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Battle Tower Team Building Guide

Discussion in '4th Gen RMT' started by Vaporeon4evr, Nov 19, 2009.

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  1. Vaporeon4evr

    Vaporeon4evr Cyndakill

    Battle Tower Team Building Guide

    The Battle Tower holds a truly unique place in the Pokemon franchise. Many tend to shy away from it, preferring the challenge of competitive play instead. But in many instances, the Battle Tower can prove to be more challenging than any real-life adversary, and success is often very difficult to obtain. The Battle Tower features the Pokemon AI at its strongest, particularly in later rounds. Many players have broken their backs trying to reach the elusive 100 trainer streak, and only the cleverest of trainers manage to reach it. In this guide, I hope to enlighten you with the knowledge I have gathered through hours of experience in the Tower. With this guide, I hope you will be well on your way with creating your own team to challenge the Tower and enjoy the success so coveted by Tower aficionados.

    The Battle Tower is a beast of its own, incomparable to any other sector of the Pokemon metagame. One of the biggest mistakes I see trainers make in creating Battle Tower teams is the fact that they tend to copy-paste Smogon sets, or standard competitive sets. While these sets are effective in Competitive play, rarely are they ever truly useful in the Battle Tower. Now, Smogon sets CAN be used in the Tower, and more often than not they enjoy relative success. However, the AI has certain limitations that make it vastly different from any other kind of play, and thus the BT metagame must be approached accordingly.

    AI’s limitations:

    ~In almost all cases, the AI will not switch Pokemon. Notable exceptions include Perish Song (don’t bother) and two-turn status moves (Yawn). This means that attacks that lower the opponent’s stats (Charm, Fake Tears, Memento) become viable, as the AI will not switch out to amend these stat drops. These moves will be very useful later in this guide, when we discuss strategy. Also, two-turn moves like Fly, Bounce, and Dig also become viable.

    ~Unless the Pokemon is programmed to use set-up moves, it will typically use the Super-Effective move in its arsenal. This helps with prediction, but cannot necessarily be relied upon entirely. The AI is unpredictable, and may surprise.

    ~Each Pokemon is limited to certain movesets. As most of you already know, I have posted on this forum a database of Pokemon you might find while in the Tower (Which you can find here), reprinted from Jumpman16’s Smogon post. Each Pokemon has four specific movesets, complete with items, EVs, and nature. All Pokemon after Battle 49 carry perfect IVs, so plan accordingly. Using the database, you can find out what moves the opponent may use on you and help to plan your strategy.

    AI’s Redeeming Qualities:

    ~Hax. The bane of all great challengers. To counter the its limitations, the AI has luck on its side, often at the most inopportune moments for you. Hax is basically another word for unlikely events occurring in the AI’s favor. The AI will land more Critical Hits, OHKO moves (Fissure, Sheer Cold, Horn Drill), activate status hax (Ice Beam’s 10% freeze rate may seem more like 40% to you), and avoid your hits with evasiveness than one would presume. Unfair, perhaps, but it certainly makes up for the shortcoming of the AI. In order to succeed in the Battle Tower, you must be prepared to deal with hax. Otherwise, your team could fall victim to it at the worst of times, ending a valiant streak.

    Building the Team:

    Like in competitive play, special care and consideration needs to be put into your team if you hope to be successful in the Battle Tower. So slapping together three Pokemon with Smogon movesets just isn’t going to cut it. There are many ways you can go about making a team, but there are some rules of thumb you ought to abide by. Here are some things to bear in mind while creating your team:

    Do my Pokemon have the right movesets for my team’s overall effectiveness?

    Pretty self-explanatory. You don’t want to include an Arcanine on a team that has Rain Dance Kingdra, or Weavile in a team with Trick Room Bronzong. Your Pokemon’s movesets must complement each other and cooperate. Likewise, there are certain moves that are unquestionably best at their job. Flamethrower, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Surf, and Return are all better attacks than Blast Burn, Aurora Beam, Discharge (in most cases), Hydro Cannon, and Giga Impact. Many of these distinctions will be obvious, however.

    Do my Pokemon have EV spreads and natures that fit their role?

    EVs spreads are a necessity in the Tower. The AI uses them, and so should you. Make certain that your Pokemon have usable EV spreads: A speedy Special sweeper does not need Attack, Defense, or HP EVs, and a Physical tank does not need Special Attack EVs. More often than not, it is advised that you consult Smogon for help with EV spreads. More experienced players may create their own spreads, but only after doing extensive research and damage calculations. Likewise, natures should be specifically catered to your Pokemon’s role. A sweeper ought to have a Speed or Attack boosting nature, where a wall ought to have a Defense boosting nature.

    Do my Pokemon have good type synergy?

    This is perhaps the most crucial thing you should ask yourself when creating a team. Good type synergy means that your Pokemon should not share weaknesses, and should actually be able to cover each other’s weaknesses. A good example of this is Gyarados and Electivire. Electivire’s only weakness is to Ground, so he’s likely to draw in many Ground type attacks. Gyarados is immune to these attacks, and is therefore capable of a safe switch in. Likewise, Electivire’s ability makes him immune to Electric attacks, which Gyarados will attract a lot of. Playing around with synergy is often tricky business, but when done correctly can be very rewarding.

    Is my team walled?

    Ultimately, you want to make sure that your team has a way of dealing with most, if not all, threats it will encounter. If your team is all Physical, it may get beaten by a team of Physical walls. Likewise, a team with insufficient type coverage may find itself utterly unable to beat a certain Pokemon. Since you only have access to three Pokemon, absolute coverage may be difficult to obtain. In any instance, you must seek to ensure you have a way to counter most things in the Tower, and that no one Pokemon is capable of defeating you entirely.

    Do I have hax protection?

    Hax protection is essential in the Tower, and is where BT play differs most from competitive play. Since your opponent will have luck on its side, special precautions need to be made. The ultimate hax prevention move in the game has to be Substitute. This move protects you from status, prevents OHKO moves from defeating you, and prevents Critical Hits from bringing you down. Also, never-miss moves may be helpful in dealing with the abundance of Double Team users. Moves like Aerial Ace, Faint Attack, and Aura Sphere ought to be considered.

    Example Team

    Here, I’m going to walk you through a team building process, bearing in mind the advice given above.

    The Lead:

    For optimum success in the Battle Tower, I have found that the lead is often the most important Pokemon in your party. The lead must be capable of supporting the rest of your team, or setting them up for a sweep. Therefore, bulky Pokemon with moves like Charm, Fake Tears, Thunderwave (and other status moves) are highly recommended. Pokemon that fit this ballot well include Uxie, Latias, Cresselia, Spiritomb, Metagross, and Bronzong. For this situation, I’ll use Cresselia.

    Cresselia @ Leftovers/Light Clay/Choice Scarf*
    EVs: 252 HP / 100 Def / 156 Sp Def
    Bold Nature (+Def –Atk)
    ~Thunder Wave
    ~Light Screen/Reflect/Psychic/Trick*
    ~ Light Screen/Reflect/Psychic/Trick*

    Cresselia makes a fantastic Battle Tower lead, and uses many of the aforementioned strategies to help its teammates. Remember, the AI will not switch, so any moves you use that lower an opponent’s stats become useful. Cresselia has a lot of options to choose from for support. Flash and Thunder Wave work beautifully in conjunction with each other, effectively crippling most sweepers. She could then carry either of the screens to set up a cushion for the rest of your Pokemon. If you are concerned about not having an attacking move, you could opt for Psychic, which has semi-reliable STAB.

    *Also, if you are familiar with the TrickScarf strategy, Cresselia is a wonderful employer of it. The AI will not switch, even if you Trick a Choice Scarf onto it, meaning the enemy lead will be locked into a single move.


    The Sweepers:

    Once you’ve decided upon you lead, you should consider which sweepers work well with it. Cresselia’s weaknesses are Ghost, Bug, and Dark. What you need now is a relatively bulky sweeper who resists Cresselia’s weaknesses. For that, I recommend Scizor.

    Scizor @ Muscle Band
    EVs: 176 HP / 252 Atk / 80 Sp Def
    Adamant Nature (+Atk –Sp Atk)
    ~Swords Dance
    ~Bullet Punch
    ~Superpower/Aerial Ace/Roost

    Scizor easily resists all of Cresselia’s weaknesses, and can easily set up a Substitute for protection and Swords Dance to sweep. Bullet Punch is a strong priority move that deals with many threats. On your last slot, Superpower gets you coverage on Pokemon who resist Steel, Aerial Ace protects you from Double Teamers, and Roost can help heal away any damage you sustain from setting up.


    To finish out the team, I recommend you find another relatively bulky sweeper. So far this team has Cresselia and Scizor, who work very well together. For your last Pokemon, you may want someone who still has reasonable bulk, resists the weaknesses of BOTH Scizor and Cresselia, and who is more on the special side (seeing how your only sweeper is purely physical). Who better here than Heatran?

    Heatran @ Wise Glasses/Leftovers
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Sp Atk / 252 Spe
    Timid Nature (+Spe –Atk)
    ~Fire Blast/Flamethrower
    ~Earth Power
    ~Dragon Pulse

    This set rounds out the team nicely. He resists Scizor’s fire weakness with Flash Fire (which could REALLY make him a threat), as well as all of Cresselia’s weaknesses. Substitute allows him some safety while sweeping, and his attacks get perfect coverage.


    There you go. If you look at the questions I listed above, you’ll find that this team I’ve created follows many of the guidelines I previously set forth. It has great type synergy, specifically designed movesets that work well together, isn’t walled at all, and carries several forms of hax insurance. Although made on the spot, a team like this has the potential to get you very far in the Tower.

    In conclusion, I hope this guide has helped to better your understanding of the Battle Tower and it’s metagame, as well as helped your ability to craft teams. These guidelines are basic and do not need to be followed specifically. You may disobey some of the basic rules I outlined previously and still be successful; likewise, you could follow them to a tee and still not enjoy much success. It’s all a matter of how you craft your team and how well you can use it.

    Good luck, Battle Tower challengers. Feel free to send me a PM if you have any questions, or need any advice. Likewise, if there are any mistakes in this guide, let me know so I can fix them.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
  2. Corbulo

    Corbulo = Hydro Cannon

    very nice guide helps a lot
  3. Ampy

    Ampy Light The Stars

    Very nice guide.. hopefully the Mods find it stick worthy
  4. [GS]

    [GS] Staring at my phone

    Wonderful information here. This
    definitely needs to be stickied.
    This should be really helpful
    for a lot of people, thanks V4E
  5. Vaporeon4evr

    Vaporeon4evr Cyndakill

    I already discussed sticking it with SapphireL. She said she would read it and let me know, but I haven't gotten a response yet. It's okay, she's probably busy. Once she gets back to me, hopefully we'll get this stuck. If not, I'll just bump it and put a link in my sig.

    Thanks for the positive feedback ^_^
  6. Eon Master

    Eon Master Born from the Flames

    Although I'm supposed to be gone right now, let me just say that it's about time somebody did something like this, and who better than you, Vappy? You are our resident BT Guru, after all. Excellent information, and the team that you made could break 100 wins with a skilled trainer behind them. Hopefully SapphireL sticky's this, it needs to be done.
  7. dragonmasta

    dragonmasta Well-Known Member

    good idea Vappy.

    i was thinking of a normal in-game guide and the next day this pops up. lol
    dunno if you wanna do it or if ill do it and you help me correct it. if you want that is.
    that i was thinking bcause of the amount of people using stuff like blast burn and 3 other fire moves on infernape and that kinda thing.

    will post it soon i think.

    but like i said good idea? and will need help correcting some things as im not a good rater but not bad either (i think)

    any thanks for this i will use it now and maybe get past battle 14
  8. Terry. T.

    Terry. T. One and Only...

    Very good! Although you shouldn't really tell beginners to run round with a Timid Heatran (most Pokémon in later rounds can outspeed it anyway) you're teaching well!
    -Also, you should explain the best Pokémon for the BT. I'd go with these 10:

    I noticed that these Pokémon are SO COMMON in much later rounds, but the blue blob of doom is still rare, yet deadly. Cresselia also makes a good option, so can SMEARGLE. (Once, one used DARK VOID on me then a HYPER BEAM! Ow... it did hurt, but I won. Even more typical, it was in the 110s on a test run) Also, Ninjask can keep Digging and shockingly sweep Raikou/Entei, also common (Raikou runs HP Grass and Thunderbolt, I once saw one in a Rain Dance Team with Kingdra and Toxicroak! Wow!)
    So fear the BT. Hope I helped!
  9. SapphireL

    SapphireL Lydia

    Yeah, I'll stick this. Thanks for posting it.

    EDIT: Vaporeon4evr, I could've SWORN I sent a reply to you...
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2009
  10. Vaporeon4evr

    Vaporeon4evr Cyndakill

    I've got nothing in my inbox... :/ At any rate, it doesn't really matter anymore. Thank you for sticking it, SapphireL. Hopefully this will help some of the posters with their team building. People seem to forget how different the Battle Tower is from the rest of the game.
  11. AlCario

    AlCario Banned

    Sorry for the abominably late reply... but this guide was a great idea, Vappy, and you have my compliments. This should help a lot of people with that terrible lump of rusty metal known as the Battle Tower, and I can't see any important mistakes, either. It's concise, readable, and easy for even beginners to understand.

    Also, thank you SapphireL for sticking this.
  12. Noctourniquet

    Noctourniquet ∆∆∆

    Nice. I believe there is a list of BT Pokémon somewhere, there should be a link for it in this guide, its really useful :)
  13. **Jirachi**

    **Jirachi** Well-Known Member

    Thanks a lot for making this wonderful guide.I'll certainly try your trick Cresselia lead.Hopefully,this will save my Cresselia from rotting in my PC too.
  14. Eon Master

    Eon Master Born from the Flames

  15. ungulateman

    ungulateman Miltank Man!

    Thank you V4E! While I always found Smogon's Battle Frontier Records thread more useful, this will certainly be very useful for less technical players or those who don't want to use GlenScarfing.
  16. Vaporeon4evr

    Vaporeon4evr Cyndakill

    My guide is audience-specific. Most people on Serebii just want to crack 100. I could never possibly hope to recreate the sheer amount of work and calculations that go into that thread over at Smogon. That thread is a very valuable resource, and I appreciate the dedication those members have. It's a pity their Ranking Hall gets so much attention, while ours gets buried under meaningless threads.

    Oh, I'm on that list over at Smogon, by the way. I go by the name Head Honchkrow. I think I'm like tenth or something. Maybe further back.
  17. ungulateman

    ungulateman Miltank Man!

    Considering some of the ridiculous numbers on the list now, you may have dropped off. Peterko broke 2000 two days ago IIRC.

  18. Vaporeon4evr

    Vaporeon4evr Cyndakill

    Nah, I'm still at ten. Peterko was already ahead of me. And he's probably around 2100 by now. That team just cannot lose. Only some seriously bad hax could take him down.

    ungulateman, you seem to know your way around the Tower, judging by your Smogon posts. Thanks for helping me with that Snorlax. Why is it that I don't see you posting much around here?
  19. ungulateman

    ungulateman Miltank Man!

    Since Serebii is full of idiots. I joined the Project: New World, so you may see me a bit more than before. I took a break from yelling at n00bs, basically. I don't want E-laryngitis.
  20. Terry. T.

    Terry. T. One and Only...

    2000 wins... wait until 7000. I heard there was a special glitch that made you fight a trainer with Arceus and special music.
    I'm hacking through to check and I'm in battle 6550 now.
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