Pokémon Sun and Moon are here at last, and while some things may seem familiar, a lot of other mechanics have been changed or added, presenting trainers with a brand new Pokémon experience we’re not quite used to. While some of the age-old advice still applies, there are a few new things to consider when first setting off down the path to becoming a Pokémon Master.

'Pokémon Sun' and 'Moon' starting pokémon
'Pokémon Sun' and 'Moon' starters

Don’t Stress About Your Starter

Choosing your first companion is always a matter of contention. While some starter Pokémon have stats that could make or break their chances in the competitive sphere, this doesn’t really apply to more casual gameplay. Choose the typing you prefer, or the Pokémon you find most appealing.

Kommo-o
Kommo-o is an awesome Dragon/Fighting-type. 

Build a Balanced Team of Pokémon

Like every Pokémon game before them, both Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon allow you to collect tons of different Pokémon from around the new region. Each Pokémon you find will have a different typing, including ones unique to the Alola region, that have strengths and weaknesses to other types of Pokémon. Start to build a team around the [starter Pokémon you ended up picking] that can counter a wide variety of Pokémon while you explore the islands and undertake the many challenges they have to offer. Using the right type of Pokémon for the job is crucial for battles in Pokémon Sun and Moon*, so you best get started on a diverse team from the beginning.

Pokémon Refresh
Pokémon Refresh makes for happy, healthy teams. 

Use Pokémon Refresh

This cousin to X and Y’s Pokémon-Amie might seem goofy, but it could end up saving you a lot of money. At the end of each battle, you’ll have the chance to use Pokmon Refresh. In this new gameplay mode, you can clean up your Pokémon after battle and even cure any negative status effects. It’s also a great opportunity to pet your Pokémon and feed them Poké Beans to increase their affection towards you. If you have a solid relationship with your Pokémon, they’ll gain more experience and be better suited to stand against the treacherous tides of battle. Don’t skip out on this!

Munchlax
Don't miss out on these free, rare Pokémon.

Get your Munchlax and Snorlium Z

If you end up purchasing a copy of Pokemon Sun or Pokemon Moon by Wednesday, January 11, 2017; you’ll be eligible to receive a Munchlax (who evolves into Snorlax) and the Snorlium Z it carries. The bonus can easily be missed if you don’t know where to look, so when you first boot up your copy of Pokémon Sun or Pokémon Moon make sure you’re connected to the Internet and instead of loading in select the Mystery Gift option. From here, select receive gift and get via Internet. You’ll follow the prompts on screen to receive your reward, which can be claimed in game at any Pokémon Center. So far as we know, this is the only way to get access to Snorlax’s Z-Move, so make sure to snag it before it’s gone!

Ash-Greninja
Ash-Greninja is an excellent Pokémon to add to your team. 

Don’t Forget Ash-Greninja

If you played the demo, you were rewarded with an Ash-Greninja. Greninja is a powerful addition to any team, so don’t forget to send it over to your full version of the game! To do this, fire up your demo and head to the Pokémon Center to chat with Professor Kukui. He’ll ask you what you’d like to do, and give you the option to transfer over Ash-Greninja and any other items you may have collected in the demo.

Once that’s done, return to your full copy of the game, enter the Pokémon Center, and talk to the man in the blue and yellow shirt next to the help desk to accept your “Mystery Gift” and claim your Ash-Greninja. Just remember that you’ll need to complete two island trials before Ash-Greninja will obey your commands.

Poke Beans
Your bean tree

Gather Some Poké Beans

In this game, Pokémon are crazy for some Poké Beans. If you’re still on the first island, you can get a daily batch of Poké Beans from the cafe in the Hau’oli Outskirts Pokémon Center.

Once you move on to the second island, though, you’ll gain access to the Poké Pelago (the new Sun and Moon version of your PC) and the ability to grow your own beans. The first island (the equivalent of your PC’s boxes in past games) on your Poké Pelago has a bean tree. Check back on your tree regularly to harvest new beans to feed your Pokémon in Pokémon Refresh. You can also lure wild Pokémon to your Poké Pelago if you leave some beans around. It’s an easy way to fill up your Pokédex with minimal effort!

QR Scanner
Use your QR Scanner to get some rare monsters. 

Scan QR Codes

Early on you get access to the QR Scanner, which lets you scan any QR code in real life and add a new Pokémon’s data to your Pokédex, along with information on where to catch. Keep in mind you can use any QR code, even those not related to Pokémon.

Once you scan 10 codes (and remember that you can only scan 10 a day), you can do an Island Scan. This will sweep the island you’re currently on for one rare Pokémon and the chance to catch it. You have one chance, so proceed with care! The level of the Pokémon matches that of the island you’re currently on. Many people have been using Island Scan to find starter Pokémon from previous generations on the first island, so this can be a valuable source for team building.

Photos via The Pokémon Company (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), The Pokemon Company, Bulbapedia, Forbes

Jessica is a freelance writer based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. You can read other stuff she writes on VICE, Rock Paper Shotgun, and Geek & Sundry.