There are practically no exceptions to this rule. Pokemon who go up against their opponents without any held item in tow will be at a significant disadvantage. Held items simply have too many benefits, and help either plug up a Pokemon’s glaring weaknesses or emphasize their strengths even further.
But with so many different held items available in the game, casual players looking to get into competitive battles may find it difficult to discern which ones are actually worth bringing. Berries, Plates, Choice Items — often there is just too much for new competitive players to handle. That’s where we come in, with our handy primer on all things held items in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.
What are Held Items in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl?
Simply put, a held item is an item that can be carried by a Pokemon — both in the overworld and in battle. Every Pokemon has one held item slot, which will be filled if given an item by its trainer. Each Pokemon, therefore, can only hold one item at a time. Any other items given will force the previously held item to go back to the player’s inventory.
Technically speaking, a Pokemon can hold any item (with very few exceptions) as long as it isn’t a Key Item. This means that things like Potions, evolution stones, vitamins, and more can count as held items. But most of these will have no effect when held. Only “dedicated” held items, such as the three types mentioned in the introduction to this guide, yield any effect in battle.
Held items that are actually useful in battle can be put into two main categories: consumables, and persistent items.
Consumable items are exactly what they say on the label: they are consumed automatically in battle when certain conditions are met. For example, a Pokemon holding a Sitrus Berry will recover HP equal to 25% of its maximum health, when its HP drops below 50 percent. This does not require the Pokemon to give up its turn, making it great for keeping momentum while simultaneously healing itself.
Other consumable items have usage conditions different from that of Berries. Weakness Policy, for example, activates when the Pokemon holding it takes a move that is super effective against it. Once activated, the Weakness Policy automatically boosts the Pokemon’s offensive stats in battle.
Consumable items disappear upon activation. The Normal-type move Recycle does circumvent this rule somewhat, as it allows Pokemon to recover previously consumed held items in the same battle.
Persistent items, on the other hand, do not disappear upon usage. They persist within a Pokemon’s held item slot, whether their effects are passive or active. For example, a Pokemon holding an Expert Belt gets a 20 percent power boost to all its super effective moves. This effect persists throughout the battle, for as long as the Pokemon has the Expert Belt in its possession.
Meanwhile, there are also some persistent items that require activation before applying their effects. One such item is the Flame Orb, which applies a burn to the Pokemon holding it at the end of the turn. The Flame Orb does not go away after this happens, which means that it can still apply burns later on in the battle if something cures the status effect.
What are the Most Common Items in Competitive Play?
As one would expect from the information above, only consumables and persistently held items are of any use in competitive play in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. A Pokemon can’t make use of a Hyper Potion in battle, for example, so choosing only those that actually can be used as such is important.
More important still is knowing which of these held items are actually good in competitive play. The Focus Band, for example, is strictly inferior to the Focus Sash — as the former only protects from fainting 10% of the time. The latter, on the other hand, does it without fail. Therefore, it is crucial for new players to weed out items that don’t bring much competitive value or items that have stronger counterparts like the Focus Band.
We’ll be giving examples of the most commonly used held items in competitive play in this section, and why they’re what you should bring against other players.
Berries and Other Consumables
- Sitrus Berry — Perfect for Belly Drum strategies, such as with Azumarill. Strictly better than Oran Berries.
- Lum Berry — A favorite of setup sweepers like Dragonite and Garchomp, as it helps them shrug off burns and paralysis after setting up.
- Custap Berry — Great for dedicated suicide leads with the Sturdy ability like Skarmory, as it allows them to put down entry hazards even at low health.
- Chesto Berry — One half of the “ChestoResto” strategy, which involves using Rest for recovery and a Chesto Berry to wake up immediately.
- Resistance berries (Colbur, Chople, Wacan, etc) — Halves the damage of incoming super effective moves, depending on the type. Colbur Berries, for example, reduce the damage of super effective Dark-type attacks by 50 percent.
- Boosting berries (Liechi, Petaya, Salac, etc) — Automatically boosts a specific stat when the Pokemon holding the berry goes below 25 percent health. Great on Pokemon that can tank hits while setting up.
- Mental Herb — Eliminates the drawbacks of Shell Smash. Commonly carried by Cloyster and other Pokemon with access to Shell Smash.
Persistent Items (Passive and Active)
- Focus Sash — allows a Pokemon to survive a hit that would otherwise OHKO it, guaranteed. Does not work on multi-hit moves like Bullet Seed. Only works once in a battle, but does not disappear — so Knock Off will still do bonus damage to a Pokemon with a used Focus Sash.
- Life Orb — Trades 10 percent of a Pokemon’s max HP with every attacking move, in exchange for 30 percent more base power. Useful on all-out attackers like Lucario, that require the extra kick to their moves.
- Expert Belt — Increases the power of super effective moves by 20 percent. Great item for Pokemon with wide coverage in their movepool.
- Choice items (Choice Scarf, Choice Specs, Choice Band) — Increases a specific stat by 50 percent, in exchange for the ability to choose moves freely past the first one upon the Pokemon’s entry. Choice items are incredibly powerful and will give certain Pokemon immense power without the need for any setup. Meanwhile, Choice Scarf’s Speed increase allows slower Pokemon to get the jump on faster opponents right away.
- Weather rocks (Damp Rock, Heat Rock, Icy Rock, Smooth Rock) — Essential for weather teams and their weather setters, after Generation VI removed permanent weather effects.
- Status orbs (Flame Orb, Toxic Orb) — Excellent on Pokemon with the Guts and Poison Heal abilities. Flame Orb is preferred on the former, as burn hurts less per turn compared to toxic poison.
- Scope Lens/Razor Claw — Doubles a Pokemon’s critical hit ratio. A favorite of Pokemon with the Super Luck ability, like Absol.
- King’s Rock — Adds a flinch chance to a Pokemon’s attacking moves. Good at stealing games that you would otherwise surely lose if you get lucky.