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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Yes, 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
Every 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.
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!!!