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A Tag Battle (Japanese: マルチバトル Multi Battle), referred to as a Multi Battle in the games, is a type of Double Battle where two Pokémon Trainers team up against one or two others. Unlike regular Double Battles, there are no specific Trainer classes encountered for Tag Battles. Instead, two different Trainers must both see the player at the same time. For battles in the games' storylines, the player's opponents will usually only have three Pokémon each. However, Tag Battles occurring by being spotted by a pair of unrelated Trainers will occasionally lead to battles against more than six Pokémon. The player and their partner are only subject to such limitations in Battle Towers, allowing both to potentially send out six Pokémon.
In the games
Multi Battle mode
In Generation III, up to four players can battle with each other in a Tag Battle via link cable by choosing the 'Multi Battle' mode in the Pokémon Cable Club Colosseum. Players decide which side to battle. This was the only way to have a Tag Battle in Ruby and Sapphire.
In Generation IV, the Pokémon Cable Club Colosseum was renamed to the Pokémon Communication Club Colosseum, but Tag Battles can still be conducted by selecting 'Multi Battle'.
Pokémon Center Receptionist
- "Multi Battle is for four Trainers with one or more Pokémon each."
- "Each Trainer can have one Pokémon in battle at a time."
Since Ruby and Sapphire, Tag Battles have been possible at various points throughout the games. Other such battles happen at specific points in the game.
In the anime
Ash and Dawn with Turtwig and Piplup, preparing for a Tag Battle
Tag Battles have been featured in the anime since the second episode. The first Tag Battlers were Jessie and James. At this time, Misty stated that Tag Battles were against the official league rules. Team Rocket still challenges the main protagonists in Tag Battles regularly.
Tag Battles became more common in the anime as of the Advanced Generation series. On two occasions, Ash has paired up with two of his female companions. The first time was in The Bicker the Better, with May and The Champ Twins!, with Dawn. In both situations, Ash had gotten into an argument with his partner and ended up making up with them and becoming in sync with them during battle.
Ash and Brock worked well together as a team, with Pikachu and Sudowoodo easily taking down a Snorlax/Munchlax husband/wife combination in A Full Course Tag Battle. In the same episode, May and Dawn teamed up and worked well together.
Bagged Then Tagged! also featured a Tag Battle, with Ash and Dawn battling Lyra and Khoury. Ash and Dawn seemed to work well this time, defeating their opponents.
Hearthome City has its own special competition known as the Hearthome City Tag Battle Competition. Trainer pairs are chosen by random. Each Trainer receives a card with a number on it and must partner with the Trainer whose number is paired with their number. Ash won this tournament paired with Paul, despite the two working very poorly together.
In Lost at the Stamp Rally!, Ash and Cilan fought in a Tag Battle against Ingo and Emmet, which Ash and Cilan lost despite fighting excellently. In Evolution Exchange Excitement!, Ash and Cilan battled and won against Bianca and Professor Juniper. Ash and Cilan also fought together in a Tag Battle against two brothers named Soren and Rocko in A Surface to Air Tag Battle Team! and managed to win here as well.
In New Places... Familiar Faces!, Ash and Nanette battled against Iris and Cilan, which was also Nanette's first battle. The battle was interrupted by Team Rocket and their attempt to capture Pikachu.
In the manga
In the Pokémon Adventures manga
Tag Battles were uncommon prior to Generation III and IV due to the fact that they hadn't been formally introduced yet, although multiple Trainers battling a single opponent (such as Sabrina vs. Red, Blue, and Green or Bill and Lt. Surge vs. Bruno) were common. The first true Tag Battle occurs when Gold and Crystal fought against Sham and Carl's two Pokémon together.
Much later, as with the then recently-released Emerald version which fully introduced this feature, the two protagonists of the Ruby & Sapphire chapter, named appropriately after the two games, would fight together against Archie and Maxie in both the Seafloor Cavern and after Groudon and Kyogre's return to their slumber. Silver and Yellow also fought against two opponents, but as Yellow didn't begin to attack until after the former was losing, it is dubious as to whether it can be called a true Tag Battle.
Several Tag Battles also occur during the Diamond & Pearl chapter, including those of two pairs fighting many opponents.
- When battling alongside Steven in Emerald, his Pokémon are shown to gain experience after the defeat of an opponent Pokémon. This does not happen to a partner's Pokémon in the Tag Battles of Generation IV.
- The Tag Battle against Mars and Jupiter in the Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum games has the potential to be a twelve-on-six fight, due to Barry's full party. All other Tag Battles in the game have numbers that are more even.
- There are no battles in which the player character and a partner Trainer battle against a single opponent.