How to Dominate the Pokemon Battle Tree

WARNING: Mild Spoilers below. This is your last chance to turn around!

Writer’s Note: I just created a Double Battle Tree Guide, check that out here!

Congratulations Champion! You’ve completed your Island Challenge, saved the world from Lusamine’s schemes, said a tearful farewell to a dear friend and become the first ever Champion of Alola! It’s been quite the journey, and you’ve got to be a pretty good Pokemon trainer if you’ve gotten this far. Still, you’re far from a Pokemon Master. There’s still plenty of challenges for you to take on in Sun and Moon’s postgame. 

red-and-blue

The hardest of them all? Without a doubt it’s the Battle Tree, a once barred off area on Poni Island. This mode may look like a simple marathon of trainer battles, but it’s far more than that. The trainers you face are well prepared, pretty intelligent, and downright merciless. 

This guide will help make it easier for you to reach the top of the tree and battle your fellow Pokemon legends. You’ll also get a ton of Battle Points for winning, which you can then use to buy mega-stones and other rare items! Without further ado, let’s get into it.

Bye-Bye Story Team!

It cannot be understated how challenging this mode is. For starters, you can only bring 3 Pokemon to battle with you. That really limits your ability to cover all your weaknesses, but you can work around it with good planning. 

pikachu-and-sandshrew

Left: Battle Tree Opponent’s Pokemon, Right: Your in-game Party

First off, you have to let your beloved in-game party go. It’s time to set them into a Box and ship them off to Poke Pelago. They simply will not be strong enough to bring you success against the hardcore Pokemon your opponents will have. In this mode, every Pokemon is set to have the stats they would at level 50, so you can’t just brute strength your way to the top. You need to have Pokemon who you’ve EV and IV trained, because the other trainers there certainly do.

You’re also going to need to actually think about which Pokemon to bring. Using a team of all Fairies may have worked in the story, but it won’t work here. You need a team that compliments each other with diverse movesets. My team (which we’ll look at in more depth later) had a wall, supporter, and sweeper. Once you’ve got a good idea of the Pokemon you’d like to use, it’s time to head over to Mt. Hokulani to find a Ditto!

The Long Grind: Pokemon Breeding Part 1

Alright, so this is where things get sticky (and potentially boring for some). You need to get Pokemon with good IVs to succeed in this challenge. Think of IVs as a Pokemon’s DNA. Every Pokemon has a hidden value between 0-31 for every stat. 31 is the best, 0 is the worst. Those numbers correlate to the overall potential of your Pokemon. All levels being equal, a Pokemon with 31 IVs in HP will have significantly more HP than a Pokemon of the same species with an HP IV of 0. You can check your Pokemon’s IVs at any PC once you’ve talked to the Ace Trainer standing on the right side of the Battle Tree (once you’ve beaten either Blue or Red upon arrival at the Tree).

These IVs are randomly generated through RNG, but you can stack the deck through S.O.S. battles. When a Pokemon calls for help 10 times, the Pokemon that appears will have at least 1 perfect IV. At 40, 4 perfect IVs. 40 is the max, so don’t go to 60 expecting to get a perfect IV Pokemon!

Still with me? Good. Now, because we want to breed the perfect Pokemon, we need to catch the ultimate parent: Ditto. I’ll explain it in words as well, but go to Mt. Hokulani and follow this great guide by Verlisify on Youtube:

 

Ignore the whole “6” thing. You can only catch Ditto with 4 perfect IVs. Still, the guide works. Get a Pokemon that only knows Recycle (I used Munchlax and had the Move Deleter delete all other moves) and have Ditto transform into that Pokemon. Then, bring out a Pokemon with either Trick or Switcheroo (Alakazam) and have it hold a Leppa Berry. Those restore PP so the Ditto will never run out of moves and kill itself with Struggle once you use Trick or Switcheroo to give it the berry. Then switch into a Pokemon with False Swipe and knock the Ditto down to 1 HP. Use an adrenaline orb (found in Poke Center) to get it to call for help consistently, and KO 40 of the Pokemon the original Ditto calls for help. Knock out the original Ditto and catch the 41st one that came in for the help.

Head over to your PC, click the “Judge” botton and boom! You’ve got your Ditto with 4 perfect IVs.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you’ll definitely need to do this twice, maybe 3 times, so you get at least 1 perfect IV in every stat. You could just get one and check all the Pokemon in your box to see if any have the perfect IV in your missing stat, but then you’ve got to worry about egg groups and all sorts of other stuff. Just get the Dittos. It should take about an hour to get 2. Maybe 90 minutes if you’ve got bad luck.

Prepare for Breeding!

Once you’ve got the ditto, you’ve still got some work to do before you can breed. You need to get a few key items first: The Destiny Knot and an Everstone. You can find Everstones in the game (I had two when I started breeding), but you’ll need to head on over to The Battle Dome on Akala Island to get the Destiny Knot. Enter the Battle Royal and just keep fighting until you’ve got 48 Battle Points. This mode is incredibly annoying at times, but just keep grinding on the highest difficulty until you get there. Talk to the receptionist on the right and spend your points on a Destiny Knot.

Gosh I really hate this mode...

Gosh I really hate this mode…

The Destiny Knot assures that 5 IVs will be passed down to a child Pokemon. These are drawn from both parents, so it may take a few eggs until you’ve got the Pokemon of the species you chose with 4 perfect IVs.

Everstones assure that the holder’s nature gets passed down to the child. For a guide on natures, follow this link. But the gist is this: Your sweeper should have a favorable attack/special attack nature, your set-up good speed, and your wall good defense/special defense. 

Yay! It’s Time to Breed!

Now you’re nearly ready to go, but you still have a bit of grinding to do. First, look up your Pokemon on Bulbapedia or Serebii and scroll down to their moves list. You’ll see a list of “egg moves” that you definitely should check out and consider teaching your Pokemon. Egg moves can only be learned through breeding. One parent must know the move, and it will automatically be passed to the child. 

Ditto is the Key!

Ditto is the Key!

Once you know the egg moves and nature you want, it’s time to pass all this stuff down to your child Pokemon through breeding. Put the Pokemon with the nature you want into the nursery with an Everstone alongside your Ditto with the Destiny Knot. Head outside and enter the little crack in the fence right across from the building and call Tauros. Run around in mini-circles on Tauros until the girl out front crosses her arms, talk to her, grab your egg, and run back into the fence and do more circles. Keep on hatching eggs until you’ve got a Pokemon with more perfect IVs than the original you put in.

Once you’ve got that, take the original out, take its Everstone and give it to the child. Put the child in and continue the process until you get a Pokemon with 5 perfect IVs! I recommend always emphasizing having maximum defense IVs in both defensive categories. You generally won’t need to have perfect special attack and regular attack, so one of those should be the stat you leave without the perfect IVs (remember the Knot only gives you 5). 

Repeat this process until your team of 3 Pokemon is ready to go! 

Prepare for Trouble with EV Training.

Alright, now you’ve got to do one more thing before you’re ready to go: EV training your Pokemon. Ever wondered why wild Pokemon are slightly weaker than trainer Pokemon? The answer is EVs, or Effort Values. Each time your Pokemon defeats another mon, it gains EVs. Each stat can hold up to 252 EVs, but every mon can only hold 510 in total. I’ll let Verlisify explain this one too, his guide is on point:

 

Now, EV training itself is definitely way faster with the items Verlisify recommends. But if you just want to get the 3 Pokemon you want to bring to Battle Tree done, it might be faster to just grind each stat out without gathering the BP needed to buy the items. 

Pour your EVs into the stats that boost the strengths of your mon the most. You’ll never have a Raichu that can tank 3 hits, so just pour those EVs into Special Attack and Speed. You can see that a stat has been maxed out by viewing the summary of your mon and hitting the Y button. If the stat is maxed out the stat will sparkle. 

All EV trained up? IT’S FINALLY TIME FOR THE BATTLE TREE!

Battle Tree Strategies: My Team

So now you’ve got the best Pokemon on the block, with team synergy to boot. Your Pokemon have what it takes to make it to the top of the tree, but now it’s up to you. All your planning and strategy have led to this. Let’s look at what’s worked for me.

My team looked like this: 

Sweeper/Set-Up: Alola Ninetales (Item: Never-Melt Ice)

Nature: Timid (Speed+, Attack -) Ability: Snow Warning

IVS: Perfect, save for regular attack. EVs: 252 Speed, 252 Special Attack, 4 HP

Moves: Freeze Dry, Blizzard, Moonblast, Aura Veil 

 

Back-Up Sweeper/Mawile Specialist: Alola Marowak (Item: Thick Club)

Nature: Adamant (Attack+, Sp. Attack -) Ability: Lightning Rod

IVs: Perfect, save for Special Attack. EVs: 252 Attack, 252 HP, 4 Def

Moves: Flare Blitz, Earthquake, Shadow Bone, Will-O-Wisp

 

Wall: Alola Muk (Item: Figy Berry)

Nature: Relaxed (Defense +, Speed -) Ability: Gluttony

IVs: Perfect, Save for Speed and Special Attack. EVs: 252 Def, 252 Sp. Def, 4 Attack

Moves: Poison Jab, Shadow Sneak, Knock Off, Curse

 

It’s important to note that this is far from an ideal set. This was my first attempt at making a coherent and well trained team, and I made a few mistakes. Still, this team has brought me great success. You don’t need to be perfect to do well, but you do need to be darn close!

Battle Tree Strategies: Don’t Be Afraid to Tweak Your Team

ashs-teamYes, it’s definitely been a huge time investment to get this far. But I promise you you’ll be wise to change your team up if things aren’t working out. For example, I started out without Marowak and with Alola Raichu. Raichu did a great job most of the time, but he didn’t add much to the team because Ninetales was already capable of rattling off kills with Blizzard and Freeze-Dry for water-types. Mawile also hard-countered my team and completely shut me down. I subbed in Marowak to deal with those pesky steel-types that were my team’s fatal weakness, and instantly found myself getting into double digit winning streaks once I made the change. Don’t force a square hole into a round peg. If your team isn’t working, make some adjustments.

Battle Tree Strategies: Don’t Be Slow to Switch Out

This was the toughest lesson for me. I’d lead with Ninetales because I always wanted to get Aura Veil up to protect my team from damage, but once I got it up I often left Ninetales in battle because I didn’t want to waste a turn switching Mon. What ultimately would happen, though, is I’d get Ninetales killed only to find I really needed his Ice attacks and Hail to finish off my opponent’s final mon. Once I started valuing Ninetales’s ability to outspeed and revenge kill, I started winning consistently. Even if he was on his last legs, I found it was always better to sub out Nintetales and bring him in down the stretch.

Battle Tree Strategies: Items Matter

leftoversEvery one of your opponents will have items on their Pokemon. You should too. Leftovers allowed my Muk to negate the damage that Ninetales’s hail caused it, as well as any burn damage it may have receive from Pokemon with Will-O’-Wisp. Never-Melt Ice added a few turns of Hail that would give Ninetales more guaranteed Blizzard hits, boosting his power. The Sitrus Berry wasn’t the ideal choice for Marowak, but it did offer some healing that gave it some extra durability when combined with the Aura Veil bonuses. 

Battle Tree Strategies: Be Prepared for Red!

At the end of the single ladder, you’ll face off with Legendary Trainer Red! Red’s got only 5 Pokemon (he only uses 3, just as you do) but they don’t always appear the same way. He’ll use a combination of Snorlax, Charizard, Venusaur, Blastoise, and Lapras. Be ready to counter these Mon, because Red is tough. He’ll mega evolve one of the three starters, and use his Lapras as a wall. Be ready to hit Lapras with Toxic to lower its health, but be careful: Sometimes he’ll have it use Rest to heal all its damage/conditions! Still, if you know what’s coming, you should be able to win. I lost once, then defeated him without losing a single Pokemon. 

red

Well, that’s all I got for ya. Following this strategy I was able to beat the Pokemon Singles Battle Tree in 4 or 5 tries. It was quite a relief after getting trounced over and over again before I could even win back-to-back matches. Good Luck, and remember to watch out for Mawile!!!

About The Author

Tyler Kelbaugh
Nintendo Writer

Tyler Kelbaugh is a Nintendo writer for The Outerhaven Productions. He fell in love with gaming at the ripe young age of 4, a passion born from years of consistently failing to survive Marble Zone. If you mention the words "Fire Emblem" around him he'll talk your ear off. He's also a pretty competent Smash Bros. player, and a passionate sports fan.

  • Δndrew Liu

    If I may butt in for suggestions on your team….
    Alolan Marowak should be holding a Thick Club. Sitrus Berry is simply a niche option to be paired with Flare Blitz, but even Fire Punch with Thick Club outdamages a non-boosted Flare Blitz.
    On Alolan Muk, Crunch is simply a redundant move paired with Knock Off. Stone Edge, Gunk Shot, Brick Break (for Steels that would otherwise wall it) and even Explosion are options that Muk can use to help with Pokemon that it would otherwise struggle against.

    Not much wrong with Ninetales, although if you’re using Aurora Veil, you should be using Icy Rock (you can get this at the Malie Community Center) or Light Clay, either to extend the duration of Hail or to extend the duration of Aurora Veil, respectively. However, although you had a basic team layout, your team lacked synergy. It is especially weak to Earthquake, which Snorlax probably carries. Also, fat Waters would prove to be an issue to your team.

    Also, why watch out for Mawile? Plenty of Pokemon can provide neutral coverage or super effective coverage, like Earthquake and Fire Blast, and Mawile itself doesn’t stand out in many ways unless it’s a Mega Mawile, and even then it can be picked off by a Tapu Lele after it’s weakened, and it’s straight up walled by Fire-types.

    As for my own team, my first team that I used to repeatedly defeat Red (for the BP) was Specs Tapu Lele, Z-Hypnosis Xurkitree (decent Poke, but I wouldn’t recommend, as it’s somewhat slow and pretty frail), and in my first teamslot was always mixed Life Orb Pheromosa. Now my team is as follows:

    Salamence @ Salamencite
    Nature: Adamant
    Ability: Intimidate (for MegaMence, Intim is far less situational as an ability)
    EV’s: 84 Hp, 252 Atk, 172 Spe
    – Dragon Dance
    – Return
    – Earthquake
    – Roost
    With the given EV’s at level 50 it outspeeds all positive natured Scarfed 95’s after one Dragon Dance and Mega Evolving. 84 Hp maximizes bulk while allowing it to switch into Stealth Rock five times, and 252 Atk is obligatory for a Dragon Dancer.
    ^BTW, if you want to breed for DDance, it’s better to get a Dratini or a Jangmo-o over GTS, because I fished for a Dratini for about 2 hours then gave up, then spent another 4 hours searching for a Jangmo-o, then spending the rest of the day breeding for IV’s and male Salamence .(reason is because egg moves can only be passed down by the father)

    Aegislash @ Life Orb (Was originally Leftovers, but I found it lacked power)
    Nature: Quiet (letting you attack after the opponent is crucial to the Stance Change ability)
    Ability: Stance Change
    EV’s: 252 Hp, 4 Atk, 252 SpA
    – King’s Shield
    – Sacred Sword
    – Shadow Ball
    – Flash Cannon
    This was a pretty bulky check to my team’s weakness to Ice and Fairy.

    Tapu Lele @ Choice Specs (Was originally Life Orb, then I realized I was missing out on a few crucial KO’s)
    Nature: Modest
    Ability: Psychic Surge
    EV’s: 252 SpA, 4 SpD, 252 Spe
    – Psyshock
    – Moonblast
    – Focus Blast
    – Thunderbolt
    Seriously, this thing is a monster. It hits crazy hard with just Psyshock (OHKO’ing an Espeon, like seriously) and has some nice coverage options. It can also viably run a Choice Scarf, if you need something as a revenge killer.

  • Tyler Kelbaugh

    Thank you for your suggestions/bringing these deficiencies! I wrote this guide a few weeks ago when I was less experienced in Pokemon and actually have already made a few of the changes you suggested! I bred a new Muk with Gluttony, gave it a Figy berry and added Shadow Sneak over Crunch. Definitely a much stronger version of the Mon.

    I’ve been spending a lot of time in doubles, and it really opened my eyes to my crippling ground weakness. I’ve since swapped out Muk for a Jolly Garchomp with a Choice Scarf. EQ/Outrage/Rockslide/Iron Head moveset. I’ve also subbed in Arcanine for Marowak, just because I like the bulk it provides. That’s got leftovers and a Calm nature, with Flamethrower/Will-o-Wisp/Morning Sun and Snarl. I mainly use him for doubles, and I cover Snarl with Protect, but he works nicely in singles as well.

    The mawlie comment was based on my very first team. I had Raichu instead of Marowak (when I was REALLY clueless about Pokemon) and Mawile could one shot both my sweepers with iron head. It’s not a threat now that I’ve got Arcanine and Garchomp, but I mentioned in the post that Mawlie was shutting me down so it was meant to be in jest.

    I’m a huge fan of your team, although I am curious about why you chose Choice Specs over Psychinium Z. Your set seems really well made, but most of the Leles I see have the Z-move. What made you go the other way?

    Thanks for reading! I’ve updated the team with some of your suggestions.

  • Δndrew Liu

    Ah, the Mawile comment makes much more sense now…
    As for the team, Lele has Specs simply because it needs that power. After it uses the Z-move, then what? For me, Specs helps it keep an offensive presence throughout the game, so it doesn’t just become setup bait or something. Of course, I designed these sets for Battle Spot/Smogon, so it’d be different from the battle tree.

  • Linky…

    SD Mimikyu almost single-handedly destroyed the basic Singles Battle Tree for me…Swords Dance, Adamant Full Attack, not even full speed (wasn’t finished EV training it, I did have over 100 in Speed)…Attacks were X-Scissor, Shadow Sneak, and Play Rough…He was holding a Red Card, too, which ended up coming in handy several times…There were many times where I was able to get up 2-3 Swords Dances…

    Partners which probably screwed with the NPCs team selection were Jolly Arcanine with 252 Speed and Attack, Flare Blitz, Close Combat, Crunch, and Morning Sun (rarely used, mostly just Suicide bombed, stally grass pokemon that Mimikyu couldn’t efficiently handle)…

    Plus Alakazam…Alakazam wasn’t even competitively trained and its ability was Inner Focus (which came into play one time, randomly), but it did have a Focus Sash…

    The team isn’t great, Mimikyu and Arcanine are both Physical Attackers…

    Battle Royals are good for getting the power items to train if you haven’t built any Battle Treepetitive mons, yet…Provided you have a priority user, you should be able to get wins or at least survive, which’ll get you 1-3, but on Master Rank, you’ll get an immediate 5 points…

    I would recommend bringing an Electric Attack to deal with Gyarados…

    The NPCs don’t seem to really worry all that much about Mimikyu’s ability, which is why getting so many Swords Dances off…Also, there are better options than Red Card, but I’ve been saved from NPCs setting up on Mimikyu setting up several times…

  • Linky…

    There was a point to going with Alakazam, it just has coverage and is a Special Attacker…Arcanine is a physical attacker that can’t be burned and takes care of Leech Seed/Toxic Stallers (Mimikyu can power through them, but it helps to be able to have a mon with a STAB Supereffective attack that can be used immediately)…

    There are pokemon that are ridiculously Defensive or Special Defensive, so make sure you consider that, and if you have 3 direct attackers, make sure the two on the bench can each take care of one of those, should the situation come that you find yourself against a Blissey or a Skarmory…(Just easy examples)…

  • Jace, Memory Adept

    I’ll point out here that there are many, many, many various teams that can work. All sweepers, all tanks, many teams.

    But, I found a setup which worked very nicely:
    1) Physical attacking fighting sweeper
    2) Special attacking ghost sweeper (Such as Gengar, Ghost conversion Porygon or Mismagius)
    3) Tanky pokemon

    Your core of offense features physical fighting, which is weak to only flying and psychic, with stab not effective vs ghost, and special attacking ghost, who takes out the ghost and psychics which plague the fighting type, while he deals with dark types to help your ghost mon. For this to work however you need your ghost to be fast, which is why I suggested ghost porygon and mismagius. On top of this most ghost type pokemon can learn thunderbolt or ice beam to deal with the flying types fighting types struggle with.

    Finally, your tanky pokemon. Needs to be something that cn heal itself reliably (preferably) and using toxic for the tanky mons you can;t break through. Steel types aren’t a problem: you brought a fighting type with you remember?

    As a general rule of thumb: if you’re bringing a fast but fragile pokemon, it needs to be able to deal with pretty much every kind of enemy (which means hitting everything at least neutrally and as much as you possibly can super effectively) and the converse is true for tanks, needs to be able to take as much as it possibly can, so pokemon with very few type weaknesses work best (such as Mega Sableye and Alola Marowak).

    The team which won it for me first time did not follow this formula (I used Ghost Porygon-Z, Alola Marowak and Vaporeon) but since then I found it works best.

    In general you want a pokemon with strong, neutral same type attack bonus (Normal, Fighting, Ghost, Dragon are the best types) to be your main sweeper. Hitting most things neutrally is more important than a few things super effectively.