Do you have the skills to be number 1? Because I submit that you do not. Take it from me kid, I used to rank in tournaments back in the Gen 2 and Gen 3 days. Sure I was a kid back then but that helped a lot. Not having a job is like the performance enhancing drug of video game competitions. Just finishing a title is one thing. Even the post game is easy. The sudden and fierce jump into the pro scene is rough. You need to do math. Lots of math. Each pokemon has a set of abilities that you get one of. Sometimes it’s a hidden ability which means it’s event or pain in the ass only way of getting it. Then of course IVs and EVs are the points that effect your stats. The pokemon also will have a nature that will factor into the base stats of you cute little murder machine. You still with me? Don’t worry Sword and Shield have made this process way easier. You can get items to change and raise and reset all them stats. So you can focus on training.

This also is kinda not worth it. You need to look at the attacks you want, what stats they draw from, and optimize around that. Look at around 2 to 5 hours of work per Pokemon to get them ready for the big leagues. Even then it’s not a good idea to have your own plan. The professional scene is largely the same few pokemon set ups. So you better get to studying.

Now that you have changed the fun into not fun and stuck with it, well you are now what I would call a real Pokemon trainer. Any professional athlete has to do just this. People overlook off season training and all the strict diets those pros have to adhere to year round. Put in the time, you will get the results. This step is easy.

Do you like Pokemon? I mean in the way one might like books or music. There is a whole world of Pokemon related media and collectibles. You will need to have some of them around. It will keep you in a Pokemon mindspace. I mean it, you will need some stuff around to remind you what it is you are doing this for. Just what exactly is it you need? That is a matter of introspection.

For myself it’s my Gym Badges. They might seem silly to some, but for me they serve as a reminder of the best and worst parts of my time with Pokemon. Kanto was my first region. Hoenn was the region that almost made me give up on Pokemon all together. I got into the games at the right time to still be impressionable. I can almost smell the damp musty Zubat poop filled caves of Mt. Moon if I close my eyes.

So serene, so peaceful, so many Zubats. Zubats which increase your speed stat by one point for every four killed before leveling up. Those games are very much a part of me, a part of my DNA even atleast according to science.

So that is the next biggest question is what is your connection to pokemon? Lean hard on what it is that makes you want to play these games and don’t back up. The games in universe world structure is full of trainers who prefer one type or even one specific species. I happen to be a Grass Type trainer myself. Though I have a team of eeveelutions that would knock your dick in the dirt. So find those special moments for you and build your team around that. I know the first part said not to, but that is only for those looking for a surefire way to the finals. I still advise you to follow step one to learn what you are up against. Then take what you learned and apply it to your own style. Ultimately there will only be one winner in each tournament. If it was going to be you, you wouldn’t be here reading this. Atleast not yet. As you claw your way to the top be known for something. You might not win but people will be talking about you. Be that trainer with an all bug team that almost made it. Take your favorite or first shiny and build a time around them. Unfortunately my first shiny was lost in an unforgivable act of betrayal and pettiness. Ryo Ohki, I will always have your many many babies to remember you by.

Above all else don’t fall into the fandom communities though. It’s fine to make friends there, just don’t actively contribute. I promise you will only get upset. You can’t be the best like no one ever was if you try to be like everyone else. Just maybe we are getting a bit off topic. So um… held items. Don’t overlook held items when making your team.

So in short. Find your signature pokemon or type. Then you want to explore options regarding held items, pokemon abilities, and moves that do more than just damage. Once you got a good idea of what you think would be neat toss in some support pokemon to pad the team if you have an extra slot or two. Do some Battle Tower matches until you get the perfect flow for your team and then immediately make a team that could beat it. If you can make a team that can sweep the last one, so can anyone else after one or two matches. Be like an eevee, constantly evolving and changing your approach. Keep your enemies guessing. That or just take a nap.