Nearly two months after Pokémon Sun and Moon’s release, you’ve likely completed your adventures in Alola. You now stand proud as the first champion in the region. That’s all well and good, but now what? One of the best ways to give your high-level team some exercise is within the Battle Tree, an elite battleground available to trainers only after you beat the game. Competition is tough, so you’ll want to prepare.

Once you beat the Elite Four, you can access the Battle Tree on Poni Island. You’ll find it nestled in the Poni Gauntlet off of the Poni Coast. Before you can head inside, however, you’ll have to duke it out with some familiar faces. Once that’s done, your goal is to beat out as many trainers as possible to win rare items and prizes, including rare Mega Stones for powerful Pokémon. Much like competitive Pokémon, your monsters are capped at level 50 and you can compete in single or double battles. Or, if you’re looking for a change of pace, you can enter multi-battles in which you team up with a trainer to go two-on-two.

Pokemon Sun and Moon
Make sure you're ready. 

Plan Ahead

The Battle Tree is no joke, and you won’t be able to go in with a scrappy band of random monsters. Your party needs to be carefully assembled, much like in the metagame. Make sure that your party is well-balanced. You’ll want a mix of fast, heavy hitters, and a solid tank to make sure you can withstand whatever your enemy has to throw at you.

Pokemon Sun and Moon
Trainers will be sending out their toughest Pokémon. Make sure yours are up to snuff. 

Make Sure Each Pokemon Has a Diverse Moveset

While you need to think of your party’s weaknesses as a whole, you’ll also want to make sure that each individual Pokémon’s bases are covered as well. You can’t simply rely on a group of powerful moves of a single element. Make sure you have abilities to take out Pokémon of a variety of types, especially if your Pokémon is weak to that particular typing.

Pokemon Sun and Moon
Make sure your team has a diverse move pool. 

It’s All About Moves With Extras

Now’s the time to teach your Pokémon some moves that cause status effects or can change turn priority. Luck and speed play a heavy role in the battlefield so make sure you’re not missing out. Moves that are guaranteed to hit first are a must have, especially if you need to switch a Pokémon in to finish off your enemy. Alternatively, you can try to use Trick Room, which reverses the turn priority, allowing slow Pokémon to strike first. This is great if you have slow, bulky Pokémon like Toxapex.

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Moves that inflict Poison, Burns, or Paralyze are also highly valuable. Switch-in moves can help you turn the tides as well. Laying down Toxic Spikes will poison any Pokémon your opponent chooses to switch into battle. Laying careful traps is always a good strategy.

Buffs for your own Pokémon are good to have, too. Protect can save your life if you find yourself facing off against a Pokémon that can take out one of your own with a well-placed OHKO. Moves like Recover are also a good choice, restoring your HP in the heat of battle.

Pokemon Sun and Moon
You might see some familiar faces in the Battle Tree.

For the Love of Everything, Use Held Items

Don’t forget to equip your Pokémon with items. Held items like Leftovers, Life Orb, and Choice Scarf can give you a decent advantage. These special items can boost your Pokémon’s Speed, Special Attack, or any other number of stats. Some will prevent you from taking too much damage, or heal you a small amount each turn. These items can have a huge impact on your odds, so think carefully about which you want to equip.

Pokemon Sun and Moon
One Garchomp is always better than two. 

Attempt Singles First

Double battles bring an added layer of strategy and difficulty that you won’t find in singles. If you’re simply looking to cut your teeth before you head into the thick of it, we recommend testing out single battles first. While it’s still pretty difficult, you’ll have an easier time overall. It’s also a good way to stock up on BP before heading into the doubles, and you’ll be able to cash in on some items (see above) that will be a huge help in double battles.

The Battle Tree presents a pretty intense challenge, and it’s not for the faint of heart. However, it can provide hours of satisfying competition, and is a great way to hone your team building skills if you’re still not quite ready to jump into the player vs. player competition happening in the VGC right now. Don’t rush, build up your team with care — maybe even look into breeding egg moves and training EVs — follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to another exhilarating victory.

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Pokémon Sun and Moon
The Battle Tree is a must-see spot in Alola. 
Photos via Serebii, The Pokémon Company (1, 2), Polygon