There’s a reason you get your butt handed to you every time you try to play Pokémon Sun and Moon: you’re terrible at Pokémon. It’s not your fault: There’s a relatively unknown competitive Pokémon battling scene. It’s a hidden layer in these games many players never even touch. For many Pokémon fans, the primary arc of the game is more than enough — choose a starter, fight the elite four, catch a legendary or two and then you’re done. But if you allow yourself to be sucked in, there are complex systems, dedicated communities, and hidden mechanics for you to master.
There’s a lot more to training than you need to complete the base game: Effort Values and Individual Values, natures, power items, choice items, and berries, battle points, egg moves, hidden abilities, and complicated strategies you’d never even dream of on your own. And that’s without getting into new features in Sun and Moon, such as hyper training, z-moves and Poké Pelago.
If you want to take the plunge and excel in Pokémon multiplayer, we’ve compiled everything you need to understand before you start breeding, training and fighting competitively. Give it a shot and you’ll find more than just a totally different Pokémon game waiting for you; you’ll find a whole new way to experience Pokémon. Plus, you might even be able to win a match online someday.