Along with brand new Pokémon and fresh faces, Pokémon Sun and Moon also welcomes in a batch of new online multiplayer content to change the way we play Pokémon with others. One of these new features is the Battle Royal mode, which lets you compete against three other trainers in what is essentially a fight to the death. Once one trainer has all three of their Pokémon knocked out, the match is over. The person who has knocked out the most Pokémon during the match and has the most Pokémon left standing is victorious. This isn’t just any old Pokémon battle, though. The high stakes setup means that you’ll have to take a different strategy when headed into battle. Follow these tips to prepare.

Battle Royal
The new arena looks pretty cool, too. 

Switch-ins are a bad idea.

Whereas switch-ins are a major tactic in competitive battle, moving your Pokémon in and out in Battle Royal isn’t recommended. There will be three other Pokémon potentially targeting your own, and unless the Pokémon you’re bringing in is very, very fast, chances are you could become an easy target for your opponents. Choose your Pokémon wisely and try to stick with them.

Battle Royal
Battle Royal pits four trainers against each other. 

Practice in the Battle Royal Dome.

Once you make your way to Akala Island, you gain access to the Battle Royal Dome. It’s a lot like the Chateau in Pokémon X and Y. You can face off against AI trainers in the dome in Battle Royal-style. They may be computer opponents, but they’re tough and boast fully trained teams. Make your way through the ranks when you feel that you’re ready. These battles are great practice against real-life opponents if you want a place to practice without the pressure.

Battle Royal
Pikachu could make quick work of that Rowlet. 

Cover your weaknesses.

As in competitive matches, you’ll need to make sure each of your Pokémon has a diverse moveset. That means making sure that you have at least one move that covers one of your Pokémon’s weak points. If you need help figuring out an effective moveset, we highly recommend Smogon’s extensive database of Pokémon suited for this very purpose.

This is especially important, because switching out Pokémon can be a mistake. If you have a Pokémon that’s at a disadvantage to some of the Pokémon in a Battle Royal match, hopefully you can at least rely on your moves to help level the playing field just a bit.

Battle Royal
All players choose their moves at the same time for each turn. 

Speed wins.

Turns work a little differently in Battle Royal. All players choose their moves at the same time, with the fastest Pokémon going first. Remember this before putting forth an especially sluggish Pokémon. You might want to brush up on common Pokémon’s speed stats (generally — you don’t have to memorize numbers) to see how your Pokémon stacks up against the competition.

Battle Royal
It's kind of like UFC meets Pokémon

Be strategic when planning your KOs.

If you want to get the finishing blow on an opponent’s Pokémon, be careful. You’ll need to make sure you can get the first shot, as at least some of your opponents might be planning to get the KO as well. If you aim to knockout a weakened Pokémon, someone could beat you to it, getting the points and forcing you to waste a valuable move. Always consider what your opponents may be planning and your own Pokémon’s capabilities each turn to avoid mistakes like this.

Battle Royal is tough, make no mistake. But with these tips you’ll be able to concoct your own winning strategy to help you take on both the Battle Dome and real-life opponents in the Festival Plaza. While it may be difficult at first, this new gameplay mode brings a new layer of strategy to Pokémon that’s quite rewarding once you start to move up the ranks.

Pokemon Sun and Moon
It's time for a new challenge. 

Photos via RPG Valiant, 3D Juegos, i4u, IGN, The Pokemon Company , The Bit Bag, Nintendo News

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.