Doubles has been the staple format of the Pokemon Video Game Championships since I can remember (my 1st VGC was 2011). This is for good reason- doubles is a faster format so running tournaments is less of a headache and Doubles is refreshing due to the format changing the inherent value of strategies- for instance booster moves such as Swords Dance and Dragon Dance are harder to succeed with since Pokemon can double up their attacks/priority moves to easily nullify the advantage given by a buff and moves like Helping Hand and Life Dew have even been engineered for use in this format. If you love an ever shifting battlefield and tons of viable team options then I would suggest giving Doubles a shot!
VGC - Format Rules - 6 Pokemon - 4 Fielded
Each player submits a team of six Pokemon and selects four to take into battle.
Each player gets to see a preview of the opposing team before making their fielding decisions.
Species Clause - A player cannot have two Pokémon with the same Pokédex number on a team.
*Mythical Pokemon like Mewtwo are usually banned by default but Legendary trios are usually allowed if they are in the format.
HIGH FREQUENCEY MECHANICS - Things you will see a lot in Doubles:
Fake Out - Priority Move
100% Flinch Chance locks an opposing Pokemon down and deals damage. If you are relying on a set up or want to counter the opponents' this move does both.
I usually have a back up plan or Ghost type [IMMUNE] if they are packing a Fake Out user.
U-Turn/Volt Switch - Attack
Attacking and switching can be a powerful way to keep pressure on, momentum up, and your opponent guessing while you fight for a better position.
Weather and Terrain - Ability/Move
Weather and Terrain are most commonly seen being triggered off of abilities but sometimes trainers use moves to generate these effects as well. Many teams are based around the unique status/buffs/pressure created while they operate under these conditions. even if you aren't a focused weather team it might be good to pack an effect just to nullify theirs however with the advent of Dynamax moves changing weather it might be less relevant.
Taunt - Status Attack
Taunt prevents the use of Protect and other annoying moves [SPORE]. Many teams rely on tricksy moves to gain an advantageuos position and Taunt shuts them down- especially harasser builds that sometimes carry no actual attacks and end up using struggle if your taunt goes off before their status move.
Protect - Status Move
While Protect at times will see play in Singles formats as a useful scouting and stalling tool in Doubles nearly every mon on your team should have this (exceptions for niche team members playing a role). The reasons are many- read that the opponent wants to send two attack at one mon? Protect with it and attack with yours and you got a free turn! Grassy Terrain is active? Time to heal up and stall their Wood-Hammer guy.
Combos - Build Synergy
There are many many combinations of pokemon that can work in Doubles- one of the most powerful are mons that "Combo" with moves and abilities. A prime example would be Levitate Weezing using Sludge Wave to hit the whole field while Steelix Earthquakes- Both attacks hit every mon on the field but will miss the partner due to typing immunities and in Weezings case its' ability Levitate grants this immunity. This can wipe some teams right out of the gates.
Helping Hand - Priority Status Move
This move was made for multi-formats like Doubles- You will never see it in singles barring an accident because it serves no function on it's own. In Doubles it allows weak attackers to add offensive value by powering up the targets move by 50%. I have OHKO'ed my opponents starters with a Helping Handed Normal Gem Boosted Explosion but really that's just a dream scenario.
Statuses - Type of Move
Statuses can really shut down a mon so you will see them on nearly every team in some way; Thunder Wave, Will-O-Wisp, and Spore are the best ways to administer Paralysis, Burn, and Sleep respectively. Each is crippling in it's own way- use the one that covers your weakness or supports your team the best!
Priority Moves - Type of Move
Moves with a speed priority like Quick Attack are great for finishing off weakened or glass cannon mons- some mons have such high attack stats that these are as dangerous as regular moves. Sucker Punch and Extreme Speed are Kings of priority damage but with Stab, type weakness, and abilities like Technician to power them up the smaller moves see a lot of play as well.
Doubles is such an open format that one could spend days exploring the viable strategies and nuances available but rather than that you could make or borrow a team for an event or online battles! The Pokemon Video Game Championship Tournaments start in March 2020, why not get some practice before then? The Dynamax format is explosive and fresh!
Thanks for reading,