From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
Triple battles are one of the many forms of Pokémon battling, being popular with Trainers in the region of Unova. As the name suggests, triple battles are a type of battle where each Trainer sends out three Pokémon at once. Due to this, they can be considered the successor to double battles, with the only difference seemingly being the number of Pokémon. However, there are some restrictions that differentiate the triple battle from its predecessor other than the amount of Pokémon, such as placement.
In the games
When a triple battle begins, Pokémon will be sent out in order. The first Pokémon able to battle in the party becomes the leftmost Pokémon on the field, the second becomes the center Pokémon, and the third becomes the Pokémon on the far right.
The placement of the Pokémon is a major attribute of triple battles, as a Pokémon's positioning affects how certain moves and abilities work. Generally, Pokémon on the left-side of the field cannot attack any one on the right-side (including allies), and vice versa. This also means a Pokémon in the center is free to hit any Pokémon on the field, but at a cost of being vulnerable to every other Pokémon.
There are some moves, however, that allow non-adjacent Pokémon to attack each other.
Effect on moves
Most moves have the same effect in triple battles as with single and double battles, the only restriction is that they can only affect adjacent Pokémon. Moves that hit both opponents or all Pokémon in double battles only affect adjacent Pokémon in triple battles. All damage-dealing Flying-type moves, aside from Air Cutter, can hit any Pokémon on the battlefield; all aura and pulse moves can hit any Pokémon, as well. Moves that hit multiple Pokémon will have their power reduced unless all other Pokémon have fainted at that point, just like in a double battle.
The moves Bide, Counter, Mirror Coat, Metal Burst, Destiny Bond, and Grudge all can be activated by, and attack, a non-adjacent opponent.
The moves After You, Quash, Helping Hand, Ally Switch, Follow Me, and Rage Powder will have no effect if not used in a double or triple battle.
The following moves act differently when used in a triple battle, as opposed to a single or double battle.
Effect on abilities
Most abilities' effect remain the same and are not affected by the Pokémon's placement. For example, a Mold Breaker Pokémon on the left-side of the field which used Water Pulse can still damage a Pokémon with Wonder Guard on the right-side of the field. Also, a Magic Bounce Pokémon can still reflect entry hazards even if the user of the entry hazard and itself are at opposite corners of the field.
However, some abilities such as Intimidate are affected by a Pokémon's placement, and, in this case, can only lower the attack of opposing, adjacent Pokémon on the field.
The Pokémon on the left and right have the option to 'move'. This option allows the user to switch with the Pokémon currently in the middle. Moving has no priority and none of the effects of switching apply to moving. A Pokémon can move even if it is the last Pokémon on its team, but once in the center, it cannot move anywhere else. If the center Pokémon is readying to attack a certain target, but is then switched to the outside of the field, its attack will fail if the target is then non-adjacent (providing the attack chosen is only able to hit adjacent Pokémon). When there are only two Pokémon left on the field and they are non-adjacent to each other, then both Pokémon will automatically be moved to the center of the field.
In Pokémon Battrio
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Triple battling as a mechanic was introduced in Pokémon Battrio, an arcade game using three Pokémon pucks on each side.
In the anime
Triple Battle in the anime
The first official triple battle was seen in the anime in episode BW053, where Ash battled against Tobio's three Maractus with his Pikachu, Tepig and Snivy.
In the manga
Pokémon Master Black and White
In the second chapter, Monta was shown in a triple battle with Cheren, using Snivy, Panpour, and Roggenrola. Cheren used Basculin, Tepig, and Pansage.
- Interestingly, the introduction of this form of battling keeps the pattern of every odd generation, since the first, adding one more Pokémon to the maximum amount to be sent out at one time in a battle.
- Air Cutter is the only Flying-type damage-dealing move that cannot hit a non-adjacent Pokémon.
- In The Battle of the Badge, Jessie and James send out three Pokémon at once to battle Ash, the first unofficial triple battle in the anime series.