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Pokemon Legends: Arceus - 5 things to know before playing

Here's what you should know before you start playing Pokemon Legends: Arceus.

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Pokemon Legends: Arceus is a fresh take on the universe, doing a lot to separate itself from the franchise’s typical RPG formula. With that, there are a lot of aspects of the game that even long-time Pokemon fans won’t be entirely familiar with. To make sure you’re best equipped for your journey through the Hisui region, let’s talk about 5 things you need to know before playing Pokemon Legends: Arceus.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus - 5 things to know before playing

All battles are in “Set” mode

In Pokemon Legends: Arceus, all Battles are played in “Set” mode. This means that when you defeat an opponent’s Pokemon, they will immediately send out the next one, not allowing you the chance to swap out a member of your team. Past Pokemon games were played in “Switch” mode, which would tell players what Pokemon was being sent out next, giving them the opportunity to send out a different member of their team in anticipation. Set mode was previously an alternate option for those looking to up the difficulty.

With Set now being the default and only Battle option in Pokemon Legends: Arceus, players will have to be a bit more thoughtful in their decision-making. There will be times when an enemy catches you completely off-guard, sending out a Pokemon and knocking yours out before you can even adjust.

Use food and throwing techniques to catch Pokemon

Players will find themselves chucking more Pokeballs in Pokemon Legends: Arceus than in most previous games in the series. As you work to fill out the region’s first Pokedex, you can make things a lot easier on yourself by utilizing valuable techniques in order to increase your chances of catching a Pokemon.

Each species of Pokemon has different foods that it likes, which can be found in the Pokedex. Toss the food somewhere near the Pokemon and it will run after it. During the few seconds that it takes to eat, the Pokemon will be much easier to catch.

The “Back Strike” is a technique that should also be mastered by players. When you throw a Pokeball at a Pokemon, hitting it square in the back will increase your chances of successfully capturing it. Combining favorite foods with a well-timed Back Strike will save you a lot of time and Pokeballs. If you hold ZL and focus on a Pokemon, you can even see how hard it will be to catch by looking at the marker above its head.

Use Agile and Strong Style moves

Fighting Styles are a brand new feature in Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Executing a move in Agile Style will increase speed, potentially allowing a Pokemon to act consecutively, at the cost of power. Strong Style increases a move’s power at the cost of speed. Agile Style decreases a move’s power by 20, Strong Style increases a move’s power by 20.

To use Fighting Style, a Pokemon must master a move. This is done naturally through leveling up, or with Seeds of Mastery at the Training Grounds. You can tell if a move has been mastered when it has a scroll icon beside it in the menu.

Agile and Strong attacks are the key to success in battling in Legends: Arceus. One simple strategy is to open with an Agile attack in order to make the first hit and knock off some light damage, and then follow it up with a strong attack to finish the job. I also recommend that you use stat-buffing moves like Swords Dance, Calm Mind, and Bulk Up in Agile Style so that you can immediately follow it up with an attack.

You can farm materials

Crafting is a major aspect in Pokemon Legends: Arceus. You’ll gather raw materials in the world that you use to create Pokeballs, Potions, and other helpful items. It can be annoying when you run short of materials, but the game actually allows you to farm and organically replenish your supply. Talk to Colza in Jubilife Village, located in the western portion of town. You can tell him what sort of crops you want to grow, with Apricorns, Medicinal, and Vegetables all being options.

Check back with Colza after an in-game day or two have passed and he’ll give you the harvested materials. If you speak to his partner Miller, you can assign a Ground-Type Pokemon to work the fields, increasing farming capacity. It’s easy to play through the entire game and miss this feature, so we’re giving you a heads up!

Use those Grit items

As players defeat Pokeon and progress through the game, they’ll notice Grit Dust, Grit Gravel, Grit Pebbles, and Grit Rocks popping up in their inventory. These items can be used to increase a Pokemon’s Effort Values (better known as EVs) for their base stats. Increasing an EV for a stat will promote stronger growth in that area when a Pokemon levels up. If you constantly use Grit items to increase a Pokemon’s HP, Defense, and Special Defense, you’ll soon have yourself one tanky little creature.

This is essentially how you EV train Pokemon in Pokemon Legends: Arceus. If you check a Pokemon’s Summary and go to the stat page, you can see the EVs for each of their stats. Use this to inform how you use your Grit items. Even though there isn’t really competitive battling in the game, it’s still quite useful to influence your Pokemon’s stats to be as efficient as possible. Don’t let those Grit items waste away in storage!


Those are five things you need to know before you start playing Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Putting these tips to use will greatly benefit you during your time adventuring through the Hisui region. If you’re looking for more Pokemon Legends: Arceus guides, stick with Shacknews.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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