Pick Life or Destruction

May's Pokémon distributions feature the iconic stars of Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, Xerneas and Yveltal. Kalos' Legendary Pokémon are among the most powerful ever discovered, so this is a great chance to add some muscle to your team. Their respective Fairy Aura and Dark Aura Abilities greatly increase the damage of moves that match their types, ensuring battles featuring these Pokémon are unique. Details about how to add them to your team are available at Pokemon.co.uk/Legendary.

As strong as they are, even these powerful Legendary Pokémon won't reach their full potential without your help. Whether you're looking to battle other Trainers in Single Battles or Double Battles, or just hoping to collect rare Pokémon, training your Pokémon wisely will make them more impressive yet. Read on for some tips to help your new teammates perform better in battle.

Training Tips

You'll receive a different Legendary Pokémon depending on which game you use to redeem your code. Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Sun games will receive Yveltal, while Pokémon Ultra Moon and Pokémon Moon will receive Xerneas instead. The Pokémon you receive will be higher level and know stronger moves with Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon, and they'll also be holding a super-rare Gold Bottle Cap.

The Pokémon you receive with Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon will be level 100—perfect for Hyper Training. If you visit Mr. Hyper at the Hau'oli City Shopping Mall and present him with a Gold Bottle Cap, you can instantly max out your Legendary Pokémon's individual strengths. That quickly gets one big element of powering up your Pokémon out of the way.

Even though your Pokémon won't need any more Exp. Points, you should take it into battle to train its base stats. A Pokémon's Nature has a big impact on how it performs in battle. A Modest Nature will maximize Xerneas' damage, while a Bold Nature best helps it endure attacks. You won't need to train its Speed, but its Special Attack, HP, and Defense are all crucial. The flexible Yveltal can perform well with an Adamant, Jolly, Modest, or Timid Nature. Try training its Attack and Speed if it has an Adamant or Jolly Nature, or its Special Attack and Speed with Modest or Timid. Check out our guide to Raising Battle-Ready Pokémon for details about training.

Don't forget you can help these high-level Pokémon relearn moves they'd normally learn by leveling up if you bring a Heart Scale to Madam Memorial in the Pokémon Center on Mount Lanakila. You can collect Heart Scales easily by visiting the restaurants across Alola.

Xerneas Is Absorbing Power!

If you're looking for a Pokémon to crush your friends in battle, you can't do much better than Xerneas. The Life Pokémon's fittingly high HP and solid defensive stats are tough for opponents to crack before Xerneas can use Geomancy, a unique move that increases its Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed by two levels after charging up for a turn. Xerneas' Fairy Aura Ability further increases the damage of its Fairy-type attacks, combining with its high Special Attack stat to deal incredible damage.

Most strategies involving Xerneas key off the incredible power of Geomancy. Giving Xerneas a Power Herb to hold causes Geomancy to charge immediately without leaving Xerneas vulnerable for a turn. The Power Herb is consumed when Geomancy is used, but you'll get it back after the battle ends if you're battling against another player. Or, if you're willing to take the chance that Xerneas can survive being attacked while it powers up, it can gain an additional level in all five of its stats by using Z-Geomancy with Fairium Z.

If you're planning to deploy Xerneas in a Double Battle—perhaps in a “GS Cup” format like the 2016 Video Game Championships—you'll find yourself tight on move options. Xerneas derives much of its power from Geomancy, and it's tough to maintain its stat boosts without Protect to defend it from troublesome moves like Fake Out or Scizor's Bullet Punch. Most Trainers teach Xerneas both Dazzling Gleam, to hit both enemies, and the more powerful Moonblast instead of a coverage move like Grass Knot.

You can afford to teach Xerneas a greater variety of attacks in Single Battles. No longer do you need Dazzling Gleam or Protect. Instead, select your favorite attacks from an arsenal that can take on dual-type Pokémon that resist Fairy-type attacks—Focus Blast, Grass Knot, Thunder, or a Fire-, Ground-, or Rock-type Hidden Power. Aromatherapy provides a cheekier option by allowing the Life Pokémon to heal its own status conditions and that of its teammates. This is a great way to get around the Speed-reducing effect of paralysis, and it allows Xerneas to help its team even in games where Geomancy doesn't work out.

If you're not feeling the Geomancy strategy, try giving Xerneas a Choice Scarf to hold. A Xerneas that knows four attacks—most often Moonblast, Focus Blast, and Thunder or Grass Knot, plus a wildcard—can be tough to stop in both Single and Double Battles. This strategy can surprise opponents anticipating Geomancy and can avoid worries of permanently consuming Power Herbs while you adventure in Alola.

An Appetite for Destruction

Yveltal mirrors its counterpart Xerneas with its Dark Aura Ability, which boosts the strength of Dark-type attacks like Fairy Aura boosts Fairy-type attacks. Unlike Xerneas, the Destruction Pokémon has less defensive integrity due to being both a Dark- and Flying-type Pokémon, and its equal Attack and Special Attack stats make it hard to determine an optimal strategy. Yveltal instead offers an exciting variety of strategies that make it one of the most fun Pokémon to battle with.

A variety of tricky Dark-type attacks make it easy to harness Dark Aura no matter your strategy. Yveltal will leech over half of the damage it deals as HP with Oblivion Wing, making it a solid choice if you focus on special attacks. Oblivion Wing pairs nicely with Foul Play, an attack that deals damage based on the target's Attack stat instead of Yveltal's. If you focus on Yveltal's Attack stat instead, it'll get extra damage from the priority move Sucker Punch or by eliminating your opponents' items with Knock Off.

Start any Double Battle strategy by teaching Yveltal Protect. Its Dark-type attacks are so powerful that the most successful Yveltal at the 2016 World Championships knew three of them: Knock Off, Foul Play, and Sucker Punch, with the Life Orb held item to increase their damage. Yveltal can also take a more balanced approach to Double Battles by using Tailwind to increase the Speed of its team.

Yveltal's Single Battle strategies still revolve around a bevy of Dark-type attacks, but it has more options without the need to use Protect. Choice Band becomes one of Yveltal's best available items, allowing it to devastate most Pokémon with Knock Off. Consider teaching it U-turn instead of Protect, allowing it to deal damage while switching out for a teammate that has a more favorable matchup.

As for other special attack options, Dark Pulse is Yveltal's most powerful , though it doesn't heal like Oblivion Wing does. Heat Wave is a great choice both for its type coverage and because it hits both foes in Double Battles. Even the Special Attack-decreasing Snarl can deal surprising damage because of Dark Aura.

We hope you enjoy your adventures with these fantastic Legendary Pokémon. You can find more information about upcoming distributions at Pokemon.co.uk/Legendary. Don't forget to check out more Pokémon TCG and video game articles, strategy, and tournament analysis at Pokemon.co.uk/Strategy.

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