What's the optimal strategy for the first Pokémon battle?



  • Every main Pokémon game has you battle your rival or friend after you receive your starter Pokémon. Every starter begins at level 5. They each know one Normal-type physical attack (e.g. Tackle, Scratch) and one stat-altering move (e.g. Growl, Leer), aside from Pokémon Yellow where Pikachu gets Growl and Thunderbolt (with STAB; the rival's Eevee also gets STAB on his Tackle.)

    Throughout the Pokémon series, what's the optimum way to deploy your two moves in the starter battle?



  • I had a play with a damage calculator I found online and my conclusion is: there are way too many variables to produce a definitive answer: base stats, IVs and Nature all play a part, even at level 5.

    If your Pokemon has perfect IVs and beneficial Nature and your opponent has 0 IVs and negative Nature, it looks like you could deal at least an extra 20% damage than if those stats were reversed. I tried a good Snivy against a bad Tepig and got 42% damage from using Tackle, whereas a bad Oshawott against a good Snivy only did 14% damage with Tackle.

    In my experience, using any status move is not worthwhile. It always takes the same number of moves before your opponent is KO'd. Example: assume an average damage of 20%, that would normally take 5 Tackles to KO your opponent. If you used Leer first, Tackle would deal ~30% damage (20*1.5). Now it takes Leer + 4 Tackles, so you don't gain anything.

    Also note that your opponent uses moves randomly, which you can benefit from: Tackle>Leer>Tackle always does less total damage than Leer>Tackle>Tackle.

    My advice: never use more than one status move, and if you do use one always use it as the first move. Then just spam Tackle.


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