A double battle, also known as a 2-on-2 battle, is a Pokémon battle featuring up to four Pokémon actively participating at once. This game mechanic debuted in Generation III. A tag battle is a variation of a double battle with two Trainers battling alongside each other.
In the games
In a double battle, each Pokémon is part of a duo, meaning that the battle takes place between two teams of two. The number of Pokémon Trainers participating in the battle can be two - in which each Trainer uses two Pokémon, three - in which a pair of Trainers each using a single Pokémon face off against a Trainer using two, or four Trainers - with each Trainer using a single Pokémon. At first, the two on one variant only occurred against specific Trainer pair classes such as twins and couples such as Gym Leaders Tate and Liza, but starting with Pokémon Emerald, double battles may occur in situations where two different Trainers see the player at the same time.
In Pokémon Colosseum all battles are battled as double battles, as are all trainer battles in Pokémon XD (with the exception of an optional trainer in front of the Pokémon HQ Lab, the first battle against Chobin, and the fight against Spy Naps).
Double battles were introduced into the Pokémon games in Generation III, where they were a focus of the advertising. However, the idea had been presented in the Pokémon anime and the Electric Tale of Pikachu manga long before that.
In Generation IV, there are situations where the player is accompanied by an NPC. In these situations, all wild Pokémon encounters will be double battles against two Pokémon. In such situations, it is impossible to use a Poké Ball to capture a Pokémon unless the other is knocked out first. The NPC Trainer will heal the player's team after every battle.
Generation IV also changes around the order of events slightly. Moves that target multiple Pokémon now resolve in order of the Pokémon's respective Speed stats. Pokémon are also now switched in to replace KO'd Pokémon at the end of a round of combat rather than immediately after a Pokémon is knocked out. While this affects single battles, the effect is more noticeable in double battles where it is now possible for a Pokémon's move to fail due to a lack of target if both of the opposing Pokémon are knocked out before the attacking Pokémon's turn comes.
Effects on moves
Many different moves are made especially for double battles, such as Helping Hand. Some others, such as Surf, can have noticeably different effects. Below is a list of moves which act differently in double battles. Unlisted moves act the same as in normal single battles. Moves that hit multiple Pokémon have their power reduced to 75% of their normal base power unless all other Pokémon have fainted at that point.
This chart displays all moves that work differently in double battles; moves not here either target the partner Pokémon, the user, or can target any one of the three other Pokémon out besides the user.
|Effects on Moves|
|Both of user's Pokémon||Either opponent||Both opponents||Both opponents and partner||All Pokémon in battle|
|Lucky Chant||Destiny Bond||Air Cutter||Earthquake||Haze|
|Reflect||Mirror Coat||Blizzard||Explosion||Perish Song|
|Thrash||Heat Wave||Teeter Dance||Sunny Day|
|Uproar||Hyper Voice||Surf IV||Trick Room|
|Icy Wind||Lava Plume|
Effects on abilities
Four abilities are also adapted especially for double battles. These abilities are:
- Plus - When a Pokémon with Plus enters into a double battle with a Pokémon with Minus, the user's Special Attack stat increases by 50%.
- Minus - When a Pokémon with Minus enters into a double battle with a Pokémon with Plus, the user's Special Attack stat increases by 50%.
- Lightningrod - Lightningrod forces all single-target Template:Type2 attacks in a double battle to strike the Pokémon with this ability. In a single battle, it will only cause the Pokémon with this ability to always be hit by Electric-type moves, no matter their accuracy. Note that Lightningrod cannot redirect Discharge, as it targets all other Pokémon.
- Storm Drain - Storm Drain is only effective in double battles and a Pokémon with this ability will force all single-target Water-type attacks used by other Pokémon to exclusively strike it. Water-type moves have 100% accuracy whether they are aimed at a Storm Drain user or not.
In the anime
While Team Rocket had conducted "illegal" double battles since the third episode, the first official double battle occurred in Pokémon Double Trouble. In order to win the Jade Star Badge, Ash had to defeat Luana's Marowak and Alakazam in a double battle. While Ash's Pikachu and Charizard were initially unwilling to cooperate, they eventually overcame it to win the battle.
After the release of Ruby and Sapphire, double battles were seen in the anime more often. The first took place in All in a Day's Wurmple. Forrester Franklin introduced the concept to Ash and they had a battle that Ash won. As in the games, Ash's Gym Battle against Tate and Liza was a double battle. The Double Battle style has been used in contests; more specifically, all four battle rounds of the Grand Festival. Additionally, in order to qualify for the finals of the Ever Grande Conference, competitors must win three double battles in the preliminaries. Double battles also appeared in the seventh movie, Destiny Deoxys.
While not counting as official battles, battles with Team Rocket are usually two-on-two, as has been the case since Ash Catches a Pokémon. In that episode, Ash complained that it was against the rules. Perhaps to account for this, Forrester stated that double battles are accepted under Hoenn's official Pokémon league rules.
In the manga
Doubles battles have been present in the manga long before the games. They have appeared several times in the Electric Tale of Pikachu and later in the Pokémon Adventures. Double battles were introduced into Pokémon Adventures in the Ruby & Sapphire chapter. They first appeared in PS198, when Ruby challenges a Plusle and a Minun. They later appear in PS207 when Ruby and the Swimmer are spotted by a Seviper and a Zangoose. In PS233 to PS252, Kyogre and Groudon are fought in a double battle by several people as they try to calm down the storm that they created.
Double battles also make a few appearances in the Diamond & Pearl chapter. In PS364, the main characters battle a Torterra and an Infernape, while in PS374 and PS375, they battle against Cyrus's Probopass and Magnezone in Mt. Coronet.