The right way to play Pokemon Platinum


Note: this post contains humor. If you don’t have a sense of humor (due to some unfortunate accident or whatever), you’d be happier reading something else. But if you do take this advice seriously and play through Pokemon in this manner, let me know with a comment below.

With the release of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the real fans are disappointed because we wanted to see a Sinnoh remake instead of a remake of a game that’s hardly a year old. However, there’s already a Sinnoh remake that we can play on 3DS, and that game is called Pokemon Platinum.

You might have heard that there’s no wrong way to play a Pokemon game. This is a vacuous platitude that’s enjoyed by those who are satisfied with mediocrity. Every game has an objective, and that objective is to win. Winning is what this guide is about.

Another thing you might have seen around the intertubes would be guides on how to make the best teams for Pokemon games. Most of these guides are flawed because they suggest making full teams of six pokemon that are viable for battles. The problem with teams like this is that they tend to flounder in the late-game, when the levels of opponents are really high, but the team is under-leveled because the experience yield doesn’t spread as well among a larger team.

A better approach would be to focus on a battling core of two to four pokemon, with the rest of your team being open for utility pokemon and HM users. This way, you’ll have some higher-level pokemon that are better suited to take on late-game challenges while keeping grinding to a minimum. This is great, because in Sinnoh games, there’s often a need for late-game grinding.

The first major choice you’ll make in this game is to play as the girl, so when the prompt comes up to do so, you select this character:


Then you name her Dawn. Everyone likes Dawn, and this game lets you play as her.

Next, you get to name your rival. The character limit is too short for Flapjack, so we’ll just go with Barry, because that’s what they call him in the show.

barry v flapjack

Your next significant choice is to choose Piplup as your starter.


I know that most guides will give you plentiful technical reasons why Chimchar is the better choice. But Piplup is the better choice because it’s much cuter, and GameFreak finally made a penguin pokemon that isn’t total garbage. When it evolves all the way to Empoleon, it gains a secondary Steel typing, which gives it plenty of useful resistances, and it can be taught Surf, which could potentially free up room in your party that would otherwise be taken up by an HM slave. Also, Dawn chose Piplup as her starter, so there’s that.

Next, you’re going to want to catch a Starly.


Starly is great on so many levels. For one thing, it and its evolved forms learn Defog and Fly, which takes care of those HM moves. Not only that, its final form Staraptor has excellent speed and attack stats, and uses them well with moves like Aerial Ace and Close Combat. Because it gains the Intimidate ability later on, it can lower the Attack stat of your opponents just by being sent into battle. This is one of the few early-game bird pokemon that remains good throughout the game.


You’re also going to want to catch a Bidoof. Bidoof isn’t in this team for battling, it’s there for HMs. Bidoof can learn the Cut and Rock Smash HM. Its evolved form can additionally be taught Surf, Strength, Waterfall, and Rock Climb, so it can grant you some serious mobility. You’ll even be able to find Bibarel before you’ll need those moves, so there’s no need to level up your Bidoof. The only real catch is that it can only know four of those moves at a time, but you can have both in your team.

I know what some of you might be thinking: this team is too weak to electric moves. That’s why Gible was chosen to round out this team.


Gible doesn’t take long to evolve to Gabite, and late in the game, it becomes a superstrong Garchomp. What to do in the meantime? Teach it Earthquake, which is available in the very same cave you catch Gible in. You’ll have a seriously strong Ground type that also happens to be a Dragon. Why wouldn’t you? Also, it’s a land shark that can fly. Pokemon doesn’t mess around.

I know that some of you might be squeamish about going that far in the game with such a weakness to Electric moves, but it’s really not a big deal. Pachirisu could present a challenge, but it doesn’t learn an offensive Electric move until level 13, and you don’t encounter one that strong until Eterna Forest. Some trainers use Electric types on Route 206, but you’ll find the cave with Gible in it on the same route.

Note: Gible can only be found by using the cave’s hidden entrance, not the obvious one. The hidden entrance is under the bike path, not to the side of it.

And that’s pretty much your team. What, that’s not much? Of course not. This team works so well, that one or two slots don’t need to be used. You’re bucking the materialistic zeitgeist by playing like a Spartan! You won’t need as many pokeballs, because you’ll have just a few pokemon that can do the job. You won’t need as many healing items because you’ll have just a few higher-level pokemon that are better at taking attacks and dishing them out.

Some players either turn up their nose when it comes to legendaries, or prefer to put off catching them until it’s easier to soft-reset for an ideal nature. If you’re not one of these guys, then there are two pokemon that stand out as being excellent choices:

  • Giratina – Has excellent typing and defensive stats, and can be taught a variety of offensive moves. You have to encounter this guy as part of the story, but if you KO it, you can get another chance after becoming champion, so don’t feel like you have to catch this guy right away.
  • Azelf – Its typing isn’t that great, but it’s Speed and Special Attack stats are very high. Think “glass cannon”.

The question might come up: What do I do about such-and-such-opponent? Wouldn’t they be kind of challenging with this team setup? A valid question. The surest way to overcome any in-game opponent is with a tried and true strategy that I like to call, “assail with overwhelming force”. By maintaining a massive statistical advantage over your opponent, you increase your chance of victory.

If at any point you come across an opponent that’s too strong for you, here is what you do:

  1. Go into some grass or into a cave
  2. Walk around until a wild pokemon shows up
  3. KO that wild pokemon to collect EXP
  4. Repeat the process until your pokemon gains a level

Each time you do this, you increase your statistical advantage, making your pokemon much better at “assail with overwhelming force”.

Then keep going until you’re crowned the champion, and you’ll have beaten this game about friendship by demolishing everything in sight.

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