Pokemon Go Trainer Battles: 10 Tips You Need to Know

Pokemon Go‘s highly anticipated Trainer Battles have finally been added. If you’re looking to step up your PVP game, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 tips and tricks you need to know for Pokemon Go Trainer Battles.

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1. Pay Attention to Type Effectiveness

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Type Effectiveness Chart from TheSilphRoad

You should already know this if you’re familiar with the main Pokemon games, but certain types of moves do more or less damage against certain types of Pokemon. Make sure you have a team that can cover the weaknesses of both you and your opponent. If you have a grass-type Pokemon, for instance, it would be good to pair it with a water-type Pokemon to cover its fire-type weakness.
The chart above from user Kryd0s on The Silph Road Subreddit will let you know what moves are effective or not effective against which types of Pokemon.

2. Charge Moves Can Be Game Changers
To deal damage, you need to tap the screen to use your Quick Move. As you build up energy from repeated uses of Quick Moves, you’ll be able to use a Charge Move. You can even spend Stardust and Candy to give your Pokemon a second Charge Move. After selecting a Charge Move, you have to rapidly tap the screen for maximum damage. A super effective Charge Move can cut an HP bar in half or even more.
According to GamePress, Charge Moves don’t have Charge Bars. Some moves will simply activate faster than others. Once a move is fully charged, there will be no other bars to hold more charge.

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3. Use Protect Shields for When You’re in a Pinch
For those on the receiving end of a Charge Move, have no fear as you get two Protect Shields per battle. As the opponent charges their Charge Move, you can deploy the shield to negate almost all damage (according to GamePress, a Protect Shield makes the Charged Move deal one HP of damage). Keep in mind that if you use up your shields, you won’t get them back. If you’re not careful, you could be a sitting Psyduck to a Charge Move. So be sure to save them only for the Charge Moves that could deal the most damage.
You won’t know which Charge Move an opponent will hit you with until after you choose to protect yourself or not. A smart attacker can take advantage of this. You could send out a water-type like Kyogre against a grass-type and then charge up a Charge Move. The trainer with the grass-type, thinking that they’re going to be attacked with a water-type move, chooses not to use a shield as they can take a water-type attack. But then the Kyogre blasts them away with Blizzard.

4. Be Smart About Switching Pokemon
You can switch Pokemon in the middle of battle. This is great for switching from a Pokemon weak to the opponent’s attacks to one strong against the opponent’s attacks.
However, keep in mind that, according to GamePress, you won’t be able to switch Pokemon for 60 seconds after switching to a new Pokemon. So be smart about who you decide to send in.
You can also switch Pokemon after you defeat the opponent’s Pokemon. That way if you anticipate that a certain Pokemon will be sent in next, you can immediately switch to something strong against it and start racking up damage right away.

5. You Can Store Energy When Switching Out
Pokemon will retain their energy when they switch out with a new Pokemon, according to GamePress. So when they get back into battle, they’ll still have the energy they built up.
This means that you don’t have to unload your Charge Move before you switch out. You can also save the charge for when you’re facing off against an especially strong opponent.

6. Moves Are Different in Trainer Battles
Moves operate differently in trainer battles than they do in Gym or Raid Battles. According to GamePress, Quick Moves operate on “turns,” or units of half a second. So a move that lasts five turns lasts 2.5 seconds. This is done instead of continuous time to avoid synchronization problems in PVP. Each Pokemon’s HP is updated in each turn and actions occurring on the same turn will occur simultaneously. In fact, two trainers can both lose and end the match in a draw if they both defeat their Pokemon at the same time, as user jbeck84 on The Silph Road Subreddit found out.
Other values can be changed for moves in PVP. For example, Mud Shot has a power of five and an energy rate of seven normally but has a power of three and an energy of nine in Trainer Battles, according to Pokemon Go Hub. Charge Moves can also have different energy requirements, meaning it can take a shorter or longer amount of time to use them.
While these differences may be small, it’s good to be aware of them so you can better optimize your Pokemon.

7. You Can’t Gain Energy By Taking Damage
According to GamePress, taking damage in Trainer Battles doesn’t convert it to energy like in Gym or Raid Battles, according to GamePress. You can only gain energy by using Quick Moves. So bulky Pokemon that were able to build up charge and use Charge Moves by taking damage can no longer do so.

8. You Can Train With the Team Leaders

Battle with Leader: Potential Non-Legendary Counters for Master League from TheSilphRoad

From the battle menu, you can select one of the three team leaders, Blanche, Candela and Spark, to battle against. Leaders can be fought regardless of personal team affiliation and grant rewards for battling once a day according to GamePress.
They’re not representative of actual Trainer Battles as they don’t seem to use the Protect Shields ever, but battling them is a great opportunity to practice with a new team and test their synergy.
The chart above from user EverydayPoGo on The Silph Road Subreddit outlines the Pokemon of all three leaders in Master League battles and possible counters.

9. Total Damage Output Is the Most Important Factor
GamePress argues that Total Damage Output (TDO) is the most important factor in Trainer Battles. In Gym or Raid Battles, Damage Per Second (DPS) is the most important factor as the goal is to take out the defending Pokemon as quickly as possible. In Trainer Battles, however, the goal is to knock out as many of the opponent’s Pokemon as possible before dying. So the longer they can stay in battle, the better they are. Therefore, Pokemon that are both great attackers and great defenders will be the most viable.
GamePress recommends using Pokemon like Metagross with Meteor Mash, Lugia, Dragonite, Tyranitar, Raikou and more.

10. Ultra & Best Friends Can Battle Anywhere in the World
To initiate a Trainer Battle, hit the button in the lower right corner of the game and go to the Battle section. Over there, you can start a Trainer Battle by scanning the code on the screen.
Players usually have to be nearby to start a Trainer Battle, but Ultra and Best Friends can challenge each other no matter what part of the world they’re in.
You can build up friendship by playing together in Trainer Battles. In fact, as user LordSmorc on The Silph Road Subreddit points out, you can coordinate a Trainer Battle before you hit Best Friends status and then use a Lucky Egg for 200,000 XP.
See also:

Pokemon Go Holiday 2018 Dates and Bonuses
How to Get the Mystery Box for Meltan in Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go Field Research List for December 2018