A hand holds a Pokeball toy against a dark blue background.

The ABCs of Pokémon

Pokémon was my first “geek obsession,” right after I received Pokémon Sapphire for my brother’s birthday (it’s a long story, which you can read here). Ever since then, I’ve played almost every entry in the series, and so I consider myself something of an expert on these Pocket Monsters.

Have you ever wanted to be a Pokémon Trainer, but had no idea where to start? Or have you just been confused by all of the “Pokemans” your friends keep talking about? Well, today’s your lucky day, because I have the ABCs of Pokémon right here for a beginner like you. After reading this, you’ll be a Pokémon Master in no time!

A is for Ability

Different species of Pokémon have different abilities that can help or hurt them in battle. Some Pokémon summon sandstorms when they’re sent into battle, some get speed boosts every turn, while others… fall asleep in battle, which isn’t very helpful.

B is for Battle

The core of the Pokémon games is based around battling. Challenging other Trainers will allow your Pokémon to gain experience, which is key to becoming the Champion. Though the style may seem simple at times, there is a lot of strategy that goes into battle.

C is for Champion

The goal for many Pokémon Trainers is to become the Champion, but the road isn’t easy. First, you need to find and defeat all of the Gym Leaders (or Captains) in your region, and then take on a strong set of Trainers known as the Elite 4. If you can beat them and the current Champion, you get to take your place in the Hall of Fame.

D is for Dex

Every Trainer needs a PokéDex to help them on their journey! This handy device automatically tracks all of the Pokémon you’ve obtained, and some versions have even more advanced features. If your goal is to “Catch ‘em all,” then you’ll definitely want this.

E is for Evolution

Some Pokémon have different forms that allow them to grow stronger through evolution (think of it like a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly). Evolution can happen through gaining levels, special items, high friendship, and more.

F is for Fishing

If you’re in need of water-type Pokémon, fishing is one way to do it! Depending on the type of rod you’re using, you’ll find different types of Pokémon, so experiment and see what you can find.

G is for Gym

Many cities in the Pokémon world feature places called gyms, where you can challenge powerful trainers known as Gym Leaders. You’ll need to defeat eight of them and earn badges in order to challenge the Elite 4, and it’s a great way to train your Pokémon in the meantime.

H is for Hidden Machine

One of the ways Pokémon can learn moves is through the use of Technical and Hidden Machines, or TMs and HMs. Although HMs are mostly a thing of the past now, they played a major role in the series by teaching your Pokémon moves that could be used outside of battle, such as Surf.

I is for Items

Items play a key role in any Trainer’s journey. Medicine allows you to heal your Pokémon in (or outside of) battle, while “held items” can give your Pokémon better stats or new skills in battle.

J is for Joy

Have your Pokémon become beaten down by battles? Stop by the nearest Pokémon Center and see Nurse Joy! Just walk in and talk to her, and she’ll make sure your Pokémon are battle-ready. The service is free, so if your team is ever in need of healing, look out for a red-roofed Pokémon Center.

K is for Kahuna

Unlike most other regions in the Pokémon world, Alola doesn’t have gym leaders. Instead, each island in the archipelago has Captains who lead Trainers through various trials. After completing all of the trials on an island, Trainers can battle the island’s Kahuna, and if they win, they’ll earn a stamp from that island.

L is for Legendary

Some Pokémon are rarer than others, but there are some that are particularly hard to come by. These Pokémon are known as Legendaries, because they’re extremely powerful and hard to find, let alone catch.

M is for Master Ball

There are all kinds of different Pokéballs used to capture Pokémon, but the Master Ball surpasses them all. Only one is found in each game, and it can catch any Pokémon without fail. Be sure to save it for something rare!

N is for Nature

All Pokémon have individual natures, which is sort of like their personalities. Their natures determine their stats in battle, what flavor food they like, and more. Astute Trainers will pay close attention to the nature of their Pokémon in order to find one with optimal stats.

O is for One Hundred and Fifty

In the first generation of Pokémon games (Pokémon Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow), there were a total of 150 Pokémon that you could find. Since then, the number has increased to over 800 different creatures, but the original 150 still hold a special place in the hearts of many fans.

P is for Professor

Pokémon are mysterious creatures, and so it makes sense that there are Professors researching them. These Professors are often the ones who give you your first Pokémon, and they can often offer good advice. They’re also all named after species of trees.

Q is for Quickness

Pokémon have six different stats: Health (HP), Attack, Special Attack, Defense, Special Defense, and Speed. Though all of these are important in different ways, the speed of a Pokémon can often make or break a battle.

R is for Region

Like the real world, the Pokémon world has many different locations, each with its own attributes. Different games feature different regions with different Pokémon, so each entry in the series offers a new and exciting adventure.

S is for Starter

Every Pokémon Trainer needs their first Pokémon, which are commonly called “Starter Pokémon.” Each generation of games features its own set of three Starters – One grass-type, one water-type, and one fire-type. Choose wisely!

T is for Type

There are 18 different types, and all Pokémon can have up to two different ones. These types determine a Pokémon’s strength and weaknesses – for example, a fire-type Pokémon is weak to water-type moves, but is resistant to grass-type moves.

U is for Ultra Beasts

Ultra Beasts are a unique type of Pokémon found in “Ultra Space” in the Pokémon world. These creatures are unlike any other Pokémon and are often quite strong.

V is for Vitamins

Do you like your Pikachu, but its attacks are just too weak? A vitamin might be what you need! Though expensive, these items can permanently increase one of a Pokémon’s stats. For example, Iron will increase a Pokémon’s defense stat.

W is for Weather

Like anywhere else, the Pokémon world has different types of weather. These conditions in turn affect conditions in battle – rain will increase the power of water-type attacks but decrease the power of fire-type attacks. Sandstorms and hailstorms can also inflict damage on the battlers!

X is for eXperience

When you win a Pokémon battle, your team will gain experience points, which in turn allows them to gain levels and grow stronger. If you want to be a Pokémon Master, keep gaining experience!

Y is for Yum

The Pokémon series has plenty of delicious treats! Berries can be found in the wild and given to Pokémon to heal them, or they can be turned into treats like PokéBlocks and Poffins. There’s also Aprijuice, Rage Candy Bars, cookies, and more!

Z is for Zone

Some regions feature a special place called the Safari Zone, where for a small fee, you can go catch rare Pokémon. These “battles” are a different from normal battles, but it’s a great way to find Pokémon you couldn’t find anywhere else.

Readers, what’s your favorite Pokémon and why? What important things did I forget to include? Let me know in the comments!

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