Pokemon GO's newer players may just be unlocking the ability to battle others with their preferred Pokemon teams, but battle in the mobile title is a considerable departure from the turn-based RPG battle that constitutes the main Pokemon series.
Players have plenty of options when it comes to battle. They can stick to PvE combat, such as gym raids or taking on Team GO Rocket, or they can partake in PvP battles by attacking gyms defended by other teams, challenging other trainers, or participating in Pokemon GO's Battle League. Many battle in any way they can, as battles can be both entertaining and rewarding.
However, there are some things beginners should remember on any battlefield.
Pokemon GO: 5 core tips for Pokemon battles
Regardless of what avenue Pokemon GO trainers pursue in the battle arena, they are likely going to have to learn a few things through playing battles. This is especially the case for those who may have little or no prior experience with the Pokemon series, which lends some important knowledge. Regardless, Pokemon GO's combat system is unique compared to most of the franchise's other entries, and the tips below will help new players learn the basics regardless of whether they're attacking raid bosses or battling other players in Battle League:
1) Team choice matters
This is likely the most important fundamental when battling in Pokemon GO in either PvE or PvP. In most cases, simply stocking up on Pokemon with high CP and tossing them out in battle won't serve players well. The Pokemon's type, its moves and its stats come into play along with the CP. Players should try to keep a team with a variety of elemental types that also have great stats. For example, keeping a tanky Pokemon or two along with a high-powered attacker of various types can allow flexibility in battle in contrast to a high CP team of Pokemon who share types and don't sport solid stats.
2) Type advantages simplify fights
One of the first things taught to players in nearly any Pokemon title, a Pokemon's elemental type is inherently weak to moves of a certain type. For example, Fire-type moves deal extra damage to Grass-type Pokemon, and Water-type moves deal extra damage to Fire-type Pokemon. Grass-type moves will hit Water-type Pokemon harder as well. This creates a kind of rock-paper-scissors dynamic in the games. However, there are tons of Pokemon types, and some Pokemon possess two types at once. Many resources online allow players to read up on which types have an advantage over others until they feel more comfortable with the weaknesses and damage resistances of each type.
3) Conserve shields
In battles against other trainers in either PvP or PvE, Protect Shields completely protect players' Pokemon from the damage of a Charge Move. Using these too soon can leave one's team defenseless when it's needed the most, and not using them at all will likely end up badly as well. Shields should be reserved for highly-damaging charge moves that may one-hit or otherwise devastate one of your Pokemon.
4) Speed kills
Since Fast Moves are achieved by tapping the screen, the faster a Pokemon GO player taps their screen the better. Players should not hesitate, as spending time not tapping or firing off moves will put them at a disadvantage against the opponent and will lower their Damage Per Second (DPS). In Pokemon GO battles, a few extra seconds of quick tapping could very well be a determining factor in the outcome of the match.
5) The importance of switching
When in a type disadvantage, it doesn't hurt to swap out a vulnerable Pokemon for a better fit. However, keep in mind that there is a significant cooldown to switching Pokemon out in Pokemon GO battles, so being mindful and switching when the disadvantage is sizable is key. If your Pokemon on the field can deal with being mildly disadvantaged, keeping it in may be preferred over switching it out and incurring the cooldown.