I’m proud to introduce my first publicly released Alexa Skill, “Trainer Tips.” This (unofficial) Pokemon reference skill gives Alexa the ability to provide you with type matchup information while you’re in the thick of a battle. With 18 Pokemon types in the latest games, it’s hard to track all of the immunities, strengths, and weaknesses without a college course. 😉

What You Can Do

The Trainer Tips skill supports three kinds of requests:

Type Strengths

Check the types that a particular “hero” type is strong against. Ask questions like:

  • “Alexa, ask Trainer Tips about Steel strengths”
  • “Alexa, ask Trainer Tips what’s weak against Fire”

Alexa will also mention any known immunities the hero type may have.

Type Weaknesses

Check which types will cause extra damage to your hero type. Ask questions like “What are the weaknesses of Psychic types?” or “What’s best against Water types?”

Trainer Tips

Ask for a random battle tip.  You can submit ideas for new tips by Tweeting at me – use the hashtag #TrainerTipsAlexa

  • “Alexa, ask Trainer tips to teach me something new.”
  • “Alexa, ask Trainer Tips to give me a tip.”


As with all Alexa skills, the Trainer Tips skill supports sessions and one-shot invocation. If you just have one question for Alexa, use one of the sentences below. If you think you’ll have lots of questions in a row, start by saying “Alexa, open Trainer Tips.” From then on, you can leave out the “ask Trainer Tips to” part of any of your requests. Then you can do something like this:

  • YOU: “Alexa, open Trainer Tips.”
  • ALEXA: “Welcome Trainer! I can help you choose the right team for battle. Ask me about a type’s strengths or weaknesses, or ask for a trainer tip. “
  • YOU: “Alexa, What’s strong against Rock?”
  • ALEXA: “Rock types are weak against water, grass, ground, fighting, and steel type attacks.”
  • YOU: “Alexa, what’s weak against Steel?”
  • ALEXA: “Steel types are strong against ice, rock, and fairy type attacks. Steel types are also immune to Poison attacks.”

Installing Skills

If you want to do it the manual way:

  1. Go to http://alexa.amazon.com or your Alexa app
  2. Open the left sidebar (if it’s collapsed) and click on Skills
    1. Skills is about halfway down
  3. Click in the Search field and type “Trainer Tips”
  4. Click “Enable” on the Trainer Tips card when it shows up in your search results.

The ‘invocation name’ for Trainer Tips is – you guessed it – Trainer Tips. You ‘ask’ skills by invocation name for the content you’re looking for, or open a skill by invocation name to start a session.

Help other Trainers – review the skill!

Right now, it’s very hard to find new skills if they don’t have positive reviews. Can you help improve the ranking of Trainer Tips by submitting a review? Just go to the skill in your Alexa app and click “Write Review”. Once you’ve done that, you can also feel free to submit feedback on Twitter (#TrainerTipsAlexa) or via the Alexa app.

Future Ideas

Perhaps in a future version, I’ll add a versus intent – ie, “Alexa, ask Trainer Tips if Fire is weak against Steel.” or “Alexa, ask Trainer Tips who would win in a poison versus fairy battle.” As this is an unofficial skill, I have no plans to add any queries for specific Pokemon, as many of their names are trademarked and would be problematic.

Another option is a “Tell me about Ice” intent where you get both the weaknesses and strengths for a particular type. However, that’s a lot of data to try and remember when you’re hearing it only. I decided to stick with questions that led to crisper responses.

Just in time for the Pokemon 20th anniversary — Train on!

What’s Alexa? Alexa is Amazon’s speech-enabled platform featured on the Amazon Echo and FireTV. Full disclosure: I work as a voice experience designer on the Alexa team, but this project was a labor of love. If you don’t have an Echo yet, check it out here (affiliate link).


This skill is still running, years later. For years and years, it was one of the top-performing apps on Alexa and earned money through the partner program. Eventually the Pokemon company added similar functionality to their app, and engagement dropped off, but it was a heck of a run – and I still use my app during streams.

Visit the entry on my design portfolio site for a bit more context: