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A Triple Battle (Japanese: トリプルバトル Triple Battle) is a type of Pokémon battle featuring up to 6 Pokémon, with three Pokémon from each side battling at a time. It was introduced in Pokémon Black and White and was predominately showcased in White.
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.
The Pokémon on the left and right have the option to 'shift'. This option allows the user to switch with the Pokémon currently in the middle. Shifting has no priority and none of the effects of switching apply to shifting. 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 use a move on a certain target, but is then shifted before using its move, its attack will fail if the target is then outside of its range. When there are only two Pokémon left on the field and they are non-adjacent to each other, both Pokémon will automatically be shifted to the center of the field.
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 (except Air Cutter), all pulse moves, and Aura Sphere can hit any Pokémon on the battlefield. Moves that hit multiple Pokémon will have their damage reduced by 25%, unless all other Pokémon have fainted at that point, just like in a Double Battle.
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 moves Bide, Counter, Mirror Coat, Metal Burst, Destiny Bond, and Grudge all can be activated by, and attack, a non-adjacent opponent.
The move Flame Burst takes away 1/16 of the maximum HP of all adjacent allies of the target Pokémon. This damage is not treated as an attack.
The move Acupressure, while in a Triple Battle, can target an adjacent ally instead of the user.
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. 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 because entry hazards affect the entire team.
However, some Abilities are affected by a Pokémon's placement, for example, Intimidate will only lower the Attack of opposing, adjacent Pokémon on 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 A Maractus Musical!, where Ash battled against Toby's three Maractus with his Pikachu, Tepig and Snivy.
In the manga
In VS Cottonee, Black participates in a Triple Battle with a Hiker named Andy.
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.
- 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.
- Moves with "Pulse" in their name and Aura Sphere are the only non-Flying-type moves that can hit a non-adjacent Pokémon. Also, their Japanese names (including Aura Sphere) contain はどう wave/pulse.
- 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.