Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon beginner’s guide


Whether you’re a veteran trainer or a plucky newbie, everyone can use a little help when embarking on a new Pokémon journey.

The release of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon is finally here, and it’s time to get down to business. We have some easy-to-digest tips for anyone ready to dive into the biggest Nintendo 3DS releases of the holiday season.

By the time you’ve read through our tips, you’ll be ready for anything that comes your way in-game—or you’ll have defected to Team Rocket, either way.

Choose your starter Pokémon wisely

The starters in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon are the same ones you saw in Pokémon Sun and Moon: Rowlet, Litten, and Popplio. They’re grass, fire, and water-type Pokémon, respectively.

Each has their own set of strengths and weaknesses, so make sure you’ve picked one that works well with your playstyle and what you’re hoping to get out of the game in general. For instance, Popplio grows into a powerful water-type spectacle with plenty of special moves, while Rowlet is better with jobs of all types by its final evolution.

Each starter is worth working with and molding to your liking, but whichever Pokémon you choose as your first companion will be your strongest by far for a good clip. Make sure you go with the one you feel that you can understand and train to the best of your ability before proceeding. While there are hundreds of Pokémon you can capture at a later date in the game, your first Pokémon can often make or break your experience if you’re not careful. 

Don’t play favorites with your Pokémon

This is a very easy thing to do, especially if you like one Pokémon’s move set more than another’s, or if you simply think one is cooler than the other. You’ll be catching Pokémon weaker than the one at the forefront of your team (generally your starter), but don’t ignore them in favor of your starter. Try to level up all of your Pokémon equally for your best chance at decimating any enemy that comes your way.

You have six Pokémon to choose from, so try to cover all of the types you can with dual-type Pokémon and an all-purpose team to make sure you have a Pokémon that can tackle anything. When you get your EXP Share, sharing experience earned in battle isn’t a difficult prospect anymore, but you’ll need to grind out battles against trainers and wild Pokémon in the world to get the most out of it.  

Don’t run from wild Pokémon battles 

Every Pokémon battle you run into is a chance to grow. Sure, it can be a pain to keep having to stop and fight against a piddly little grass or bug Pokémon, or yet another Geodude in a dark cave like in the old days.

All of your wins add up to precious experience, which you never know you need until you find yourself facing off against an extremely powerful Pokémon that wipes out your entire team with the same move over and over again. Just like you need to keep your team balanced, you need to earn experience in the first place to spread it around. Make sure you’re not skipping out on this very important aspect of the game.

Capture every type of Pokémon that you can 

No one likes a Metapod or a Magikarp, but they can grow up to be formidable opponents. Go ahead and try to whittle down the health of and capture any Pokémon you come across.

The motto is “Gotta catch ’em all,” so make good on that by tossing a Poké Ball every chance you get. This will help you build an expansive army of Pokémon, and in turn, you’ll always have one to turn to when you reach a team that’s seemingly impossible to defeat.

Your team is dynamic, so make sure you’re swapping in and out as many Pokémon as is necessary for each new area and region you explore. There’s always room for newcomers on your Poké-bench.

Make trainer battles a priority

If you find yourself trying to sneak past a trainer so you don’t have to engage in battle, just go ahead and give that line of thinking up. Just like running from wild Pokémon battles, this can only harm you in the long run.

Not only will you miss out on experience, but trainers also give cold, hard cash. Depending on where you fight them, you can get some insight on the tricks and strategies gym leaders and other more formidable trainers use as well. They’re great for practice, free experience, and cash, so you might as well make use of them.