Pokémon Dream Team

Pokémon Dream Team

Sam 3.0 searches for the ultimate Pokémon team.

The title of this feature is “Pokémon Dream Team,” – but that is something of a misnomer. The way people approach these games is as unique and varied as fingerprints, so there really is no perfect team. Perfection… perfection is relative. So, “dream team” has become less about perfection and more about the team by which Pokemaniacs fight and faint by.

I talked to a number of Pokémon players, each at differing levels of the Fanboy ladder. A few I spoke to play Pokémon more or less every day, constantly fiddling with their teams, evolving Pokémon, messing with battle tactics and enjoying the massive worlds out there. Others haven’t played since the days of the Gameboy Color, but still remember which Pokémon they liked to have in their party.

Without wishing to overstate it all too much, the approach to playing Pokémon is quite a personal thing. The more generations we see, the more options there are for how you play. Some are totally hung up on contests, glamming up their Budews and Machops to win the crowd’s favour. Some quest to not only catch em all, but to evolve em all, too. But being that the central point of the last few weeks’ research was to discover the best team formation, that’s where we’ll start.

Among casual players, it’s common to see legendary bird Pokémon appear in dream team lists. Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres were on around half of the lists I called in to get a feel for how players are arranging their parties. The reason for this is pretty clear – the stats of these Pokémon are sky-high when you catch them, and catching them is a nightmare to begin with. Once you’ve gone to all the trouble of snapping these suckers up, it’s no wonder you want to bust them out and bring the pain.

Three legendary birds, above, appeared on one list a player gave me as “the practical”. The list was rounded out with another legendary – Mewtwo, a Jigglypuff that has been taught the few Grass type moves it is able to learn and a Magnezone (evolved from Magnemite). His other dream team was “the aesthetic” – an all Eevee evolution extravaganza. Based on exactly what, I don’t know, but he believed this line up to have some kind of magic pulling power with the ladies.

Articuno appears to be the most popular legendary bird – another list I saw went Mewtwo, Snorlax, Articuno, Gyrados, Charizard, and Butterfree. And Mewtwo appeared on this player’s alternative list, also – three times. Rounding out a Mewtwo, Mewtwo, Mewtwo-led pack was Articuno, Snorlax and another Snorlax. This shows fairly well how players can get a bit obsessive with how they arrange their teams.

Just as they commonly listed legendaries among their dream team, casual players were also able to give more definite answers about which Pokémon were their favourites. When I went to ask a few die-hard Pokémon fanatics about their dream team, I was met with far more information about their general approach to the game than which specific Pokémon they liked to cart around.

A couple of guys jumped at the chance to talk about what was one of their favourite subjects, and I wound up with lengthy dissertations about how they put together their teams and their philosophies about the game as a whole. Hey – they basically wrote this feature for me.

Sean, a battler from offshore, said he likes to stock his teams with “sweepers”. The hardcore among you will be familiar with what a sweeper is, but for those in the dark, a sweeper is a Pokémon whose move set is designed primarily for attack – they are usually speedy so they can get the first hit and often they are Fighting types. That said, Sean highlighted the importance of mixing it up. He also mentioned using “toxic-tanks,” – tanks being Pokémon that are supposed to be able to take a hit (high defensive stats) and toxic Pokémon being those with poison abilities.

Sean likes to theme his Pokémon teams, giving them names like Uber team (a team of hardy legendaries), Diamond team (the team he used to complete the story mode in Pokémon Diamond), the Urban team (comprised of Pokémon from the Urban areas of LeafGreen) and as a bit of a twist, the Canadian team. This last one is made up of Pokémon based on animals you’d find in Canada – Bibarel (beaver), Noctowl (owl), Relicanth (salmon).

Another experienced Pokémon trainer is Jay, who laid out his ideal move set. He believes it’s important to spread your Pokémon’s moves so it’s well rounded. Move one for Jay is a strong generic physical attack, often with an added effect such as Body Slam, which has a 25% chance of causing paralysis. Move 2 is of the same type as the Pokémon, so it deals 1.5 times the damage. Move 3 is one that’s strong against that Pokémon’s weakness – for example, Jay’s Golems often pack Fire Blast, to take down Grass types which would ordinarily pose a great risk for Rock types. And rounding out the set is a status ailment move. It’s important not to double up on your Pokémon’s innate ability here, though. Pikachu’s Static will paralyze a Pokémon that comes into contact with it, so there’s no use giving Pikachu a move like Thunder Wave, which has the same effect. That slot is better used for something else.

My own way of playing hasn’t had nearly as much thought put into it. While I appreciate the subtleties of these battle strategies, I like to play a simpler game, and tend to look at Pokémon as a game of collection and discovery, rather than strategy. While I love the battle aspect, what drives me is the quest for more Pokémon, more items, and the next stage in a Pokémon’s evolution or their move set.

I have always been a fan of Bug types simply because they evolve early, and nothing pleases me more than being given a mysterious egg on my adventure. Catching rare Pokémon is always a thrill, and trying out different items, stat boosts and, in the later versions, berries and Poffins on my Pokémon provides hours of extra gameplay.

The reason that Pokémon will last as one of gaming’s most durable franchises is that everyone gets something different out of it. The crux of each and every one is the same: become the most powerful trainer in your region, but players will always find their own way outside of the linear control the developers have built in. With the advent of Wi-Fi gaming, and the ability to trade and battle all over the world, Pokémon is only gaining momentum. There’s no slowing down.

As for that elusive perfect team, well, I wish I had the answer. In putting together the voices of those I spoke to, I have realised that my own strategy is a trifle simple and might need revisiting. What’s that?

Just use Surf.

Thanks to all who took the time to give me their Pokémon insights. Special thanks to Sean, Jay, Rick and Damien.


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Comments Comments (17)

Posted by DrEnzyme
On Thursday 31 Jul 2008 10:32 AM
As someone who has completed their pokedex (barring 2 impossible-to-get pokemon and 1 very-hard-to-get pokemon) I can tell you that there is no perfect team. Besides, even if you did find a perfect team, it would only apply to that metagame. It's not like you can throw Mewtwo on your team and expect to play on the UU tier.

There are teams that come very close to perfect. However, given a team, I could provide you with a team to perfectly counter the first. This presents another problem: every pokemon in the metagame can be countered.

Lastly, your team won't matter if you aren't a good battler. I've seen teams of Underused pokemon wipe the floor with an Overused team. In the end, it all comes down to how you can handle your pokemon.
Dancing is Forbidden
Posted by Dancing is Forbidden
On Thursday 31 Jul 2008 11:43 AM
You say that the title of the feature is 'The title of this feature is “Pokémon Dream Team,”'.

However, according the to heading at the top (on my screen anyway) it is "Pokémon Dream TeamPokémon Dream Team" ;)

Nice read though.
Posted by ChatterboxZombie
On Thursday 31 Jul 2008 4:36 PM
Everyone knows the best pokemon is SHUCKLE!
Posted by Bunnny
On Thursday 31 Jul 2008 5:15 PM
Odd... No one mentioned Blastiose.. He'd be in all my team combinations....
Posted by Koopa18
On Thursday 31 Jul 2008 6:02 PM
Its spelt Gyarados..

And how does Relicanth look anything like a Salmon?! Its a flamin' COELACANTH. Mayaswell be any other pokemon tat looks vaguely like a fish!

Anyways - my team is weak as a kitten. Its all my favourite Pokemon, none of whom are very strong at all. But they are so awesome it doesnt matter.
Posted by BlinK
On Thursday 31 Jul 2008 6:30 PM
OOOOOOOO This got flamed out!

I chose you slowpoke!
Posted by Hayvin
On Friday 1 Aug 2008 5:47 PM
no wayy. Jynx the golliwog is the best freakin pokemon out.
Posted by Mr.Deflok
On Friday 1 Aug 2008 7:45 PM
Psyduck FTW.
Posted by JojoTheRain
On Sunday 3 Aug 2008 12:00 AM
You didn't mention Lucario (Or I have selective reading and just ignored it)!!

Good on ya!!
Posted by BlinK
On Monday 4 Aug 2008 1:33 AM
No No its slowpoke who owns.
Posted by Daniel1987
On Monday 4 Aug 2008 1:15 PM
Ditto FTW.
Posted by BlackRetina
On Monday 4 Aug 2008 5:45 PM
Exeggutor - Sunny Day/Lightscreen, Solar Beam, Giga Drain, Psychic
(Pseudo Passer/Special Sweeper)
Ninetales - Flamethrower, Roar, Earthquake, Will-o-wisp
(Pyroshuffle - swap roar with firespin if you use this party for catching pokemon)
Mewtwo - Calm mind, Recover, Flamethrower, Psychic
(Special sweeper)
Espeon - Sunny Day, Psychic, Moonshine, Flamethrower/Barrier
(Pseudo Passer)
Dragonite - Dragon Claw, Dragon Dance, Fly, Hyperbeam
(Physical Sweeper)
Lapras - Rest, Confuse Ray, Surf, Ice beam
(Tank )

1st gen Five Star Team that I created for general use (w/o copies) but 85% power. I used to be a pokemon team-builder.
Mewtwo may be replaced with Alakazam or Porygon. Porygon for lulz
Posted by Koopa18
On Wednesday 6 Aug 2008 8:01 PM
Breeding me a new Party now.


Nothing competitive - should cover most bases in a casual battle though.

Just curious, wouldnt Salamence make a better physical sweeper than Dragonite?

I EVd one to 405 Attack :D
Grunt of God
Posted by Grunt of God
On Thursday 14 Aug 2008 6:43 PM
Lol, feature 666, bad omen :p And that strategy is a result of master minided genious!
Posted by BlackRetina
On Friday 15 Aug 2008 2:13 PM
Idk about Salamence being better. Dragonite is pretty f**king tough. Pinsir, Sharpedo and Sceptile aren't very good imo. For any casual team, I recommend Snorlax.
Posted by simcharles
On Saturday 9 May 2009 12:45 PM
Snorlax for president!!!
Posted by ADz_Nz
On Monday 15 Apr 2013 10:05 PM
Gotta Catch em All POKEMON!