This guide will help you tackle the first Totem Pokémon in Pokémon Moon: Totem Alolan Raticate!
Totem Raticate is level 12 Dark/Normal-type Pokémon that has access to the following moves:
First of all, the move Tackle, which is Normal-type and deals damage. The second move is Bite, which is a Dark-type move that might flinch the target, preventing it from acting that turn if the target is slower than the user.
It also has two non-damaging moves; Tail Whip and Scary Face. Tail Whip reduces the target’s Defense by one stage, making it more vulnerable to physical attacks, while Scary Face reduces the target’s Speed by two stages, making it more likely that it will attack last (and making it vulnerable to Bite’s flinch chance).
Next to its moves, it also useful to know that Totem Raticate has an aura boost of +1 Defense, which makes it receive less damage from physical attacks. Furthermore, it has the Ability Gluttony, which encourages it to eat certain Berries earlier than usual. However, it has no effect on the Pecha Berry it is holding. That Pecha Berry can cure it from the Poison status once.
Totem Raticate summons an ally Alolan Rattata of level 10 at the end of the first turn. This ally is Dark/Normal-type and has the following moves:
Tackle and Tail Whip work just as explained with Totem Raticate. Quick Attack is a Normal-type move that always moves first, and Focus Energy increases Rattata's critical hit ratio
Furthermore, the Rattata has the Ability Hustle, which increases its Attack stat by 50%, but also lowers the accuracy of its physical moves by 20%.
Fighting-type moves are the most useful for this battle, as they can hit for double super-effective damage.
Bug- and Fairy-type moves can hit the Dark-type Pokémon for super-effective damage.
Rock- and Steel-type Pokémon can help too, as receive not very effective damage from Normal-type attacks.
Ghost-type Pokémon are also useful for this battle, as they are immune to all Normal-type damaging moves. However they receive super-effective damage from Bite (which also receives a Same Type Attack Bonus), so you should be very careful when using them.
Makuhita (which can be found on rustling spots in Route 2) and Crabrawler (sometimes found when interacting with Berries underneath trees, such as the ones above the Route 2 Pokémon Center) are both good Fighting-types to use for this trial.
Drifloon is a Ghost/Flying-type Pokémon that can be found at Hau’oli Cemetery during daytime. It is a good idea to use it for this battle and it will also prove extremely useful later. It also has the Aftermath Ability which damages a Pokémon that makes it faint; this can be useful if it is taken down by Dark-type moves.
Cutiefly is a Bug/Fairy-type Pokemon that can be found at Route 2 as well.
All these Pokémon can be obtained at good enough levels for this point in the game. Finally, the starter Pokémon Popplio may have a slight advantage over Rowlet or Litten, as it has access to the Fairy-type move Disarming Voice.
Totem Raticate is more vulnerable to special attacks rather than physical. Unless you are using attacks of super-effective types, physical attacks should be otherwise avoided.
As with almost all Totem Pokémon battles, it is advisable to focus on the Totem first and the ally later, as the ally alone isn’t nearly as menacing. Note that Ghost-type Pokémon cannot be hit by any of Rattata’s attacks.
The TM for the Fighting-type move Brick Break, that can be useful in this battle, can be found within Verdant Cavern as you progress through the trial. You may want to teach it to one or more of your Pokémon immediately.
It might be a good idea to inflict a status condition on the Totem Pokémon. However, Poison is not a good idea as it is holding a Pecha Berry. Sleep is useful because it prevents it from acting but it doesn’t last long. Burn cripples its Attack stat which makes its attacks hit for much less, while Paralysis cripples its Speed stat which makes it easier to outspeed it (in which case Bite cannot cause a flinch effect). However, in several cases, a Fighting-type attack or two are enough to defeat it and a status may thus not be needed.