Beginner's Guide to Battle Strategy by William 'Cross Stinger' Gresham
Pokemon Ruby on
The objective of engaging in a Pokémon battle, of course, is to best the opponent in terms of offense and defense. Battle, however, is far more complicated than it appears, and it takes a very skilled trainer to take advantage of this sophistication. The main battle menu consists of four functions: Fight, PKMN, Item (or Pack or Bag), or Run. You may use only one of these functions on one turn.


The Fight function takes you to the list of your Pokémon’s attacks. What the attacks may do depend entirely on the Pokémon that uses the attack and against whom it is used. Some abilities that any of the combatants have may affect the efficacy or productivity of the attack in base form, while type advantages, weather conditions, or effects of attacks previously used have their share of influences. Click here to view the map of type advantages, or here to view the Pokémon Usage window, which will give you instructions on how to teach moves.

This function enables you to switch your Pokémon. This can be done once per turn, meaning that the surrogate battler won’t get a chance to battle on the turn. Before you decide to switch out, use the Summary (or Stats) function to view what condition that your Pokémon is in. If your Active Pokémon is ailing from poison or a burn, it may be a good idea to withdraw it. However, since the new Pokémon cannot attack on that turn, it will absorb any effects of attacks from the opponent immediately. Therefore, you may want to think twice before switching out for a Pokémon with a low Speed rating.


  SUMMARY. Called “Stats” on older cartridges, this allows you to view the status of your Pokémon, which must be taken into consideration before it is released into battle. On the Red, Blue, and Yellow cartridges, the stats screen is spread out on two screens: the first screen informs you of the Pokémon’s health status, area stats, experience required to gain another level, and its biological types, while the second screen lists the Pokémon’s attacks and their remaining Power Points. On the Gold, Silver, and Crystal cartridges, the screens are spread out onto three screens: the first explains its types, health status, and experience level; the second lists the attacks of that Pokémon and their remaining Power Points and identifies the Pokémon’s held item; the third screen explains area stats and capture information (the trainer that caught it and that trainer’s ID number). The Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire summary is spread out over four screens: the first identifies the Pokémon’s biological types, ability, and capture information (name of trainer that caught it, the ID number of that trainer, the gender of that trainer [the name of the trainer will be highlighted in blue if male and pink if female], the level the Pokémon was at when caught, and the location at which it was caught); the second screen counts the ribbons that it received, identifies its held item, determines its experience level, and gives its area stats; the third screen lists the Pokémon’s attacks with their types and battle effects, potencies, and hit rates; the fourth screen lists the attacks with their contest types, contest effects, appeal values, and jam penalties.

o        ATTACK. This area stat rates the potential of physical attacks used by that Pokémon. Attacks of the Normal, Fighting, Ground, Flying, Poison, Bug, Rock, Ghost, and Steel types are considered physical. (Poison-type attacks are nonphysical on Red, Blue, and Yellow.)

o        DEFENSE. This area stat rates the Pokémon’s vulnerability to physical attacks.

o        SPECIAL ATTACK. This area stat rates the potential of nonphysical attacks used by that Pokémon. Attacks of the Fire, Water, Grass, Electric, Ice, Psychic, Dragon, and Dark types are considered nonphysical. Special Attack and Special Defense are consolidated into “Special” in Red, Blue, and Yellow.

o        SPECIAL DEFENSE. This area stat rates the Pokémon’s vulnerability to nonphysical attacks.

o        SPEED. Pokémon are assigned an area stat of Speed to determine turn order. The Pokémon with the highest Speed goes first, the one with the second highest rating goes afterward, and so on.

o        HP. The vitality of a Pokémon is measured by Hit Points. When this measure falls to zero for any reason, the Pokémon can’t fight until a Revive, Max Revive, Revival Herb, or Sacred Ash is administered, the Pokémon is moved to Bill’s PC (except in Red, Blue, or Yellow) or Lanette’s PC, or the Pokémon is healed at a Pokémon Center or by anyone willing to rest them.

o        SLEEP. This status abnormality prevents the Pokémon from attacking except with Snore or Sleep Talk. Administering an Awakening, Mint Berry, Lava Cookie, Full Heal, Chesto Berry, or Lum Berry or playing the PokéFlute or Blue Flute will alleviate this condition.

o        PARALYSIS. This status abnormality may prevent a Pokémon from attacking, and the affected Pokémon’s Speed plummets. Administering a Paralyz Heal, PrzCureBerry, Lava Cookie, Full Heal, Cheri Berry, or Lum Berry, using Refresh, or being attacked with Smellingsalt will alleviate paralysis.

o        POISON. This status abnormality causes a Pokémon to lose HP even outside of battle, and being attacked with Toxic or Poison Fang may cause poisoning that worsens with time. Administering an Antidote, PsnCureBerry, Lava Cookie, Full Heal, Pecha Berry, or Lum Berry or using Refresh will detoxify the Pokémon.

o        BURN. This status abnormality causes a Pokémon to lose HP in battle, and the affected Pokémon’s Attack plummets. Administering a Burn Heal, Ice Berry, Lava Cookie, Full Heal, Rawst Berry, or Lum Berry or using Refresh will heal a burn.

o        HOARFROST. This status abnormality completely immobilizes a Pokémon. Administering an Ice Heal, Burnt Berry, Lava Cookie, Aspear Berry, or Lum Berry, using a physical attack, Sunny Day, Flame Wheel, Heat Wave, Fire Blast, or Overheat or being attacked with a Fire-type move will defrost a Pokémon. A Pokémon cannot be frozen in sunlight, so sending out a Groudon will defrost any Pokémon.

o        CONFUSION. This status abnormality may cause a Pokémon to attack itself instead of executing a desired move. This can be alleviated with Bitter Berry, Yellow Flute, or Persim Berry or simply switching out.

o        INFATUATION. This status abnormality, induced by Attract or effect of the ability Cute Charm, may cause a Pokémon to not attack. This is remediable with a Mental Herb or Red Flute or switching either combatant out.

o        PKRS. If on Ruby or Sapphire this icon appears below the Pokémon’s level and ball, the Pokémon has contracted the Pokérus virus. This can also happen on Gold, Silver, or Crystal, but it won’t be readily denoted. This affliction multiplies experience gained from battle by 1.5, but it eventually resolves itself. If a black dot appears between the level and ball in a Pokémon’s summary, the Pokémon is immune to Pokérus.

o        PP. Power Points are then number of times that a certain move can be used, depending on its potential. If the move’s Power Points run out (from overuse or subjection to Spite or Grudge), the move becomes inoperable until an Ether, Max Ether, Elixir, Max Elixir, Mysteryberry, or Leppa Berry is administered, the Pokémon is moved to Bill’s PC (except in Red, Blue, or Yellow) or Lanette’s PC, or the Pokémon is healed at a Pokémon Center or by anyone willing to rest them. Administering PP Up will cause a move’s Power Point maximum to increase by 20 percent. Once the base maximum is increased by 60 percent, it cannot be increased further. If all of the moves’ Power Points are gone, the Pokémon will be forced to use Struggle, which has no type and deals recoil equal to ten percent of the damage done to the foe.

o        EXPERIENCE. If the foe has fainted, Pokémon that participated in battle, except those that fainted, as well as those holding Exp Shares are doled an amount of experience points summing up to a predetermined total, divided equally. If a Pokémon holding an Exp Share battled, that Pokémon receives an additional share of experience. If in Red, Blue, or Yellow you carry an Exp All, each Pokémon will receive an additional share equal to one third of the sum. Pokémon that you did not capture will receive 50 percent more experience in all cases. Most Pokémon require one million points to reach level 100, while starter Pokémon require Pokémon require 1,059,860 and legendary Pokémon (as well as Salamence and Exeggutor) require 1,250,000 points.

o        SHINY POKÉMON. Any Pokémon that is discolored is called a “shiny Pokémon” and will be denoted by three stars next to the level in Gold, Silver, and Crystal summaries or the Pokédex number being highlighted in gold in Ruby or Sapphire summaries. Obtaining this sort of Pokémon in the wild is difficult, and only certain games will give you this opportunity. When sent into battle, a series of sprites will be emitted from the figure.

  SWITCH. This is called “Shift” on Ruby and Sapphire. This function will cause the active Pokémon to be withdrawn for the Pokémon you selected. The new Pokémon will take all effects of the foe’s attack. However, if you defeated the foe or your Active Pokémon fainted, you may be prompted to switch Pokémon; if the Battle Style setting in the Options menu is set to “Set” or you have no other healthy Pokémon, no prompt will be made. If you have no Pokémon left and your Active Pokémon fainted, you will be transported to the Pokémon Center that your Pokémon were last healed at and you will lose half of your money rounded down to the nearest dollar unless you engaged in a Secret Base or link battle. If this happens in the Battle Tower or you shut off the game there without saving, your victory streak is broken.

This is “Pack” in Gold, Silver, and Crystal and “Bag” in Ruby and Sapphire. Unless engaged in a Battle Tower or link battle, you may opt to administer items to your Pokémon. You may use one item on a turn, and your turn is over once you do this. You cannot attach items, administer PokéBlocks, or teach Technical Machines in battle, and some items can only be used in Wild Pokémon battles.

In Red, Blue, and Yellow, all items are consolidated into one pocket, and you can carry up to twenty at a time. In Gold, Silver, and Crystal, the Pack is broken down into four pockets: the first for general items and berries, twenty of which you can carry at once; the second for balls; the third for key items, or those that cannot be discarded or sold; the fourth for Technical Machines. In Ruby and Sapphire, the Bag is divided into five areas by adding the Pack’s pockets and a pocket exclusively for Berries.

In a Wild Pokémon battle, throwing a ball and successfully capturing a Pokémon denies your Pokémon any experience. You cannot capture an opponent’s Pokémon.

In the National Park in Gold, Silver, and Crystal, “Park Ball” will replace this option. You cannot administer items to your Pokémon in the National Park. In the Safari Zone in Red, Blue, and Yellow, this option, as well as Fight and PKMN, will be replaced by “Ball,” “Rock,” and “Bait.” The Ball function launches a Safari Ball, the Bait function sends out food for the Pokémon to distract it, and the Rock function launches a pebble at the Pokémon to anger it, making it apt to flee, but making it easier to capture. In the Ruby and Sapphire Safari Zone, these options will be “Ball,” “PokéBlock,” and “Go Near,” which serve similar functions.

If you are engaged in a Wild Pokémon battle, you have the option to run away. Doing so increases your chances of your Pokémon contracting Pokérus, and your Pokémon are denied any experience. You cannot run from a Trainer battle, and you lose the battle if you select this option in a link battle.