery Surprises!" where Ash pits his Naganadel against Professor Kukui's Lucario, and Ash has it use Sludge Bomb. The problem is that Lucario is a Steel-type and is immune to Poison attacks. Even if Naganadel is a legendary Pokémon, a type disadvantage can still spell defeat. And he did this only a few episodes after "Enter the Champion" where he became the Alola region's first champion.

You have to wonder how he was able to forget something even beginning trainers should know.

2 Use care when using evolution stones - Electric Shock Showdown

Some Pokémon evolve by leveling up, by being traded, and, of course, by using evolution stones. One of the boons of stone evolution is that you can evolve these Pokémon whenever you choose. However, as a saying goes, light casts darkness, and there is a drawback to doing this. In this episode, Ash learns that Lt. Surge uses a Thunder Stone to evolve his Pikachu into Raichu as soon as he caught it.

Because of this, Raichu cannot learn any evasive moves such as Quick Attack and Agility. Armed with this information, Ash and his Pikachu rematch Lt. Surge after a humiliating defeat. Using this information to their advantage, they win the Thunder Badge. This should teach serious players that stone evolution isn't a decision to take lightly.

3 Type advantage doesn't mean automatic victory - Riddle Me This

Blaine serves as the 7th gym leader in Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow and the FireRed and LeafGreen remakes. Because he specializes in fire Pokémon, players usually have an easy time taking him down, but not Ash. When he finds out that the manager of the Big Riddle Inn is actually Blaine, he challenges him to a gym battle.

When Blaine sends out Ninetales, Ash predictably sends out Squirtle. Despite the type advantage, Ninetales defeats Squirtle with no effort. While Ash does win in a rematch in "Volcanic Panic", this shows that type advantages are only meaningful if the Pokémon are close to the same level.

4 Don't rely on only 1 Pokémon for a gym battle - Dazzling the Nimbasa Gym

As any Pokémon veteran can tell you, Gym Leaders are no pushovers, even if you know what you're up against. This is a lesson Ash should've learned after he fought Blaine, but he didn't. When he challenges Elesa to a battle for the Bolt Badge, he relies solely on Palpitoad to beat all of Elesa's Pokémon. While Palpitoad is able to defeat her Zebstrika, her Emolga is able to knock it down for the count. Ash does win thanks to Pikachu, but I hope this has taught him a good lesson.

5 A Pokémon's strength is irrelevant if it won't listen - Friend and Foe Alike

When Ash's Charmander evolved into Charmeleon in "March of the Exeggutor Squad," it became disobedient towards Ash and would only listen when it felt like it. When it evolved into Charizard in "Attack of the Prehistoric Pokémon," its disobedience only got worse. Charizard's disobedience cost Ash dearly as he was disqualified in the Indigo League when he battled Richie.

Some trainers were probably tempted to trade their lower-leveled Pokémon for higher-leveled ones but likely dropped the idea after watching this episode. In the games, you need badges to control higher-leveled Pokémon you obtain in a trade. This episode paints a clear picture of what can happen if you try to take that shortcut.

6 Make sure your Pokémon can actually attack - Challenge of the Samurai

This should be a no-brainer as even rookie Pokémon trainers can tell you that Pokémon need to be able to attack if they're to stand a chance. When a trainer in samurai armor challenges Ash to a Pokémon battle, he uses his Pinsir against Ash's Metapod. After Pinsir is defeated, the samurai sends out his own Metapod. Because both Metapods only know Harden, the fight ends in an embarrassing stalemate. This definitely teaches would-be trainers to teach their Pokémon some attacks.

7 Seemingly weak Pokémon can evolve into stronger forms - Pokémon Shipwreck

While there are Pokémon that start out very weak, they can evolve into a much stronger form if the trainer is willing to put in the effort. Take Magikarp for instance. It can only learn two moves (three from Generation 2 onward) by itself normally and can't learn any moves via TMs, HMs, TRs (except in Sword & Shield, and even then, the selection is pathetic), move tutors, or via breeding. While you can obtain Magikarp that know Bounce in HeartGold and SoulSilver via the Pokewalker, its weak stats and very limited moveset make it very easy to dismiss this Pokémon as completely useless.

But at the end of the episode, James, who bought a Magikarp, finds out the hard way that Magikarp eventually evolve into Gyarados. This evolution is based on an old Chinese legend about how carp can become dragons if they're able to leap over the Dragon Gate. But I digress.

There are many seemingly weak Pokémon in the games that can evolve into champion material, and Magikarp's evolution into Gyarados is just one example.

8 Be cautious of shady merchants - Battle Aboard the St. Anne

In this episode, James is easily duped by a salesman into buying a Magikarp, and this becomes something of a running gag in the series later on. The salesman tells James that Magikarp can lay many eggs and if he plays his cards right, it can make him rich. But he finds out the hard way that he was conned out of his money.

There's an actual NPC in Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed, and LeafGreen who resides at the Route 4 Pokémon Center and will sell the player a Magikarp for 500. If you buy it and talk to him again, he'll tell you that he doesn't give refunds. So yeah. Why buy what you can catch for free?

9 Be mindful of which Pokémon you release - Various

In the Pokémon games, people are bound to have at least 100 Pokémon stored in their boxes because you never know when you might need some. But Ash doesn't see it that way. During his adventures, he catches many Pokémon, but doesn't seem to keep a whole lot of them.

He understands that Pokémon are living creatures that deserve some freedom, but imagine how much easier his gym battles would've been if he kept some around. Remember the Primeape he caught in "Primeape Goes Bananas"? Does anyone realize how helpful it would've been against Whitney and her Miltank? Food for thought, people.

10 Use caution when trading with strangers - Battle Aboard the St. Anne

Trading Pokémon is fundamental in Pokémon games. Some are exclusive to other versions, while others need to be traded to evolve. It's definitely helpful if you have two systems and two or more copies of the games. However, not everyone has this luxury, so they need to find other people to trade with.

Ash learns an important lesson when he decides to trade his Butterfree for a gentleman's Raticate. This was quite thoughtless of Ash, as his Butterfree was actually the very first Pokémon he caught. He was able to trade it back, but it was still a poor decision.

This is especially important to remember when dealing with game NPCs or real players. One of the most notorious NPCs is the girl named Mindy in Snowpoint City in Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, Brilliant Diamond, and Shining Pearl. She offers a Haunter in exchange for a Medicham, and you might think, "WOW! I can get a Gengar without physically trading with another player? Here you go!" But if you agree to the trade, you'll find out that she made the Haunter hold an Everstone, which prevents Pokémon from evolving. She then has the audacity to laugh at the player for making the trade. Hopefully, those who witness Ash's careless trade can learn to be more cautious when trading.

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