Pokémon Sun & Moon: Some Beginner’s Tips

While the titular franchise has reached its 20th anniversary, it may come as a surprise that, hey, a lot of people still haven’t begun their journey into the world of monster catching! Whether this be your first time, or perhaps you simply never got the hang of the franchise, these tips should give you a handle on how to approach the latest game in the franchise with the least amount of initial stress:

  • Status ailments are a great way to catch wild pokémon. Sleep is incredibly effective early on, as you can catch a ‘mon with the most basic pokéball without ever attacking!
  • Butterfree is a fantastic choice for catching pokémo nall the way through the story, just for the status afflicting abilities it learns at level 13; after catching a Caterpie or Metapod and leveling and evolving up to level 10, it’ll transform into Butterfree, which will learn Stun Spore, Poison Powder, and Sleep Powder soon after.
  • This may seem odd, but don’t worry about buying a lot of Potions or Status-Healing items early on. Pokémon Sun and Moon are the first games in a while where you start with a lot of money; you can easily buy over 100 pokéballs by the time you arrive at your first Pokémon Center. You can also heal your pokémon of status effects by “Caring” for it after battle using the Pokémon Refresh option in the menu. You’ll have access to a lot of tools right from the start to heal most afflictions, and it’ll help raise your pokémon’s affection for you, which will grant it some extra bonuses in battle.
  • Though extremely rare, you can nab a Pichu, which evolves into Pikachu via Friendship Evolution, on Route 1. It’s a solid Thunder-type for the early game, and an obvious franchise favorite, so don’t miss your chance to fill a few entries in your pokédex as early as possible!
  • An incredibly powerful Psychic-type, Abra, can be found in the first big town with a Pokémon Center you find; these guys teleport after their first turn, so it’s wise to either put it to sleep with Butterfree, or throw an Ultra Ball on your first turn — you’ll be able to nab 10 Ultra Balls before you reach this point if you’re especially keen on talking to everyone you come across. While Abra himself isn’t much to write home about, Kadabra and Alakazam (the second and third evolutions of Abra, respectively) have a pretty great Special Attack rating, and they make for solid choices throughout the main game.
  • If you’re reading this near the game’s launch (Nov 18, 2016), you can get a Munchlax via Mystery Gift. Just save your game, restart the application, and select the Mystery Gift option on start-up before selecting your save file. Munchlax, and its evolution Snorlax, are hearty pokémon who can withstand a lot of damage, and can learn Hold Back, which will keep from reducing an enemy pokémon below 1 HP, which is fantastic for catching. It also comes with an item to equip which will allow you access to a Z-Type Move, further explained in-game.
  • Play through the story! This seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of features like Experience Share (distributes XP to all pokémon on your team after every battle), Rental Pokémon (pokémon you can ride to travel faster in towns and fields), and Z-Moves are only available after seeing their respective story sequences. Even the basic features of the Pokédex are expanded upon throughout the story, so if you feel a little underequipped for your adventure, chances are you have a little further to walk before you get something good.
  • Use same-type moves! Referred to as STAB (Same-Type Ability Bonus), abilities in this game have an extra bit of kick if they are of the same element as the pokémon who uses them, even for the seemingly boring Normal types; a Yungoos’s Tackle will always be a touch more powerful than a starter pokémon’s Normal move, for instance. You can continue stacking bonuses depending on your opponent’s weaknesses, too; A Water attack against a Ground/Rock combo type will hit much harder than the same attack against a pokémon who is just Ground or Rock.
  • You’ll find out that traded pokémon won’t obey you beyond a certain level without winning specific Island Trials; this is NOT the case for any pokémon you personally catch. If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to let a particular favored pokémon get ahead of the rest of your team via leveling, as any pokémon you catch will obey you no matter what (unless, of course, your friendship level is absurdly low with it, but you have to work very hard to trigger this.)

Hopefully these tips will grease the wheels a little on your journey. Pokémon is, above all else, about your own personal fun, be it in completing every Island Trial and being the best trainer, in collecting every single monster to fill out your Pokédex, breeding your pokémon together, or any other way you see fit. Unless you’re gearing towards being competitive with other players on higher-level tourneys, there’s hardly a single wrong way to play.