Level Up! | Gaming Glossary: Pokémon Edition

Level Up! Is a biweekly blog about all types of games, from Dungeons and Dragons to Mario Party.

By Sinead McDevitt, Digital Manager

It’s November, which means the newest Pokémon games, “Pokémon Scarlet and Violet,” are coming out soon. As someone who sold my soul to this franchise, a bunch of phrases to talk about these games have entered my vocabulary. So, now I’ll explain some for anyone just starting their Pokémon journeys.

Terms for Regular Gameplay

These are terms that are relevant to someone who’s just playing the games alone and not interacting with the competitive scene.


“Same Type Attack Bonus,” or the term for the boost a Pokémon gets for using a move that matches its type. So when Squirtle, a water-type, uses the water-type move “Water Gun,” it’ll do more damage than a Pokémon with the same stats that isn’t water-type using the same move.

This is very important in Scarlet and Violet since the new gimmick, Terastallization, allows Pokémon to change type and thus have different STAB types.


Rare Pokémon with alternate colors. Other than coloration and a special animation that plays when you send the Pokémon out, they’re not any stronger than the regular version.


A trait Pokémon have that boosts one stat and lowers one other. The games don’t actually specify which stats are affected, but you can figure it out with online resources like Bulbapedia. Natures mean that two Pokémon of the same species can have different stats.


A set of self-imposed rules that players use to make the game more challenging. There are a variety of different rule sets, but the three core ones are as follows: You can only catch the first Pokémon you find per area, you have to nickname every Pokémon you catch and when a Pokémon faints, you can’t use it anymore. Nuzlockes are a very popular type of Pokémon video on YouTube.


A trait each Pokémon has that can cause a variety of effects in battle. Some abilities are always active, some only activate under specific conditions and some even have effects outside of battle.


EVs stands for “Effort Values,” the fan term for additional points a Pokémon can get in a specific stat using certain items or when battling a specific Pokémon. How EVs work varies depending on the game, and some games don’t use them at all, so we will have to see how the series will handle them going forward.


Pokérus is a virus that your Pokémon have a 1 in 21,845 chance to develop after a battle. Unlike viruses in real life, Pokérus is beneficial to your Pokémon, allowing them to gain double EVs when battling wild Pokémon.


Friendship is an invisible stat that is used to determine things like when certain Pokémon evolve, the power of the moves “Return” and “Frustration” and certain battle benefits like landing a critical hit or surviving an attack with 1HP. You can’t check a Pokémon’s exact friendship, but it’s easy to raise just by having the Pokémon in your party and using it a lot.

Terms for competitive gameplay

These are things you’ll hear a lot of if you’re interested in the competitive Pokémon scene. There are two main places you’ll see competitive play — The Video Game Championships, the Pokémon Company’s official circuit, and Smogon, the largest fan-based organization for competitive battles. Each version has its own rules and format, so it’s worth the time to do your own research into which version you’re more interested in.


A common tactic where players paralyze opposing Pokémon (lowering their speed and giving them a chance to be unable to move every turn) and then use a move with a high chance of making the opposing Pokémon flinch (leaving them unable to move after certain attacks). This allows for the player to keep attacking while the opponent can’t do anything or is forced to switch.


The member of a team whose main job is just to knock out all the opposing Pokémon. Usually, the rest of the team serve support roles to boost your Sweeper’s stats as high as possible.

Entry Hazards

Moves that cause Pokémon to take damage every time they switch in such as “Stealth Rock,” “Spikes” and “Toxic Spikes.” A common strategy to use with entry hazards is to have a Pokémon with a move that forces the opponent to switch, thus damaging their team over time.

Spread Moves

Moves that hit multiple targets at once, such as “Dazzling Gleam” or “Surf.” These are especially useful in VGC since the official format of VGC is 2v2 double battles.

Stall Team

A team based around slowly whittling away the opponent’s Pokémon with passive damage via weather, status effects or entry hazards.

Weather Team

A team based around using in-game weather to boost their Pokémon. There are four types of weather: sunlight, rain, sandstorm and hail. Sunlight and rain boost the power of fire and water type moves while weakening the inverse respectively, while sandstorm and hail damage Pokémon every turn except for rock, ground and steel types in the case of sandstorm and ice types in the case of hail. Weather teams are common and varied since there are many different Pokémon that can make good use of them.

Trick Room Team

A team based around the move “Trick Room,” which allows the slowest Pokémon on the field to go first, allowing your Pokémon to attack first and knock out the opponent’s Pokémon.